Power

We, of Adam’s race are impressed by power and authority. We even crave it for ourselves. We often do not understand that genuine power requires great responsibility, and we see too many times in governments, and presidents, kings, and such that become despots and dictators.

When Jesus stood before Pilate, the governor, asked Jesus,

“Then saith Pilate unto Him, ‘Speakest Thou not unto me? Knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee, and have power to release Thee?’ ” John 19:10 (KJB)

He supposed that he was powerful enough to prevent Jesus from the crucifixion.  Just where do the ruling authorities get the power, the authority which they have? According to the words of one of the wisest kings,

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.” Proverbs 21:1

So Pilate needed to realize that he needed to not be prideful, and arrogant about his position of authority, but to submit to the will of the Almighty God.

Jesus Christ as the God-Man had submitted Himself to the Father’s will, His word, and His way all the way to dying on the cross for the sins of the world.

Jesus 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

Jesus knew what was taking place was the plan for the redemption of the race of Adam, and was submitted to it. He was the One who could have called twelve legions of angels and stopped it (Matthew 26:53), and a legion of Roman soldiers was about 6 thousand men. He could have stopped it. He did not because of His great love for you and me.

Now, that is Power and authority with responsibility.

Messiah and His Words

To let the readers of Broken Pieces know… I have been doing mostly a reading and study of the gospels for the year of 2019. I read through and studied Matthew through John January through March, then I read and studied them again April through June, then the Acts through Jude; following that I  read the Prophets Isaiah through Malachi.

For the month of December I am reading and doing a study in the gospels once again, but dealing mostly with the gospel of Luke from December 1 – 24. Here is what I did.  I would read chapter 1 and 2 in Matthew on December 1, and chapter 1 of the gospel of Luke.

Now we are a day past Christmas, and my posts will be on the gospel of John, so I share with you all today the following…

“Then said some of them of Jerusalem, ‘Is not this He, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, He speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?’ ” John 7:25-26 (KJB)
He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47

The question was being asked by some of the people, “Do the rulers know indeed that this Jesus is the very Messiah?” I wonder that as well.  Did they know? Were they just fearful of the change He would or could bring if He was indeed the Christ  – the Messiah?

I pray everyone reading this today realizes that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, and the only Savior and Lord God of the world, and of all the created order.

If they knew they were stubbornly being stiffnecked, hard headed people indeed.  That was much like those who refused to hear the words of Moses and the Prophets of old.

Jesus makes it clear in John 8:47 that those who hear – meaning those who hear the word and take His words into their hearts and minds, doing them they are of God. Those who do not hear and do them (James 1:22) these are not of God; they are in fact enemies of God and have no hope.

Where do you fit in this word of the Messiah?

God of The Living

“Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him.” Luke 20:37-38 (KJB)

When He was asked by the Sadducees about a spurious thought, that was only being used to try and trap Him, the Master of life and death gave them that answer.

The Sadducees were a group who did not believe in anything spiritual – no angels, no spirits, no resurrection of the dead. Someone said, “That is why they are sad you see”.

Jesus uses the quotation from Exodus 3:6…

” ‘…Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” Exodus 3:6

Jesus confirms that there is a resurrection; that when this body of flesh and blood dies and lies in the grave, returns to the dust from which it came, that there is life after death. He clearly states that “God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”, and that would include all the other saints who are with Him.

There are many people who do not believe in the resurrection. They are part of the same group of Sadducees, and desperately in need of a change of heart and mind. Hear the voice of the Master today.

You can believe Him, and live forever. You can reject Him and die forever. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again. He is one day returning to separate the believing from the unbelieving.  Where do you fit in?

God is the God of the living.

That They Might Accuse

“And as He said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge vehemently, and to provoke Him to speak of many things: laying wait for Him, and seeking to catch something out of His mouth, that they might accuse Him.” Luke 11:53-54 (KJB)

The things Jesus had said about the Sadducees, Pharisees, and the lawyers was what they needed to hear. Did they like it? Not hardly. They became angry, even bitter, and were seeking how they might trap Jesus in His words.

Jesus had denounced them with “woes”, and telling them of their judgment coming. They had opportunity to repent and to see who Jesus really was; but that would upset their way of rule, take power away from them over the people.

Political maneuvering, and posturing to get what they wanted.  It has been going on for centuries. It does not matter where or when. It goes on.  It was going on over the life of Jesus Christ; and these men, though they were not politicians, they had influence in the lives of political leaders.

They with an urgency urged Jesus, with vehement, hot, and flashy words trying to provoke words with which they could hang Him.

When we see this and we now know the outcome of it we know that all that happened was under the sovereign hand of the Almighty. What was about to happen within a short time was for the redemption of Adam’s race.

Jesus, the Son of God, became the Son of Man, that the sons of men, might become the sons of God. Jesus the God-Man; fully God, and fully man. God the Son. Jesus knew what He was doing. Every word He spoke; every word He speaks is true, righteous, and holy.

You can trust Him. You can put your life in His hands. Call on the name of Jesus “For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). No politician can stop it. No political action, neither anything else can stop the power of the cross of Jesus Christ.

He Touched Me

“And He put forth His hand, and touched him, saying, ‘I will: be thou clean.’ And immediately the leprosy departed from him.” Luke 5:13 (KJB)

When I was a much younger man there was a song by that title; “He Touched Me”.  It is still sung in some churches  and musical circles. I wonder if we give much thought to what Jesus actually did though, in touching, yes touching those whom the law, and society of the time called “Unclean”.

Speaking of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son; Matthew’s gospel tells us this,

“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, ‘Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.’ ” Matthew 8:17

And that is a quote from the prophet Isaiah,

 “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5

Now I hope you can see a little clearer what Jesus did for all of us who will repent of our sins, and call out to Him in faith believing Him.

Paul the apostle said in 2 Corinthians,

“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

He touched me; the unclean; and made me wholly clean. Has He touched you?

GOD IN THREE PERSONS

“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22 (KJB)

The belief in one God is standard among those who believe in God among Christians, Jews, and Muslims; and there could be others. We begin to part in our beliefs when we as Christians believe that God is revealed in Scriptures as three in One God.

I am not going to try and explain it. It is only fully understood by God Himself, but the answer is the Scripture clearly shows us in the text above, the presence of the Triune Godhead (Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9), at work on the day of our Lord’s baptism.

Jesus the Son of God, God the Son coming up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descending, the voice of the Father speaking, “Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased.”

You can believe what the Bible says, or you can choose not to believe, but there it is.

The words of the blessed old Hymn came to my mind as I thought of these Scripture verses this morning. The following are verses 1 and 4 of Holy, Holy, Holy:

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy; Merciful and Mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, Holy, Holy; Merciful and Mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

 

…To All People

“And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people…” Luke 2:10 (KJB)

I find it somewhat odd that the scholars, the priest, the religionist of the day in Jerusalem missed the obvious signs. The signs that the Messiah was on the way. I will not get into what those signs were. Others saw them from further away.

The shepherds in the field were not the first. They are the first mentioned in our text, but in the totality of the text of the gospel it includes the wise men from the east (Matthew 2:1-12). The wise men would have began most likely weeks before when they saw the “star”, and they traveled together and found the new born King, not in a manger, but a house.

In the birth of Jesus the LORD of Creation is declaring that His Son’s birth is a gift to all who will come to Him and believe in the gift of His grace. The grace that will be displayed by His death on the cross, His burial not only proving He died, but that He also carried all our sin, condemnation, guilt, and shame away, and then He arose leaving all of that behind and He eternally lives.  Because He lives all from every nation, every tongue, and every tribe of people who believe in Him have eternal life.

“Fear not” the angel said. The great good tidings to all the earth. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37 (KJB)

That is nothing that is inconsistent with His character, or Person. There is nothing too hard for God to accomplish.

The prophet Jeremiah stated that “…there is nothing too hard for Thee…” (Jeremiah 32:17) and the the LORD Himself asks the prophet; and not for information; “…is anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27). It is just to make it clear for the reader’s observation that there is nothing too hard for the LORD. With God nothing shall be impossible.

When a priest named Zechariah entered the temple too old to have children and with a wife too old to have children and is told he will have son who will be the herald who will usher in the Messiah “Nothing shall be impossible with God”.  When Zechariah does not believe and he is told he will be mute until his son is born “Nothing shall be impossible with God”.

When the virgin Mary is told she will have a son without a man, then “Nothing shall be impossible with God”.

When God sets out to save the Nation of Israel “Nothing shall be impossible with God”.  When God sets out to save the Gentile world “Nothing shall be impossible with God”.

When God set out to save you, “Nothing shall be impossible with God”.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Overcoming Evil

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,’ saith the Lord.
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:19-21 (KJB)

Overcoming of evil is not expected of evil.  It is expected of those who have been overcome by the One who has conquered the evil one who is Satan. He was defeated by Jesus Christ on the cross.

Our battle is not against flesh and blood. It is not against our neighbor across the street or across the creek, or on the other side of the fence. Our battle is against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). We are to love one another as believers in Christ.

We are to also show love to those who would mean us harm. Give them food and water. Give them wood for their fire. Overcome evil with good.

If you think this is difficult then just think of what Jesus Christ did for us. The sinless, guiltless, Son of God went to the cross to die for the sin laden, guilty, dirty, filthy, stinking sins of the sinners that you and me are. He really was overcoming evil with good.

Vengeance is God’s. Leave it with Him. Also see Deuteronomy 32:35 and Hebrews 10:30.

Irrevocable

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Romans 11:29 (KJB)

In chapters 9 – 11 of Romans the apostle Paul has spoken of his nation of people from which he was born, the Hebrews. They have been a people whose eyes have been blinded to the truth of who Jesus is. Even the great apostle was blinded to that truth until the Lord Jesus Himself put him face down on the ground on his way to Damascus to bring back Christians for trial and death (Acts 9).

Now, there are many who tell us that God is finished with the Jewish people. Reading this verse alone (11:29) should be ample evidence that God does not go back on His promises. If not read the whole of chapter 11.  If that does not suit your appetite then read chapters nine through eleven thoroughly.  If you are still not satisfied read the Old Testament through.

The Promises of God to Israel are irrevocable. They will not be recalled; because God does not recall His promises.

God will finish His work with Israel when He has taken the Church to her reward (“…the fulness of the Gentiles be come in”).

The Christian should be able to rejoice in the fact of this irrevocable promise of God. Knowing this gives us the assurance that what He has began in us He is able to complete as well (Philippians 1:6).

The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is an irrevocable promise of God, that whosoever believes on Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life.

The Promised Son

“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, ‘In Isaac shall thy seed be called.’
That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.” Romans 9:6-9 (KJB)

Abraham had a son by Hagar, Ishmael (Genesis 16); but he was not God’s promised son. The promise was that Sarah would have a son. Many people do not realize it but Abraham had many other sons too through another wife by the name of Keturah (Genesis 25:1-6); so just because you may be born of the stock of Abraham does not make you a child of God.

You become a child of God through the Son of Promise. Isaac was a child born of faith to a man 100 years of age, and a woman of 90 years of age. God promised them a son. They had a son in God’s time; not theirs.

The Son of Promise through which one becomes a child of God is the Son of God Himself who born into this world as any other child, yet not just any other child – He is the Son of God. He came for one purpose, and that purpose was to glorify His Father; and He would do that by giving Himself as the perfect Lamb of God on a cross to die for the sins of the world.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God the Son died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again fulfilling all the Father’s will for His life.  He is the Son of Promise. He is the way for anyone to become a child of God; by grace through faith call on His name.  His name is Jesus.

But God…

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (KJB)

There are several “But God” statements throughout the New Testament, and the apostle Paul was quite good at using them.

“But God…” even while we were still His enemies sent His Son to die for us. How unhuman that is; how so much GOD it is.

Jesus said,

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

“But God” in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ, went to the cross and died even for those who condemned Him to die; He died for those who falsely accused Him; for those who beat Him so cruelly; for those who drove the nails in His hands and feet; for the one who thrust the spear into His side. Some of them believed, and were redeemed.

How much greater love is that.

“But God” while we were yet sinners poured out His wrath in its fullness upon His only begotten Son, who had became our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), and gives to all who will believe His holiness, His righteousness, and declares us Just.

“But God…” has clearly demonstrated His hatred for our sin; and His love for us by way of the cross of Jesus Christ. He died, was buried, and was raised to life. He is the only way, the only truth, and the only life; the only way to the Father.

To Whom It Shall Be Imputed

“Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Romans 4:23-25 (KJB)

For our understanding of the word impute –

“IMPU’TED, pp. Charged to the account of; attributed; ascribed.” WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN ENGLISH (1828)

Abraham believed God, and it was accounted (or imputed) to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3). The salvation of Adam’s race has never been any different than it is today.

For the people of the Old Testament period of time imputation of righteousness was on credit waiting for the coming of the Messiah to die for the sins of the people, having all our sins imputed onto Him; while on those who will believe He imputes His righteousness.

For those who believe today it is a debt that has already been paid.  All our sins and trespasses were laid on Him, He died for our sins, was buried, and as the Scripture above says, “…was raised again for our justification”.

Being declared “Just” and “Righteous” by God is His work of grace; and that comes only by way of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Justification By Faith and The Law

“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31 (KJB)

Since people are justified by faith without the law does that void the law? Paul says, “NO!” The law was given to show mankind his condemnation; to cause him to fall on his knees before our righteous and holy God in repentance, calling on Him by faith.

In the work of Jesus Christ on the cross the demands of the law were fulfilled, thus, by faith it is possible for a sinner to be made righteous before God; not on his own merit, but on the merit of Jesus Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection.

In Christ the holiness and righteousness of God toward sin is intact. His love for His enemies is shown. All who believe Him are declared righteous. That is an amazing salvation.

Actually the law is firmly established. All God desired is accomplished. Sinners; by God’s declaration; become saints.

When a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ the desire of their heart is to be with Him; to be like Him; to serve Him whenever and however possible. We desire to learn more about Him. We desire to be around others who love Him. We grieve over our sins and seek forgiveness quickly and diligently. We grieve over lost sinners who are condemned and pray for them, witness to them, and lead them to personal faith in Jesus. We seek to worship God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. That certainly sounds like the establishment/fulfillment of the law.

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

The BRANCH and The Temple

“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

‘Take of them of the captivity, of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; and speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus speaketh the LORD of Hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD: even He shall build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.  And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LORD of Hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.’ ” Zechariah 6:9-15 (KJB)

STUDY HELPS: Zechariah 3:8; 6:1-8; Exodus 29:6; 2 Samuel 12:30; Psalm 21:2; Haggai 1:1; Isaiah 22:24; 57:19; 58:10-14; Hebrews 3:1

I Will Shake the Heavens, and the Earth

“For thus saith the LORD of hosts; ‘Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the Desire of All Nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory,’ saith the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:6-7 (KJB)

There is a world wide shaking of the heavens and the earth yet to come. Ezekiel 38 and 39 tells of a world wide shaking of the earth, an event unlike anything we have seen.

That One who is called the “Desire of All Nations” is the Person of the Messiah of Israel, the One Christians and the New Testament call Jesus the Christ, Son of God, and is God the Son.

Jesus is coming soon. Be ready. Call on the name of the crucified, buried, and risen Son of God who loved so much He gave His own life for you.  He truly is the Desire of All Nations.

The Lions of Nineveh

“Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feedingplace of the young lions, where the lion, the old lion, walked, and the lion’s whelp, and none made them afraid?” Nahum 2:11 (KJB)

Nineveh was the city to which God called Jonah to go about 100 years previous to Nahum’s prophecy. God sending Jonah, though a reluctant prophet, was God in His grace and mercy reaching out to a lost and condemned people.

Nineveh was a fierce people. At the time of Jonah God numbers the city with 120 thousand souls too young to know their left from their right hand (Jonah 4:11). That would be young children, babies. Yet, the whole city from the least to the greatest of the people repented and turned to the LORD due to Jonah’s preaching (Jonah 3:5).

Now a hundred years later they have returned to their old ways, against the LORD, and against the people of GOD.

Who are these “Lions of Nineveh?”  The lion is a feared creature of the field, and the jungle. The roar of the old male is a fearful thing to hear to its prey, yet we have these “lions” in fear. Why? Because the LORD is about to show up in His wrath against the whole city. The lions are the king, the other rulers, and the young ones coming up in leadership.

The most fearful thing that people of all places, countries, cities, and provinces is that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31). It is by God’s grace we can fall into the hands of the loving Creator, God, Savior, and King Jesus Christ. He took the curse that was ours, dying on the cross, was buried, and He rose again; and He forever lives and reigns.

Call on His name, and He will deliver you from the bondage of sin and shame.

Seek Good, Not Evil

“Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” Amos 5:14-15 (KJB)

In the year of 2019 and beyond it seems that it is getting more and more difficult for some to discern the difference between “Good” and “Evil”.  Our definition of each word will depend upon our source for making that determination.

If our source is the political system, Hollywood, the News media, or any other media then we will have varied, and wide, and wild interpretations of good and evil. These forms of information are dependent upon the ideologies, and hearts and minds of sometimes not so clear thinking individuals who have only love for themselves; and not truth.

Good and evil in the best understanding must be defined by God’s Word; the Person of God’s word is the Truth and He defines what is good and what is evil.  The Person of Truth is none other than the only begotten Son of God Jesus Christ.

If God’s Word tells us that something is “Good”, then it is good.  If He tells us that something is “Evil”, then it is evil.

It is quite clear from the reading of Scripture that God is good. It has been said, “God is good” and “God is good all the time” and “All the time God is good”.  Since He is good, then everything He says and does is good.

It becomes then quite clear that since God is good He is the only One who can truly define evil, what it is, and where it comes from; so when God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desparately wicked. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then we can rest assured that God knows what He is saying, that it is the truth.  We also can safely conclude that we are in need of a Savior; since we have a deceitful and wicked heart.

Amos by the word of the LORD says to “Seek good, and not evil”.  What are you seeking today.  There is good and there is evil.  Anything contrary to God and His Word is evil.  When you put your faith and trust in the work of Jesus Christ and His finished work of His death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection; then your definition of good and evil will change to agreeing with God. Seek good, and not evil.  God is good.

What if the Will of the LORD was to Surrender

‘But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the LORD, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live.” Jeremiah 38:20 (KJB)

The word “Surrender” is not a word most people of Adam’s race wants to use. We have phrases from the past here in the USA like, “Better dead, than Red”, and most people my age and older knows the meaning of that phrase. I know, and I feel that way still today, but that is not the topic at hand.

Surrender is the giving up of yourself to someone of greater power, or value than oneself. We like our freedom and our freedoms we have here in the United States of America.  Let us think for a moment about the words of Jeremiah to the king of Judah who was Zedekiah.

Jeremiah had been locked up, thrown in a miry pit, and left to die (Jeremiah 38:1-13), and had been rescued, with the approval of the king, by an Ethiopian named Ebedmelech. The king had sent for the prophet seeking his counsel, and Jeremiah gave him the word and will of the LORD. In verses 13 – 19 the king is given the word of the LORD, the way of the LORD, and will of the LORD.  That word can be summed up in one word; that word “Surrender”.

The word from God for the Christian today is surrender your word to God’s word.  Surrender your will to God’s will.  Surrender your way to God’s way.  When we do so; even if that way seems tough, rough, rocky, slippery, and like it might be a loss of our freedom – Surrender.

Zedekiah was not being commanded to surrender to the enemy. He was being commanded to surrender to GOD.

We are not being commanded to surrender to our weaknesses, fears, failures, foolish ambition, or an enemy. The command is “Surrender to the One who has our best interest at heart and mind”.  He knows what is best. The end result for Zedekiah was not good (Read chapter 39).  He did not obey. He did not surrender.

Think of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God who became flesh, humbled Himself, surrendered to the will of His Father, even unto death; so that He might redeem unto Himself all who would be given to Him by the Father.  Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  Hear Him, and call on His name and He will give you eternal life with Him.

Building Up Yourselves On Your Most Holy Faith

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20-21 (KJB)

The most holy faith is that we receive through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  There is no faith without Him.

After warning His readers in this letter of the false teachers, the wolves coming into their church or churches; Jude, our Lord’s half brother, tells them to build themselves in the faith.

Trust the words of the apostles of our Lord.  Jude does not consider himself an apostle, and he quotes from the words of Peter’s epistles, and it is likely from the apostle Paul, as well.

Let us not fall for the lies, deceptions, and traps of the chief demon who is doomed for Hell.

Eternal Life

“I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.  And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life.” 1 John 2:21-25 (KJB)

Eternal life is only  through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Any who deny the incarnation of  Deity of Christ is a liar, and antichrist.

The Glory and Honor of Jesus Christ

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’  And this voice which came from Heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Daystar arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake, moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:16-21 (KJB)

Like His Brethren

“For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on the seed of Abraham.

Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:16-17 (KJB)

As I read these words this morning the word “behoved” asked the question, “What is the meaning of this word?”  Behooved is the modern spelling. I found this…

BEHOOVE, v.t. behoof’. To be necessary for; to be fit for; to be meet for, with respect to necessity, duty, or convenience.

And thus it behooved Christ to suffer. Luke 24.” 1828 Websters Dictionary

So we can learn from these verses above that Jesus our Savior saw it as necessary that He die for the sins of the world that He might redeem unto Himself a people. There was, and there is no other way of redemption.

When God says there is no other way; whether it involve the giving of His son, or the salvation of Adam kind; then there is no other way.

Jesus Christ died for our sins; He was buried carrying away all our sin, shame, guilt, and condemnation; then He rose victorious over the grave. Call on His name He is  the only Savior of the world.

Seven Letter to Seven Churches-Ephesus Part 2

Truth in Palmyra

Revelation 2:1-7

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;” Revelation 2:1

Friends, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and sit a spell; we are going to be in the Seven Letters to Seven churches for a bit. I keep finding as I study for this that there is far more detail and so many rabbit trails to chase, that we may never get done. So, we are going to take things really slow. We won’t be too long on any particular section, as I know most people’s blogging attention span short, and nobody really tends to read 2000 words. I know I tend not to unless I am just totally captured; since I don’t suspect I will totally capture anybody, short and…

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Seven Letters to Seven Churches-Ephesus Part 1

The info which others give is there for us to learn and use. As long as we credit where credit is due; and do not violate any copyright laws. Thanks Wally.

Truth in Palmyra

First, let me caveat all that follows if I may. I am NOT a historian, and we won’t be covering anything not readily available from hundreds of sources. All I am is a guy doing some studying, writing some notes and thoughts, and sharing those with readers. Before we dive into the letters to each church, we are just going to review some of the cultural-historical backgrounds for each. As He did in His parables, Jesus often made reference to things based on the real situation in each location that would have instantly made sense to readers, and also help really illustrate the points He was trying to make with each.

Ephesus the city figured fairly prominently in both the Roman empire at the time, as well as in the early spread of the Christian churches in Asia Minor. As we covered earlier Ephesus received more note in Scripture than…

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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.

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?

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.

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 People in Expectation

“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.’
And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.”   Luke 3:15-18  (KJB)

In the days preceding the days of the appearance of the Christ there was a longing, a strong desire and passion for the coming of Messiah.  The prophet John the Baptist was to be the last of the Old Testament prophets.

A new Man was coming on the scene.  People and things were about to change.

I do not know about you, but I can almost see and hear these words the people said, and asked.  Maybe some were direct and asked, “John, are you the Messiah?”  There was much chatter.  There were probably many questions.

The prophet John, like the prophets before him were preachers, forth tellers of the word of God.  They said what God put in their hearts and minds to say, by the power of the Spirit of God.  They spoke without fear or favor of men.  Like those prophets he spoke of another mightier than himself.

The people were in expectation.  They were looking for hope, for deliverance, for salvation from the Roman conquerors, their accusers and abusers.  That is not unlike people of 2019.

Many of us are looking again for the reappearing of our Lord and Savior. He is the One whom John preached about.  He is the One whom John said,

“…One mightier than I comes, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.”

John spoke of Jesus, the Christ.  He was about to appear.  We as Christians today are to be proclaiming the coming of our Lord.  We are to watch and pray and preach; preach Jesus.  Preach the death of Jesus on the cross to redeem us from our sins.  Preach that He was buried and carried our sins away, leaving them in the depths of the earth never to be held captive by them again; and that He rose again from death and the grave; and that He is alive.

He is coming.  He said He would (John 14:1-3).

Christ, The Son Of The Blessed

“And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, ‘Answerest Thou nothing? What is it which these witness against Thee?’  But He held His peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, and said unto Him, ‘Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’  And Jesus said,
‘I am: and ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’
Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, ‘What need we any further witnesses?  Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye?’ And they all condemned Him to be guilty of death.  And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.”  Mark 14:60-65  (KJB)

He was silent through most of the mockery of a trial.  His silence was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy…

“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7

However, when He is asked a direct question about His person, and who He is; He answers directly, knowing full well they would not hear.  Yet, He would not deny who He is.

If He would not deny His identity, His person, His God while He is being tried for crimes He is completely innocent of – He was guilty of no crime, but of being who He is.  Then, how can so many deny Him after being condemned to a cruel, slow, torturous death; having became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), to buried, then to rise again from death? How do you, O sinner, condemned soul continue to deny the Prince of Life?

I cannot keep silent about Him. I will not be silent about Him.  He is my Savior, my Lord, my King, and my God.

That It Might Be Fulfilled

“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘Tell ye the daughter of Sion, ‘Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.’
And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set Him thereon.  And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed in the way.  And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.'”  Matthew 21:4-9  (KJB)

This is without question the greatest need of Christianity today, and that is that we get back to believing the word of God.  We have too many pastors, preachers, churches, and leaders who turn a deaf ear to the Bible.

“It is antiquated” they say.  It is superstition some say, which seem to me to be more non-theist than Christian.

The verses above help us remember why Jesus came.  The scene presented of Jesus entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey is often called the “Triumphal entry”.  I would prefer to call it the “Presentation of the Suffering King of Salvation” or something along that thought.  I say that because His triumph was not complete until He rose from the grave; and even yet there is more to happen.

At any rate,we as followers of Jesus must recommit ourselves to the study, reading, and application of God’s word – the Bible – in our lives.  The Triumphal Entry will occur when we hear the trumpet sound, and the feet of Jesus touches the ground on the Mount of Olives.

Let us repent of our sins, and trust the word of God, to teach us along side His Spirit who will guide us into all truth.

Take It By Force

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12 (KJB)

I am going to let the exposition of John Gill give you an explanation of the above verse.

From John Gills Exposition of the Bible…
And from the days of John the Baptist until now,…. From the time that he began to preach, to the then present time,
the kingdom of heaven, the Gospel, and the ministry of it, first by John, then by Christ and his apostles,
suffereth violence; or “comes with force”, and power upon the souls of men: it was attended with the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; as appeared by its being the means of quickening persons that were dead in trespasses and sins; enlightening the blind; causing the deaf to hear; melting and softening hearts of stone; making, of enemies, friends to God and Christ; turning men from the power of Satan unto God; setting at liberty such as were slaves and vassals to their own corruptions; and, in a word, in being the power of God unto salvation, to many souls: and which was further seen, in the manner it did all this; suddenly, secretly, powerfully, and effectually, and yet not against the wills of men; and by such instruments as the apostles were, poor, sinful, mortal men; despised by the world, and attended with opposition and persecution: or “suffers violence”; which may be understood, either of the vast numbers, that pressed and crowded to hear the Gospel preached: great numbers followed John, when he first began to preach, and baptize: still a greater number followed Christ, some to hear his doctrine, others to see his miracles, others to behold his person, others out of selfish ends; and some behaved rudely and indecently: or of the ardour and fervency of spirit, which appeared in some, to the ministry of John and Christ, and in their desires and expectations of the kingdom of the Messiah: or of the Gospel’s suffering violence by the persecutions of its enemies opposing and contradicting it, reproaching it, intimidating the professors of it, and seeking to take away the life of Christ, the great subject of it:
and the violent take it by force; meaning either publicans, and harlots, and Gentile sinners; who might be thought to be a sort of intruders: or rather the same persons, as being powerfully wrought upon under the ministry of the Gospel; who were under violent apprehensions of wrath and vengeance, of their lost and undone state and condition by nature; were violently in love with Christ, and eagerly desirous of salvation by him, and communion with him; and had their affections set upon the things of another world: these having the Gospel preached to them, which is a declaration of God’s love to sinners, a proclamation of peace and pardon, and a publication of righteousness and life by Christ, they greedily catched at it, and embraced it.

Saved by grace, through faith, that works (Ephesians 2:8-10).