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…

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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

The Power of God in Christ Jesus; Yet Unwanted

“And when He was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?’
And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought Him, saying, ‘If Thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.’ And He said unto them, ‘Go.’ And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw Him, they besought Him that He would depart out of their coasts.” Matthew 8:28-34 (KJB)

“The demon spirit seems still to tenant the lives of human beings. To what else can we attribute the paroxysms of passion, the awful cruelties and inhumanities of men? There is only one devil, but many demons; only one prince of the power of darkness, but many emissaries. Take heed, lest you open the door of your nature to the spirit of evil and he possess you. Watch and pray, and trust the keeping of your soul to the hands of Christ. He is stronger than the strong man.
Notice that the demon is set upon destruction. If he may not destroy the souls of men, he will destroy swine. This is the mark of evil. It is always destructive; whereas the Spirit of God is constructive and builds up from the ruins of Satan’s work a new heaven and a new earth, both in the soul and in the universe.
All the city besought Jesus to depart, because men count their gains more valuable than His presence. The same spirit rules in the commercial world of today. Let us beware. What shall it profit to gain the world, if we lose our souls?” From F. B. Meyer’s Through the Bible Day by Day on Mat. 8:28-34

Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel (4)

Come Up Out Of Your Graves

 

“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, Thou knowest.’
Again He said unto me, ‘Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.’
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
Then said He unto me, ‘Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’
So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Then He said unto me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.’ Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it,’ saith the LORD.”  Ezekiel 37:1-14  (KJB)

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (4)

The Tragic Results of Sin

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” Genesis 4:1-12 (KJV)

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (3)

The Wickedness of Mankind

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” Genesis 6:1-7 (KJV).

Boasting in the LORD

“I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:1-3 (KJB)

There is a whole lot of boasting going on.  I boast of one thing, and then another. So do you. I know of no one who has not made a boast of one thing or another.  Let me post a question;  Do you ever boast in the LORD?  Do you boast of His greatness, His power and authority?  Do you boast of His so great salvation?  Whoops!  That was three questions.

God is great to boast in.  Boast of a work He has accomplished in your life; and be sure to credit Him, not yourself.  When we boast in the LORD we take credit from our own achievements  and give them to the One to whom they belong.  That is where humility really begins.

The humble will always glorify the LORD with words and with a life that shows forth the power and glory of Jesus.

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.  Amen

It all begins in recognizing Jesus as your Lord and Savior; the Son of God and God the Son.

The Treasure of Wisdom

Wisdom’s Gold,  and a Honeycomb – Proverbs 16:16-24

Verse 16 –  The worth of wisdom and understanding compared to gold and/or silver.  What, if anything, is lost by having one without the other?  Prov. 3:13

Verse 17 – 19 —   Life is sometimes compared to a road.  Is that a good comparison?  Why?  How would you describe the “Highway of the upright?”  Think about what it means to stay on (“Keepeth his way”) that highway.
In what way does pride lead to destruction?  Is “Pride” some of the time, or all the time related to refusing to see and acknowledge there is a problem?  Jeremiah 49:16
The “Humble spirit” needs no spoils.  For verse 19 reference see Psalm 84:10.

Verse 20 – 24 —

“Prov. 16:20–24  These verses commend the speech characteristic of the wise of heart (vv. 21a, 23a): the wise consider their words carefully (vv. 20a, 23a) so that their words are both persuasive (vv. 21b, 23b) and good for body and soul (v. 24);  they exhibit faithfulness to God (v. 20b) and are considered discerning by others (v. 21a).  Such wisdom is a fountain of life, and foolish speech is empty of any such benefits (v. 22).”  Note from the ESV Study Bible

Pleasant and precious words are sweet and comes from hearts of wisdom of understanding (verses 16 and 24).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words of the Prophets – Zechariah (2)

When Messiah Comes Again

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.  And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:  But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.

Zechariah 14:1-7 (KJV)

Some Thoughts from Proverbs 12

Proverbs 12:1-28

Verses 1-4 –  There is a need for instruction.  “Instruction” is speaking of the need for correction or chastisement “Instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
To be “brutish” is a sign of stupidity; and foolishness.

Verses 5-7 –  The thoughts, purposes or devices of the righteous are right.  The advice of the wicked are deceitful.  This compares the counsel of the righteous with the wicked.
The wicked and the righteous are again compared in verses 6 and 7.

Verses 8-11 –  Acting and/or speaking with wisdom gains the respect of others.

“Prov. 12:9–11 These are sayings about ordinary workers that illustrate either the “good sense” or the “twisted mind” of v. 8. Lack bread (end of v. 9) is paralleled by lacks sense (end of v. 11), and both verses speak of the importance of prudent labor in order to provide enough to eat. The point of the whole is that the righteous person cares even for his animals (v. 10a) and provides for his household by a sensible perspective on life (v. 9a) and sensible labors (v. 11a). By contrast, he who follows worthless pursuits (v. 11; such as get-rich-quick schemes, gambling, or lotteries, in a modern context) lacks sense and, by contrast with the first half of the verse, will probably live in poverty as well (cf. 28:19).”  ESV Study Bible notes

Verses 12-14 –  Sensible labor and worthless pursuits are in contrast in these verses.  Those who practice sensible labors have a yield of fruit.  Those who go in worthless pursuits find themselves ensnared.

Verses 15-23 –  The foolish person has the perspective of being right in his/her own eyes, and can rarely if ever be taught anything contrary to what they see of themselves.

With verse 15 see the following verses: 3:7;  16:2;  21:2;  26:12; 14:12.

Note the contrast in the prudent and the foolish.  Their words and their actions are the product of the heart.

Verses 24-28 –  A contrast between the diligent and the slothful.  The hard working individual is diligent about their tasks; and will see it through to completion.  The slothful will find any excust not to even begin the job.  See Proverbs 20:4.

With verse 25 see Proverbs 15:13 and Proverbs 17:22

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Mouth; Wisdom or the Lack of It

The Mouth; Wisdom and Wickedness – Proverbs 11:7-14

Jesus said, “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.”  Matthew 15:10b-11

In this study there is more in dealing with the mouth and the tongue.  This is a very important matter with God, or there would not be so much of Scripture dealing with it.  In chapter ten we dealt with “The Mouth of the Wise and the Righteous”.

Verses 7 – 8  –  A contrast is given of the hope of the wicked; and the hope of the righteous.  It could be highly implied within these verses that the wealth spoken of is unjustly acquired.

From the ESV study Bible notes:

“Proverbs contrasts this with the hope of the righteous (see 10:28) to warn against being fooled by the apparent security in dishonest gain and to assure those who fear the Lord that their hope, manifested in seeking the path of wisdom, will not be in vain (see 23:18; 24:14).”

Verses 9 – 11 –  Notice there is still the contrasting of the wicked and the righteous.  The contrast is a matter of dealing with the mouth.  Even when the righteous are slandered they know how to conduct themselves in the right fashion.  Conducting one’s self in the right fashion does not include slandering the slanderer.

The mouth of the righteous blesses people (v. 11)

Verses 12 – 13  –  The evil intent of a talebearer is to destroy another’s life, reputation, or character.

From Matthew Henry Commentary:

“Speaking spitefully of a man behind his back: A tale-bearer, that carries all the stories he can pick up, true or false, from house to house, to make mischief and sow discord, reveals secrets which he has been entrusted with, and so breaks the laws, and forfeits all the privileges, of friendship and conversation.”

Verse 14 –  It is good for leaders, Christians and for all to have godly counselors.  Those who would be godly counselors would also keep watch over their tongues, lips; their mouth.

The ESV Study Bible notes:

“The role of counselors is to aid a person in making wise decisions (cf. 15:22; 24:6). While this is particularly important for those who lead a people, Proverbs also stresses its broader application to people’s decision making in all sorts of situations—cf. 11:5 and the contrasting description of how the wicked falls “by his own wickedness.””

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words of the Prophets – Hosea

For Lack of Knowledge

“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.  By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.  Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.  Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.  Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  As they were increased, so they sinned against Me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.  They eat up the sin of My people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.  And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.  Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.” Hosea 4:1-11 (KJV)

Deliverance from the Evil, and from the Strange

The notes below are taken from the BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY.

Deliverance From the Evil and the Strange – Proverbs 2:10-22

Verses 10 – 11 –   “The reason this happens is that wisdom takes control of one’s mind or heart, and the knowledge of what is right becomes pleasant rather than distasteful. To the true believer, God’s commands are not irksome. Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden is light.

2:11  Discretion, or the ability to make wise decisions, saves a person from many a “bad trip.” Sound judgment delivers us from involvement with wicked men. None of us realizes the extent to which we are daily preserved from spiritual, moral, and physical perils. The Christian enjoys a well-guarded life, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” From the Believer’s Bible Commentary – Libronix Digital Library System

Verses 20 – 22 –  “Link verse 20 with verse 11. Wisdom preserves not only from evil men and the strange woman, but, on the positive side, it encourages companionship with those who are worthwhile and upright.

2:21, 22  Under the Law of Moses, men of integrity—the upright and the blameless—were rewarded with a secure place in the land of Canaan. When we come over to the NT, these material blessings in earthly places give way to spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. But the fact remains that righteousness and decency are rewarded in this life as well as in the life to come.
It is equally true that the wicked will be cut off from the land of blessing. There is no lasting inheritance there for the treacherous.”  Ibid.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Broken Branches; Grafted In

Broken Branches – Grafted In

Romans 11:15-24

Paul begins using the allegory of an olive tree. The breaking off of some of the branches represents reprobate national Israel. Note verse 20; they were broken off, because of their unbelief and the Church –Gentile believers–were grafted in. Unnaturally grafted in– “A wild olive tree” (v. 17) into a domesticated tree.

THEIR CASTING AWAY THE RECONCILING OF THE WORLD (v. 15).

Is there to be a receiving of them back?

When they return it will be “Life from the dead”.

THE FIRSTFRUIT, THE LUMP, THE ROOT, AND THE BRANCHES (v.16)

The “firstfruit” was the first part that was to be given to the Lord; is the holy kingdom of Israel. It is this “firstfruit” which has been declared “holy” by God. It is from this “Firstfruit” which came the Branch, and from this Branch is given life to all who will believe.

The “Lump” is counted as the whole of the “Firstfruits”. Because the firstfruits is holy the “Lump” is holy.

The “Root” is then, those who were the Patriarchs of Israel, ie., Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was upon these that the hypocritical Pharisees, based their “righteousness”. The “Root” is grounded in the eternal promises, and covenants of the Person and Word of God.

The “branches” are the descendants of the root. Those who were born through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Of the greatest importance was to be born of the same faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All that have this faith have it through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had this relationship looking forward by grace through faith to the cross of Christ. Those born again today have it by looking back by grace through faith.

BROKEN BRANCHES, FROM THE ROOT AND FATNESS OF THE TREE (vv. 17-18).

Wild olive branches grafted in. Grafting is the art of joining one plant to another. The MERRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary defines “Graft”, “To insert a shoot from one plant into another so that they join and grow.” It is also done with skin for burn victims. The olive tree is Israel, and the wild olive tree.

There should be no boasting on the Gentile’s part concerning the faith we have through Jesus Christ. The root after all is our reason for believing.

BROKEN OFF TO ALLOW OTHERS TO BE GRAFTED IN (vv. 19-24).

Unbelief was the reason for them being broken off. This alone should cause us to realize that it is solely by grace that any is saved. If any forsake the Lord there is no redemption, no faith, and no hope.

Remember the goodness of God without forgetting the severity of the Lord as well. Goodness came to the Gentile due to the severity of God upon the Jew.

Should Israel come out of their unbelief they will be grafted back into the tree. The God of all creation is able to graft them in again.

Paul seems to leave no doubt as to the end result of the faith of Israel (v. 24). Will they be grafted in again? The Word of the Lord and their faith will tell. Look to the Word of the Lord.

1. The very things in which these trusted would become a snare unto them. The table usually thought to be a place of safety, because of their rejection of Messiah would become a snare, a trap, and a stumbling block. The very things they believed in were the source of their blinding.

2. In the source of Paul’s quotation even David says this of those who would give our Savior gall to drink.

3. Can we as Christians become so knowledgeable or stringent on ordinances or law that we miss our Lord and Savior?

 

When People Get Right With God

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE GET RIGHT WITH GOD
Romans 5:1-11

OUTLINE –

I. THEY HAVE PEACE WITH GOD (v. 1).

II. THEY HAVE ACCESS TO GOD (v. 2a).

III. THEY HAVE A GLORIOUS HOPE (v. 2b).

IV. THEY HAVE A DEVELOPING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (vv. 3-4).

V. THEY HAVE GOD’S LOVE WITHIN (vv. 5-8).

VI. THEY HAVE DELIVERANCE FROM FUTURE WRATH (vv. 9-10).

VII. THEY HAVE ‘ATONEMENT’ WITH GOD (v. 11).

Warren W Wiersbe’s Bible Exposition Commentary is mostly responsible for the above outline.

Many legalist of Paul’s day may have asked the question, “If justification/salvation is by grace through faith alone, then, how can they remain saved without keeping the law?” Is it not flabbergasting how people do not understand that the law condemns? It offers us no hope at all. Yet, there are those, even professing Christians, who believe that the keeping of our salvation is by the works of the law.

Now we must understand that the person who is justified by grace through faith is now free to obey and keep the law to the honor of Jesus Christ. Where once we were bound by sin, we knew nothing else, now in Christ we can freely choose to obey and follow Jesus.

Did you know that sinful, unredeemed people are at war with God? Early in the Romans letter Paul shows us the war all sinful people have declared against the all powerful, all knowing, and all present God (Rom. 1:18-32). Continuing in that state of war brings utter disaster and destruction. It does not need to end that way.

In these first eleven verses of chapter five we will see some of the fruit of justification or “What Happens When People Get Right With God”.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD (v. 1).

These people are precious in God’s eyes and He is glorious in their eyes. They are no longer at war with God. They are at peace with Him.

The person who is right with God desires to please God. They are no longer seeking to rule and reign their own lives, and the lives of others, bur are rather seeking God’s rule and reign in all things.

The person who is at peace with God also seeks peace with his brothers and sisters in Christ. He does not sow seeds of discord, and if he sins he asks God’s forgiveness, and the forgiveness of those he/she has wronged. No individual who is at peace with God can hate others – especially a brother or sister in the family of Jesus.

The people who are right with God no longer kick, bite, scream, and fuss against the direction of God or the Word of God. They recognize God has placed a man as the leader of the local church, and that he is the one who leads them to follow God’s direction. The justified individual follows God’s leadership He has called to their church. The fight against God’s leadership is sure evidence that there is no ‘peace with God’.

Those who are in this peace relationship with God love Him. They adore, admire, worship, praise, and live for Him from that love. They want others to know Him and have this peace relationship also.

Can justified people, can Christians lose this peace? YES!!! Can they lose the justification? NO!!! Christians, because of worldly influences, lack of prayer, lack of Bible study, and lack of spending personal time with God can again be at war with Him. God will not, however, let it continue without discipline and correction. If you can fight against God, and not experience His chastisement you are not His child (Heb. 12:8).

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO GOD (v. 2a).

In the Old Testament there are many pictures of Jesus and God’s glorious salvation. There are also pictures of man’s way to God being blocked. One of those pictures is the veil of the tabernacle and the Temple. The veil being between the holy place and the most holy place where the Ark of the Covenant was placed which was a picture of the abiding presence of God.

The priests were at work daily in the holy place. They placed the ‘shewbread’ on the table, and would eat it at the required time; they kept the menorah lit for light, they offered up prayers for the people at the altar of incense. They could not enter the most holy place; through the curtain, but once a year on the ‘Day of Atonement’; and then, only the high priest could do so, but not without blood.

The veil was thick and heavy. I have heard that it was as much as six inches to one foot thick. It speaks of man’s inability to approach a holy God.

On the day Jesus died on the cross, that veil was torn from the very top to the bottom by the hand of God; showing that by way of His Son Jesus we can have access to God (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). How important do you think this access is to God? It was important enough to God that the only means to open the way was for Him to sacrifice His only Son. How important is this access to you? Is it important enough to give up the condemnation of sin? Is it important enough for you to give your whole self to Him? Is it important enough to consider your life, but only a garbage heap without Jesus?

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE A GLORIOUS HOPE (v. 2b).

Those who have peace with God are also people who have a hope that is established upon the promises of God. This hope is not ‘Wishful thinking’. It is substantial, and the evidence is the fulfillment of promises God has made and kept. He does not break His promises.

This is a glorious hope. God promises glory – His glory – to all those who will trust in Him, and to those who trust in Him.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE A DEVELOPING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (vv. 3-4).

For the person who has peace with God they are also at peace with their circumstances. When we rest in God we can ‘Glory in tribulations’. That does not mean that we enjoy our troubles and sorrows, but that we, by faith, are trusting God to do what is best for our lives.

How can a Christian be unthankful, and be at peace with God? That is why Paul wrote,

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thes. 5:18).

Only the person who is right with God can be at peace with God, even during times of sorrow and tribulation.

“Tribulation” is the mans God uses to build a patient Christian. One Christian lady who saw her son dying, in anger cried out, “God you do not know what it is like to lose a son”, but she had no sooner finished the statement when she clasped her hands over her mouth realizing it was God who saw His perfect, sinless Son die.

Jone Eareckson Tada in her book co-authored by Steven Estes wrote,

“The greatest good suffering can do for me is to increase my capacity for God” From the book “WHEN GOD WEEPS” pg. 137.

If you are a Christian we need to realize that the words of John MacArthur, “God will do whatever it takes to make us holy” is true. You can yield yourself to God and be at peace in every trial, or you can continue the warfare with God and lose.

Patience is a characteristic we all need. God is certainly patient. He is patient to let sin run its course (Gen. 15:16; 2 Peter 3:9; Rom. 11:25). The Scriptures of the last sentence show two examples of God’s patience and the other words of His patience. Jesus was patient as He walked among us on earth. It was a quality, a characteristic of His Father. It must be a character trait of those who believe Him also.

The character we have shows our experiences and how we have responded to them. If during trials and tribulations you grow cold hard, and bitter; you will be cold, hard and bitter toward those who are joyful; especially toward those who are trusting and serving the Lord. If, on the other hand, you yielded to God, and was thankful during those troubled times you will be patient and kind to others, and will love those who are trusting and serving the Lord.

There is a vast difference between the former and latter person in the above paragraph. The former has no hope, but is resting in his own strength, doomed to failure. The latter has every hope in God, His Word, and is certain of eternity with God.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE GOD’S LOVE WITHIN (vv. 5-8).

With our hope in God there is no reason to be ashamed. Having peace with God we are unashamed to tell others of His grace. We are unashamed to let others see the love of God in us.

The love of God is seen as sacrificial. God was willing to give the very best in order to redeem us. If we have that type of love we too will do, and give our very best to see others justified by faith. Only the love of God could send His Son to die for His enemies.

God does not desire man to remain His enemy. He demonstrated His love by sending His Son to die. “While we were yet sinners [God’s enemies], Christ died for us.”

The person who is at peace with God will express that love toward others in the likeness of Christ.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE DELIVERANCE FROM FUTURE WRATH (vv. 9-10).

The justified person who is in right fellowship with God need not fear the wrath of God. If a justified person is not in a right fellowship with God they probably will fear the future wrath. That ought to be a warning signal to them of their broken fellowship.

The future wrath of God is withheld from all who believe as in the example of Abraham. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for our justification. In God’s eyes, because of faith in Christ, He sees only the righteousness of His Son.

The wrath of God awaits all who are unbelieving; all those who reject God’s grace and trust their own morality, goodness and sense of decency. The enemy of God is one who aserts his own efforts over the goodness of God and thumbs his/her nose and says, “If God cannot accept me on my terms then, phooey on Him.” There is no bargaining with God. The unbeliever comes out the loser.

Unredeemed people hate God, or they would believe Him.

God, in His love, reconciles us to Himself. It is the “Goodness of God” that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4b). We are reconciled to God by the death of Jesus on the cross. Our sins kept us from the presence of God. We were deserving of eternal judgment. God must judge sin. He judged sin while Jesus was dying on that cruel, old wooden cross. Because sin is judged God can now accept us on the merit of the work of Jesus Christ.

If we are reconciled by the death of Jesus, then, certainly we are kept through all eternity because Jesus lives. He lives never to die again. If Jesus cannot keep us, then, His death and living is powerless and vain.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE ATONEMENT WITH GOD (v. 11).

Christians should be the most joyous people on earth. We have reason to rejoice. That reason is Jesus died to save us. That salvation means we have been brought to a place where we can know God personally.

“Atonement” is also reconciliation. To reconcile is to bring two opposing parties together. God did this for us, because He is the only One who was able to do so. He was the offended party, and He is the One who opens the way for reconciliation.

That ‘atonement’ was not without price. Because God is holy, righteous, and just He could not simply declare us righteous, and be righteous Himself. Sin’s debt had to be paid, and be paid in full. The only wages for sin is death (Rom. 6:23). In order to pay that debt in full and defeat the power of sin was for a sinless person to die. That sinless man was Jesus. He died as our sin, received our judgment, was buried, and rose again, thus defeating sin’s power to hold anyone again.

The only way of salvation is God’s way. Agree with God and eternity will agree with you.

AT – ONE – MENT = By the grace of God we are at peace with God through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. The peace of God is peace with God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Religion Without Jesus

Religion Without Faith

Romans 2:17-29

In our previous studies of chapter one and the first sixteen verses of chapter two it has been made abundantly clear that the pagan Gentile is vile, wicked, and evil.  In the last study we saw that even the religious Jews were wicked, vile, and evil. In our study of the rest of chapter two we see that there is no hope for the religious person who is wrapped up in their religion.

Let me say at the start here that religion is man’s attempt to gain God’s favor.  What religion actually does is exalt the religious, and steals the glory that belongs solely to the Maker of those who are religious.

Here is an outline of our study –

I. RELIGION HAS A FAULTY CONFIDENCE OF POSITION (vv. 17-20).

1. The Jews had their position in Abraham, loving the position, but despising the responsibility.
2. We all must understand that the law was given to ‘drive’ humankind to God’s grace. See Galations 3:24-25.
3. Overconfidence in the flesh is seen from the prophet Jeremiah’s words to a confident people who were about to go into captivity, “Trust ye not in lying words saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.” (Jeremiah 7:4).
4. They believed themselves to be secure because they were in the presence of the temple of God, and God would not destroy His temple – so they thought.
5. Just because one does good things, lives a good life, and possesses religious objects does not mean they are right with God.

II.  THE CONDEMNATION OF THE LAW (vv. 21-24).

1. The Hebrew religious leaders saw the importance of teaching the law, but did not live it themselves.  They were quick to condemn their people, but would not see their own sin.
2. They developed loopholes for themselves.  With these loopholes – they condemned the people who failed to keep them. You can see one loophole they had for themselves in Mark 7:10-11.
3. These teachers were “proud possessors of the law”.  They were not “doers of the law” (James 1:22-25).  They taught to “Abhor” (hate, despise) idols, but saw no problem with raiding pagan temples, taking the idols within and selling them at a profit, thus, committing sacrilege.  How do we as Christians do some thing which we may despise, yet make profit doing it?

III. RELIGION IS OF THE FLESH; GODLINESS IS OF THE HEART (vv. 25-29).

1. Jewish circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant people.  A mark of being God’s possession. The Jews were to worship and adore God alone, no other.
2. A Gentile who keeps the law has better standing before God – if indeed they could keep the law – than does the Jew who does not keep it.
3. This was a sign of sin which God was dealing with.  There is no salvation in circumcision.  There is, likewise, no salvation in baptism.  Any confidence in these to save is purely religion, and will condemn rather than save.
4. We become the people of God when our stony heart becomes soft and supple before Holy God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Judge Not

Romans 2:1-16

In thinking back about chapter one we see that the heathen, pagan, ungodly are condemned by sin. Those who are moralist will say, “Yes! They deserve the judgment they get, and they will get it.”

Then we come to chapter two. The first verse says, “Therefore thou are inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.”

In these first three chapters Paul the apostle is laying out the thought of the guilty. Who are the guilty when it comes to sin? The pagan, heathen, and godless deffinitely. So many today think that because of their morality they will be okay with God.

Let me give an outline for this study.

I. THOSE WHO JUDGE OTHERS ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE (vv. 1-4).

These are without excuse because they are able to make judgments of others. Why does the religious, moralist think they shall escape the judgment of God? (v.3). They will not. There are three things mentioned in these verses about our gracious God.

1. His goodness;
2. His forbearance; which is His tolerance of us;
3. His longsuffering.

His longsuffering is patience. Patience = the duration which God demonstrates His goodness and forbearance for long periods of time. He deliberately shows us patience even when we think we are so moral that He has nothing to judge us for.

II. JUDGMENT WILL BE MADE ACCORDING TO MAN’S WORKS – DEEDS (vv. 5-6).

One thing we need to remember is that God does not have a set of scales to weigh our good versus bad moral deeds. If we beg to be judged for the deeds we have done, then God will certainly honor that request.

Those who are trusting in their own good works and nothing more; that is what they will be judged by. You will come up short. The dependence by you of your works throws what Jesus did on the cross out the window, and declares to God my deeds are good enough. God will say to you in the day of judgment, “I never knew you; depart me ye workers of iniquity”.

III. JUDGE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL (vv. 7-11).

If you want to be saved or judged on the merits of keeping the law, then, there is one thing required. You must obey every tenet of the law. There must be no slacking in it. It must be obeyed to the letter. You cannot, nor are you able to do so. If you attempt it you will perish.

One thing about it. There is no one that will be special by the keeping of it. According to verse 11, “For there is no respect of persons with God”. All who choose to live by the law will be judged by it.

IV. THE JUDGMENT OF THE LAW FOR JEW AND GENTILE (vv. 12-15).

Those who have the law (the Jew) will be judged by the law on which they so depend. They will give an account to God, and will fail miserably. Any religious person who depends on the keeping of the law for their salvation will also fail miserably. Those who do not have the law, “Having not the law, are a law unto themselves…” will be without excuse also.

V. THE JUDGE WHO KNOWS THE MOTIVES OF OUR HEARTS (v. 16).

I personally believe that when Jesus said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”, that He was speaking of judging others motives. No one knows the motives of another. We are all guilty of making judgments on others motives.

Many, like me, when Bill Gates made mention of leaving Microsoft to work in benevolent work thought, “He is only doing that to show how good of person he is”, or “Is he trying to be the President of our nation, or the world”. That is judging another’s motives.

One day the Judge of our motives will make a righteous judgment concerning our motives. They will be just and righteous. He knows the intents of our hearts.

Let me end with this. Judging others shows we have the right and ability to judge ourselves. Let’s begin at home – in our own heart.

The only hope we have for salvation and reconciliation with God is by the cross of Jesus Christ. No amount of moral living will get us into Heaven, only Jesus Christ.

When God Gives Up #3

We have been studying the first chapter of Romans, and have made it all the way through verse 27 as of the 16th of August.

In looking at these previous verses we have seen What Happens When God Gives Up?

Truth is repressed by unrighteousness (vv.18-23);

God releases them to their own decay and filth of immorality (vv. 24-25);

God releases them to shameful passions (vv. 26-27).

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Romans 1:26-27 (KJV).

These ‘vile affections’, ’shameful passions’ are the shameful acts of homosexuality. Women with women going against the God created order. Women are usually the last to fall morally.

“Men with men” against the nature created in them.

This debauchery certainly reaps what it sows. (v. 27b).

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galations 6:7).

Physical and bodily problems. Sexually transmitted diseases one of which is AIDS, and it has no cure. Before this disease took on political overtones it was known as GRIDS “Gay Related Imunno Dificiency Syndrome”. There is certainly spiritual blindness.

God “gives them up” when they refuse Him. This abhorrent behavior does not cause God’s judgment, but is the result of God’s already judging. His judgment is already on us, when His hand or restraint is gone from such wicked behavior. This decadence will be judged in and by the hand of God. It actually shows us the levels of wickedness humankind will sink when left without God’s restraints.

-Tim A. Blankenship

That the World Will Know

“That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” 1 Kings 8:60  (KJB)

King Solomon had just ended a prayer during the dedication of the temple. During this dedication he now speaks to the people, and informs them that through these things which he mentioned in prayer the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God…  What are those things by which they may know?  It has to do with the way God loves His people:

  1. He chastises or disciplines His people when they sin;
  2. He hears and answers their prayers when they pray;
  3. He forgives their sins and delivers them out of their troubles;
  4. He keeps them in His hand, and protects them in their enjoying their blessings;
  5. He always reminds them, lets them know that there is no other God; all the others are powerless and false.

Now the question could come to us who are Christians, “How can all the people of the earth know that the LORD is God through us?”  We know and love Jesus, yet, the above things are for you and me as well.

It does say in the book of Hebrews chapter 12…

“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:8

Just wanted to remind you that no Christian can sin without consequences. We still are disciplined for our sin.

Let us let the world know of God’s holiness, righteousness, love, mercy, and grace. The cross of Jesus is where all of these were put on display by holy God.  Let the world know.

Serve the LORD Only

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from 1 Samuel 5 – 7…

“And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve Him only: and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.’
Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.” 1 Samuel 7:3-4 (KJB)

When a people group or one person get away from God that group or person needs to return to the Lord.  The people of Israel had drifted away from God and worshiped false gods of the people of the land that they had won.

These were snares and thorns to their lives; from loving God the LORD, and being blessed by Him.  There is no mixing of…

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He Trembled for the Ark of God

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read 1 Samuel 2 – 4 for today’s reading…

“And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head. And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out.”  1 Samuel 4:12-13 (KJB)

The ark of God for the children of Israel was the presence of God in their midst. They had, sadly, gotten to the state of mind that it was more an object of superstition; a rabbit’s foot; than it was the presence of God.  Yet Eli’s heart trembled for the ark of God.  It had been carried onto a battlefield which was going to be lost to the Philistines, and…

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Going Home with the King

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read 1 Samuel 8 – 10 for today…

“And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. But the children of Belial said, ‘How shall this man save us?’ And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.” 1 Samuel 10:26-27 (KJB)

I will let the words of Alexander MacLaren speak for today devotion…

The ‘manner of the kingdom,’ which Samuel wrote and laid up before the Lord, was probably not the same as ‘the manner of the king’ (1Sa_8:9-18), but a kind of constitution, or solemn statement of the principles which were to govern the monarchy. The reading in 1Sa_10:26 should probably be ‘the men of valour,’ instead of ‘a band of men.’ They were brave men, ‘whose hearts God had touched.’ Now that Saul was chosen by God, loyalty to God…

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His Name, Wonderful

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read Judges 11 – 13…

“And the Angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after My name, seeing it is secret?” Judges 13:18 (KJB)

“And the Angel of the LORD said to him, ‘Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?” (NKJB)

The Angel of the LORD had appeared to the woman who was the wife of Manoah, and he was working in the field.  They had no children, now, the Man had came and told her they were going to have a son.

This Man was none other than the pre-incarnate Son of God, God the Son with all power, wisdom, and knowledge of the Godhead.  He is worshiped.  Manoah is directed, commanded to offer the sacrifice to God, and it seems that He was inferring to Manoah that He was more than a man.

What is the deal about His name? …

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The Enemy and Us

Shiloah Baptist Church

“Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.”  Joshua 17:12-13

God’s command for Israel when they entered the Promised Land was to deal strongly with the enemy, and destroy the inhabitants of the land of Canaan.  We must understand these Canaanites were given, by God, over 400 years to repent and change their ways, yet they did not.

Now, we learn of tribes of Israel opening the door to the enemy of good and right because of their fear of iron chariots and horses; and due to their own weaknesses and lack of faith in God.  I do not mean to judge Israel.  I find in them the same weakness…

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