The Judgment of The LORD

“The just LORD is in the midst thereof; He will not do iniquity: every morning doth He bring His judgment to light, He faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.” Zephaniah 3:5 (KJB)

The LORD is always good. There is never a time when He is not.  If He were not also Holy, Just, Righteous, and Jealous He would not be good.

The people in the day of Zephaniah’s prophecy were feeling quite positive of God’s presence with them. Judah, Jerusalem was counting on the fact that God would not leave them, neither forsake them; and the prophet assures them that He is indeed in the midst of them.

The LORD in their midst did not excuse their iniquity, their sin, their rebellion against the LORD. It would rather magnify their grievous sin – at least it should have. It magnified iniquity for the prophet of God; and God used him to warn His people.

For the people of God in 2019, those who call themselves “Christian” this word is for you today.  God truly is in our midst; He will not do iniquity, and He does not rejoice in it.  While the judgment of sin has been paid for by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again; does not give you a license to sin; neither is it an excuse for sin.

It is a license to freely live for God, confessing our sin when we commit the grievous act of sin and iniquity against God (1 John 1:9).

God will judge those who refuse to accept the gift of grace through the cross of Jesus Christ.  We must never forget as a Christian, that judgment must begin at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

O that the Christian today; from the pulpit to the pew, the preacher to the man or woman who professes Jesus Christ as Savior of their lives to fall on their faces before God confessing, and repenting of their sins. Also crying out to see their sin as God does.  That would be the beginning of a great awakening in the Body of Christ.

Seek Good, Not Evil

“Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” Amos 5:14-15 (KJB)

In the year of 2019 and beyond it seems that it is getting more and more difficult for some to discern the difference between “Good” and “Evil”.  Our definition of each word will depend upon our source for making that determination.

If our source is the political system, Hollywood, the News media, or any other media then we will have varied, and wide, and wild interpretations of good and evil. These forms of information are dependent upon the ideologies, and hearts and minds of sometimes not so clear thinking individuals who have only love for themselves; and not truth.

Good and evil in the best understanding must be defined by God’s Word; the Person of God’s word is the Truth and He defines what is good and what is evil.  The Person of Truth is none other than the only begotten Son of God Jesus Christ.

If God’s Word tells us that something is “Good”, then it is good.  If He tells us that something is “Evil”, then it is evil.

It is quite clear from the reading of Scripture that God is good. It has been said, “God is good” and “God is good all the time” and “All the time God is good”.  Since He is good, then everything He says and does is good.

It becomes then quite clear that since God is good He is the only One who can truly define evil, what it is, and where it comes from; so when God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desparately wicked. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then we can rest assured that God knows what He is saying, that it is the truth.  We also can safely conclude that we are in need of a Savior; since we have a deceitful and wicked heart.

Amos by the word of the LORD says to “Seek good, and not evil”.  What are you seeking today.  There is good and there is evil.  Anything contrary to God and His Word is evil.  When you put your faith and trust in the work of Jesus Christ and His finished work of His death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection; then your definition of good and evil will change to agreeing with God. Seek good, and not evil.  God is good.

It Will Come

“Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, ‘Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.’ And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.” Ezekiel 33:30-33 (KJB)

“Lo, it will come.”  Just what is it that the LORD is telling Ezekiel that will come? Every word that He has given the prophet to speak will come to pass.

Many of the people of Israel loved to hear the words Ezekiel proclaimed. They loved the illustrations, the symbolism he used, the metaphorical emphasis that he used in his preaching; but they really did not hear, neither did they do them.

There are many today who love to hear a “good” sermon; the stories, the illustrations, life situations, and narratives that the preachers use in their Sunday morning messages; but is it because they are being entertained, or do the words they here; do the words you and I hear affect change in the life of the hearer? Do we grieve over our sin, repent, and walk out of that worship having truly worshiped Holy God, and having experienced a changed life?

Be sure that when the Christian preacher of 2019 is preaching the word of God, rightly dividing the word of truth, then it will come to pass, just as God has spoken it.

Jesus Christ is the Living Truth.  He came and fulfilled all the law and commandments of God.  He died on the cross for your sins, He was buried, and He rose again.  He told us that He would come again (John 14:1-3); and He will.  If He said He will come again; It Will Come” just as He has said.

The Mark of Salvation

“And the LORD said unto him,

‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.’

And to the others He said in mine hearing,

‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.’

Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. And he said unto them,

‘Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth.’

And they went forth, and slew in the city. And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, ‘Ah Lord GOD! Wilt Thou destroy all the residue of Israel in Thy pouring out of Thy fury upon Jerusalem?” Ezekiel 9:4-8 (KJB)

From the Matthew Henry Commentary on verses 1-4:

“What this notice is. There are those that have charge over the city to destroy it, not the Chaldean armies, they are to be indeed employed in this work, but they are not the visitors, they are only the servants, or tools rather. God’s angels have received a charge now to lay that city waste, which they had long had a charge to protect and watch over. They are at hand, as destroying angels, as ministers of wrath, for every man has his destroying weapon in his hand, as the angel that kept the way of the tree of life with a flaming sword. Note, Those that have by sin made God their enemy have made the good angels their enemies too. These visitors are called and caused to draw near. Note, God has ministers of wrath always within call, always at command, invisible powers, by whom he accomplishes is purposes. The prophet is made to see this in vision, that he might with the greater assurance in his preaching denounce these judgments. God told it him with a loud voice, taught it him with a strong hand (Isa_8:11), that it might make the deeper impression upon him and that he might thus proclaim it in the people’s ears.”

As believers in 2019 we need to consider the words of the apostle Peter…

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”  1 Peter 4:17

 

I share these posts because they are what the word of the LORD has given me for the day. I would much rather share a positive thought, and maybe that would be selfish of me to always be presenting the positive of Scripture. God is the only One who sees things as they ought to be, and is working all things for our good, and His glory.

The Church of Jesus Christ is the power of God on earth when we are sound in our faith, practice, life and living in the Spirit.  However when we get away from the Scriptures, begin equating it to only the past, and believing the word is powerless, and not believing that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only power of God unto salvation; then we have become instruments of the world, and no benefit to the way of salvation.

O will you turn to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. He is the only hope for the world. Call on His name. He will hear your cry, and He will save you.

When You Ask…

“And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah.

Then called he Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, and said unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before Him; ‘If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull down, and I will plant you, and not pluck up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you. Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand. And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land.’ ” Jeremiah 42:7-12 (KJB)

First of all when you ask do not already have your mind made up what you are going to do.

That is apparently what the remnant of those left in Judah to care for the land, and the cities. With hypocritical hearts and minds they feigned wanting the will of God, so they go to the prophet Jeremiah asking him to seek the LORD’S counsel on His will.

The above verses are God’s answer to Jeremiah for the people.  It is a message of hope and promise if they will stay in the land. It is a promise that they need not fear Babylon their captors. What they need to do is do what the LORD says, and they will be protected and greatly blessed.

When we ask God’s counsel for something do we already have our minds made up of what we are going to do?  It does not matter what God says in His word we often do what we want to do.  That is a sad commentary on the life of a Christian, and it robs us of the promise, protection, and provision of the LORD our God.

When we ask, let us ask that the will of God be done.  Let us ask for the courage, faith, and power of the Spirit of God in us to walk in His way; not our own. When God says “Stay”, let us stay.  When God says “Go” let us go.

Our rest, our hope lies only in the Son of God who is Jesus Christ, God who became flesh, and dwelt among us. He died on the cross for ours sins, was buried, and He rose again.

“Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Watched for My Halting

“For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. ‘Report, and we will report it.’ All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, ‘Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.’ But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.

But, O LORD of Hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see Thy vengeance on them: for unto Thee have I opened my cause.

Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for He hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.” Jeremiah 20:10-13 (KJB)

Jeremiah is one of my favorite prophets.  These prophecies have long been a source of encouragement, and strengthening of my faith in the awesomeness of God, and His mercy and grace.

He was born into a family of the priesthood, was probably expected to be a priest of the temple by his father.  God had another plan and purpose for Jeremiah. He had a heart for God. He saw the evil of His day, how the people of God had turned their back on the LORD of Hosts, worshiping Him in hypocrisy, while worshiping Baal of the heathen neighbors; offering child sacrifices to the fires of their altars.

Many of Jeremiah’s friends (familiars) and those who feigned being with him was watching him, waiting for him to fail, even to fall from what God called him to do.  His calling was to call the people of Judah to repentance and faith in God alone. They were to put away their idols; the physical ones and the ones of their own hearts.

Reading Jeremiah, as a matter of fact, as I read the whole of Scripture I have come to the conclusion that the people of the Bible are really no different from the people of 2019 in the United States of America.

We have Christians feigning worship to God while at the same time harboring idols of heart, mind, and of the physical kind (materialism).  God is today calling His people, calling the true Christian of 2019 to repentance.  Turn back to God.  Believe His word.  His word is the truth.  It is the absolute truth. Anything that is contrary to the Bible is a lie.

Let us put away our idols. Whether we like, or want to admit it or not, there is Baal worship in our land.  Children are being offered on fiery altars, slain, and slaughtered in death clinics, supposedly for women’s health. More for personal convenience, and supposed “women’s rights”.

O Christian, Hear the word of the Lord. He loves you with an everlasting love; but He loves you too much to leave you in your sin.  If you are His He will do whatever it takes to make you holy.

If you are without God, you do not know Him. He has made the way for you to come to Him. That Way, the only Way is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ His only begotten, and Holy Son.  Call on His name to day.

I for one will not halt from preaching, and teaching the Bible as the inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of God; and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God the Son who died that Adam’s race might be saved.

You That Tremble At His Word…

“Thus saith the LORD, ‘The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me, and where is the place of My rest? For all those hath Mine hand made, and all those have been,’ saith the LORD: ‘but to this man will I look, to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.

He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.  I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.’

Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at His word; ‘Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name’s sake, said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified:’ but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to His enemies.” Isaiah 66:1-6 (KJB)

Israel’s Redemption

By the grace of Holy God…

“Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art My servant: I have formed thee; thou art My servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.

Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.

Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, ‘I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself; that frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; that confirmeth the word of His servant, and performeth the counsel of His messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, ‘Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: that saith to the deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: that saith of Cyrus, ‘My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, ‘Thy foundation shall be laid.’ ” Isaiah 44:21-28 (KJB)

The Redemption of the nation Israel is solely a work of God’s mercy, grace and love through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A great day coming when the redeemed remnant of Israel shall look upon the One whom their forefathers crucified; and they shall call Him LORD (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:37; Revelation 1:7; Daniel 7:13).

The Coming Judgment

I know people do not like hearing it; but the word of the LORD is working, His word will be hastened, and His judgment is coming. Hear the word of the Lord.

“When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, as the shaking of an olive tree, as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.  They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea.

Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.  From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.

Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.  And it shall come to pass, he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.  The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.  The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.  And it shall come to pass in that day, the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.  And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.

Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of Hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” Isaiah 24:13-23 (KJB)

The only hope for Adam’s race, otherwise known as humankind, is Jesus Christ who is the Living Son of God, God the Living Son, who gave His own life for our redemption, was buried carrying away all our sin, condemnation, guilt, and shame, leaving that in the grave, and He arose victorious and because He lives we will live with Him forever.  Believe Him. It is coming to pass just as it has been said.

Redeemed With Judgment

“Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, ‘Ah, I will ease Me of Mine adversaries, and avenge Me of Mine enemies: and I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: and I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness…” Isaiah 1:24-27 (KJB)

Even though there were some kings who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, there was still wicked hearted people. So it is in every age, and every nation.

God redeems His people  through Judgment.  I am so thankful that Jesus Christ took the judgment of God for our sins upon Himself, and suffered hell; that we might be redeemed unto God the Father.

Waiting Patiently

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.  Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:7-8 (KJB)

The farmer prepares the land, the ground where he is sowing a crop, then he sows the seed, and he waits.

What does he wait for? A harvest of much more than he/she has sown in seeds planted.  Some call it a gamble or chance. I call it faith that is based on the basic promise of the rewards of sowing and reaping.

The deeds we do, good and bad, are as seeds we sow.  The good seeds we sow will bring a harvest; but also the bad seeds will bring a harvest.

As I sit here writing this post it is raining.  It is a blessing to the beef,  dairy, and grain farmers around near and far.  The reason I mention this is because it is August, and usually  the month of August is hot and we are in the midst of a drought, or at least really dry. The farmer is very dependent upon the mercies and graces of  our God and Father to even have a crop of hay or grains. Cattle need it to live and produce milk, and meat that is used by billions of people around the world.

The grain farmer waits for months to bring in the harvest from the seed he/she has sown; and the typical gardener as well waits for several weeks before they see a good harvest.  The the average beef farmer produces more cattle through the cattle they have through reproduction, then when those calves are born, they wait until they reach the preferred weight, then they take them to the stockyards for sale to the meat packers.  These also have waited several months.

Anyway, I hope you may be asking; it you do not understand where I am going with this; “What has this farming got to do with me?”  You too are sowing seeds.

There are good seeds in your life’s living; and there are bad seeds in your life.  If you have not been redeemed by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ your seeds are bad, and your harvest will be weeds and destruction (Galatians 6:7-8). Your harvest will be delayed too. Someone has said, “There are many sowing their wild oats, and then pray for a crop failure.” I understand that.  There will, however be a harvest; one without great reward.

Good seed comes from the word of God through the Living Word who is Jesus Christ. There is a bountiful, beautiful harvest for all the good seed sown.  Again there will be waiting. Believer, let us wait patiently for that harvest.  We will not know how much, or how great until Jesus comes again; but we wait.

Waiting does not mean sitting down, and doing nothing.  We must be all the more diligent in our labors for life, living, and our witness for Jesus Christ. Let us be faithful in our living to Jesus.  He is coming, and could be very soon.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

A Stirred Spirit

It has been a few days since I share a study with you other than a reblog by brother Wally Fry.  I appreciate the studies which Wally shares with his readers.

I have been away from a good source for an internet connection, with one exception for poor cell phone service for my smart phone; and I find it very difficult to do anything in the way of posting anything on the sites here. I have been away serving as a camp cook/kitchen helper at our Associations Children’s Camp. I will endeavor to get back to serving my readers, and pray God will speak to all who come here. For today…

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.  Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.” Acts 17:16-17 (KJB)

The apostle Paul was in a city of Greece, very familiar with many people even in 2019.  The city of Athens.  He witnessed many forms of worship.  It was all to idols.  His spirit (not the Holy Spirit though I believe that his spirit was stirred by the Holy Spirit) was stirred or provoked to not just sit there.

Many times we as Christians just accept the way things are rather than confront the issue of idolatry.  Someone might say, “There is no idolatry in our day”.  Maybe we ought to think again there.  There are many who adore, follow, even worship science.  Others do the same for the technological advances that have been made in the past few years.  There are others who are absorbed by Money and finance.  There are also those who relish the thought and idea of a Global government.  Then, there are also those who worship the idea of there not being any god at all, and just trust in themselves and human ingenuity.  Now, have you rethought your position on being no idolatry?

We Christians should be grieved by idolatry; especially if we are guilty of it.  Also when we see it in our land, and culture; and we should not be silent about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I for one do not like to argue.  I am not real good at debating issues.  I can proclaim that Christ Jesus came into the world to die on the cross for the sins of the world, He was buried, and He rose again.  As they say, That is a hill I can die one; and I will if that is what it takes.  In the mean time let us live the gospel before an idolatrous and evil and dark world.

 

They Would Not Quit

“Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, ‘Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.’  And when they heard, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.” Acts 5:17-21 (KJB)

Thinking of our Christian brothers and sisters in nations where the gospel of Jesus Christ is not received in a spirit of freedom.  I salute you, and thank you for not quitting.  I also ask you to pray for us here in the United States of America; for though we are free; having the freedom of speech, and freedom of religion there are many who are trying to push the gospel out of the public, and have the word of God stay behind closed doors of our churches.

In the text above we see those who hated Jesus Christ, and had a hand in His crucifixion and death now hating His disciples, locking them in prison, trying to silence the power of God in Jerusalem.

The angel of the Lord freed them without even opening the jail doors (verses 22-26).  The angel also sent them to the temple to teach, and they went and taught.  They would not quit.  They would not be silent.

Neither can the Christian of 2019 be silent of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  People are perishing.  There are people dying in their sins.  Christian of Africa continue to stand and preach the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Christian of India, continue to preach the gospel.  Christian of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey continue to preach the word of God.

Christian of the United States of America be faithful to preach the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

They Would Not Quit.  Neither should you or I.

Doing His Father’s Will

“Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.
After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded. Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, ‘Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?’ Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.’
Peter saith unto him, ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered him,
‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.’
Simon Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.’ Jesus saith to him,
‘He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.’
For He knew who should betray Him; therefore said he,
‘Ye are not all clean.’” John 13:3-11 (KJB)

This event seems to clearly be the meal of the Passover.  It has not yet been eaten for it is mentioned again with the “dipping of the sop” in verse 26.

The lesson to be learned seems to be the important matter, and that is the will of the Father is being done by the  Son.  He is displaying a servant heart, as He prepares for what lies a few short hours away.  His trial and crucifixion is looming ever near.

In this lesson He is teaching His disciples to serve one another, and to love one another as is said in verses 34-35.  A new commandment is given; thus fulfilling the old.

The One who is sinless, perfect, without spot or blemish serving the imperfect, sinful, men who follow Him.  O, how we need to love as He loves.  He is not blind to their sins.  His eyes are wide open.  Yet, He loves them; as He loves you and me.

The Perfect serving the imperfect.  Now, there is an act of doing the Father’s will.

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.

Power Over Evil

“And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art; the Holy One of God.’  And Jesus rebuked him, saying,
‘Hold thy peace, and come out of him.’
And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.  And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, ‘What a word is this! For with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.  And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.”  Luke 4:33-37  (KJB)

There are few if any people who do not realize and admit that there is evil in the world we live in.  Sometimes we wear “rose colored glasses”, and try to hide the evil so we cannot see.  No matter how thick those lenses are it does not negate the fact of evil’s presence.

There are people in bondage to evil.  That is why there are shootings at schools, churches, office buildings, on highways, from hotel rooms overlooking a mass of people, etc.. There is no legitimate blame for these evil matters except these folks are in bondage to evil. We can take away guns, take away the explosives; and you still have evil coming from those with evil intent.

When Jesus was walking among men as Man, the God-Man He knew the condition of our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9). He even spoke of it (Matthew 12:34-37).  Evil thoughts and deeds comes from within our hearts; and until the heart of the man or woman is changed we spend countless amounts of dollars, and time trying to put a band-aid on something we have no power over.

In the above verses was a man in bondage to a demon. An unclean, evil, vile, and ruthless evil that caused this man to do evil things; it had taken possession of his mind and body.

Jesus said to the demoniac, “Hold your peace, and come out of him” and the demon was through; the man was free from the bondage of evil, and the uncleanness of evil

Are you being tormented by evil?  Jesus speaks to you, and tells you, “Come to Me”.  He casts out the evil, and you become new.  The One who has Power over evil died for you, so that you might be freed from sin, and the bondage of evil.  Call on Him. He will hear you and deliver you.

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.

The Superior Goodness of God

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him.”
  Matthew 7:7-11 (KJB)

Some will note that I changed the question mark to a period.  Why?  I believe it to be a statement from Jesus and not a question, though I know His questions often make very loud statements.  I noticed too that the New King James, as do other translations use an exclamation mark; which might be even better.

My thoughts today are on verse 11 solely.  No father of earth would be so mean, ugly, and hateful as to give their child a serpent rather than a fish, or if they were hungry give them a stone rather than bread.  I am speaking of Dad’s who care for their children; not the deserters, who care for no one but themselves.

Even though we are evil, we are still kind to our children, and sometimes to others.  The goodness we see of people around us doing “good things” should be a reminder to us of the superior goodness of our heavenly Father.

He loves us even when we are unlovely, unloving, and downright hateful (John 3:16).  He loved us so much that even though we were His enemies He sent His Son to die for us (Romans 5:8).

O my; how the goodness of God is so far superior than any goodness we have.

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him! — Bad as our fallen nature is, the father in us is not extinguished. What a heart, then, must the Father of all fathers have towards His pleading children! In the corresponding passage in Luke (see on Luk_11:13), instead of “good things,” our Lord asks whether He will not much more give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. At this early stage of His ministry, and before such an audience, He seems to avoid such sharp doctrinal teaching as was more accordant with His plan at the riper stage indicated in Luke, and in addressing His own disciples exclusively.” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary

Will you call on the name of Jesus today?  Will trust the One who is truly the one who describes Goodness?

Delight in the LORD

It has been several days since I wrote a post for this site.  I want to express my appreciation to those who have showed interest in these writings, thoughts, and the word of God.  Thank you, and God bless you richly with all heavenly blessings in Christ Jesus.

I will be doing thoughts on the Psalms, taking up where I left off the last time in Psalms which was at Psalm 36..

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.”  Psalm 37:1-6 (KJB)

Do not worry about what those who are working evil are doing; rather watch your own heart, and mind.  Pray for those who are doing evil, and live your life delighting in the LORD God, and His word.  Those who do evil will perish just as the grass, and the flower.

Those of us who are trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ are assured of eternal life with Him; and that is forever and forever.  Let us keep our eyes on the Lord and His work.  We are not to close our eyes and try to convince ourselves that there is no evil; that would be dangerous and foolish.  Our lives of trust, faith, and delight in the LORD will be repelling to all that is evil.

There is a phrase in verse four above “…He shall give you the desires of your heart”.  Now many think this means material blessings, health, wealth, survival, security, success.  When we delight in the Lord those things will become very secondary in our thinking.  Our desires, when we delight in the Lord will be what He desires.  He gives us the desires of His heart – heavenly blessing; grace, mercy, peace, joy, and power in prayer; just to name a few.

When the Christian walks with God He brings forth righteousness as light, and everything to do with it will be seen by all who know you.

Trust in the LORD today; delight in Him, and He will bring it to pass.

Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 5

Wally Fry continues the study on Elijah and prayer.

Truth in Palmyra

Where were we? Oh yes, the young son of the widow woman Elijah has been living with has suddenly died. This was very unfortunate, and probably quite shocking to the two of them. It almost seems absurd to our minds that God would let something like this happen after supernaturally providing for them for such a long time? Why? Why? Why? Well, before we move in, I want to restate a great comment that was made about this previously, Ben over at Another Red Letter Day had the following to say:

Sometimes we ask why things happened, rather than looking at what God can do in our circumstances. Our Lord who makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes told the disciples they were asking the wrong question in John 9. I love how the Message Bible puts…

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Detestation or Acceptation

“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.”  Proverbs 29:1-4 (KJB)

Some thoughts from Proverbs 29:1-27

  1.  The ruin of stubborn, rebellious minds; and the value of the righteous (vv. 1-4; 16:12);
  2.  The practices of evil, and evil men leads to their own ensnaring (vv. 5-6);
  3.  The understanding of the righteous versus the evil; concerning the poor (v. 7; 28:50; Job 29:16; Psalm 41:1);
  4.  A description of the rage, havoc, and folly that accompany evil practices (vv. 8-11);
  5.  A wise king listens to good counsel (vv. 12-14);
  6.  A good society and good culture begin with the parents at home in the discipline and teaching of their children; guiding them in their lives with vision (vv. 15-18);
  7.  People in authority are wise to use words of positive and negative words with actions to discipline (vv. 19-22)
  8.  The fall of the proud (16:18( and the honor of the humble (v. 23);
  9.  The peril of the soul of a thief and his partner (v. 24);
  10.  Fearing God and/or fearing man – the contrast (vv. 25-26);
  11.  Righteousness and evil detest one another (v. 27),

“An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.” Proverbs 29:27

This detestation of evil for righteousness, and righteousness for evil is quite visible in our society and culture of 2019.

There is only One Righteous One, and He will give, and has given His righteousness to all who will call on His name.  He is Jesus the crucified, buried, and bodily risen One.  If you detest; that is hate; the Righteous One, then you will perish.

The Poor, The Rich, and the Slothful

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.  He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and He overthroweth the words of the transgressor.
The slothful man saith, ‘There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.’
The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.  For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.  That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.  Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: for the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.  If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.  Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”  Proverbs 22:7-29  (KJB)

The Poor, The Rich, and the Slothful – Proverbs 22:7-29

Verses 7, 16, 22-23 —  There is a contrast between the rich and poor.  The poor; people who are often in need of borrowing are placed in servitude to the lender; the rich.  The rich who would oppress the poor by holding their wages; charging a higher interest; etc.  will surely be in want.  Giving to the rich seems like a pointless statement;  however it is done.

Verses 8, 10, 13-15 —  The Geneva Bible notes (v. 8): “His authority by which he oppressed others, will be taken from him. ” Ref: (v. 10) Genesis 21:9-10;
The slothful or lazy will find any excuse not to do their labors.  The person who is abhorred by the LORD will fall into a life of destruction.  Correction is necessary to drive foolishness from a child; even some grown children who are following the path of foolishness.

Verses 9, 11-12, 17-21, 24-25 —  The good individual who is blessed will also be a blessing to the poor. References:  Luke 14:13-14.  See 16:13 and Psalm 101:6 for verse 11.  “The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

There is learning of wisdom and knowledge in listening to the wise.  Keep them on your mind and on your lips; ready to speak them.  By them we know what is “right and true” (ESV).

Being a constant companion of the angry will cause your own life to become endangered by unruly anger and a snare.

Verses 26-29 —  Business matters according to Scripture;  Co-signing for debt of another binds you; putting your living at stake, even your family.

The “landmark” is your word.  Should be as sound as a concrete pillar 10 feet in the ground as a corner stake – marking the corner of a property.

When we are “diligent” in our labors we will stand before “kings”, be blessed, and kept from those who would seek to harm us.

Our Faith

“Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loves Him that begat loves him also that is begotten of Him.  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.  For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.  Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  1 John 5:1-5

Faith is a much used word.  “You can accomplish anything, if you have faith”.  Many of us have heard such a phrase, maybe with a few variations.  That is in fact, having faith in faith.  It is not faith that accomplishes anything.

Let us look at the verses above…

  1.  Believing that Jesus is the Christ, one is born of God;
  2.  The ones who believe Him, having faith in Him keep His commandments, loving the children of God;
  3.  Who ever is born of God overcomes the world system, the devil; which is out to do evil, and tries to destroy all that is good and godly;
  4.  It is Our Faith in Christ Jesus that overcomes the world, the works of the flesh, and the devil.

Those who love Him keep His commandments.  These are the ones who have the faith that overcomes the world.

REFERENCES: 2:22; John 1:12; 3:1-21; 16:33; 1 Corinthians 15:57

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

Purposes for Staying Put

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, our hope; unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
As I begged you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that you might charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith.
Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.  But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief; but for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
This charge I commit unto you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on you, that you by them might war a good warfare; holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”  1 Timothy 1:1-20

REFERENCES: Acts 3:17; 9:15; 13:39, 45; 16:1; 20:1; Colossians 1:27; 1 Peter 1:2; Galatians 1:6; 3:13; 5:14; Romans 13:8; 1 Corinthians 9:17; 7:25; Luke 23:34; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Daniel 7:14; 2 Timothy 2:2

O, The Blessings We Have in Jesus Christ

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly in Christ: according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved.  In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; in Him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will: that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.  In whom you also, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set at His own right hand in the heavenlies, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and has put all under His feet, and gave Him the head over all to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all.  Ephesians 1:1-23

REFERENCES: Romans 1:7; Galatians 1:3; Exodus 33:19; Matthew 3:17; 1 Peter 1:18; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 3:22; Isaiah 46:10; James 1:18; John 1:17; Luke 21:28; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:4

When He Shall Have Delivered Up the Kingdom to God

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, become the firstfruits of them that slept.  For since by man death, by Man also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.  Then the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.  The last enemy shall be destroyed, death.  For He has put all things under His feet. But when He says all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him.  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-28  (TKJB)

References: Acts 26:23; 1 Peter 1:3; John 11:25; Daniel 7:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; Psalm 8:6; 110:1; Hebrews 2:8; 1 Corinthians 3:23;

The Mind and Counsel of the Lord

“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.’  As concerning the gospel, enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, beloved for the fathers’ sakes.  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! ‘For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counsellor?   Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?’  For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”  Romans 11:26-36  (KJB)

References: Psalm 14:7; Isaiah 27:9; Daniel 9:24; Numbers 23:19; Romans 3:9; Jeremiah 23:18; 1 Corinthians 8:6

My Father and I Work

It was a constant battle which Jesus fought.  Accusations of blasphemy by saying things which, according to the religious leaders made Himself equal with God.  Jesus constantly confirmed in His own words that He was indeed what He claimed, and that He and His Father worked together; that He did not do anything except what the Father did. Hear the following words…

But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.’
Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will shew Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him. John 5:17-24  (KJB)

Let me leave you with these thoughts from others.

First from the Geneva Bible Translation notes:

“The work of God was never the breach of the sabbath, and the works of Christ are the works of the Father, both because they are one God, and also because the Father does not work except in the Son.” From the Geneva Bible Translation notes on John 5:17

Finally from the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary:

My Father worketh hitherto and I work — The “I” is emphatic; “The creative and conservative activity of My Father has known no sabbath-cessation from the beginning until now, and that is the law of My working.”” From the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary

To honor the Son [Jesus Christ] is to honor the Father too.  To honor the Father is to honor the Son.

They Watched Him

Jesus had a way, His way of aggravating the religious crowd of His day.  That religion was steeped in legalism, and little mercy or grace.  It seemed they knew nothing about grace for their people; but allowed much, with loopholes around some of their traditions for themselves.

When the disciples with Jesus were walking through a field of grain, and they were scooping their fingers through the heads freeing the grains seeds from the tops, rolling the grain in their hands to free the good from the chaff, then blowing the chaff away with a strong breath; and they were doing it on the sabbath day [Saturday]; then, the scribes and Pharisees considered that a violation of the sabbath.

On another sabbath day Jesus had entered a synagogue to worship, and there was a man there with a withered right hand.  The Pharisees and the scribes watched Jesus to see what He would do.  Our verse today…

“And the scribes and Pharisees watched Him, whether He would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against Him.” Luke 6:7  (KJB)

They watched Him with ill intent.  They watched Him to bring harm.  They watched Him to eventually kill Him.  Why?  They hated Him, His life, His teaching, and probably His boldness and authority with which He spoke.  He put religion on notice as well.

Those who follow Jesus, are faithful to Him, and His teaching- His doctrine will be watched too.  Sometimes for the same reasons as those who were watching Jesus. What are we to do?  Live faithfully for Christ.  Put Him on daily (Romans 13:12;  Galatians 3:27;  Ephesians 4:24; 6:11) all the things of Christ Jesus.  Do not fear; be faithful.

I will leave with you a quote from the Matthew Henry Commentary on Luke 6:7…

“Among those who were the hearers of Christ’s excellent doctrine, and the eye-witnesses of his glorious miracles, there were some who came with no other design than to pick quarrels with him, Luk_6:7. The scribes and Pharisees would not, as became generous adversaries, give him fair warning that, if he did heal on the sabbath day, they would construe it into a violation of the fourth commandment, which they ought in honour and justice to have done, because it was a case without precedent (none having ever cured as he did), but they basely watched him, as the lion does his prey, whether he would heal on the sabbath day, that they might find an accusation against him, and surprise him with a prosecution.” From the MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY

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.

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.

Before Abraham Was…

“They answered Him, ‘We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest Thou, ‘Ye shall be made free?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill Me, because My word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with My Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.’

They answered and said unto him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus saith unto them, ‘If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill Me, a Man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father.’ Then said they to Him, ‘We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, God.’
Jesus said unto them, ‘If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent me. Why do ye not understand My speech? Because ye cannot hear My word.
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe Me not. Which of you convinceth Me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe Me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God.’

Then answered the Jews, and said unto Him, ‘Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?’ Jesus answered, ‘I have not a devil; but I honour My Father, and ye do dishonour Me. And I seek not Mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death.’ Then said the Jews unto Him, ‘Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and Thou sayest, If a man keep My saying, he shall never taste of death. Art Thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? And the prophets are dead: whom makest Thou Thyself?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I honour Myself, My honour is nothing: it is My Father that honoureth Me; of whom ye say, that He is your God: yet ye have not known Him; but I know Him: and if I should say, I know Him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know Him, and keep His saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad.’
Then said the Jews unto Him, ‘Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?’ Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am.’
Then took they up stones to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”  John 8:33-59  (KJB)

I have some homework for you today.  Please read the above chapter 8; not just the verses above.

Further assignment:

“If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” John 10:24. Also John 10:32-33.  See also Exodus 3, and especially note verse 14.

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.

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

Out of the Heart

“And He called the multitude, and said unto them, ‘Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.’ Then came His disciples, and said unto Him, ‘Knowest Thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?’ But He answered and said, ‘Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.’ Then answered Peter and said unto Him, ‘Declare unto us this parable.’ And Jesus said, ‘Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.’” Matthew 15:10-20  (KJB)

Some thoughts from F. B. Meyer…

“It is good to study our Lord’s list of the sources of soul-pollution. Evil thoughts come first. We cannot prevent an evil suggestion being presented to our minds, but we can refuse to dwell on it. To resist the inclination to dwell on it strengthens us in the opposite direction; to yield to it is to commit the sin in our heart, which, in God’s sight, is equivalent to the outward act. Notice that railing, that is, unkind and uncharitable speech, is in this black-list.
The heart, rather than the body, is the source of sin. Out of the heart! The body is the dial-plate on which the soul registers its improvement or deterioration. Do not find fault with your members: look to your heart and keep it beyond keeping, for out of it are the issues of life. Ask God to create in you a clean heart. See that you distinguish between the first Adam and the second. Deny what you inherit of human weakness and sin, and affirm all that is of Christ’s imparting. The cross of Calvary and the uprising of the living Christ are facts of perpetual experience.” F. B. Meyer Through the Bible Day by Day on Mat. 15:10-20