The Greatest of These

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.
Charity suffers long, is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Charity never fails: but whether prophecies, they shall fail; whether tongues, they shall cease; whether knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  And now abides faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these, charity.”  1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (KJB)

References : John 3:16; 15:13; Luke 10:30-37; Matthew 7:22; Luke 17:6; 1 Corinthians 8:2; 10:24; Romans 15:1; 2 Timothy 2:24

I Will Have Mercy On Whom I Will Have Mercy

“What shall we say then? Unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  For He saith to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’  So then not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.  For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, ‘Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.’ Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will, and whom He will He hardeneth.
Thou wilt say then unto me, ‘Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?’ Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed, ‘Why hast thou made me thus?’ Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? If God, willing to shew wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”  Romans 9:14-24  (KJB)

Reference: Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 92:15; 2 Chronicles 20:6; 2 Timothy 2:20; Colossians 1:27

Grace in Dispute

“And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, ‘Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.'” Acts 15:6-11  (KJB)

The Word Was God

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

Why is there such a concerted effort by some to disavow the truth of Scripture that Jesus is God incarnate, God in the flesh?  It is stated clearly in the first fourteen verses of John chapter one.

Jesus Christ is the word that became flesh, and dwelt among us.

One reason I think that certain organizations of religion try to argue against His deity; or to be more clear on it; co-equal with the Father, is that they have a doctrine of their own to protect.  That is why they constantly are changing their own translation of the Bible, and the verses which clearly testify of Christ true identity, and relationship to the Father, to read in a way that makes Jesus deity, but not co-equal with Him.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Son of Man, who is God the Son.  Scripture, untwisted by man, constantly unveils the truth that Jesus Christ is indeed Deity alongside, equal with the Father [YHWH].

What Fishermen and Fishers of Men Need to Know

Now, just for your information, I am no fishermen.  In other words, I am not an expert on the topic of fishing, with a net or a line.  I am seeing this in my reading of Scripture for today. Which was Luke 3 – 5.

In the first three verses of chapter five we see Jesus being crowded by people, and wanting to hear more of His teaching.  He borrows Peter’s boat, is rowed off the shore a bit, and teaches them.  Peter and the others had been fishing all night, and had caught nothing.  The place in the text is called the Sea of Gennesarat; also called the Sea of Tiberius (John 6:1; 21:1), and the Sea of Galilee. It is a large, inland freshwater lake.

Let us hear our text for today…

“Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.’ And Simon answering said unto Him, ‘Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net.’ And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’ For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, ‘Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.’
And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Him.”  Luke 5:4-11  (KJB)

What do Fishermen and Fishers of Men need to know? Simply this.  We must have our net (or line) in the water; and we must hear the words of the Master; and we must know that it is the Master who gives the catch.

Do You Think That I Cannot Now Pray?

“Then said Jesus unto him, ‘Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?’” Matthew 26:52-54  (KJB)

These words of Jesus were spoken following the betrayal by Judas Iscariot, and Peter had taken his sword to defend his Lord Jesus Christ.  Peter was eager to defend him in the heat of the moment.

Do we hear Jesus’s words “Do you think that I cannot now pray…?”  Do we get it?  My thought is, “Why call for the angels?  Just speak a word and they all would fall away.”  But that would not fulfill the Scriptures either.

He was going to be crucified because that is why He came.  He came to be the Lamb without spot or blemish; to be the sin offering for the sins of the world.  In Jesus Christ, His life, His death, His burial, and His bodily resurrection He fulfilled the demands of the Law; the Scriptures; and the will of His Father.

He could have called 12 legions of angels… but He did not.  He loves you and me so much He gave.

As You Are Praying

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
 Matthew 7:7-12  (KJB)

As you are asking, seeking, and knocking in prayer remember to also pray for your neighbors, your friends, your family, and yes, your enemies too; just as you are asking, seeking, and knocking good things for yourself.  Do the same for others.

Now I share the commentary of the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse 12…

Therefore — to say all in one word.

all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them — the same thing and in the same way.

for this is the law and the prophets — “This is the substance of all relative duty; all Scripture in a nutshell.” Incomparable summary! How well called “the royal law!” (Jas_2:8; compare Rom_13:9). It is true that similar maxims are found floating in the writings of the cultivated Greeks and Romans, and naturally enough in the Rabbinical writings. But so expressed as it is here – in immediate connection with, and as the sum of such duties as has been just enjoined, and such principles as had been before taught – it is to be found nowhere else. And the best commentary upon this fact is, that never till our Lord came down thus to teach did men effectually and widely exemplify it in their practice. The precise sense of the maxim is best referred to common sense. It is not, of course, what – in our wayward, capricious, gasping moods – we should wish that men would do to us, that we are to hold ourselves bound to do to them; but only what – in the exercise of an impartial judgment, and putting ourselves in their place – we consider it reasonable that they should do to us, that we are to do to them.” From JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY

Only doable by giving oneself to the crucified, buried, and risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

When You Hear the Father

“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.” John 6:45-47

When you hear the Father; that is Jehovah [YHWH]; then you will know Jesus the Christ.  If or when you know Jesus you will hear and know the Father.

The Greatest

“Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by Him, and said unto them, ‘Whosoever shall receive this child in My name receives Me: and whosoever shall receive Me receives Him that sent Me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.’” Luke 9:46-48 (KJB)

Within the world in which we live there are many who seek to be seen, and known as “The Greatest”.  This notion even fell upon the disciples of Jesus; and in many cases; it still does.  Jesus was dealing with this in the above verses.

When I was a child there was a man in the sports world who liked to see himself as the greatest; he was the one who used the poetic phrase, “Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee”. He is no longer the greatest, neither was he ever the greatest.  He met death as well; and just as every human being will.

Who is the greatest? Jesus answers that question above.  Whoever receives a child in His name receives Him, and whoever receives Him receives Him (God the Father) who sent Him.  The least among us is the same who shall be great.

Let us think on that one for awhile, believe it, receive it, and do it.

Be Not Afraid, Only Believe

“While He yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, ‘Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?’ As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Be not afraid, only believe.’ And He suffered no man to follow Him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. And He cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when He was come in, He saith unto them, ‘Why make ye this ado, and weep? The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.’ And they laughed Him to scorn. But when He had put them all out, He taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with Him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And He took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, ‘Talitha cumi;’ which is, being interpreted, ‘Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.’ And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. And He charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.”  Mark 5:35-43  (KJB)

In the previous verses of this chapter they include the woman with an issue of blood for twelve years, and she had no healing from the physicians who had taken all she had financially.  The child of only twelve, was dead, by the testimony of these who had came to find their ruler, and those present at the home of Jairus who had been waiting.

A woman, a child. One an adult; the other a child.  Both are affected by sin.  There is no living individual who does not have sin affecting their lives.  Adults die.  Children die.  Death is the wages of sin (Romans 6:23).

The adult can willingly reach out to Jesus and be healed.  The child cannot; at least this daughter could not;  she is dead.

Folks, we who are Christians were all dead in the trespasses of sin (Ephesians 2:1), and Jesus called us by name, and gave us new life in Him.  Like the little girl.  Jesus raises us to life.

What About the Place, the City, the Country Where I Live?

“Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not:
‘Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.’
”  Matthew 11:20-24  (KJB)

I have read this passage of Scripture, the words of Jesus here many times, and never has it caused me to ask the above question of today.  The work and presence of the Spirit of God has been at work in this land for centuries now.  Our country is not, neither has it ever been a land of perfection.  No man or woman is perfect.  We are all evil at heart.

We have witnessed the power of God in our Nation (United States of America), our States (my State of Missouri and the forty nine others), and in my home town of Jenkins.  I have seen the work of God in my own family and my life.  What about the place I live?

Will you ask that question with me?  Have you rejected power of God?  Have you rejected the work He has don in the place where you live?  There are places; cities and countries which will be and are condemned because they have rejected the work of Christ Jesus.

Let us not hear the “Woes” of Jesus upon our townships, towns, cities, States and countries.

May God forgive our sloth, slack, and attitudes of rejection of His power and works among us.

Use Your Words Wisely

“The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.” Proverbs 18:4
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” 18:21

Using Words Carefully – Proverbs 18:1-24

Verses 1-4 –  These verses carry over from verses 27 and 28 of chapter 17.  There is much in the Proverbs of speech, the tongue and words.  We are taught to choose and handle words carefully; and not deceitfully.  The fool is one who cares only for his own words; is in the process to thought while another is talking; and only to have something further to say.
On a first look verse 1 could seem to have a positive intent; however with the word “intermeddleth” it means that the individual contends with wisdom.
Verses two and three then show the intent of the heart of verse one.  On verse 4 see Proverbs 20:5

Verses 5 – 9 –  Speaking good of evil, and evil of good to overthrow the righteous is not good.  Backbiting,  and slander is the heart of the destruction of the fool’s mouth.
A lazy individual is akin to the great waster (v. 9).

Verses 10 – 11 –  Many a wealthy individual has all their hopes in their wealth, investments, and possessions.  An island of safety in the midst of words of warning and hope (v. 10).

Verses 12 – 21 –  You can see that the words of the foolish individual is more important to him/her than listening to others in verses 13, 17.  Verses 16 speaks of giving gifts – not bribes to buy off judges, law enforcement, etc.  Probably could be likened to a gift someone might bring to the King’s birth.
In verse 18 there seems to be some wisdom in “casting lots” for the ceasing of contentions.
There is reward or destruction in our use of words.  They can be the difference in life and/or death; destruction or building up.

Verses 22 -24 –  See Proverbs 12:4; 19:14.  Marriage is good if it be found in the way of God.  For a marriage to be good the man and a woman must choose and use words carefully.  Good communication is a key.
In verse 23 we have a contrast between the poor and the rich.  The poor is humble before others when asking something from them.  The rich have no need of anything so they speak roughly to others.  Again whether one is rich or poor really makes no difference when it comes to our choosing and use of words.
In verse 24 we have a sentence which is familiar, “And there is a friend who sticketh closer than a brother”.   Before that we learn that if one is to have friends, then, we must be a friend.
Friends choose and use words carefully.  The choosing and using words carefully has nothing to do with “Political Correctness”; but using words to build up.  A lot of times hard/truth words need to be used to bring out good quality in another.

A Merry Life

Having a Merry Heart – Proverbs 17:21-28

21  He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.
25  A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.
28  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding

Verses 21, 25, 28 –  To beget a fool seems to be a doing of the father in the context of this verse.  The NKJV refers to this son as a “Scoffer”; the Hebrew “kes-eel’

From (Strongs’ Concordance) H3688; properly fat, that is, (figuratively) stupid or silly: – fool (-ish).”  No joy for the father of the fool.

22  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
24  Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
27  He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

Verses 22, 24, 27 –  There are three things mentioned in these verses (20-22) which are devastating to a “Merry heart”: 1) A crooked and deceitful life;  2) A foolish son; and 3) Discouragement.

Having a “Merry heart” requires that one have these: 1) A sound and guiltless heart and mind;  2) Children growing and walking in the grace of God; and 3) Encouragement by the Spirit, the Word and others.

23  A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
26  Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.

Verses 23, 26 –  These two verses speak of perversions of justice.  Bribery is a culprit of an evil giver and an evil judge.  It blinds what could have been righteous judgment.  Bribes take place in many forms.

One could be a friendship with strings attached.  Another could be a job which requires lying on forms of acquisition or payroll.  Still another could be… ______________________  I will let you fill in the blank.

It is a grave and evil thing when evil judges and evil people call evil good.  It is evil when good people are punished for what evil people have done.  On this think of the only good man who ever lived.  His name is Jesus.  He went to the cross, suffering at the hands of evil men; and in His death He took the penalty for sin, bearing the wrath of God the Father, and was buried; then three days later arose from a borrowed grave justifying forever all who will believe.

A Mother Bear and Her Cubs

Reproof, Rebellion, and Mother Bears – Proverbs 17:10-13

“A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool. An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.
Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.”

Proverbs 17:10-13

Verse 10 –  “Reproof” means “Blame or censure for a fault” (MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY).  Good criticism is of benefit to those who have wisdom and understanding.
A man or woman is foolish who will not heed criticism; nor the sting of a good lashing.

Verse 11 –  Let us define evil.  “Evil”, again from the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER dictionary, “1. Wicked, 2. causing or threatening distress or harm: Pernicious”    In our text it would mean displeasing – Displeasing to God.  Contrary to the heart and will of God.
The heart of sin does seek rebellion against God.  The Wise writer says that this “wicked person will be met by the cruel messenger” probably sent by the king.

Verse 12 –  One of the most tragic events that I have heard of happening is a hiker and his spouse getting caught between a mother bear and her cubs.  In saving her life [the life of his spouse], the mother bear took his.  It is a dangerous thing.
The writer of Proverbs saw it as better to be met by a mother bear separated from her cubs as to be caught in company with a foolish individual.

Verse 13 –  (Psalm 35:12;  109:4-5; Proverbs 20:22;  Matthew 5:39).  King David rewarded evil to Uriah after the good and faithful service he had provided in the king’s military forces.  David paid dearly for that grave evil.
We can also see from David’s evil act what happened to his house after his death.  It could be that Solomon has these matters in his mind as he penned these words to the scroll.

Words of the Prophets – Moses and Jude

Lineages of Cain and Seth

“And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.

And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.
And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold” Genesis 4:16-24 (KJV).

“This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos: And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died. And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan: And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died. And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel: And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died. And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared: And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died. And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.
And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:” Genesis 5:1-23

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” Jude 1:14-15 (New Testament)

“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech: And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed. And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died. And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth” Genesis 5:24-32 (KJV).

Take Hold; Draw Out

Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.
Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. Psalm 35:1-3 (KJB)

The thought that David is giving (concerning the “shield and buckler” v. 2) is that the LORD is his protection and strength against all his enemies; his accusers.  The LORD is our protection against the onslaught of the enemy, and our accusers.

There is none who can accuse quite as strongly, maybe even honestly as the devil, that old serpent, Satan himself.  John the revelator calls him the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10).  So when you are attacked, accused, ridiculed, or viciously beaten and bruised; yet, still living; God is your strength and your shield.

Let me make something plain from our text.  God, the LORD has no need of physical weapons such as a sword, a shield, or a buckler.  They are, however, great examples of God’s means for our protection and safe keeping.

When Stephen was stoned to death in the book of Acts chapter 7 verses 54 through 60 we find Jesus standing to welcome him to his new home with Him.  The Lord stands with us in our time of suffering and pain.  He is with you today.

If you have not trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior do that today.  He is your help, your shield, your strength. He is all those and more for all who trust in Him.

Words of the Prophets – Jeremiah (4)

The World By His Wisdom

Jeremiah 10 –

“Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:  Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.  For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.  They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.  They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.  Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; Thou art great, and Thy name is great in might.  Who would not fear Thee, O King of nations? For to Thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto Thee.  But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.  Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men.  But the LORD is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting king: at His wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide His indignation.  Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.  He hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion.  When He uttereth His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; He maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of His treasures.  Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.  They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.  The portion of Jacob is not like them: for He is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of His inheritance: The LORD of hosts is His name.

Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress.  For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find it so.  Woe is me for my hurt! My wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it.  My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.  For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.  Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.  O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.  O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in Thine anger, lest Thou bring me to nothing.  Pour out Thy fury upon the heathen that know Thee not, and upon the families that call not on Thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.”  Jeremiah 10:1-25 (KJB)

More on the Mouth

The Mouth of the Wise and Righteous – Proverbs 10:1-32

At least 13 times in chapter ten there is reference to “mouth”, “lips”, or “tongue”.  Verses 6, 11, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 31, and 32 with a couple of  verses having two references.

There is power in our use of words with our tongues, lips, our mouth; hear what God says about the power of the tongue; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21).

From Warren W. Wiersbe –

Wise and righteous are key words in this chapter, and they go together, for the wise practice righteousness and the righteous grow in wisdom.
The wise bring joy and not grief to their parents (v. 1). They will take advantage of God-given opportunities (v. 5) and will obey orders (v. 8). Wise people gather knowledge (v. 14) and share it with others (vv. 13, 21, 31). They also know when to be quiet (v. 19). They do not jest about sin (v. 23) but are serious about obeying the Lord.
The righteous have God’s protection and provision (vv. 2–3, 24–25), and He blesses them in life (v. 6) and after death (v. 7). Their words give life (vv. 11, 20–21, 31–32), and their works prosper (v. 16). Their future is secure (v. 30) and joyful (v. 28).
If you are wise and righteous, those traits will be revealed by your words (vv. 6, 11, 14, 20–21, 31–32) as well as by your works.

Of verse 6 Matthew Henry Commentary says,

“Verse 6
Here is, 1. The head of the just crowned with blessings, with the blessings both of God and man. Variety of blessings, abundance of blessings, shall descend from above, and visibly abide on the head of good men, real blessings; they shall not only be spoken well of, but done well to. Blessings shall be on their head as a coronet to adorn and dignify them and as a helmet to protect and secure them. 2. The mouth of the wicked covered with violence. Their mouths shall be stopped with shame for the violence which they have done; they shall not have a word to say in excuse for themselves (Job 5:16); their breath shall be stopped with the violence that shall be done to them, when their violent dealings shall return on their heads, shall be returned to their teeth.”

The Believer’s Bible Commentary –

10:11  The mouth of a righteous person is a well of life flowing with words of edification, comfort, and counsel. The mouth of the wicked is silenced by his violence and malice.

10:15  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Those who have money can make money. The poor man can’t get started; his poverty is his undoing. The rich can buy quality merchandise that lasts longer. The poor buy worn-out, second-hand things that keep them poor with repair bills. This is the way things are in life, but not the way they should be.

The ESV Study Bible –

Prov. 10:12–18 These verses constitute a paragraph, with both vv. 12 and 18 mentioning hatred and both using the word covers/conceals (Hb. kasah); the individual verses relate to this overall theme. At the center of the section is a statement about wealth and poverty (v. 15) that requires careful attention. Though wealth can represent strength, and poverty can lead to ruin, the verses that precede and follow v. 15 (vv. 12–14 and 16–18) reinforce the call to recognize that what people pursue and how they pursue it are more important than what they possess (see 28:6, 20). Deception conceals a hatred (10:18a) that causes contention among others (v. 12a) and ruin for the person who deals in it (vv. 14b, 16b). Seeking wisdom (vv. 13a, 14a, 17a) through obedience, by contrast, fosters a love that can make peace with others (v. 12b); such a path leads to life (vv. 16a, 17a).

Prov. 10:19–21 These three proverbs contrast the prudent and productive character of righteous speech with the revealed emptiness of what is concealed in foolish speech (see v. 18).

It would seem, in looking at most of these verses, not related to the mouth, that they are connected by slouth.

Verses 31 – 32 speak of the froward (Perversive, fraudulent) mouth.  First the froward mouth will be cut off; secondly, it is the way of the wicked.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Fear of the LORD

The Fear of the LORD – Proverbs 9:10

Within the Wisdom/Poetry Literature of Scripture the phrase “Fear of the LORD” is mentioned 18 times.  Fourteen of those are in Proverbs.  The remaining four are in Job and Psalms.
“And unto man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28 (KJV)

“The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” Psalm 19:9

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” Psalm 34:11

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.”  Psalm 111:10

Then, we will look at the verses in Proverbs,

1:7, 29;  2:5;  8:13;  9:10;  10:27; 14:26, 27;  15:16, 33;  16:6;  19:23;  22:4;  23:17

You will notice that the verse in Job 28:28 uses the word “Lord”, and it is speaking of God, but with a different name – Adonay.

When we look at the previous verses in Proverbs we read, “The fear of the LORD…”  “…is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7);  People who hate knowledge… “did not choose the fear of the LORD” (1:29).  We see also, “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” (2:5).  In chapter 8 verse 13 we read, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil…”.

In our verse today we read, “The fear of the LORD  is the beginning of wisdom…” (9:10).  In chapter 10 verse 27 the writer says, “The fear of the LORD prolongeth days…”

In the entire Bible the term “fear of the LORD” is used only thirty times, from 1 Samuel 11:7 through Acts 9:31.

Is the fear of the LORD relevant to society of our day?  Most certainly, and probably never more needed than it is today.

Where does the fear of the LORD begin?  Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom comes from the fear of the LORD.  Hearing Him, believing what He says, through His Son Jesus, and doing His Word.

Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29)  Upon receiving the grace of God you receive the fullness of God in His knowledge, understanding and wisdom.  That will be the “fear of the LORD” in you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Security

The Security of The Word – Proverbs 6:1-35

Verses 1 – 5 –  Warning or caution against being the security for anothers debt; or “co-signing” for others.  From the ESV Study notes,

“The main point of the appeal begins in v. 3: save yourself from the whim of the one in debt and plead urgently with him. The point of such pleading is made clear by the comparison to game caught in a trap: focus all your energy and seek to get out of such a situation and thus save yourself (v. 5) from ruin.”

See Proverbs 11:15; 17:18; 20:16;  22:26; and27:13

Verses 6 -11 –  Sloth or laziness is not commended by the wise.  God has created that human kind be the intelligent ones; however the wise can also learn from the creatures of God’s creation.  It should have a humbling affect on us.

If there is a tie between verses 1-5, and verses 6-11; it is in that the “ant” needs no surety from another; but is wise to save for that “rainy day”.

There is no wrong in providing a co-signature for a friend; not so wise in providing one for a stanger; and even more foolish to provide one for a slothful and lazy individual.

See Prov. 10:5;  24:33-34.

Verses 12 – 15 –  The walk of the wicked leads to destruction.  The whole body of the wicked man or woman communicates evil.  His mouth, eyes, feet, and hands [fingers].  It begins in the heart.  Jeremiah the prophet said,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  Jeremiah 17:9

Prov. 10:10;  16:27;  Psalm 35:19.  See also Matthew 6:31;  12:35.

Verses 16 – 19 –  Seven things which God hates.  These seven things are directly related to the heart of evil.

From the ESV Study notes we read of verse 16,

“This numeric literary device presents a representative rather than exhaustive list (cf. 30:15–16, 18–19, 21–31) that seeks to draw particular attention to the final item as the focus of God’s hatred. It is easy to agree that God hates the first six items; it is also easy to overlook the seventh (v. 19b), and thus the author pulls the reader up short.”

From the Matthew Henry Commentary we find,

“God hates sin; he hates every sin; he can never be reconciled to it; he hates nothing but sin. But there are some sins which he does in a special manner hate; and all those here mentioned are such as are injurious to our neighbour. It is an evidence of the good-will God bears to mankind that those sins are in a special manner provoking to him which are prejudicial to the comfort of human life and society. Therefore the men of Belial must expect their ruin to come suddenly, and without remedy, because their practices are such as the Lord hates and are an abomination to him, v. 16. Those things which God hates it is no thanks to us to hate in others, but we must hate them in ourselves.”

Verses 20 – 35 –  Make the Word of wisdom and of God familiar, that sin be not familiar.  We are told often about the preciousness of the Word of God.  It is valuable.  It is eternal.  It is to be cherished and counted a treasure.

These verses show why.  The words of wisdom from parents, received from Scripture, are eternal gifts to be received and practiced.

See these Scriptures:  Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25;  Psalm 19:7-11;  Psalm 119:9, 11, 89, and 105

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Road of Wisdom

The Road of Wisdom, and Her Blessings – Proverbs 3

Verses 1 – 12 –  In these verses we find that there are conditions for traveling the road of wisdom.

vv. 1-4; In these verses we find that we are expected to learn the “law of God”, keep His commandments; hang on to mercy and truth.  They are important enought to “write on the table of thine heart”.  The Psalmist says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”

vv. 5-6;  Trust is a complete surrender to His way.  It is like the defeated warrior submitting to the conquering king, or general, and putting your life into their hands.  Submission, Commitment, Obedience to God.
When we choose our own way, we are unruly, uncommitted, and disobedient.

vv. 7-10;  The following is excerpts from the Matthew Henry Commentary; Matthew Henry was born October 18, 1662 and died June 22, 1714.  He was born, raised, and lived and preached in England.

“We have here before us three exhortations, each of them enforced with a good reason:—I. We must live in a humble and dutiful subjection to God and his government (v. 7): “Fear the Lord, as your sovereign Lord and Master; be ruled in every thing by your religion and subject to the divine will.’’
II. We must make a good use of our estates, and that is the way to increase them, v. 9, 10. Here is,
1. A precept which makes it our duty to serve God with our estates: Honour the Lord with thy substance. It is the end of our creation and redemption to honour God, to be to him for a name and a praise; we are no other way capable of serving him than in his honour….
2. A promise, which makes it our interest to serve God with our estates. It is the way to make a little much, and much more; it is the surest and safest method of thriving: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty.
III. We must conduct ourselves aright under our afflictions, v. 11, 12. This the apostle quotes (Heb. 12:5), and calls it an exhortation which speaks unto us as unto children, with the authority and affection of a father. We are here in a world of troubles.”  MHC on Proverbs.

For the Christian, is there; or should there be a difference between spiritual and material?

vv. 11-12;  As Christians we must submit to God’s discipline; His chastening (Hebrews 12:6-8).

Verses 13 – 35 –  In these final 23 verses we will see the blessings of those who are willing to walk the “Road of Wisdom”.

vv. 13-18;  The wealth of wisdom.

“3. It is the happiness of paradise (v. 18): She is a tree of life. True grace is that to the soul which the tree of life would have been, from which our first parents were shut out for eating of the forbidden tree. It is a seed of immortality, a well of living waters, springing up to life eternal. It is an earnest of the New Jerusalem, in the midst of which is the tree of life, Rev. 22:2; 2:7. Those that feed and feast on this heavenly wisdom shall not only be cured by it of every fatal malady, but shall find an antidote against age and death; they shall eat and live for ever.”  MHC on Proverbs.

vv. 19-20;  In peace and harmony with God’s creation.

“This should make us in love with the wisdom and understanding which God gives, that the Lord by wisdom founded the earth, so that it cannot be removed, nor can ever fail of answering all the ends of its creation, to which it is admirably and unexceptionably fitted. By understanding he has likewise established the heavens and directed all the motions of them in the best manner. The heavenly bodies are vast, yet there is no flaw in them—numerous, yet no disorder in them—the motion rapid, yet no wear or tear; the depths of the sea are broken up, and thence come the waters beneath the firmament, and the clouds drop down the dews, the waters from above the firmament, and all this by the divine wisdom and knowledge; therefore happy is the man that finds wisdom, for he will thereby be thoroughly furnished for every good word and work.” MHC on Proverbs

vv. 21-26; God cares for His own.  Those who have the wisdom of God and rest in His provisions, faith, His word, His precepts, His laws; need not fear at all.  He will take care of you [us] who are in Him (1 Peter 5:7).

vv. 27–35; The Christian has positive and caring relationships with their neighbors.  The second commandment which Jesus gives, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:37-40) could come into focus here.  Who is our neighbor?  Jesus answered that question with the story of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37).

Of verse 35 Matthew Henry has written,

“4. The end of sinners will be everlasting shame, the end of saints endless honour, v. 35.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Expressing the Love of Christ

An Expression Of Love

Romans 16:1-27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Taking Away Sin

Take Away Their Sins

Romans 11:25-36

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

I Do Not Like the New Testament Either…

I Do Not Like the New Testament Either…

 

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

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

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

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

I Do Not Like the Old Testament…

I Do Not Like the Old Testament, Especially Leviticus

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

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

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

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

I wrote this in 2013 while I was studying Leviticus.

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

Glory

GLORY: Our Destination
Romans 8:26-30

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

We All Have a Master

RECOGNIZING YOUR MASTER

Romans 6:1-23

OUTLINE –

I. LIKENESS OF HIS DEATH; LIKENESS OF HIS RESURRECTION (vv. 1 – 10).

II. TAKING AUTHORITY OVER SIN IN OUR LIVES (vv. 11 – 13).

III. SERVING THE ONE WHOM WE OBEY (vv. 14 – 22).

IV. WAGES OF SIN; AND THE GIFT OF GOD (v. 23)

Does grace give a license to sin? That was the basic question Paul had to answer from his critics – the critics of the true gospel of grace. Does a dead person sin? Not any longer. They are free from sin, but not necessarily from sins wages.

If grace abounds ‘much more’ because of sins intensity, brought about by the law, then, does it not seem that to willfully and deliberately sin would be good? However, for one to be made alive in Christ there must be death and resurrection. This death is the putting away of sin (Col. 3:5). The resurrection is the ‘newness of life’ that only happens through faith in Jesus.

Paul has revealed to us that all people are sinners; “There is none righteous…”, “There is none who seeketh after God…”. He then tells us that the only way for us to please God is by grace through faith. By grace, God declares righteous [right with Himself], those who believe in His Son Jesus. Now, in chapter six Paul turns to the continuing work of God’s grace in those who believe. The Word is sanctification. To be sanctified is a process, a daily process, by which God works in the believer’s life to make us in ‘the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).

If a person is still controlled by sin that individual has not yet died, nor been resurrected to life by power of Jesus’s resurrection. Before resurrection there must be death. The question we must ask is, “WHO IS YOUR MASTER”?

Is there anything which you desire/crave more than anything else which is not a necessity for living and life? Are you addicted to it? If it is something that causes you to become irritable, rude, obnoxious and angry to be without, then, it is probably something that controls you. “WHO IS YOUR MASTER?”

IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS DEATH, AND THE LIKENESS OF HIS RESURRECTION (vv. 1 – 10).

“Where do my good deeds fit into the scale for salvation?” Do they fit into salvation at all? Here is what Paul has previously said, “If it is of works, it is no more by grace; God becomes indebted to us” (Paraphrased from Rom. 4:4).

By faith the believer trusts God for their salvation, and not their own works. Good works, for the glory of God are a by-product of our faith. God produces fruits in us as we root ourselves in Him.

Trusting Him completely; means that we die to ourselves, and our own believed abilities to

earn God’s favor. There must be a death to self rule in order for God to rule in peace and harmony.

“Baptized into Jesus” is speaking of becoming immersed in Him. By faith we are baptized into Jesus. The word ‘Baptized’ means to immerse – to put under. We have all probably heard the expression, “He is immersed in his work”, meaning, of course, that he is totally given to his job or enterprise. When we are ‘Baptized/Immersed into Jesus’ it means we are totally given to Him.

There is death that has taken place. A separation of the spirit and soul from the body of sin. Notice I say, “From the body of sin”, not from the body of flesh. The ‘Body of sin’ is really the old Adamic nature. It, by faith, has been crucified with Jesus Christ in His death on the cross.

The ordinance of water baptism every obedient Christian practices is a public confession, and testimony by symbol of the actual event that has already taken place in the believer’s life.

This baptism into Jesus is “Reckoning” of ourselves dead in His crucifixion, and raised with Him by His resurrection. To be “Crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20) is to put to death everything that is an abomination to God and take away its power to condemn (John 3:18); Rom. 8:1). By His resurrection we are “Raised up” to “Walk in newness of life”. It is a “New life”, not the old life warmed over. In God’s work of “Sanctification” He makes us holy. There are no left-over’s.

If we have died with Jesus we will also live with Him. If death has no more dominion over Him, it does not have dominion over those who believe. Death is an enemy, but is not to be feared by saints of God. It is inevitable that we will die, but death has no holding power. Being dead to sin we are no longer the servants/slaves of sin.

TAKING AUTHORITY OVER SIN IN OUR LIVES (vv. 11 – 13).

There is a continual struggle with sin, and we have been given the means of having victory over it. Within these three verses we have the answer to the question of why we struggle with sin, even after we have, by faith received God’s gracious gift of salvation. Within these same verses we have the answer of how we can have victory over sin.

Even before Jesus physically died on the cross He knew that His very purpose in being the incarnate Son of God was to become sin for us, receive judgment for our sin, to pour out His life’s blood for our redemption and do it to fulfill the demands of the holy law of God, and for His glory. He, while living for the glory of His Father, had already “Reckoned” Himself dead. Do you know what happened when He “Reckoned” Himself dead for the cause of His Father? He was able to fulfill all His Father’s will in His life.

The very reason people get out of the will of God is because we do not “Reckon” ourselves dead in Christ, and we are alive for ourselves.

The best life that we could live is lived through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Even after a person has received Jesus as Lord and Savior there is still sin in the world. Its temptations are strong; and often much stronger than we are – physically speaking. “Do not let sin…reign in your mortal body…” is speaking of the physical body. By the Spirit of Jesus in us we are to take control of physical appetites that cause us to sin. Some of these appetites are natural – we were created with them – but if left uncontrolled they become perverted and sinful.

One example is our strong desire to eat food, especially when we are hungry, but unless we control our appetite we will become “Gluttons”, make ourselves sick, and become overweight. We must eat to survive, but we must control the eating, and not let the eating control us. Someone has said, “Eat to live, not live to eat”. Everything must come under the reign of our own will as it has been changed by the “Newness of life” in Christ Jesus.

Notice these commands – “Reckon…yourselves…dead”, “Do not let sin reign your mortal body”. These are two directives given to aid us in living in victory over sin. There is a third one, “…Yield yourselves unto God…”. If we continue to desire to do our own thing we have not yet yielded to God’s will. We are still in rebellion against Him.

The very reason sin continues to reign in many professing Christians is because of this very thing. Jesus is not Lord. He is merely a “Life insurance policy”, or “Fire insurance policy”, only to call on in a time of great need and emergency. Like a spare tire. GOD IN A BOX.

Once again we can ask the question, “Who is your master?”

SERVING THE ONE WHOM WE OBEY (vv. 14 – 22).

The law condemns us. It offers us nothing in the way of escaping the wrath of God. It clearly shows us we are sinners unable to please God. As long as anyone is dependent upon the works of the law for the favor of God, they are under the dominion of the law, and are condemned.

Since, by faith, the believer is under grace and not the law we are no longer under the laws condemnation. Under grace we no longer desire to rebel against God. We desire to grow closer to Him, and become more like Jesus in our commitments, and living. As was previously stated, we are dead to sin (v. 11). Why would anyone who has experienced God’s grace, and newness of life in Jesus, desire to continue in sin?

You will, however, give yourself to whomever is your master. If your master is sin, then, you are a slave to sin and death is the continuing and end result. When Jesus is your Master, and in His righteousness, there is continuing growth in Him, and at the end of your physical life eternal life continues with Him.

At one time everyone who is a Christian – born again – was a servant/slave to sin. When the Spirit of God called we heard and obeyed, “That form of doctrine”, which is the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, being made free from sin we are the servants of righteousness. We can only be servants of righteousness as we yield to the One who is the embodiment of Righteousness, and that is Jesus.

The fruit of being a slave of sin is death and shame. “Being made free from sin”, the fruit is holiness. God will do whatever it takes to make us holy. Holiness is accomplished by the work of God, through sanctification. I believe that every event, every test, every trial, and every temptation of every day is a work of sanctification, and we are being made holy for God and His glory. Just as salvation is a work of God’s grace, so too is the work of sanctification a daily grace of God. “Who Is Your Master?”

WAGES OF SIN; AND THE GIFT OF GOD (v. 23).

This verse has long been one within the passages of Scriptures which are used in what has been called “THE ROMAN ROAD” for leading others to faith in Jesus.

We hear of “Wages” in every day living. If one has a job, vocation, avocation, or occupation, they know what ‘wages’ are. Wages are given for what has been earned and deserved. Humanity without God is a dying race. There is no life for we humans apart from God. Even physical life, as short as it is, is given by Him. He gives life and He takes it away.

Every one of the members of the human race is born in a condemned state – apart from God and is dying. God offers us a personal relationship with Him in order that we might glorify Him, and live. If we reject God’s free gift of grace we only get what we were born deserving – death; eternal separation from God, and Hell.

There are two absolutes given in this verse. 1) If you continue in your sin, and rebellion against God; death awaits you; 2) If you receive, by faith, Jesus Christ, believing He died and rose again for the glory of the Father, and has declared you justified and righteous by God, you have eternal life.

WHO IS YOUR MASTER?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Nation of Promise

What Of The Jew?

Romans 3:1-8

I. THE COMMITTED WORDS OF GOD (vv. 1-2).

A. Christianity owes much to the Jew.

1. Abraham – father of nations.
2. Abraham – friend of God (James 2:23).

B. The law, which came through the Jew reveals all to be sinners.
C. The precepts of God tell us what we are to do.
D. God’s Word is enduring, “Forever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89).

1. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words shall not pass away.”

E. The Word being committed to the Jew is also their condemnation if not obeyed.
F. Do they (the Jew) have any advantage?

1. Paul says, “Yes!” “Much every way…” It is basically the promises of God to Abraham and the nation.
2. God’s promises will not fail.

II. THE CONSISTENCY OF GOD’S TRUTH (vv. 3-4).

A. The Jewish teachers/leaders had a problem with the gospel of Jesus because it seemed to them, to negate God’s promises to Israel.

1. Will some people’s unbelief make God’s promises null and void?
2. Paul’s answer is “No!”

B. Man often breaks promises, whether it is intentional or unintentional
C. God is Truthful, He never lies; man on the other hand, is a noted liar.

1. God always keeps His promises.
2. We, as humankind are known for not keeping our word faithfully.

D. Since God’s Word is true, we can have confidence that He is who He says He is; we are who He says we are, and we are in need of what He says we are in need of.

III. THE COMMENDATION OF GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS.

A. The questions presented thus far, which Paul has asked, prove the righteousness of God.
B. By what Paul previously has written, he has shown that the unrighteousness of mankind shows the very righteousness of God.
C. The unrighteousness of man commends God’s righteousness.

1. If God judges unrighteousness does this make Him unrighteous when he is commended by unrighteousness?
2. Of course, the answer to this question is an unequivocal NO!
3. His judgment of unrighteousness proves Him to be righteous, and holy.
4. If God does not judge the sins of mankind, how would it be possible for Him to Judge the wicked at the last day.

D. Paul was probably being accused of teaching people to sin in order that God would be glorified.

1. There is nothing here to give us that idea.
2. Those who would teach or believe such and declare God unrighteous, because He is commended by unrighteousness, and yet judges unrighteousness is boiling in condemnation.

E. Man’s condemnation is sure, if he rejects God’s call to repentance, to Jesus Christ, and to righteousness.

IV. WHAT OF THE JEW?

A. They have disobeyed God’s Word time and time again, but yet, they too can be made right with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. One day the whole living nation will repent and follow Jesus (Romans 9 – 11).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Loving God, Loving Others

In some years back there was started this phrase, “You must love yourself before you can love others”, or something along that line of thought.  They based that on Jesus’s words, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”.

“Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 19:19

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 22:39

“And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

After a lesson the Lord gave me today I can see where that concept of  “Loving ourselves to love others” could come from; but I still have a problem just leaving it with loving ourselves.

Look at what Jesus said,  first, though not printed above, but in the Biblical context we see Jesus saying to love God, then to love our neighbor, or others, as ourselves.

After someone spieled out hateful speech in a continual, rude, even very crude manner today, I asked,  “Why do you hate yourself so much?”  As I asked the question I thought of Jesus’s words.

We must also remember the words Jesus spoke, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That is where the Lord spoke to me through the speech of this individual.

Does a person desire to be treated the way we too often treat others?  If we do it must be a sure sign of self hatred.  Remember the principles of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7).

Genuine love starts with loving God with all your hear, all your soul, all your mind, and with all your strength; then, loving God you can and will love others too, thus rewarding yourself.

Just a thought from this morning.

The Issue of Anger

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from 1 Samuel 11 – 13…

“And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.” 1 Samuel 11:6 (KJB)

The person who is never angry never truly loves.  I can just about hear some readers here saying, “Wait just one minute.” In a tone of anger probably.

Reading the text from Scripture above caused me to think about anger.  I have heard some say that anger is bad.  I certainly cannot agree with that statement because God is angry with evil everyday (Psalm 7:11); Jesus was angry at least twice at the temple – the first time early in His ministry (John 2:14) and the second time, possibly in His final week before He was crucified (Matthew 21:12).

I heard a pastor a few years ago say, “You can tell the character of a man by what makes…

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From Whence does Your Strength Come?

Shiloah Baptist Church

Read about Samson in Judges 14 – 16…

“And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, ‘O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.'”  Judges 16:28 (KJB)

The man knew from whence his strength came.  Do you?  We often give credit to our physical health, and weight lifting, and exercise. We have even been known to give all the credit to doctors and such. Samson may have thought it came from his hair.

Samson was probably a strong man physically, but he was not a “Super power”.  He had been give a gift from God, and from birth.

His parents only child.  He was promised to them by the LORD, and they took the Nazarite vow for him, which included never cutting his hair, and…

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Trust

Shiloah Baptist Church

“There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.”   Joshua 21:45  (KJB)

If there is any one thing the world needs today it is for substance, truth, integrity, and the fulfilling of words spoken.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6), then, He went to the cross and died for us.

The very last phrase of our text above says, “All came to pass”.  Every word God had spoke through Moses had come to pass, just as He had said.

We can trust what God says because He has done all that He said, or it will be done in the not too distant future.  Some of the things He has said are, at this moment, being fulfilled.

“Not a…

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The Power of GOD Over the Enemy

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.”  Psalm 27:1-2  (KJB)

The commentary today is from Charles H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David on Psalm 27:2…

This verse records a past deliverance, and is an instance of the way in which experience should be employed to reassure our faith in times of trial. Each word is instructive. “When the wicked.” It is a hopeful sign for us when the wicked hate us; if our foes were godly men it would be a sore sorrow, but as for the wicked their hatred is better than their love. “Even mine enemies and my foes.” There were many of them, they were of different sorts, but they were unanimous in mischief and hearty in hatred. “Came upon me” – advanced to the attack, leaping upon the victim like a lion upon its prey. “To eat up my flesh,” like cannibals they would make a full end of the man, tear him limb from limb, and make a feast for their malice. The enemies of our souls are not deficient in ferocity, they yield no quarter, and ought to have none in return. See in what danger David was; in the grip and grasp of numerous, powerful, and cruel enemies, and yet observe his perfect safety and their utter discomfiture! “They stumbled and fell.” God’s breath blew them off their legs. There were stones in the way which they never reckoned upon, and over these they made an ignominious tumble. This was literally true in the case of our Lord in Gethsemane, when those who came to take him went backward and fell to the ground; and herein he was a prophetic representative of all wrestling believers who, rising from their knees shall, by the power of faith, throw their foes upon their faces.

Whenever we are in the throes of the wicked, the enemy of God and all that is righteous and holy we can trust in the LORD to see us through.  God will not allow the wicked to triumph ultimately.

Ask Life, and GOD Gives It

The king shall joy in Your strength, O LORD; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. For You meet him with the blessings of goodness: You set a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of You, and You gave it him, even length of days for ever and ever. His glory is great in Your salvation: honor and majesty have You laid upon him. For You have made him most blessed for ever: You have made him exceeding glad with Your countenance.”  Psalm 21:1-6 (KJV)

King David was speaking of much more than what he had requested.  He was speaking of the future King of Israel, King of the world who would receive all that He requested because He had died to redeem His bride unto Himself.

On that word “Selah” I want you to remember that I look at that word and pause, think about what was just read, what it says, and reflect on it.  Now thinking on that second verse for a bit: did David get all those things?  Did he get all that his heart desired?  I really do doubt it.  He was joyous in knowing the LORD and resting in Him.  It would seem to me that it is directly related to the coming King, the Messiah of Israel, and Savior of the world.

He asked life and was raised from the dead.  He asked for long life, and will live eternally, even for ever and ever.  He is glorified in the salvation GOD has provided through His death, burial, and resurrection.

This Psalm is a song of David thanking and praising the LORD for His answer to his prayers; that they are exceedingly abundant over what he could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

Ask Life, and GOD Gives It.  He gives life through faith in His Son Jesus.  Will you ask?

GOD Knows the Foolish Heart

The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that does good, no, not one.” Psalm 14:1-3 (KJV)

How often do we hear, “He is a good man”?  I have said it myself, yet I know in Scripture God tells us that we are evil (Jeremiah 17:9), and the above verses.  The very fact that God sent His sinless Son to die on a cruel old wooden cross for our sins is evidence enough that we need a Savior, and we are told that Jesus Christ is the only one available to us.

I have written a couple of days ago of the “Children of Men” and we can see in the world that there is evil in the hearts and lives of Adamkind. We have what some see as good people who have become addicted to drugs; legal, illegal, or illegally obtained pharmaceuticals.  Some have become addicted due to doctors prescriptions; some just for a kick or an high.  That in itself should say to us that we are a corrupt people, we are evil and in need of a Deliverer, a Savior, and that God has provided for us a marvelous, wonderful Redeemer, Savior, and Lord.

There are many people who profess that they believe in God.  So do the demons of Hell (James 2:19).  Believing in God is a good place to start, but you must also believe what He says.  For our salvation we must believe that He sent His Son Jesus to die for us, believe and accept His work on the cross, His burial and resurrection.

We do not understand when we refuse to seek our own way, do our own thing, believe our own belief, and refuse the wonderful gift of God’s grace in His Son Jesus.  It just might be more beneficial to be an non-theist, than to believe in God, yet reject His Son.  Both the believer in God who has rejected Jesus, and the non-theist will be cast into eternal torment.

Does Adamkind do good things?  Many times good things are done by our kind.  Does it do anything to honor and glorify GOD?  Most times  they do not.  What GOD does and accomplishes in those who are His will honor and glorify His name.  His saving us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus glorifies Him.  Isaiah the prophet said, “…All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

Do not live as an unbelieving fool. Turn to Christ Jesus and live your life for Him.

 

If I Have Rewarded Evil Unto Him that Was at Peace with Me

O LORD my God, in You do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver. O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; if I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yes, I have delivered him that without cause is my enemy:) let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yes, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay my honor in the dust. Selah.”  Psalm 7:1-5 (KJV)

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ we put our complete faith and trust in Him.  It is a good thing not to be concerned about those who might persecute us due to our faith, but we ought always pray for them, and that they would come to the faith of Christ as well.

There are none who can deliver as our GOD and King who we believe, know, and receive through the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our prayer can and should be that of David as he prayed this prayer – “If I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; if I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me…”, then, we can know that we will be aware when we have behaved ourselves unseemly toward another  of Adamkind.  We ought to always love our neighbor as we love ourselves; and that is seen the the final six Commandments God gave us.

In David’s prayer he even asks for his judgment to be swift and sure concerning his evil treatment of those who were at peace with him.  I would say we ought to always be a good neighbor, no matter who that neighbor might be.  Difficult?  With some neighbors, NO!  With other neighbors, Sometimes, and maybe always.  The responsibility of being a good neighbor is mine, the Christians, not the neighbor’s.

If we mistreat someone who is peaceful toward us, then, we need not complain when we are treated likewise by someone else.  There is still, and always will be application of Paul’s words, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7).

 

Fellowship Helpers of the Truth

“Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: because that for His name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.” 3 John 1:5-8 (KJV)

John had sent out other ministers of the gospel to this Church.  Gaius had gladly received them, welcoming them into his home and caring for their needs.  This was the normal and regular practice of local churches in the early Church age.

These messengers came back with a good report of Gaius, and John acknowledges his hospitality.  Jesus said, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward” (Matthew 10:41).  The reward for receiving the messengers of God is glorious.  Receiving God’s messengers means not only hospitality but also hearing the message by taking it to heart and being obedient to God’s Word.  It also means seeing that the messengers physical, and material needs are met.

It is the church’s responsibility to care for those who are faithful at preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Whether it is a pastor who feeds and leads the local Church, equipping them for ministry, or the evangelist, the prophet, or teacher: the local Church is responsible for their material well being (1 Corinthians 9:7-18).  This writing was certainly not meant to be a defense for material support of pastors and/or preachers, but it does provide the basis for doing so.  The Scriptures do clearly state that the Church is to care for its spiritual leaders (1 Timothy 5:17-18); and it probably should not be above and beyond the average income of the people he leads.  This frees them to pray, study God’s Word, and to be faithful to minister effectively according to God’s plan.

Notice John’s declaration that they – the messengers he had sent – received no support from “The Gentiles”.  If the Church is to preach the gospel powerfully we must not solicit funds or collect them from our lost and unchurched neighbors.  Members of the Church must commit themselves to tithe their income, and above that when possible to support the work and ministries of the Church.  A study of the Old Testament reveals that the tithe went to the Levites for their support while the tabernacle and temple were maintained through special offerings (Exodus 35:4-29;  Numbers 18:24-26).

The personal care that Gaius gave was far and above a tithe of income.  He gave his heart, his home, and his service to aid the messenger of the word of God.  Gaius showed himself to be a fellow helper of the truth.  There was another man who was the opposite of Gaius.  Read the rest of the chapter.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest message the world could ever hear.  The world needs to hear that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again the third day.  Hear the love of God as Christ Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  Through our fellowship with God through Christ Jesus, we are “Fellow helpers” of the truth.

Useful

Do you ever feel like a useless person, that you have never made any difference in anyone’s life, even your own?  We all like to feel useful.  We enjoy it when we hear someone tell us “Well done” on a job we have done, a race we have run, or even as a preacher, a sermon we have preached.

In the apostle Paul’s epistles, there is a one chapter epistle he wrote as a personal letter to a man by the name of Philemon who had a runaway servant, by the name of Onesimus.  That name means “Useful”.

Onesimus ran away, and found was directed in his running away unto Paul, and the apostle gave him the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Onesimus began to live up to his name.  Hear the words of the apostle to Philemon…

“If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.” Philemon 1:17-19 (KJV)

This is an account of Paul being an intercessor for Onesimus in taking this letter to his master.  I think we must give Onesimus much credit here.  Philemon could have pronounced his death, and killed Onesimus himself, if he chose to do so. Onesimus may have stolen from Philemon before he ran away.  That does seem implied by Paul’s statement, “If he has wronged you, or owes you…”.  So Onesimus’ journey was probably filled with some dread, but also relief.

Paul is stepping in like a savior, and willing to take the brunt of the punishment.  He is resting too, in the truth that Philemon is a follower of Jesus Christ as well.

What can we learn from Philemon, Paul, and Onesimus?

  1.  Philemon has the opportunity to forgive and not only receive back a servant but a brother and servant of Jesus Christ; all he must do is forgive;
  2.  Paul shows us what it is to intervene on the behalf of someone else, even if it cost us something;
  3.  Onesimus teaches us what it means to have a changed life through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Do you want to live a “Useful” life?  You become useful when you give your life to Christ through faith in Him and His finished work on Calvary’s cross.  Useful was useless, until he came to Jesus Christ.  Then, his name meant something.

Salvation with Fear and Trembling

O how we need to get this straight.  Salvation by grace continues to work in us following our regeneration or justification in Christ and God.  How the churches today need regenerated people sitting in the pews, in our places of employment, our recreation,  working out their salvation with fear and trembling.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world…” Philippians 2:12-15 (KJV)

It is God in us who does the work of grace.  It is God in us by His grace that enables us to do the work that brings honor and glory to His name and it is His grace that brings us on to the final glory of Jesus Christ in us.  It is the grace of God through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that causes us, enabling us to do those works, and gives us the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-8).

Paul the apostle makes it clear in these verses that “…It is God which worketh in you to will and to do of His good pleasure.”  That we are to do those works as blameless and harmless sons of God, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation – culture and world we live in – shining as lights in a dark world.

Let us remember it is God who works in us.  Let us work it out with fear and trembling, that others see Him in us.

Loving the Father and the Son

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you. He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. Judas saith unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings: and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me. John 14:18-24 (KJV)

Loving God the Father means loving God the Son who is Jesus the Christ who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again.  The resurrection is evidence of the truth Jesus spoke while walking among men on earth.  May I say too, that there is absolutely no evidence that Jesus ever came as a man to any other part of the earth, except to Jerusalem, the land of Palestine.

We who are the redeemed of the Lord; redeemed through His sacrifice; have His commandments and we will keep them because we love Him.  Because of the gift of the life of Jesus we love the Father and the Son.

Love God.  Love one another.  Do those sound familiar?  That is two of them.  How are we doing?