Like His Brethren

“For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on the seed of Abraham.

Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:16-17 (KJB)

As I read these words this morning the word “behoved” asked the question, “What is the meaning of this word?”  Behooved is the modern spelling. I found this…

BEHOOVE, v.t. behoof’. To be necessary for; to be fit for; to be meet for, with respect to necessity, duty, or convenience.

And thus it behooved Christ to suffer. Luke 24.” 1828 Websters Dictionary

So we can learn from these verses above that Jesus our Savior saw it as necessary that He die for the sins of the world that He might redeem unto Himself a people. There was, and there is no other way of redemption.

When God says there is no other way; whether it involve the giving of His son, or the salvation of Adam kind; then there is no other way.

Jesus Christ died for our sins; He was buried carrying away all our sin, shame, guilt, and condemnation; then He rose victorious over the grave. Call on His name He is  the only Savior of the world.

Unto Him Who is Able to Keep You from Falling

“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, called: mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
I will therefore put you in remembrance, though you once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.  And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.  Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.  Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.  Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’  But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.  Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.  These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withers, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.  And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying,

‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’

These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaking great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
But, beloved, you remember the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.  But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”  Jude 1:1-25

REFERENCES: 2 Peter 2:4, 6, 10, 17; 3:2, 12; Revelation 12:7-9; 20;10; Psalm 34:7; 104:4; Deuteronomy 34:6; Numbers 31:16; Isaiah 57:20; Philippians 3:19; 1 Samuel 2:3; Romans 8:26; Ephesians 3:20; 6:18; Zechariah 3:4, 5; Colossians 3:22; Hebrews 13:8

Have a glorious Resurrection Day.  Because He lives we live, and live eternally with Him.

No Condemnation

NO CONDEMNATION
Romans 8:1-9

In this study of Romans we have had Paul take us from the total depravity of sinners, to justification, and then, to sanctification. He took a moment to let us know that the work of sanctification was not easy (chapter 7), and now he tells us how we can be victors through the battles of being set apart for Him. Paul wants the believer to know that in Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit there is victory.

The “Spirit” has only been mentioned one time up until this present text. In this chapter alone ‘Spirit’ is mentioned at least 19 times. Without the Holy Spirit we are weak, miserable, and failures. We cannot know Christ personally without the Spirit. We can have no eternal victory whatever without the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence. Jesus promised He would send Him (John 16:7). Jesus also told us about His ministry and work (John 16:8-15). His presence abides with us forever (John 14:16). Paul writes elsewhere, “…Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest (guarantee) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14).

In this study we will see the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit there can be no salvation, there could be no sanctifying work, and there would be no glorifying work. We would be without God (v. 9).

If we will study these next few lessons carefully we will see at least six things which reveal to us that we are walking in the Spirit. Remember the absence of these reveal the opposite. First of all we see…

NO CONDEMNATION – THE EVIDENCE OF A RESURRECTED LIFE AND LIVING (vv. 1-9).

The first verse tells us that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus and walking in the Spirit of God. When you are walking in the Spirit you do not hear those voices telling you that you are no good. Walking in the Spirit means you are rejoicing in the fact that you are walking in the good grace and mercy of the Living Lord who died for your sins.

In these nine verses we see a contrasts between “Walking in the flesh” and “Walking in the Spirit“. If you walk in the flesh there is condemnation. Even when you are saved and you have experienced walking in the Spirit, and you backslide into self and just get sidetracked; you will experience condemnation. There will be guilt, shame, embarrassment, and just an all out feeling of disgrace. It is God’s way of letting you know where you should be.

When we were “Dead in trespasses and sin” (Eph. 2:1) we were “Walking dead”; we were outside of God. In fact this part of this chapter tells us clearly that “to be carnally minded is death” (v. 6), and “the carnal mind is enmity against God…” (v. 7). Those who are carnal are walking in the flesh, and are opposed to God. How sad it is for a redeemed individual to be walking in opposition to the One who redeemed them from their life of darkness. Oh, how the Christian must need to remain watchful, diligent, and earnest in daily Bible reading and prayer.

Before we were redeemed by the blood of Jesus we did not know God; and could not know Him without Him reaching out to us. We did not even care about the things of God, nor for God Himself. We were condemned to die, and deserving of death. The works that we worked were the works of death. Our condemnation was certain, sure, and sealed without God’s intervention.

The power and strength of the law’s condemnation was sin. This condemnation was taken away by the shed blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. Take note. It is true only for those “Who walk in the Spirit”. It is not God’s desire to condemn; as a matter of fact He does not; sin condemns us, and God offers us His salvation. Jesus Himself said, “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). If God sent His Son to save the world, then, it would stand to reason that the world – people – were/are condemned.

When Jesus came He became sin – when He was hanged on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21). That is, He took on Himself the sins of the whole world, and received the judgment of God on behalf of the condemned. In His work on the cross; “…In the likeness of sinful flesh…’ ‘…He condemned sin in the flesh”. In the death of an innocent, sinless, blameless, spotless, Lamb sin was defeated. It can no longer condemn anyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ.

The person who has trusted Jesus is indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus. The Spirit is the same Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus, as a man, to walk with God. The Holy Spirit causes the inhabited person to desire to know God in a greater way. The person desires to love God, to walk with Him, and to please Him – not to obtain His favor, but because of His favor already given.

The attitude of the person who does not know Jesus, and does not have the Spirit of God; is one of the flesh. Doing only what pleases themselves; doing good only to achieve recognition from others, and maybe even trying to obtain the favor of God. These have a “carnal mind” or are worldly oriented and cannot please God. They are, in fact, hostile toward God (v. 7). They will fight, kick, and bite against the will of God all the way to Hell, and then some of those will cry out for His mercy, but too late.

The Spirit of God in you empowers you to put the flesh to death: “ Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (6:11). The believer is no longer subject to sin because of the Spirit’s power. It is not the power of the individual believer, but of the Spirit. The very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, “Shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal [earthly] bodies, by His Spirit that dwells in you” (v. 11). Death truly awaits all who are in the flesh – following its passions and lusts. If, by the Holy Spirit’s power we put to death our selfish passions, desires, and deeds, then, we shall live eternally. That is the work of the Spirit of God and every believer walking in the Spirit.

NO CONDEMNATION is experienced and evidenced by the faith of the child of God. In the darkest, bleakest, most severe tests and trials of life faith is strengthened. It is evidenced by following the Spirit’s direction – in accordance with Scripture – to faithfulness to Him, His ministry, and His Church.

In verse nine we are told clearly, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his”. One thing is for certain, and that is that we are to be perfect, and perfection is a work of God’s Spirit. In the flesh there is no perfection. In the Spirit, if the Spirit dwells in us. If any does not have the Spirit we are not His. Without Him we stand condemned.

-Tim A. Blankenship

No Excuses

Every Mouth Stopped

Romans 3:9-20

Nature loudly proclaims that there is a Maker of all this creation. The very fact of the order of our universe declares an intelligence must have designed it all. It could not work with such precision otherwise. I write this to say that because of this no one who is has an excuse before God. If man has only the law of nature, and a conscience that teaches him right from wrong – a law in his heart – and that we, as human beings are to worship God we are responsible, and unless we believe God we shall perish.

There is, however, a greater responsibility upon those who have the written revelation of God. The Law, the Scriptures, the Word of God tells us what nature and conscience do, but also much more. We have previously seen that those without law (the written revelation) shall perish without law, and those with the law shall be judged [or perish] in the law (2:12). There are none who are guiltless. The only hope for any in repentance from sin to God for His righteousness.

IN READING THE SCRIPTURES; GOD LEAVES US NO DOUBT THAT SIN IS UNIVERSAL. (v. 9). “…Both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin…”

Is the Jew better than the pagan Gentile? Is the religious better than the Non-religious? Is the moral individual better than the immoral individual? NO! Not as far as sin and its condemnation is concerned.

In the previous chapters we have seen every level of humanity, and that we are all without excuse before God. Contrary to what any legalist may say, the Law offers no hope; it only shows us death.

WITHOUT THE REDEMPTION OF JESUS CHRIST THE WHOLE INNER BEING OF MAN IS CONTROLLED BY SIN (vv. 10-12). The mind, the heart and the will of unredeemed mankind are all under the control of sin. It is the inner being that affects the way we live our lives.

With the unredeemed mind we have no “Understanding” of God”, “…There is none that understandeth.” With the unredeemed heart, “There is none that seeketh after God”. With the unredeemed will of man, there is “None that doeth good”.

Are we to understand by the phrase “None that doeth good” that no lost, unredeemed person ever does anything good? No! It means that he/she does no good that glorifies the Lord. Nothing good that is done by an unredeemed person will affect God’s judgment of them for their good.

No one seeks God, except God seeks them first. No one has “understanding” of God until God gives them that understanding. It is all by grace, and none of you or I. God Himself, receives the glory.

The word “Righteous” means God’s standard. That is the standard we must meet if we are to gain God’s approval. That righteousness is not obtainable in ourselves. It is only obtained through faith in Jesus Christ.

The words “No, not one” is mentioned twice in three verses – ten and twelve. God says, that there is absolutely “No one” who meets His standard for righteousness. In order for us to please God we must see as He sees. We must see that sin is a stench in His nostrils. It offends His sense of holiness and purity. We most certainly must see that it separates us from Him. If we have trouble seeing the devastation sin causes in human relations and in the creation, then, there is no fellowship with God.

THESE VERSES SHOW THAT WE ARE ALL CONDEMNED FROM THE TOP OF OUR HEAD TO OUR TIPS OF OUR TOES (vv. 13-18). The mouth as all know is part of the head. The throat is the area that provides air for the ability to make sounds, and swallow food (I could not forget that part on food). Paul says that the throat of depraved man “Is an open sepulchre”, “an open tomb”. The sepulchre or tomb was a place for the buried dead. Unredeemed man is incapable of speaking words of life.

There is deceit from their tongues. Lying is a common practice of people who do not know God. Sad to say it is of some professing Christians too. If your heart is indulged in your own way, then, your words will show your own way. These will be the main mode of communication. No words will glorify the Lord. Your mouth will speaks words of life or words of death.

Christians must maintain a close fellowship with the Lord, and on a daily basis. We are to walk in the Spirit, not the flesh. No Christian can walk in the Spirit if they do not maintain a daily fellowship with God in prayer, Bible reading and study, walking with God His way.

Speaking of the feet Paul says, “Their feet are swift to shed blood”. This is because of an unredeemed heart, mind and will. Paul has a positive thing to say of the feet of those who preach the gospel (Rom. 10:25).

The real reason “…feet are swift to shed blood” is because, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” When nations, kings, rulers, citizens, and believers in Christ no longer fear God there will be no more respect for life, and Human life in particular. The love of God has been abused, misused, and misunderstood. “God is love”, but He also hates sin and will judge it. Because, God is love, He judges sin. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7).

ALL “WHO ARE UNDER THE LAW”, EVERY MOUTH STOPPED, AND “ALL THE WORLD… GUILTY” (vv. 19-20). Every man, woman, boy and girl is responsible to God for their sin. The Gentile people of the world (all who are not Hebrew” are responsible and worthy of death because they have the law of conscience and of nature. Both of these are a law declaring a holy, righteous, and all powerful God who is worthy of worship and praise. The conscience and nature condemns us.

The written law given to the Jews, was and is a clear revelation of God to man; to show man’s need for God. This written law also condemns us. It has no life of its own to save or deliver us from sin.

Let’s say your family physician tell you one day, and some of you have experienced this, “You have cancer”, and then, he tells you, “I am only your family physician, I am not a specialist, nor a surgeon”. This doctor is performing the work of the law. He cannot help you, but he will point you toward the one who can – the surgeon or specialist.

Doctor Law says, “You have sin in your life. I can’t help you, but Doctor Grace can.”

This law; written, nature, or conscience declares the righteousness of God. Because of sin we are cut off from God. Because of law we are made knowledgeable of this eternal separation.

No one has an excuse for sin. There is no amount of good deeds, religious ritual, or moral behavior that can gain God’s favor. We have God’s favor by His grace through faith. No work, but God’s work is sufficient to deliver us.

The law stops every mouth from saying, ‘I am good enough. Look at what I have done. I have been faithful in church attendance, and Sunday School. I never beat my wife or cheated my neighbor. My good deeds will out weigh my bad ones.” Jesus, Himself will say to you in that day, “I never knew you; depart from me ye worker of iniquity”.

You and I have absolutely nothing which God wants, except faith in Him. He gives us that too.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Nation of Promise

What Of The Jew?

Romans 3:1-8

I. THE COMMITTED WORDS OF GOD (vv. 1-2).

A. Christianity owes much to the Jew.

1. Abraham – father of nations.
2. Abraham – friend of God (James 2:23).

B. The law, which came through the Jew reveals all to be sinners.
C. The precepts of God tell us what we are to do.
D. God’s Word is enduring, “Forever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89).

1. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words shall not pass away.”

E. The Word being committed to the Jew is also their condemnation if not obeyed.
F. Do they (the Jew) have any advantage?

1. Paul says, “Yes!” “Much every way…” It is basically the promises of God to Abraham and the nation.
2. God’s promises will not fail.

II. THE CONSISTENCY OF GOD’S TRUTH (vv. 3-4).

A. The Jewish teachers/leaders had a problem with the gospel of Jesus because it seemed to them, to negate God’s promises to Israel.

1. Will some people’s unbelief make God’s promises null and void?
2. Paul’s answer is “No!”

B. Man often breaks promises, whether it is intentional or unintentional
C. God is Truthful, He never lies; man on the other hand, is a noted liar.

1. God always keeps His promises.
2. We, as humankind are known for not keeping our word faithfully.

D. Since God’s Word is true, we can have confidence that He is who He says He is; we are who He says we are, and we are in need of what He says we are in need of.

III. THE COMMENDATION OF GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS.

A. The questions presented thus far, which Paul has asked, prove the righteousness of God.
B. By what Paul previously has written, he has shown that the unrighteousness of mankind shows the very righteousness of God.
C. The unrighteousness of man commends God’s righteousness.

1. If God judges unrighteousness does this make Him unrighteous when he is commended by unrighteousness?
2. Of course, the answer to this question is an unequivocal NO!
3. His judgment of unrighteousness proves Him to be righteous, and holy.
4. If God does not judge the sins of mankind, how would it be possible for Him to Judge the wicked at the last day.

D. Paul was probably being accused of teaching people to sin in order that God would be glorified.

1. There is nothing here to give us that idea.
2. Those who would teach or believe such and declare God unrighteous, because He is commended by unrighteousness, and yet judges unrighteousness is boiling in condemnation.

E. Man’s condemnation is sure, if he rejects God’s call to repentance, to Jesus Christ, and to righteousness.

IV. WHAT OF THE JEW?

A. They have disobeyed God’s Word time and time again, but yet, they too can be made right with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. One day the whole living nation will repent and follow Jesus (Romans 9 – 11).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Salvation Through Works

Romans 1:1 – 7

Romans – God’s Gospel of Grace

OUTLINE OF ROMANS –
I. Introduction (vv. 1:1 – 17).
II. The sinfulness of man (vv. 1:18 – 3:20).
III. Salvation – Justification throught the righteousness of Christ (3:21 – 5:11).
IV. Death and Life with Christ and walking in the Spirit (5:12 – 8:13).
V. The fulness of the Blessing of the Gospel (8:14-39).
VI. Covenant promises of Israel are secure (Chapters 9 – 11).
VII. The life of Christian living and service (12:1 – 15:33).
VIII. Christian love in overflow (16:1-27). In verses 1 – 7 we see several things concerning the apostle Paul and our own calling.

Verse 1 – Paul was a willful slave/servant. He was appointed by God as an apostle of Jesus Christ to proclaim the gospel. He could do no other thing
To proclaim the goodness of Christ he was “Separated” unto Him for a lifetime of faithfulness and blessing.

Verse 2 – The promise of the gospel was given by all the prophets. They all foretold of a Deliverer who would come, and deliver them from their captors, but ultimately from the sin which called them into captivity.
The law would be “written in their hearts” and put in the “inward parts”. See Jeremiah 31:33-34. The gospel is also a call to all people of the earth to repent and turn to Christ (Joel 2:32).

Verse 3 – God’s Son was made flesh. Made in the likeness of men, yet without any sin. He always did those things which pleased His Father, even to the death on the cross.

Verse 4 – Jesus’s life was lived in wisdom and grace. His words were spoken from the heart of God. His miracles were done by the power of God. There was no life which came into contact with Him who was not touched in some way or other.
He spoke of His death; His disciples did not want to hear that. He said, “Destroy this temple [speaking of His body] and in three days I will rise again.” He promised He would come again. Just as He came the first time He will come again. How can we know this to be true?
By His resurrection from the dead. This confirmed every word He had spoken. The resurrection confirmed the works which He did. The power of the resurrection proved beyond any doubt for those who have eyes to see, that this is the Son of God, and glory belongs to Him alone.

Verse 5 – It is by Jesus – His death, burial and resurrection that we have received grace and calling. You are called to Him. You are called “saint” – not by some religious heirarchy, but by the God of creation Himself. It is solely by His grace we have this calling. It is by this grace alone we are called to service.

Verse 6 – You and I may not be an apostle like Paul, but we are still called by Christ Jesus to faith and eternal life, and all the blessings and spiritual gifts that go with it. Think of all that we have in Jesus. Peace with God, joy, love, patience, self control, daily filling of the Spirit of God is available for all of us; another thing is that we have the power to say “NO!” to sin, and “YES” to Christ.

Verse 7 – Remember you are called “Saint” by God Himself. Not for any good you have done, but because of the righteousness of Jesus.

Grow in this wonderful grace of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

May God bless you richly.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Tall Order

Shiloah Baptist Church

The Scripture reading for today is 1 Kings 4 – 6…

“And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, ‘Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute My judgments, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I perform My word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.'” 1 Kings 6:11-13 (KJB)

In our text Solomon and the people were in a large building campaign of building the Temple which had been in King David’s heart to build.  It was not a commandment from God. You see nowhere where David or Solomon are given the design of it from God.  It was David’s design.  God allows its building because it was in David’s heart to always honor the LORD in…

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Jesus Through the Bible – The Scapegoat

Scapegoat “A person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.” From Dictionary.com We hear the word “Scapegoat” many times. Someone was a scapegoat for an evil political action that was done, or something of that order. Someone was a scapegoat for a bad business decision, etc.

There is, however, a certain “Scapegoat” mentioned in Scripture. This scapegoat gives us a picture of Jesus Christ; at least a picture of His work on the cross, and His burial. In Leviticus we read…

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.” Leviticus 16:7-10

The first goat was to be a sin offering which would bear the sins of the sins of Aaron and his house (Leviticus 16:6), and they were to “cast lots” to determine which goat was to be the sin offering, and which was to be the scapegoat. I want us to deal with the scapegoat, though we must understand they are both necessary for this part of redemption. We do not often picture a goat as having redeeming qualities; but let us see the goat as representing the sin which our Saviour bore on the cross.

The sin offering died, thus through Christ sin was put to death (Also read Romans 6:1-16), it has no more power over those who are the redeemed. Sin also lays on us death, sin, guilt, condemnation, and O, such sorrows. The scapegoat was taken alive into the wilderness to never be seen again.

When the child of God has laid on her or him these condemnations; then we must remember that all our sins were laid on Him who died, was buried; and in His burial He carried all our sin, death, shame, guilt and condemnation away, and He arose bodily alive, victorious over all of death’s vices.

Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, God incarnate became on the cross the very thing which He and His Father hated: Sin (2 Corinthians 5:21); was judged by the Father; the Father resurrected Him, and by His resurrection we are raised with Him. Cleansed, forgiven, and in fellowship with God for now and all eternity.

No Yoke

Sometimes there is strife, and arguments in the Church.  Maybe that is whey there are so many different denominations; but I think it probably goes beyond our differences.

Even in the early Church there was conflict.  Since the first members of the first Church were Jewish, having believed the Law, the Prophets, and the Wisdom literature – all of Scripture; then they had to deal with how the Gentiles fit into their beliefs.  That is what the conflict was over in Acts 15.

“And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” Acts 15:6-12 (KJV)

There were some in the Jerusalem Church who were teaching that the Gentile believers which had believed needed to agree with the law of Moses, and follow Jewish practices.  The verses above are the apostles defense of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone.

The Holy Spirit had been given to the Gentile believers without the Law.  Why would, or why should they be expected to be put under the “Yoke” of the Law, “…Which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear…”.

We must understand, however, that freedom from the “Yoke of the Law” does not mean freedom to sin.  Since Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried carrying sins death, condemnation, guilt, and bondage with Him; then rising from death leaving those things far away; we are free.  It does mean freedom from sin, and its yoke of bondage and death.

It is stated again in the text above.  “…We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they…”  Jews and Gentiles are saved by grace through faith in the work of the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Christmas Day Twenty and Three

What do I want for Christmas today?

Since it is that season of the year we are to remember God sending His Son Jesus into a world that hated and despised Him; I want to remind us of our condemnation into which each of us are born; and remind us all that God is holy, just, righteous, and worthy of all praise, honor and glory; yet He loves us.

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:6-10 (KJV)

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Seventy and One

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want all those who come to this blog today, and in the days to come to be certain of their eternal destination; and that that destination is to the place where Jesus is; and I want you to know that He has  prepared the way, and the place for you (John 14:1-6), that you can call on Him, He will hear you and deliver you from all your sin, and its shame, guilt, condemnation, and give you eternal life in His presence.

The Burial of Christ

Many years I have heard sermons, Bible lessons, and teachings on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but it seems the Bible deals with the death, burial and resurrection; and usually in concert with one another.

Maybe I am off track on this, but I have had this on my heart and mind quite often in the past year or two; so today I write dealing with the subject of “The Burial of Christ”.  The burial of Christ proves that He was dead; not swooning or faking death.  I do believe the Roman guards knew death when they saw it.  Thus, He was buried.

Now reading in 1 Corinthians we read…

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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 15:1-4 (KJV)

When we read the accounts of the Gospels we read of His burial, not just His death and resurrection.  So why is it so important to remember His burial as part of the presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

It is in its very meaning a necessity of our salvation, our living now, and for eternity.

Here is one place I get my meaning for the need of the burial.  In the book of Leviticus and chapter sixteen is the ceremony on the day of Atonement, and the lesson of the scapegoat.  One goat is taken, the hands of the priest is laid on the goat representing the sins of the people placed on it, then that goat is slain, and its blood is taken and poured on the mercy seat in the tent of meeting.  We must understand that all of Scripture points to Jesus, and that all is saying that there is one way to God, and that is through the blood of His Son Jesus the Christ.

Just for note: I will not cover every detail of the scapegoat ceremony, but the scapegoat is the one which lives; chosen by lot; and then taken, and released in the wilderness, and some believe maybe slain in the desert; never to return again.

Let us for  a moment think on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ like this;  1.  The death of Christ is our past;  2.  the burial of Christ is our present;  and 3.  the resurrection of Christ is our future.

Those who believe in Him are saved from sin, and its eternal torment.  That leads us to the “burial of Christ” and the present.  When Jesus died and was buried He carried all our sins, shames, condemnations, guilt, and death on the cross, and to the grave.  He carried them away; like the scapegoat -into the wilderness; never to be seen again.

He left all that baggage of sin, shame, condemnation, guilt and death in the grave.  He came out alive.

Knowing that He carried all of that away, and left it there should cause us; the Christian; to live without that baggage in our lives – once we have asked for His cleansing and forgiveness.

Because He was buried and risen we need not live in fear of His appearing, but with joy we do look for Him.

 

Day Two Hundred Sixty and One

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the whole world; I want you to know that God loves you despite the way you are; and that He loves you too much to leave you the way you are.

That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:15-18 (KJV)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Four

What do I want for Christmas?

I know that it is Easter Sunday for Christians around the world; however, I want to better understand the love, grace, mercy, and power of God through the cross, burial and resurrection of Jesus; and I want you to know that this same Jesus who was born in a manger came to die for the sins of the world, that He did, was buried, and He arose from the grave; and He is soon returning.  Make sure you are on His side.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:17-19

 

Day Two Hundred Ninety and One

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to meet someone who is lost and condemned by their sin; knows they are lost and condemned by their sins; will listen to the Lord’s word concerning their lostness, and condemnation; hear the gospel of Jesus Christ – that He died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again bodily from the grave – and by the Spirit of God lead that individual to saving faith in Christ Jesus.

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:14-18 (KJV)

Day Three Hundred Thirty and One

What Do I Want For Christmas?

I want to see people responding to the preaching of the word of God in faith, and salvation, life changing and eternal preparation for the eternal presence of God.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John 3:16-18 (NKJV)

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: 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, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-5

A Journey of Passion

This was Jesus’s final journey to the city on the hill. He would not make it again, and He knew it. Yet, He journeyed to the place where He would die.

Would you with joy, and passion go to the place you knew would mean your death? Of course you or I cannot know those things, as He did. We do need to know, though, that every day could be our last. None of us have any assurance of the next day.

Knowing His days on earth were few; Jesus traveled on teaching His disciples, and telling them what death He would die:

“And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him: and the third day He shall rise again.” Matthew 20:17-19 (KJV)

We read in other places that He had his mind set on going to Jerusalem (Matthew 16:21; Luke 13:22; 17:11; 18:31; 19:28). Some have called this journey “His Passion”, and I think that to be a good description of His heart and mind.

He came to live for the righteousness, and glory of the Father; and to die for the sins of mankind; to conquer death, sin, hell and the grave. That is what He means when He says, “And the third day He shall rise again”.

His journey in life was to glorify His Father, and to do so through obedience, even unto death. He died for you and me. He carried our sins, and its condemnations away in burial, and left them there; and rose bodily from the grave. He forever lives and saves all who will come to Him.

Treasures of Your Heart

I heard a story of an old preacher who was in one of those cafe’s where you could come in and set at a bar near the kitchen, and order your meal; a hamburger, club sandwich, fries, or chicken fried steak, fried green tomatoes, etc.

Anyway this preacher had set down near a man who used the vilest, cruelest, nastiest language the preacher had ever heard. A waitress delivered the cursing man’s meal to him, and was about to take a bite when the preacher spoke to him, and said, “Are you going to eat with that same filthy mouth your talking with?”

There are times the vile filth that comes from people’s mouths is not even worth noticing; but the people are in grave need of God, and His salvation through Christ Jesus.

Jesus said of the mouth:

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:34-37 (KJV)

Of course the people to whom Jesus was speaking were the religious leaders; and He was not speaking of cursing, and what we might call “filthy language”; but He was speaking of the hearts of men; of mankind. What comes out of your mouth reveals your heart.

Is that a troubling thought? It should cause some trouble in all our thoughts, and hearts. What kind of words do you speak? Do they lift up and edify others? Do they always, or many times tear others down?

Beware Christian. The words you and I speak do come from our heart. It is best if we think before we speak; and think from a heart that is clean and right with God. When we do that we will speak words that not only edify others, but will glorify our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Egypt and You

The nation of Egypt was at one time a world ruler. In the days before the captivity of Israel in Egypt, and during their captivity there the nation was a world ruler; even believed to have been the ruler of the known world at that time.

What is God’s purpose for Egypt? The answer to that is found in the final portion of our verses for today:

“Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered: and I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom. It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations. And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 29:13-16 (KJV)

“But they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Yes! This phrase is one of the most prominent throughout the prophecy of Ezekiel; at least 63 times. It is said of other nations; including Israel. It is said of individuals. The LORD God wants you to know that He is the LORD. One day you will. I only pray that it will not be too late for salvation.

God’s word to Egypt was that they too would go into captivity, that they would one day return to their land, but they would never be a world ruling power again. They went from a world ruling nation; basically to a world ruled nation. God still has great plans for Egypt.

No matter how far you have fallen; there is still hope for you. No matter how much evil may be in your life; Jesus Christ died for you; took your sins, your evil upon Himself, and bled and died so that you might be saved from your sin, guilt, condemnation and death. Know that He is the LORD today.

Why Do You Die, O Sinner?

I hear people ask, “Why would a loving God send people to hell?” My answer has been, “He does not”. Some who hear my answer and ask then, “Do you not preach that sinners go to hell?” or something along that order of thought. Of course I do believe in hell. I believe in hell that was made for the devil and demons. It was not made for mankind.

However, hell is the destination of all who refuse God’s gracious gift of salvation. You are dying. You are a condemned person. Because of the fall of Adam; because of Adam’s sin we are all doomed to death, and hell. God does not send us there. That is our destination apart from God’s gift of grace. Hear the words of the prophet Ezekiel:

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Ezekiel 18:30-32 (KJV)

Yes, the LORD is speaking to Israel. Yes it has application for all people. Hear the words of Jesus in John 3…

“He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18

The question you need to be asking is not “Why would a loving God send people to hell?” the question should be; “Why do I reject the offer, the gift of grace, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ God’s Son?” Why do you? You are already condemned, dying, going to hell. God has freely given you His Son dying on a cross to redeem you.

Why do you choose to condemn yourself to an eternity without God, and to be in the flames of hell for all eternity?

God has no pleasure in your death. He is pleased when people come to Him. Just call on His name, and He will hear your cry for help.

Being Happy

“Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.” Psalm 144:15 (KJV)

Just recently I seen a news item, I believe, was on NBC news doing a study on Happiness, and where to find it. I never watched the series, or the study, but what I heard showed me that there was one item missing. That item was the Person who gives us happiness.

That person is not a wife, or a husband. It is not having the favorite job. It is not a new car, or a new house. It is not even volunteerism where you spend some or much of your time volunteering for a charitable cause. Are you one who is still searching for Happiness?

Your search can end when you have the LORD as your God. He offers you peace through His Son Jesus Christ; and being at peace with God is tremendous happiness just by itself (Romans 5:1-2). When the LORD is your God you have no more condemnation from Him, His Word; and the condemnation of others just will not matter any more (Romans 8:1).

The verses previous to verse 15 tell us of family; sons and daughters who live for and glorify the LORD; that when you are happy in and through the LORD your cattle (livestock) prosper; you prosper. John the apostle wrote, “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospereth” (3 John 2).

Just a word of caution. You can have happiness now, and that happiness is your prosperity. A note from the Believer’s Bible Commentary says,

“Actually these conditions will not be fully realized until the Lord returns, crushes all rebellion, and establishes His Millennial Reign.” Believer’s Bible Commentary

Until then, trust in the LORD, believe Him. Live for Him trusting His work in you, and He will bring it to pass. Be happy in the LORD.

The LORD’S Earth

“The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1 (KJV)

What is the LORD’S?  The earth and all that is upon and within it. “The fulness thereof” is the LORD’S.

It is not said in this verse but we can certainly assume by this verse, and in league with other verses of Scripture that all things are His; for He has made them all.  We are under the purview of His care, and His reign.

Of course we know from the New Testament that this is speaking of our Lord Jesus, as John the apostle has written, “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3).  There are many other verses which back this up.

The people of the earth are the LORD’S.  He has sent us His Son to die to pay the redemption price for our sins, and to set us free from sins condemnation and death; by His resurrection.

The redemption which Jesus has provided us is available to all who are  in the world.  “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”  Do so today, and glorify the name of Jesus.

They Shall See God

The Be-Attitudes continuing…

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8 (KJV).

Purity is such a sweet word. When we think of purity we might think of fresh fallen snow; without any yellow spots, of course. We might even think of a new born baby boy or girl. When it comes to Christianity we should think especially of Jesus Christ, for He is the essence of purity. The word “Pure” according to the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY ‘Unmixed with any other matter: free from taint’ also, ‘Free from moral fault: innocent’. There was/is nothing about Jesus that is tainted. He is fully God and fully man, and free of any mix, and free of any taint; His life is free of any moral fault; He is innocent. He was innocent as He was condemned by men to die. As an innocent man He died for guilty men, that we might be made pure through His own blood.

The only way any other person can be pure of heart, ie., ‘holy’ is by the very holiness of Christ Himself. No one can see God without a pure heart [holiness], “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 KJV). None can appear before God without a pure [holy] heart – “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” Psalm 24:3-4 (KJV).

There is a pure heart only by looking to Jesus. As you look to Jesus you see God.

Jesus Through the Bible – The Scapegoat

Scapegoat “A person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.”  From Dictionary.com  We hear the word “Scapegoat” many times.  Someone was a scapegoat for an evil political action that was done, or something of that order.  Someone was a scapegoat for a bad business decision, etc.

There is, however, a certain “Scapegoat” mentioned in Scripture.  This scapegoat gives us a picture of Jesus Christ; at least a picture of His work on the cross, and His burial.  In Leviticus we read…

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.  And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.  But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”  Leviticus 16:7-10

The first goat was to be a sin offering which would bear the sins of the sins of Aaron and his house (Leviticus 16:6), and they were to “cast lots” to determine which goat was to be the sin offering, and which was to be the scapegoat.  I want us to deal with the scapegoat, though we must understand they are both necessary for this part of redemption.  We do not often picture a goat as having redeeming qualities; but let us see the goat as representing the sin which our Saviour bore on the cross.

The sin offering died, thus through Christ sin was put to death (Also read Romans 6:1-16), it has no more power over those who are the redeemed.  Sin also lays on us death, sin, guilt, condemnation, and O, such sorrows.  The scapegoat was taken alive into the wilderness to never be seen again.

When the child of God has laid on her or him these condemnations; then we must remember that all our sins were laid on Him who died, was buried; and in His burial He carried all our sin, death, shame, guilt and condemnation away, and He arose bodily alive, victorious over all of death’s vices.

Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, God incarnate became on the cross the very thing which He and His Father hated: Sin (2 Corinthians 5:21); was judged by the Father; the Father resurrected Him, and by His resurrection we are raised with Him.  Cleansed, forgiven, and in fellowship with God for now and all eternity.

Jesus On the Matter of Judging

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”  ~Jesus  (Luke 6:37-38)

Justified and/or Condemned by Our Words

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?  And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.  But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.  Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house.  He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.  Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.  Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 12:25-37)

Condemned if He Does; Condemned if He Don’t

“But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, ‘We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.’  For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He hath a devil.’  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.’ But wisdom is justified of her children.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 11:16-19)

Heaven’s News – No Condemnation

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that We do know, and testify that We have seen; and ye receive not Our witness.  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” ~Jesus (John 3:11-21)

Words for Christian Living 052713

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”  Romans 8:1-7 (KJV)

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 4:4-10)

God’s Controversy With His People 2

“Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.  Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  As they were increased, so they sinned against Me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.  They eat up the sin of My people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.  And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.  For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.” Hosea 4:4-10 (KJV)

Verses 4 through 6 as well as the following four verses are directed toward the priests and prophets.

The priests and the prophets were told not to accuse the people, because they, themselves were at fault.  This, by no means takes any personal responsibility away from the people, for they too are guilty.  The greatest fault lies with the priests and prophets, because they had failed to teach the Law of God.  Why?  Because they rejected God’s law.  Their “Mother” [Nation] would be destroyed.  Church leadership which fails to proclaim the Law of God, the Word or God with its rebukes and warnings; as well as its blessings and promises is remiss in doing the work and will of God; thus rejecting God and His Word.

The preacher/prophet may fail to meet the expectations of the people, but if he fails to proclaim God’s Word he wreaks havoc upon himself, and the people.  If the priests (Every born again believer) fails to warn the lost of his/her condemnation, and fails to pray for the lost to be reconciled to God, then, we bring shame on ourselves and eternal havoc and ruin on those whom we have failed to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In verses 7 through 10 the condemnation continues upon the priests.

It appears that as God blessed the priests (and nation) they began to be comfortable, and sin against God.  It is not sin to be comfortable, or to live in comfort.  The sin is while in comfort we forget, forsake, and do not praise the LORD.

The priests received offerings from the people.  Possibly a sin offering is implied by verse eight.  These meat offerings were to be eaten by the priests, and their families – as a means of support – and rather than rebuking the people for their sin, encouraged them to continue in sin.  Maybe not with words, but in the absence of words of rebuke.  So, just as the priests are condemned because they reject the law of God, the people are condemned because of their willful ignorance of God.  They loved their sin too much to find out what the will of God was.

There would be no satisfaction, no fulfillment in their indulgence of sin.  They would not be a fruitful people.  Even though they thought that enjoying the fulfilling of their lust through hedonistic temple acts would guarantee many children and bountiful harvest; it would not be so.  The reason God gives is, “Because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.”

There is much sin within the churches of the United States of America in the 21st century.  Yet, we have an awesome and wondrous Saviour.  His name is Jesus.  He died for us because He loves us.  He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.  He will do whatever it takes to make us holy.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 80 – Forgiveness

Yesterday’s post was about “Sin in the Church”.  Looking in First Corinthian at the Corinthians church was not much different than looking into the world; maybe even worse.  The apostle Paul confronted a situation which grieved his heart.  These were his spiritual children, and they were in the midst of tolerating the evil in their midst.

In a letter he confronts them; and tells them they need to deal with it, by putting the man out of the church.  In our day I have heard of lawsuits for such actions.  In my mind and heart the person who would file a lawsuit against the godly actions of a church, particularly if it is done with love and for the correction and return of the believer; that person is an unbeliever, and should be treated as such.

The second letter to Corinth is written on a much more encouraging scale.  It appears that the Corinthians have confronted the sin, and the man has indeed repented, and returned to right fellowship with God and now it is time the church forgave him;

“But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.  For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?  And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.  For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.  But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.   So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.  Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.  For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”  2 Corinthians 2:1-11 (KJV)

He reminds them of the first letter, “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears…”  They had also disciplined the man, “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many” sounds as though the whole congregation, or at least most of them were up to the discipline.  That is a good thing.

Paul also  tells them to “forgive him” and welcome him back into the fellowship.  Forgiveness is awesome.  In John 8 the religious hierarchy catch a woman in the act of adultery and present her to Jesus to see what He would do with her – to condemn Him.  He tells them, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”, that was according to the law for stone throwers; that the witnesses be the first to throw the killing stones.  The accusers all went away, probably a feeling a bit foolish, maybe some a bit ashamed; we would hope.

“Where are your accusers?  Has no man condemned you?” Jesus asked the woman.  “No man , Lord”, she says.  Jesus tells the woman the words every sinner needs to hear, “Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more.”  Is there forgiveness in those words?  Most certainly.  If Jesus, the only one who could stone her, did not condemn her, then He forgave her.  Note the admonition, “Go, and sin no more”.

“There is therefore, now, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 78 – Paul, the Jew, the Corinthian, and the Christian

My reading today was finishing up Romans, reading chapters 8 – 16, and then beginning the Corinthian letters; reading chapters 1 and 2.

The apostle goes to great lengths in chapter 8 of Romans to show what the Christian has in Christ Jesus.  There is no condemnation.  It is such a wonderful thing to know that because of Christ death, burial and resurrection God does not condemn us.  Jesus said, “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).  The human race is already condemned due to sin, but God sent His Son.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  Romans 8:1 (KJV)

The Christian is “joint-heirs” with Christ, and though it does not sound too pleasant, and it is not to be; that includes suffering with Him-

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  8:16-18

In chapters 9-11 the apostle speaks of the nation of Israel and where they fit into God’s plan of salvation.  He even asks some questions which were probably being asked concerning Israel, and Jesus.  These chapters basically tell us that God is not finished with the nation of Israel; but that their initial rejection of Jesus and His crucifixion was in part to bring the Gentiles into the faith of Christ.  There is a promise that “Israel will be saved”,

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.   And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.’  As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Romans 11:25-29 (KJV)

In the First Corinthian Letter we find that the wisdom of the world is not sufficient to know God, nor to understand spiritual things.  In fact those who are hung up on knowledge, understanding, and in unbelief will not believe, because they cannot understand;

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (KJV)

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.    For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 2:14-16

The  only hope for Paul, a Jew; the Jew, and the Corinthian (Gentiles) is to know Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God.  Christian you need to grow more into the image and likeness of Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Whatever Happened To Shame?

Shame is a word that has almost fallen by the way. Who uses the word “shame” anymore? You don’t hear it much. “You ought to be ashamed” a mother would say to a child who had just kicked a sibling, or a neighbor, or a friend. “Shame on you” some Dad would say to his son when he argued and disobeyed his mother, and then would get a whipping.

Shame? What does it mean? Well, now that you’ve asked let me answer. Shame, according to the Merriam/Webster Dictionary means, “a painful sense of having done something wrong, improper, or immodest 2. DISGRACE, DISHONOR, shameful”.

It seems that in the culture of the day that it is “wrong” to cause someone to feel ashamed. According to some called “experts”, “You ought to be ashamed to make someone aware of their shame.” In the day when you ought to be ashamed of shame, God’s Word still uses the word, and speaks the truth of how people should be ashamed of their actions.

Jeremiah the prophet writes,

“Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 6:15 (KJV)

Of course the prophet is writing of how the people have rebelled against the LORD, turned their backs on Him, rejected His Word and His prophets, and because of this are going to experience cutting off from their land. Were they ashamed? It appears not according to the prophet.

It would seem that as a society gets more affluent, fat, lazy and complacent; they also get the knowledge of Eve when she ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden; and think God is only known in knowing self. However, even Adam and Eve were ashamed when they heard the LORD walking in the garden. That appears to be disappearing from the culture of our day (2009).

Several who profess to have once known God through His Son Jesus Christ, turning their backs on God, His Word, His truth, and His prophets and people have no shame of turning from God.

O, people of God, Christian; when we sin against our God and Savior, let us be ashamed of our sin, confess it and forsake it. Let us be sure to maintain a proper fellowship with our LORD and God. Be ashamed when sin is in your life. Rejoice when it has been cleansed, forgiven and forgotten by our Father through His Son Jesus Christ.

There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), and it seems that shame is our condemnation when we are not walking in Him. Walking in Him is that blessed fellowship we have with Him in obedience which comes from our love for Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

No Payment Due

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”  Romans 8:1

One of the things that many people do not often remember, or want to remember, is that everyone is born into the condemnation of sin; separated from God, and no relationship or fellowship with Him.  Jesus Himself reminds us of this when He said, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”  John 3:18.

This condemnation is eternal, unless something is done about it.  Something like your death for your sins, but that would not get you eternal life with God; but only eternal judgment.  The death of another person for you would not suffice either, unless that person were without sin; perfect and  holy before God.  God, because of His great love for us gave us His Son to die and pay the penalty; the price; for sin, which was mine and yours.  All our sin was judged upon Him by His Father.

Because of this wonderful gift of God, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”  Isn’t it glorious and wonderful knowing all your sins are clean gone, and all the debt of sin is paid in full.  NO PAYMENT DUE.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Psalm 109:9

“Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.” Psalms 109:9 (KJV)

From the TREASURY OF DAVID and Psalm 109 commentary –

“Those who regard a sort of effeminate benevolence to to all creatures alike as the acme of virtue are very much in favour with this degenerate age; these look for the salvation of the damned, and even pray for the restoration of the devil.”

from verse 9

“To us it seems better to agree with God’s curses than with the devil’s blessings; and when at any time our heart kicks against the terrors of the Lord we take it as proof of our need of greater humbling, and confess our sin before our God.”

from verse 9 as well.
-T.A.

Peter’s Other Confession

So I don’t forget to do it let me make a short comment about verse twenty. Verse twenty reads:

“Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” Matthew 16:20 (KJV)

This confession of Peter’s was something that at this time the populace did not yet need to know. Some already believed it to be true; those to whom the Father had chosen to reveal it. It was not God’s plan to have the populace of people know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The plan was the cross. In this we see that the freewill of men, and the sovereign hand of God work in complementary fashion together, accomplishing the will of God. Now on to Peter’s Other Confession.

Following Peter’s confession, and Jesus giving him the keys of the kingdom; to open and to shut; to bind and to loose; then we find Jesus teaching His disciples of the cross, and that He must go to Jerusalem. We learn here that Jesus knew all along that His destination was the cross, to die for the sins of mankind. It is certain that the disciples knew that the leaders of the temple and of Jerusalem were not friendly toward Jesus, nor His followers.

Jesus was going to show to His disciples that He is going to Jerusalem, and will suffer at the hands of the scribes, priests, and then would die a horrible death.

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Matthew 16:21-23 (KJV)

In the fourth chapter of Matthew the devil tempted Jesus with shortcuts around the cross. He did not need to prove to the devil or Himself that He was/is indeed the Son of God by any of the deeds that He could have done. The devil knew He was the Son of God and so did Jesus. They were attempts to get Jesus around the destination which He and His Father had set down from eternity, and Jesus was not about to be sidetracked from that eternal destination which was for the sin debt of mankind.

Peter’s confession of verses 13-20 was a great confession. When Jesus, however, begins telling them that He must die at the hands of the elders, chief priests and the scribes, though, that is more than Peter can keep quite about. He rebukes Jesus for saying such a thing. Who is Peter to think that he can rebuke the incarnate Son of God? Has he suddenly received new revelation? Has he suddenly became deity himself? Not so! He is not seeing the destination of Jesus, has his own preconceived ideas, and is greatly influenced by Satan himself.

Jesus issues to Peter the harshest statement He has probably ever uttered to a man; especially to one of His disciples; “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me…” Jesus tells him too, that he is only thinking from men’s viewpoint and not God’s. We must understand that the cross though, conducted, carried out by evil men was the design of God Himself. Those who placed Jesus on the cross were not condemned for their act, they are condemned already; that is why they unjustly will charge Him, bring Him to trial, and then unjustly hang Him on a cruel wooden cross to die.

Peter went from a godly confession to a satanic confession. He was honored for the confession “Thou art the Christ; Son of the living God”. He was rebuked for not seeing that the cross was by God’s design. His death was in God’s plans. It was necessary to make atonement for the sins of mankind.

-Tim A. Blankenship