He is the Same

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8 (KJB)

Jesus Christ the second member of the Holy Trinity, the Son of God, God the Son is Immutable just as the whole of  the Godhead.

This verse is referring back to  verse 7, and prepping the reader for verse 9.  This is the same Jesus Christ who worked in the  Old Testament; died, was buried, and rose again according to the gospels; ascended into Heaven; and He lives forevermore.

The following commentary is from the  Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

“This verse is not, as some read it, in apposition with “the end of their conversation” (Heb_13:7), but forms the transition. “Jesus Christ, yesterday and to-day (is) the same, and (shall be the same) unto the ages (that is, unto all ages).” The Jesus Christ (the full name being given, to mark with affectionate solemnity both His person and His office) who supported your spiritual rulers through life even unto their end “yesterday” (in times past), being at once “the Author and the Finisher of their faith” (Heb_12:2), remains still the same Jesus Christ “to-day,” ready to help you also, if like them you walk by “faith” in Him. Compare “this same Jesus,” Act_1:11. He who yesterday (proverbial for the past time) suffered and died, is to-day in glory (Rev_1:18). “As night comes between yesterday and to-day, and yet night itself is swallowed up by yesterday and to-day, so the “suffering” did not so interrupt the glory of Jesus Christ which was of yesterday, and that which is to-day, as not to continue to be the same. He is the same yesterday, before He came into the world, and to-day, in heaven. Yesterday in the time of our predecessors, and to-day in our age” [Bengel]. So the doctrine is the same, not variable: this verse thus forms the transition between Heb_13:7 and Heb_13:9. He is always “the same” (Heb_1:12). The same in the Old and in the New Testament.”

The Sword of the LORD

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (KJB)

The Holy Bible is the written word of God, verbally inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), penned down by common men chosen by God, and upon whom the LORD had poured His Spirit upon.  Around 40 of these men from Job and Moses to the apostle John; and over a period of many hundreds of years; were called by God to write these words for the guidance, direction, conviction, inspiration, encouragement and comfort of His people.

With the word of God being questioned by so many it reminds me of the first question ever asked to turn a couple of people away from what God had said.  That question was, “Yea, has  God said…?” (Genesis 3:1).  That tells me where the questions of doubt; and it is not honest doubt; but doubt which leads to the destruction of faith in God.

Honest doubt and questions of such are to gain knowledge and wisdom concerning God and His word.  The enemy’s question was meant for destruction, not learning and growth.

Now, I will get to the above text for today.

  1. The word of God is living and that means it is set, it is settled in Heaven (Psalm 119:89), it is immutable – never changing; it is God’s word, and is just as reliable as God Himself;
  2. It is powerful/active; through this living word God changes lives; He has sent His son who is the physical incarnation of His word, Jesus Christ, and is the Living Word of God, and cannot be separated from the written word; the word of God has power to give life and to take away life;
  3. Sharper than any two edged sword; the sword of the soldier of the day was one with a double edge; it cut which ever way it was swung; in a forward thrust it pierced with great fierceness; the word of God is likened to that, but is said to  be sharper, and is a divider of the soul and spirit, on “the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow,” John Gill’s Exposition says,  “…the apostle’s meaning seems to be this, that whereas the soul and spirit are invisible, and the joints and marrow are covered and hid; so sharp and quick sighted, and so penetrating is the divine Word, that it reaches the most secret and hidden things of men: and this sense is confirmed by what follows,” John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible;
  4. The word of God is also a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart of men, women, and children; the psalmist prayed in Psalm 139:23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts…”; O how wicked and vile the human heart and mind can be.

When we know God, and trust His word we can trust Him to reveal our wickedness to ourselves; and that leads the heart of the child of God to repentance, and forgiveness.

The word of God is living, and active, never changing. We must pattern our lives after the Book; not try changing the  book to fit our lives.

Like His Brethren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dealing with the Heretic and Heresy in the Church

“A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” Titus 3:10-11 (KJB)

Let me leave you with John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible…

A man that is an heretic,…. An heretic, according to the notation of the word, is either one that makes choice of an opinion upon his own judgment, contrary to the generally received sense of the churches of Christ, and prefers it to theirs, and obstinately persists in it; separates from them, forms a party, and sets himself at the head of them, whom he has drawn into the same way of thinking with himself: or he is one that removes and takes away a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, which affects particularly the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity, and personality of Father, Son, and Spirit, and especially the doctrines relating to the person, office, and grace of Christ; one that brings in, or receives damnable doctrines; speaks or professes perverse things, and draws away disciples after him; or is among such disciples: for though schism and heresy do differ, and every schismatic may not be an heretic, yet every heretic is a schismatic; he makes a rent in the doctrine of Christ, and makes parties and divisions in his church; and such are not always to be contended and disputed with, but to be avoided and rejected:

after the first and second admonition reject; have nothing to do with him; have no society with him; admit him not to private conversation; and eject him from church communion, after he has been publicly admonished twice by the order of the church; for this is not to be understood of private admonition, by a particular person or persons; as in the case of private offences, Mat_18:15 but of public admonition, in the name of the church. An admonition with the Jews did not continue less than seven days (a); some say (b) thirty; that is, there were so many days before it was out, or between one and another.

(a) T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 16. 1. (b) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 33. fol. 28. 3.”

And verse 11…

Knowing that he that is such is subverted,…. Or overturned and demolished; he is like an edifice, that is not only decaying, and falling, but is entirely everted, and pulled down; so that there is no hopes of a restoration or recovery; he is in a desperate condition, having opposed the person, or office, or sacrifice of Christ; having either trodden the Son of God underfoot, or counted his blood common, or done despite unto the spirit of grace; in either of which cases there is no more sacrifice for sin:

and sinneth; not practically, but doctrinally, and wilfully after he has received the knowledge of the truth; by denying the truth he received, in which he continues, notwithstanding the evidence of the word of God is against him; and; notwithstanding the arguments taken from it by the ministers of the Gospel, to convince him; and notwithstanding the admonitions of the church to recover him out of the snare of the devil:

being condemned of himself; not that an heretic is one that is convinced in his own conscience that he is in an error, and that that is a truth which he opposes; and yet he obstinately persists in the one, and continues to set himself against the other; for then, none but an hypocrite, that conceals his true sentiment, can be an heretic; nor can any man be known to be one unless he accuses himself; since no man can know the heart of another; and it would be impracticable in a church to deal with heretics, or reject and excommunicate them: but either the meaning is, that he is such an one, who by his own practice has condemned himself; for whereas he has separated himself not only from the faith of the church, but from the church itself; by so doing he practically condemns himself, or judges himself unworthy of the communion of the church, and so justifies the church in their rejection and exclusion of him: or rather, an heretic is one who having professed Christianity, and received the Scriptures as the only rule of faith and practice, and still professes to abide by the same, and that all doctrine is to be tried by them, and to be approved or condemned as that agrees or disagrees with them, stands condemned by those Scriptures, which he himself allows to be the rule of decision and determination; and so may be said to be self-condemned.” John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible.

 

What To Do When Evil Surrounds Us

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:12-15 (KJB)

Christians who live godly lives will suffer persecution. Have you ever been laughed at because of the simplicity of your faith in  Christ, the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to cleanse, to heal, to redeem, and get us into the presence of Holy God? Have you ever been threatened for your faith in Him? How about beaten and maybe left for dead?

Evil abounds in this world. Anyone who has eyes and ears knows there is evil in this  world; and it is in the hearts of the people who live on this planet.  As Christians we must guard our own hearts and minds through the word of God and prayer.

The Apostle tells us that “Evil men and seducers shall become worse and worse…” The evil ones are not only those who would do us physical harm; but also those who would do us spiritual harm by teaching lies, deceiving, and themselves being deceived.

So what do we do when evil surrounds us?

  1. Remember the things you have been taught from Scripture;
  2. Continue in those things applying them to your life, living for Jesus Christ and standing on His word;
  3. Always remember that those teachings you have learned in the word are the words of wisdom and for your salvation;
  4. There is absolutely no instruction to identify (to participate) with the world around us.

Always remember the gospel – the good news is – that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and He rose again.

Being Content

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10 (KJB)

Covetousness is a sin, a grave sin which besets many men, women, and even children.  It is not absent from the one who is writing this post.  I find myself wanting things which I can live without; or I can find an excuse for getting just about any thing that I decide I want.

I know God’s word.  God and His word is very dear to my heart. He has given us the Ten Commandments,  and they clearly show us that we definitely need a Savior, and God has shown us pictures, types, and or shadows of our Savior throughout the Old Testament; and is fully  revealed, unveiled to us in the New Testament.

I heard a new  preacher come on the scene several years ago who, in the message he was preaching, said, “The lack of money is the root of all evil”.  That statement is clearly against the verse of God’s word above.  “Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

Covetousness is idolatry. Being Content is God’s prescription for His people. Covetousness is a transgression of God’s law.  The tenth commandment is “Thou shalt not covet…” (Exodus 20:17).

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry…” Colossians 3:5

The 1828 version of Webster’s Dictionary defines “Contentment” as…

CONTENTMENT, n.

  1. Content; a resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet; acquiescence.

Contentment, without external honor, is humility.

Godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Tim 6.

  1. Gratification.

At Paris the prince spent a day, to give his mind some contentment.”

I judge no one who is reading this. My intent is to help those who love the Lord Jesus Christ and the word to live with contentment in the life God  has given you. I am not talking about being content with a sinful lifestyle.  If you are living contrary to God and His word, I pray the Spirit of God will make you miserable until  you surrender your life to His life for you.

Contentment is great gain.  Be content with such things as you have.

  1. Start being thankful for God’s blessings in your life.
  2. Give of your blessings to others who are less fortunate than you.
  3. Also start by recognizing that it all belongs to God; and give back at least a tenth to your local church.
  4. Begin by recognizing you are not the owner of the things you possess, but rather a steward who is caring for the blessings God has given you.

Covetousness is the root of all evil.  Why do you suppose it is the last of the ten;  it is not because it is the least.

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5

The things of this world and the desire for them only lead to all forms of evil. Every murder, every theft, every mass shooting is the result of coveting of something that someone wants.

Be content by coming to the One who loved you so much He sent His only Son to die for our sins.  He died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again conquering sin, death, hell, and the grave.  Turn from your sin to Jesus Christ Son of the Living God, God the Living Son.

The Pillar and Ground of Truth

“These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1 Timothy 3:14-16  (KJB)

I will give you some words for study and thought. It is a bit lengthy, but well worth reading.  Be blessed.

From Matthew Henry’s commentary on 1 Timothy 3:14-16…

He concludes the chapter with a particular direction to Timothy. He hoped shortly to come to him, to give him further directions and assistance in his work, and to see that Christianity was well planted, and took root well, at Ephesus; he therefore wrote the more briefly to him. But he wrote lest he should tarry long, that Timothy might know how to behave himself in the house of God, how to conduct himself as became an evangelist, and the apostle’s substitute. Observe,

  1. Those who are employed in the house of God must see to it that they behave themselves well, lest they bring reproach upon the house of God, and that worthy name by which they are called. Ministers ought to behave themselves well, and to look not only to their praying and preaching, but to their behaviour: their office binds them to their good behaviour, for any behaviour will not do in this case. Timothy must know how to behave himself, not only in the particular church where he was now appointed to reside for some time, but being an evangelist, and the apostle’s substitute, he must learn how to behave himself in other churches, where he should in like manner be appointed to reside for some time; and therefore it is not the church of Ephesus, but the catholic church, which is here called the house of God, which is the church of the living God. Observe here, 1. God is the living God; he is the fountain of life, he is life in himself, and he gives life, breath, and all things to his creatures; in him we live, and move, and have our being, Act_17:25, Act_17:28. 2. The church is the house of God, he dwells there; the Lord has chosen Zion, to dwell there. “This is my rest, here will I dwell, for I have chosen it;” there may we see God’s power and glory, Psa_63:2.
  2. It is the great support of the church that it is the church of the living God, the true God in opposition to false gods, dumb and dead idols.
  3. As the church of God, it is the pillar and ground of truth; that is, either, (1.) The church itself is the pillar and ground of truth. Not that the authority of the scriptures depends upon that of the church, as the papists pretend, for truth is the pillar and ground of the church; but the church holds forth the scripture and the doctrine of Christ, as the pillar to which a proclamation is affixed holds forth the proclamation. Even to the principalities and powers in heavenly places is made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, Eph_3:10. (2.) Others understand it of Timothy. He, not he himself only, but he as an evangelist, he and other faithful ministers, are the pillars and ground of truth; it is their business to maintain, hold up, and publish, the truths of Christ in the church. It is said of the apostles that they seemed to be pillars, Gal_2:9. [1.] Let us be diligent and impartial in our own enquiries after truth; let us buy the truth at any rate, and not think much of any pains to discover it. [2.] Let us be careful to keep and preserve it. “Buy the truth, and sell it not (Pro_23:23), do not part with it on any consideration.” [3.] Let us take care to publish it, and to transmit it safe and uncorrupted unto posterity. [4.] When the church ceases to be the pillar and ground of truth, we may and ought to forsake her; for our regard to truth should be greater than our regard to the church; we are no longer obliged to continue in the church than she continues to be the pillar and ground of truth.
  4. But what is the truth which the churches and ministers are the pillars and grounds of? He tells us (1Ti_3:16) that without controversy great is the mystery of godliness. The learned Camero joins this with what goes before, and then it runs thus: “The pillar and ground of the truth, and without controversy great is the mystery of godliness.” He supposes this mystery to be the pillar, etc. Observe,

(1.) Christianity is a mystery, a mystery that could not have been found out by reason or the light of nature, and which cannot be comprehended by reason, because it is above reason, though not contrary thereto. It is a mystery, not of philosophy or speculation; but of godliness, designed to promote godliness; and herein it exceeds all the mysteries of the Gentiles. It is also a revealed mystery, not shut up and sealed; and it does not cease to be a mystery because now in part revealed. But,

(2.) What is the mystery of godliness? It is Christ; and here are six things concerning Christ, which make up the mystery of godliness. [1.] That he is God manifest in the flesh: God was manifest in the flesh. This proves that he is God, the eternal Word, that was made flesh and was manifest in the flesh. When God was to be manifested to man he was pleased to manifest himself in the incarnation of his own Son: The Word was made flesh, Joh_1:14. [2.] He is justified in the Spirit. Whereas he was reproached as a sinner, and put to death as a malefactor, he was raised again by the Spirit, and so was justified from all the calumnies with which he was loaded. He was made sin for us, and was delivered for our offences; but, being raised again, he was justified in the Spirit; that is, it was made to appear that his sacrifice was accepted, and so he rose again for our justification, as he was delivered for our offences, Rom_4:25. He was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, 1Pe_3:18. [3.] He was seen of angels. They worshipped him (Heb_1:6); they attended his incarnation, his temptation, his agony, his death, his resurrection, his ascension; this is much to his honour, and shows what a mighty interest he had in the upper world, that angels ministered to him, for he is the Lord of angels. [4.] He is preached unto the Gentiles. This is a great part of the mystery of godliness, that Christ was offered to the Gentiles a Redeemer and Saviour; that whereas, before, salvation was of the Jews, the partition-wall was now taken down, and the Gentiles were taken in. I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, Act_13:47. [5.] That he was believed on in the world, so that he was not preached in vain. Many of the Gentiles welcomed the gospel which the Jews rejected. Who would have thought that the world, which lay in wickedness, would believe in the Son of God, would take him to be their Saviour who was himself crucified at Jerusalem? But, notwithstanding all the prejudices they laboured under, he was believed on, etc. [6.] He was received up into glory, in his ascension. This indeed was before he was believed on in the world; but it is put last, because it was the crown of his exaltation, and because it is not only his ascension that is meant, but his sitting at the right hand of God, where he ever lives, making intercession, and has all power, both in heaven and earth, and because, in the apostasy of which he treats in the following chapter, his remaining in heaven would be denied by those who pretend to bring him down on their altars in the consecrated wafers. Observe, First, He who was manifest in flesh was God, really and truly God, God by nature, and not only so by office, for this makes it to be a mystery. Secondly, God was manifest in flesh, real flesh. Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, Heb_2:14. And, what is more amazing, he was manifest in the flesh after all flesh had corrupted his way, though he himself was holy from the womb. Thirdly, Godliness is a mystery in all its parts and branches, from the beginning to the end, from Christ’s incarnation to his ascension. Fourthly, It being a great mystery, we should rather humbly adore it, and piously believe it, than curiously pry into it, or be too positive in our explications of it and determinations about it, further than the holy scriptures have revealed it to us

The Church is a visable entity seen in the local assembly through the Biblical teaching of its pastor, teachers, each faithful individual; also the worship of each congregation in singing of hymns, songs, spiritual songs, and being stewards in giving of our time, and God given resources.

Just to point out  one more thing.  Each of the  apostle Paul’s letters to churches – Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and Thessalonica – were written to the local congregation of that city.

 

Pray That the Word May Run

 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all have not faith.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 (KJV)

When I think about the running of the word, I think of the runners in Old Testament days running to tell the king the outcome of a battle (2 Samuel 18:24-27).

Paul is speaking of the word of the Lord, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Prayer for the word to be spread with haste, with speed, and certainly we need that in 2019.

If any of you are of the type who like to see good in everyone; we need to always keep in mind that there are those who are not in the faith of  our Lord Jesus, and some of these try and twist the word of God to suit their own ends and means.

Christian all we have to stand on is Christ our Rock; and we do that through faith in Him and all that He has said. His word is His way, His law, His commandments, His statutes, His testimonies, His judgments, His  holiness, and His righteousness.

Let us stand upon that Rock or we will be crushed by Him (Matthew 21:44).  Pray for the speed of the work of the word of the Lord.

A Joy of the Heart

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (KJB).

Paul was a thankful man.  It gave his heart joy to see people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ through the  preaching, and teaching of the word of God.  Remember what he preached was from the Old Testament. That was what they had. Some of the New was out there, but not readily available.

These people had been people bound in darkness. The Apostle had come to them with the good news of the gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ – and they had heard, and believed.  Lives had been changed.  There was true repentance; a complete turn around, a change in their lives.

All the talking and powers of persuasion are not always effective at changing someone’s mind or heart.  With the gospel it is only the power of the Holy Spirit who can reveal the truth of the gospel, the power of the gospel, and the light of the glory of Jesus Christ; that He is the Son of God, God the Son.

Will you be the joy of someone’s heart today?  Has the Spirit of God revealed to you the truth of who Jesus is?  Turn to Him, away from sin, believe Him, and be saved.

Continuing Prayer

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:2-4 (KJB)

The Apostle has just dealt with Christians who have in their employment people of lesser wealth. Masters were to treat their servants or employees rightly (Colossians 3:22-4:1).  The verses above could also be  Paul’s words for them; but even the words of Paul in the previous chapter are words for Christians in every age.

What was the Apostle encouraging the saints at Colossae to do?  To continue in prayer.  The request was for Paul to have an open opportunity to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that all about Jesus would be revealed as the word went forth.

How we need that continuing prayer today.

As I read these words this morning I got to wondering about the phrase the apostle Paul used “Pray without ceasing”.  Is there any difference between “Continue in prayer” and “Pray without ceasing”?

I found this note from the Matthew Henry Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing…

Note, The way to rejoice evermore is to pray without ceasing. We should rejoice more if we prayed more. We should keep up stated times for prayer, and continue instant in prayer. We should pray always, and not faint: pray without weariness, and continue in prayer, till we come to that world where prayer shall be swallowed up in praise. The meaning is not that men should do nothing but pray, but that nothing else we do should hinder prayer in its proper season. Prayer will help forward and not hinder all other lawful business, and every good work.

Pray for those who are standing in the place of sharing, of preaching the gospel of Christ. Pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, for an open door of opportunity, and His work in revealing the word of God to the hearers.

In Jesus Christ alone is there honest sincere prayer heard by the throne of God; and that through the blood of Christ shed at Calvary’s cross, His burial, and resurrection.

Quench the Fiery Darts

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Ephesians 6:16 (KJB)

As if to say “Don’t forget the shield of faith” the Apostle  gives instruction on using our faith in the spiritual battle we face. We cannot face the enemy without it.

“…The wicked” of the verse above is definitely speaking of the enemy of God (who is Satan), and ours; but we must not forget that wickedness, evil can be found in the people who live around us, and are pawns of the evil one. As Christians we are warned to guard our own hearts and minds; if we do not, then evil can come into our own lives.

Wickedness is all around us.  Can you see it?  There are people who call what is good “evil” and call what is evil “good”.  As Christians we must stand for what the Bible, the Holy Bible, the Holy Scriptures say; the word of God stands sure.  Without Scripture we can have no genuine faith.

Christians, Stand by faith in  the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

From the Commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown…

Above all — rather, “Over all”; so as to cover all that has been put on before. Three integuments are specified, the breastplate, girdle, and shoes; two defenses, the helmet and shield; and two offensive weapons, the sword and the spear (prayer). Alford translates, “Besides all,” as the Greek is translated, Luk_3:20. But if it meant this, it would have come last in the list (compare Col_3:14).

shield — the large oblong oval door-like shield of the Romans, four feet long by two and a half feet broad; not the small round buckler.

ye shall be able — not merely, “ye may.” The shield of faith will certainly intercept, and so “quench, all the fiery darts” (an image from the ancient fire-darts, formed of cane, with tow and combustibles ignited on the head of the shaft, so as to set fire to woodwork, tents, etc.).

of the wicked — rather “of the EVIL ONE.” Faith conquers him (1Pe_5:9), and his darts of temptation to wrath, lust, revenge, despair, etc. It overcomes the world (1Jn_5:4), and so the prince of the world (1Jn_5:18).”

Do not remain blind to the Truth of who Jesus Christ is.  Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  He will one day return and put away all evil; and it will be what He declares as evil; not what men say.

 

…To Know the Love of Christ…

“Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:13-21  (KJB)

This was the apostle  Paul’s prayer for the Ephesus Church, and all saints of God.  Let it be my prayer for the Lord’s Church where I serve, and all the Body of Christ.

Treasure

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7  (KJB)

Gold, silver, precious stones, or metals; is that what I write of today?  There is a treasure so great that it is greater than ourselves. It is greater than houses or lands.  It is even greater than family or a multitude of friends.

I write of the presence, the power, the grace, and knowledge of God in our lives. Our greatest treasure is knowing the All-Powerful, All-present, and All-Knowing One who has created all things, and is greater than the universe itself; and that He is Immutable, and that He knows those who are His.

Our treasure is where our hearts and minds dwell; for Jesus said,

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21

I will finish this by leaving with you the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown on 2 Corinthians 4:7…

“Lest any should say, How then is it that we continue to enjoy such unspeakable glory in a mortal body? Paul replies, this very fact is one of the most marvelous proofs of God’s power, that an earthen vessel could bear such splendor and keep such a treasure” [Chrysostom, Homilies, 8.496, A]. The treasure or “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” The fragile “earthen vessel” is the body, the “outward man” (2Co_4:16; compare 2Co_4:10), liable to afflictions and death. So the light in Gideon’s pitchers, the type (Jdg_7:16-20, Jdg_7:22). The ancients often kept their treasures in jars or vessels of earthenware. “There are earthen vessels which yet may be clean; whereas a golden vessel may be filthy” [Bengel].

that the excellency of the power, etc. — that the power of the ministry (the Holy Spirit), in respect to its surpassing “excellency,” exhibited in winning souls (1Co_2:4) and in sustaining us ministers, might be ascribed solely to God, we being weak as earthen vessels. God often allows the vessel to be chipped and broken, that the excellency of the treasure contained, and of the power which that treasure has, may be all His (2Co_4:10, 2Co_4:11; Joh_3:30).

may be of God … not of us — rather, as Greek, “may be God’s (may be seen and be thankfully [2Co_4:15] acknowledged to belong to God), and not (to come) from us.” The power not merely comes from God, but belongs to Him continually, and is to be ascribed to him.Him continually, and is to be ascribed to him.”

The Great Treasure is to have this treasure in these flesh and blood bodies,  and know that He has saved us, He has redeemed us, and thought this body is decaying He is being glorified in and through us.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem us unto the Father, was buried, and He rose again.  Will you believe this?  Turn from your sins and to Jesus.

Triumph in Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glorify Jesus Your Precious, Holy Son. Amen.

Stand Fast in the Faith

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.”  1 Corinthians 16:13-14  (KJB)

The following is the exposition of these two verses by Alexander MacLaren titled  “Strong and Loving”…

There is a singular contrast between the first four of these exhortations and the last. The former ring sharp and short like pistol-shots; the last is of gentler mould. The former sound like the word of command shouted from an officer along the ranks; and there is a military metaphor running all through them. The foe threatens to advance; let the guards keep their eyes open. He comes nearer; prepare for the charge, stand firm in your ranks. The battle is joined; ‘quit you like men’-strike a man’s stroke-’be strong.’

And then all the apparatus of warfare is put away out of sight, and the captain’s word of command is softened into the Christian teacher’s exhortation: ‘Let all your deeds be done in charity.’ For love is better than fighting, and is stronger than swords. And yet, although there is a contrast here, there is also a sequence and connection. No doubt these exhortations, which are Paul’s last word to that Corinthian Church on whom he had lavished in turn the treasures of his manifold eloquence, indignation, argumentation, and tenderness, reflected the deficiencies of the people to whom he was speaking. They were schismatic and factious to the very core, and so they needed the exhortation to be left last in their ears, as it were, that everything should be done in love. They were ill-grounded in regard to the very fundamental doctrines of the faith, as all Paul’s argumentation about the resurrection proves, and so they needed to be bidden to ‘stand fast in the faith.’ Their slothful carelessness as to the discipline of the Christian life, and their consequent feebleness of grasp of the Christian verities, made them loose-braced and weak in all respects, and incapacitated them for vigorous warfare. Thus, we see a picture in these injunctions of the sort of community that Paul had to deal with in Corinth, which yet he called a Church of saints, and for which he loved and laboured. Let me then run over and try to bring out the importance and mutual connection of what I may call this drill-book for the Christian warfare, which is the Christian life.

‘Watch ye.’ That means one of two things certainly, probably both-Keep awake, and keep your eyes open. Our Lord used the same metaphor, you remember, very frequently, but with a special significance. On His lips it generally referred to the attitude of expectation of His coming in judgment. Paul uses sometimes the figure with the same application, but here, distinctly, it has another. As I said, there is the military idea underlying it. What will become of an army if the sentries go to sleep? And what chance will a Christian man have of doing his devoir against his enemy, unless he keeps himself awake, and keeps himself alert? Watchfulness, in the sense of always having eyes open for the possible rush down upon us of temptation and evil, is no small part of the discipline and the duty of the Christian life. One part of that watchfulness consists in exercising a very rigid and a very constant and comprehensive scrutiny of our motives. For there is no way by which evil creeps upon us so unobserved, as when it slips in at the back door of a specious motive. Many a man contents himself with the avoidance of actual evil actions, and lets any kind of motives come in and out of his mind unexamined. It is all right to look after our doings, but ‘as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ The good or the evil of anything that I do is determined wholly by the motive with which I do it. And we are a great deal too apt to palm off deceptions on ourselves to make sure that our motives are right, unless we give them a very careful and minute scrutiny. One side of this watchfulness, then, is a habitual inspection of our motives and reasons for action. ‘What am I doing this for?’ is a question that would stop dead an enormous proportion of our activity, as if you had turned the steam off from an engine. If you will use a very fine sieve through which to strain your motives, you will go a long way to keeping your actions right. We should establish a rigid examination for applicants for entrance, and make quite sure that each that presents itself is not a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Make them all bring out their passports. Let every vessel that comes into your harbour remain isolated from all communication with the shore, until the health officer has been on board and given a clean bill. ‘Watch ye,’ for yonder, away in the dark, in the shadow of the trees, the black masses of the enemy are gathered, and a midnight attack is but too likely to bring a bloody awakening to a camp full of sleepers.

My text goes on to bring the enemy nearer and nearer and nearer. ‘Watch ye’-and if, not unnoticed, they come down on you, ‘stand fast in the faith.’ There will be no keeping our ranks, or keeping our feet-or at least, it is not nearly so likely that there will be-unless there has been the preceding watchfulness. If the first command has not been obeyed, there is small chance of the second’s being so. If there has not been any watchfulness, it is not at all likely that there will be much steadfastness. Just as with a man going along a crowded pavement, a little touch from a passer-by will throw him off his balance, whereas if he had known it was coming, and had adjusted his poise rightly, he would have stood against thrice as violent a shock, so, in order that we may stand fast, we must watch. A sudden assault will be a great deal less formidable when it is a foreseen assault.

‘Stand fast in the faith.’ I take it that this does not mean ‘the thing that we believe,’ which use of the word ‘faith’ is the ecclesiastical, but not the New Testament meaning. In Scripture, faith means not the body of truths that we believe, but the act of believing them. This further command tells us that, in addition to our watchfulness, and as the basis of our steadfastness, confidence in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ will enable us to keep our feet whatever comes against us, and to hold our ground, whoever may assault us.

But remember that it is not because I have faith that I stand fast, but because of that in which I have faith. My feet may be well shod-and it used to be said that a soldier’s shoes were of as much importance in the battle as his musket-my feet may be well shod, but if they are not well planted upon firm ground I never shall be able to stand the collision of the foe. So then, it is not my grasp of the blessed truth, God in Christ my Friend and Helper, but it is that truth which I grasp at, that makes me strong. Or, to put it into other words, it is the foothold, and not the foot that holds it, that ensures our standing firm. Only there is no steadfastness communicated to us from the source of all stability, except by way of our faith, which brings Christ into us. ‘Watch ye; stand fast in the faith.’

The next two words of command are very closely connected, though not quite identical. ‘Quit you like men.’ Play a man’s part in the battle; strike with all the force of your muscles. But the Apostle adds, ‘be strong.’ You cannot play a man’s part unless you are. ‘Be strong’-the original would rather bear ‘become strong.’ What is the use of telling men to ‘be strong’ ? It is a waste of words, in nine cases out of ten, to say to a weak man, ‘Pluck up your courage, and show strength.’ But the Apostle uses a very uncommon word here, at least uncommon in the New Testament, and another place where he uses it will throw light upon what he means: ‘Strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.’ Then is it so vain a mockery to tell a poor, weak creature like me to become strong, when you can point me to the source of all strength, in that ‘Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind’ ? We have only to take our weakness there to have it stiffened into strength; as people put bits of wood into what are called ‘petrifying wells’ which infiltrate into them mineral particles, that do not turn the wood into stone, but make the wood as strong as stone. So my manhood, with all its weakness, may have filtered into it divine strength, which will brace me for all needful duty, and make me ‘more than conqueror through Him that loved us.’ Then, it is not mockery and cruelty, vanity and surplusage to preach ‘Quit you like men; be strong, and be a man’; because if we will observe the plain and not hard conditions, strength will come to us according to our day, in fulfilment of the great promises: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee; and My strength is made perfect in weakness.’

And now we have done with the fighting words of command, and come to the gentler exhortation: ‘Let all your things be done in charity.’

That was a hard lesson for these Corinthians who were splitting themselves into factions and sects, and tearing each other’s eyes out in their partisanship for various Christian teachers. But the advice has a much wider application than to the suppression of squabbles in Christian communities. It is the sum of all commandments of the Christian life, if you will take love in its widest sense, in the sense, that is, in which it is always used in Paul’s writings. We cut it into two halves, and think of it as sometimes meaning love to God, and sometimes love to man. The two are inseparably inter-penetrated in the New Testament writings; and so we have to interpret this supreme commandment in the whole breadth and meaning of that great word Love. And then it just comes to this, that love is the victor in all the Christian warfare. If we love God, at any given moment, consciously having our affection engaged with Him, and our heart going out to Him, do you think that any evil or temptation would have power over us? Should we not see them as they are, to be devils in disguise? In the proportion in which I love God I conquer all sin. And at the moment in which that great, sweet, all-satisfying light floods into my soul, I see through the hollowness and the shams, and detect the ugliness and the filth of the things that otherwise would be temptations. If you desire to be conquerors in the Christian fight, remember that the true way of conquest is, as another Apostle says, ‘Keep yourselves in the love of God.’ ‘Let all your things be done in charity.’

And, further, how beautifully the Apostle here puts the great truth that we are all apt to forget, that the strongest type of human character is the gentlest and most loving, and that the mighty man is not the man of intellectual or material force, such as the world idolises, but the man who is much because he loves much. If we would come to supreme beauty of Christian character, there must be inseparably manifested in our lives, and lived in our hearts, strength and love, might and gentleness. That is the perfect man, and that was the union which was set before us, in the highest form, in the ‘Strong Son of God, Immortal Love,’ whom we call our Saviour, and whom we are bound to follow. His soldiers conquer as the Captain of their salvation has conquered, when watchfulness and steadfastness and courage and strength are all baptized in love and perfected thereby.”  From Alexander MacLaren’s Exposition of Holy Scripture

The Best Gifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tempting Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time is Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Christians in an Immoral Culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Confirmation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love Exposes Sources of Division

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

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

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

Some thoughts on this matter:

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

Power Belongs to God

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Romans 13:1-2  (KJB)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s Righteousness

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

Righteousness.  What is it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Longing for the Redemption of the Body

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free From Sin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Reign of Sin is Stopped

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

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

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

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

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

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

Professors of Wisdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

Believe Him.

The Hearing and The Understanding

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

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

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

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

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

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

Believe Him.

The Defense

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

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

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

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

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

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

Believing All Things Written in the Law and the Prophets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Witness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beware the Wolves

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

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

From John Gills Exposition of the Bible…

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

From Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

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

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

Living Brotherly Love

“Let brotherly love continue.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.  Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.  Let your way of life be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’  So that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.’
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their way of life.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
Be not carried about with different and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied with them.”  Hebrews 13:1-9

REFERENCES: Genesis 18:3; 28:15; Matthew 25:36; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 22:14; Joshua 1:5; Romans 14:17; Colossians 2:4

The Mediator’s Own Blood

“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.  And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service; but into the second the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and the errors of the people: the Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;  only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed until the time of reformation.
But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  And for this cause He is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.  For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.  For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives.
Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.  For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the testament which God has given unto you.’  Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission; therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world has He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:1-28

REFERENCES: 3:1; 5:3; 6:19; 8:5; 9:7; Exodus 16:33; 24:5, 8; 25:8, 18; 26:31; 29:12; 30:10; Leviticus 14:4; 16:2; Numbers 28:3; Daniel 9:24; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:14; Romans 3:25; 1 Timothy 2:5; Galations 3:15; Genesis 3:19; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 26:28; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 2:24

Jesus – The Anchor of the Soul

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  And this will we do, if God permit.  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.  For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs fit for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: but that which bears thorns and briers rejected, and nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.  But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.  And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: that you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’  And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.  For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil; where the Forerunner is for us entered, Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”  Hebrews 6:1-20

REFERENCES: 2:5; 3:1; 10:29; Acts 8:14; 18:21; Psalm 65:10; Leviticus 16:15; Genesis 14:17-24; John 14:1-6

Captain of Our Salvation

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.  For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will?
For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.  But one in a certain place testified, saying,
‘What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that You visited him? You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of Your hands: You have put all things in subjection under his feet.’
For in that He put all in subjection under him, he left nothing not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.  For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  For both He that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,

‘I will declare your name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto you.’

And again,

‘I will put my trust in Him.’

And again,

‘Behold I and the children which God has given Me.’

Since then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.  For verily He took not on angels; but He took on the seed of Abraham.  Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.  For in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to rescue them that are tempted.”  Hebrews 2:1-18

REFERENCES: Numbers 15:30; Matthew 4:17; 28:10, 18; Luke 1:2, 74; Mark 16:20; Psalm 22:22; John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:54

For Christ’s Sake, Do Your Brother Well

“Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer, and to beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith, which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.  For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by you, brother.
Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin you that which is convenient, yet for love’s sake I rather beseech, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.  I beseech you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: which in time past was to you unprofitable, but now profitable to you and to me: whom I have sent again: you therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: whom I would have retained with me, that in your stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: but without your mind would I do nothing; that your benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.  For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that you should receive him for ever; not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto you, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
If you count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.  If he has wronged you, or owes anything, put that on my account; I Paul have written with mine own hand, I will repay, because I do not say to you, how you owe unto me even your own self besides.  Yea, brother, let me have joy of you in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.  Having confidence in your obedience I wrote unto you, knowing that you will also do more than I say. But immediately prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.
There, you salute Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow laborers.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Philemon 1:1-25

REFERENCES: Ephesians 1:2; 3:1; 2 Corinthians 7:13; 9:7; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 16:17; Colossians 4:9; Genesis 45:5

Teaching a Young Pastor

“But you speak the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.  The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, discretion, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
In all things showing yourself a pattern of good works: in doctrine uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.  Servants to be obedient unto their own masters, to please well in all; not answering again; not stealing, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise you.”  Titus 2:1-15

REFERENCES: 1 Timothy 2:9; 4:12; 1 Peter 3:3; 5:3; Ephesians 5:24; 6:24; Nehemiah 5:9; Matthew 5:16; Luke 3:6; Romans 5:15; Acts 24:15; 2 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 9:28

Power, Love, and a Sound Mind

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of you in my prayers night and day; greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy; when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in you also.
Wherefore I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands.  For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
You, be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but you be partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,  but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.  Hold fast the form of sound words, which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
That good thing which was committed unto you keep by the Holy Ghost which dwells in us.  This you know, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: but, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.  The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, you know very well.”  2 Timothy 1:1-18

REFERENCES: 2 Corinthians 1:1; Titus 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2, 10; Acts 9:15; 16:1; 19:10; 22:3; Galatians 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 4:7; 5:19; Romans 1:16; 2:20; 3:20; 16:26; 1 Peter 1:20; Matthew 5:7; 25:34; Ephesians 6:20