The BRANCH and The Temple

“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

‘Take of them of the captivity, of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; and speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus speaketh the LORD of Hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD: even He shall build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.  And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LORD of Hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.’ ” Zechariah 6:9-15 (KJB)

STUDY HELPS: Zechariah 3:8; 6:1-8; Exodus 29:6; 2 Samuel 12:30; Psalm 21:2; Haggai 1:1; Isaiah 22:24; 57:19; 58:10-14; Hebrews 3:1

The Power By The Spirit

“But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” Micah 3:8 (KJB)

The prophet of God is called to give the  “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) whether that be good and positive, bad and negative. The preacher of today if called by God is called to do the same.

At times the preacher is given a message of comfort, hope, encouragement, and strengthening of faith. At other times he is given a message of judgment, and can cause, by the Spirit of the LORD, great fear and trembling and should lead the people to repentance, and faith toward Jesus Christ.

Micah’s message seems to be a doom and gloom message at the beginning, but as you read on into the message there is hope, blessing, encouragement, and words to strengthen one’s faith.

If the prophet is only defying the truth of God’s word, leaving out the warnings, the judgments, the negatives; then that prophet/preacher is not worth listening to; and you better go somewhere else. They are not a man of God.

We can certainly judge what the preacher says and/or does not say when we read the Scriptures. The Bible is our guide; our only source for judging what is true and right; or what is lies and deceiving.

When in doubt you can trust the words  of the Lord Jesus when He said, “Judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

The LORD Gives Life

“Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

‘Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, and say, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; ‘Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee in thy blood, ‘Live;’ yea, I said unto thee in thy blood, ‘Live.’ ” Ezekiel 16:1-6 (KJB)

Ezekiel’s word from God for Israel is that “You were found by Me in a state of  death, and dying. No one else took pity on you. There is no other god who found you, and gave you life. I said unto you, ‘Live’ and gave you My grace and mercy.”

The condition of every man, woman, boy, or girl who has ever been born is death. Apart from the grace of God, and the blood of the Lamb of God, who is Jesus Christ there is only death for all.

The only Man who ever lived without sin died for us all, that we might have life through His name. His name is Jesus.

May we not flaunt His grace through licentious, debaucherous, hate filled living which comes from death.

Paul the apostle tells us, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23),  and he also tells us that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

The Lord GOD through faith in Jesus Christ is the only One who gives life. Call on His name.

Not Forsaken

“For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of Hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.

Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; He will render unto her a recompence.” Jeremiah 51:5-6 (KJB)

Though the land, the people of Israel and Judah had sinned greatly against the LORD of Hosts His grace is sufficient to bring them back. More than sufficient to judge those who had treated them so viciously and vilely.

The LORD calls for them, during the time of His visitation upon Babylon to flee. “Come out of her My people” (Revelation 18:4).

Christian of 2019 and beyond; God does not forsake His people.  The reason for the captivity of Judah and Israel is due to their forsaking God.  Christian let us never think that God who is Holy, Righteous, and Just will overlook our sin. NO! He will still hold us accountable for our forsaking Him.

We can rest assured by the cross and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, His burial, and resurrection that our sins are forgiven, yet there is discipline, chastisement for sin.  If you are without the chastisement of the Lord, you are not His.

Rest and grow in His grace.

I Am With You

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

‘Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, ‘Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’ And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.

For thus saith the LORD; ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.

Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of Hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.

Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make afraid. For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.’ ” Jeremiah 30:1-11 (KJB)

 

God was not at all pleased with the nation of Israel.  He was sending them into captivity to bring out a people who were holy, and wholly given to Him, had a heart  for Him, His word, and were obedient to all that He commanded.

The above words of the prophecy have not yet been fully fulfilled. They will be at the end of Jacob’s trouble.

“David their King” is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. They have had no king since the return from Babylon; with the exception of maybe puppet kings of Rome.

This should give every Christian assurance.  God is working in us as well to complete what He has began in us (Philippians 1:6).

Would You Like a Visit From The LORD?

“Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know Me, saith the LORD.

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of My people? Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.

Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the LORD: ‘shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this?'” Jeremiah 9:6-9 (KJB)

My answer to the title question is; Not the kind of visit verse 9 is speaking of.  I enjoy and I am blessed when I really see that God has come visiting me. Yes! I know He is with me always.

We need to see a few things about the above verses…

  1. God is speaking to Jeremiah in verse six of the kind of people he is living among;
  2. God is grieved with the people of Judah and Israel because of their lies, deceit, their hypocrisy in worship;
  3. God is grieved because of their personal hypocrisies with one another;
  4. God says that He will come visit them (meaning of course in judgment) if they do not change their ways.

These thoughts lead me to ask,,,

  1. What about the people where I live and what about me; How is my relationship with God and my neighbor?
  2. Do I live honestly with my neighbor, and remember that they also are a people made in the image of God?
  3. Is there anything in our lives that resembles false worship? Do we have a passion for something else more than God; forsaking the assembling of ourselves with other believers in Christ Jesus; or maybe assembling but living a different life the other days?
  4. Do we want the visitation of God on us for the kind of living that does not honor and glorify Him?

No! We cannot live a sinless life. We can live a redeemed life because of the cross of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  He is God’s greatest, and gracious visitation to all Adam kind.

When The Righteous King Reigns

“Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.  And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.  And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.

The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.

The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful.  For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.

But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.” Isaiah 32:1-8 (KJB)

 

From the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on Isaiah32:8…

liberal — rather, “noble-minded.”

stand — shall be approved under the government of the righteous King.”

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10

The Light of Israel

“And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; and shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth.  And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.” Isaiah 10:17-19 (KJB)

In this reading I want us to remember that the Light of the world is Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Son,

These words of Isaiah were spoken by God to him of the judgment God was bringing on the nation He was using to judge His own people because they had turned from the LORD God. This judgment is against Assyria whose ruler thought he was in charge, he  was no one’s servant, that he was so powerful he had done all the conquering on his own.  God was set to show him other wise.

The judgment of God is always for the cleansing of His people.

I am going to close with the words of the Matthew Henry Commentary…

“How this destruction is represented. It shall be, First, As a consumption of the body by a disease: The Lord shall send leanness among his fatnesses, or his fat ones. His numerous army, that was like a body covered with fatness, shall be diminished, and waste away, and become like a skeleton. Secondly, As a consumption of buildings, or trees and bushes, by fire: Under his glory, that very thing which he glories in, he will kindle a burning, as the burning of a fire, which shall lay his army in ruins as suddenly as a raging fire lays a stately house in ashes. Some make it an allusion to the fire kindled under the sacrifices; for proud sinners fall as sacrifices to divine justice. Observe, 1. How this fire shall be kindled, Isa_10:17. The same God that is a rejoicing light to those that serve him faithfully will be a consuming fire to those that trifle with him or rebel against him. The light of Israel shall be for a fire to the Assyrians, as the same pillar of cloud was a light to the Israelites and a terror to the Egyptians in the Red Sea. What can oppose, what can extinguish, such a fire? 2. What desolation it shall make: it shall burn and devour its thorns and briers, his officers and soldiers, which are of little worth, and vexations to God’s Israel, as thorns and briers, whose end is to be burned, and which are easily and quickly consumed by a devouring fire. “Who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? They would be so far from stopping the fire that they would inflame it.

I would go through them and burn them together (Isa_27:4); they shall be devoured in one day, all cut off in an instant.” When they cried not only Peace and safety, but Victory and triumph, then sudden destruction came; it came surprisingly, and was completed in a little time. “Even the glory of his forest (Isa_10:18), the choice troops of his army, the veterans, the troops of the household, the bravest regiments he had, that he was most proud of and depended most upon, that he valued as men do their timber-trees (the glory of their forest) or their fruit-trees (the glory of the Carmel), shall be put as briers and thorns before the fire; they shall be consumed both soul and body, entirely consumed, not only a limb burned, but life taken away.” Note, God is able to destroy both soul and body, and therefore we should fear him more than man, who can but kill the body. Great armies before him are but as great woods, which he can fell or fire when he pleases.

[3.] What would be the effect of this great slaughter. The prophet tells us, First, That the army would hereby be reduced to a very small number: The rest of the trees of his forest shall be few; very few shall escape the sword of the destroying angel, so few that th ere needs no artist, no muster-master or secretary of war, to take an account of them, for even a child may soon reckon the numbers of them, and write the names of them. Secondly, That those few who remained should be quite dispirited: They shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth. When he either falls or flees, and his colours are taken by the enemy, this discourages the whole army, and puts them all into confusion. Upon the whole matter we must say, Who is able to stand before this great and holy Lord God?”  MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY

Turn to Jesus Christ the Light of the world.  Without Him there is no light.  He died for you, He was buried, and He rose again; and He forever lives and hears us when we pray trusting Him.

…Be Found Of Him In Peace…

“…Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:13-18 (KJB)

The Sword of the LORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Joy of the Heart

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

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

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

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

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

The Truth

“For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” 2 Corinthians 13:8 (KJB)

The truth is what Scripture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about. Jesus is the Persona of Truth (John 14:6).  The apostle was not going to use the truth to control those who were walking, living in the truth.

Neither can  the Pastor, teacher, preacher of today.  The word of God is the truth.

I will leave you with some thoughts from a couple of sources:

From F. B. Meyer…

“None can really injure the truth or stop its victorious progress. As well try to stop the sunrise. We often help others most in our weakness, because then we rely most on the Spirit of God. It is the noblest end of life to build up others through our own expenditure, even to the draining of our strength and resources. The world is apt at destruction; and indeed not much art is required for pulling down. But the divine work is to build; we have God’s authority for that.”

and from the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

“Our apostolic power is given us that we may use it not against, but for the furtherance of, the truth. Where you are free from fault, there is no scope for its exercise: and this I desire. Far be it from me to use it against the innocent, merely in order to increase my own power (2Co_13:10).”

The truth of  the gospel is that  Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am the chief sinner. He died for me, and gave me a brand new life.  He died on the cross that all who would believe on Him might be saved (John 3:15-18).  He was buried, and He rose again.

He lives. He lives. He lives. That is the truth.

Time is Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Longing for the Redemption of the Body

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Believing All Things Written in the Law and the Prophets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Jesus Said, ‘I Am’

“Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth, and said unto them,
‘Whom seek ye?’
They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus saith unto them,
‘I am’
And Judas also, which betrayed Him, stood with them.  As soon then as He had said unto them, ‘I am’, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
Then asked He them again,
‘Whom seek ye?’
And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’  Jesus answered,
‘I have told you that I am…’ John 18:4-8a (KJB)

There are some reading this who may take exception when I have left out the italics words of “He” in the text.  I believe that to be the truer reading of the text.  Jesus simply said, “I am”.

There are many who want to argue and debate the Deity of Jesus Christ.  For my part there is no argument.  Many times the Pharisees took His words to mean that He was claiming deity,  and they accused Him of blasphemy; and if He were not Deity, then the charge would not be without merit.

I just want to point your attention to a few thoughts in this text:

  1.  When Jesus asked these men “Whom do you seek?” He was thinking of His disciples; which is evident by the rest of verse 8 through verse 9 of this chapter; Jesus getting their clear words as to whom they are after;
  2.  When Jesus answered their question there is clear evidence of His power and authority; these men, evidently even Judas went backward and fell down to the ground;
  3.  There are other “I am” statements in the gospel of John; “I am the Light of the world”(John 8:12), “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35, 48), “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11), “I am the Door” (John 10:9); for a few.
  4.  You can argue and debate all you like, but Jesus identified Himself as the One who appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-18), and if Jesus was not this God incarnate, then He lied, and cannot be trusted for anything.

As I prepare this I see quite clearly that Jesus could have stopped these men; He could have stopped the whole Roman army, and all the rulers of Rome from carrying out the crucifixion; but He would not.  He must fulfill the Father’s will for the redemption of Adam kind. He is the Son of God, and He is God the Son.

He chose to die for our sins that we might live.  Hear Him.  Believe Him.  Trust Him.

The Testimony of One Who Comes to Jesus

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him,
‘Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!’
Nathanael saith unto Him, ‘Whence knowest thou me?’ Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.’
Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, ‘Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel.’  Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.’
And He saith unto him,
‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’” John 1:47-51  (KJB)

Many often do not get it.  How anyone could see Jesus for who He really is.  He is no longer dead on a cross.  He is no longer in the grave.  He is alive.  He is, in fact, more alive than He was when Nathanael said, “You are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.”

Now, why did Nathanael make such a statement.  It was because of what Jesus said.  It was not the first statement, “Behold and Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” No! It was not that at all.  No mere man could have just seen him under the fig tree.  It is most likely that they were some distance away, and Jesus knew the heart of Nathanael.  This was a gift given to Nathanael by God.

This was in essence the revelation given by God to Nathanael to know the Son of God, and thus God the Son.

Peter’s confession of Matthew 16, when Jesus asked them, “Who do you say that I am?”, and Jesus’s answer to Peter’s confession “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” is eye opening indeed…

“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 16:17

The testimony of one who comes to Jesus is that He is the Christ the Son of God sent down from glory, so that the lost might be saved from the bondage of sin.  Since He is the Son of God it is also enlightening by the Spirit of God to know and understand that He is God the Son.  Nathanael saw that.  Peter saw that.  Do you see that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God; and God the Living Son? If He is not God the Son, then He is not Christ; neither is He Savior.

Loins Girded, Lights Burning

“Let your loins be girded about, and lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.”  Luke 12:35-36

In the era when our Lord walked the earth as  God in the flesh the people wore robes, and garments which covered their legs.  If they needed to run that would encumber them to a certain extent, or great extent.  What they needed to do to run in haste was to raise the garment up and gird it about their waist to free their legs for a much more free movement.  It was pulled up around their loins.

lights in that day needed tended each day, and to make sure oil was in the lamps so things could be seen by night.

The application for the follower of Jesus Christ today is that as we go we need to be always ready to give an answer for the hope which is in us.  Ready to run.  Ready and always letting the light of Jesus in  us be shining.

Leaven and Bread

“Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.  And He charged them, saying, ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod.’ And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ And when Jesus knew it, He saith unto them, ‘Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? Have ye your heart yet hardened?  Having eyes, see ye not?, and having ears, hear ye not?, and do ye not remember?
When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’
They say unto Him, ‘Twelve.’  ‘And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’ And they said, ‘Seven.’  And He said unto them, ‘How is it that ye do not understand?’” Mark 8:14-21  (KJB)

Leaven is an ingredient which causes bread to rise giving the appearance of being more than what it is.  It is puffed up.  It is often used in Scripture as representative of evil and its influence in people, and doctrines of religion and men.

The leaven of the Pharisees, Sadducees, the Herodians which the Sadducees were part of and was more political than religious.  The Pharisees were always twisting Scripture to fit their own understanding to keep the people in bondage to them, and their understanding of Scripture.  They put burdens on others that they would not do themselves.

I realize there is more to understand in the above verses than of leaven, but it was the words of Jesus ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod.’ which aroused my attention this morning.

Using Scripture to control others as did the Pharisees, and they tried to control Jesus too but could not; is an evil beyond description.  The preacher, the messenger of the word of God is to proclaim the truth of the word of God [Scripture] with clarity, understanding, and love letting the word and the Holy Spirit convict, comfort, encourage, and draw the lost, condemned soul to God.

Having a “Must do” list in order to be saved is leaven to the Scripture.  Salvation, sanctification, and glorification is solely the work of God.  Let us leave it there.

The Plants Our Father Has Not Planted

“Then came His disciples, and said unto Him, ‘Knowest Thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?’  But He answered and said,
‘Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.  Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.’” Matthew 15:12-14  (KJB)

From the Matthew Henry Commentary…

The rooting out of them and their traditions (Mat_15:13); Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Not only the corrupt opinions and superstitious practices of the Pharisees, but their sect, and way, and constitution, were plants not of God’s planting. The rules of their profession were no institutions of his, but owed their origin to pride and formality. The people of the Jews were planted a noble vine; but now that they are become the degenerate plant of a strange vine, God disowned them, as not of his planting. Note, (1.) In the visible church, it is no strange thing to find plants that our heavenly Father has not planted. It is implied, that whatever is good in the church is of God’s planting, Isa_41:19. But let the husbandman be ever so careful, his ground will cast forth weeds of itself, more or less, and there is an enemy busy sowing tares. What is corrupt, though of God’s permitting, is not of his planting; he sows nothing but good seed in his field. Let us not therefore be deceived, as if all must needs be right that we find in the church, and all those persons and things our Father’s plants that we find in our Father’s garden. Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits; see Jer_19:5; Jer_23:31, Jer_23:32. (2.) Those that are of the spirit of the Pharisees, proud, formal, and imposing, what figure soever they make, and of what denomination soever they be, God will not own them as of his planting. By their fruit you shall know them. (3.) Those plants that are not of God’s planting, shall not be of his protecting, but shall undoubtedly be rooted up. What is not of God shall not stand, Act_5:38. What things are unscriptural, will wither and die of themselves, or be justly exploded by the churches; however in the great day these tares that offend will be bundled for the fire. What is become of the Pharisees and their traditions? They are long since abandoned; but the gospel of truth is great, and will remain. It cannot be rooted up.

Follow the One who gave His life on the cross for our sins, was buried, and bodily arose and came out of that grave.  He forever lives making intercession for sin.

While in Thought the Fire Burned

“I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue, ‘LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.  Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.’ Selah.”  Psalm 39:1-5  (KJB)

The Psalmist, the singer, was refusing to speak and be silent.  While he is being silent his thoughts rage, the fire burns as he continues to add fuel to that fire.

I have been there.  I am fairly certain that all who are reading this has been in that place where you bridle your tongue, and wisely so, but the anger, the hurt continues to rage in your thoughts.  What do we do with that?

David realized he had a problem.  He took it to the LORD.  So must we take it to Him.

Going to God in prayer is the best place to vent, to complain about that man or woman or situation that has caused our thoughts to roar at us; rousing anger, rage, and maybe even bits of hatred.

I was asked not too long ago, ‘Don’t you ever get angry?’  My answer to that was, “Yes!”  If it is not seen by others there must be something going on. One of at least two things: 1.  I am just covering it and building a fire in me making me even angrier; or 2.  I have taken the rage, anger, and hatred to the throne of God.

The first can be dangerous.  The second is the way of the faithful Christian. When we take our complaints to the Lord, then we will have less of a problem getting along with others.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to deliver us from our sins.  He was buried to carry away our sins and shame.  He arose from the grave the victor over sin, death, and hell.  He is coming again.  Do you know Him?

Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 3

Thank you Wally for sharing this with us. Good reading, great and powerful words and thoughts.

Truth in Palmyra

1 Kings 17:10-12

So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

As we have covered, Elijah’s brook had dried up. The Lord had been taking care of…

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Kings, Neighbors,Enemies, and Honey

“These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.  The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.  Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.  Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: for better it is that it be said unto thee, ‘Come up hither;’ than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.”  Proverbs 25:1-7  (KJB)

Kings, Neighbors, Enemies, and Honey – Proverbs 25:1-28

VERSES 1-7 –  On verses two and three the MacArthur Study Bible notes, “God…kings. The roles of God and the king are compared.  God, whose knowledge is above all human knowledge (cf. Ps. 92:5; Eccl. 3:11; Is. 46:10; Acts 15:18; Heb. 4:13), and whose ways are unsearchable (cf. Job 5:9; Ps. 145:3; Is. 40:28), keeps things to Himself because He needs no counsel (see Rom. 11:34).  On the contrary, kings should rightly seek to know what they must know in order to rule righteously.”

Looking at verses four and five we can conclude that kingdoms of men are established by God when wickedness is removed and righteousness is in place.  There is silver present, but it must be refined by fire.

In verses six and seven we see that humility is an honorable trait even in places of authority.

VERSES 8-20 –  Getting along with neighbors will be aided by not being hasty in judging them when they seem to be unwise, and in the end you are shamed by your own actions (vv. 8-10).

Using words wisely when dealing with our neighbors (vv. 11-12).  Refreshing and encouraging  words from a messenger (v. 13).  Forbearance or patience is a necessity for good neighbors (vv. 14-15).  Too much of a good and sweet thing will end in hatred of that very thing (vv. 16-17).

Being a good neighbor involves confidence in the right place and people, respecting truth and, others comfort, shelter, and nourishment (vv. 18-20).

VERSES 21-28 –  We ought to treat our enemies as we would treat our neighbors.  “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 19:19; 22:39;  Mark 12:31;  Luke 10:27;  Rom 13:9;  Gal. 5:14;  James 2:8).

VERSES 16 and 27 –  Honey is a natural sweetener.  Too much of this sweetener will make one sick.  Verse 16 prepares us for verse 17 where spending too much time a neighbor’s can be a thing that turns to hatred if not done in moderation.

To search for one’s own glory is as bad as eating too much honey.  It will make others sick, and possibly you sick as well.

Heart and Life Directions

Heart and Life Directions – Proverbs 21:1-8

It is a staple of life to know that God can take the heart of a king and turn it the direction He chooses.  Even when the king is evil, from an evil empire or kingdom God uses kings to fulfill His will and purposes.

Verses 1 – 4 –  Streams of water are often changed in their courses due to flood waters.  In the early 1800’s [1811-1812] the Mississippi River flowed backwards for a period of 10-24 hours filling, forming the Reelfoot lake.  Even streams as massive as the Mississippi can be changed by the hand of God; so too can a king’s heart.
Examples of king’s hearts being changed can be seen in Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Ahaseurus, Darius, Cyrus (Exodus 12:31;  Daniel 4;  5;  6;  10;  Ezra 1, 4;  Esther 9-10).
The Lord looks on and knows the hearts of mankind. Even Jesus is said to have known what was on the hearts of some people who wanted to force Him to be king (John 2:23-25; 6:14-15).
The “High look” and the “Proud heart” go like peas in their pod.  The plowing of the wicked, leads to the sowing of sin.  “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7)

Verses 5 – 8 –  There is contrast in v. 5 between the diligent and the hasty.  There is reward for diligence; while there is waste and want to the hasty.

“The getting of treasures by a lying tongue,…. By telling lies in trade; by bearing false witness in a court of judicature; or by preaching false doctrines in the church of God: is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death: such treasures, though ever so great, are like any light thing, smoke or vapour, straw, stubble, chaff, or a feather, tossed about the wind; which is expressive of the instability uncertainty of riches ill gotten; they do not last long, but are taken away and carried off by one providence or another; and they are likewise harmful and pernicious; they issue in death: and those that seek after them, and obtain them in a bad way, are said to “seek death”: not intentionally, but eventually; this they certainly find, if grace prevent not; see Pro_8:36. Jarchi reads it, they are the “snares of death” to him; and so the Septuagint version.”  From John Gill Commentary

and the MacArthur Study Bible note

“21:5-7 These verses address the evils of ill-gotten gain.  They show three major defects in the way this gain is acquired: 1) hastily (v. 5; cf. 19:2;28:20);  2) deceitfully (v. 5 cf. 13:11); and 3) violently (v. 7; cf. 12:6).”

Verse 7 –  NKJV

“The violence of the wicked will destroy them, Because they refuse to do justice.”

ESV

“The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is just.”

Verse 8 –  People without God, and walking in His paths live lives which are perverse, crooked, criminal, and guilt riden lives.  The path of those who walk with God, are pure through the purity of Christ Jesus and do right through Him.

Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow

“From where come wars and fightings among you? Come they not from this, of your lusts that war in your members?  You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not.  You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume upon your lusts.
You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy?’  But He gives more grace. Wherefore He says, ‘God rejects the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.’
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse hands, sinners; and purify hearts, double minded.  Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and joy to heaviness.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.  Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaks evil of brother, and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law, and judges the law: but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.
There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you that judges another?
Go to now, you that say, ‘To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:’ you who do not know what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.  For that you ought to say, ‘If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.’  But now you rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.  Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does not, to him it is sin.” James 4:1-17

REFERENCES: Job 7:7; 22:29; Proverbs 3:34; Ephesians 4:27; 1 Peter 2:1; 5:9; Matthew 7:1; Romans 1:20; 2:1; Acts 18:21; Luke 12:47

Teaching a Young Pastor

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

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

He Is Before All Things

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.
And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all He might have the preeminence.”  Colossians 1:9-18

REFERENCES: Romans 12:2; Acts 5:41; 26:18, 23; Ephesians 1:7; 6:12; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 1:5; 3:14; John 1:1

Approved By Whom?

“‘For letters,’ say they, ‘Weighty and powerful; but bodily presence weak, and his speech contemptible.’  Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such also in deed when we are present.
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.  But we will not boast of things without measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God has distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.
For we stretch not ourselves beyond as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in the gospel of Christ: not boasting of things without measure, of other men’s labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.
But he that glories, let him glory in the Lord.  For not he that commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.”  2 Corinthians 10:10-18

REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 1:17; 3:5; 2 Corinthians2:1; 3:1; Isaiah 65:16; Proverbs 27:2; Luke 14:11; 18:14

Your Church Discipline

“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened of sincerity and truth.  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within?  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”  1 Corinthians 5:6-13  (KJB)

References:  1 Corinthians 3:21;  2 Timothy 2:17;  Exodus 12:15;  John 17:15;  1 John 5:19;  Deuteronomy 13:5

…For I Believe God…

“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.  For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, ‘Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.’ Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.”  Acts 27:22-25 (KJB)

God Answers Prayer

“And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, ‘Lord, Thou God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the mouth of Thy servant David hast said, ‘Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ.’ For of a truth against Thy holy Child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word, by stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy Child Jesus.’
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”  Acts 4:23-31  (KJB)

Show Us the Father

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him.’
Philip saith unto Him, ‘Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou, ‘Shew us the Father?’  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.  Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.’” John 14:6-11  (KJB)

Jesus is the only way to God, His presence, and His throne. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus anyone who calls on the name of Jesus for mercy and grace will find help in the time of need; at the throne of grace.

Philip has said to Jesus, “Show us the Father…” and Jesus said, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father.”  When a believer sees Jesus for who He is we see the Father.  We stand before the very presence of GOD.  In Christ Jesus we are seated in heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 1:1-5).

Through Christ Jesus we can know God the Father. Hear the words of the Master.  “I and My Father are One.” (John 10:30).

Without Observation

“And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, ‘Lo here!’ or, ‘Lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.’”  Luke 17:20-21  (KJB)

The coming kingdom of God is more than an event that is celebrated with pomp and circumstance.  For many years the religious leaders of Israel had been pronouncing the coming of Messiah as an event where He would show up in power and glory and give the land of Israel back to the people of Israel.

The Person of the kingdom of God was standing in front of them.  He had done many mighty deeds; giving sight to the blind, making the lame walk, healing lepers, raising the dead, calming storms, walking on water; and yet they could not see.

Jesus tells the disciples in the following verses how it will be.  Even that He will be killed.

The coming of the kingdom of God was without much notice at all.  If they would not believe Moses and the Prophets they would not believe even though One would rise from the dead.

The kingdom of God shows up in the soul that is redeemed.  Do we notice? He is present within us.

I realize that this is so much deeper than I can know.  The whole thought is that Jesus can be missed if those who desire Him are looking for signs rather than Jesus Himself.

He Looked Around

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Believe Him

The Cost of Wealth

To many who have great wealth it is their life.  The wealthy without God, are always grasping for more.

“And, behold, one came and said unto Him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ And He said unto him, ‘Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He saith unto Him, ‘Which?’ Jesus said, ‘Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ The young man saith unto Him, ‘All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.’
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Then said Jesus unto His disciples, ‘Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.’ When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, ‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:16-26  (KJB)

What was the cost to this young rich man?  It cost him his soul and eternity.

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy…

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10

The verse from 1 Timothy is not saying that money is evil, but rather the “love of money”.  Money over God.  Wealth over peace with God.  Prosperity rather than love for God.

What will your wealth cost you?

The King Rejected

“When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him, crucify him.’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’ Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away.”  John 19:13-16  (KJB)

This is a very sad event.  It would seem that even Pilate recognized Jesus as the Sovereign that He was and is; yet he was more devoted to Caesar, and fear of the accusation of not being a friend of Caesar, than he was to freeing an innocent Man.  Pilate goes on and declares Jesus, “King of the Jews”, but condemns Him to crucifixions death.

As I read these verses I thought of and think of the following verses from the first chapter of John…

“He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received him not.” John 1:10-11

Jesus Christ will one day, and possibly soon, rule as the King of all the earth.  O, in His precious Holy name, do not be found rejecting the King.

When Things are Tough and You Sit Down With the Crowd

“And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, ‘This man was also with Him.’ And he denied Him, saying, ‘Woman, I know Him not.’ And after a little while another saw him, and said, ‘Thou art also of them.’ And Peter said, ‘Man, I am not.’ And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, ‘Of a truth this fellow also was with Him: for he is a Galilaean.’ And Peter said, ‘Man, I know not what thou sayest.’ And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said unto him, ‘Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice.’ And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”  Luke 22:55-62 (KJB)

Peter had said to the Lord, “I will not deny You.”  Jesus had confirmed that Peter would; Peter did (Matthew 26:31-35).  Is there any way Peter could have avoided this tragedy of denying the Lord?

The first thing Peter did wrong was doubt the Lord’s words when He spoke it concerning his denial.  The second thing is at Jesus’s trial at the house of the high priest; he sits with the crowd who is wanting Him crucified.

If we desire to walk with the Lord and to be faithful to Him when we sit with the crowd in times of trial, and trouble we will cave to the pressure of the crowd.

O, Lord, give me strength to always stand and to be faithful to  You.  Amen.

Access to Heaven Gained

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

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

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

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

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

Beware of the Hypocrite Authorities

“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, saying, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.’
” Matthew 23:1-12  (KJB)

The “Seat of Moses'” was the authority given to the teachers of the Law of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy).  These teachers had the responsibility to teach it.  They were responsible for being able to quote it without reading it.  They need to be applauded for the work of memory required to do that. However, they laid a load of condemnation on their people, and did little of nothing for their own holiness, and sanctification.

Most of the good works they did was for popularity with the people; to be seen of them. They sought the higher places to be seen of men.

Jesus tells His disciples, the multitude, and us, “Do what they teach according to the Law of Moses; but do not as the Pharisees do.”  Instead of exalting God; they exalted themselves.

As Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ we are to live to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.  When we exalt Him we exalt the Father.

Believe Him

The Coming and Fulfillment of Righteousness

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, ‘O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham to our father’, for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?’ And Jesus answering said unto him, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered Him. And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a Voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” Matthew 3:7-17  (KJB)