Faithfulness and Truth

“O LORD, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will praise Thy name; for Thou hast done wonderful things; Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” Isaiah 25:1 (KJB)

The prophet Isaiah has warned the Judah and Israel of the coming Babylonian invasion, and the judgment God will not only bring on His own people, but that which will come on Babylon as well.

Isaiah knows that the word of the Lord GOD is being spoken.  He exalts the LORD in these words, and the following as well.

May we, the followers of Christ Jesus, in 2019 rejoice in God our Savior who does judge all sin; rejoicing in His faithfulness and His Truth.  His counsels of old, His plans and purposes planned long ago are faithful and true.  Since that be so.  Since that be true; then so it is for today as well.

Remember, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13). Call on the name of the One who bled and died on the cross for our redemption, was buried, and rose again.  His name is Jesus the Christ – Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11).

Have a Blessed Lord’s Day.

Eternal Life

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

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

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

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

The High Priest of Good Things to Come

“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 us.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth 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?” Hebrews 9:11-14 (KJB)

Chapters 7 – 9 of Hebrews deals much with the priesthood of a mysterious man, called the High Priest of God in Genesis 14; Melchizedek. The priesthood of Jesus far exceeds even Melchizedek.

The following study is one I shared from Genesis 14, and I pray will aid us in seeing better “The High Priest in Good Things to Come”…

LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS (3)

“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the Most High God. And he blessed him [Abram], and said, ‘Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth: And blesssed be the Most High God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abram] gave him tithes of all.” (Genesis 14:18-20).

We can see Jesus on every page of Scripture when we have the heart for Him. We have seen Him in creation. We have seen Him in the fall of Adam and Eve, and in God’s provision for them through the death of the victims of that first sin of rebellion. Now I want us to see a shadow of Christ in the person who is named above. That is Melchizedek, king of Salem.. Just who is this king of Salem. He is a mysterious character who is mentioned only about three times in all of Scripture. He is first mentioned in the above text. He is mentioned again in Psalm 110:4, and then, there is practically a whole chapter in the book of Hebrews dealing with him. He is a shadow of Jesus in His priesthood.

Jesus’ priesthood is not after that of the Levitical system. He is like that of Melchizedek whose priesthood was unchanging.

The Levitical system required a changing priesthood. Hebrews speaking of Melchizedek says,

“Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” Hebrews 7:3

Let me try and make this as simple and easy to understand as I possibly can.

The system of the Levitical priest required a continuing offering for sacrifice. The priests had daily duties to fulfill for themselves, and for the people concerning their sins. Daily they would offer a burnt offering at the altar of burnt offering, wash their hands and feet at the brass laver, then proceed to the lampstand (Menorah) making sure there was plenty of oil, and then putting fresh bread on the table of showbread, and keeping the altar of incense fragrant before Holy God. It was a daily task. Once each year the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies with the blood sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat, which served as a cover for the Ark of the covenant. Now, I do not know about you, but it would have been very difficult for me to remember all of that ritual ceremony. It would have been amazing just to get out of the tabernacle alive. Daily offerings, daily sacrifices, daily ministry in the holy place, and no place to rest. That is right there is no place to sit down. The duties of the Levitical priesthood was never finished. There was also a change which happened within the priesthood. There would be a new priest ever so often.

The priesthood of Melchizedek was eternal in type, because there is no genealogy for him – “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life…”. It is my opinion that there is no record of Melchizedek’s lineage for this specific purpose – Scriptures are inspired by God. He gave us what we needed to know.

He was a Gentile, because there were no Jewish people as of yet. He is said to be the Priest of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth. He was appointed a priest by God.

It is a promise given to the Son of God,

“The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4).

The Priesthood of Jesus is unchanging.

“…But this man [Jesus], because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them…” (Hebrews 7:24-25).

Jesus finished the work of salvation. He has entered the Holy of Holies. The veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom to show us that, now there is a way to God. This happened as Jesus became the sacrifice for sin, died, taking the wrath of the Father for the judgment of sin. This was what all the sacrifices of the lambs, goats, bulls, red heifers, doves, and unleavened cakes were about. Jesus fulfilled the demands of the law.

When the sacrifice was finished and Jesus was in the Most Holy Place He sat down. That is why, “There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin…” (Hebrews 10:26). When you have trusted Jesus the work for salvation is done. How do we know Jesus sat down? When Stephen was being killed by the angry mob, we see Him “standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56), which in my thinking means, that before the event with Stephen, He would have been seated at God’s right hand.

There is so much more that could be written of Melchizedek and his being a shadow of Jesus, but I will not attempt to go any further. Trusting Jesus and His finished work on the cross will give you an unchanging Priest, who cares for you, who intercedes for you, and will see that you will spend eternity with Him.

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).

This Jesus

“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” Acts 2:32 (KJB)

There have been and still are many ways the name “Jesus” is said, used, and abused.  There are, in fact, many Jesus’s in this world, and there always has been.  When you speak of Jesus which one do you make reference of?

The One in our text is the One who came as a Suffering Servant/King.  He came into this world just as we all do, by birth from His mother’s womb.  His conception was far different from ours.  His Father was Jehovah/YHWH the All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and All-Present One; the Immutable One – He never changes.

The One of whom I write this morning is the One who was despised of mankind, hated, mocked, spit upon, falsely accused of blasphemy, and doing good.

“This Jesus” took upon Himself willingly all the sins of the world.  All of my sins; all of your sins and was judged by the Judge of the universe as a sinner; yet He Himself was without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was buried in a borrowed tomb. He arose and came out of that grave.  No one has ever found His body. There is none to find.  He is alive

This Jesus is the Jesus of whom Peter is speaking in Acts 2.  When Peter says, “…Whereof we all are witnesses” he is speaking of the apostles, and those who saw the resurrected Jesus.

Those of us who believe in “This Jesus” today are also witnesses of the crucified, buried, and resurrected Jesus.  Though we have not seen Him, yet, we have seen the fruits of His Spirit, and the power of the spiritual gifts He gives all who have come to Him.

Let us choose to be vibrant, diligent, faithful, holy, witnesses for This Jesus.

The Glory of the Father and the Son

“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” John 17:4-5  (KJB)

Glorify the Lord. Now that is a grand statement, and it is one that describes how our lives are to be. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” How can we who are born sinners, then, glorify the Lord? Of ourselves we cannot.

Now that is a bold statement coming from a man who some would say, and are saying that He is not deity. No mere man could make such a claim, but Jesus does in His prayer to the Father. How could He make such a claim were He not equal with the Father? He could not. It would be the height of pride and arrogance for anyone else to say such a thing. It would be next door to blasphemy.

To glorify the Lord would be to be obedient to Him in all things, and fulfill every thing that God has for you and me to do. There would be no disobedience. There would be no mistakes. There would be a life completely “Sold out” to doing the Father’s business. Jesus has lived a life of complete obedience to all the Father had for Him to do, and all the way to Calvary; the cross of sacrifice.

The desire of every Christian is to live for the glory of the Lord. The only way of doing that is to live the life of Christ in you, the hope of glory. We do that by realizing that it was by the sacrifice of the life of Jesus that God has reconciled us to Himself, and given us means to glorify Him in Jesus.

Notice the faith and confidence in Jesus’s praying. He is eternal with the Father. He possessed glory before the world, or the universe ever was. His glory is His greatness, His power, His strength, His song, His priority. His Father’s glory. Where I have fallen short; where you have fallen short of His glory; Jesus is the Father’s glory.

Jesus is praying for His own glory. It seems quite clear. This is His High Priest prayer, and He has come to accomplish His Father’s glory by the sacrifice of Himself for all the world. The task He came to do required that He lay His creation glory aside, take on the flesh of man, and die. How can God die? He cannot. Becoming flesh He could become sin, paying the price of sin, being put to death – the penalty for sin – and then rise again victoriously over death.

The glory is seen by His resurrection from the grave. The Father restores His glory in the resurrection, and He is alive for all the world to see. Did the Father answer His prayer; this prayer? Most assuredly He did; and is every day.

Jesus is alive and in His glory.

One Shepherd, One Flock

“As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, one shepherd.” John 10:15-16  (KJB)

The current “Fold” of whom Jesus is speaking is the people of Israel.  Only those who would hear Him, believe Him, and follow Him.  In the days following His death for the fold there would be added to the fold or flock others from the Gentile world.

All would be under the authority, and leadership of one Shepherd.  His name is Jesus who died to redeem a people unto Himself; both from Israel, and the surrounding nations.

Have you been redeemed? Are you in His fold?

Hearing and Doing

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, ‘If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31-32 (KJB)

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47

Verses 31 and 32 were spoken to seems to have believed in Him, but they could not see themselves as being in bondage; even while they as a people were enslaved to the Roman empire.

The words of verse 47 seems to show that they were not hearing God’s word to the point that Jesus was teaching. To “Continue” in His word is to live, to abide in it; making it every bit a part of one’s life.  Many of these leaders of religion could quote the whole law, but did not rest in neither trust their God and only Savior.

They were in fact still bound by the law which condemns them, and shows them their is only one hope.  That hope is found by means of a single sacrifice for sin.

That single sacrifice for sin was given when Jesus went to the cross and died for the sins of the world.

Do you want to be free, truly free?  Then, the only way is through the death, burial, and resurrection of the God-Man Christ Jesus.  He forever lives.  This is God’s grace.  Grace is not free.  It was paid for with the life of God’s own Son.

Now, what are you going to do with that information?

Life

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.  For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
  John 5:24-29  (KJB)

Life began with God. Life continues into eternity by Him and with Him.  I believe everyone has a desire to live forever. That, is a God-given thing for all of Adam kind.  Some seek life and living through science, and medical means.  We all fight against sickness and diseases of all kinds for life.  Eventually our fight with these things must give way to death.  Sad, but true.

We are frail, failing, fallen beings in need of grace, and help from our Creator.

I have Good News for you today.  You can live forever.

Did you read the words of Jesus above?  If you hear His words, and believe on Him that sent Him you have everlasting, or eternal life; there is no condemnation to any who have believed Him (Romans 8:1), and they have passed from death to LIFE.

There is much to take in those six verses of Scripture.  Life is what Jesus offers.  Eternal life is what He gives to any and all who will hear His word and believe.

My question for you right now is; Which resurrection will you be in?  The first one or the last one.  The first is the resurrection of the Just – those who have been declared just by God because of His Son.  The second is the resurrection of the unjust, the wicked who have rejected God and His grace.

See Revelation 20:5-6 and 20:12-15.

Through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Son of Man, and God the Son there is LIFE for all who will hear.

The Green Tree, and the Dry

“And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him.  But Jesus turning unto them said,
‘Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.  For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.’ Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us;’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?’” Luke 23:27-31  (KJB)

This event and Jesus’s words are only spoken here in Luke’s account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He has spoken similar words in teaching the disciples in Matthew 24 – 25, and in portions of Mark, and John; but not directly as a warning for those who are following behind Him as He goes to His death.

These “Daughters of Jerusalem” are not of those who love Him, and have spent time with Him for verse 49 of this same chapter says,

“And all His acquaintance, and the women that followed Him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.” v. 49

These were women of the city of Jerusalem who had heard of His mighty works, His authority in God’s words, and His deeds; but had never committed to Him. Jesus warns them of a time coming in the not distant future for them that would cause them to cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, because the judgment was so severe.

If you would read the prophet Isaiah, and chapter 2 you would see some of these same words from the word of God spoken by the prophet.

Just to explain the “green tree” and the “dry”….  Jesus is the green tree and they were killing Him, He is alive.  The dry was Israel or Jerusalem; a worse time was coming for them.

Why are these words important for the Christian of 2019?  Do they have any importance for the unbelieving of 2019?

To answer the first question for the Christian it should be a wakeup call for us to be diligent in living for Christ, reading the Scriptures [Holy Bible], applying its teachings to our lives,  praying for daily filling of the Spirit of God, and being a vibrant witness for Jesus to  a lost and dying world.  Remember the words of Jesus,

“…Lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.” Luke 21:28

To answer the second, it is important for your life, your eternal soul that you heed the words of Jesus.  Those women of Jerusalem had heard of Jesus, maybe even recognized Him as a good man, great teacher and prophet, but were experiencing great emotion about His death; but yet did not believe Him.  Maybe one reading this feels badly concerning the illegal, manufactured, lying judgments brought against Jesus, and the sentence given this guiltless Man; yet, you have not called on His name for salvation.  Will you do so today?

Jesus went on to the cross, laid Himself down on it, and died for our sins.  He was taken down from the cross dead, and was buried in a borrowed tomb.  Three days later He came out of that grave alive.  You can trust Him.  Believe Him.  Receive Him.

The Teaching of Jesus

“And He taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy Him, and could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.” Luke 19:47-48 (KJB)

During the final week of the life of Jesus as the God-Man walking among men He spent His days teaching in the temple, going out at night to the Mount of Olives to rest and pray (Luke 21:37).

In reading Luke 19 – 21 today I noticed many things about His teaching.  He taught some new parables of the kingdom, some warning the religious rulers of their impending loss of the kingdom.

He also took note of the generous heart of a widow who gave more than all, because she gave all she had.  People listened.  They were attentive; you might even say they hung onto every word He said.

No man taught like this Man; neither do any of 2019 in any part of the world; though some probably think they do.

I tend to believe that those who were seeking to destroy Him were jealous of His power of conviction, passion for God and His word, and love for the people.

Do you love the teachings of Jesus?  There might be some who will say, “But how can I hear the teachings of Jesus?”  There is only one answer to that question.  Pick up the Scriptures called the Holy Bible, and start reading, then you will hear the teachings  of Jesus.  If you are new to reading the Bible, then begin with the Gospels – Matthew through John.  You will be drawn to Him if you have a sincere heart to know Him.

Jesus came to die for you and me.  He died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  Hear Him, believe Him, trust Him.

Two Went to Pray

“And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’
”  Luke 18:9-14  (KJB)

Two men are mentioned who went to pray.  That is not to say that it could be members of the feminine sex as well, because there are those two kinds of women as well.

One full of themselves; and the other repentant and humble, realizing they are in need of God’s bountiful grace and mercy.

The Pharisee knew the law, and exalted himself in his own purity, and talk about judging others unjustly; this Pharisee certainly did.  He saw himself as better than the publican.  The Pharisee being a “great” religious leader.

The publican (not Republican), was a despised, and hated tax collector.  He gathered taxes from his own people (the Hebrews), and many counted them as traitors to Israel.  Matthew was a tax collector when Jesus called him to follow, and he left his table and followed Jesus (Matthew 9:9; 10:3).

It is the heart that our Lord sees. Repentance, humility, before the throne of God is what He desires.

God does not hear neither grant request from an arrogant and prideful heart.  It was the hated, despised tax collector who went home justified by God.

The apostle Paul writing on the matter of Justification said,,,

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2

It is by God’s own declaration of justification that we are made just; not our own.  Who then are made just?  Those who come before the cross of Jesus Christ, lost, lonely, sinful, broken, and ashamed, and plead for His mercy, love, and grace.

Christ, The Son Of The Blessed

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Innocent One: Condemned and Spat Upon

“Then did they spit in His face, and buffeted Him; and others smote with the palms of their hands…” Matthew 26:67  (KJB)

As I read these words this morning it grieved my heart and soul.  It does so many times when I see men and women do the things they do to one another that are vile, wicked, and evil.

This act of spitting on another human being is an insult to us.  It is degrading.  It is a disgusting act of hatred clear and simple.  However,  we are speaking here of the One who is our Creator;  “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3).

Notice that this is after His rigged trial, the “judges” sought for false witnesses, and could find none, and “convicted” Him purely out of envy (Matthew 27:18).  The religious leaders could not stand the fact that Jesus had authority with God that they did not have.  They were envious of His peace, His joy, His power, and His followers.

Upon the guilty “verdict” those who held Him turned on Him and began spitting in His face.  This did not deter Him from His work.  This did not turn Him to hate those who hated Him.

They “buffeted Him” which means; according to many; they struck him with their fists.  Really brave souls there, don’t you think?  Beating a man with his hands tied.

Some of them “smote” Him, meaning they slapped His face with an open hand.

Sadly, there are many in our world today who would still humiliate our Savior by spitting in His face, beat Him with their fist, and slap His beautiful face of love.

He went on to the cross willingly.  He willingly laid down His life that those who would be saved, could be saved.  He paid the price for our redemption.  He paid for your redemption.  There is no other redemption from sin except Jesus’s death on the cross.  He was also buried having taken all our sins upon Himself, carrying it all away. Then He rose from the dead proving that He is everything He said (Romans 1:3-4).

Because He lives we have eternal life.  Believe His word.  Believe Him.

Take It By Force

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

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

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

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

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

While We Were Yet Sinners

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Romans 5:1-11  (KJB)

The Righteousness of God Revealed; The Just Shall Live By Faith

“So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed unto them.  For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”  Romans 1:15-21

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
The God of the Jews only? Not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:20-31  (KJB)

Grace in Dispute

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

The Good News For All Who Will Hear

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, ‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is Lord of all:) that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God the Judge of quick and dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.’
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. Acts 10:34-44

Letting the World Know

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.
For David speaketh concerning Him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; Thou shalt make me full of joy with Thy countenance.
Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thy foes Thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”  Acts 2:22-36  (KJB)

The Ministry of the New Born Prophet

“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant; the oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.”  Luke 1:67-80  (KJB)

The ministry of the prophet John was strong and in the Spirit of the Lord heralding the Lord Jesus as the Messiah of Israel; and preparing many in Israel to receive Him.

That is the ministry of the Biblical preacher and pastor in 2019; declaring the Lord Jesus, His life, His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection.  If we let ourselves stand in the way…  Well you finish the sentence.

Lift up the Dayspring.  He is Jesus.

He Looked Around

“And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when He had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, He went out unto Bethany with the twelve.” Mark 11:11  (KJB)

This was during the week of His presentation, and the giving of His gift from God to Adam kind; the gift of His life.  His public presentation as King was received by many, as He came in on the donkey; with people singing and saying

“Hosanna: Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that comes in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” Mark 11:9-10

We are told in verse 11 that He came to Jerusalem, and entered the temple. He looked around.  Of these words John Gill wrote…

and when he had looked round about upon all things; that is, in the temple, as the Lord and proprietor of it; and made a thorough visitation of it, and search into it, and corrected what was amiss in it:” John Gill

Jesus is Lord and Proprietor of the temple.  Today the temple of the Lord is each individual who has been redeemed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and secured by the resurrection of Christ from the grave (1 Corinthians 3:17; 6:19).

He is in you.  He is in me.  He is in us who confess Him as our Lord and Savior. He has every right and authority to look around in His temple.  He will lead us in the paths of righteousness as we yield to His word and Holy Spirit.

Believe Him

When the New Comes

“And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto Him, ‘Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Thy disciples fast not?’ And Jesus said unto them, ‘Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.’
” Mark 2:18-22  (KJB)

The religious leaders of Jerusalem, of Israel, had made traditions laws; and those traditions were in many cases loopholes around the law of Moses.  Of course the Pharisees held the law of Moses in high esteem, but then violated it; and that is what Jesus is confronting.

The question was asked about fasting. From the previous verses we see that it was the scribes and Pharisees who were asking Jesus this question.  They needed the confrontation.  O, if only they would have heard.

There are two New things which Jesus mentions; the first is a “New cloth”.  The old garment was the old religion of the Hebrews which had been tainted by their traditions which provided loopholes; which was mostly for those in the know about the loopholes which would have been the priests and the scribes and Pharisees.  Jesus confronted their sin.  You cannot sew a new piece of cloth onto a old piece of clothing with a good outcome.  When you wash the garment the new piece will shrink, and tear the old garment, because the old does not shrink.  Jesus brought in, brought us the new way of faith and life, fulfilling the law to the max.

The second New thing is “New wine”.  Old wine skins have reached their max with the fermentation process, so new wine skins would be needed for new wine.  The Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) is given to all who are born again in Christ Jesus and His finished work on Calvary. The New wine is a picture of that work of the Spirit of God making us new in Him.  He is not available for those who refuse to repent of their sins, and refuse to trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Like the New wine needs in a new wine skin, so too does the Spirit of God work in a new heart given to Christ.

Do You Think That I Cannot Now Pray?

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

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

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

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

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

Up To Jerusalem

The way to Jerusalem is always up.  You never hear of going over to Jerusalem, down to Jerusalem; but always up.  For Jesus this trek to the city would be His final one before He is crucified.  Now He; one more time; tell His disciples what is about to happen…

“And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify: and the third day He shall rise again.’” Matthew 20:17-19  (KJB)

He is willingly going to face the accusers, and the Roman governor, and giving His life for the world (John 3:16).  The following is the commentary of John Gill on verse 19 of the above text…

And shall deliver him to the Gentiles,…. To Pilate, an Heathen governor, and to the Roman officers and soldiers under him; see Joh_18:35.

To mock him, as they did, by putting on him a scarlet robe, platting a crown of thorns, and placing it on his head, and a reed in his hand; and then bowed the knee to him, and cried, hail, king of the Jews!

and to scourge him: as he was by Pilate, at least by his orders: Mark adds, “and spit upon him”; as not only did the Jews in the palace of the high priest, but also the Gentiles, the Roman soldiers, after they had mocked him in the manner before described:

and to crucify him: which, as it was a cruel and shameful death, such as slaves and the worst of malefactors were put to, so it was a Roman one; for which reason, the Jews choose to deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. The Persic version here adds, “and put him into the grave”: which though it followed his crucifixion, was not done by the Gentiles, but by Joseph of Arimathea, a Jew, and a disciple of Jesus; and that not in a contemptuous, but honourable manner

and the third day he shall rise again: this he said for the comfort of his disciples; but now, though these things were so clearly and distinctly expressed by Christ, and which show his omniscience, and give proof both of his deity and Messiahship, yet Luke observes of the disciples, “that they understood none of these things, and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken”: the words were plain, the grammatical sense of them was easy, but they could not imagine that they were to be taken literally; which was such a glaring contradiction to their received and rooted principles of the temporal kingdom of the Messiah, and the grandeur of it, that they fancied these expressions carried a mystical, secret meaning in them, which they were not masters of: and certain it is, that what our Lord now said, was so far from destroying, or weakening these prejudices of theirs, that it rather confirmed them in them; particularly, what he said about rising again, which seemed to have put them afresh in mind, and to excite their hopes of this external felicity, as appears from the following case.” John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

Jesus went up to Jerusalem to die for you and me, so that we might be redeemed unto the Creator of all that is; and have fellowship with Him.  Will you take up your cross and follow Him?

 

Missing The Sign

“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired Him that He would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.” Matthew 16:1-4

The Sign of all signs was standing in front of them. The Sign was the One whom they was challenging, confronting; and so rudely. These were men who should have known – the Pharisees and Sadducees; men of the Bible, the Law and the Prophets, and they could quote it. That only proves that being able to quote the Bible does not guarantee you a spot in heaven.

These were men who had seen Jesus do many mighty things.  He had made the lame to walk, opened the eyes of the blind, and raised a dead girl to life; just to name a few.  Yet they wanted a sign from heaven.

Would they have believed if He had given them one?  NO!  Jesus knew that.  They would not believe even though one would rise from the dead (Luke 16:31).

What about you?  What will it take to convince you that Jesus Himself is the Sign sent from God; that He is the gift of God for eternal life?  The sign is that He went to the cross to die for the sins of the world, made atonement for us; He was buried, and He arose from that grave, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.

Do not Miss The Sign.

The Sick and The Sinner

“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He saith unto him, ‘Follow Me.’ And he arose, and followed Him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, ‘Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?’
But when Jesus heard, He said unto them, ‘They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’” Matthew 9:9-13  (KJB)

What do the sick and the sinner have in common?  When the sick know they are sick they will; at least in most cases; seek out a physician or someone who can help them.  When the sinner realizes they are a sinner they will seek for a savior; for someone who can and will deliver them from their sin.

In the above verses Jesus had just called a publican [tax collector] to Himself.  His name is Matthew.  Mark and Luke call him Levi.  He is a Hebrew collecting taxes from his own people.  Many of the Hebrew people; especially the Pharisees despised the Jewish men who did such a thing.

The Pharisees also rejected and despised Jesus.  Many of the people who came to Jesus were those who were rejected by the religious hierarchy, sick, weak, hungry, fearful, despised, and rejected by many others.

My summation of the above is this: When you know you are sick you will seek for help; when you know you are lost you will seek help; when you know you are a sinner you will seek for a savior.  There is no help or savior for those who are safe and secure within themselves.

Before you can be delivered from your sin you must realize you are a sinner.  Jesus Christ is the only one who bled and died on the cross for your sins and mine; He was buried, and He rose again.  Trust in Him and His work on the cross; believe Him and be saved.

The Unknowing Prophet

“Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him.
But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, ‘What do we? For this Man doeth many miracles. If we let Him thus alone, all will believe on Him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.’ And one of them, Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, ‘Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.’ And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put Him to death.
Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with His disciples.” John 11:45-54  (KJB)

I wonder sometimes how many times an unbelieving man or woman has made a prophetic statement, and not even realized that what they said was prophetic, and would come to pass?  The high priest, Caiaphas, was such a man.  His prophecy came as a hatred for Jesus and His followers, but it was fulfilled, and is still being fulfilled in every detail

Hear what F. B. Meyer says…

The friends of the family who had come to lament with them, were disposed toward Jesus and believed; but the mere spectators hastened with the news, to inflame the hatred of the Pharisees. The Romans dreaded the power acquired by permanent office, and often exchanged one high priest for another. Hence the expression, being high priest that year. By his vote Caiaphas may be said to have appointed and sacrificed his victim, who in that memorable year was to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease. See Dan_9:24; Dan_9:27.
Caiaphas professed to fear that Jesus would presently gain such an ascendency over the people as to lead a revolt against Rome, which would cause a deluge of blood in which the whole nation would perish. Therefore he recommended that they should compass the death of Jesus. But, as the evangelist puts it, he spoke more widely and truly than he knew, because the death of Jesus is gathering into one the children of God who are scattered abroad-that is, the heathen who were living up to their light, as in Joh_10:16 -that of the twain He might make one new man.” F. B. Meyer THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ today, and call on His name, and you will live eternally with Him.

When You Hear the Father

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

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

Believing Him

“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him for the saying of the woman, which testified, ‘He told me all that ever I did.’ So when the Samaritans were come unto Him, they besought Him that He would tarry with them: and He abode there two days.
And many more believed because of His own word; and said unto the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.'” John 4:39-42  (KJB)

It is the testimony of Scripture that Jesus went through the land of Samaria; a forbidden journey for the Jew; and by Divine providence encountered this woman at the well. He told her all that she had ever done (that is her testimony in verse 39).

She is so excited she forgot what she came to the well for; because she had met the One who gave her living water.  You know she did leave her waterpot behind (John 4:28).

People of the city came out to meet this Man who knew people’s hearts, minds, and their lives.  No one could do that except Deity – the One True God.

When the people meet Jesus their minds, and hearts are persuaded by His words.  The woman who first believed told where to find Him, and they heard Him and believed.

One of the first things the Christian does upon our salvation, our coming to faith in Him, is that we want to tell people about Him.  People need to know the Lord God.  We know the Way.  Let us love Jesus so much that we cannot keep our mouths shut concerning Him.  We cannot make people believe; neither do we desire to force them, or make them; but we can tell them.  Then possibly they be Believing Him and loving Him.

The Gate

“And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto Him, ‘Lord, are there few that be saved?’ And He said unto them, ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and He shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and the west, and from the north, and the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.’” Luke 13:22-30  (KJB)

The gate is narrow.  Jesus speaks of the narrow gate in another place as well (Matthew 7:13-14) which seems to imply with difficulty, due to blockages, hindrances, or obstacles in the way.

The needle’s eye passage of Scripture could apply here as well,

Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24

Though this passage is speaking directly of the rich who are encumbered with the dangers of wealth toward the spirit; it can also apply to the religious but lost crowd.  Letting, like the Pharisees, the knowledge of Scripture, theology, and pride keep them from knowing the Person of the great salvation that is available to all who will receive Him as a little child.

The end result of rejecting God’s plan of grace and salvation is not good.  Read again the words of Jesus.  Jesus is God’s plan of grace and salvation.

The Greatest

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

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

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

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

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

Access to Heaven Gained

“And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is, being interpreted, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, ‘Behold, he calleth Elias.’ And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink, saying, ‘Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.’ And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.”  Mark 15:33-39 (KJB)

For three hours Jesus experienced the darkest time of His life as a Man.  He spent it separated from His Father. Up to this point when He spoke to the Father He always called Him “Father”; in this prayer, an exact quotation from Psalm 22, Jesus calls Him “My God”, asking why He has been forsaken.

Jesus had become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and had just been judged for the sins of the world.

When Jesus cried and gave up His spirit to the Father we are told that “…the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom”.  That tells us no man tore the veil which separated the Holy place in the temple from the Holy of Holies, the place where the ark of the covenant would be placed had it been present.  The tearing of the veil by God shows that through the death of Jesus all of Adam kind now has access to God and Heaven.

Access to God is only gained through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God the Son.

Blessings Under the Table

“And from thence He arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of Him, and came and fell at His feet: the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought Him that He would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
But Jesus said unto her, ‘Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.’ And she answered and said unto Him, ‘Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.’ And He said unto her, ‘For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.’
And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.” Mark 7:24-30  (KJB)

For the commentary today I turn to Alexander MacLaren’s Expositions of Holy Scripture…

“CHILDREN AND LITTLE DOGS
Our Lord desired to withdraw from the excited crowds who were flocking after Him as a mere miracle-worker and from the hostile espionage of emissaries of the Pharisees, ‘which had come from Jerusalem.’ Therefore He sought seclusion in heathen territory. He, too, knew the need of quiet, and felt the longing to plunge into privacy, to escape for a time from the pressure of admirers and of foes, and to go where no man knew Him. How near to us that brings Him! And how the remembrance of it helps to explain His demeanour to the Syrophcenician woman, so unlike His usual tone! Naturally the presence of Jesus leaked out, and perhaps the very effort to avoid notice attracted it. Rumour would have carried His name across the border, and the tidings of His being among them would stir hope in some hearts that felt the need of His help. Of such was this woman, whom Mark describes first, generally, as a ‘Greek’ (that is, a Gentile), and then particularly as ‘a Syrophcenician by race’; that is, one of that branch of the Phoenician race who inhabited maritime Syria, in contradistinction from the other branch inhabiting North-eastern Africa, Carthage, and its neighbourhood. Her deep need made her bold and persistent, as we learn in detail from Matthew, who is in this narrative more graphic than Mark. He tells us that she attacked Jesus in the way, and followed Him, pouring out her loud petitions, to the annoyance of the disciples. They thought that they were carrying out His wish for privacy in suggesting that it would be best to ‘send her away’ with her prayer granted, and so stop her ‘crying after us,’ which might raise a crowd, and defeat the wish. We owe to Matthew the further facts of the woman’s recognition of Jesus as ‘the Son of David,’ and of the strange ignoring of her cries, and of His answer to the disciples’ suggestion, in which He limited His mission to Israel, and so explained to them His silence to her. Mark omits all these points, and focuses all the light on the two things-Christ’s strange and apparently harsh refusal, and the woman’s answer, which won her cause.
Certainly our Lord’s words are startlingly unlike Him, and as startlingly like the Jewish pride of race and contempt for Gentiles. But that the woman did not take them so is clear; and that was not due only to her faith, but to something in Him which gave her faith a foothold. We are surely not to suppose that she drew from His words an inference which He did not perceive in them, and that He was, as some commentators put it, ‘caught in His own words.’ Mark alone gives us the first clause of Christ’s answer to the woman’s petition: ‘Let the children first be filled.’ And that ‘first’ distinctly says that their prerogative is priority, not monopoly. If there is a ‘first,’ there will follow a second. The very image of the great house in which the children sit at the table, and the ‘little dogs’ are in the room, implies that children and dogs are part of one household; and Jesus meant by it just what the woman found in it,-the assurance that the meal-time for the dogs would come when the children had done. That is but a picturesque way of stating the method of divine revelation through the medium of the chosen people, and the objections to Christ’s words come at last to be objections to the ‘committing’ of the ‘oracles of God’ to the Jewish race; that is to say, objections to the only possible way by which a historical revelation could be given. It must have personal mediums, a place and a sequence. It must prepare fit vehicles for itself and gradually grow in clearness and contents. And all this is just to say that revelation for the world must be first the possession of a race. The fire must have a hearth on which it can be kindled and burn, till it is sufficient to bear being carried thence.
Universalism was the goal of the necessary restriction. Pharisaism sought to make the restriction permanent. Jesus really threw open the gates to all in this very saying, which at first sounds so harsh. ‘First’ implies second, children and little dogs are all parts of the one household. Christ’s personal ministry was confined to Israel for obvious and weighty reasons. He felt, as Matthew tells us, that He said in this incident that He was not sent but to the lost sheep of that nation. But His world-wide mission was as clear to Him as its temporary limit, and in His first discourse in the synagogue at Nazareth He proclaimed it to a scowling crowd. We cannot doubt that His sympathetic heart yearned over this poor woman, and His seemingly rough speech was meant partly to honour the law which ruled His mission even in the act of making an exception to it, and partly to test, and so to increase, her faith.
Her swift laying of her finger on the vulnerable point in the apparent refusal of her prayer may have been due to a woman’s quick wit, but it was much more due to a mother’s misery and to a suppliant’s faith. There must have been something in Christ’s look, or in the cadence of His voice, which helped to soften the surface harshness of His words, and emboldened her to confront Him with the plain implications of His own words. What a constellation of graces sparkles in her ready reply! There is humility in accepting the place He gives her; insight in seeing at once a new plea in what might have sent her away despairing; persistence in pleading; confidence that He can grant her request and that He would gladly do so. Our Lord’s treatment of her was amply justified by its effects. His words were like the hard steel that strikes the flint and brings out a shower of sparks. Faith makes obstacles into helps, and stones of stumbling into ‘stepping-stones to higher things.’ If we will take the place which He gives us, and hold fast our trust in Him even when He seems silent to us, and will so far penetrate His designs as to find the hidden purpose of good in apparent repulses, the honey secreted deep in the flower, we shall share in this woman’s blessing in the measure in which we share in her faith.
Jesus obviously delighted in being at liberty to stretch His commission so as to include her in its scope. Joyful recognition of the ingenuity of her pleading, and of her faith’s bringing her within the circle of the ‘children,’ are apparent in His word, ‘For this saying go thy way.’ He ever looks for the disposition in us which will let Him, in accordance with His great purpose, pour on us His full-flowing tide of blessing, and nothing gladdens Him more than that, by humble acceptance of our assigned place, and persistent pleading, and trust that will not be shaken, we should make it possible for Him to see in us recipients of His mercy and healing grace.” EXPOSITIONS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE Alexander MacLaren

Be Not Afraid, Only Believe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (5)

The Beginning of Sin

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Genesis 3:1-24 (KJV)

Words of the Prophets – Moses and Jude

Lineages of Cain and Seth

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

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

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

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

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

Not Charged

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” Psalm 32:1-2 (KJB)

What a blessed gift it is to receive.  We are all thrilled when we receive a gift from someone that is beyond our wildest expectations. We are awed.  We might even tear up, with tears of extreme joy.

The above verses are dealing with a thing which is eternal; and is totally beyond our wildest imaginations, or expectations; to be forgiven, and to be accounted as not guilty even though we are.

How can this be so?  The Creator of the universe, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).  Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Son took all of our iniquities, our sins, our transgressions of the law, and He bore the wrath of God that all our sins debt might be paid in full.

When we believe Him, and trust that His finished work is done God declares each believing individual “Not guilty”.  The debt is paid in full.

Call on the name of Jesus.  He will hear you, and you will be Redeemed.  You become a new person through Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Because of Jesus there will be no guile in your heart.  You will have new heart and new desires.