Triumph in Christ

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 (KJB)

The thankful apostle which has written this second letter to encourage the Church at Corinth to forgive the sins of their members who had repented of their acts of immorality (1 Corinthians 5); their acts of pride over their spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12-14), and other issues as well.  He is still unable to be with them.

In looking at the above verse we see Paul giving the glory to our Lord.

Any victories we have is due to the victory of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial, and His triumph over death, and the grave in His resurrection.

“…Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:15

The Church had much; and presently has much to rejoice in.  Jesus gives us the victory we must walk in it.

Father in Heaven, forgive our sins, our flimsy excuses for our sins. Forgive also our cheapening of grace; which is given us to free us from sin, and is now used as a license for sinning.

May we realize that Jesus died for our sin, in our place, paying the redemption price for our sin. We must turn from our excuses and our sin to triumph in Christ.

Fill us with Your Spirit, for then we will not walk in sin. Draw us nearer You, for then we will see our sinfulness and our greatest need of You.

Glorify Jesus Your Precious, Holy Son. Amen.

The Best Gifts

But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. 1Corinthians 12:31
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (KJB)

The Corinthian Church was laden with Christians who were competing for who they considered the best preacher, teacher, and the best spiritual gifts.  One gift in particular was one that was causing the greatest stir.

Corinth was a troubled Church.  The apostle Paul sent this letter, because he was not able to come and see them.  The purpose of the letter is to address and endeavor to correct the problems of jealousy, envy, immoral conduct, and selfishness.

The apostle had dealt with the issue of tongues.  It was a sign gift, probably for the unbelieving Jews to see the Old Testament fulfillment, but they would not understand (Isaiah 28:11; 1 Corinthians 14:22).  Now that I have dealt with that let us consider the best gifts.

The best gifts are those that edifies the Church.  They build up, they encourage, they motivate the Church; and lead the Church in building up the name of Jesus Christ.

The greatest thing to have is love; it is the “more excellent way” as Paul describes godly love in chapter 13.  Many people, Christian and non-christian knows of 1 Corinthians 13, but know little or nothing of the chapters preceding it, or the three chapters following.

Spiritual gifts are good, even great; but if you do not have love you are empty.  The love spoken of by the apostle is not the feel  good love many think of.  It is love that acts when a wrong is witnessed, or a need is seen as one drives by a neighbor’s home, and you stop to help.  It is the love that acts without thought of recovering the cost of the effort.

There is also faith and hope and love, Paul says, “but the greatest of these is love”.

Father in Heaven fill me with Your Spirit so that I might love like You do.  That I might love my neighbor as I love myself.

Tempting Christ

“Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.” 1 Corinthians 10:9 (KJB)

There are four “Neither”(s) in this paragraph of chapter 10.  The apostle is giving the Corinthian Christians, and Christians of every age examples of how we are not to be and live:

  1. “Neither be Idolaters”;
  2. “Neither let us commit fornication”;
  3. “Neither let us tempt Christ”;
  4. “Neither murmur”.

Each one of these have a lesson in themselves.  Paul is dealing with historical events in the journeys of his forefathers who wandered forty years in the wilderness.  Someone has said, “It only took a few days to get Israel out of Egypt, but it took forty years to get Egypt out of Israel.”

On the matter of “Tempting Christ” that is putting Him to the test.  It is not a matter to temptation of sinning.  He cannot be tempted to sin (James 1:13).

As I read these words this morning my first thought was that the apostle is recognizing that Christ Jesus was with Israel in the wilderness.  He has in these verses recognized that in 1 Corinthians 10:4 – “That Rock was Christ”.

Putting Christ to the test.  How is that done? Not trusting Him. Not believing what He says. Not walking with Him. Living as the people around us live, instead of as He teaches and lived.

In the wilderness twenty three thousand people died as a result of unbelief, because they had put Him to the test.

Let us as a Christian of 2019 commit ourselves to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength; and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves; and choose daily, moment by moment to walk humbly with God in the power of His Spirit.  When we are doing that we will not be tempting Christ.

Time is Short

“But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.” 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (KJB)

The apostle Paul has been dealing with marital relationship for Christian men and women.  We get to these verses and he spells out how the Christian husband and wife ought to think and live for the honor and glory of God.

He says, “…the time is short”.  As Christians we do not have; and neither does the non-christian; a very long time to live. Life is short.  The apostle is telling us that we have a very short period of time to live for God, and be His witnesses in this wicked, dark, and dying world.

To the married he writes, “…be as though you had none…” and that is a wife; and is applicable to the wife to be as though she had no husband, as well.  That does not mean forsaking one another, neither ignoring each other in bed, or in work.  It deeply means that loving God, worshiping Him, witnessing for Him is the highest and best that a married couple can do.

To those who are weeping, and to those who are rejoicing:  rejoicing in a marriage is good, but rejoicing in the relationship you have with God is far higher.  Jesus said to His disciples when they came back rejoicing because they had power over demons,

“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20

The grieved heart for the passing of a loved one or sorrow over a health condition leads to weeping many a time. We are human beings with weaknesses, and often overwhelmed by sin and the world.  There is a time for weeping, but Paul is saying here that there is the matter of God, our relationship with Him and continued abiding fellowship with Him.

One final thing.  This world and all that is in it; “…the fashion of this world…”; is passing away – it is perishing.  Christian priority is to grow in love with the Lord Jesus Christ, live for Him.  In living for Him you will live a holy life, set apart from the lust of the flesh for worldly things and pleasures. Live in such a way as the Spirit of God in you can draw others to Himself.

Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and He rose again. He forever lives making intercession for us.

 

Christians in an Immoral Culture

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12  (KJB)

Many of the Christians in Corinth seems to have been indifferent to the culture in which they lived.  Sexual immorality was rampant in the city, and Christians were participating in the sin as well becoming more and more bound by their sinful actions; and thinking nothing of it.

It does the Christian of 2019 and every age to read the words of Paul in this chapter concerning these matters.

As Christians we are to live a life that honors, edifies, and glorifies the Holy and Righteous God who has purchased us through the blood of Jesus His Son.  That is done through the Holy Spirit and the word of God; applying His teachings and commandments to our lives.  We are not part of the evil world culture.

To yield to the temptation of the world is to be brought under the power of sin.  There is gross sexual immorality in the Christian community.  Eagerly participating in sexual intercourse before marriage; some after marriage who have no problem with sleeping with as many women or men as they can find.  God is not pleased with this. He is not honored, He is not glorified; and neither is the Christian living such a licentious life a faithful witness for the Holiness of God.

Let me  leave you this morning with the commentary of the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary:

“1Co_6:12-20. Refutation of the antinomian defense of fornication as if it was lawful because meats are so.
All things are lawful unto me — These, which were Paul’s own words on a former occasion (to the Corinthians, compare 1Co_10:23, and Gal_5:23), were made a pretext for excusing the eating of meats offered to idols, and so of what was generally connected with idolatry (Act_15:29), “fornication” (perhaps in the letter of the Corinthians to Paul, 1Co_7:1). Paul’s remark had referred only to things indifferent: but they wished to treat fornication as such, on the ground that the existence of bodily appetites proved the lawfulness of their gratification.
me — Paul giving himself as a sample of Christians in general.
but I — whatever others do, I will not, etc.
lawful … brought under the power — The Greek words are from the same root, whence there is a play on the words: All things are in my power, but I will not be brought under the power of any of them (the “all things”). He who commits “fornication,” steps aside from his own legitimate power or liberty, and is “brought under the power” of an harlot (1Co_6:15; compare 1Co_7:4). The “power” ought to be in the hands of the believer, not in the things which he uses [Bengel]; else his liberty is forfeited; he ceases to be his own master (Joh_8:34-36; Gal_5:13; 1Pe_2:16; 2Pe_2:19). Unlawful things ruin thousands; “lawful” things (unlawfully used), ten thousands.” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Be sure to read the whole chapter six. Let those of us who name the name of Christ Jesus live the name as well.

The Confirmation

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-8  (KJB)

The apostle was writing to the Corinthian Church, saints, and was about to deal with some very difficult problems within that congregation.  He was troubled by their popularity competitions about who was the greatest preacher, teacher.  They had a problem with mystical revelations by emotional out burst, which caused trouble through confusion.

If you read the whole first chapter you will see that Paul does recognize them as “Saints” (v. 2), and in verse 2 you will see in the KJB that the words “to be” is in italics which means that was added into the text, supposedly for clarity and understanding.  However, the words “to be saints”; at least to me; seems to be that some day in the future they will be saints.  “Called saints” is the way it should read.  Not by Paul, not by a pope or a religious hierarchy.  Called saints by heavenly declaration, by God Himself.

The saint of God is an individual who is not perfect, neither without sin; but is daily being sanctified, set apart by God to honor and glorify Him. The saint of God never reaches a state of sinless perfection.  The saint of God realizes that as we get closer to the Lord God just how sinful, and awful we really are, thus depending, relying, trusting the only One who can bring us to completion.

The apostle Paul notes to confirmations for the saint of God:

  1. That the testimony of Jesus Christ is in their waiting for the coming of the Lord;
  2. That because of their faith in Jesus Christ they are blameless at the day of the Lord Jesus.

Blameless does not mean sinless; but because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1).

Who are you in Christ Jesus?  Has your faith in Him been confirmed by the Spirit of God, the awaiting of the coming of the Lord? He will complete His work in you, and find you blameless.

Love Exposes Sources of Division

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.  For your obedience is come abroad unto all. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.  And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” Romans 16:17-20  (KJB)

This is not dealing with the “love” the world professes; love and accept everybody, approving of all that they do – you know the verse most like to use, “Judge not, lest you be judged”.

The verses from Romans are dealing with division caused by those who are in ministry for power, popularity, and profit.  Love confronts evil of division; it never tolerates it; especially within the Body of Christ.

Some thoughts on this matter:

*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.

Power Belongs to God

“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.” Romans 13:1-2  (KJB)

There are many people who honor the order of law, and endeavor to give honor to those who are giving their lives to defend, protect, and serve us.  People such as our local county Sheriff’s departments, city police, firemen, Emergency Medical Services, and the soldiers of our nation’s military should be admired, revered, given honor, and paid rightly.

When we honor these men and women we in one respect give honor to God.  God is the One who has ordained the “higher powers” – those who are in authority.

Sadly, as of lately, there seems to be a growing number of people who hate the law and order of our land.  Could it be because they are guilty of violating the law?  Therefore they cannot support our men and women who are defenders of the law.

We must be careful that we do not put our defenders on too high a pedestal though.  They too are of flesh and blood humanity.  They make mistakes. They are sinners too. Nonetheless, they are ministers of God (Romans 13:4), and if you are against them, you stand against God.  That is your damnation.

There is no man, however, who holds absolute power.  All power is God’s “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”, and He gives power to whom He will.

Jesus, as He stood before Pilate and when Pilate had said, “Don’t You know that I have the power to crucify You, or to release You?” said,

“Thou couldest have no power against Me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin.” John 19:11

No one has power that has not been given him, except by God. If you think you are one with great power and authority, then be very careful, and give God thanks, and recognize from whence that power came.

If you are not respecting the “higher powers”, then you dishonor God Himself, and bring damnation on yourself.

As a Christian my hope and eternal life lies in Jesus Christ.  While I live in this world I am first of all subject to the Most High and Holy God who is All-Powerful. I also must subject myself to those who have authority over me, as they are servants of God to do what is right (Romans 13:4), and that also will give you a clean conscience (v. 5).

God’s Righteousness

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.  For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:1-4  (KJB)

Righteousness.  What is it?

True righteousness is defined by God, displayed by God according to His word.  According to His word, the Bible, there is only one who is righteous, and that is God.  Jesus even said,

“There is none good but one, God”  Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18

and that is a fair thought for the word righteousness; one who does what is good and right. Do not put yourself on a pedestal thinking this describes you.  Keep in mind that truly only God is good.

The Jews down through the years sought righteousness through the obedience to the law. The religious leaders even made it more and more complicated by adding loopholes, to ease the way for themselves while condemning the people.

God displayed His righteousness and holiness as He judged His only Son Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.  The righteousness of Jesus Christ was on display there as He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), taking the full judgment for our sin; becoming unrighteousness; and then He gives to us His righteousness.

This would all mean nothing though if He had not risen from the dead.  Because of the work of the righteous Son of God on the cross, His burial, and resurrection when we call on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:13) He declares us righteous and just (Romans 5:1-2)

We have no righteousness of our own.  We, by good living, doing good to others, even going to church or our places of worship cannot be made righteous.  We are only righteous as we call on the name of the Lord, and trust only in Him.

Longing for the Redemption of the Body

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”  Romans 8:22-23  (KJB)

Only a believer, a born again Christian who is knowledgeable of Jesus Christ, our sin, and the word of God could begin to understand these verses.

The soul of the Christian man, or woman is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are made new in spirit by the power of the Holy Spirit who comes to live within us, changing us, making us more and more into the image of Christ Jesus.

With our soul redeemed, and the presence of the Holy Spirit; Christ in us; then we have the hope of eternal life for our bodies as well.  Even when these bodies die, the believer’s body will be raised a new body (1 Corinthians 15:35-57).

With the sin of man came also chaos in the rest of the created order. Earthquakes, storms, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tidal waves, savage animals; you get the picture.  Sickness, and disease came on mankind.  The worst part of sin was there was no more fellowship with God; no relationship with God.

God sent His Son Jesus to redeem man to Himself.  The soul of man, through faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross, is redeemed unto God.  Our body in the meanwhile is longing for the redemption of the body.  That will be complete when our bodies are made new at the resurrection of the Just.  Every Christian has a great desire for this; looks forward to it; longs in groans even for it.  How about you?

Verse 22 even tells us that “the whole creation groans” and is groaning for redemption. One day all of creation will be made new because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

Let me close with commentary from the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now — If for man’s sake alone the earth was cursed, it cannot surprise us that it should share in his recovery. And if so, to represent it as sympathizing with man’s miseries, and as looking forward to his complete redemption as the period of its own emancipation from its present sin-blighted condition, is a beautiful thought, and in harmony with the general teaching of Scripture on the subject. (See on 2Pe_3:13)

Free From Sin

“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:18 (KJB)

Our master was once sin.  We were enslaved to it, bound to do whatever the evil of our hearts desired. Sin kept us from doing the righteous thing; the thing that would bring honor and glory to God (Romans 3:23).

I am speaking of the redeemed, the regenerated believers, followers of Jesus Christ.  We were one “dead in trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1), but have been made alive through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Righteousness in the Person of Jesus has become our new Master.  We are no longer bound in the dregs, darkness, despair, and drudgery of sin; but we have been set free to do what is good, right, holy, and just.  We can now walk with God, hear His voice, see Him work in our lives and in people and things around us.

Sin causes endless fear, doubt, despair, and hopelessness.  Faith in Christ Jesus takes that all away.  I do not intend to mean that you will not have moments of those things; but that in those moments you do fear, doubt, and feel hopeless you will fall on your knees before your God and Savior in continued faith knowing He will care for you and meet your need.

The Christian is not without sin.  We do know where to go when we sin.  We are not free to live in sin.  We are free to live in righteousness.

Will you turn your life over to the One who died that you might be free from sin’s bondage and become a servant to righteousness.  That One who died was Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son who forever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).

The Reign of Sin is Stopped

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:18-21  (KJB)

Sin’s offense against God began in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve; and that passed on from one child of Adam, one after another.  None are immune to sin (Romans 3:23).

People today in 2019 are too easily offended, and have forgotten how grossly our God, the Creator of all things, was offended by sin. Take the offense you feel and multiply that by a million million, and you might begin to experience the offense our Lord feels toward our sin.  Note that I said “…you might…” but it is highly unlikely.

There is one who brought all of sin, and its contagions, disease, and death upon us; but praise the Lord of Hosts, there is One who takes it all away.  He (Jesus Christ) bore our sins, our curse upon that old rugged cross, was buried carrying our sin, shame, condemnation, and death away; then, He rose again and He forever lives and reigns in all things.

Sin and death no longer need to have power over you.  He defeated sin and death on the cross and showed it to be true by resurrection.

The rule and reign of sin has been stopped.  What are you doing in that hog pen of sin?

Professors of Wisdom

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. Romans 1:22-23  (KJB)

Who are these Professors of Wisdom?  They are the one’s who had the knowledge of God; that He is the Creator of all things, the seen and the unseen, the man and the woman; yet have chosen to reject Him (v. 21).

Who are these Professors of Wisdom?  They are numerous in today’s world.  they are the one’s who say that their form of “Science” is the truth, when science only means “to know”.  We can only know from the evidence before us; that which God has given us.

Who are these Professors of Wisdom?  It is those who choose to make God in their own image, and deny what the Scripture says of Him.  When we deny the holiness, righteousness, and wrath of God and only see Him as a God of love, mercy, and grace we make Him into the God we want Him to be.  This is not according to Scripture.

We take God in the entirety of what Scripture says of His character.  We see God as holy, righteous, just, and judging sin; He is loving, merciful, and full of grace.  By the way, I have not exhausted the words for His character.  Search the Scriptures and you will see them.

God in His great mercy, love, and grace gave us the gift of His Son Jesus.  Why?  Because we were ones in that state of heart and mind.  Jesus Christ took upon Himself all the sins of the world, and died a cruel, tortured death; He was buried, and He rose again.  He is our only hope.

Believe Him.

The Hearing and The Understanding

“And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, ‘Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying, ‘Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.’
‘Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and they will hear it.'” Acts 28:24-28 (KJB)

Standing before the Jewish leaders in Rome Paul tells them of Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection.  Some heard and believed.  Many of them turned away from the truth and life to remain in lies and death.

The apostle reminds them of the words of Isaiah in chapter six of that prophecy, and Isaiah’s call.  The prophet was told that he would tell the people of the time what God said, but they would not hear and believe. However, he was to be faithful in preaching what God said, no matter what.

It is evident to me that there is basically no difference in the people of the eighth century B.C. and the people of this twenty first century.  There are people in every era of time who do not like the truth.  Many want to continue doing things their way, in their time; or maybe not.  They have the mentality, “Do not mix God/religion with life.  It causes problems”.

God, His word, and His people have always been against sin.  You have the choice of believing God and His word or of going, continuing down your slippery slope to death and eternal judgment

I pray you will hear and understand. I pray your eyes will be opened to see the truth of the true identity of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, God the Son; who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose again.  He is alive.

Believe Him.

The Defense

“And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” Acts 26:6-7 (KJB)

The apostle is now standing before the King of Israel.  I cannot help but think that as Paul stands there he could be thinking of one day standing before Jesus, the King of kings, and giving an account of his life.

Now as he stands before King Agrippa he is giving his own defense for the Jews accusations against him. Some of the same accusations brought against Jesus.  False charges are always charged by those who have no true rebuttal against the faithful.

Paul has been told by the Lord that he would go to Rome (Acts 23:11).  Is he worried?  I really doubt it.  Is he fearful?  He is trusting the Lord for His defense, and deliverance and trip to Rome.

Agrippa was a man who was educated in the Jewish religion, and the  apostle used that to defend his own ministry and words.  If you will remember our Lord said that some of His disciples would stand before kings (Mark 13:9).  Of course in that reference it is dealing with the last days.  Just a thought here: the last days began with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus; possibly even the birth of Jesus.

Let us who are in Christ continue in the faithfulness of the word of God and the gospel of Christ Jesus.  Lord God Almighty keep us in Your powerful hands to always be faithful. Give us boldness through the filling of Your Spirit, that in and through all things we might walk with You.

Believing All Things Written in the Law and the Prophets

“But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Acts 24:14-15 (KJB)

The apostle Paul is being tried for his faith in Jesus Christ, the crucified, buried, and risen One who forever lives and reigns as King of all kings, and Lord of all lords.

His beliefs are based on the Old Testament; the Law and the Prophets.  That does not exclude the history or the wisdom books either.  There are many Christians today who want to say and teach that the Old Testament is not needed.  It is the only Bible, the only Scripture that they had.  It is the only Scripture which Jesus knew and read.  It is the only Scripture which Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John relied on.  It is the Scripture which John the Baptist preached.

Preach and teach the New Testament Yes; but do not neglect the Old.

I have been spending this year staying with the New Testament.  I felt I needed to get more familiar with the words of Jesus, the apostles, and including the apostle Paul.  I will not shun, neither neglect the Old Testament though.  Without the Old there would be no New.

Someone has said, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.”  A great thought.

There is a resurrection of the dead; both of the just and the unjust.  Which resurrection will you be part of?  We are only made just by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Witness

“And he said, ‘The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of His mouth.  For thou shalt be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.'” Acts 22:14-15  (KJB)

“And he said…” that is Ananias, the one who ministered to Saul who became known as Paul the apostle after the Damascus road encounter with the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, the Just One.

Those who have been redeemed through the death of Christ have also been freed from the power and penalty of sin, its shame, condemnation and guilt through His burial; and He is alive as evidence that all has been paid to the full.

We are witnesses as well.  We too are expected to know His will, see His face, and hear the voice of His mouth.

The following are the words of F. B. Meyer in his closing comments of Acts 22:1-16…

“We are chosen of God for three things: to know His will; to see Him; and to hear His voice, Acts_22:14.”

Let us as we go be faithful to be the witness that honors and glorifies His holy name.

Beware the Wolves

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”  Acts 20:29-30  (KJB)

Paul, by the revelation of the Spirit of God, knew that when he was departed seducers, voracious, and evil men would come in and try to destroy the word and work of God. There are two types of voracious leadership named here.  I will let some sages from the past clarify who they are…

From John Gills Exposition of the Bible…

For I know this,…. By divine revelation:
that after my departing; either out of this world, or after his leaving them now, and proceeding on, his journey:
shall grievous wolves enter in among you; false teachers, comparable to wolves, for their craft and cunning, and for their greedy, covetous, and voracious dispositions; and who would be very grievous, troublesome, and even intolerable to them; these, he knew, would enter privily, at an unawares, into their churches, and set up themselves for preachers, without being called or sent:
not sparing the flock; fleecing it instead of feeding it, making merchandise of it, and like the Pharisees, under religious pretences, devour widows’ houses, and drain the purses of men; and having as little compassion upon their souls, poisoning them with their errors and heresies, subverting their faith, and bringing them into swift ruin and destruction, as much as would in them lie.

From Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you — Two classes of coming enemies are here announced, the one more external to themselves, the other bred in the bosom of their own community; both were to be teachers, but the one, “grievous wolves,” not sparing, that is, making a prey of the flock; the other (Act_20:30), simply sectarian “perverters” of the truth, with the view of drawing a party after them. Perhaps the one pointed to that subtle poison of Oriental Gnosticism which we know to have very early infected the Asiatic churches; the other to such Judaizing tendencies as we know to have troubled nearly all the early churches. See the Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, and Timothy, also those to the seven churches of Asia (Revelation 2:1-3:22). But watchfulness against all that tends to injure and corrupt the Church is the duty of its pastors in every age.

O my friend draw near to Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God, God the Living Son.

A Stirred Spirit

It has been a few days since I share a study with you other than a reblog by brother Wally Fry.  I appreciate the studies which Wally shares with his readers.

I have been away from a good source for an internet connection, with one exception for poor cell phone service for my smart phone; and I find it very difficult to do anything in the way of posting anything on the sites here. I have been away serving as a camp cook/kitchen helper at our Associations Children’s Camp. I will endeavor to get back to serving my readers, and pray God will speak to all who come here. For today…

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.  Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.” Acts 17:16-17 (KJB)

The apostle Paul was in a city of Greece, very familiar with many people even in 2019.  The city of Athens.  He witnessed many forms of worship.  It was all to idols.  His spirit (not the Holy Spirit though I believe that his spirit was stirred by the Holy Spirit) was stirred or provoked to not just sit there.

Many times we as Christians just accept the way things are rather than confront the issue of idolatry.  Someone might say, “There is no idolatry in our day”.  Maybe we ought to think again there.  There are many who adore, follow, even worship science.  Others do the same for the technological advances that have been made in the past few years.  There are others who are absorbed by Money and finance.  There are also those who relish the thought and idea of a Global government.  Then, there are also those who worship the idea of there not being any god at all, and just trust in themselves and human ingenuity.  Now, have you rethought your position on being no idolatry?

We Christians should be grieved by idolatry; especially if we are guilty of it.  Also when we see it in our land, and culture; and we should not be silent about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I for one do not like to argue.  I am not real good at debating issues.  I can proclaim that Christ Jesus came into the world to die on the cross for the sins of the world, He was buried, and He rose again.  As they say, That is a hill I can die one; and I will if that is what it takes.  In the mean time let us live the gospel before an idolatrous and evil and dark world.

 

Those Christians

“Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.  Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.  For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”  Acts 11:22-26  (KJB)

The word of the Lord, the gospel of Jesus Christ was spreading, growing, lives of Jews and Gentiles alike were being changed by the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16).  Some changes were not good for the one’s preaching the gospel; because sometimes hearts grow hard against the gospel, and their lives are darkened with their minds and souls.

When the word of God and the gospel is preached there is always a response.  Some will just say “No! Not now”,  Some will give positive acceptance to Christ with a “Yes! I believe”; then there are those who are angered by it and set out to destroy the messenger.  You will also have the passives who will do nothing with what they hear.

Barnabas was sent to go as far as Antioch.  He saw the grace of God and was glad; that is that the grace of God was working wherever he went on the way.  He must have arrived in Antioch and realized there was so much work to do that he needed help; so he went to find Saul to come and help.

Saul joined with Barnabas and they taught much of the people there.  Some where in the ministry of these two men of God the name “Christian” came to be what they called a follower of Jesus Christ.  Whether it was a derogatory term or just a name that seemed to fit is probably not even needed to know.  The name “Christian” has stuck, and it is a good name. It simply means “Follower of Christ”.

Yes I am a follower of Christ.  I want to pattern my life, my actions, my words, my heart, and my soul to His way.  I am one of those Christians who believes that when you meet Jesus your life is changed.  I am one of those Christians whose whole life is affected by the Spirit of Christ in me.  I still commit sin, but I am ashamed of my sin, repent and He forgives me.

The Christian life is one to live inside the church house, the family house, on the city square, the traffic jammed highways and freeways, grocery check out lines, theme park lines, the voting booth, and as a politician too.

May God give me; may God give us all the strength and boldness to be like Jesus Christ.  Yes, I am one of Those Christians.

For That Intent

“And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.  And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; ‘Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.” Acts 9:19-22  (KJB)

Saul, who is later called Paul, had came to Damascus with the intent of turning Christ followers away from the faith, and to Judaism; or taking them back to Jerusalem, for trial, imprisonment, or death.  In his mind and heart he was doing service to God in doing so.

Someone else had other intentions, and His plan was what came about.  The Pharisee of Pharisees, met the Lord Jesus resurrected, on the road to his destination of murderous intent.  I would say the man Saul was knocked out of his saddle by the appearance of Jesus Christ and His glory.

Saul’s intent was to kill.  God’s intent was to save a man.

God’s intent for you today is that you know the Christ.  Jesus Christ the Son of God died for you, for all who will call on His name; He was buried, and He rose from the grave.  Because He lives it is His intent to save all who will come to Him.

They Would Not Quit

“Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, ‘Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.’  And when they heard, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.” Acts 5:17-21 (KJB)

Thinking of our Christian brothers and sisters in nations where the gospel of Jesus Christ is not received in a spirit of freedom.  I salute you, and thank you for not quitting.  I also ask you to pray for us here in the United States of America; for though we are free; having the freedom of speech, and freedom of religion there are many who are trying to push the gospel out of the public, and have the word of God stay behind closed doors of our churches.

In the text above we see those who hated Jesus Christ, and had a hand in His crucifixion and death now hating His disciples, locking them in prison, trying to silence the power of God in Jerusalem.

The angel of the Lord freed them without even opening the jail doors (verses 22-26).  The angel also sent them to the temple to teach, and they went and taught.  They would not quit.  They would not be silent.

Neither can the Christian of 2019 be silent of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  People are perishing.  There are people dying in their sins.  Christian of Africa continue to stand and preach the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Christian of India, continue to preach the gospel.  Christian of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey continue to preach the word of God.

Christian of the United States of America be faithful to preach the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

They Would Not Quit.  Neither should you or I.

Believe the Testimony

“And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace unto you.’ Then saith He to Thomas, ‘Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.  Jesus saith unto him, ‘Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.’
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.”  John 20:26-31  (KJB)

Thomas had said, “Except I see the print of the nails in His hands, and put my fingers into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side I will not believe” (v. 25). Now Jesus appears in the midst of the disciples, and it appears that Thomas does not avail himself of that opportunity.

It does not say it in the text, but I can almost see Thomas as he said, “My Lord and my God”, bowing on his face before Jesus.  I say that because I am pretty certain that when I see the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ that will be my response.

Jesus gives a rebuke to Thomas, saying to him, “…Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.”

Who are these folks who have not seen yet believed?

It is all those who have believed since that day following the ascension of Jesus up to the Father.  It is you.  It is me.  We have not yet seen the resurrected Jesus, but we have Believed the Testimony of the disciples/apostles, and that is because of those who were generations before us who also believed the testimony.

The testimony of Scripture.  The testimony of the Gospels.  The testimony of the apostles, and all who followed them.  Have you heard them and believed?

Shall I Crucify Your King?

“And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’  But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.'” John 19:14-15  (KJB)

In this scene Jesus is being tried for accused sins and transgressions; not actual charges, but false charges brought about by those who hated God, His word, and His Son.

Jesus is the King of the Jews.  It was those who should have known the Scripture best which denied Him, were jealous of His successes, His power, and His followers.  One of the chief priest even said that “One must die for our nation” (John 11:49-51).

Here stood the Man, the God-Man whose character, power, miracles, grace, mercy, holiness, and justness was clearly displayed by His life.  He lived solely to do the business of His Father (Luke 2:49), from the early age of 12 years.  He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, cleansed lepers, raised the dead.  Hey, He defied the elements by walking on water, speaking to storms and they ceased.  He cast out demons.

How could these religious “Leaders” be so blind?  Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?”.  Their sad, and hateful words say it all about their dark hearts… “We have no king but Caesar?”

When citizens of a nation which is enslaved by another nation chooses the king of the occupying nation over their own king; especially like these do they are denying God.  These Jewish leaders should have been looking for the coming of their Messiah; maybe they were, but were not expecting this Jesus; this suffering Servant of God; willing to die for the sins of the world.

For the Christian of 2019 are you aware of; are you alert to the words of your King?  Jesus is your King.  He has called us unto Himself, turning from sin to His righteousness, to live in holiness.  Are we saying the same thing those religious leaders of His day said when we choose to go our own way, do our own thing?  Are we not saying, “I have no king but Caesar/myself?”

When Jesus Said, ‘I Am’

“Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth, and said unto them,
‘Whom seek ye?’
They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus saith unto them,
‘I am’
And Judas also, which betrayed Him, stood with them.  As soon then as He had said unto them, ‘I am’, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
Then asked He them again,
‘Whom seek ye?’
And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’  Jesus answered,
‘I have told you that I am…’ John 18:4-8a (KJB)

There are some reading this who may take exception when I have left out the italics words of “He” in the text.  I believe that to be the truer reading of the text.  Jesus simply said, “I am”.

There are many who want to argue and debate the Deity of Jesus Christ.  For my part there is no argument.  Many times the Pharisees took His words to mean that He was claiming deity,  and they accused Him of blasphemy; and if He were not Deity, then the charge would not be without merit.

I just want to point your attention to a few thoughts in this text:

  1.  When Jesus asked these men “Whom do you seek?” He was thinking of His disciples; which is evident by the rest of verse 8 through verse 9 of this chapter; Jesus getting their clear words as to whom they are after;
  2.  When Jesus answered their question there is clear evidence of His power and authority; these men, evidently even Judas went backward and fell down to the ground;
  3.  There are other “I am” statements in the gospel of John; “I am the Light of the world”(John 8:12), “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35, 48), “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11), “I am the Door” (John 10:9); for a few.
  4.  You can argue and debate all you like, but Jesus identified Himself as the One who appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-18), and if Jesus was not this God incarnate, then He lied, and cannot be trusted for anything.

As I prepare this I see quite clearly that Jesus could have stopped these men; He could have stopped the whole Roman army, and all the rulers of Rome from carrying out the crucifixion; but He would not.  He must fulfill the Father’s will for the redemption of Adam kind. He is the Son of God, and He is God the Son.

He chose to die for our sins that we might live.  Hear Him.  Believe Him.  Trust Him.

The Glory of the Father and the Son

“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” John 17:4-5  (KJB)

Glorify the Lord. Now that is a grand statement, and it is one that describes how our lives are to be. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” How can we who are born sinners, then, glorify the Lord? Of ourselves we cannot.

Now that is a bold statement coming from a man who some would say, and are saying that He is not deity. No mere man could make such a claim, but Jesus does in His prayer to the Father. How could He make such a claim were He not equal with the Father? He could not. It would be the height of pride and arrogance for anyone else to say such a thing. It would be next door to blasphemy.

To glorify the Lord would be to be obedient to Him in all things, and fulfill every thing that God has for you and me to do. There would be no disobedience. There would be no mistakes. There would be a life completely “Sold out” to doing the Father’s business. Jesus has lived a life of complete obedience to all the Father had for Him to do, and all the way to Calvary; the cross of sacrifice.

The desire of every Christian is to live for the glory of the Lord. The only way of doing that is to live the life of Christ in you, the hope of glory. We do that by realizing that it was by the sacrifice of the life of Jesus that God has reconciled us to Himself, and given us means to glorify Him in Jesus.

Notice the faith and confidence in Jesus’s praying. He is eternal with the Father. He possessed glory before the world, or the universe ever was. His glory is His greatness, His power, His strength, His song, His priority. His Father’s glory. Where I have fallen short; where you have fallen short of His glory; Jesus is the Father’s glory.

Jesus is praying for His own glory. It seems quite clear. This is His High Priest prayer, and He has come to accomplish His Father’s glory by the sacrifice of Himself for all the world. The task He came to do required that He lay His creation glory aside, take on the flesh of man, and die. How can God die? He cannot. Becoming flesh He could become sin, paying the price of sin, being put to death – the penalty for sin – and then rise again victoriously over death.

The glory is seen by His resurrection from the grave. The Father restores His glory in the resurrection, and He is alive for all the world to see. Did the Father answer His prayer; this prayer? Most assuredly He did; and is every day.

Jesus is alive and in His glory.

The Works He Does

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do.”
John 14:12-14  (KJB)

In this scene Jesus is preparing His disciples for life without His bodily presence.  He is soon to depart from this earth by way of death, burial, and bodily resurrection; then to ascend up bodily unto the Father in their very presence (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-11).  Did you notice that in Acts where the angels said, “He will come again in like manner”?

I want to deal with that verse where it sounds as though you can ask for anything you want, and God is supposed to give it.  It is not.  The works Jesus did before His death. The miracles, and even more importantly the fearlessness in preaching the word, calling sinners to repentance and faith in God through the Son. His life was given for all who would believe in Him to be saved and live forever in the presence of the God of all creation.

Ask what you will according to His name, and God will give it.  That is ask what He would ask for.  Most of the time what Jesus asked for was to glorify the Father.  Is that a hint or what?

It is almost surely a sign of immaturity, or unbelief if one thinks that they can ask for cars, homes, lands, health, etc., and think that God is obligated to give them.  Remember this:  God is obligated to no one or no thing.

Ask for salvation.  Ask for God’s will in your life.  Ask for souls to be saved.  Ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Ask that the word of God go forth in power; and much more.  Cars, houses, lands, even health?  What is that compared to eternity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

I ask God today to save the soul that is nearest Hell.  Could that be you?

Doing His Father’s Will

“Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.
After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded. Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, ‘Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?’ Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.’
Peter saith unto him, ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered him,
‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.’
Simon Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.’ Jesus saith to him,
‘He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.’
For He knew who should betray Him; therefore said he,
‘Ye are not all clean.’” John 13:3-11 (KJB)

This event seems to clearly be the meal of the Passover.  It has not yet been eaten for it is mentioned again with the “dipping of the sop” in verse 26.

The lesson to be learned seems to be the important matter, and that is the will of the Father is being done by the  Son.  He is displaying a servant heart, as He prepares for what lies a few short hours away.  His trial and crucifixion is looming ever near.

In this lesson He is teaching His disciples to serve one another, and to love one another as is said in verses 34-35.  A new commandment is given; thus fulfilling the old.

The One who is sinless, perfect, without spot or blemish serving the imperfect, sinful, men who follow Him.  O, how we need to love as He loves.  He is not blind to their sins.  His eyes are wide open.  Yet, He loves them; as He loves you and me.

The Perfect serving the imperfect.  Now, there is an act of doing the Father’s will.

Hearing and Doing

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, ‘If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31-32 (KJB)

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47

Verses 31 and 32 were spoken to seems to have believed in Him, but they could not see themselves as being in bondage; even while they as a people were enslaved to the Roman empire.

The words of verse 47 seems to show that they were not hearing God’s word to the point that Jesus was teaching. To “Continue” in His word is to live, to abide in it; making it every bit a part of one’s life.  Many of these leaders of religion could quote the whole law, but did not rest in neither trust their God and only Savior.

They were in fact still bound by the law which condemns them, and shows them their is only one hope.  That hope is found by means of a single sacrifice for sin.

That single sacrifice for sin was given when Jesus went to the cross and died for the sins of the world.

Do you want to be free, truly free?  Then, the only way is through the death, burial, and resurrection of the God-Man Christ Jesus.  He forever lives.  This is God’s grace.  Grace is not free.  It was paid for with the life of God’s own Son.

Now, what are you going to do with that information?

Life

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.  For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
  John 5:24-29  (KJB)

Life began with God. Life continues into eternity by Him and with Him.  I believe everyone has a desire to live forever. That, is a God-given thing for all of Adam kind.  Some seek life and living through science, and medical means.  We all fight against sickness and diseases of all kinds for life.  Eventually our fight with these things must give way to death.  Sad, but true.

We are frail, failing, fallen beings in need of grace, and help from our Creator.

I have Good News for you today.  You can live forever.

Did you read the words of Jesus above?  If you hear His words, and believe on Him that sent Him you have everlasting, or eternal life; there is no condemnation to any who have believed Him (Romans 8:1), and they have passed from death to LIFE.

There is much to take in those six verses of Scripture.  Life is what Jesus offers.  Eternal life is what He gives to any and all who will hear His word and believe.

My question for you right now is; Which resurrection will you be in?  The first one or the last one.  The first is the resurrection of the Just – those who have been declared just by God because of His Son.  The second is the resurrection of the unjust, the wicked who have rejected God and His grace.

See Revelation 20:5-6 and 20:12-15.

Through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Son of Man, and God the Son there is LIFE for all who will hear.

The Testimony of One Who Comes to Jesus

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him,
‘Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!’
Nathanael saith unto Him, ‘Whence knowest thou me?’ Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.’
Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, ‘Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel.’  Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.’
And He saith unto him,
‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’” John 1:47-51  (KJB)

Many often do not get it.  How anyone could see Jesus for who He really is.  He is no longer dead on a cross.  He is no longer in the grave.  He is alive.  He is, in fact, more alive than He was when Nathanael said, “You are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.”

Now, why did Nathanael make such a statement.  It was because of what Jesus said.  It was not the first statement, “Behold and Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” No! It was not that at all.  No mere man could have just seen him under the fig tree.  It is most likely that they were some distance away, and Jesus knew the heart of Nathanael.  This was a gift given to Nathanael by God.

This was in essence the revelation given by God to Nathanael to know the Son of God, and thus God the Son.

Peter’s confession of Matthew 16, when Jesus asked them, “Who do you say that I am?”, and Jesus’s answer to Peter’s confession “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” is eye opening indeed…

“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 16:17

The testimony of one who comes to Jesus is that He is the Christ the Son of God sent down from glory, so that the lost might be saved from the bondage of sin.  Since He is the Son of God it is also enlightening by the Spirit of God to know and understand that He is God the Son.  Nathanael saw that.  Peter saw that.  Do you see that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God; and God the Living Son? If He is not God the Son, then He is not Christ; neither is He Savior.

The Green Tree, and the Dry

“And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him.  But Jesus turning unto them said,
‘Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.  For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.’ Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us;’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?’” Luke 23:27-31  (KJB)

This event and Jesus’s words are only spoken here in Luke’s account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He has spoken similar words in teaching the disciples in Matthew 24 – 25, and in portions of Mark, and John; but not directly as a warning for those who are following behind Him as He goes to His death.

These “Daughters of Jerusalem” are not of those who love Him, and have spent time with Him for verse 49 of this same chapter says,

“And all His acquaintance, and the women that followed Him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.” v. 49

These were women of the city of Jerusalem who had heard of His mighty works, His authority in God’s words, and His deeds; but had never committed to Him. Jesus warns them of a time coming in the not distant future for them that would cause them to cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, because the judgment was so severe.

If you would read the prophet Isaiah, and chapter 2 you would see some of these same words from the word of God spoken by the prophet.

Just to explain the “green tree” and the “dry”….  Jesus is the green tree and they were killing Him, He is alive.  The dry was Israel or Jerusalem; a worse time was coming for them.

Why are these words important for the Christian of 2019?  Do they have any importance for the unbelieving of 2019?

To answer the first question for the Christian it should be a wakeup call for us to be diligent in living for Christ, reading the Scriptures [Holy Bible], applying its teachings to our lives,  praying for daily filling of the Spirit of God, and being a vibrant witness for Jesus to  a lost and dying world.  Remember the words of Jesus,

“…Lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.” Luke 21:28

To answer the second, it is important for your life, your eternal soul that you heed the words of Jesus.  Those women of Jerusalem had heard of Jesus, maybe even recognized Him as a good man, great teacher and prophet, but were experiencing great emotion about His death; but yet did not believe Him.  Maybe one reading this feels badly concerning the illegal, manufactured, lying judgments brought against Jesus, and the sentence given this guiltless Man; yet, you have not called on His name for salvation.  Will you do so today?

Jesus went on to the cross, laid Himself down on it, and died for our sins.  He was taken down from the cross dead, and was buried in a borrowed tomb.  Three days later He came out of that grave alive.  You can trust Him.  Believe Him.  Receive Him.

The Teaching of Jesus

“And He taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy Him, and could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.” Luke 19:47-48 (KJB)

During the final week of the life of Jesus as the God-Man walking among men He spent His days teaching in the temple, going out at night to the Mount of Olives to rest and pray (Luke 21:37).

In reading Luke 19 – 21 today I noticed many things about His teaching.  He taught some new parables of the kingdom, some warning the religious rulers of their impending loss of the kingdom.

He also took note of the generous heart of a widow who gave more than all, because she gave all she had.  People listened.  They were attentive; you might even say they hung onto every word He said.

No man taught like this Man; neither do any of 2019 in any part of the world; though some probably think they do.

I tend to believe that those who were seeking to destroy Him were jealous of His power of conviction, passion for God and His word, and love for the people.

Do you love the teachings of Jesus?  There might be some who will say, “But how can I hear the teachings of Jesus?”  There is only one answer to that question.  Pick up the Scriptures called the Holy Bible, and start reading, then you will hear the teachings  of Jesus.  If you are new to reading the Bible, then begin with the Gospels – Matthew through John.  You will be drawn to Him if you have a sincere heart to know Him.

Jesus came to die for you and me.  He died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  Hear Him, believe Him, trust Him.

Two Went to Pray

“And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’
”  Luke 18:9-14  (KJB)

Two men are mentioned who went to pray.  That is not to say that it could be members of the feminine sex as well, because there are those two kinds of women as well.

One full of themselves; and the other repentant and humble, realizing they are in need of God’s bountiful grace and mercy.

The Pharisee knew the law, and exalted himself in his own purity, and talk about judging others unjustly; this Pharisee certainly did.  He saw himself as better than the publican.  The Pharisee being a “great” religious leader.

The publican (not Republican), was a despised, and hated tax collector.  He gathered taxes from his own people (the Hebrews), and many counted them as traitors to Israel.  Matthew was a tax collector when Jesus called him to follow, and he left his table and followed Jesus (Matthew 9:9; 10:3).

It is the heart that our Lord sees. Repentance, humility, before the throne of God is what He desires.

God does not hear neither grant request from an arrogant and prideful heart.  It was the hated, despised tax collector who went home justified by God.

The apostle Paul writing on the matter of Justification said,,,

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

It is by God’s own declaration of justification that we are made just; not our own.  Who then are made just?  Those who come before the cross of Jesus Christ, lost, lonely, sinful, broken, and ashamed, and plead for His mercy, love, and grace.

The Enemy Murmurs

And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.  Luke 15:2

Commentary from Matthew Henry…

The offence which the scribes and Pharisees took at this. They murmured, and turned it to the reproach of our Lord Jesus: This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them, Luk_15:2. 1. They were angry that publicans and heathens had the means of grace allowed them, were called to repent, and encouraged to hope for pardon upon repentance; for they looked upon their case as desperate, and thought that none but Jews had the privilege of repenting and being pardoned, though the prophets preached repentance to the nations, and Daniel particularly to Nebuchadnezzar. 2. They thought it a disparagement to Christ, and inconsistent with the dignity of his character, to make himself familiar with such sort of people, to admit them into his company and to eat with them. They could not, for shame, condemn him for preaching to them, though that was the thing they were most enraged at; and therefore they reproached him for eating with them, which was more expressly contrary to the tradition of the elders. Censure will fall, not only upon the most innocent and the most excellent persons, but upon the most innocent and most excellent actions, and we must not think it strange.

III. Christ’s justifying himself in it, by showing that the worse these people were, to whom he preached, the more glory would redound to God, and the more joy there would be in heaven, if by his preaching they were brought to repentance. It would be a more pleasing sight in heaven to see Gentiles brought to the worship of the true God than to see Jews go on in it, and to see publicans and sinners live an orderly sort of life than to see scribes and Pharisees go on in living such a life. This he here illustrates by two parables, the explication of both of which is the same.

When We Build

“And there went great multitudes with Him: and He turned, and said unto them,  ‘If any 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.  And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’  Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.  So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.’
” Luke 14:25-33  (KJB)

I will give you John Gill’s exposition of verse 28…

For which of you intending to build a tower,…. Taking up a profession of Christ and his Gospel, is like building a tower; which, as a tower, must be laid on a good foundation; not on carnal descent and parentage; nor on a sober and religious education; nor on a civil, moral life and conversation; nor on a bare knowledge of Gospel truths and a flash of affection for them, and the people of God; but upon Christ the sure foundation; and on principles of grace formed by his Spirit, in their hearts: and this, like a tower, is carried very high; not by professing high things, but by living on high amidst a profession; by having the affections set on things above; and by looking down with contempt on things below; and by looking to, and pressing after, the prize of the high calling of God in Christ: the profession of some persons is very low; it arises from low principles, and proceeds on low views, aims, and ends; but where it is right, and well founded, it is like a tower, firm and steady, and is a fortress and bulwark against apostacy. Now what person acting deliberately in such a case as this, and proceeding with intention and design,

sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? as every wise man would, who has any thoughts of building a tower, or any other edifice: and so such that have an intention to take up a profession of religion, should sit down and well consider of it; which does not imply, that persons should delay making a profession, on whom it is incumbent; but that this should be done with thoughtfulness, care, and prudence: it should be considered on what foundation a man is going to build: whether the work of grace is truly wrought upon his soul; what be the nature and use of Gospel ordinances; with what views he takes up a profession, and submits to ordinances; what the church and minister are, he intends to walk with; and what the charge and cost of a profession; for such a work is chargeable and costly, and should be thought of and considered, whether he is able to bear it: for he will be called to self-denial; and must expect to suffer the loss of the favour of carnal relations and friends; and to be exposed to the scorn and rage of the world; a cross must be took up and bore; and great grace and strength are requisite to all this.

The Old Fox

“The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, ‘Get Thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill Thee.  And He said unto them,

‘Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third I shall be perfected.’” Luke 13:31-32  (KJB)

It seems to me from the history which Jesus has had with these Pharisees, that they are only, themselves doing the real tempter’s work (that is the devil’s); trying to get Jesus out of Jerusalem before He was to die, and run from the work He came to do.

Jesus’s response was to respond without evil intent but to really assure His tempter’s help that He was aware of Herod’s  and of their feeble attempts.

Jesus was going to continue His work of healing and ministry right on up to the time of His death on the cross.  He would continue to heal, to cast out demons; and when He died on the third day He would be  perfected – He would rise from the grave in His glory.

That is the response every man and woman of God should do.  Let us continue being faithful to God’s will and glory until our  time of death, then He will raise us up with perfect bodies.

Come to  Jesus.  He died for you.  He carried away the guilt and condemnation of your sin in His burial. He arose from the grave conquering death and the grave, and He will raise you up alive too.

Loins Girded, Lights Burning

“Let your loins be girded about, and lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.”  Luke 12:35-36

In the era when our Lord walked the earth as  God in the flesh the people wore robes, and garments which covered their legs.  If they needed to run that would encumber them to a certain extent, or great extent.  What they needed to do to run in haste was to raise the garment up and gird it about their waist to free their legs for a much more free movement.  It was pulled up around their loins.

lights in that day needed tended each day, and to make sure oil was in the lamps so things could be seen by night.

The application for the follower of Jesus Christ today is that as we go we need to be always ready to give an answer for the hope which is in us.  Ready to run.  Ready and always letting the light of Jesus in  us be shining.

The Authority of the Kingdom of God

“But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.  But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.” Luke 10:10-12 (KJB)

“And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast out? Therefore shall they be your judges.  But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” Luke 11:19-20

Leaving with you today the words of Matthew Henry from the commentary named for his work…

““Say to them, not with rage, or scorn, or resentment, but with compassion to their poor perishing souls, and a holy dread of the ruin which they are bringing upon themselves, Even the dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you, Luk_10:11. From them do not receive any kindnesses at all, be not beholden to them. It cost that prophet of the Lord dear who accepted a meal’s meat with a prophet in Bethel, 1Ki_13:21, 1Ki_13:22. Tell them that you will not carry with you the dust of their city; let them take it to themselves, for dust they are.” It shall be a witness for Christ’s messengers that they had been there according to their Master’s order; tender and refusal were a discharge of their trust. But it shall be a witness against the recusants that they would not give Christ’s messengers any entertainment, no, not so much as water to wash their feet with, but they were forced to wipe off the dust. “But tell them plainly, and bid them be sure of it, The kingdom of God is come nigh to you. Here is a fair offer made you; if you have not the benefit of it, it is your own fault. The gospel is brought to your doors; if you shut your doors against it, your blood is upon your own head. Now that the kingdom of God is come nigh to you, if you will not come up to it, and come into it, your sin will be inexcusable, and your condemnation intolerable.”” MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY on Luke 10:11

“That, in opposing the conviction of this miracle, they were enemies to themselves, stood in their own light, and put a bar in their own door, for they thrust from them the kingdom of God (Luk_11:20): “If I with the finger of God cast out devils, as you may assure yourselves I do, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you, the kingdom of the Messiah offers itself and all its advantages to you, and, if you receive it not, it is at your peril.” In Matthew it is by the Spirit of God, here by the finger of God; the Spirit is the arm of the Lord, Isa_53:1. His greatest and most mighty works were wrought by his Spirit; but, if the Spirit in this work is said to be the finger of the Lord, it perhaps may intimate how easily Christ did and could conquer Satan, even with the finger of God, the exerting of the divine power in a less and lower degree than in many other instances. He needed not make bare his everlasting arm; that roaring lion, when he pleases, is crushed, like a moth, with a touch of a finger. Perhaps here is an allusion to the acknowledgment of Pharaoh’s magicians, when they were run aground (Exo_8:19): This is the finger of God. “Now if the kingdom of God be herein come to you, and you be found by those cavils and blasphemies fighting against it, it will come upon you as a victorious force which you cannot stand before.”” MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY on Luke 11:20