“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that has clean hands, and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek Your face, O Jacob. Selah.” Psalm 24:3-6 (KJB)
“Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.” Proverbs 24:1-2 (KJB)
“Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of deceitful lips. Let my sentence come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes behold the things that are equal. You have proved mine heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me, and shall find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Concerning the works of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Hold up my goings in Your paths, that my footsteps slip not. I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God: incline Your ear unto me, and hear my speech. Shew Your marvelous loving kindness, O You that saves by Your right hand them which put their trust in You from those that rise up against them.” Psalm 17:1-7 (KJB)
“Better a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.” Proverbs 17:1 (KJB)
“Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? The wicked in his pride does persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire, and blesses the covetous, whom the LORD abhors. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” Psalm 10:1-4 (KJB)
“The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” Proverbs 10:1 (KJB)
“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: for length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” Proverbs 3:1-2 (KJB)
“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But You, O LORD, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” Psalm 3:1-3
“I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” John 10:11 (KJB)
Today, on this topic of the Good Shepherd I will share with you the thoughts said by brighter minds than my own…
From F. B. Meyer on John 10:7-18:
“He who came in by the door which John the Baptist opened has become the door. It stands open to all comers-if any man. The salvation here mentioned refers to the entire process of soul-health: go in for fellowship; go out for service.
Wherever destruction is uppermost in speech or act, you may detect the presence of the great enemy of souls. Christ is ever constructive, saving, life-giving. Let us not be content until our life has become abundant life. Our life cost the Shepherd’s life. He did not hesitate to interpose Himself between the sheep and the wolf of hell. There is possible between our Lord and ourselves an intimacy of knowledge which can be compared to nothing less than that which subsists between the Father and Himself.
Note how our Lord looked beyond the hurdles of the Jewish fold and thought tenderly of the Gentile sheep that were far away. In the revelation committed to the Apostle Paul He gave vent to His love, and through the succeeding centuries He has ever sought them. There may be many folds, but there can be only one flock. Men die because they cannot help it; Christ was born that He might die; He died because He would.” THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY
From John Gill on John 10:11:
“I am the good shepherd,…. A shepherd of his Father’s appointing, calling, and sending, to whom the care of all his sheep, or chosen ones, was committed; who was set up as a shepherd over them by him, and was entrusted with them; and who being called, undertook to feed them; and being promised, was sent unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel; and under the character of a shepherd, died for them, and rose again, and is accountable to his Father for everyone of them; the shepherd, the great and chief shepherd, the famous one, so often spoken and prophesied of, Gen_49:24. And discharging his office aright, he is the good shepherd; as appears in his providing good pasture, and a good fold for his sheep; in protecting them from their enemies; in healing all their diseases; in restoring their souls when strayed from him; in watching over them in the night seasons, lest any hurt them; in searching for them, when they have been driven, or scattered in the dark and cloudy day; in caring for them, so that he lose none of them; and in nothing more than in what follows,
the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep: not only exposes it to danger, as David did his, for the sake of his father’s flock, but gives it away freely and voluntarily, for the sake of the sheep; in their room and stead, as a ransom for them, that they may be delivered from death, and might have eternal life: the Ethiopic version renders it, “the good shepherd gives his life for the redemption of his sheep”; so Nonnus paraphrases it, the “ransom price of his own sheep”: this belongs to Christ’s priestly office, and with the Jews priests were sometimes shepherds hence we read (q) of רועים כהנים, “shepherds that were priests”. Philo the Jew speaks (r) of God as a shepherd and king; and of his setting his word, his firstborn Son, over the holy flock, to take care of it: and a good shepherd is thus described by the (s) Jews;
“as רועה טוב, “a good shepherd”, delivers the flock from the wolf, and from the lions, (see Joh_10:12) so he that leads Israel, if he is good, delivers them from the idolatrous nations, and from judgment below and above, and leads them to the life of the world to come, or eternal life; (see Joh_10:10).”
Which description agrees with Christ, the good shepherd; and so the Lord is said to be רועה טוב, “the good shepherd”, and merciful, and there is none like him (t).” John Gill’s EXPOSITION OF THE WHOLE BIBLE
“Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him.” Luke 20:37-38 (KJB)
When He was asked by the Sadducees about a spurious thought, that was only being used to try and trap Him, the Master of life and death gave them that answer.
The Sadducees were a group who did not believe in anything spiritual – no angels, no spirits, no resurrection of the dead. Someone said, “That is why they are sad you see”.
Jesus uses the quotation from Exodus 3:6…
” ‘…Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” Exodus 3:6
Jesus confirms that there is a resurrection; that when this body of flesh and blood dies and lies in the grave, returns to the dust from which it came, that there is life after death. He clearly states that “God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”, and that would include all the other saints who are with Him.
There are many people who do not believe in the resurrection. They are part of the same group of Sadducees, and desperately in need of a change of heart and mind. Hear the voice of the Master today.
You can believe Him, and live forever. You can reject Him and die forever. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again. He is one day returning to separate the believing from the unbelieving. Where do you fit in?
God is the God of the living.
“And when Jesus saw her, He called, and said unto her, ‘Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity’. And He laid hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” Luke 13:12-13 (KJB)
As Jesus was in the synagogue on the Sabbath day is not an oddity. It is in fact a normal part of His life. He sees this woman bent with a physical, even a weakening ailment that has afflicted her for eighteen years (v. 11).
She does not cry out to Him for help or healing; rather He calls her to Himself, lays His hands on her, after He says to her “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity”.
Jesus later in His “discussion” with the hypocrites says this affliction was from Satan who has bound her for eighteen years (v. 16). So she is not only healed of a physical ailment which has kept her in pain, weak, and unable to do many things for herself; but she is now also free from the spiritual torment caused by Satan.
The Lord Jesus saw her, called her, He healed her, and loosed her from her bondage. He has done that for all who will come to Him through His death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection. He went all the way to fulfill all the Scripture concerning Himself; and to redeem unto Himself, all who would come to Him. Freeing us from our infirmities and all that binds us.
“And He came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of His disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear Him, and to be healed of their diseases; and they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him: for there went virtue out of Him, and healed all.” Luke 6:17-19 (KJB)
“…And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed” (Luke 6:17) is the verse that we look at in particular in today’s study. Why that one.
I do not believe it to be a new thing that there are troubled souls, troubled individuals in our day of 2019. There has always been vexed souls of men, women, even boys and girls. Ever since the fall of Adam in the garden of Eden there have been vexed souls and minds.
That vexing; that troubling; is from the realm of evil spirits, or demons. It all begins with a person by filling their minds with that which is self oriented, and always turning away from anything that is holy, right, and godly. In essence those demons have been virtually invited into the heart and mind of the afflicted party.
The gospels include these afflictions along with all the diseases of mankind. So I must as well. However, there is no doctor, specialist, or medicine to rid one’s self of a demon presence.
The only way to be rid of the devil/demons is to call on the name of Jesus Christ, believing that He died on the cross for your sins, was buried, that He rose again; and that evil rascal must flee.
There is peace in Jesus Christ alone. Peace with God, and peace within.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 (KJB)
I will let another speak today. the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown…
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning — “instruction”
through, etc. — “through the comfort and the patience of the Scriptures”
might have hope — that is, “Think not that because such portions of Scripture relate immediately to Christ, they are inapplicable to you; for though Christ’s sufferings, as a Savior, were exclusively His own, the motives that prompted them, the spirit in which they were endured, and the general principle involved in His whole work – self-sacrifice for the good of others – furnish our most perfect and beautiful model; and so all Scripture relating to these is for our instruction; and since the duty of forbearance, the strong with the weak, requires ‘patience,’ and this again needs ‘comfort,’ all those Scriptures which tell of patience and consolation, particularly of the patience of Christ, and of the consolation which sustained Him under it, are our appointed and appropriate nutriment, ministering to us ‘hope’ of that blessed day when these shall no more be needed.” See on Rom_4:25, Note 7. (For the same connection between “patience and hope” see on Rom_12:12, and see on 1Th_1:3).” From the JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY
“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Romans 7:12 (KJB)
There are some who speak and act as though the law of God is bad, evil and of ill intent. That is a wrong accusation coming from a sinful heart and mind.
The law is from God; thus it is holy. God gave the law to reveal our sin. The apostle Paul in the letter to the Galatians said,
“But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3:22-25
No longer under the law as a “schoolmaster” because now, redeemed through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus we have a new heart filled with the right ways, the holiness, the law of God, and power and authority to walk in it.
So, let us walk in it.
“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto My name, and a pure offering: for My name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of Hosts.” Malachi 1:11 (KJB)
“For — Since ye Jewish priests and people “despise My name” (Mal_1:6), I shall find others who will magnify it (Mat_3:9). Do not think I shall have no worshippers because I have not you; for from the east to the west My name shall be great among the Gentiles (Isa_66:19, Isa_66:20), those very peoples whom ye look down upon as abominable.
pure offering — not “the blind, the lame, and the sick,” such as ye offer (Mal_1:8). “In every place,” implies the catholicity of the Christian Church (Joh_4:21, Joh_4:23; 1Ti_2:8). The “incense” is figurative of prayers (Psa_141:2; Rev_8:3). “Sacrifice” is used metaphorically (Psa_51:17; Heb_13:10, Heb_13:15, Heb_13:16; 1Pe_2:5, 1Pe_2:12). In this sense the reference to the Lord’s Supper, maintained by many of the fathers, may be admitted; it, like prayer, is a spiritual offering, accepted through the literal offering of the “Lamb without blemish,” once for all slain.” JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY for Malachi 1:11
The only sacrifice for sin was/is the blood of a perfect, spotless lamb. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, God the Son was, and is God’s perfect, sinless, spotless Lamb that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).
The following is reposted from May 1, 2008.
“Woe unto him that saith to the wood, ‘Awake;’ to the dumb stone, ‘Arise,’ it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.
But the LORD is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:19-20 (KJB)
We have looked at the previous four promises from chapter 1:3; 2:3, 4, 14, and the final one now in 2:20. These are wonderful promises. It is especially wonderful that the final promise is one which gives us assurance that the LORD is in His temple. There is assurance in that, because, that tells us that He is still in control.
From the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE we read, “2:20 holy temple. A reference to heaven, from where the Lord rules (Ps. 11:4) and answers the prayers of those who seek Him (1 Kings 8:28-30: Ps. 73:17).” p. 1321.
It seems that there is something here very personal for the follower of Christ as well. Since the Father who is in His holy temple sent His Son, and His Son died on the cross for our sins, and He rose again; He then sent His Spirit to dwell within all those who are His. “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” Romans 8:9a (NKJV). Jesus Christ is in you who know Him and are known by Him. The LORD will not leave His temple.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV).
When all the earth comes to realize that God is the Supreme Ruler all will be silent before Him. The Psalmist wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10. In the New Testament we read,
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11 (NKJV).
The worship of idols always requires much noise, adulation, because they have nothing to offer. Thus much false fire. The God who made the heavens, the earth and all things in it and on it cries for our silence. Let Him be glorified by His own glory. On Habakkuk 2:20 the CRISWELL STUDY BIBLE states: “2:20 “But” signifies a striking contrast with the nothingness of idols. Jehovah the invisible God is occupying His holy temple, ready to intervene omnipotently for the deliverance and protection of His people and the destruction of their enemies. He inspires solemn adoration and profound silence (cf. Ps.68:5; Zeph. 1:7; Zech. 2:13)” p. 1047 KJV.
Only false gods [idols] require much hoopla, and noise. Our God, Father of Jesus is the light of His own glory. Rest in Him who is in His temple.
“So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.” Joel 3:17 (KJB)
You will need to read the verses previous to verse 17, and also the verses following, to grasp the message clearly. These are not prophetic of the Church the Body of Jesus Christ, but of Judah/Israel, and the city of Jerusalem. Read Zechariah 14.
May I have your attention? There are judgments coming on this earth to judge the sins of men and women who have turned their backs on God, His holiness, and His righteousness. He is God. There is no other.
The only place of repentance is at the cross of Jesus Christ where He bled and died for our sins; He was buried and carried away all our sins; then He rose from the dead – the grave – and He forever lives seated at the right hand of the Father.
One day He will return to this earth, and put an end to evil forever. I pray you will realize the evil of your own heart, mind, and life and repent, calling on the name of Jesus Christ for salvation. Do it today before it is too late.
All will know that the LORD is God. Many will realize it too late.
“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
‘Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty….” Ezekiel 28:11-12 (KJB)
Tyre was evidently a rocky island in the Mediterranaen sea. It was known as a place where the known world of the time traded; a place of commerce. The king of Tyre or Tyrus was arrogant, and exalted himself as God. This is an arrogance in the extreme, and definitely invites the judgment of the Lord GOD.
I pray as you read this you will read chapters 26 – 29 of the prophecy.
In God’s lamentation of the king it seems directed at the spirit of iniquity; the place from which the evil heart and mind really comes the person who was in the garden of Eden, and questioned the word of God, and caused the man Adam and his wife Eve to question the word too.
When we see evil in the world it can be traced to this vile, wicked, evil, serpent who also exalts himself over the throne of God (Read Isaiah 14). We see kings and rulers today who are trying to silence the word, the will, and the way of the Lord GOD, and kill all that profess the name of Jesus Christ who is the Son of the Lord GOD.
To you who are self exalted kings and gods; you will not succeed. You are doomed to the fires of Hell unless you repent of your sins, and turn to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. He is the One who died, was buried, and rose again. He is the King of kings, and ultimately you will bow to Him.
To you who are not kings and/or rulers of any land or nation. If you think you are the master of your own fate; the captain of your soul; you are not. This One who died on the cross (Jesus Christ), was buried, and rose again is. Submit to Him, His Lordship, and call on His name.
“And they shall know that I am the LORD, that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.” Ezekiel 6:10 (KJB)
The phrase “…Shall know that I am the LORD” is used three other times in this chapter (vv. 6, 13, 14), and it is used at least 59 other times throughout the prophecy of Ezekiel. In chapter 6 it is directed toward the nation of Israel, and they are being reminded of why they are in captivity.
God will have His people know that He is the LORD. That should be a reminder to all people of all days, times, ages, that GOD will do whatever it takes to make His people holy; because He is holy.
In many of the other 59 times the phrase is used it is toward the nations around them. The LORD desires that people of all lands know that He is the LORD.
To know that He is the LORD is to know Him personally. Know Him as our Creator, the All Powerful, All Knowing, All Present, and Immutable [Unchanging] God; also to know Him as Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and King. To know Him is to see Him revealed in the person of His Son Jesus Christ who took all of our sin upon Himself upon the cross, bled and died, was buried, and He rose from death, conquering death, hell, and the grave; and He forever lives as our Mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5).
Turn to Jesus Christ from sin, and know that the LORD, He is the LORD.
‘But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the LORD, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live.” Jeremiah 38:20 (KJB)
The word “Surrender” is not a word most people of Adam’s race wants to use. We have phrases from the past here in the USA like, “Better dead, than Red”, and most people my age and older knows the meaning of that phrase. I know, and I feel that way still today, but that is not the topic at hand.
Surrender is the giving up of yourself to someone of greater power, or value than oneself. We like our freedom and our freedoms we have here in the United States of America. Let us think for a moment about the words of Jeremiah to the king of Judah who was Zedekiah.
Jeremiah had been locked up, thrown in a miry pit, and left to die (Jeremiah 38:1-13), and had been rescued, with the approval of the king, by an Ethiopian named Ebedmelech. The king had sent for the prophet seeking his counsel, and Jeremiah gave him the word and will of the LORD. In verses 13 – 19 the king is given the word of the LORD, the way of the LORD, and will of the LORD. That word can be summed up in one word; that word “Surrender”.
The word from God for the Christian today is surrender your word to God’s word. Surrender your will to God’s will. Surrender your way to God’s way. When we do so; even if that way seems tough, rough, rocky, slippery, and like it might be a loss of our freedom – Surrender.
Zedekiah was not being commanded to surrender to the enemy. He was being commanded to surrender to GOD.
We are not being commanded to surrender to our weaknesses, fears, failures, foolish ambition, or an enemy. The command is “Surrender to the One who has our best interest at heart and mind”. He knows what is best. The end result for Zedekiah was not good (Read chapter 39). He did not obey. He did not surrender.
Think of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God who became flesh, humbled Himself, surrendered to the will of His Father, even unto death; so that He might redeem unto Himself all who would be given to Him by the Father. Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again. Hear Him, and call on His name and He will give you eternal life with Him.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.” Jeremiah 17:9-11 (KJB)
Let me get right to the point. There is no male or female who is without a wicked heart, until that heart has been changed through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the perfect, sinless, Son of God; the only One who did not have a wicked heart.
Apart from the grace of God displayed on the cross that wicked heart can still make an appearance if we stray for walking with the LORD.
The part of these verses that caught my attention this morning was verse 11 dealing with the partridge; apparently a bird that could have been known for taking eggs of another bird, sitting on them, an leaving them at the first sign of trouble.
The wicked heart of Adam’s kind steals from others, and is shown to be a fool in his end.
God knows your heart. You may think you do. When you have seen some evil, wicked thing; you may have thought, or even said out loud, “I would never do anything like that”. That wicked heart you do not believe you have can show up suddenly, and openly, then the whole world around you will see. It is, in fact, your wicked heart that would lead you to think, and/or say such a thing.
O you of Adam kind will you give your heart, your soul, your mind to Jesus Christ? Do so today.
Please go to this blog written by Doug Eaton at The Fight of Faith. Here is one paragraph…
The problem is that the way to find this glory and joy in God is to do the exact opposite of what you think you should do. It is like being submerged under a waterfall struggling for air. The most natural thing to do is to try to swim to the surface, but you will never get there because the crashing water will keep pushing you under. The right thing to do in that moment is swim down. It is only by swimming down that the water will spit you out down stream. This counter-intuitive nature is the same in the Christian life. If you are looking for true joy, he must increase, and we must decrease.
“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, and give Him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” Isaiah 62:6-7 (KJV)
The prophet, speaking for the LORD makes mention of “Watchmen”. There were men set to guard the city, watching for an approaching enemy, and shouting out warning, or blowing the warning sound.
This is a call of the remnant of God to be strong in the LORD, His faith, His word, and to be faithful to Him; and to pray. Pray even to reminding God of His promises to Israel. To do so as though they were giving God no rest.
It seems that is what diligent, fervent prayer is really. Just for a side note. Prayer is for the people of God. Faith also is not a power of its own; but of God, and in God alone. God, the LORD, the Creator of all that is; also the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of the Godhead.
The watchmen are the preachers, the prophets, the priests of God who still cherish the LORD God, His word, His work, and His will. These will proclaim the word of God without fear, favor, or compromise calling God’s people to repentance and faith in Him. They also will get a hold of God in prayer and never let Him go, reminding Him of His promises; though He never forgets them.
The power of prayer is through the faith of the crucified Lord Jesus Christ, His burial, and resurrection. He is the Son of God, God the Son. The God Man.
Far too many times we get the idea that we know our situation better than God does. May we never forget that “He Is” not only the All Wise, All Knowing God but He is also our Creator who made everything we see, and the things we do not see…
“Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being His counsellor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding?” Isaiah 40:12-14 (KJB)
Who am I to even question God? Who am I to even question why things are as they are? We all have doubts, fears, discouragements, and anguish, grief, and hostilities.
God has not asked for my help in how He directs and leads in the affairs of this world. He has called me to hear Him, to believe Him, to follow His Son Jesus who is co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit; yet one GOD. I am not asked, neither commanded to explain the Tri-unity of God, neither to understand it.
I am called to believe that “He Is”, and that “He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Only through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is there life eternal in the presence of Holy God, there is peace, and forgiveness of all sin.
“In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of Hosts, which He shaketh over it. And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of Hosts, which He hath determined against it.
In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of Hosts; one shall be called, ‘The city of destruction.’
In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of Hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a Saviour, and a Great One, and He shall deliver them. And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform. And the LORD shall smite Egypt: He shall smite and heal, and they shall return to the LORD, and He shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.
In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.
In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the LORD of Hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance.’ ” Isaiah 19:16-25 (KJB)
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20-21 (KJB)
The most holy faith is that we receive through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no faith without Him.
After warning His readers in this letter of the false teachers, the wolves coming into their church or churches; Jude, our Lord’s half brother, tells them to build themselves in the faith.
Trust the words of the apostles of our Lord. Jude does not consider himself an apostle, and he quotes from the words of Peter’s epistles, and it is likely from the apostle Paul, as well.
Let us not fall for the lies, deceptions, and traps of the chief demon who is doomed for Hell.
“Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted of God:’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:13-15 (KJB)
From F. B. Meyer…
“The word temptation may stand for trial and testing, without implying that there is any necessary impulse toward evil; or it may stand for the direct impulse of the evil one. Here, however, it is used in this latter sense. But of whatever kind the temptation is, whether upward or downward, whether of pain and sorrow at the permission of God, or of direct solicitation to evil at the suggestion of Satan, those who refuse to swerve from their high quest of nobility attain to higher levels of life. In the words of this paragraph, they receive the crown of life “here” and hereafter.
Notice the genealogy of sin, Jas_1:15. Lust is the parent of sin, and sin when matured is the parent of death. How different to the blackness of this dark picture is the light and glory of our Father’s home and realm! All the good things of our lives are from His good hand. He is not fickle and changeable. Even our sin cannot make Him turn away. His sun still shines on the evil and the good, and His rain descends on the just and the unjust. See Mat_5:45. We are His children; let us be sweet to the taste as the grapes of Eschol!” Through the Bible Day by Day by F. B. Meyer
There are many accusing Holy God of tempting us, and even of sin. Let God be true and every one else a liar. God does not tempt anyone, neither is He tempted.
When you think about it it is like the clay calling the potter ‘Evil’ (Jeremiah18).
The race of Adam is evil at heart (Jeremiah 17:9), and needs a Redeemer. That Redeemer was sent unto us by our loving Father, and that Redeemer is Jesus Christ. He died a horrendous death on a cruel cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and in three days He rose again; and He forever lives and is seated at the right hand of power in glory. He will hear you when you call on His name.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10 (KJB)
Covetousness is a sin, a grave sin which besets many men, women, and even children. It is not absent from the one who is writing this post. I find myself wanting things which I can live without; or I can find an excuse for getting just about any thing that I decide I want.
I know God’s word. God and His word is very dear to my heart. He has given us the Ten Commandments, and they clearly show us that we definitely need a Savior, and God has shown us pictures, types, and or shadows of our Savior throughout the Old Testament; and is fully revealed, unveiled to us in the New Testament.
I heard a new preacher come on the scene several years ago who, in the message he was preaching, said, “The lack of money is the root of all evil”. That statement is clearly against the verse of God’s word above. “Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).
Covetousness is idolatry. Being Content is God’s prescription for His people. Covetousness is a transgression of God’s law. The tenth commandment is “Thou shalt not covet…” (Exodus 20:17).
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry…” Colossians 3:5
The 1828 version of Webster’s Dictionary defines “Contentment” as…
- Content; a resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet; acquiescence.
Contentment, without external honor, is humility.
Godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Tim 6.
At Paris the prince spent a day, to give his mind some contentment.”
I judge no one who is reading this. My intent is to help those who love the Lord Jesus Christ and the word to live with contentment in the life God has given you. I am not talking about being content with a sinful lifestyle. If you are living contrary to God and His word, I pray the Spirit of God will make you miserable until you surrender your life to His life for you.
Contentment is great gain. Be content with such things as you have.
- Start being thankful for God’s blessings in your life.
- Give of your blessings to others who are less fortunate than you.
- Also start by recognizing that it all belongs to God; and give back at least a tenth to your local church.
- Begin by recognizing you are not the owner of the things you possess, but rather a steward who is caring for the blessings God has given you.
Covetousness is the root of all evil. Why do you suppose it is the last of the ten; it is not because it is the least.
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5
The things of this world and the desire for them only lead to all forms of evil. Every murder, every theft, every mass shooting is the result of coveting of something that someone wants.
Be content by coming to the One who loved you so much He sent His only Son to die for our sins. He died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again conquering sin, death, hell, and the grave. Turn from your sin to Jesus Christ Son of the Living God, God the Living Son.
“Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:13-21 (KJB)
This was the apostle Paul’s prayer for the Ephesus Church, and all saints of God. Let it be my prayer for the Lord’s Church where I serve, and all the Body of Christ.
“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;” Revelation 2:1
Friends, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and sit a spell; we are going to be in the Seven Letters to Seven churches for a bit. I keep finding as I study for this that there is far more detail and so many rabbit trails to chase, that we may never get done. So, we are going to take things really slow. We won’t be too long on any particular section, as I know most people’s blogging attention span short, and nobody really tends to read 2000 words. I know I tend not to unless I am just totally captured; since I don’t suspect I will totally capture anybody, short and…
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“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (KJB)
The following is the exposition of these two verses by Alexander MacLaren titled “Strong and Loving”…
There is a singular contrast between the first four of these exhortations and the last. The former ring sharp and short like pistol-shots; the last is of gentler mould. The former sound like the word of command shouted from an officer along the ranks; and there is a military metaphor running all through them. The foe threatens to advance; let the guards keep their eyes open. He comes nearer; prepare for the charge, stand firm in your ranks. The battle is joined; ‘quit you like men’-strike a man’s stroke-’be strong.’
And then all the apparatus of warfare is put away out of sight, and the captain’s word of command is softened into the Christian teacher’s exhortation: ‘Let all your deeds be done in charity.’ For love is better than fighting, and is stronger than swords. And yet, although there is a contrast here, there is also a sequence and connection. No doubt these exhortations, which are Paul’s last word to that Corinthian Church on whom he had lavished in turn the treasures of his manifold eloquence, indignation, argumentation, and tenderness, reflected the deficiencies of the people to whom he was speaking. They were schismatic and factious to the very core, and so they needed the exhortation to be left last in their ears, as it were, that everything should be done in love. They were ill-grounded in regard to the very fundamental doctrines of the faith, as all Paul’s argumentation about the resurrection proves, and so they needed to be bidden to ‘stand fast in the faith.’ Their slothful carelessness as to the discipline of the Christian life, and their consequent feebleness of grasp of the Christian verities, made them loose-braced and weak in all respects, and incapacitated them for vigorous warfare. Thus, we see a picture in these injunctions of the sort of community that Paul had to deal with in Corinth, which yet he called a Church of saints, and for which he loved and laboured. Let me then run over and try to bring out the importance and mutual connection of what I may call this drill-book for the Christian warfare, which is the Christian life.
‘Watch ye.’ That means one of two things certainly, probably both-Keep awake, and keep your eyes open. Our Lord used the same metaphor, you remember, very frequently, but with a special significance. On His lips it generally referred to the attitude of expectation of His coming in judgment. Paul uses sometimes the figure with the same application, but here, distinctly, it has another. As I said, there is the military idea underlying it. What will become of an army if the sentries go to sleep? And what chance will a Christian man have of doing his devoir against his enemy, unless he keeps himself awake, and keeps himself alert? Watchfulness, in the sense of always having eyes open for the possible rush down upon us of temptation and evil, is no small part of the discipline and the duty of the Christian life. One part of that watchfulness consists in exercising a very rigid and a very constant and comprehensive scrutiny of our motives. For there is no way by which evil creeps upon us so unobserved, as when it slips in at the back door of a specious motive. Many a man contents himself with the avoidance of actual evil actions, and lets any kind of motives come in and out of his mind unexamined. It is all right to look after our doings, but ‘as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ The good or the evil of anything that I do is determined wholly by the motive with which I do it. And we are a great deal too apt to palm off deceptions on ourselves to make sure that our motives are right, unless we give them a very careful and minute scrutiny. One side of this watchfulness, then, is a habitual inspection of our motives and reasons for action. ‘What am I doing this for?’ is a question that would stop dead an enormous proportion of our activity, as if you had turned the steam off from an engine. If you will use a very fine sieve through which to strain your motives, you will go a long way to keeping your actions right. We should establish a rigid examination for applicants for entrance, and make quite sure that each that presents itself is not a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Make them all bring out their passports. Let every vessel that comes into your harbour remain isolated from all communication with the shore, until the health officer has been on board and given a clean bill. ‘Watch ye,’ for yonder, away in the dark, in the shadow of the trees, the black masses of the enemy are gathered, and a midnight attack is but too likely to bring a bloody awakening to a camp full of sleepers.
My text goes on to bring the enemy nearer and nearer and nearer. ‘Watch ye’-and if, not unnoticed, they come down on you, ‘stand fast in the faith.’ There will be no keeping our ranks, or keeping our feet-or at least, it is not nearly so likely that there will be-unless there has been the preceding watchfulness. If the first command has not been obeyed, there is small chance of the second’s being so. If there has not been any watchfulness, it is not at all likely that there will be much steadfastness. Just as with a man going along a crowded pavement, a little touch from a passer-by will throw him off his balance, whereas if he had known it was coming, and had adjusted his poise rightly, he would have stood against thrice as violent a shock, so, in order that we may stand fast, we must watch. A sudden assault will be a great deal less formidable when it is a foreseen assault.
‘Stand fast in the faith.’ I take it that this does not mean ‘the thing that we believe,’ which use of the word ‘faith’ is the ecclesiastical, but not the New Testament meaning. In Scripture, faith means not the body of truths that we believe, but the act of believing them. This further command tells us that, in addition to our watchfulness, and as the basis of our steadfastness, confidence in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ will enable us to keep our feet whatever comes against us, and to hold our ground, whoever may assault us.
But remember that it is not because I have faith that I stand fast, but because of that in which I have faith. My feet may be well shod-and it used to be said that a soldier’s shoes were of as much importance in the battle as his musket-my feet may be well shod, but if they are not well planted upon firm ground I never shall be able to stand the collision of the foe. So then, it is not my grasp of the blessed truth, God in Christ my Friend and Helper, but it is that truth which I grasp at, that makes me strong. Or, to put it into other words, it is the foothold, and not the foot that holds it, that ensures our standing firm. Only there is no steadfastness communicated to us from the source of all stability, except by way of our faith, which brings Christ into us. ‘Watch ye; stand fast in the faith.’
The next two words of command are very closely connected, though not quite identical. ‘Quit you like men.’ Play a man’s part in the battle; strike with all the force of your muscles. But the Apostle adds, ‘be strong.’ You cannot play a man’s part unless you are. ‘Be strong’-the original would rather bear ‘become strong.’ What is the use of telling men to ‘be strong’ ? It is a waste of words, in nine cases out of ten, to say to a weak man, ‘Pluck up your courage, and show strength.’ But the Apostle uses a very uncommon word here, at least uncommon in the New Testament, and another place where he uses it will throw light upon what he means: ‘Strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.’ Then is it so vain a mockery to tell a poor, weak creature like me to become strong, when you can point me to the source of all strength, in that ‘Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind’ ? We have only to take our weakness there to have it stiffened into strength; as people put bits of wood into what are called ‘petrifying wells’ which infiltrate into them mineral particles, that do not turn the wood into stone, but make the wood as strong as stone. So my manhood, with all its weakness, may have filtered into it divine strength, which will brace me for all needful duty, and make me ‘more than conqueror through Him that loved us.’ Then, it is not mockery and cruelty, vanity and surplusage to preach ‘Quit you like men; be strong, and be a man’; because if we will observe the plain and not hard conditions, strength will come to us according to our day, in fulfilment of the great promises: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee; and My strength is made perfect in weakness.’
And now we have done with the fighting words of command, and come to the gentler exhortation: ‘Let all your things be done in charity.’
That was a hard lesson for these Corinthians who were splitting themselves into factions and sects, and tearing each other’s eyes out in their partisanship for various Christian teachers. But the advice has a much wider application than to the suppression of squabbles in Christian communities. It is the sum of all commandments of the Christian life, if you will take love in its widest sense, in the sense, that is, in which it is always used in Paul’s writings. We cut it into two halves, and think of it as sometimes meaning love to God, and sometimes love to man. The two are inseparably inter-penetrated in the New Testament writings; and so we have to interpret this supreme commandment in the whole breadth and meaning of that great word Love. And then it just comes to this, that love is the victor in all the Christian warfare. If we love God, at any given moment, consciously having our affection engaged with Him, and our heart going out to Him, do you think that any evil or temptation would have power over us? Should we not see them as they are, to be devils in disguise? In the proportion in which I love God I conquer all sin. And at the moment in which that great, sweet, all-satisfying light floods into my soul, I see through the hollowness and the shams, and detect the ugliness and the filth of the things that otherwise would be temptations. If you desire to be conquerors in the Christian fight, remember that the true way of conquest is, as another Apostle says, ‘Keep yourselves in the love of God.’ ‘Let all your things be done in charity.’
And, further, how beautifully the Apostle here puts the great truth that we are all apt to forget, that the strongest type of human character is the gentlest and most loving, and that the mighty man is not the man of intellectual or material force, such as the world idolises, but the man who is much because he loves much. If we would come to supreme beauty of Christian character, there must be inseparably manifested in our lives, and lived in our hearts, strength and love, might and gentleness. That is the perfect man, and that was the union which was set before us, in the highest form, in the ‘Strong Son of God, Immortal Love,’ whom we call our Saviour, and whom we are bound to follow. His soldiers conquer as the Captain of their salvation has conquered, when watchfulness and steadfastness and courage and strength are all baptized in love and perfected thereby.” From Alexander MacLaren’s Exposition of Holy Scripture
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” Romans 16:17-20 (KJB)
This is not dealing with the “love” the world professes; love and accept everybody, approving of all that they do – you know the verse most like to use, “Judge not, lest you be judged”.
The verses from Romans are dealing with division caused by those who are in ministry for power, popularity, and profit. Love confronts evil of division; it never tolerates it; especially within the Body of Christ.
Some thoughts on this matter:
*There are people in some churches, or even who seek out churches where they can cause division; by teaching false doctrines, by the error of Balaam, ie., causing others to fall, etc..
*The one who teaches the truth of God’s Word and the gospel, and who labors for God and the people of God, and the ministry is not the source of division. The ones who come in trying to bring in heresies, and division are truly the dividers
* Unwillingness to be taught, false teaching, hatred envy, going outside God’s guidelines causes division in the local Church. An unwillingness to cooperate with godly leadership; a malicious, slanderous spirit and tongue are sources of division. The loving leader will expose, and correct those who are trouble makers within the Church.
*Do that which is good in the local Church. Be wise toward evil, its way and its harm.
*Grace is the element that sets Christianity apart from world religions.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. Romans 1:22-23 (KJB)
Who are these Professors of Wisdom? They are the one’s who had the knowledge of God; that He is the Creator of all things, the seen and the unseen, the man and the woman; yet have chosen to reject Him (v. 21).
Who are these Professors of Wisdom? They are numerous in today’s world. they are the one’s who say that their form of “Science” is the truth, when science only means “to know”. We can only know from the evidence before us; that which God has given us.
Who are these Professors of Wisdom? It is those who choose to make God in their own image, and deny what the Scripture says of Him. When we deny the holiness, righteousness, and wrath of God and only see Him as a God of love, mercy, and grace we make Him into the God we want Him to be. This is not according to Scripture.
We take God in the entirety of what Scripture says of His character. We see God as holy, righteous, just, and judging sin; He is loving, merciful, and full of grace. By the way, I have not exhausted the words for His character. Search the Scriptures and you will see them.
God in His great mercy, love, and grace gave us the gift of His Son Jesus. Why? Because we were ones in that state of heart and mind. Jesus Christ took upon Himself all the sins of the world, and died a cruel, tortured death; He was buried, and He rose again. He is our only hope.
“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” Acts 2:32 (KJB)
There have been and still are many ways the name “Jesus” is said, used, and abused. There are, in fact, many Jesus’s in this world, and there always has been. When you speak of Jesus which one do you make reference of?
The One in our text is the One who came as a Suffering Servant/King. He came into this world just as we all do, by birth from His mother’s womb. His conception was far different from ours. His Father was Jehovah/YHWH the All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and All-Present One; the Immutable One – He never changes.
The One of whom I write this morning is the One who was despised of mankind, hated, mocked, spit upon, falsely accused of blasphemy, and doing good.
“This Jesus” took upon Himself willingly all the sins of the world. All of my sins; all of your sins and was judged by the Judge of the universe as a sinner; yet He Himself was without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was buried in a borrowed tomb. He arose and came out of that grave. No one has ever found His body. There is none to find. He is alive
This Jesus is the Jesus of whom Peter is speaking in Acts 2. When Peter says, “…Whereof we all are witnesses” he is speaking of the apostles, and those who saw the resurrected Jesus.
Those of us who believe in “This Jesus” today are also witnesses of the crucified, buried, and resurrected Jesus. Though we have not seen Him, yet, we have seen the fruits of His Spirit, and the power of the spiritual gifts He gives all who have come to Him.
Let us choose to be vibrant, diligent, faithful, holy, witnesses for This Jesus.
“As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, one shepherd.” John 10:15-16 (KJB)
The current “Fold” of whom Jesus is speaking is the people of Israel. Only those who would hear Him, believe Him, and follow Him. In the days following His death for the fold there would be added to the fold or flock others from the Gentile world.
All would be under the authority, and leadership of one Shepherd. His name is Jesus who died to redeem a people unto Himself; both from Israel, and the surrounding nations.
Have you been redeemed? Are you in His fold?
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. Luke 15:2
Commentary from Matthew Henry…
The offence which the scribes and Pharisees took at this. They murmured, and turned it to the reproach of our Lord Jesus: This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them, Luk_15:2. 1. They were angry that publicans and heathens had the means of grace allowed them, were called to repent, and encouraged to hope for pardon upon repentance; for they looked upon their case as desperate, and thought that none but Jews had the privilege of repenting and being pardoned, though the prophets preached repentance to the nations, and Daniel particularly to Nebuchadnezzar. 2. They thought it a disparagement to Christ, and inconsistent with the dignity of his character, to make himself familiar with such sort of people, to admit them into his company and to eat with them. They could not, for shame, condemn him for preaching to them, though that was the thing they were most enraged at; and therefore they reproached him for eating with them, which was more expressly contrary to the tradition of the elders. Censure will fall, not only upon the most innocent and the most excellent persons, but upon the most innocent and most excellent actions, and we must not think it strange.
III. Christ’s justifying himself in it, by showing that the worse these people were, to whom he preached, the more glory would redound to God, and the more joy there would be in heaven, if by his preaching they were brought to repentance. It would be a more pleasing sight in heaven to see Gentiles brought to the worship of the true God than to see Jews go on in it, and to see publicans and sinners live an orderly sort of life than to see scribes and Pharisees go on in living such a life. This he here illustrates by two parables, the explication of both of which is the same.
“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.’
And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.” Luke 3:15-18 (KJB)
In the days preceding the days of the appearance of the Christ there was a longing, a strong desire and passion for the coming of Messiah. The prophet John the Baptist was to be the last of the Old Testament prophets.
A new Man was coming on the scene. People and things were about to change.
I do not know about you, but I can almost see and hear these words the people said, and asked. Maybe some were direct and asked, “John, are you the Messiah?” There was much chatter. There were probably many questions.
The prophet John, like the prophets before him were preachers, forth tellers of the word of God. They said what God put in their hearts and minds to say, by the power of the Spirit of God. They spoke without fear or favor of men. Like those prophets he spoke of another mightier than himself.
The people were in expectation. They were looking for hope, for deliverance, for salvation from the Roman conquerors, their accusers and abusers. That is not unlike people of 2019.
Many of us are looking again for the reappearing of our Lord and Savior. He is the One whom John preached about. He is the One whom John said,
“…One mightier than I comes, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.”
John spoke of Jesus, the Christ. He was about to appear. We as Christians today are to be proclaiming the coming of our Lord. We are to watch and pray and preach; preach Jesus. Preach the death of Jesus on the cross to redeem us from our sins. Preach that He was buried and carried our sins away, leaving them in the depths of the earth never to be held captive by them again; and that He rose again from death and the grave; and that He is alive.
He is coming. He said He would (John 14:1-3).
“Serpents, generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Matthew 23:33
These words spoken by Jesus is from the heart of the God-Man Jesus Christ. They are spoken through most of the twenty third chapter of Matthew. He calls them, serpents, vipers, hypocrites at least nine times. Now He tells them they speak poisonous words. They bind people in legalism, and make their converts more a child of hell than themselves (v. 15).
O how we as pastors and preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). O how all of those who are born again need to realize that in Christ Jesus we have been made free from the demands of the law, because the law is within our hearts and minds to do it.
From the Pulpit Commentary on Matthew 23:33…
“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers; γεννηìματα ἐχιδνῶν: offspring of vipers. Our Lord repeats the Baptist’s denunciation (Mat_3:7). They were of devilish nature, inherited from their very birth the disposition and character of Satan. So Christ said on another occasion, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth” (Joh_8:44). How can ye escape? Πῶς φυìγητε; the deliberative conjunctive, How shall ye escape? Quo mode fugietis? (Vulgate). There is no emphasis on “can” in the Authorized Version. What hope is there now of your repentance? Can anything soften the hardness of your hearts? The Baptist had spoken more hopefully, “Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” But now the day of grace is past; the sin against the Holy Ghost is committed; there remaineth only the fearful looking for of judgment.
The damnation of hell; literally, the judgment of Gehenna; judicio Gehennae (Vulgate); i.e. the sentence that condemns to eternal death (Mat_5:22). The phrase is common in the rabbinical writings (see Lightfoot). “Before sinning, we ought to fear lest it be the filling up; after sinning, we should trust in a truly Christian hope that it is not, and repent. This is the only means to escape the damnation of hell; but how rare is this grace after a pharisaical life!” (Quesnel). Hypocrisy is a bar to repentance.”
May hypocrisy be cast out of my heart. May hypocrisy be the enemy of my heart, my mind, and my life. May hypocrisy be cast out and trod under our feet.
Going back to the New Testament today…
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Matthew 4:17 (KJB)
The Thoughts of F. B. Meyer…
“Our Lord’s earliest ministry seems to have been centered in Jerusalem and its contiguous villages. See Joh_2:1-25; Joh_3:1-36. But on the news of the Baptist’s imprisonment, He took up His testimony to the hearers of the heavenly kingdom, which is the reign of God over the hearts and lives of men. Someone has said that it is “the universal awareness of God.” Yet there was a difference! At the commencement of His work, the Savior showed a tenderness and a winsomeness which were very inviting to the crowds of harried sheep. See Mat_9:36. His ministry resembled the gentle, holy dawn that breaks over the mountains and dispels the black shadows of the night. The evangelist quotes the prophet’s anticipation of the coming of Him who is called “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God.” Oh, do not be afraid when Jesus comes to your heart! You may be as far away from goodness and purity as Naphtali and Zebulun from Jerusalem, but Galilee of the Gentiles is included in Joh_3:16.”
The Thoughts of John Gill…
“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say,…. Not from the time he dwelt in Capernaum; for he had preached in Nazareth before he came there, Luk_4:16 nor from the time of John’s being cast into prison; for he had preached, and made disciples, who were baptized by his orders, before John’s imprisonment, Joh_3:22 Joh_4:1 but from the time that Satan left tempting him; as soon as that combat was over, immediately he went into Galilee, began to preach, and called his disciples. The words with which he began his ministry are the same with which John begun his; which shows the entire agreement between them, in that they not only preached the same doctrine, but in the same words; See Gill on Mat_3:2.”
The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand — Thus did our Lord not only take up the strain, but give forth the identical summons of His honored forerunner. Our Lord sometimes speaks of the new kingdom as already come – in His own Person and ministry; but the economy of it was only “at hand” until the blood of the cross was shed, and the Spirit on the day of Pentecost opened the fountain for sin and for uncleanness to the world at large.”
It is time for all who call themselves Christian to turn to Christ, turning away from sin. It is time for you who do not know Jesus to know that He loves you so much He paid the penalty for sin by His death on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again.
Call on His name today.
There are many questions, and at times many accusations, and arguments over the issue of marriage. Biblically, marriage is between one man, and one woman “until death do we part”. The issue of same sex or homosexual marriage is playing a large part in that definition today.
As a Christian I take the Biblical view of marriage, and will until the Lord returns to take me home with Him. A question comes to my mind, however, “Why has marriage been so cheapened, so degraded?”, and I must answer that with this.
The divorce rate is around 50 percent. That sounds awful to me. Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce. Is that what is meant by that statistic? If so, that is truly terrible, and a shame to be attached to something that God has ordained.
There is something that makes the matter even worse to me, and that is the divorce rate among those who profess to be “Christian”. It is at the same rate, and maybe even higher. It seems that many Christians have bought into the “Me” lie. They may not admit it, but live as though their living life is all about “Me”, and there is no surrender, no commitment, no loyalty to the spouse (husband or wife).
Let me ask this question, “Who has really cheapened marriage; those who have no commitment, or the issue of same sex marriage?” I dare say that had we Christians stood firm on faithful marriages, and committed ourselves to our own wife or husband, then there would not be the issue and debate of same sex marriage.
Here is the Biblical idea for marriage. “Wives, submit to your husbands as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22); and “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her…” (Ephesians 5:25). When these are followed there will be happiness in the marriage, along with joy and peace.
Just my thoughts for today.
-Tim A. Blankenship