The Business

“Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the Child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother knew not of it. But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. And when they saw Him, they were amazed: and His mother said unto Him, ‘Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing.’ And He said unto them,
‘How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?’
And they understood not the saying which He spake unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but His mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Luke 2:41-52 (KJB)

At the age of twelve Jesus had more knowledge and understanding than the wisest of the scholars of that time. They were awed by this boy who was asking questions and listening to their answers.

He said to His mother and to Joseph that He must be about His Father’s business. Just what is the Father’s business. Jesus would say when His ministry began,

“For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10).

He would also say,

“This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” (John 6:29).

It should be quite clear to all that the reason for Jesus coming the first time was to redeem a people to Himself; to redeem us from our sins by His death on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection. That is the business Jesus was and is still in.

Call on His name. Believe Him and be saved for all eternity.

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 082520

“Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the Child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother knew not of it. But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. And when they saw Him, they were amazed: and His mother said unto Him, ‘Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing.’ And He said unto them,
How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?
And they understood not the saying which He spake unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but His mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”  Luke 2:41-52  (KJB)

The Kingdom of God

“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)

Please note who is asking this of Jesus. The Pharisees, a sect of religious leaders who did not even see the signs of the coming of the Messiah. The one’s who should have not missed the obvious.

They were more concerned with rituals, and religious observances, etc. than they were with the presence of God, or the kingdom of God.

To their question Jesus answers. His answer is probably not what the Pharisees wanted to hear. He is basically telling them, “It is here, near you, and you are missing it”. They missed all the Scriptural signs of Jesus’s birth. They are missing the signs they have actually heard and seen Him do.

The kingdom of God is not announced like a business advertisement. It is not brought in by demonstration and fanfare. God is present all around; within His people, and within creation. It is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.

If you refuse and reject Jesus Christ for who He is you miss the kingdom of God. He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose from that grave and forever lives within the hearts and lives of those who love Him, and is seated at the right hand of  the Father.

The LORD, My Portion

“Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

The Portion of Jacob is not like them: for He is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of His inheritance: The LORD of Hosts is His name.” Jeremiah 10:14-16 (KJB)

The prophet lived among many people of Judah who were in pretense worshiping the LORD God, and yet they worshiped demons in the form of idolatry the other days of the week.

Some of these people may have even been the idol makers, and sold them for a profit.  After all it is only business. Right?  Wrong.  It is forbidden by God Himself to make or to set up idols.

You may be thinking, “Well people do not worship idols today”.  Really? Some of them roll around on four wheels.  We call them automobiles.  They are only a tool to serve us.  What about those things you see attached to peoples hands and ears, called “Cell phones” are they not worshiped? Some worship their children and grandchildren.  Anything can be an idol.

I have heard it said, “Man makes god in his own image”.  You know kind of a slur on God’s word where He tells us “Let Us make man in our image”.  The gods the race of Adam makes are things created by our own hands, by our own minds. These gods are weak. They can be burned. They can be destroyed. They can die.

The LORD, my Portion is not weak, but Mighty; Almighty, as a matter of fact.  The LORD, my Portion can not be burned; He cannot be destroyed; and He cannot die. He is the One who made all things; the seen and the unseen; every planet, every star, every molecule that is in the Universe. He bows to no one.

He did come to earth as a Man, the God Man Jesus Christ, and gave His life to redeem Adam’s fallen race unto Himself.

Unequal Yokes

Yokes are a farming tool from years past where the farmer or wagoneer even would place two animals; for a yoke it would most generally have been oxen.  The cart, wagon, or plow was usually teamed with an equally powered pair of the animal.  Consider this as we look at the following passage of Scripture.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (KJV)

The apostle Paul was writing to Christians in the city of Corinth.  Professing Christians were joining together with non-believers, and were having complications due to their inabilities to get along, and do what was right.

We are living in an era of time where many Christians are saying things and doing things that align themselves more with the lost world – the unbelievers – and pulling away from God, and His word.  In order to get along with the world that is usually what happens.  It is the same as thinking you can take a clean bucket of water, and a bucket of mud, then thinking you can pour that water into the mud and make it come out clean.  That cannot happen.  What you end up with is muddy water.

We are dealing with Christian life and living.  When it comes to building a business and teaming up with someone to enter enterprise all parties should have the same moral standards, and like heart for what they do.  In marriage, the man and woman entering that lifetime commitment to one another should have a like passion and love for Christ; realizing Jesus Christ is central to their individual, and couple’s life together.  There are going to be enough difficulties in partnerships in business, and in marriages without adding the spiritual aspect to the situation.

If we will follow the Lord’s direction spoken through the apostle, then there will be fewer problems, and more love and peace.

When you team an ox with a donkey you will have problems.  The ox will be more consistent in pulling while the donkey may not be as reliable, and balk more often.

God has told us, “Come out from among them (the unbelievers), and be ye separate.”  He has also said, “Touch not the unclean thing.”  We are all unclean until we come to Christ.  If you are outside of Christ, then come to Him today.

Day Two Hundred Sixty and Four

What do I want for  Christmas?

I want the State and Federal governments get out of the business of telling people how to run their own homes, children, and businesses; and telling businesses who they can do business with; by taking away our freedom of speech and religion.

Part of what I refer to is Missouri SJR 39  The link is an article about it on Facebook, by Joe Ortworth.

 

Day Two Hundred Ninety

What do I want for Christmas?

Before I begin with my “want” for today I will clarify something;  I have never been a business owner, but I do know the law of “Sowing and reaping”…

I want Business owners all over the U. S. of A. to know and understand that when you take care of your employees; from the bottom to the top; from the top to the bottom; they will take care of you and your business. If you do not understand what that means then, maybe we need Union and/or Government intervention.

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

The Preservation of the LORD

For the past six years when our church conducts its monthly Business Meeting I read a portion of Scripture to open our sessions.  This past month I read  Psalm 12; and verse 8 really “Jumped off the page” and into my heart.  It was as though I had never read it before.  I post today Psalm 12:6-8, and pray you will see why.

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, Thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.  The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.” Psalm 12:6-8 (KJV)

The following are the notes from The MacArthur Study Bible:

12:7,8 The hostile realities of v. 8 call for the heavenly resources of v.7.”

-T.A.

The Rich in This World

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  1 Timothy 6:17-19 (KJV)

According to tax records and stats the rich of the United States of America are only about 2 percent of the population.  I am not sure what income level that richness begins.  Is it one half million per year, a million, or what is the beginning point of richness?

I have never had wealth, as far as the wealth of the world goes, so I do not have a clue as to the feelings of responsibility with that wealth.  I know I do sometimes become angry when I hear of the profits of big corporations, the big million dollar bonuses of the CEO’s, COO’s, etc. and then the astronomical prices people must pay for their product.

When I hear of a Christian brother of sister becoming better off it is a great joy; however, it is an even greater joy to know that they are following the Lord in the management of their new found wealth.

The rich of the world; be they Christian or not need to realize where their wealth came from.  Most definitely some people earn what they have made, and have worked very hard for what they have, and they should be able to enjoy  their blessings; yet, they must realize that the strength they had, the health they have enjoyed comes from God, and He is the One who has truly blessed them.

All that we have is God’s.  We are only stewards of what God has given us.  We all need to realize that the Creator is really the giver, the provider of all good things; and He has blessed us to share with those who are less fortunate.

The one foundation the rich must have, is the same foundation that the poor must have; and that foundation is the Rock, Jesus Christ.

Just one finishing note.  God is not for a redistribution of wealth, making all equal financially.  You could give every man, and woman on earth a million dollars; within a month, maybe less, some would have nothing left, some would have much more; and them it would be back to the way it was before.

The greatest wealth and riches one can have is in knowing where you are going.  That can only be had by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His bodily resurrection.

-T.A.

The Light of the Sun

As I was preparing for my Sunday evening sermon Isaiah 30:26 took on a whole new light for me.

“Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.”  Isaiah 30:26 (KJV)

I noticed that verses 18 – 26 have to do with the prophecy of the millennial kingdom of Christ on earth.  It is not called that in the text, but it is speaking of a future day of blessing for Israel when they will all turn to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Messiah.

In our day we are being warned to not go out into the sunlight for too long at a time.  “You can get skin cancer”, we are told; and that may be true, but look at the verse above.

I have for years thought this to be a part of the judgment to come on the earth due to mankinds rebellion against God and disobedience to His Word.  However, I do see now that this is speaking of the sun being a healing agent during this wonderful time of Christ’s blessing.

Notice that it says the “Light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun”.  The night sky will be so bright as to help crops grow even during the night. Also see that the “Light of the sun shall be sevenfold”.  If that means seven times brighter during the day; just imagine the perfection of the sunlight during that time.

No more need to worry about the affects of sunlight, but there will be rejoicing, and healing in the sunlight.

Even in our day there is a need for the sunlight, and there has been much of it recently.  Without the sun we would freeze to death, and not even exist.

Without the Son of God we would be forever condemned, and die and go to hell forever.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Vineyard of Red Wine

The title above comes from verse two of Isaiah 27.  It is a far cry from the verses of chapter five of the prophet.  A vineyard in chaos, worthy of destruction, and to grow without care and protection from its owner.

“In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.” Isaiah 27:2 (KJV)

I know nothing of the flavor of “red wine”, but I have drank the sweet flavorful juice of the red grape, and it is fabulous.  That is what the LORD and the prophet Isaiah is telling us.  No more will Israel be judged, but, rather she will be fruitful, flavorful, and sweet.  She will blossom as a rose and her enemies will be put away.

The LORD says, “I will keep it night and day” (v. 3).  Then to leave no doubt of whom He is speaking He says,

“He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.”  Isaiah 27:6

Through the many years Israel has departed from the LORD and through those many years God has chastised them, and continues to chastise them.  God is working in the nation to bring them to the place where they will love Him, and He will prosper them greatly; just as He has promised for all these years.  Not one word of God will fall, or fail.

“Hath He smitten him, as He smote those that smote him? or is He slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by Him?  In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.   By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.”  Isaiah 27:7-9

The LORD will not have mercy on those who had or have no mercy on the people of Israel.  He will show them no favor (v. 11).  There will be no grace [favor of God] toward those who have rejected Him and His people.  When will this come to pass.  I don’t know.  I believe it will be soon; and by that I don’t mean tomorrow or even next year; but within the years of God’s own timing.

In that time all God’s people of Israel will gather to worship their Messiah around the throne in Jerusalem;

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”  Isaiah 27:12-13

One of the things that Christians and unbelievers can learn from this is that God will carry through with His promises.  Not one word shall fall to the ground.  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).  Rest assured Christian.  Repent and believe unbeliever.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus Helped; Scripture Fulfilled

“And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.
22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. 23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. 24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 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? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 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.”  Mark 15:21-36 (KJV)

After Jesus had been beaten with the “Cat o nine tails”, and stricken by the hands of His mockers and accusers Jesus would have been very weak physically.  As they took Jesus on “The way of suffering” called “Via Delorosa” He may have stumbled from the weakness and they compelled one Simon from Cyrene to carry the cross, or help Him carry it.  This wooden cross would have been heavy to bear even for a man who had not lost much blood, as Jesus had.  This Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.  This Rufus is probably the Rufus mentioned in the book of Romans, “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

(Rom 16:13)”.  It is quite possible that because of this experience the man Simon and his two sons, Alexander and Rufus, became followers of Jesus.  Simon was a help to Jesus and Jesus was certainly a help to Simon and his family.

They offered Jesus a “Wine mixed with myrrh to drink”, but He refused it.  It was a drink that would have dulled His senses, and numbed His pain.  Jesus’ choice of love was to endure the pain with all His senses about Him, and to suffer the full pain and retribution of sin, as His Father judged the sin of the world.  Refusing the drink, He would still be able to communicate with His Father, and not sin.

The third “Help” does not seem much like help for Jesus.  They actually were helping themselves to the garments which Jesus wore.  It would take an awfully cold, calloused heart to set at the foot of a cross and gamble for the garments of a condemned man, be he innocent or guilty.  Here these men were playing a game at the feet of an innocent, sinless, guiltless man, and seemingly with no remorse, or shame.  My, how there is varied instance of people’s responses to the death of Jesus.  Some are cold and callous, some are weeping, some are running away, some are just political, and some bow and call Him, Lord.

The time would have been 9 a.m. when the crucifixion took place.  Pilate had a placcard written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, “The King of the Jews”.  John writes, “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews” (John 19:19).
According to John’s Gospel the “chief priests of the Jews” did not like the words, they believed it should say, that He said, “I am king of the Jews”.  Pilate stood his ground and said, “What I have written I have written.”
One of the things Jesus was sure of, and committed to was the “Fulfillment of Scripture”.  Here we have another fulfillment of the Scriptures. “He was numbered with the transgressors” –

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.   Isaiah 53:12 (KJV)”.

There were three men hung on the tree that day- two thieves and the One who gives life to all who trust in Him.  There is a song with the chorus that says, “The one on the left, he was a sinner, the one on the right was too, but the man in the middle He was the Savior, and He died just to save me and you.”  We know from Scripture that one of these theives put his trust in Jesus (Luke 23:39-43).

The people who passed by the cross where Jesus was spoke in blasphemous, defaming, reviling words.  They mocked His precious words in which He spoke of rising from the dead – “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it once again”.  They commented about “Save Thyself and come down from the cross…”  How could Jesus pay the sin debt of the world if He came down from the cross.   On the cross, Jesus was doing the greatest work He came to do.  He came to minister and give His life a ransom for many (10:45).   His greatest work was to glorify the Father, and He did that by completing the task which was given Him.  To die on the cross was the glory of the heavenly Father, and made it possible that wicked, sinful, blemished, spotted man might be reconciled to Him.  If they had known what they were asking they would not have asked.  Knowing what I know of this today, my question would be, “How could You do that for me?”

Likewise the “chief priests” were demanding that if He was indeed the Son of God, “Save yourself” and “…that we may see and believe”.  They had seen the mighty works which He had done.  They still would not believe, and because of that, and because they would not believe their scriptures, they would not believe though He arose from the dead.

There was a period of darkness over the land.  My personal belief is that this darkness was more than just a local phenomonen.  It was worldwide.  The main and maybe only reason I believe that is, that, the reason Jesus died was for the sins of the world, thus the whole world would, most likely, have gone into this great darkness.  It was a spiritual darkness unlike anything the world had ever seen.  It was a total darkness.  It lasted for three hours while Jesus suffered the wrath and judgment of the Father for sin – our sin.  It was the darkest and most dreaded day of Jesus’ life.  “My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me” was His cry after the judgment had been made.  The Father had turned His back on His Son, because He had been made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).

Some who were standing there thought Jesus was calling for Elijah to come and rescue Him from the cross.  One ran to get a sponge full of vinegar which Jesus now receives (John 19:30).  His work was finished.  There was no more for Him to do for the atonement of sin.  I am so thankful that He was not calling for Elijah to come and remove Him from the cross, though I know He would have used other means.  He could have called thousands of angels to come to His aid.  He could have spoken a word, and it would have all been over.  He could have called to the Father, “I cannot bear it”, but He bore it for you and for me.  If He had not bourne it for us we would be forever doomed to eternal torment.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 032011

There are a lot of comments of Jesus’s coming as a babe in a manger, living as a man without sin, and that He came to be an example to us of how we should live.  Some say he came to perform many and mighty miracles.  He did do those things, but they were not why He came.

Looking at what Luke writes in chapter nine,

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him.  And they did not receive Him, because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem.”  Luke 9:51-53 (KJV)

We can know why Jesus came by what He says in the gospel of John, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”  He came because He loved us and was willing to go to Jerusalem, and die on a cruel, rugged, Roman cross for the sins of mankind, as the Lamb of God.

As we look at the above Scripture we see stated that, “When the time was come that He should be received up…”  He had a determination to go to Jerusalem.  From very early in His ministry He knew He must be about what He came to do, and that was His Father’s business (Luke 2:49).  Jerusalem and the cross was the Father’s business.

Would to God we would obey the Father’s will, and did His business as Jesus our Lord has done.  He now sits honored and glorified at the Father’s right hand.

Follow Jesus, believe Him and be delivered from sin, its condemnation and death; and live eternally in the presence of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 031211

Today’s Reading is from Matthew 26 – 28.

In looking at the life of Jesus Christ one cannot help but notice that the life of Jesus is completely submitted to the will of His Father.  He is about fulfilling God’s will for His life as a human being on earth.  Now, if we want a good example then, Jesus is the one to follow.  He is however, much more than an example to follow.  He is, in fact, the very only begotten Son of God (John 1:1-5, 14; 3:16).  Part of His submission to the Father as man is His heart and will to fulfill Scriptures and we see that in the following verses,

“Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him.  And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?  In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take Me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on Me.  But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.”  Matthew 26:50-56

In this short passage we see the statement twice, “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled…?” and then, “But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled”, and all this was at the time of His betrayal and arrest.

Though the name of the sword wielder is not given, we know from the testimony of the apostle John (John 18:10-11) that it is Peter who was overly protective of His Lord.  If we think Peter only meant to cut off that man’s ear, we would be gravely mistaken.  Peter was not a highly trained soldier in handling a sword; but his intent was to divide that man’s head.

The intent and purpose of Jesus was to fulfill Scripture and glorify His Father.  In that act He would also make a way for those who will believe to have fellowship with God the Father.  By way of the cross Scripture, all of Scripture would be fulfilled, the sin debt would be paid, God would be honored, and glorified; and there is a way of salvation from the condemnation of sin.

The event of the above Scriptures follow a time of great trial in our Lord’s life.  It was a time of the “press”.  In a place where the olives were pressed for the oil, the very fragrance of Heaven was being pressed in doing the will of Heaven.  Jesus was about doing the will of God.  His mind, His heart, His soul, and His strength was going to see that all Scripture would be fulfilled.

In the press, by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, we can be about fulfilling the will and word of God in our lives.  Be strong in faith, believe God, trust every word He has said; that He will fulfill every word that, even now, has yet to be fulfilled.  Believe it will be; and live accordingly.  No matter what trial or tribulation may come; economic failure, employment fails, health fails, earthquake or flood, or fire.  God’s Word – all of Scripture will be fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030911

Reading today from Matthew 17 – 19

Sometimes it is difficult deciding which of the verses Jesus spoke to write from.  I seek His direction, and it seems that it doesn’t matter; because it all from Him.

In chapter 18 Jesus says this about “…become as little children…” and that seems to confuse many.  Let’s take a look at that:

“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  18:3

Let’s think about little children.  They are cute, lovable, forgiving, and would start wars at the drop of a hat, if some other child takes their stuff.  Jesus certainly did not intend us to be immature in our lives.

Jesus was, of course, speaking of the little child’s heart that is loving, forgiving, trusting.  Trusting is the key here.  Especially when it comes to trusting Him.  For the most part small children are dependent.  They are dependent upon their parents for their food, shelter, clothing, health, and every other need or want that you can think of.  They are unable to go out and defend themselves against intruders, thieves, killers and muggers, in most cases.

As adult believers; followers of Jesus Christ we need to be dependent upon our Lord for our needs.  We also need to be trusting Him for everything from salvation to finances, shelter, healthcare.

Jesus goes on and says,

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  18:6

Though Jesus is talking about those who would follow Him, trusting Him for and in all things; there is  a more than subtle word here to anyone who would abuse, misuse, mistreat, or harm a child in any way.  We hear in the news of people who abuse children, both sexual and beating, them till they die; and sometimes leaving them dead in their spirits.  Jesus says, “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and drowned in the depth of the sea”.

As adults we should have respect for our children.  They can be contrary at times; however, I have seen a few adults who are contrary, evil, mean, and just downright ugly in demeanor and character.  We all can be at times.  We are still to treat one another with respect; and the children too.  When I use the word “respect”  I mean by that that we treat them as being a special human being in God’s eyes; and should be in our own as well.  We are to disciple children, teaching them and leading them toward God and His righteousness.

Determine to follow Jesus; trusting solely in Him, being dependent upon Him and no other.  Trust Him when everything seems to be falling apart; when your health is failing; when the checkbook is depleted; when you’re unemployed; when the house is being foreclosed on; the bank is coming for your car; when the hospital bills are running out your ears.  You can trust and know that He loves and cares for you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Valley Of Vision

Since the thirteenth chapter Isaiah has been proclaiming messages called “burdens” in the KJV; they are particularly messages of warning and judgment coming on those nations mentioned.  Babylon, Egypt, Moab, Damascus to name a few.

The “burden” in this chapter is directed to Jerusalem or Israel as a whole.  While the other “burdens” were named against nations and peoples who were unfriendly and cruel to Israel this one is directed straight at the city and people of Jerusalem.

Why called “Valley of vision”?  It could be possibly because they have been a lofty city.  Geographically, Jerusalem is an upwards climb from most locations of Israel.  Most of the time when it is mentioned, it is always “Up to Jerusalem” from someone headed there.  When you are going to a valley the motion is always downward.  That is the state Jerusalem and Israel are in as we read this chapter.

Read verses 1 – 7,

“The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?  Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.  All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far.   Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.  For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains.  And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.  And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.” Isaiah 22:1-7 (KJV)

It seems in reading these verses that they have been surrounded by enemy forces,  and with peril around them they are partying without any regard or though toward God their Creator and Sustainer.  When they should have been weeping, mourning and praying with repentance they were playing.  Sounds like another nation I know about, and live within.  God forgive us.

This sound of the valley of vision is similar to Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel 37, the words of Jeremiah 21:13 and Joel 3:12, 14.  Maybe this speaks of the depths to which the people have sank.  Something to consider any how.

There are two men who are named within Jerusalem; Shebna who is possibly a scribe and holding a seat of honor; then, there is Eliakim who is referred to as “My Servant” (v. 20).  Shebna loses his place of honor due to his disobedience to God and failure to do his duty; and the place is given to Eliakim because of his faithfulness.

We are told of Eliakim,

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: and I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.  And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”  vv. 20-22

Keys are symbols of authority.  If you possess a key, whether it is to your property or another’s it shows you have the right to enter or to the use of that property.  Any one forcing entry or use is an illegal user; with the exception of permission by the authority of one with the key.  Jesus used these words describing Himself,

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.”  Revelation 3:7-8

Eliakim was to make decisions, and they would be sure and fast decisions, until the time of his fall.

Jesus’s kingdom and reign will never fall and never fail.  His kingdom is sure and stedfast.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Peace In the Kingdom of Christ On Earth

People of earth long for peace.  Even those who are fighting in wars have a longing for peace, yet peace seems so far away.

Many people wonder if peace is possible, and also wonder about animals and the future of the earth.  The nations of the world are trying to bring peace to the Middle East, and fail; particularly with peace concerning Jerusalem.  The nations want things their way; not God’s way; and until the Prince of peace is come there will not be peace on earth; except as we find peace in our own hearts and lives through the cross of Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection.

What will peace look like when Jesus comes to earth again?  We must realize that when He comes again there will first be a reckoning with all that is evil.  It will be put away.  The poor will be judged with righteousness the wicked bankers, financiers, CEO’s of big corporations  who have labored to fill their pockets, and rob their employees will destroyed.

What about the animal kingdom?  We can see the results of the “fall of mankind” by watching the animal kingdom, and that of the kingdom of men.  With animals we have meat eating beast, flying, and non-flying; and they feed themselves on the lesser sized animals.  In most situations that I have witnessed a cat and dog cannot dwell together side by side without the dog growling, or attacking the cat; there are a few exceptions, but rare.  My brother used to have a dog that would allow an old yellow cat to lay on his back while he was resting.  Rare indeed.  In Isaiah 11 we find these verses concerning our Lord’s coming reign on earth and animals…

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.   And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.   And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.   They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”  Isaiah 11:6-9 (KJV)

If you will notice these animals listed are from the gentle, meek type to the ferocious, meat eater and poisonous kind.  The wolf, the lamb, the leopard, the baby goat, the calf, the lion cub, the fatling; and not to leave man out; a little child “leading them”.  The child leading them would probably mean that it would not be uncommon in that day to see a spontaneous parade of these animals together with a child in the lead.  “Fiction” you may think or say.  Not if God says it.  Nor do I believe it to be allegorical of a general peace on earth.  To make this allegorical you would need to make the rest of prophecy, even that of the first coming of Messiah, as allegory; and that just would be a lie, and deception.

The wolf and the lamb dwelling together!  Is this really possible?  It happened one other time following the “fall of man”.  At the flood [believing what God says in His Word] God brought two of every kind of land animal to the ark; two wolves, two sheep, two leopards, two goats, two bovine, and two lions and two bears; and there was peace while they were coming to the ark, getting on the ark, on the ark, and getting off the ark.  When they disembarked from the ark the sin nature of humanity affected them once more.

The millennial kingdom or our Lord fascinates and excites me.  I long for that day when I will look into the eyes of my Master, then fall at His feet, and worship my Lord and Savior.  Then will spend the Millennium with Him, serving those who populate the earth and worshipping Him for all eternity.

If you want to be assured you will be there too check this out.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Have a Blessed/Happy New Year…

…and the only true way of doing that is to be blessed with the new birth found only through faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.  He loved you and me so much He died for our sins that we might have fellowship with God, and through Him.

I do want all who come here to have a great New Year in 2011.  It almost seems hard to believe that a decade has passed since the beginning of a new century.  To those of you who are “in Christ” we live in exciting times.  The second coming of Jesus is drawing near, and the rapture of the Church is even nearer.  Be ready, be right with God, and walk with Him.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tim A. Blankenship

The Scarlet Thread – Passover

I continue now with the Scarlet Thread of redemption which runs through Scripture.  It is in fact pictures, types, of the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.  We previously looked at Cain and Abel.  Now we turn our attention to the book of Exodus and the Passover.

The Passover is first mentioned in Exodus 12.  The word “Passover” is not used until verse 11; it says,

“…And ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover”

It is called the LORD’S Passover because that night the LORD would be passing over Egypt in judgment, however for the children of Israel if they followed the LORD’S command, He said,

“When I see the blood, I will  pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:13)

The requirement for the house of Israel was to sacrifice a lamb.  Every home must offer the life of a lamb whose blood would be shed.  This could not be just any lamb.  The lamb must be without blemish, a male of the first year (v. 5), all be killed in the same evening (vv. 5-6).  With the blood of the lamb they were to take it with a “hyssop bunch” (v. 22) and dip it in the blood to strike it on the upper door post [lintel], and the two side posts of the door; and when the LORD saw the blood they were untouched by the “destroyer”.

”For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.”

Within the picture of the “Passover” we find the lamb representing, figuring, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).  Jesus Christ Himself is the anti-type; He is the real thing of which all others are only the shadow, the figure.

You can know and rest assured that the price of the salvation of mankind has been fully paid for by the blood of the Lamb of God.  He did come to take away our sins.  He became our sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).  The blood of Jesus Christ was shed, then poured out on the doorposts of our lives.  If you look you can see the cross in the blood on the doorposts.  On the upper post was the blood splashed.  On the two side posts was the blood splashed.  Do you see the cross in the Old Testament?  Do you see Jesus There?  Most of all do you see Him living, having conquered sin, death, hell and the grave.  He ever lives making intercession for us.

That is the SCARLET THREAD OF REDEMPTION.

-Tim A. Blankenship

At What Price???

10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

This text goes from one who, “Has done what she could”; to one who “takes all he can”, and gives nothing in return.  The Gospel of John calls him a “Thief” (John 12:6).  It is quite the contrast.  On which side do we stand? On the side of giving all to Jesus; or taking all we can for self.
Notice the path of the betrayer.  It was not an accident it was a planned, purposeful, plot for material gain.  Judas went to the “Chief priests, to betray Him unto them”.  He went to them.  They did not come to him with words of deception, or a scheme to try and trick Judas into betrayal.  It was in Judas’s  heart.  Then after they had received his offer he sought for a way to set it up – “he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.” (v. 11).  Is this the heart of one who really loves Jesus?  Is this the act of one who really believes in Him?  I think not.
Some may think of Peter and his denial of Jesus, but Peter did not plan, or purposely plot to deny Jesus.  When Judas betrayed Jesus did he seek forgiveness and repent of his action?  No!  He was sorry for what he did, but did not seek the cleansing of forgiveness, rather, the Gospel of Matthew and the book of Acts tells us he went and hanged himself (Matthew 27:3-5;  Acts 1 17-19), and went to his own place.  Peter sought the Lord’s forgiveness for His act.
The woman in verses 3 – 9 sought how best to serve her Lord.  Judas sought how best to serve himself.  Which one sought rightly?  Which one will receive the Lords blessing, and reward?  Which one will spend eternity in Hell?  It is evident to those who know the Lord.

What is the worth of your soul?  What is the worth of Jesus Christ to you?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words Without Profit/Prophet

The business man; no certain one, no certain company; or even a preacher or pastor tells their people, “All is well.  The business is growing”.  What is not mentioned is that decay, death, despair is all around.
For a business that may mean the ruin of that company.  Layoffs, closing the plant, or the whole company, bankruptcy.  For a church – closing the doors because the church never saw the Light of the Lord but listened to the lying words of their “pastor”.

The words of Jeremiah the prophet speak loudly to us today.

“Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.  Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;  And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations.”  Jeremiah 7:8-10 (KJV)

The life of knowing the LORD has no part in turning from Him.  We grow in Him – in Christ Jesus the Son of the Living God who died for our sins, was buried and rose; and He forever lives.  Because He lives we live, therefore our lives are to show forth His life.

The life of Jesus Christ is a life without sin, obedience to God the Father, glorifying our Creator in what we say and do.  When the Bible teacher focuses on living your life now and telling how good human kind is [self] then that is “lying words” and the prophet says, “…that cannot profit”.  It is as though mixing muddy water with clean to clean it up.  All you have is muddy water; or an ungodly life which takes the glory that belongs only to God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Glorify The Lord

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

“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.”  John 17:4 (KJV).

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

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

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

Tim A. Blankenship

The Body, And The Blood

“Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?”  John 6:67 (NKJV)

For those who do not want to accept the fact of the deity of Jesus Christ; the fact that Jesus Himself said that He and His Father are one; the fact that He said, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father”, and so much more; leaving is what you have done and invented your own Jesus.

Jesus had given many hard and heavy truths concerning Himself in chapter six.  One of the last one’s mentioned is that, “…no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father” (v. 65).  Then, we are told that, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more”.  What disciples were these?  It most certainly was not the twelve.  It was the twelve He asked the above question.  They were still with Him.

The “disciples” who left were partly those who had followed Jesus because they saw Him doing miracles.  They were following Jesus because they supposed, most likely, that they would receive something from Him.  Maybe a place on His administrative board when He set up His kingdom.  Maybe they followed Him just out of curiosity, or for the power they thought they might achieve.  Even today, in business, and more and more so within the Christian community we hear things like, “You need to get near those who are the movers and shakers if yo want to become a mover and shaker”.  If there was ever a man who was a mover and a shaker it was Jesus Christ.  When things didn’t sound right to those followers they just left.

Jesus had talked to them about “eating My flesh” and “drink His blood”, and some of that may have not been understood.  It was something that demanded whole-hearted commitment.  You could not be selfish, prideful or arrogant.  When they heard Him talking and teaching; and had seen His miracles it was easy to follow Him, but now, now that He made these claims, what were they to think?

The twelve faithful disciples sat ever diligent, listening, learning, and Jesus questions them, “Do you also want to go away?”  To which the disciples responded; Peter speaking first, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (vv. 68-69).

If the other disciples would have held that belief they would have continued to walk with Jesus.  Oh, how we need to follow Jesus simply for who He is.  He is worthy of our love, devotion, commitment, and worship.  Yes!  I said worship.  Deity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – is worthy of our worship.  If you have taken of the body and the blood of the Lord Jesus then, you know who He is and you worship, praise and glorify Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Confronting The Culture

Confronting The Culture
Acts 17:15-34

The apostle Paul has been to Thessalonica, and forced to leave there due to those who were trying to kill him, basically the Jewish people, as he taught them in their synagogue.  He then goes to Berea, and the Jews of Berea are much more “noble” because they search the Scriptures to see if what Paul is teachiing them is true.  In Berea, though, Jews from Thessalonica come to bring ill to Paul, and the message of the Gospel.

The apostle is then forced to leave Berea, sent to Athens, and there he discovers a mission field ripe for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

THE CITY OF ATHENS IS WHOLLY GIVEN TO IDOLATRY (vv. 15-16).  The world in which Christians live today is much like Athens of Paul’s day.  The United States itself, is made up of many religions.  Though it was originally built upon Judeo/Christian principles taken from the Bible there are many parts of the culture who want nothing to do with Christ, Christianity, and some do not even want God in the picture of their lives, or this country.

We have already had prayer removed from our Public Schools, and in order for “unity” which is basically “uniformity” we must not pray in public meetings, as Christians, in the name of “Jesus” any longer; we might offend someone.  It is best in those situations not to mention the cross or resurrection of Jesus Christ.  However, it is okay for the muslim to pray and use the name of Allah, the moon god, one name of many gods which Mohammed originally worshipped.  It is okay for the Buddhist to mention Buddha, and all the religions can mention their deity.

Idolatry permeates our land.  It begins with the god of Greed.  Greed rules through the hearts of men and women of all ages, and in business galore.  If more wealth is all that is in your heart and life, then you are certainly full of the god “Greed”.  He controls your thoughts, your heart to the point that your family is neglected, and most of all, God is out of the picture.  For some Science is the answer to all our ills, and the drive of some to conquer space and inner space.  Technology is also the answer for getting further into outer space, searching the galaxies, stars and planets for other life.  It also seems to be the answer to greater mobilization, and better sources of knowledge (science).

Mankind himself has become a god of sorts.  It is after all our knowledge that has made such strides in medicine, science and technology, and gains of great wealth.  It is us who has done it.  Arrogance, pride, and rebellion against holy God is what that is and it will not stand forever.

As Christians we must shun falling prey the lies of the false prophets and teachers who tell us that we are our own source of prosperity, health, technology and science.  The culture may be wholly given to idolatry, however, as Christians we have the message that can change the world, and that message is the gospel of Jesus Christ; that He died for our sins, according to Scripture; and that He was buried; and the the third day rose from the grave bodily and was witnessed by more than five hundred witnesses; and that all who will come humbly before Him confessing their sin, repenting, and calling on His name shall be saved – receiving eternal life with Him.  Anything short of Jesus Christ is pure idolatry.

THE APOSTLE’S DISPUTATIONS WITH THE JEWS AND GENTILES (vv. 17-18).  Even in Athens Paul goes to the synagogue.  He wants his brethren “according to the flesh” (Romans 9:1-5) to come to faith in Christ.  He longs for them to repent and believe.

It is quite evident by the apostle’s preaching and teaching that the gospel is meant for all who will hear it and believe.  We may curse the fact that our country [the United States of America] is being filled with people from other parts of the world.  It shows me that others are desperately wanting to come to a nation which is free from tyranny, free from communism, and free from a state religion which tells its people how to live their lives, how to dress, and kills them, or takes their property when they convert to Christianity [so far].

We should be thankful for the numbers who are coming to America seeking these things.  The greatest gift the United States has to give these people is the message of Jesus Christ, and the freedom from sin and its condemnation.

A NEW DOCTRINE NEEDED A NEW HEARING (vv. 19-21).  The people of Athens were curious about this new doctrine of a crucified, buried, and resurrected man.  The Athenians were debaters, disputers, and philosophers.  They enjoyed hearing new things, then disputing them with the promoters of that teaching.

We live in a time when people are moved by debate, apologetics, and arguments.  Everyone has an opinion, and no one’s opinion is better than any other, except the ones you agree with.  That is the philosophies of men.  However, the message of the apostle Paul, and any messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not debatable, because it is the truth.  Others may dispute it, despise it, disdain it; but that doesn’t affect that it is still the truth.

It is surprising and almost shocking to realize that there are still people, even in the United States of America who have not heard of the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I found that out a few years ago while I was attending Boyce Bible School in Louisville, Kentucky.  While working part time at a Townhouse, and Condominium living area as a gardener the chief gardener ask what Baptists believed and I told him the gospel of Jesus Christ.  His response was, “I have never heard that before”.  He told me that he was Catholic, so I understood.  It still surprised me to know that there were people in the USA who had never heard the true message of Jesus.

With the many beliefs in our nation today, there are probably many more who have never heard, but would be curious, should they ever hear even a smidgen of the truth.

THE MESSAGE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL (vv. 22-31).  With the many idols which Paul saw in Athens he marvelled that there was a place [an altar] “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD”.  It is as though, they had erected an altar to all the gods/idols they could imagine, or think of; and just in case they might have missed one who might happen to be the one true God; they erect an altar to Him.

These were a very religious people.  The KJV says “superstitious” which fits as well.  When people are unsure of a deity or deities, they will be very superstitious.  That is when you have them going to horoscopes, reading tea leaves, turning to nature worship [pantheism], black arts (such as witchcraft), and old nature religions (including druidism); the worship, or dependence upon any image of man is idol worship; the worship of any of God’s creation is also idolatry.  Paul likens such worship as the “worship of demons” (1 Corinthians 10:20-21).

Paul did not present it so bluntly, nor did he even mention the worship of demons to them, but he  did make it quite plain that there was only one God who was worthy of worship, and by whom He will judge,” by that man whom he hath ordained” (v. 31) ,and His name is Jesus Christ.  He is the resurrected One, and He ever lives and is seated at the Father’s right hand (Hebrews 1:3, 13: 8:1; 10:12: 12:2;  1 Peter 3:22).

A DIVIDED CROWD WITH A DIVIDED RESPONSE (vv. 32-34).  When the gospel of Jesus Christ, ie.; the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins, His burial – carrying our sins away never to be judged  by them again once they have been confessed and there has been repentance, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the grave, appearing to over 500 witnesses during the forty days before He ascended into heaven; is preached there will continue to be various responses.  There was in Paul’s day; there is in our day.

In the 17th chapter of Acts we can see varied responses to the gospel as Paul went and preached in the synagogues and other places.  Many of the Jewish leaders resisted the gospel, the Word of God (vv. 1-9); Some of them heard and believed including  Jews and Gentiles (vv. 10, 15); Then, in these verses there were those who ridiculed the gospel of Christ Jesus, and some of these believed it.

In this message Paul told the people of Athens of the “Greatness of God” – He is Creator (vv. 24-25).  He tells them of the “Goodness of God” – He is Provider (vv. 25b-26).  The apostle tells them of the “Government of God” – He is Sovereign (vv. 27-31a).  He does not end with that, however, and concludes telling them of the “Grace of God” – He is Savior (v. 31b)

The opinions and philosophies of men are just that opinions and philosophies, which have no power, little lone saving power.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is the “power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes” (Romans 1:16).  It is the position of the man and woman of God to preach the gospel, to proclaim the gospel; it is the power of God to save people through the gospel.  We have no power to save, only God does.

Some of these in Athens heard Paul and rejected the message, and some said, “We will hear you again on this matter”; and others received it and followed Paul.

The important thing is what will you do with the message of the gospel.  If you hear it and believe, and call on the name of the Lord Jesus for salvation, you can be saved.  If you reject it, and die you will go to eternal judgment.  The choice is yours when you have heard the word of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship