Division of the Mount

“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.

And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” Zechariah 14:1-4 (KJB)

STUDY HELPS: Isaiah 13:9, 16; 64:1; Joel 2:1; 3:2; Malachi 4:1; Matthew 24:28; Revelation 19:17;

The Lions of Nineveh

“Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feedingplace of the young lions, where the lion, the old lion, walked, and the lion’s whelp, and none made them afraid?” Nahum 2:11 (KJB)

Nineveh was the city to which God called Jonah to go about 100 years previous to Nahum’s prophecy. God sending Jonah, though a reluctant prophet, was God in His grace and mercy reaching out to a lost and condemned people.

Nineveh was a fierce people. At the time of Jonah God numbers the city with 120 thousand souls too young to know their left from their right hand (Jonah 4:11). That would be young children, babies. Yet, the whole city from the least to the greatest of the people repented and turned to the LORD due to Jonah’s preaching (Jonah 3:5).

Now a hundred years later they have returned to their old ways, against the LORD, and against the people of GOD.

Who are these “Lions of Nineveh?”  The lion is a feared creature of the field, and the jungle. The roar of the old male is a fearful thing to hear to its prey, yet we have these “lions” in fear. Why? Because the LORD is about to show up in His wrath against the whole city. The lions are the king, the other rulers, and the young ones coming up in leadership.

The most fearful thing that people of all places, countries, cities, and provinces is that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31). It is by God’s grace we can fall into the hands of the loving Creator, God, Savior, and King Jesus Christ. He took the curse that was ours, dying on the cross, was buried, and He rose again; and He forever lives and reigns.

Call on His name, and He will deliver you from the bondage of sin and shame.

They Called Them to The Most High

“And My people are bent to backsliding from Me: though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt Him.” Hosea 11:7 (KJB)

The prophet is speaking of the people of Israel. Their hearts were set on turning from the Lord GOD. Yet, God in His great mercy and grace was set on redeeming them.

He called prophets who would teach them, deliver them, and warn them of the path of rejection and rebellion they were walking, living in.

I must be honest with you, that for me, and I believe every Christian; one of the easiest things for us to do is to go our own way. To worship God, and Him alone takes a devoted, undivided heart for God, and His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

That is why it is a necessity to be a faithful student of the word of God – the Bible.  We must be people who see it as our necessary diet for daily strength.  When we get in His Word, and it through the Holy Spirit gets into us God makes us a different and powerful person for the glory of the Lord.

Father, turn Your backsliden people back to You.  May we all turn our eyes upon Jesus Christ, His death on the cross for our sins, His burial carrying away all our sin, our shame, and condemnation, and His resurrection; and knowing that He lives is evidence that we too shall live with Him forever.

When and What GOD Has Spoken

“I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 24:14 (KJB)

From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible on Ezekiel 24:14…

I the Lord have spoken it; it shall come to pass,…. What God has said shall be accomplished; his word shall not return void and empty, or be without effect:

and I will do it; being God omnipotent and unchangeable:

I will not go back; from his word, or the thing threatened and denounced; nothing should prevail upon him to act such a part:

neither will I spare; show any mercy or compassion, or abate of the punishment due:

neither will I repent; or change the course and method of Providence; but abide by the decree gone forth, and the sentence pronounced, and thoroughly execute it; a heap of words ascertaining the truth of what is predicted:

according to thy ways and according to thy doings shall they judge thee, saith the Lord God; that is, the Chaldeans shall judge and condemn thee, and execute my judgments on thee in a just and righteous manner, as thy evil ways and works deserve.”

It seems the Christian of 2019 wants to live on the promises of God from the Old Testament; but we tend to forget about those promises or warnings of judgment for neglecting His word, and turning from Him.  Every word God has spoken will be done.

 

Stuck Tongue

“And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me,

‘Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee.’

Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face.

Then the Spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me,

‘Go, shut thyself within thine house. But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them: and I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.’ ” Ezekiel 3:22-27 (KJB)

The LORD has called Ezekiel to be a watchman for the people of the captivity in Babylon.  God has identified them as still a hard, stiff necked  people.  The prophet is to proclaim what the LORD gives him to speak; and without fear of them (Ezekiel 3:7-9). He is to prepare them for the seventy years that lie ahead for them as captives. They are to be faithful to God and His word.

If they will not hear, and heed the word of the LORD, the prophet’s tongue will become stuck to the roof of his mouth.

When people of any age do not listen too, neither heed the message of God’s word He will cease to send it; thus the stuck tongued prophets.

In chapter 2 verse 5 the LORD says to Ezekiel, “And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.”

When we do not respect, hear, heed, and to the word and will of God the word of God will become obsolete to us, unimportant, unheard, and left undone.  That is when we are in serious trouble; and God becomes silent.

Christian will you take up your Bible today and hear what God says to you? If you do not hear God speak through His written record; you will hear all sorts of lies from “teachers”, “leaders”, “Pastors”, and others who say they speak for God, and they will lead you away. The true voice of God will become silent.

The word of God tells us that Jesus Christ the Son of God is God the Son (John 1:1, 14), and that He is the only way to God and eternal life. Hear Him.

What a Way to Treat the Word of God

“Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.” Jeremiah 36:24 (KJB)

My thoughts as I read through Jeremiah 34 – 36 this morning is the title – “What a way to treat the word of God”.  It is the word of God.

It was from God, given to Jeremiah, to have read before king Jehoiakim.  To this present time the king had paid no heed to the word of the LORD.  God is merciful, and kind, and patient with His people.  He will not allow evil in His people to go unanswered.

How can a king who is leading God’s people be so spiteful, hateful, and just downright wicked toward God, His word, and His prophet? It seems like a frightening thing to me.

Yet, notice in the verses before and after the text above. The king cut the written words up into pieces, then threw them into the fire; not even willing to hear what God says. Some plead with the king not to do it; and he does not hear them.  “They were not afraid” neither did they “tear their garments” in remorse.

I am seeing things similar to this in many who call themselves “Christian” today.  Maybe not actually taking a Bible and cutting it up, throwing it in the fire; but just out and out rebellion, unbelief, and making statements such as “The Bible is antiquated and unnecessary for our day”. There are even a few religious “churches” who have no respect for the word of God. They allow what God condemns; even to ordaining leaders who commit abomination against God and His word.

When professing Christians are believing that there are other ways to God and Heaven, and that Jesus Christ is only one of many ways, they are shunning the word of God, and declaring the words of men just as valuable as the word of God.  That accusation is against the word of God, tears it to shreds, and throws it into the fires of the false prophets.

Jesus Christ Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)  Through Jesus Christ alone is the salvation of those in Adam’s race. You can believe that, and trust Him, or you will perish.

When the LORD Reveals Your Sin

“Give glory to the LORD your God, before He cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, He turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.” Jeremiah 13:16 (KJB)

Jeremiah would appear to be the only prophet of God; and he was warning Judah of impending judgment due to their sinful, debaucherous, greedy, living. Committing spiritual adultery against the LORD God who had given them all things.

The false prophets were telling the people what they wanted to hear. Babylon would not come against them. Jerusalem would not fall.  They were blessed, and would continue to be so. WOW! That is just the kind of stuff people in 2019 like to and want to hear.

Jeremiah’s words above are for God’s people today as well.  Their sinfulness has been exposed to them. They are being called on to repent of their sins, “Give glory to the LORD your God…”

The idea is to confess your sins, and in doing so you turn to God in repentance, leaving the old sins in the muck and mire where it belongs.  That will give glory to the LORD God.

If you do not, or will not, then there will be darkness, and not light, and His judgment will come upon you.

The way of genuine repentance is given to us through the cross of Jesus Christ. His life’s blood was shed for our salvation; our redemption; He was buried, and He rose from the dead.  He is waiting to hear your plea for forgiveness and mercy.  He will hear, and He will forgive. “Give glory to the LORD your God…” for He tells us that “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

The LORD the Everlasting Light

“Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.

Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

Thy people also all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.” Isaiah 60:15-22 (KJB)

This is a prophecy, and promise to the people called Israel who was Jacob. It is not a promise to the  Church. This will be a result of the work of God’s grace through the Messiah of the Hebrew people, and their realization that He is the Messiah, and He is Jesus Christ.

Seven Letters to Seven Churches-Ephesus Part 10

Today this will be my main post. I really appreciate Brother Wally Fry’s study of the Church at Ephesus. I hope you do too.

Truth in Palmyra

Revelation 2:1-7

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” Revelation 2:4

Part 10. Wow. I hope readers don’t mind us really taking our time and poking around a bit. Actually, it really doesn’t matter, as that is what I am going to do anyway! Writing blog posts is as much for me as for readers; it is my way of studying. We might say, my blog posts are my study notes. So, part 10 it is.

So, here we are again. Ephesus: hard-working, doctrinally pure, yet they have left their “first love.”

Today, we are going to just poke around very briefly in the language of our verse and talk about the significance of some of it. I have said before, and I will say again; I am not a Greek scholar and have never studied it as a subject. That is great if…

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A Man Shall Look to His Maker

“Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD God of Israel.  At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.  And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.” Isaiah 17:6-8 (KJB)

God  has spoken of the judgment upon Damascus; and also Ephraim (the northern kingdom also called Israel), and Syria. The word of this  text is to Judah.

Christians can, and need to learn much from the discipline of God upon His people of the Old Testament.  One is that He will not allow His children to continue living in sin without some form of discipline, even  judgment of our sin, to turn our hearts back to Him. Remember what the writer of Hebrews has written,

“…If you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards (or illegitimate), and not sons” Hebrews 12:8

Commentary for Isaiah 17:6-8…

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse 6 – 8…

in it — that is, in the land of Israel.

two or three … in the top — A few poor inhabitants shall be left in Israel, like the two or three olive berries left on the topmost boughs, which it is not worth while taking the trouble to try to reach.”

Verse 7 –  “look to his Maker — instead of trusting in their fortresses – (Isa_17:3; Mic_7:7).”

Verse 8 –  “groves — A symbolical tree is often found in Assyrian inscriptions, representing the hosts of heaven (“Saba”), answering to Ashteroth or Astarte, the queen of heaven, as Baal or Bel is the king. Hence the expression, “image of the grove,” is explained (2Ki_21:7).

images — literally, “images to the sun,” that is, to Baal, who answers to the sun, as Astarte to the hosts of heaven (2Ki_23:5; Job_31:26).”

Look to your Maker today.  He is the One who died on the cross for you, was buried, and He rose again.  He is the soon returning King of kings, and Lord of lords.  He is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God, God the Living Son.

Evidence Given Us From God

“This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.  For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.  And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son.

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:6-12 (KJB)

From the Geneva Bible Translation Notes for 1 John 5:6…

“(8) This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; (9) not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the (g) Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

(8) He proves the excellency of Christ, in whom only all things are given us by six witnesses, three heavenly, and three earthly, who wholly and completely agree together. The heavenly witnesses are, the Father who sent the Son, the Word itself, which became flesh, and the Holy Spirit. The earthly witnesses are water, (that is our sanctification) blood, (that is, our justification) the Spirit, (that is, acknowledging of God the Father in Christ by faith) through the testimony of the Holy Spirit. (9) He warns us not to separate water from blood (that is sanctification from justification, or righteousness, begun from righteousness imputed) for we do not stand on sanctification, but so far as it is a witness of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us: and although this imputation of Christ’s righteousness is never separated from sanctification, yet it is the only matter of our salvation.

(g) Our spirit which is the third witness, testifies that the holy Sprit is truth, that is to say, that that is true which he tells us, that is, that we are the sons of God.” Geneva Bible Translation Notes

 

He is the Same

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

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

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

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

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

The Pillar and Ground of Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Best Gifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Power Belongs to God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hearing and The Understanding

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

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

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

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

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

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

Believe Him.

Believe the Testimony

“And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace unto you.’ Then saith He to Thomas, ‘Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.  Jesus saith unto him, ‘Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.’
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.”  John 20:26-31  (KJB)

Thomas had said, “Except I see the print of the nails in His hands, and put my fingers into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side I will not believe” (v. 25). Now Jesus appears in the midst of the disciples, and it appears that Thomas does not avail himself of that opportunity.

It does not say it in the text, but I can almost see Thomas as he said, “My Lord and my God”, bowing on his face before Jesus.  I say that because I am pretty certain that when I see the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ that will be my response.

Jesus gives a rebuke to Thomas, saying to him, “…Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.”

Who are these folks who have not seen yet believed?

It is all those who have believed since that day following the ascension of Jesus up to the Father.  It is you.  It is me.  We have not yet seen the resurrected Jesus, but we have Believed the Testimony of the disciples/apostles, and that is because of those who were generations before us who also believed the testimony.

The testimony of Scripture.  The testimony of the Gospels.  The testimony of the apostles, and all who followed them.  Have you heard them and believed?

Hearing and Doing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When We Build

“And there went great multitudes with Him: and He turned, and said unto them,  ‘If any come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.  And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’  Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.  So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.’
” Luke 14:25-33  (KJB)

I will give you John Gill’s exposition of verse 28…

For which of you intending to build a tower,…. Taking up a profession of Christ and his Gospel, is like building a tower; which, as a tower, must be laid on a good foundation; not on carnal descent and parentage; nor on a sober and religious education; nor on a civil, moral life and conversation; nor on a bare knowledge of Gospel truths and a flash of affection for them, and the people of God; but upon Christ the sure foundation; and on principles of grace formed by his Spirit, in their hearts: and this, like a tower, is carried very high; not by professing high things, but by living on high amidst a profession; by having the affections set on things above; and by looking down with contempt on things below; and by looking to, and pressing after, the prize of the high calling of God in Christ: the profession of some persons is very low; it arises from low principles, and proceeds on low views, aims, and ends; but where it is right, and well founded, it is like a tower, firm and steady, and is a fortress and bulwark against apostacy. Now what person acting deliberately in such a case as this, and proceeding with intention and design,

sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? as every wise man would, who has any thoughts of building a tower, or any other edifice: and so such that have an intention to take up a profession of religion, should sit down and well consider of it; which does not imply, that persons should delay making a profession, on whom it is incumbent; but that this should be done with thoughtfulness, care, and prudence: it should be considered on what foundation a man is going to build: whether the work of grace is truly wrought upon his soul; what be the nature and use of Gospel ordinances; with what views he takes up a profession, and submits to ordinances; what the church and minister are, he intends to walk with; and what the charge and cost of a profession; for such a work is chargeable and costly, and should be thought of and considered, whether he is able to bear it: for he will be called to self-denial; and must expect to suffer the loss of the favour of carnal relations and friends; and to be exposed to the scorn and rage of the world; a cross must be took up and bore; and great grace and strength are requisite to all this.

Christ, The Son Of The Blessed

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

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

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

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

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

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

That It Might Be Fulfilled

“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘Tell ye the daughter of Sion, ‘Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.’
And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set Him thereon.  And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed in the way.  And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.'”  Matthew 21:4-9  (KJB)

This is without question the greatest need of Christianity today, and that is that we get back to believing the word of God.  We have too many pastors, preachers, churches, and leaders who turn a deaf ear to the Bible.

“It is antiquated” they say.  It is superstition some say, which seem to me to be more non-theist than Christian.

The verses above help us remember why Jesus came.  The scene presented of Jesus entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey is often called the “Triumphal entry”.  I would prefer to call it the “Presentation of the Suffering King of Salvation” or something along that thought.  I say that because His triumph was not complete until He rose from the grave; and even yet there is more to happen.

At any rate,we as followers of Jesus must recommit ourselves to the study, reading, and application of God’s word – the Bible – in our lives.  The Triumphal Entry will occur when we hear the trumpet sound, and the feet of Jesus touches the ground on the Mount of Olives.

Let us repent of our sins, and trust the word of God, to teach us along side His Spirit who will guide us into all truth.

Consider the Poor

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and Thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: Thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness. I said, ‘LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee.’”  Psalm 41:1-4 (KJV)

In the United States of America we are richly blessed.  We are blessed with the grace of God.  We are blessed with riches.  Yet in the midst of the blessing of riches we are cursed with some levels of poverty; and some of which cannot be avoided.  People often find themselves without an income, due to loss of jobs; or sickness, and/or disease; which has robbed them of the strength to make a living.  These are the poor that the Christian must not neglect.

It is the light of Christ Jesus that shines in our hearts that causes us to see others as being better than ourselves; and that includes the poor.  Paul the apostle writing to the people of Philippi…

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”  Philippians 2:3 (KJV)

As Christians the love of Christ will reign supremely in our hearts; and others will be blessed by our lives and our conduct:  even though they may not always realize it.  John the apostle wrote the following…

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”  1 John 3:17 (KJV)

Be a blessing today.

This post is one written in July of 2013.

Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 4

Truth in Palmyra

1 Kings 17:17,18

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

 This may very be a real “Say what?” moment. Things have been tough on both Elijah the Prophet and the widow woman he has been living with. Elijah has spent a year camped out by a brook, alone save for a providing bird. The woman had been living alone with her son, watching the land grow dry and her food run out. Then Elijah had come along and things may have seemed to be looking up.

The woman’s son…

View original post 1,095 more words

Wounds of a Friend; the Kisses of an Enemy

“Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.
Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
Open rebuke is better than secret love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”  Proverbs 27:1-6  (KJB)

– Proverbs 27:1-27

Verses 1-6 –  Boasting, pride, arrogance, leads to sorrow (vv. 1-2).  The anger and wrath of the cruel is heavier on their own lives than is a stone over a wells mouth (vv. 3-4).

“The rabbins have a curious story on this subject, and it has been formed by the moderns into a fable. There were two persons, one covetous and the other envious, to whom a certain person promised to grant whatever they should ask; but double to him who should ask last. The covetous man would not ask first, because he wished to get the double portion, and the envious man would not make the first request because he could not bear the thoughts of thus benefiting his neighbor. However, at last he requested that one of his eyes should be taken out, in order that his neighbor might lose both.”

The rebuke of a friend is sweeter than the flattery of an enemy (vv. 5-6).

Verses 7-10 –  “Prov. 27:7–10 These four proverbs each teach an element of wisdom that can stand on its own, but they have additional application when taken together. Verse 7 deals with honey, a pleasant treat, and v. 9 deals with oil and perfume, luxuries that here represent a banquet (an ancient host provided perfumed oils for his guests at a banquet). Also, v. 7 says that something bitter is sweet to a hungry man, while v. 9 speaks of the sweetness of earnest counsel. Together, vv. 7 and 9 suggest that it is good to have friends for the occasional party, but it is better yet to have a friend willing and able to give good advice. Verse 8 speaks of someone who wanders far from his home (his immediate family) and leaves it unprotected, while v. 10 concerns someone in need whose brother (his immediate family) is far away. Together, they teach that there are benefits in remaining close to family, but a person should not hesitate to turn to a true friend when in need.”  From the ESV Study Bible pp. 1181 & 1182.

Verses 11-12 –  A wise son is a blessing to his father.  His words, and acts are the fruits, quite often, of the father’s teaching and life.  With that in mind we know of examples where the teaching and life of the father never took root with some sons (v. 11).

The wise father and son both know how to examine things before proceeding forward with acts.  The wise will hide themselves from evil; the “simple” will proceed into it (v. 12).

Verses 13-14 –  More warning of co-signing a loan for someone; and having anything to do with foreign women – that is; foreign to the faith, morality, and righteousness.
Sometimes even social greetings and encounters must be measured by tact (v. 14).

Verses 15-16 –  See Proverbs 19:13; 21:9.  The type of woman mentioned here is one who is hard to get along with, and hard to hold on to.

Verses 17-18 –  Not only is encouragement needed among men and women, but also teaching, correction, instruction, and exhortation (v. 17).
For verse 18; See Song of Solomon 8:12;  1 Corinthians 3:8: 9:7;  2 Timothy 2:6.

Verses 19-22 –  Many of us have looked into a clear pool of water, and have seen our reflection.  We know what we look like on the surface; but only God knows our heart (v. 19).
God knows the heart of man and a man.  The foolish individual is one who will never learn, even though he/she might be beaten and bruised over and over; the foolishness will not depart from them (vv. 20-22).

Verses 23-27 –  Those who have possessions, whether it be cattle, sheep, other material goods, homes and lands needs to realize they are not permanent; they are temporary.  Because of this we must be wise in the maintenance and care of what God has entrusted to our care.

Prepared for the Battle

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.
Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath. The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.  He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.
The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?
A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.
A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way. There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.
The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.  Proverbs 21:10-31 (KJB)

Prepared for the Battle – Proverbs 21:20-31

Verse 20 –  The treasure to be desired.  The oil in the dwelling of the wise.  Foolish spending.

Verse 21 –  Following righteousness and mercy.  The fruit of the find is righteousness and honor.

Verse 22 –  While the mighty may believe their wall is impregnable; the wise will scale the wall and defeat the city.  The confidence of the city is then cast down too.

Verse 23 –  More wisdom concerning the mouth and the tongue.  Keeping the mouth equals guarding what you say.  Those who will guard their mouth and tongue will have far less troubles and sorrows of soul.

Verse 24 –

“If you meet a proud and haughty man, just call him “Scoffer.” That’s his name! The name, of course, stands for what a person is. “For as his name is, so is he” (1 Sam. 25:25).”  From Believer’s Bible Commentary.

Verses 25-26 –  A difference in the slothful and the righteous.  The slothful desires big things, but refuses to labor; while the righteous labor in order that they might have to give to need.

Verse 27 –  Sacrifice of the wicked; the wicked mind.  Compare Cain’s sacrifice with Abel’s (Genesis 4:1-15); King Saul’s sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:10-15ff) with the heart of David (Psalm 51:1-19).

Verse 28 –

“The contrast of a false witness with one who hears indicates that a person who testifies falsely has chosen not to listen carefully to either the matter at hand or the requirements that a witness act justly. Both the person and the perjury of such a witness will ultimately perish, because it is the Lord who clearly sees and judges these things (vv. 2, 12) and causes the word of the faithful witness to endure (cf. 12:19; 19:5, 9).”  From the ESV Study Bible notes.

Verse 29 –

“A wicked man hardeneth his face,…. Against all corrections and reproofs of parents, masters, ministers, and others; he blushes not at sins committed, and is not ashamed of them, but glories in them: or, he “strengthens with his face” (l); he puts an impudent face upon his words, and confirms them by his impudence; if he tells the most notorious lies, and says things the most shameful and scandalous, his countenance does not alter, by which he would be thought to have spoken what is right and true;

but as for the upright, he directeth his way; or “his ways” (m); according to the various reading; the man that is upright in heart, and walks uprightly, he directs his way according to the word of God; and, if he does amiss, when sensible he is ashamed of it, and amends.”  John Gills Expostion of the Bible.

Verses 30-31 –  “And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.”   (Jeremiah 51:29).  Note; “…for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed…”  No plan working against God will succeed.

The Believer’s Bible Commentary summarizes verses 30 and 31 this way:

“Verse 30: Nothing avails against God.
Verse 31: Nothing avails without God.”

No one is prepared for a victorious battle whose heart, mind, weapons, and armor are against the LORD.

Neither Barren Nor Unfruitful

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth.
Yes, I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.  Moreover I will endeavor that you may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the Excellent Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; to which you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake moved by the Holy Spirit.”  2 Peter 2:1-21

REFERENCES: 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:4; Hebrews 12:10; 1 Peter 3:7; 5:12; Galatians 6:10; 1 John 1:7; 4:21; Ephesians 5:26; Romans 14:15; Psalm 119:105; Romans 12:6; Matthew 17:1-8

Captain of Our Salvation

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

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

And again,

‘I will put my trust in Him.’

And again,

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

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

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

You Are Not In Darkness

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you.  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety;’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as others; but let us watch and be sober.  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do.  And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble minded, support the weak, be patient toward all.  See that none render evil for evil unto any, but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all.
Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Quench not the Spirit.
Despise not prophesyings.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do.
Brethren, pray for us.  Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

REFERENCES: Matthew 24:3, 43; Acts 1:7; Isaiah 13:6; 59:17; Hosea 13:13; Romans 9:22; 13:12; 14:8; 16:16; Luke 21:34; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2:11; 16:18; Leviticus 19:18; 2 Corinthians 6:10; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 4:3, 16

If Any Preach any Other Gospel

“Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead;)  and all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:  to whom glory for ever and ever. Amen.
I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, ‘If any preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed.’  For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.  For you have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.  But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.  Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.  But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.  Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.  Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: but they had heard only, ‘That he which persecuted us in times past now preaches the faith which once he destroyed.  And they glorified God in me.” Galations 1:1-24

REFERENCES: Acts 2:24; Titus 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:1; 16:22; 1 Samuel 24:7; 1 Timothy 1:13; Jeremiah 9:14; Matthew 16:17; Romans 9:1; 16:7

That Spiritual Rock

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.  Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  Neither be ye idolaters, as some of them; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’  Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.  Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.  Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-10  (KJB)

References: Exodus 13:21; 16:25;17:6; 12:23; 32:6 Deuteronomy 1:33; Nehemiah 9:12, 15; Numbers 11:4; 25:1; Psalm 106:14, 29

While We Were Yet Sinners

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

The Good News For All Who Will Hear

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

Scripture and the Resurrection

“For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” John 20:9  (KJB)

How well do I know Scripture?  How well do I think I know Scripture?  Those are two very different questions.  I am pretty confident that I do not know Scripture as well as I ought to know them.  I think sometimes that I am pretty intelligent concerning the Bible.

It is not, however, until a trial of faith or a real life situation comes along that I understand the value of things I have learned from God and His word.

The events leading to the verse above was the death, burial, and then the bodily resurrection of Jesus.  These were not ignorant of the Scriptures teaching of the resurrection, but now all those times Jesus had spoken of His death and resurrection they had that “OH YEAH!” moment.  Peter and John entered the empty tomb, and saw it was empty – the body of Jesus was gone.

At the crucifixion Scripture was fulfilled.  In the burial Scripture was fulfilled.  In the resurrection of Jesus Scripture was fulfilled.

Read the Scriptures.  Hear them, know them, and understand.

Rise and Pray

“And when He rose up from prayer, and was come to His disciples, He found them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, ‘Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.’” Luke 22:45-46 (KJB)

“And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly…” says verse 44.  He was in agony because of what lay before Him.  His flesh was growing weak because of the agony.  He longed with all His heart to fulfill the task which lay before Him, and He prayed.

The disciples were sleeping, due to sorrow, yet needed to pray.  Peter needed to pray for strength in what lay ahead for him in a few short hours; for then he would deny he even knew Jesus.  He needed to pray, rather than sleep.

It is with all sincerity I say this,  I do not believe that any human being has experienced the agony equal to that Jesus was suffering on the Mount of Olives that night.  We could not have born that sorrow, that agony.  I too would probably just go to sleep.

O how I need to pray.  We need to be in agony for our lost, condemned, and dying neighbors.  Are we willing to pray for them?  Are we willing to do what it takes to see that they hear the message of Jesus Christ; that He died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again?  Are we willing to share with others what He has done and is doing for us?

Let us rise from our stupor of sleep, and pray.

The Ministry of the New Born Prophet

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

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

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

Lift up the Dayspring.  He is Jesus.

When Jesus Comes Again

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31  (KJB)

Matthew 24 through 25 is a sermon or discourse which Jesus delivered to His disciples concerning the last days.  The above verses are part of that lesson.  I know there are various interpretations of the whole discourse, but the following is mine.

Jerusalem was destroyed with the temple in the year 70 A.D. and it is assumed by some that that destruction fulfilled the prophecy of Matthew 24 and 25.  It seems to me to be a much bigger prophecy than that, and reaches even to our present day and time, and is to be completely fulfilled at a later date.

For the most part I believe the Olivet Discourse was delivered for the Jewish people.  The verses spoken above is speaking of the ending of what Jeremiah called “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), and the Lord Himself will come to earth, with His angels, and call His elect, those who have been redeemed during that most horrible time the earth has ever experienced; and receive them to Himself; from all the corners of the earth.

Jesus Himself said, “I will come again”.  Are you ready?

Just for a short sentence: The Church of Jesus Christ will we with Him when He comes again to earth.

Fishermen of Men

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him. And going on from thence, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.  Matthew 4:17-22  (KJB)

Men, probably fairly young men, who had the trade and business as fishermen with their brothers; and another two with their father, and planning on spending their lives as fishermen are confronted with the decision of their lives.

The man who approached them had been preaching.  His message is written above, but I share it with you again…

‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

In the day which we live (2019) the message of repentance is not very well heeded, and certainly not desired.  It is, however, sorely needed.

Jesus’s message for the four men was one of a calling. In short Jesus’s message for them was “Follow Me”.

That is His message for all who will hear His call.  Leave the nets behind.  Leave your father behind, and follow Me.

Following Jesus is not an easy calling.  It is rewarding in that He blesses with His presence, power, and glory. Following Jesus is not without cost.  Your life and mine has been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20;  7:23).

The kingdom of heaven is at hand.  He is very near.  His name is Jesus, and He died so that all who come to Him might be saved from sin and its condemnation and shame.  Believe Him.  Follow Him.

Believing Him

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forgiving Most

“And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.’ And he saith, ‘Master, say on.’
‘There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?’
Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.’ And He said unto him, ‘Thou hast rightly judged.’”  Luke 7:40-43  (KJB)

To get a better look at the story I pray you have read Luke 7.

Simon, a Pharisee, a very religious Jewish leader in the Law, has invited Jesus into his home, and has shown him no hospitality as was the expected thing of the day – washing the feet of their guest, etc.

Comes in a woman off the street who breaks a very expensive alabaster box of fragrant anointing oil, and this cause a ruckus with Simon.

This woman knows who Jesus is.  Her very act puts her in the category of the “one forgiven most” that is concerning the parable Jesus speaks.  Simon has not demonstrated the respect to Jesus that would be given to any other guest, but this woman brings a perfume that would, by some accounts, be as costly as a years wages.

This woman demonstrates her faith, and shows she needs forgiveness.

Simon NO!  The woman Much forgiveness.

Let us demonstrate our need for forgiveness by loving Jesus with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength.

In a Solitary Place; There He Prayed

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after Him. And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, ‘All men seek for Thee.’ And He said unto them, ‘Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.’ And He preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.” Mark 1:35-39  (KJB)

O, how Jesus longed to fulfill His Father’s will.  Jesus knew it involved much committed time with Him in prayer.  My how I fall so short on committed time to prayer.  I do try to stay in touch with God through my day, but I lack power with Him; at least it seems so with me.  Lord help me with my praying.  I need You in my life in power and glory.  I am weak, but you are Mighty.

The following is from the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse 35 of Mark 1…

And in the morning — that is, of the day after this remarkable sabbath; or, on the first day of the week. His choosing this day to inaugurate a new and glorious stage of His public work, should be noted by the reader.
rising up a great while before day — “while it was yet night,” or long before daybreak.
he went out — all unperceived from Peter’s house, where He slept.
and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed — or, “continued in prayer.” He was about to begin His first preaching and healing circuit; and as on similar solemn occasions (Luk_5:16; Luk_6:12; Luk_9:18, Luk_9:28, Luk_9:29; Mar_6:46), He spent some time in special prayer, doubtless with a view to it. What would one not give to have been, during the stillness of those grey morning hours, within hearing – not of His “strong crying and tears,” for He had scarce arrived at the stage for that – but of His calm, exalted anticipations of the work which lay immediately before Him, and the outpourings of His soul about it into the bosom of Him that sent Him! He had doubtless enjoyed some uninterrupted hours of such communings with His heavenly Father ere His friends from Capernaum arrived in search of Him. As for them, they doubtless expected, after such a day of miracles, that the next day would witness similar manifestations. When morning came, Peter, loath to break in upon the repose of his glorious Guest, would await His appearance beyond the usual hour; but at length, wondering at the stillness, and gently coming to see where the Lord lay, he finds it – like the sepulchre afterwards – empty! Speedily a party is made up to go in search of Him, Peter naturally leading the way.” JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY