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

A Resurrection/Easter Sunday Sermon

THE CALL OF THE RESURRECTION
Matthew 28:10

I do not know if anyone has ever thought of the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a call or not, but I definitely see a call here following the resurrection of Jesus. The angels have simply said, “He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (v. 6). The angel had said, “Go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you” (v. 7).

As the women were going to tell the disciples what the angels had said they met Jesus Himself. They probably would have about forgotten what the angel had said when they see Jesus. They bow at His feet and even held on to His feet, and worshipped Him (v. 9).

“Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me” Matthew 28:10

There are about four things I want us to notice from this verse of Scripture;

I. THERE IS A CALL TO HAVE ‘NO FEAR’;

II. THERE IS A CALL TO GO AND TELL THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS THAT HE IS RISEN;

III. THERE IS A CALL TO TELL THEM WHERE HE CAN BE SEEN – AS HE HAS SAID;

IV. THERE IS A CALL TO TELL THEM THAT HE IS TO BE SEEN.

THERE IS A CALL TO HAVE ‘NO FEAR’.

Many times as Jesus walked on the earth He spoke the words, “Be not afraid”, “Fear not”, etc. As the women see Him this is His opening statement to them. It just seems that the intent of Jesus is for those who know and love Him to walk with Him and be free of all fear.

There are many things in this world we could and do fear. Jesus tells us before He is crucified to “Be not afraid”, and He tells us following the crucifixion, all of this after He has faced the greatest challenge of His human existence. The darkness of the crucifixion was that time when the Father had turned His back on His Son, and judged Him with every pound, every sword of judgment He could meet out. He faced it without fear and with full confidence that the Father’s will was being done and the Father and Himself would be glorified forever.

THERE IS A CALL TO GO AND TELL THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS THAT HE IS RISEN.

The disciples were cringing in fear after the crucifixion of Jesus. They were most likely trembling, and wondering what are we going to do next. Whar are we going to do now? The hope of Jerusalem and of Israel is now dead. We thought Him to be the deliverer of Israel and Jerusalem, but He is dead. They had forgotten His promise to meet them in Galilee –

“Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee” Matthew 26:31-32 (KJV).

Jesus spelled it out clearly. “After I am risen again” please note that, “I will go before you into Galilee”. Did they not pay attention? Did they just not hear? Maybe not according to Jesus’s words He uses to the churches of the Revelation – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith…” Their minds were full of expectation for the deliverance of the kingdom of Israel from Rome, and the setting up of His earthly kingdom.

This part of the call is to all who will follow Jesus. If there is to be trust, obedience, and true following of Jesus there must also be an abiding trust and faith that Jesus not only died for our sins, but that He rose again; bodily from the grave. The grace where they laid Jesus is empty, like the angel gave invitation to “Come, see the place where the Lord lay,” That means He had lain there previously to this, but was GONE. His body not stolen. It never fell into a crack in the ground at the earthquake. He rose up from that place where His body lay; laid the burial cloths in a place by themselves, and came OUT; just as He said He would.

If we are going to proclaim the resurrection Gospel of Jesus Christ we better believe it ourselves. Believe it ourselves before we go trying to tell the lost world about it.

THERE IS A CALL TO TELL THEM WHERE HE CAN BE SEEN – JUST AS HE SAID.

One disciple [Thomas] had said,

“Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe” John 20:25 (KJV).

Thomas has a nick name that has been given him because of his doubting, and it is “Doubting Thomas”. We know that Jesus was seen by the disciples before they ever went to Galilee. At Galilee was where the most significant number of people witnessed Him alive some days later, and by “Over five hundred brethren at once”.

Jesus had told them that He would go before them unto Galilee. There was the place where they disciples would and could receive their public authenticity. It was not only proof of the resurrection of Jesus, but it would be the public endorsement by Jesus of the disciples/apostles.

The place Jesus can be seen today is by revelation of God’s Spirit through the Holy Word of God. Thomas would not believe except he saw for himself the resurrected Christ, and it was at the point when Thomas saw Him that Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” John 20:29. It took the physical appearance of Jesus to Thomas for him to believe Jesus was alive. You and I do not have that privilege. We have God’s written Word and the Gospels. They tell us Jesus is alive. Paul the apostle tells us Jesus is alive. Peter, James, and John tell us that Jesus is alive. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is alive. Luke the physician tells us that Jesus is alive. The Holy Spirit of God reveals to you and I today that Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God is alive TODAY.

THE PLACE TO FIND THE LIVING CHRIST IS IN THE WORD AND REVELATION BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD.

THERE IS A CALL TO TELL THEM THAT JESUS IS TO BE SEEN.

When we start talking about seeing Jesus maybe the news of Oral Roberts vision or dream of a 600 foot tall Jesus comes to our mind. I want to tell you He was not nearly that tall; so that is not who Roberts seen.

John saw Jesus as He was penning down the Revelation of Jesus Christ. He saw Him on the isle of Patmos as he was a prisoner there for preaching the resurrected Christ, even though he was told to be silent. Paul saw Jesus as he travelled on the road to Damascus to capture Christian men, women, boys and girls to drag them back to Jerusalem for trial and prison and/or death. Paul was knocked out of his saddle by the presence of the Lord Jesus.

It is the call from God that gives us the right and privilege to see our resurrected Jesus. Have you seen Jesus?

We must see Him as having lived a life without sin; being perfect and without spot or blemish. We must see Him as the healer as He healed the lame, raised the dead, made the blind to see, and gave the leper back their right to be among others. We must see Jesus as He is lifted up between heaven and hell upon the earth, while hanging on the cross as our sin. We must see Him as sin being judged by the righteous Father. We must see Him as finishing the tasl; the work; that the Father gave Him to do. That work being finished; we must see Him as coming forth out of that grave showing the victory He gained by His death on the cross.

Sin could not hold Him, cannot hold Him, and never will hold Him. The victory is won, and the resurrection is the evidentiary proof of that victory on the cross. He is alive.

Christ the Lord is risen today. INDEED, HE IS RISEN.

-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

The Satisfaction of Imperfection

Satisfaction Of Imperfection

Colossians 3:5-11

Why the title, “THE SATISFACTION OF IMPERFECTION”? It just seems that people who profess themselves to be Christian, are more and more giving excuse for their rude, and sometimes lewd behavior, as “Well! Nobody’s perfect”. That is an acclamation of THE SATISFACTION OF IMPERFECTION.

To excuse our sins as just being normal for being human, rather than seeing them as an offense to God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; and harm to our fellowship with them is wrapped in hardcore unbelief, or pure ignorance. Paul has told these things are dead with Christ on the cross, however, in our present text we are told to put them to death.

The Gnostics had a problem with the flesh and the Spirit of God being together, so they basically just said, “Live how you want in the body. You will be okay”, but Paul tells us to put these evil practices to death. “Mortify” means to put to death. This requires “The Set Mind” which we looked at in verses 1 – 4. Paul believed we were able, by the power of the Holy Spirit within to put these evils to death; put them out of our lives.

It is true that we are not perfect people, and as humans, yes, we will and do sin. That is no excuse for offending the holiness of God which is within us. As has been stated before, “We do not have to sin”. If we have been saved by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and His resurrection, then we do not have to sin. We have been made free. That is the greatest independence that has ever been given to mankind, if we would only receive it, and its blessings.

OUTLINE –

I. PUT TO DEATH THOSE THINGS WHICH SO EASILY DRAG US INTO SIN (v. 5a).
II. A LIST OF SINS CONCERNING PERVERTED LOVE THAT LEADS TO EVIL MOTIVES (v. 5b).
III. THESE ARE SINS OF THE CHILDREN OF UNBELIEF AND WILL COME UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD; WE USE TO LIVE THERE, BUT ARE DELIVERED (vv. 6-7).
IV. A LIST OF HATE SINS WHICH LEAD TO AN EVIL ACT (v. 8).
V. EACH ONE PUTS ON THE ‘NEW MAN’ AND PROCEEDS TO HOLINESS AND A SATISFACTION FOR HOLINESS (vv. 9-11).

I. PUT TO DEATH THOSE THINGS WHICH SO EASILY DRAG US INTO SIN (v. 5a).

A. We, as Christians, have been given a gift; the gift to say no to sin, and not let sin reign in our lives.

“ Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” Rom. 6:12-14
B. It is up to the Christian to live with the Set Mind to overcome sin, and not let it have dominion.

1. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ has freed us from sins death and bondage, but the mind of the Christian must work out the victory in living it.

“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” Philp. 2:12-13.

II. A LIST OF SINS CONCERNING PERVERTED LOVE THAT LEADS TO EVIL MOTIVES (v. 5b).

A. All of these sins are acts related to sexual immorality.

1. Fornication – The Greek word for this is ‘porneia’ from which we have the word pornography, and has to do with harlotry, idolatry, adultery and incest.
2. Uncleanness – physically or morally impure.

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:  All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” Jesus (Mark 7:21-23).
3. Inordinate affection – unregulated, disorderly passion and lust.

“That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;   Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God” 1 Thes. 4:4-5.
4. Evil concupiscence – depraved, forbidden, injurious desire or lust.
5. Covetousness – Greediness, avarice = excessive desire for wealth; REMEMBER THE TENTH COMMANDMENT, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s” Ex. 20:17.

B. All of these things are connected to covetousness which is “Idolatry”.

1. Whatever consumes your mind, and your time is your god; that is what you worship.
2. Our lives are God’s – Let’s worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

III. THESE ARE SINS OF THE CHILDREN OF UNBELIEF AND WILL COME UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD; WE USE TO LIVE THERE, BUT ARE DELIVERED (vv. 6-7).

A. The afore mentioned sins are sins of the children of the devil.
B. The “Wrath of God” will come on all those who are living in them.
C. In the past we were also ‘children of the devil’ walking like them, but no longer are ‘in them’

IV. A LIST OF HATE SINS WHICH LEAD TO AN EVIL ACT (v. 8).

A. Hate in the mind leads to hateful actions which lead to all kinds of deeds, and their consequences.

1.. Anger – is desire with a violent passion.

a. Anger is an emotion that is given us by God, but what we do with it and how we use it is another thing.

b. In this verse it has meaning of negative actions; uncontrolled, destructive actions.

2. Wrath – fierce passion and indignation.
3. Malice – to actively seek the harm of another whether by words or by actions.
4. Blasphemy – evil speaking, railing against God – ‘Railing’ is to mock, babble, joke; to complain angrily.
5. Filthy communication – cursing, swearing, filthy joking, taking the name of the Lord in vain, etc..

B. The Christian is to “Put off” these things.

1. These things should be like clothing that smells terribly bad, or on fire; we get them off really quick.
2. Since we are told to do this we must believe that we can do it.

V. EACH ONE PUTS ON THE ‘NEW MAN’ AND PROCEEDS TO HOLINESS AND A SATISFACTION FOR HOLINESS (vv. 9-11).

A. Having ‘put off’ the “Old man” and “Put on the new man” we are to practice holiness and have the satisfaction of perfection.
B. We are renewed daily as we read, study and apply the Word of God to our lives, and daily living

1. We are renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created us.
2. We progressively become more like Jesus – there is growth; though much of the time we may not be able to see it ourselves.

C. The ethnic background does not matter; we are equal before God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

I Do Not Like the New Testament Either…

I Do Not Like the New Testament Either…

 

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

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

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

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

I Do Not Like the Old Testament…

I Do Not Like the Old Testament, Especially Leviticus

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

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

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

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

I wrote this in 2013 while I was studying Leviticus.

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

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

Image of the Invisible

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Who Is The Image…

Colossians 1:15-18

I. JESUS IS THE VISIBLE OF THE INVISIBLE (v. 15a).

A. God, the Father desired to reveal Himself to the only part of creation which He made in His image and likeness, and lost it.

1. He wanted to do more than reveal Himself.
2. He also desired to have sweet fellowship with us, but there was something which had to be done first – RECONCILIATION.
3. The Father loved us, and sent His Son to pay our sin debt. When we see Jesus Christ we are looking at the Father.

B. Is anything too hard for the LORD?

1. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.“ John 10:30 (KJV), and “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” John 17:22 (KJV).
2. Jesus also said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

C. He [Jesus] is the ‘exact representation’ (Heb. 1:3; NIV) of the Father.

II. JESUS IS THE IMAGE, THE ‘FIRSTBORN’, THE HEIR OF ALL THINGS (v. 15b).

A. As the ‘Firstborn’ in preeminence He receives all that is the Father’s.

1. He is heir of all things, because the Father has placed all things under His feet.
2. It is because He was completely obedient unto the Father as He walked in human flesh that He was accounted worthy.

B. As the heir of all things, by His death, burial and resurrection; by faith in Him we become joint heirs with Him;

1. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:16-17 KJV).

III. JESUS, OUR LORD, ALSO THE IMAGE OF THE CREATOR (v. 16).

A. Paul writes, “For by Him were all things created…”.

1. The very one who took on Himself the body of a created being was in fact the Creator Himself.
2. This should blow the mind of the Gnostic “Know-It-Alls”.

B. When we read back in Genesis 1, “In the beginning God created…” it does not appear quite clear that Jesus was there in the creation.

1. However, when we read the gospel of John and verses one through three,
2. “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 anything made that was made.” we have confirmation that this same Word which is spoken of here is the same Word which went forth in the work of creation, creating, and is the same Word which John tells us ‘became flesh’; “And, the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14); it becomes very clear, to one’s who have sight to see.

C. All things were not only created ‘by Him’, but also, ‘for Him’.

1. We must understand that the Godhead is in need of nothing.
2. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Self-sufficient, Self-sustaining, and Self-existent.
3. God does desire to be glorified in all that He has created.

D. You will notice that in this verse (16) that even kings and kingdoms, all authorities were created by Him.

IV. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF THE ETERNAL (v. 17).

A. He is before all things.
B. Jesus is the One who holds all things together, “By Him all things consist”.

Here are the words of John Gill on this portion of the verse, “…and by him all things consist; he upholds all things by the word of his power; the heavens have their stability and continuance from him; the pillars of the earth are bore up by him, otherwise that and the inhabitants of it would be dissolved; the angels in heaven are confirmed in their estate by him, and have their standing and security in him; the elector God are in his hands, and are his peculiar care and charge, and therefore shall never perish; yea, all mankind live and move, and have their being in him; the whole frame of nature would burst asunder and break in pieces, was it not held together by him; every created being has its support from him, and its consistence in him; and all the affairs of Providence relating to all creatures are governed, directed, and managed by him, in conjunction with the Father and the blessed Spirit.”

V. JESUS IS THE IMAGE, THE HEAD, OF THE CHURCH (v. 18a).

A. When we say we are Christian and a member of a church; we are telling the world that we know its Head.

1. What does the Head of the Church look like.
2. To those outside the Church it will resemble the one we are supposed to be following.

B. We as followers of Jesus should be the light in this dark, condemned, crazy, lost, decaying, world of evil societies, and their rulers whose main goal in life is exalting themselves.
C. Exalt the image of Christ as the head of the Church, the body of Christ in the world.

VI. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE (v. 18b).

John MacArthur writes concerning the word ‘Beginning’ in this present verse, “Arche (beginning) is used here in the twofold sense of source and primacy. The church has its origins in Jesus. God ‘chose us in Him before the foundation of the world’ (Eph. 1:4). It is He who gives life to His church. His sacrificial death and resurrection on our behalf provided our new life. As head of the Body, Jesus holds the chief position, or highest rank in the church. As the beginning, He is its originator.” pg. 51 of THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY on Colossians and Philemon.

A. Jesus said to John the revelator, “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Rev. 1:8; KJV).
B. As the ‘firstborn from the dead’ we see Him as having conquered death, hell, and the grave.

1. Since the resurrection proves the divinity, power, and victory on the cross of our Lord and Savior; He most definitely is the image of eternal life.
2. Eternal life is not just something you may or may not gain later; it is what you can have [present tense] now.
3. In Jesus’s own words of John 3:16 it is quite clear. “…Shall not perish, but have everlasting life”.
4. On that day we will be “Like Him”; “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 (KJV).

VII. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF FIRSTNESS (v. 18c).

A. Remember He is ‘firstborn’ in the promise of inheritance, and because of His work on the cross we become ‘joint heirs’ with Him.
B. The word ‘preeminence’ is used here, meaning, ‘first in rank’ and certainly Jesus fits this category.

1. There are no gods of men, if they could, even become like the creature of their creation.
2. There is no one; god or other wise, who would die for their created being.
3. There is no god or being anywhere that has risen from death and the grave after giving themselves for their created beings.

C. If you want to see an image of ‘Firstness’ you have to look no further than, to the living Son of God – Jesus Christ.

1. Firstborn in creation.
2. Firstborn in life
3. Firstborn in death.
4. Firstborn in eternal life.

D. He is the preeminent One.

1. All things rest on Him.
2. In Him alone is there consistency in life, death, and eternal life. He holds it all together.

SUMMARY –

I. WHEN YOU LOOK AT JESUS YOU SEE THE FATHER.
II. BEING PREEMINENT IN ALL THINGS, JESUS IS HEIR OF ALL THINGS.
III. JESUS, GOD INCARNATE, IS THE CREATOR OF ALL THAT IS.
IV. BEING BEFORE ALL THINGS JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF THE ETERNAL.
V. JESUS, AS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, IS THE IMAGE FOR OTHERS TO SEE.
VI. JESUS IS THE PHYSICAL IMAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE.
VII. JESUS, AS THE IMAGE OF FIRSTNESS, IS PREEMINENT IN ALL THINGS.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Our Qualifying

Our Qualification

Colossians 1:13-14

This makes the seventh message on this prayer which Paul prayed for the church of Colossae. The first part of the prayer has to do with having “Knowledge of the will of God…”. The second part, that we “Might walk worthy of the Lord…”. The third, “Being fruitful in every good work…”. The fourth, that we “Might be increasing in the knowledge of God”. Fifth, that we “Might be strengthened with all might…”. Sixth “Giving thanks…, and now the final one – OUR QUALIFICATION

There are four things to be noted about OUR QUALIFICATION in these two verses:

1.  We have been qualified, because we have been delivered, by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross;
2.  We have been qualified, because we have been translated into His kingdom;
3.  We have been qualified, because we have been redeemed;
4.  We have been qualified, because we have been forgiven, by the just and holy God of heaven.

I. OUR QUALIFICATION is due to the delivering work Jesus did for us on the cross.

A. The devil was defeated on the cross.
B. Darkness was defeated on the cross.

1. Jesus went through the deepest, darkest, dungeon of despair anyone could ever go through as the Father forsook Him.
2. When the battle on the cross was over the fellowship between the Father and the Son was restored, while He was still hanging on the cross – I know that because He prayed, “Father, into thy hands I commend My spirit” Luke 23:46 (KJV).
3. When Jesus had entered the battle with the devil and darkness, and as He came out of it He had prayed, “My God, My God…”. He had experienced the brokenness of the fellowship.

C. Because of this great battle we are qualified.

John Calvin concerning the phrase “Who hath delivered us…”; “Mark, here is the beginning of our salvation-when God delivers us from the depth of ruin into which we were plunged. For wherever His grace is not, there is darkness, as it is said in Isaiah 60:2, ‘Behold darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the nations; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” ‘In the first place, we ourselves are called darkness, and afterwards the whole world, and Satan, the Prince of darkness, under whose tyranny we are held captive, until we are set free by Christ’s hand. From this you may gather that the whole world, with all its pretended wisdom and righteousness, is regarded as nothing but darkness in the sight of God, because, apart from the kingdom of Christ, there is no light.” CALVIN’S COMMENTARIES Vol. 21, pp. 147&148.

II. OUR QUALIFICATION is due to Jesus translating us into His kingdom.

A. We have been transferred by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ into His kingdom.

1. His kingdom is a present reality.

B. If you are not part of His present kingdom you will not be part of His coming kingdom when He rules and reigns on earth.

III. OUR QUALIFICATION is because we have been redeemed.

A. We have been bought with a price.

1. First Corinthians 6:20 tells us to glorify God in our bodies, since we have been bought with a price.
2. . Another verse in 1 Corinthians and chapter seven and verse 23 tells us not to be servants to men – that, of course, means not to become servants unto them by means of debt, or feeling we are obligated to them to the point of denying our faith.

B. A price has been paid in full, and it was paid in blood.

1. It was the life’s blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son that was shed on the cross that day so long ago, yet so close to home.
2. We are redeemed by shed blood of the Lamb of God who came to take away our sin.

IV. OUR QUALIFICATION is because we have forgiveness of sins.

A. We cannot have forgiveness without redemption.

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness]” (Heb. 9:22).

1. All sins debt has been paid, by the blood of calvary’s Lamb.
2. The Lamb of God, whom John the Baptist proclaimed, “…Taketh away the sin of the world.”

B. Because of the redemption provided through the shed blood of Jesus Christ we have forgiveness, remission.

The Merriam/Webster Dictionary defines ‘Remission’ = ‘the act of remitting’ with the word ‘Remit’ = ‘forgive, pardon’. If you were a prisoner which would be better to be put on parole or pardoned? Myself, It would take the pardon. That means the sin has been forgiven, and with no conditions. If you are paroled then, you must check in to your parole officer or sheriff, or some other authority of law. Your sin is not forgiven.

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.” Psalm 32:1-6 (KJV).

John Calvin in his commentary said, “In the first place, he says that we have redemption, and immediately explains it as meaning the remission of sins; for these two things agree together by apposition. For questionably, when God remits our transgressions, He exempts us from condemnation to eternal death. This is our liberty, this our glorying in the face of death-that our sins are not imputed to us. He says that this redemption was procured through the blood of Christ, for by the sacrifice of His death all the sins of the world have been expiated.” CALVIN COMMENTARIES p. 148.

SUMMARY –

I. Because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ He has qualified us, fit us for His kingdom.
II. He has qualified us by delivering us from the deep, dark, dungeonness, of sin.
III. He has qualified us by translating from the kingdom of darkness, death, and destruction into His kingdom of love, light, and His limitless presence.
IV. He has qualified us by paying the price to redeem us from our sin debt; He paid the full price, not to the devil, but to the Father to whom the debt was owed.
V. Now that the debt has been paid in full the Father is truly forgiving all our sin, and seeing you and I in the garments of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

-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

Seven Things God Hates # 4

This is the fourth message in the series SEVEN ABOMINATIONS WHICH GOD HATES.

The Heart Of Imagination

Proverbs 6:16-19

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,   An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,   A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

“The heart of the human problem, is the problem of the human heart.”

It is not by accident, nor coincidence that this abomination is at the center of this list. The heart is at the center of our emotions, even our thoughts and actions, are moved by the heart. Now we are not talking about the thing in our bodies that pumps the blood that courses through our veins.

“IMAGINATION —the power of the mind to form a mental image. The Bible uses the word imagination to refer to evil plans, purposes, and thoughts (Gen. 8:21; Jer. 7:24; Luke 1:51). It does not use the word to describe forming mental images of things that do not exist.” Nelsons New Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

“Subtlety in the contrivance of sin, wisdom to do evil, a heart that designs and a head that devises wicked imaginations, that is acquainted with the depths of Satan and knows how to carry on a covetous, envious, revengeful plot, most effectually. The more there is of craft and management in sin the more it is an abomination to God.” Matthew Henry Commentary.

THE CENTER OF MAN’S BEING IS HIS HEART.
God saw in the beginning and told us about it, “…The thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5). Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts…” (Matthew 15:19; See also Mark 7:21). If man’s heart could be changed then the world can be changed.
There is one man who has a pure heart. He gives it to whom ever will believe in Him. According to 1 Corinthians 2:16 those who are “spiritual” have His mind. This means a new heart, new hungers, desires, and longings. Along with the new heart comes the “new mind” and thoughts.

THE PLOTTING OF THINGS IN WICKEDNESS.
To plan to do something which is right and good – godly – is honorable. To plan on doing the right thing is a good deterrent to keep from doing the wrong and evil thing. It is always right to plan right things, and do them with the right motive. Wrong motives come from the wicked heart that devises wicked imaginations.
“Devising” is a word for plotting or planning an evil act or deed. A word that is known today for plotting and scheming is “Designing”. You have probably heart the title “Designing Women” – I believe that is the title of a television sitcom some time ago. The idea of both is to scheme and plot for the purpose of going outside of God’s plan and direction. I find it sad to say, but there is too much of this going on in local churches, and denominations. When we have a gathering of brothers and sisters in Christ who are in Christ, believe God’s Word, and have a common agenda, why do we need to have groups planning who the next President of the Convention is going to be? “Designing” people. “Devising”, “Designing”, these come from one’s own mind. Thoughts like, “How do I get even?”, “How do I force this person out of his/her position so I can work my way in?” “What is the best way to steal money from my employer?, my bank?, my government?” Do you get the picture? Then, people who have this thought pattern set out to “devise” a plan for the events to occur. They will do it secretly; maybe with some help.
The words, “Devise”, “Designing”, “Plotting”, and “Scheming” all have connotations of evil within them. Of course, it will also depend on how the word is seen and used in a sentence.
The good – godly – heart plans to do good and right. Remember the One with the pure heart. Be born again.

WICKEDNESS AND GOODNESS.
The wicked heart devises wicked ways. It does not know good. Evil cannot know righteousness. Even when an evil/wicked heart does a “good” thing there is usually a hidden motive. It is the motive of the heart that really makes the difference.
Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9).
Overcome evil with good, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:21). Light always cancels out darkness. Good will always overcome evil – not because of the power of good, but because of the power of the good, holy, and righteous God. It will do that in our hearts as long as the light of Christ is shining – Let it shine in.

THE IMAGINATION OF MAN.
Our imaginations can be used for evil or good. The imagination which God is referring to, and which He hates is the “Imagination” which plots an evil plan for their own purposes, and against God and anything godly. A deliberate act against God. When we know the will of God and deliberately disobey, is that an act of a wicked imagination? The inclination of our hearts is to imagine evil – to manufacture it and perform it. That evil inclination, however, can be changed by a change of will – a supernatural change.
Children’s imaginations are really vivid and quite colorful. We let children imagine, that is why there are so many copyrights and inventions (Patents). The automobiles we drive came along because of someone’s imagination – the train, airplane, etc. Electricity, television, radio, recordings, all came from an imagination somewhere. We have sent men to the moon, because of an imagination or two.
Think of the imagination it has taken in medicine. Forty years ago no one did “Open heart surgeries”, and if it was attempted, it failed with death of the patient. Now it is a procedure that is conducted everyday, and probably many times a day around the world. Now the imagination of man is wanting to play with creating life, and then taking it by means of Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer or SCNT, for the purpose of stemcell “Research?”, supposedly to save the lives of needy individuals, probably more of those who could afford the procedure or have the insurance to cover it. This is the “Wicked Imagination” of which God hates.
The heart that devises a “wicked imagination” is not the heart of God. It imagines doing evil to others for personal gain – in the case of SCNT it is against the life of the embryo on which they will kill to “Research?”. For the most part selfish gain is what is involved in this procedure, this killing of innocent life to supposedly save the life of others. Let us leave the giving and taking of life in God’s hands.
Only Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, was buried carrying our sins far away, and rising again to life; can change the heart that deviseth wicked imaginations; into a heart that glorifies Him.
In conclusion, shun every vile imagination – plan to do what is right and good. You were born with an evil heart – You can be born again through Jesus Christ and have a new, clean heart. There is no good in mankind – goodness is solely a God thing – it comes from God. In Jesus Christ you receive a sanctified imagination.

-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?

 

The Just LORD in the Midst…

“Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God. Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow. Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law. The just LORD is in the midst thereof; He will not do iniquity: every morning doth He bring His judgment to light, He faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.” Zephaniah 3:1-5 (KJV)

The prophet states, speaking of the LORD, “He will do no iniquity”.  Iniquity is lawlessness, wickedness, and there is no evil within the LORD of all creation.  Iniquity is in the hearts of those whom God created in His image, after His likeness; because of Adam’s and Eve’s rebellion in the beginning.  Reading the Bible you can see the iniquity of man progressively attacking the very work and character of God; to no avail, of course.

The “Her” of whom the prophet references is the city of Jerusalem, the oppressing city.  She would not hear the prophets’ warnings.  The false prophets would not correct her, and the priests were vile and did not teach, or wrongly taught the law and Scripture.

Some thoughts from the ESV Study Bible…

3:3 Among those who should lead the city aright, but have in fact turned against her, are its officials, the civil authorities (1:8;  1 Chron. 28:1), and judges, those in charge of settling legal disputes (Ex. 18:13, 22).  Instead of showing benevolence, thse leaders were acting as roaring lions, ferocious beasts possessing great power, about to seize prey (Amos 3:4), and as evening (or desert) wolves, known for their ravenous appetite (Gen. 49:27).  Leaders, rathere than guarding their flock, devour it.

It is iniquity to disobey the word of the LORD.  It is iniquity to fail to love the LORD, His Son, and His word.

Will you hear the word of the Lord today, believe it concerning His law, His commandments, His Son and His cross, burial, and resurrection? That is the beginning place – at the cross of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

 

The Roar from Zion

Many times looking at Scripture, even looking at the prophets of the Old Testament we get a rather gloomy picture of Judah and Israel.  However, gloom and doom is not the total picture.  We must see from the beginning to the end, and that is why God gave us the Scriptures and His only begotten Son.  He does have a purpose, and an expected ending.

Today we hear from the prophet Joel…

“The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. 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 3:15-17

To those who love this old earth, and all its ways the above verses sound gloomy, and believe me, if you do not know the LORD God, then it will not only be a gloomy day for you, but it will be your doom as well.

One of the things we can learn from the Bible is that God will have people know that He is the LORD God of hosts.  That is what He is working toward today.

The following is the study note form The Prophecy Study Bible page 939…

“3:15-16  The earthquake and blackout seem parallel with events described in Zechariah 14:4-5, which describes an earthquake that restructures a valley near the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.  This remodeling of Jerusalem will be accompanied by signs in the heavens, as God powerfully defends and vindicates His people Israel.”

Get ready.  Jesus is coming soon.

There is chaos, pain and sorrow in the world today; but through Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection there is hope for the future.  Hope in this life, and then, eternal life with Him.  That “Roar from Zion” will be the voice of the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” the returning Christ Jesus.

Catch the Foxes Which Hinder a Good Marriage

Catch the Foxes

Song of Solomon 2:1-17,

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  Song of Songs 2:15 (KJV) Also see John 10:10

With there being deceptions and lies concerning marriage and love in our society and culture it is needful, even necessary for the Church of Jesus Christ, and every individual Christian to stand firm on God’s definition of Marriage, and His meaning of love.

It is my conviction that the Home and Marriage is the beginning or the end of a Nation or a society of people.  When marriages fail so will society and nations.  “As goes the home/marriage; so goes the nation.”

There are hindrances to a good marriage.  These can be the children, and the job, or career, school activities, failure to build your marriage and home upon the foundation of Christ and His word.

So what can be done to keep a marriage strong.  Let us look at four ideas from Solomon’s Song of Songs;

  1.   Be sure; even make it a habit to praise, and adore and admire one another verbally (vv. 1-3).
  2.   Be sure to make yourself accountable to one another, and to another; who is not of the opposite sex; so as to maintain a holy lifestyle (vv. 4-7).
  3.   Be sure to make time for one another… Have some alone time.. Go to the “clefts of the rock” and get away together (vv. 8-14)
  4.   Be sure that within marriage you have a sense of belonging… “I am my beloveds, and he is mine”
  5.   This is an addition to the original post… Make God the primary Person of your marriage.

You are not your own.  You are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20)

The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ must be the bedrock of your marriage and home.

I was running short on time this morning so I wanted to share this with you.

Preparing to Rebuild the Temple

These events take place following the 70 years which Jeremiah had prophesied (Jeremiah 25:11).  Ezra is God’s man for returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple which was razed by the Babylonians and carried many captives of the land away.  Ezra had been faithful to God and His word through all the time of his life in that culture.  Hear the word of the LORD concerning these things…

This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. Ezra 7:6-10 (KJV)

I want us to keep in mind that today the temple of our Lord is His people – those who have believed and received the grace of God through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  Sometimes even this temple needs a rebuilding.  We can let sin carry us away from God, His Spirit and His word; but He is never away from us.  If there is any rebuilding to do it starts with God doing the work in us, calling us to repentance, forsaking our sin, and coming back to what we believe in Christ.

Consider the following verses from Paul’s epistles…

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, to do it, and to teach it to others.  Let us as the temple of God be as committed, devoted and faithful to the LORD as was Ezra; and follow Jesus faithfully.

It Ain’t Over Yet

Sometimes we people of the human race do things we do not exactly want to do, or like to do to survive.  Abraham left the Promised Land of Canaan when famine came, and Hagar came back with he and Sarah (Genesis 12:10-20).  Look at the heartaches, and sorrow that has brought on us all.  We all do some things for which we are ashamed, and God forgives and delivers us who trust Him; but often not the consequences of our bad behavior, and actions.

The book of Ruth in the Bible is a very precious story of history and lineage of king David, and our Savior.  Let us look at the first five verses…

“Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.” Ruth 1:1-5 (KJV)

The events of Ruth – beginning to end – take place during the early part of the book of Judges.  Remember that the judges were given by God to the people of Israel after they had become disobedient, rebellious, and began worshiping foreign gods – which were not gods – and when they would be troubled by plague, disease, famine, etc. then they would call on their God; and He would send them a Judge to deliver them (Judges 2:16).  Certainly showing the love, mercy and grace of God.

Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion went to Moab; a foreign land near by, and they were a unholy bunch of people; ones associated with the curse Balaam because they were fearful of Israel, and their God.  So they sought to curse them.  You can read about Balaam in Numbers 22-25.

When we leave the place the Lord has promised us we will always be a hazard to people around us.  Consider this.  Elimelech probably went to Moab for his family; at least that was his reasoning.  The country of Moab was rich and green, and Israel was in drought and famine.  This wayward journey cost him his life, and the lives of his two sons.

This  is a story of God’s love and grace.  When we as Christians mess up, sin against God, and leave our promised position God is not finished with us.  He sees the bigger picture.  We only see the brush strokes; the aches, the pains the sorrows; and we can rest assured that God will get us where He desires us to be.  It may be costly.  It will be worth it.

The story ends with Ruth a Moabite woman; Naomi’s daughter in law in the Promised Land, and marrying the kinsman redeemer.  There is redemption for all who will come to faith in Jesus Christ a descendant of Ruth – a Moabite – who became a faithful follower of YaHWeH [Jehovah].  Jesus is the ultimate Kinsman Redeemer having died on the cross for the sins of the world, being buried, and rising from the grave alive forevermore.  Believe Him and you too will live.

 

The First Day

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:1-5  (KJV)

The First Day of September.  I am back from a time away.  It is good to be back with those of you who have been touched in some way by these post.

First days are good days.  They are filled with excitement, encouragement, and sometimes even fear; for us at least.

Considering the words of God above it was the beginning of all things that you and I know.  The world that we see.  The world that we know could not be seen and known apart from God creating them; including you and me.

My prayer for you today is to have a day filled with God, His grace, His mercy, His love; and I pray that if you do not know Him that you will call on the name of the One who died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose again.  His name is Jesus the Christ; the Son of God, God the Son. Our Creator (John 1:1-5).

O that all who know Him would surrender to Him, know His word, His will and walk in His way.  Will you today.

 

Jesus Through the Bible – Captain of the LORD’S Host

This begins new post on this theme.  I pray the Lord has spoken to your hearts of who Jesus is, and will continue to do so through the reading and study of the word of God.

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a Man over against him with His sword drawn in His hand: and Joshua went unto Him, and said unto him, Art Thou for us, or for our adversaries? And He said, Nay; but as Captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto Him, What saith my lord unto His servant? And the Captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15 (KJV)

Joshua is uneasy, maybe even fearful of what is about to come with Jericho.  He has gone away from the camp, and thinking, praying, surveying with his eyes the vastness of the city when this Man appears to him.  Who is this Man?  Is He on the side of Joshua?  Is He on Israel’s side?

Look at His description.  The Man has a sword, not in its sheath, but drawn; ready for battle.  Joshua’s first thought was the reason for his question; “Are You for us, or for our adversaries?”  This Man’s answer was probably not a comforting answer.  He said, “No; but as Captain of the host of the LORD am I now come.”

Note Joshua’s action.  He fell on his face in worship.  He recognized the Lord.  There is evidence here that this was a Christophany of God appearing as a Man to a man.  It is called a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

Joshua’s question was a legitimate question.  However, when it comes to the Lord we best be on His side; and not wonder whether He is on our side.  He is the defender of our faith.  He is the Warrior of righteousness, justice, love, mercy, and will not forgive the wicked who reject His word and/or His work.

Get on the LORD’S side today.  Trust the Lord Jesus.  He died on the cross for your sins; was buried carrying all your sin, shame, condemnation, guilt away; then He bodily arose from the grave, ascended to the Father; and is returning one day.  Call on His name and He will save you.

The Salvation of the LORD

It does me good to read what was said in the past.

Broken Pieces

The pressures of the world are rushing ever near you.  You feel like you should not have made that good move that you did.  Things have changed, and right now it just does not seem like it was the right move to make.  Hold on.  Be strong.  Be strong in the Lord; or as Moses said, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD…”

“And Moses said unto the people, ‘Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will show you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever.  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”  Exodus 14:13-14 (KJV).

The LORD had done many mighty, and marvelous things to bring the children of Israel to the edge of the Red Sea.  There had been a complete destruction of…

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The Kingdom’s of Men and Bible Prophecy

 “In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great. And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” Daniel 8:1-8 (KJV)

 Also read Daniel 8:1-8, 15-22, 26-27, include the whole chapter.

The ram with two horns is the Medo-Persian empire (vv. 3-4, 20).

The he-goat with the great horn is Alexander the Great (vv. 5-8, 21).

The broken horn with the four new horns is the death of Alexander and his four generals taking power of four kingdoms after his death at 33 years of age.

There are five amazing prophecies:

1. Greece conquers Persia;

2. The great ‘notable horn’ Alexander the Great;

3. The ruin of the Medo-Persian empire;

4. The broken horn the death of Alexander the Great;

5. Alexander’s kingdom is divided.

From one of these come a ruler who surpasses all others in cruelty and hatred for the Jewish people.

This prophecy has a dual meaning and fulfillment 175 B.C. – 165 B.C. and a time that is yet to be.

Chapters 1 – 7 were originally written in Aramaic, because of the emphasis on worldly Gentile kingdoms. Chapters 8 – 12 were written in Hebrew, because they are for the people of God – Israel and the Church.

A LOOK A THE FIVE PERSONAGES IN THIS PROPHECY —

DANIEL, THE BELOVED OF GOD (1-2, 15-19, 26-27; also see 10:11). In this vision Daniel is in Suza (Shushan) the new capital city of the Persian empire. He is by the river of Ulai. It seems God has taken him there. “When I saw that I was in Shushan” seems to be that God transported him there.

Upon seeing the vision he is shocked by it. Thus, he asked God for its meaning. Notice also when he recieves the meaning he does not go out telling everyone about it.

CYRUS, KING OF PERSIA (vv. 3-4, 20). Isaiah mentions Cyrus one hundred and some years earlier; by his work in Isaiah 41, “Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.” (v. 2), “I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay.” (v. 25). By his name in Isaiah 44, “ That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” (v. 28).

Cyrus is named again in Isaiah 45:1-4, “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me”.

Our sovereign Lord can use even a pagan king to accomplish His purposes. He [Cyrus] allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple. He allowed them to take the sacred vessels Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem, “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.” 2 Chron. 36:22-23.

Also in Ezra we read, “ Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem” Ezra 1:1-3.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT (vv. 5-8, 21-22). In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream Greece was depicted as the belly and thigh of brass. Daniel’s vision of chapter 7 saw it as a beast ‘leopard’ with ‘four wings of fowl’ and ‘four heads’. Daniel now sees it as an angry goat.

Alexander’s kingdom was divided into four kingdoms – led by four leaders of his army. Alexander was accomplishing God’s purposes. What Alexander began the Romans completed – preparing the ancient world for the coming of Jesus Christ. Of course, this was unknown to these pagan kings.

Truly, God is the sovereign ruler of the universe. He rules and reigns in the hearts of men; good and evil. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as rivers of water: He turns it wherever He will” Proverbs 21:1; and that means the rulers of Korea, Iran, ISUS, and our own President Donald Trump as well. No world leader, or leader of any nation is outside the purview of God’s rule.

Always remember that God is still on His throne, and rules in the hearts of men.  As Christians we are redeemed. You can be by coming to Jesus through His death, burial and resurrection.  He is returning someday, and will set up an everlasting kingdom of righteousness and peace.  Believe Him.

Loyalty to God and Kings Awarded

“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; and over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” Daniel 6:1-3 (KJV)

A new king begins to reign. A new man often has new ideas. How is it that Darius is now the king of this land? There is only one answer to that question. It is the Almighty God of all that is or will ever be that sets up kings and brings them down. It has been seen, and testimony given by Nebuchadnezzar himself.

Daniel is now under the rule of Darius. As we get a little further in this chapter we will see that this king loved and greatly respected Daniel. We will also learn from this chapter that a man of integrity, and good character does not change his godly actions to please a decree by a king or a despot. The godly individual will pray, even when the laws of the land say, “NO MORE PRAYER”. This is not talking about an act of rebellion where someone; after an edict is given decides, “They can’t do that”, then decides to pray. This is the act of diligence. It is the act of obedience to God that was there before the law or edict was given.

In this chapter we must learn to pray. Prayer now will accomplish great things in our lives when we are faced with commands, laws, and edicts of men which tell us, “You can’t pray that way”. Let’s be faithful now, and continue in diligence, when we cannot. Sometimes things are made legal which are ungodly and unholy; such as abortion, homosexuality, and same gender marriages. Other times things are made illegal which are good, godly, and pure; such as outlawing prayer in schools, and in some places forbidding the preaching of the gospel on the street corner, and/or praying in “Jesus’s name”.

 DANIEL IS NOW UNDER THE RULE OF DARIUS (v. 1). What Belshazzar had promised now Daniel actually receives. Belshazzar is dead. Daniel is alive and ruling within a kingdom. Neither Belshazzar, nor Darius elevated Daniel to this position; only God can do such things.

In a place of any form of rule is by divine appointment. It may be hard for many people to accept, but even Hitler was appointed by God for his time. That does not tickle my fancy either, but it is still true. He was placed as a ruler by God and he was removed by God. If you are a father, it was God who placed you in that position – use it well. If you are the pastor of a church God placed you there, and he can remove you. If you are the Mayor of a small town or a large city you were placed in that position of authority by God Himself. He can also remove you. From the lowest levels of leadership to the upper echelons of government God has positioned leaders for His pleasure and glory, and He can ‘unposition’ you.

 DANIEL IS PLACED IN A POSITION OF RULE – OVER 120 ‘PRINCES’, AND CHIEF OF THREE WHO WERE ‘PRESIDENTS’ (vv. 2-3). These “Presidents” could also be called ‘Administrators’ or ‘Commissioners’. The ‘Princes’ were in charge of provinces around Babylon; gathering taxes, maybe solving problems was also involved. They were in charge of seeing that the king received his due. The ‘Presidents’ were to be sure that the princes were honest in their dealings. It seems that Daniel was the one who kept the two other presidents and their princes honest.

At any rate we clearly see that these others hated Daniel and the consistency of his lifestyle. The two ‘Presidents’ probably influenced the ‘princes’ to conspire against Daniel. They watched his every move. They could find no fault in his life. He never cheated the king, or did anything against the king to cause his demise or fall of the kingdom. The only way they could find fault was to make a law against his faith. With flattery, deception, and cunning they convince the king to have emperor worship for a month. Here is what the king should have heard, “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Prov. 26:28 (KJV).

These other rulers know Daniel prays three times per day. They know these things because they have spied on him, trying to seek his weakness, to cause his downfall. The king is told this is an agreed upon law by all the other rulers – deception – Daniel does not know, nor would he have agreed with it. Deception, deception, deception; clear and simple. Darius signs the decree. The law says that no one is to worship any god accept the king for a period of one month (30 days).

Daniel is truly an example for all Christians to follow. He never protested. He never had a sit in, a march – he continued doing what he was now forbidden to do by the kings decree. He continued praying. HE HAD A CONSISTENT ATTITUDE. He also had a CONSISTENT PRACTICE OF PRAYER. That is also our need.

Three Hours of Darkness

Today I want to share with you a quotation from G. Campbell Morgan. From a sermon he preached called “The Darkness of Golgotha”.

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:45-46 (KJV)

“From the very beginning of the shining of that Light, focused in history by the Incarnation, the one supreme purpose of the enemy was to apprehend it, to comprehend it, to extinguish it, to put it out. And in these three hours of darkness we are brought face to face with the time when all the force of evil was brought to bear on the soul of the Son of God, and all the unutterable intent and purpose of evil wrapped Him about in darkness that is beyond our comprehension.” G. Campbell Morgan from the sermon “THE DARKNESS OF GOLGOTHA”

The Dream is Revealed

Broken Pieces

Daniel 2:14-23.

Seeing how Daniel and his friends were not invited to the council meeting they had every right to ask what was going on. “Why is the kings decree so hasty?” (v. 15).

Arioch was the ‘captain of the king’s gruard’, and in charge of killing the incompetent ‘wise men’. When Arioch came to Daniel; Daniel had questions. He knew nothing about the king’s dream nor his edict to kill the frauds.

Arioch seems to be patient with Daniel and his friends. He shares with Daniel how the king has made a decree to kill all the astrologers, magicians, sorcerers, etc., including all those newly trained in the crafts. This include Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. REMEMBER THE ABOVE QUOTATION BY GRAHAM SCROGGIE. They studied astrology, etc. “to understand it, but not to believe it.” The power of these Hebrews was the person who created all things. The person…

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Kings and Queens: Men and Women of Virtue

“The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. What, my son? And what, the son of my womb? And what, the son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:1-9 (KJV)

This is the concluding post from Proverbs.  I pray they have been inspiring, instructional, and encouraging.  May we all continue to grow in grace, wisdom, knowledge and understanding of God, His Son, and His word.

Thoughts from Proverbs 31…

No one is for certain who Lemuel was. The name means “Belonging to God”, and could be another name for Solomon.

We often hear about the woman/wife of verses 10-31, but little about the virtuous king/man in verses 1-9.

According to Strongs Dictionary of the Hebrew language “Virtuous” means ‘a force’ or ‘valour’, ‘strength’. Probably referring to moral excellence and strength or power.

1. The king should be virtuous in his judgment/justice and other decisions. He is to stand for the weak and defenseless.

The word “strength” (v. 3) is the same as the word “virtuous” of v. 10 [chayil; khah’-yil]. Not controlled by unethical women, nor by power, neither by mind altering drink or drugs. Only a virtuous/strong man or king can make righteous judgments. (vv. 1-9)

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:10-12

2. The woman/wife of virtue. A force of moral integrity. Look at her value “far above rubies”. She has the “trust” of her husband; he knows she will not bankrupt their home and family – morally or financially (vv. 10-12).

She is a hard and diligent worker and wise shopper (vv. 13-15). She endeavors to increase her resources (vv. 16-19) She is thoughtful of others, and cares for her own (vv. 20-21).

The wife of virtue is an artist, designer, homebuilder, etc. (vv. 22-24).

“Strength” (v. 25) is a different [‘oz; oze] meaning “force, security, majesty, praise”. And honour are her clothing; her covering; her unashamed quality. This virtuous woman is honoredby her neighbors, her husband, her children.

The virtuous woman is more concerned with the way her life and family appears, than her personal beauty. A woman who has the adoration of her family, friends, and neighbors due to her strength in the Lord has much, very much, and is praised by others (vv. 26-31).

Walk with God. To walk with Him we must be in agreement with Him, trust Him, in the light and in the dark, and believe every word He has said, is saying, and will ever say.  That includes the words of Jesus Christ His Son. That is wisdom.

Wisdom’s Discernment

“When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: and put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.
Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.” Proverbs 23:1-8 (KJV)

The following are a few thoughts on chapter 23…

Verses 1 – 3; 6 – 8 — Be alert and aware when people in places of authority and power invite you to their table. The discerning one will be sickened by what the powerful is or was trying to do.

Verses 4 – 5 — The wise and discerning will not make seeking wealth and riches their life pursuit.

Verse 9 — The wise will know when to be silent around the foolish individual. Remember the words of Jesus…

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Matthew 7:6).

Verses 10 – 11 — (Prov. 22:28; Deut 15:9) Further confirms this teaching. In these verses, however, there is reference to orphans. Someone seizing the land of an orphan or orphans will have the Redeemer defend the orphan agains the land grabber.

Verses 12 – 16, 19 — It is good to teach others [our children] to pursue instruction and knowledge. The Bible does teach corporal punishment (vv. 13-14). There is rejoicing within parents when their child is a success in life; especially in Christian parents when they see their child following the LORD.

Verses 17 – 18 — The Christian discerner should make godliness the prime search and pursuit of his/her life. The Christian has no right to envy “sinners”. If the Christian is living for God and His Son Jesus Christ the sinner will desire Christ too.

Verses 20 – 26 — Wise words from parents guide children in life, living righteously; education, labor; learning truth and its value. Children also learn from the example of parents (v. 26).

Verses 27 – 35 — In a world with the rebellious, feel good, party attitude, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die”; the wisdom of God warns of the perils of licentious (unrestrained by law or general morality; lawless; immoral), rebellious, iniquitous living.

I want you to know today that God loves you.  That the wisest decision you can make in life is to follow the Son of God who was given as a sacrifice for our sins.

Dry Morsels and Sacrifices

We put dry crackers in soup.  Some of us eat beef jerky occasionally; some maybe more than occasionally.  Dried bread pieces are used with salads and other things at times.  Dry morsels are not all bad.  Sometimes they are good.  Maybe always better than religious people who have homes full of strife.

Hear the words of the Wise…

“Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife. A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren. The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts. A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue. Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished. Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers. Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince. A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth. He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” Proverbs 17:1-9 (KJV)

For further review and study…

Verse 1 – Many of the sacrificial times in the Old Testament were also times of feasting. There are seven feasts mentioned in OT Scriptures. A dry morsel with peace is better than a house of “feasting” with strife.

“Prov. 17:1 Like 15:17, this proverb asserts that a poor but loving home is better than a home filled with feasting and strife. As the ESV footnote indicates, “feasting” is lit., “sacrifices,” specifically peace offerings; such offerings would provide for a meal including meat—a luxury in ancient times.” From ESV Study Bible

Verse 2 – There are examples of servants who were teachers for sons and daughters of their “master”. Abraham’s servant (Gen 24) is a good example. He goes to find a bride for Isaac. Isaac was not foolish son, but the servant did seek a wife for him. At one time Abraham even asked the LORD to give his inheritance to the servant Eliezer (Gen 15:1-4).

In the Law there is no provision for this; but it must have been a feasible possibility. No wise father would turn the inheritance over to a son who was causing shame to the name of the family; nor to a son who would foolishly squander away the business/inheritance.

Verse 3 – Refining for silver and gold requires fire. When the gold and silver is melted down the impurities of each comes to the surface. The refiner can then take a metal scoop, and skim the surface, removing the impurities. The more the fine metals are refined through the fire the more pure they become.

Why is it when we want to prepare ourselves for a marathon run, a mountain climb, and we suffer to prepare for those things without too much complaining; but let God use adversity (the weights, the climbs, the trials), and we ask, “Why is God doing this to me?” He does know what is best for us; and exactly where we are going. He knows the trail ahead.

It is a great comfort to know that the LORD is the One who tries the hearts of men. Yet that too is sometimes like fire.

Verse 4 – Those people involved in wickedness will often listen to “false lips”; those who give bad, and false witness. It is easier, many times, to believe a lie; than it is to believe the truth.

People who are prone to lying themselves are also more likely to listen to lies, and believe them. This may have more to do with malicious gossip than other things.
Verse 5 – Many times I have probably “Mocked the poor”. If we say things like, “Well some poor people are that way, because they want to be.” Is that not mocking? At least the mockery which the verse speaks of. We are told in this verse that it “Reproaches his Maker”; that is GOD.

Have we ever rejoiced to see someone, some place or city stricken by calamity? Woe be to the one’s who do such things. They shall not be “Unpunished”.

Verse 6 – See Psalm 127:3-4 and 128:6

Verse 7 – A “fool” in the Biblical sense is one who despises God, Godly wisdom and understanding. There are many eloquent, proficient, even thoughtful speakers who are foolish concerning the things of God.

What is worse than a fool who despises God, godliness, and wisdom and understanding; is the “Prince”, future ruler, or ruler who has lying lips.

Verse 8 – Bribery is the idea that is being written of in this passage. The one who has the means to bribe, and will bribe others to his own advantage holds this as though it were a precious gem in his sight. Much greed and selfish things can be accomplished through bribery.

v. 23; 18:16; 19:6; 21:14; Exodus 23:8; Isaiah 1:23; Amos 5:12

Verse 9 – Covering a transgression is an act of love; if the transgression being covered is that of another. Someone who is always bringing up another’s transgression is separating friendships. We can look at Galations 6:1.

The greatest covering, and the greatest sacrifice ever made and given was the death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. The place where Jesus bled and died for the sins of the world.  Believe Him.  Receive Him.

Wisdom of Work, and the Mouth

Words have power.  It is my belief that if we as people would do our individual jobs, and responsibilities, and listen twice as much as we open our mouths the world would be a better place.  God gave us two ears and one mouth; and that means we ought to do twice as much listening, as we do speaking.

Hear the Proverbs…

“The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother. Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death. The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but He casteth away the substance of the wicked. He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame. Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” Proverbs 10:1-6 (KJV)

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.”

Let us commit ourselves to doing what God has given us to do, as unto Him doing it with all our heart; then with busy hands and feet the mouth will be used for right and good.  There is power in words.