Life

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.  For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
  John 5:24-29  (KJB)

Life began with God. Life continues into eternity by Him and with Him.  I believe everyone has a desire to live forever. That, is a God-given thing for all of Adam kind.  Some seek life and living through science, and medical means.  We all fight against sickness and diseases of all kinds for life.  Eventually our fight with these things must give way to death.  Sad, but true.

We are frail, failing, fallen beings in need of grace, and help from our Creator.

I have Good News for you today.  You can live forever.

Did you read the words of Jesus above?  If you hear His words, and believe on Him that sent Him you have everlasting, or eternal life; there is no condemnation to any who have believed Him (Romans 8:1), and they have passed from death to LIFE.

There is much to take in those six verses of Scripture.  Life is what Jesus offers.  Eternal life is what He gives to any and all who will hear His word and believe.

My question for you right now is; Which resurrection will you be in?  The first one or the last one.  The first is the resurrection of the Just – those who have been declared just by God because of His Son.  The second is the resurrection of the unjust, the wicked who have rejected God and His grace.

See Revelation 20:5-6 and 20:12-15.

Through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Son of Man, and God the Son there is LIFE for all who will hear.

Power Over Evil

“And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art; the Holy One of God.’  And Jesus rebuked him, saying,
‘Hold thy peace, and come out of him.’
And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.  And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, ‘What a word is this! For with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.  And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.”  Luke 4:33-37  (KJB)

There are few if any people who do not realize and admit that there is evil in the world we live in.  Sometimes we wear “rose colored glasses”, and try to hide the evil so we cannot see.  No matter how thick those lenses are it does not negate the fact of evil’s presence.

There are people in bondage to evil.  That is why there are shootings at schools, churches, office buildings, on highways, from hotel rooms overlooking a mass of people, etc.. There is no legitimate blame for these evil matters except these folks are in bondage to evil. We can take away guns, take away the explosives; and you still have evil coming from those with evil intent.

When Jesus was walking among men as Man, the God-Man He knew the condition of our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9). He even spoke of it (Matthew 12:34-37).  Evil thoughts and deeds comes from within our hearts; and until the heart of the man or woman is changed we spend countless amounts of dollars, and time trying to put a band-aid on something we have no power over.

In the above verses was a man in bondage to a demon. An unclean, evil, vile, and ruthless evil that caused this man to do evil things; it had taken possession of his mind and body.

Jesus said to the demoniac, “Hold your peace, and come out of him” and the demon was through; the man was free from the bondage of evil, and the uncleanness of evil

Are you being tormented by evil?  Jesus speaks to you, and tells you, “Come to Me”.  He casts out the evil, and you become new.  The One who has Power over evil died for you, so that you might be freed from sin, and the bondage of evil.  Call on Him. He will hear you and deliver you.

To the Hypocrite, Religious Leaders

“Serpents, generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Matthew 23:33

These words spoken by Jesus is from the heart of the God-Man Jesus Christ.  They are spoken through most of the twenty third chapter of Matthew.  He calls them, serpents, vipers, hypocrites at least nine times.  Now He tells them they speak poisonous words.  They bind people in legalism, and make their converts more a child of hell than themselves (v. 15).

O how we as pastors and preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).  O how all of those who are born again need to realize that in Christ Jesus we have been made free from the demands of the law, because the law is within our hearts and minds to do it.

From the Pulpit Commentary on Matthew 23:33…

“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers; γεννηìματα ἐχιδνῶν: offspring of vipers. Our Lord repeats the Baptist’s denunciation (Mat_3:7). They were of devilish nature, inherited from their very birth the disposition and character of Satan. So Christ said on another occasion, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth” (Joh_8:44). How can ye escape? Πῶς φυìγητε; the deliberative conjunctive, How shall ye escape? Quo mode fugietis? (Vulgate). There is no emphasis on “can” in the Authorized Version. What hope is there now of your repentance? Can anything soften the hardness of your hearts? The Baptist had spoken more hopefully, “Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” But now the day of grace is past; the sin against the Holy Ghost is committed; there remaineth only the fearful looking for of judgment.
The damnation of hell; literally, the judgment of Gehenna; judicio Gehennae (Vulgate); i.e. the sentence that condemns to eternal death (Mat_5:22). The phrase is common in the rabbinical writings (see Lightfoot). “Before sinning, we ought to fear lest it be the filling up; after sinning, we should trust in a truly Christian hope that it is not, and repent. This is the only means to escape the damnation of hell; but how rare is this grace after a pharisaical life!” (Quesnel). Hypocrisy is a bar to repentance.”

May hypocrisy be cast out of my heart. May hypocrisy be the enemy of my heart, my mind, and my life.  May hypocrisy be cast out and trod under our feet.

The Superior Goodness of God

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him.”
  Matthew 7:7-11 (KJB)

Some will note that I changed the question mark to a period.  Why?  I believe it to be a statement from Jesus and not a question, though I know His questions often make very loud statements.  I noticed too that the New King James, as do other translations use an exclamation mark; which might be even better.

My thoughts today are on verse 11 solely.  No father of earth would be so mean, ugly, and hateful as to give their child a serpent rather than a fish, or if they were hungry give them a stone rather than bread.  I am speaking of Dad’s who care for their children; not the deserters, who care for no one but themselves.

Even though we are evil, we are still kind to our children, and sometimes to others.  The goodness we see of people around us doing “good things” should be a reminder to us of the superior goodness of our heavenly Father.

He loves us even when we are unlovely, unloving, and downright hateful (John 3:16).  He loved us so much that even though we were His enemies He sent His Son to die for us (Romans 5:8).

O my; how the goodness of God is so far superior than any goodness we have.

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him! — Bad as our fallen nature is, the father in us is not extinguished. What a heart, then, must the Father of all fathers have towards His pleading children! In the corresponding passage in Luke (see on Luk_11:13), instead of “good things,” our Lord asks whether He will not much more give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. At this early stage of His ministry, and before such an audience, He seems to avoid such sharp doctrinal teaching as was more accordant with His plan at the riper stage indicated in Luke, and in addressing His own disciples exclusively.” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary

Will you call on the name of Jesus today?  Will trust the One who is truly the one who describes Goodness?

Delight in the LORD

It has been several days since I wrote a post for this site.  I want to express my appreciation to those who have showed interest in these writings, thoughts, and the word of God.  Thank you, and God bless you richly with all heavenly blessings in Christ Jesus.

I will be doing thoughts on the Psalms, taking up where I left off the last time in Psalms which was at Psalm 36..

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.”  Psalm 37:1-6 (KJB)

Do not worry about what those who are working evil are doing; rather watch your own heart, and mind.  Pray for those who are doing evil, and live your life delighting in the LORD God, and His word.  Those who do evil will perish just as the grass, and the flower.

Those of us who are trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ are assured of eternal life with Him; and that is forever and forever.  Let us keep our eyes on the Lord and His work.  We are not to close our eyes and try to convince ourselves that there is no evil; that would be dangerous and foolish.  Our lives of trust, faith, and delight in the LORD will be repelling to all that is evil.

There is a phrase in verse four above “…He shall give you the desires of your heart”.  Now many think this means material blessings, health, wealth, survival, security, success.  When we delight in the Lord those things will become very secondary in our thinking.  Our desires, when we delight in the Lord will be what He desires.  He gives us the desires of His heart – heavenly blessing; grace, mercy, peace, joy, and power in prayer; just to name a few.

When the Christian walks with God He brings forth righteousness as light, and everything to do with it will be seen by all who know you.

Trust in the LORD today; delight in Him, and He will bring it to pass.

Detestation or Acceptation

“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.”  Proverbs 29:1-4 (KJB)

Some thoughts from Proverbs 29:1-27

  1.  The ruin of stubborn, rebellious minds; and the value of the righteous (vv. 1-4; 16:12);
  2.  The practices of evil, and evil men leads to their own ensnaring (vv. 5-6);
  3.  The understanding of the righteous versus the evil; concerning the poor (v. 7; 28:50; Job 29:16; Psalm 41:1);
  4.  A description of the rage, havoc, and folly that accompany evil practices (vv. 8-11);
  5.  A wise king listens to good counsel (vv. 12-14);
  6.  A good society and good culture begin with the parents at home in the discipline and teaching of their children; guiding them in their lives with vision (vv. 15-18);
  7.  People in authority are wise to use words of positive and negative words with actions to discipline (vv. 19-22)
  8.  The fall of the proud (16:18( and the honor of the humble (v. 23);
  9.  The peril of the soul of a thief and his partner (v. 24);
  10.  Fearing God and/or fearing man – the contrast (vv. 25-26);
  11.  Righteousness and evil detest one another (v. 27),

“An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.” Proverbs 29:27

This detestation of evil for righteousness, and righteousness for evil is quite visible in our society and culture of 2019.

There is only One Righteous One, and He will give, and has given His righteousness to all who will call on His name.  He is Jesus the crucified, buried, and bodily risen One.  If you detest; that is hate; the Righteous One, then you will perish.

Envy, Evil, and Poverty

“Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.  For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.  For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.
Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.  The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.  If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it, and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.”  Proverbs 24:1-18  (KJB)

Envy, Evil, and Poverty – Proverbs 24:1-34

VERSES 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 19-20, 24 –  The evil and the wicked.  The wise are instructed to not envy the evil.  The devices of the evil and the wicked are contrary to God, and the wise.
Those who are just and righteous (v. 16) when they are knocked down, will get back up; but he wicked “shal fall into mischief”.

“Candle of the wicked” (v. 20) probably refers to the spirit within every man, which is the door way to knowing God. Look at these verses… Job 21:17;  Psalm 18:28;  Proverbs 20:27.
To call the wicked “righteous” is to bring a curse on the one who does it (v. 24).

VERSES 3 – 7, 27 –   Wisdom is needed in building a house and a home; in filling that home with material blessings as well as true riches.
The foolish man does not know what to speak when it is time for good judgment (v. 7).
There is wisdom in being prepared before one builds a home (v. 27).

VERSES 10 -14 –  Wisdom leads to strength to stand in times of adversity.  Understanding will help us make the right decision at important, difficult times; for ourselves and others (vv. 11-12).
On verses 13-14  –  The ESV Study Bible notes state… “Prov. 24:13–14…  …Just as honey is sweet to the taste and good for the body, so wisdom is pleasant to the soul that feeds on it, fostering a secure hope (cf. v. 20; see notes on 23:17–18; Ps. 37:9).”

VERSES 17 – 18 –  It is not wise to rejoice when we see an enemy, or a foolish individual fall.

Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; for there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: for their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.  He that saith unto the wicked, ‘Thou art righteous;’ him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: but to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.  Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.
Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
Be not a witness against thy neighbor without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.  Say not, ‘I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.’
I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.  Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.  Proverbs 24:19-34

VERSES 28 – 34 –  We ought always to refuse to return evil for evil (vv. 28-29; Romans 12:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:15;  1 Peter 3:9).  The wise man or woman will not allow themselves to grow slack in following that which is good.

One thing to keep in mind the poor are just as prone to greed and lust for more; as are the rich.

Heart and Life Directions

Heart and Life Directions – Proverbs 21:1-8

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

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

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

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

and the MacArthur Study Bible note

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

Verse 7 –  NKJV

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

ESV

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

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

The Grace of Suffering

“Forasmuch then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think it strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.  But the end of all things is at hand: you be therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the Spirit of glory and of God rest upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.  Yet if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.  For the time that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if first at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Therefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.  1 Peter 4:1-19

REFERENCES: 2:20; 3:19; Ezekiel 9:6; 44:6; Acts 10:42; 17:30; Romans 12:13; 14:10; 2 Timothy 4:1; Matthew 5:11; 24:13, 45; Proverbs 10:12; 1 Corinthians 3:13; James 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; Isaiah 10:12;

You Are Not In Darkness

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

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

Your Church Discipline

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

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

Out of the Heart

“And He called the multitude, and said unto them, ‘Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.’ Then came His disciples, and said unto Him, ‘Knowest Thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?’ But He answered and said, ‘Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.’ Then answered Peter and said unto Him, ‘Declare unto us this parable.’ And Jesus said, ‘Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.’” Matthew 15:10-20  (KJB)

Some thoughts from F. B. Meyer…

“It is good to study our Lord’s list of the sources of soul-pollution. Evil thoughts come first. We cannot prevent an evil suggestion being presented to our minds, but we can refuse to dwell on it. To resist the inclination to dwell on it strengthens us in the opposite direction; to yield to it is to commit the sin in our heart, which, in God’s sight, is equivalent to the outward act. Notice that railing, that is, unkind and uncharitable speech, is in this black-list.
The heart, rather than the body, is the source of sin. Out of the heart! The body is the dial-plate on which the soul registers its improvement or deterioration. Do not find fault with your members: look to your heart and keep it beyond keeping, for out of it are the issues of life. Ask God to create in you a clean heart. See that you distinguish between the first Adam and the second. Deny what you inherit of human weakness and sin, and affirm all that is of Christ’s imparting. The cross of Calvary and the uprising of the living Christ are facts of perpetual experience.” F. B. Meyer Through the Bible Day by Day on Mat. 15:10-20

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (5)

The Beginning of Sin

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Genesis 3:1-24 (KJV)

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (3)

The Wickedness of Mankind

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

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

The Mouth; Wisdom or the Lack of It

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

Jesus said, “Hear and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”  Matthew 15:10b-11

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

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

From the ESV study Bible notes:

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

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

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

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

From Matthew Henry Commentary:

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

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

The ESV Study Bible notes:

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Deliverance from the Evil, and from the Strange

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Man of Understanding

THE MAN OF UNDERSTANDING

Hearing Wisdom From Human Sources – Proverbs 1:8-19

Verse 8 –  The first line of defense against evil for the child is the parents and their wisdom concerning good, right, wrong, godliness, evil, Righteousness and unrighteousness.

If the parents are not wise in the things of God, then their children are in danger of great peril.  The child is to listen to their parents teaching with interest in what they are teaching.
“Obey the correction, discipline, chastisement of your father.  Do not throw away, cast off the law of your mother.”

Verse 9 –  By hearing, obeying your father, and grasping hold of your mother’s teaching, and cherishing her teachings they will be like a golden chain around your neck (Genesis 41:42-43).

For they (shall be) an ornament of grace unto thy head. The sentiment here expressed is put forward as an inducement to youth to observe obedience towards the instruction of the father and the law of the mother, and the meaning is that, just as in popular opinion ornaments and jewels are supposed to set off the personal form, so obedience towards parents in the ways of virtue embellishes the moral character (Bayne, Cartwright, Holden).  From The Pulpit Commentary (e-Sword edition).

Could it be that a child who grows in wisdom will be seen as having a “Good head on his shoulders”?

Verses 10-19 –  The enticements, alluring and greed of the evil will lead to murder.

There is temptation which comes from outside the individual sinner.  Those who “lay wait for blood”  There is a certain greed, lust, thirst for power which cares not whose life it may harm.

This greed for blood comes from lustful desire for material gain to be seen as powerful, famous, and beautiful.

Within these verses are two warnings to “consent thou not”, and of what this evil does.  Verse 10, and verse 15 is a call to “walk not in the way with them”.
The Pulpit Commentary gives us a point to think about,

“HOW THE TEMPTATION IS TO BE MET. “Consent thou not.” Let no man deem himself the helpless victim of temptation. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able,” etc. (1Co_10:13) We have wills. We can say “Yes” and “No.” We are not responsible for meeting with temptation, since even Christ felt the cruel force of this trial, but we are responsible for the way we behave under it. one thing to be tempted, Another thing to fall.

Psalm 119 gives some words of wisdom and instruction as well, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word.  With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments.  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”  Psalm 119:9-11 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Darkness of the Crucifixion

The Darkness Of The Crucifixion

Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44

When Jesus went to the cross there was a period of three hours which is not given much notice in sermons that are preached. Of course, there is actually no way we can know all that went on in that three hours, unless it is by reading the twenty second Psalm, and hear the heart cry of our Savior as He was rejected by His Father, forsaken by His Father.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. Matt 27:45 (KJV)And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. Mark 15:33 (KJV)And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Luke 23:44 (KJV)

A few years ago I read a sermon by G. Campbell Morgan titled “THE DARKNESS OF GOLGOTHA” which really impressed me. Because of that message I developed this one using Brother Morgan’s main points, and quoting him often.

I. THE MEANING OF THE DARKNESS.

A. It was the hour of evil.
B. No matter how deep or dark the darkness the Light is always shining.
C. Satan wanted to extinguish the Light.

“From the very beginning of the shining of that Light, focused in history by the Incarnation, the one supreme purpose of the enemy was to….put it out. And in these three hours of darkness we are brought face to face with the time when all the force of evil was brouth to bear on the soul of the Son of God, and all the unutterable intent and purpose of evil wrapped Him about in darkness that is beyond our comprehension.” G. Campbell Morgan.

D. Darkness is a symbol of spiritual evil.

“The people which sat in darkness saw a great light:” (Matthew 4:16).

“But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.” (6:23). ASLO SEE Matthew 8:12 & 25:30.

E. Death and darkness express the ultimate in evil.

II. THE PASSING OF THE DARKNESS.

A. The four sayings after the passing of the darkness;

1. The cry of forsakenness (27:46);
2. The cry of human limitation and experience (John 19:28). [I thirst].
3. The cry of spiritual accomplishment (John 19:30) [It is finished]
4. The cry of confidence (Luke 23:46).

“…He died, not of a broken heart, not of human brutality, not of murder by human hands; but by His own volition He yielded up the Ghost, and His spirit, commended to God passed to God. The death that saves was not that physical dissolution, but the infinite spiritual mystery of the three hours and the darkness, which being passed, He Himself did say, ‘It is finished’”. IBID

B. It seems that during the three hours of darkness the crowds were silent.

“Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Ps.46:10).

1. Not a word is spoken until His cry of forsakenness.
2. Not a word of mockery, insolence, or hate is heard.

C. After the darkness, it was people who loved Him who took Him down, prepared His body and laid Him in the garden tomb.
D. The foes of Jesus seemed to have withdrawn.

1. Satan seems to be nowhere around.
2. Christ triumphed over him on the cross.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Col 2:13-15 (KJV)

III. THE TRANSACTION WITHIN THE DARKNESS.

A. We cannot begin to understand all that took place during the darkness.

1. Much of what has been said by men is mere theory.
2. Only what the Scriptures reveal can be received and concluded to be fact.

B. God cannot be expressed in finite or human terms.

“God must pity any man who thinks he understands the cross completely.” IBID.

C. Every sort of darkness that has been mentioned in Scripture as a symbol of evil was experienced by Jesus.

“That does not answer the inquiry as to what happened. I have no answer for that. Only this I know, that in that hour of darkness He passed into the place of the ultimate wrestling of evil in actual experience. There is light as I hear the final word, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit’ (Luke 23:46), for the word is a word which declares that whatever the transaction was, it was accomplished; that whatever the dying indicated, it was done.” IBID.

D. “He saved others; Himself He cannot save” (Matthew 27:42).

1. Because He saves others; He cannot/could not save Himself.
2. Because He chose to go up to the cross; He could not come down. His heart was set on saving others.

E. WHY COULDN’T HE SAVE HIMSELF?

“Because He is God, and because God is love, and love is never satisfied with the destruction of a sinner, but with the saving of a sinner.” IBID.

“Someone may say to me, ‘Cannot God forgive out of pure love?’ I shall answer, ‘If He can, I cannot.’ If He could forgive me for the wrongs of which I am conscious, and that have left behind them their stain and pollution – If He could forgive my sins by simply saying, ‘Never mind them’, then I cannot so forgive myself. My conscience cries for a cleansing that is more than a sentiment of pity. Somehow, somewhere, in order that I may have forgiveness, there must be tragedy, something mightier than devilish sin.” IBID.

F. In the darkness He determined not to deliver Himself, rather He chose to deliver me.

1. Out of darkness has come a Light.
2. From the darkness had come the treasures of pardon, peace, power, and purity.

“I do not know what happened in the darkness, but this I know, that as I have come to the cross and received the suggestions of the material unveiling, I have found my heart, my spirit, my life brought into a realm of healing spices, to the consciousness of the forgiveness of sins. And there is no other gospel of forgiveness.” IBID.

G. In the darkness He chose not to save Himself; He chose to save the world.

NO MATTER WHAT MEN MAY SAY, SATAN WAS DEFEATED BY JESUS ON THE CROSS: THE RESURRECTION WAS CONFIRMATION OF THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Christian and Government

The Christian And Government

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.  For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Romans 13:1-7 (KJV)

In this study of Romans Paul is continuing to apply the basics of the gospel to all of the Christian life. He is teaching us that human government is of divine origin, and that we are subjects of human government.

Some may think that there are some forms of government which we do not have to obey. If so that is in error. Paul lived under an oppressive form of government which was persecuting Christians, and part of that was due to some of the people who were of Israel; Paul’s own flesh and blood.

In this study I pray we can come to an understanding of what being “subject” to government actually means. What are the Christian’s duties to government? What are the Government’s duties to its subjects? Hopefully these questions will be answered by this study.

Since Paul begins with the Christian’s duties, that is where we begin:

Christian’s are subjects to the “higher powers” – in this case that is government. The government under which we live is our “higher power” and under God’s rule ultimately. As a Christian we are first subject to our God, and must obey Him, as does the government in which we live.

What forms of governments are in our world?

A. Democracy.
B. Republics.
C. Communism.
D. Theocracy.
E. Anarchy.

2. God’s Government is the Supreme Government over all governments, and they are subject unto Him.
3. Resisting the government is in itself resisting God, when that government is only performing its God-given duties.

Any time a Christian gets to the place of resisting a government it should be done with extreme caution, and only resist when the government is violating the law of God.

We are still subject to the government, though resisting a policy, or an act of ungodliness on the part of our government. Subject when they come to arrest us; we go without resisting or protest.

The following is a Biblical example of being subject to the government:

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;  Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;  Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.  And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” Jeremiah 29:4-7 (KJV).

In that illustration we see God’s command to Jeremiah for the people in captivity to go on with life, subjected to the government that they were living under, which would have been Chaldean, and was their enemy.

We are also to be faithful in supporting our defenders with our taxes.

The government’s responsibilities/duties to its people:

A. A defender of good, and a terror to what is evil.
B. A minister of God for good.
C. An avenger of what is evil.

2. There are times when governments of men become unjust, cruel, and unlawful toward God’s laws.

A. Around the time of the birth of Moses (Exodus 1-2).
B. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were commanded to bow to an image of the king (Daniel 3).
C. Daniel, and others forbidden to pray to anyone but the king (Daniel 6)
D. Peter and John commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:17-18).

3. When the government gets to perpetuating its own agenda instead of God’s agenda, and starts persecuting the people of God, then they have violated the Supreme Government. Yet, we are still subjected to them.

Governments are to be a hindrance to evil. With the exception of anarchy – no law or rule – crimes are restrained in any form of government. Those who obey laws have no fear of the policeman or the courts. There are times however, when men make laws that legalize perverse acts, and legitimize persecution of believers, and the killing of unborn babies. Believers should never disobey with a flippant attitude. “Civil disobedience” when needed would certainly call unjust laws to the attention of good government rulers, and if it is an unjust rule/law, cause them to reconsider, or at least think about overturning that rule/law.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Reckoning

Here is the final study for Romans 4.  The last time I only published for verses 1-4.  It is included in this study as well. Be blessed.

The Reckoning

Romans 4:1 – 25

OUTLINE –

I. AN EXAMPLE OF A UNIQUE SAVING FAITH (vv. 1-4).
II. THE BLESSEDNESS OF A CREDITED ACCOUNT (vv. 5-8).
III. THE CREDITED ACCOUNT IS NOT DUE TO WHAT WE HAVE INVESTED OR PUT TO THE ACCOUNT (vv. 9-12).
IV. THIS RECKONING OF JUSTIFICATION IS GOOD FOR ALL THROUGH FAITH ALONE (vv. 13-17).
V. IT IS THE RECKONING OF GOD HIMSELF; NO HUMAN WORKS ARE CALLED FOR (vv. 18-25).

It was, and probably still is, a popular belief among Jews of Paul’s day and Jews and non-Jews of our day to believe that Abraham was declared righteous by God due to his obedience. Paul puts the record straight.

How were people of the Old Testament saved? Was it by complete obedience to God’s law? Was it by the sacrifice of bulls, goats, lambs, etc.? What does the Scriptures say?

“By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (3:20).

“Abraham believed God…” (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6-9).

No one has ever been saved by keeping the law, no one will ever be saved by keeping the law. To see that it is by faith in God alone that saves God gives us ample Scriptures to prove it. For example Psalm 32:1-2; and Hebrews 11.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, David, Solomon, etc. are all evidences of justification by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. They believing what would be; we believing what has been and shall be.

There are three words in this study which stand out as a theme. The first word is ‘Reckoned’ found in verses 4, 9, and 10. The second word is ‘Impute’, is used six times, in verses 6, 8, 11, 22, 23, and 24. The third word is ‘counted’, it is used only twice. They all come from the same Greek word logizomai – log-id’-zom-ahee – of these words are terms for accounting. God’s declaring us righteous, and justified.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE UNIQUE SAVING FAITH (vv. 1-4).

Salvation by grace through faith is unique – one of a kind. There is nothing like it in religion. Grace is not possible by work. If it is not by faith it is not grace.

Since many of the Jews believed that Abraham was justified by works Paul realized that this fallacy needed correction. If Abraham was justified (declared righteous by God) by his works he would then have a reason to boast. His boasting, of course, would have to be before men. He would not glory before God. God’s glory is a glory of its own. Man’s glory cannot match the glory of God.

God delights in those who believe in Him. Those who realize they are weak and helpless to save themselves. Those who have no one else in which to turn, but Him. Those whose hearts are broken and shattered because they realize there is no other hope by Him. Those who have reached the bottom of the bottom, the lowest low. These realize then, God is my hope, my strength, song, salvation, my very source of peace, life and joy.

“A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17).

When God called Abraham to leave his native land he obeyed, and left. Now understand, Abraham was at that time what the Jews would call a Gentile – there were no Jews. In his culture they worshipped idols, and were despicable in their behavior. Somehow in the midst of all this darkness God shined brightly His light into the life of Abraham, he saw, he heard, and he left this land of despicable sin and shame – the Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 11:31). He even came out with his father Terah, his nephew Lot, and his wife Sarah as well as others who are unnamed.

If you heard God speak for the first time would you get up and leave your home, friends, ownership of your land, business, etc. to obey God? Many will not do that whose lives they say belong to Him. Abraham did. How did he do it? He believed God, then he put one foot in front of the other; over and over again. Faith is the end of any attempt to gain God’s favor on any personal merit. If you could gain God’s favor by personal merit it would be by works not grace, therefore, if the works ceased, so too would the favor of God.

When a man or woman takes on a job (work) he/she expects to be paid. The employer is indebted to the employee until the employee receives his/her wages. In like fashion if we worked for our salvation God would be indebted to us until the debt was paid. God is indebted to no one. He did not, nor does not even owe us the possibility of salvation. In His grace He paid our sin debt, and then, when we believe He declares us righteous. What wonderful grace. “Wonderful grace of Jesus; greater than all my sin, how can my tongue describe it; where shall my praise begin.”

THE BLESSEDNESS OF A CREDITED ACCOUNT (vv. 5-8).

You are deeply in debt. There is no way out. The banks and loan companies will neither one loan you money. The creditors are calling, writing wanting the money that is due them. You do not have it. You are barely putting food on the table, your house needs repairs, but where are you going to get the money necessary to make them? The only way out is bankruptcy. You do not like it, but you finally admit to yourself, “I can’t do anything else, I am bankrupt.” In despair you tell a friend that you are bankrupt. The friend asks you, “How much do you need to get back on your feet?” You have not got a clue as to what is going on in this friends mind. A few weeks later you get your bank statement, but instead of being overdrawn you have a balance sufficient enough to pay all your debts.

The amazing part about it is you learn your friend sold some properties – prize properties – and deposited the money into your account. What a friend. Your friend gave his very best to help you out of your bondage of debt. He credited your account with his assets.

What happened above is a description of imputing or imputation. The friend above took the responsibility of paying the debt for his bankrupt friend. He took the burden of the bankruptcy himself and, and imputed, reckoned, accounted his riches to his friend.

Guess what, or maybe you do not have to guess. You are the bankrupt friend, and Jesus is the friend who gave up the riches of Heaven to deliver you from your bankruptcy of sin.

The word ‘counted’ or ‘accounted’ used in verse five (5) is the same word as ‘imputeth’ of verse six (6), and ‘impute’ in verse seven (7). It is also the same as ‘reckoned’ in verse ten (10).

David, the ‘Man after God’s own heart’ is also given as an example of a man of faith. Paul quotes from Psalm32:1-2 as an example of David’s faith (vv. 7-8). Iniquities forgiven, sins covered. The man who is forgiven and sins covered is the one the Lord declares righteous. He deserves imputed imputed sin, but rather receives imputed righteousness by the sacrifice of Jesus who paid the sin debt and imputed to the bankrupted account righteousness. The individual who is declared righteous by God is truly a blessed and happy person.

THE CREDITED ACCOUNT IS NOT DUE TO AN ORDINANCE PERFORMED (vv. 9-12).

Abraham was and is the ‘father’ of the nation of Israel, the people called Hebrews or Jews. In much of the life of the nation; especially in Jesus’s time; they prided themselves of their identity with Abraham by circumcision. As long as they had kept the ordinance they were fine with God. Afterall, God had promised Abraham many things and He was obligated to fulfill them.. Only to a nation of those who believed in Him. Only to a nation who had the faith of Abraham. A faith of fear, obedience, love and admiration of God. The afore mentioned ‘fear’ is the fear of God’s wrath on sin, which leads to a desire to be delivered from sin and a personal hatred for all sin.

In looking at the history of Abraham we find that he was declared righteous by God, at least fourteen years before he was circumcised. So we see Abraham was declared righteous by faith in God, not by the keeping of ordinance or law (Gen. 15:6, “And he [Abraham] believed in the LORD; and he [God] counted it to him for righteousness”). When God called Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees he believed God and departed (Gen. 11:31). When God told him he would have a son of promise he believed God (Gen. 15:1-5; 17:19). When God called him to sacrifice Isaac; the promised son; he believed God (Gen. 22:1-14). He did it because he believed that since God had made the promise – “In Isaac will thy seed be called” (Gen. 21:12); that God could raise him from the dead (Heb. 11:18-19).

By Abraham’s faith he became the ‘father’ of the circumcised who are in the faith and the uncircumcised in the faith. Faith recognizes our need of grace – God’s sufficient grace – and of God’s desire to give grace.

To Abraham circumcision was only a sign of righteousness given to him by God. As circumcision is the cutting away of flesh, so too is faith in Jesus Christ. Only by faith in Christ Jesus is the flesh of the heart cut away. The power of sin is cut away. Without the finished work of Jesus on the cross, by His death, burial, and resurrection, the cutting away of the flesh of the heart is impossible. Ordinances can only be signs or tokens of the actual event. Ordinance without faith is vain.

THE JUSTIFICATION IS GOOD FOR ALL THROUGH FAITH ALONE (vv. 13-17).

A promise is nothing without faith. Faith in the Promissor is necessary for the promise to have effect.

What good is a promise; particularly an unconditional promise; if you must earn its fulfillment? The promise to Abraham and his descendants was not going to be granted to them by keeping the law, nor was it based on the law. The promise is awarded by faith in God.

The ‘righteousness of faith’ (v. 13) is the only righteousness that is declared by God and upon all who will receive it.

The only promise of the law is wrath. The law declares all to be unrighteous, unworthy of God’s goodness, kindness, mercy, and grace. So the law could not bring in the promise of ‘Heir of the world’; not even to mention the salvation of wicked men.

Grace works only by faith. Remember faith is our quitting the attempt to please God on our own merit, and pleasing Him only through the work of Jesus Christ. Grace would not be grace, if we could earn it. It would be a debt owed us by God. He owes us nothing. Faith gives to God everything He deserves from His highest of all creation. He does not need it, but He deserves it.

Seeing the unseen, knowing the unknowable, believing what seems to be unbelievable – that is the faith of Abraham. When Sarah was 89 and Abraham was 99; God promised them anew, that He would give them a son. They believed. In other words, God brought life from death. O, will you believe God? He does what He says He will do. Justification is good for all through faith alone. No amount of works, nor law kept, no ordinance performed can justify you in God’s sight. Only by His Word are you justified, and that by faith – faith He alone gives. His faith’s object is only Jesus.

IT IS THE POWER OF GOD, NOT HUMAN EFFORT (vv. 18-25).

Did Abraham believe in resurrection power? Did he believe in the power of the resurrection? YES! and YES! again. To he and Sarah the chance of them having a child of promise looked hopeless. Sure Abraham and Sarah made a mistake, slipped into doubt, or really thought they were helping God out, for awhile; but it did not endure. Their faith in God did endure.

“Unbelief” verse 20 is a complete refusal of faith – refusal to believe. It was because of ‘unbelief’ that Israel, led by Moses, did not enter the Promised Land at Kadesh Barnea (Num. 13:26 – 14:4; Heb. 3:16 – 4:13). Despite the waiting Abraham believed. At times it probably seemed that God was pushing faith to its limits, but when Abraham realized his physical body and Sarah’s was dead he knew all he had was God’s promise. That is faith.

When you have reached a point in your life where your realize all you have is faith that God will keep His promise; that is when God will work. He did in Abraham and Sarah, and a 100 years old man and a 90 years old woman had a baby boy. That was a miracle birth. There are not very many miracle births. There are only three in the Bible – Isaac, John the Baptist, and Jesus; and possibly four if you counted Samson.

Faith is believing that God is completely able to do what He said. He is able to perform it, bring it to pass – in His way, in His time and through whomsoever He pleases; if He pleases to use a whomsoever. Because of this faith – not human effort – God declares Abraham ‘Righteous’, clean, pure, sinless before God.

Since Abraham was declared righteous by faith so is everyone who believes God. Do you want to walk with God? Then, you have to agree with Him. You have to agree with Him about your sin [your bankruptcy]. You have to agree with Him that there is a wall of separation between you and Him. You must agree with Him about His Son Jesus. You must agree with Him concerning His Word – written and living.

“How can two walk together unless they be agreed” (Amos 3:3)?

Abraham was declared righteous by God, because he agreed with God. That just simply means he believed what God said.  He agreed with God.

Justification is not by human effort or obedience to law, and ordinances, or faith and grace have no merit. Justification is by grace through faith in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and raised from death as evidence of God’s approval upon His life and sacrifice giving us God’s righteousness by faith.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Seven Things God Hates # 5

This is the fifth in the series on the SEVEN ABOMINATIONS GOD HATES

Swift Feet

Proverbs 6:16-19 (v. 18b)

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,   An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,   A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

OUTLINE –
I. SWIFT FEET – QUICK AND DECISIVE.
II. HASTY FEET – MOVE WITHOUT THOUGHT OF CONSEQUENCES.
III. MISCHIEVOUS FEET – MOVE TOWARD EVIL.
IV. GODLY FEET – MOVE TOWARD THE RIGHT, THE HOLY, AND THE GODLY.

Contrary to what some may believe the Bible speaks quite a bit of the “Feet”. We will look at some of these. One of the good ones which most of us have heard is, “How beautiful are the FEET of them that preach the gospel of peace…” (Rom. 10:15).
There are warnings of mischievous, hasty, godless feet. We will be looking at both of these; maybe I should say, all four of these.
Do our feet do our thinking? Do our emotions do our thinking for us? If we follow the path of God and His wisdom and grace, and mercy we must answer “No!” to these two questions. No one who is using the good, godly sense God has given us goes running to jump without knowing what is on the other side, or down below. If you follow the direction of your emotions, or feelings you will be led astray.
Let’s look at these feet.

I. SWIFT FEET -QUICK AND DECISIVE.
We need to realize that “Swift feet” can be for evil or for good. There are some people who are swift to decide to do ungodly deeds. There are others who are quick to do godly deeds.
If our hearts have been changed by the power of the salvation of Jesus Christ, then, we will be thinking godly, and doing godly things. On the other hand; if things are not right with you and God then, you will most likely do the ungodly thing, and be a curse to yourself, your family, your community, and your neighbor.
The godless SWIFT FEET will walk only in the way that is best for him/her. If they can get the praise for a good deed and reap benefits from a good deed, then, they will be quick and decisive to do that act.

II. HASTY FEET – MOVE WITHOUT THOUGHT OF CONSEQUENCES.
Now, this may, in some ways be similar to the SWIFT FEET, but I pray to show a difference in “swift” and “hasty”.

“Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established” (Prov. 4:26). And, “…He that hasteth with his feet sinneth” (Prov. 19:2).

Haste which runs  without thought can be costly. “Ponder” – chew for awhile; Think, Think, Think, and then Think some more, before being hasty in a decision of doing something which may be wrong, even ungodly.
Someone has said, “Haste makes waste”, and that especially goes with life and living. How many marriages have been troubled due to a Christian marrying a non-Christian individual? How many even have led to divorce? How many business deals have gone sour because of different views of the world and God? The message of God’s Word is to Think before you wink.

III. MISCHIEVOUS FEET – MOVE TOWARD EVIL.
These are usually very selfish feet that do only for self, which we have addressed earlier; and for selfish ambition. These are always looking for something to cause or make trouble.
Because of the message of God’s Word, which Jeremiah and other prophets proclaimed, the people (some) wanted to kill them. They were SWIFT in running to mischief. These are those who refuse God’s message of grace and choose to endeavor, by good works, to please God.

“Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths” (Isaiah 59:7)

And last, but not least; for sure we have –
IV. GODLY FEET – MOVE TOWARD WHAT IS GODLY.

“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things” (Rom. 10:15).

As God’s people we are admonished and encouraged to guard our feet – that is the path which we walk.

“I thought on my ways and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies” (Psalm 119:59).

“I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy Word” (Ps. 119:101).

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105).

The way of godly feet are in the path of Jesus Christ. The way of Jesus is the way of the cross – the way of suffering. The way of Jesus is the way of joy and peace. The way of Jesus is the way of New Life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Seven Things God Hates # 4

This is the fourth message in the series SEVEN ABOMINATIONS WHICH GOD HATES.

The Heart Of Imagination

Proverbs 6:16-19

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,   An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,   A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

“The heart of the human problem, is the problem of the human heart.”

It is not by accident, nor coincidence that this abomination is at the center of this list. The heart is at the center of our emotions, even our thoughts and actions, are moved by the heart. Now we are not talking about the thing in our bodies that pumps the blood that courses through our veins.

“IMAGINATION —the power of the mind to form a mental image. The Bible uses the word imagination to refer to evil plans, purposes, and thoughts (Gen. 8:21; Jer. 7:24; Luke 1:51). It does not use the word to describe forming mental images of things that do not exist.” Nelsons New Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

“Subtlety in the contrivance of sin, wisdom to do evil, a heart that designs and a head that devises wicked imaginations, that is acquainted with the depths of Satan and knows how to carry on a covetous, envious, revengeful plot, most effectually. The more there is of craft and management in sin the more it is an abomination to God.” Matthew Henry Commentary.

THE CENTER OF MAN’S BEING IS HIS HEART.
God saw in the beginning and told us about it, “…The thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5). Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts…” (Matthew 15:19; See also Mark 7:21). If man’s heart could be changed then the world can be changed.
There is one man who has a pure heart. He gives it to whom ever will believe in Him. According to 1 Corinthians 2:16 those who are “spiritual” have His mind. This means a new heart, new hungers, desires, and longings. Along with the new heart comes the “new mind” and thoughts.

THE PLOTTING OF THINGS IN WICKEDNESS.
To plan to do something which is right and good – godly – is honorable. To plan on doing the right thing is a good deterrent to keep from doing the wrong and evil thing. It is always right to plan right things, and do them with the right motive. Wrong motives come from the wicked heart that devises wicked imaginations.
“Devising” is a word for plotting or planning an evil act or deed. A word that is known today for plotting and scheming is “Designing”. You have probably heart the title “Designing Women” – I believe that is the title of a television sitcom some time ago. The idea of both is to scheme and plot for the purpose of going outside of God’s plan and direction. I find it sad to say, but there is too much of this going on in local churches, and denominations. When we have a gathering of brothers and sisters in Christ who are in Christ, believe God’s Word, and have a common agenda, why do we need to have groups planning who the next President of the Convention is going to be? “Designing” people. “Devising”, “Designing”, these come from one’s own mind. Thoughts like, “How do I get even?”, “How do I force this person out of his/her position so I can work my way in?” “What is the best way to steal money from my employer?, my bank?, my government?” Do you get the picture? Then, people who have this thought pattern set out to “devise” a plan for the events to occur. They will do it secretly; maybe with some help.
The words, “Devise”, “Designing”, “Plotting”, and “Scheming” all have connotations of evil within them. Of course, it will also depend on how the word is seen and used in a sentence.
The good – godly – heart plans to do good and right. Remember the One with the pure heart. Be born again.

WICKEDNESS AND GOODNESS.
The wicked heart devises wicked ways. It does not know good. Evil cannot know righteousness. Even when an evil/wicked heart does a “good” thing there is usually a hidden motive. It is the motive of the heart that really makes the difference.
Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9).
Overcome evil with good, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:21). Light always cancels out darkness. Good will always overcome evil – not because of the power of good, but because of the power of the good, holy, and righteous God. It will do that in our hearts as long as the light of Christ is shining – Let it shine in.

THE IMAGINATION OF MAN.
Our imaginations can be used for evil or good. The imagination which God is referring to, and which He hates is the “Imagination” which plots an evil plan for their own purposes, and against God and anything godly. A deliberate act against God. When we know the will of God and deliberately disobey, is that an act of a wicked imagination? The inclination of our hearts is to imagine evil – to manufacture it and perform it. That evil inclination, however, can be changed by a change of will – a supernatural change.
Children’s imaginations are really vivid and quite colorful. We let children imagine, that is why there are so many copyrights and inventions (Patents). The automobiles we drive came along because of someone’s imagination – the train, airplane, etc. Electricity, television, radio, recordings, all came from an imagination somewhere. We have sent men to the moon, because of an imagination or two.
Think of the imagination it has taken in medicine. Forty years ago no one did “Open heart surgeries”, and if it was attempted, it failed with death of the patient. Now it is a procedure that is conducted everyday, and probably many times a day around the world. Now the imagination of man is wanting to play with creating life, and then taking it by means of Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer or SCNT, for the purpose of stemcell “Research?”, supposedly to save the lives of needy individuals, probably more of those who could afford the procedure or have the insurance to cover it. This is the “Wicked Imagination” of which God hates.
The heart that devises a “wicked imagination” is not the heart of God. It imagines doing evil to others for personal gain – in the case of SCNT it is against the life of the embryo on which they will kill to “Research?”. For the most part selfish gain is what is involved in this procedure, this killing of innocent life to supposedly save the life of others. Let us leave the giving and taking of life in God’s hands.
Only Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, was buried carrying our sins far away, and rising again to life; can change the heart that deviseth wicked imaginations; into a heart that glorifies Him.
In conclusion, shun every vile imagination – plan to do what is right and good. You were born with an evil heart – You can be born again through Jesus Christ and have a new, clean heart. There is no good in mankind – goodness is solely a God thing – it comes from God. In Jesus Christ you receive a sanctified imagination.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When God Gives Up #3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

When God Gives Up #2

We have been looking at the question WHAT HAPPENS WHEN GOD ‘GIVES UP’?

In the last study we saw that TRUTH IS REPRESSED BY UNRIGHTEOUSNESS in verses Romans 1:18-23.

The second thing we see is that GOD RELEASES THEM TO THEIR OWN DECAY AND FILTH OF IMMORALITY (Romans 1:24-25).

Why did God “give them up” to this ungodly – unrighteous behavior? They had a knowledge of God, but chose to suppress it. They turned away from God to worship idols made in the image of created thing – birds, beasts, and even themselves. Because they rejected God; sexual immorality most always follows wrong beliefs, and in particular the worship of idols. It is an act of dishonoring the human body and God.

When they turned from the truth they believed the Lie. The Lie is, “Did God really say that?” It is just a question, but one that places the seeds of unbelief in the heart. It was the first question the Bible speaks of that the serpent/devil asked in order to deceive. It is still being asked today. Not one of many lies but “the Lie” (Genesis 3:1-5).

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” [the Lie] (NKJV 2 Thessalonians 2:11).

The Lie, that we can be like God – we become our own god. We have chaos when there is more than one God. There is war, strife of all sorts, contentions, and immoral living.

Satan is the father of lies. Jesus said, speaking to the religious leaders who rejected Him,

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the begining, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

Following this lid requires no accountability to a deity, except self. No one, can tell someone of this mindset, what is right or wrong. To them everything is ‘relative’ – they already have their preconceived ideas; they call good ‘evil’ and evil ‘good’.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

Moral decay, such as we see in our land, and the world is due to denying the truth, and believing the Lie, the father of lies, the devil.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When GOD Gives Up

What Happens When God Gives Up?

This is the first part of this section of Romans 1:18-32. This part will deal with verses 18-23.

It is my belief that abhorrent behavior, such as this passage of Scripture speaks of, is not the cause of God’s wrath, but rather, the result of His wrath, and the followers of Christ are to see this wrath as a warning to return to God. There is a sure judgment coming.

Let me give a point of clarity for these first three chapters of Romans: in verses 18-32 Paul is writing of pagan Gentiles; Chapter 2:1 – chapter 3:8 he is writing of the Jewish/Hebrew – religious/moral people; In chapter 3:9 – verse 20 Paul referrs to us all.

When God “Gives Up” it means He is letting sin have its way until it reaches a pinnacle (Gen. 15:16), then, He will involve Himself in the judgment to follow. The phrase, “God gave them up’ or ‘God gave them over” is used three times in the remainder of chapter one (vv. 24, 26, 28).

It is a sad day when God pulls back and says, “Okay, it is yours; do it your way”.

Man’s science says man evolved from a glob and is getting better and better – God says man is depraved and devolved and is getting worse and worse as he rejects God and His way.

To answer the question of the title; in verses 18-23 we see THE TRUTH IS REPRESSED BY UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.

The truth is revealed in nature. The unrighteous cannot see God. All creation shouts that it has a Creator; “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” (Ps. 19:1). The order of the universe – the revolution of the planets around the sun in order. Each created being does what it was designed to do – except humankind, and the rest of creation has been corrupted by man.

The truth of God is revealed in the conscience of man. Everyone is born with an inborn consciousness of a supreme being. The need to worship something. The need to be fulfilled – even if that means worshipping self.

Because of natural revelation every one is without excuse (v. 20).

The truth is suppressed by idolatry. Anything that may seem to fill the void of one’s life. Changing their glory (representation) into what they worship. Men become like what they worship (PS. 115:4-8; 135:15-18). The beast of the field, birds of the air only act by their instincts. Man, created in God’s image, is to reason, think, and act accordingly; not according to unholy desire and lust.

As long as people continue to try and make God in their image there will be sin and chaos in the world. There will be wars, sickness, disease, killing, robbing, maiming, etc.. When men and women realize they are made by God, in His image through faith in Christ Jesus, there will be a change of character, integrity, and all of life for good, to the glory of the Lord.

God involved Himself in the judgment of sin at the cross, as He laid on His Son Jesus all our sin. God Judged our sin on Jesus, took His life, as the payment for our sin debt, and because of this grace you and I now have access to the very throne of God. Call on His name. He will save you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Empowering Confidence

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17).

One thing every Christian needs is confidence in God’s gospel. Believe it is the only means by which you are saved for all eternity from sin, its darkness, damnation, and death; and saved to Christ Jesus. Being completely unashamed to share it with others. Being ashamed is like saying we are not exactly sure of its power. When you are confident in the gospel you are willing to risk everything for the Christ of the gospel.

The gospel is the only power which transforms people from unrighteousness to righteousness – the unjust to just.

An adulterer becomes pure and his/her life becomes pure and becomes a loving adoring husband/wife – he/she seeks purity because they have a heart for Christ.

A gossip becomes a person who seeks to control her/his tongue and to speak good rather than evil of others.

A murderer is no longer a killer, but rather, a caring, concerned human being.

All sinners – which is all people – gain control over those old sinful passions and lust which control us.

This empowering helps us see it is for all who will believe. God does not play favorites – nor should we. If God does favor one over another it is in favor of those who are weak and humble themselves. “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are , extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14).

From beginning to end righteousness is by faith. Righeousness comes only from God – for He alone is righteousness. “Just” is another term for righteousness. Believing God is faith and comes to the individual by an act of God’s grace, through the Holy Spirit. Not only are we saved by faith, but “The just shall live by faith”. Not by any works of moral goodness. Not by any liturgy and/or religion. By faith in the works of Jesus Christ alone. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5). True faith produces works that glorify God.

In conclusion, we must be confident in the power of the gospel; that it is the only means by which a wicked, sinful, fallen race, called the human race, can be delivered from the bondage of sin, its condemnation, and death. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the power which can change the heart and life of any man, woman, boy or girl into the image of Jesus Christ.

THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE GREATEST POWER KNOWN ON EARTH.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Battles Within

“…The LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.” 2 Samuel 3:39 b  (KJB)

There are battles within kingdoms of men. There are battles which occur within each individual man and woman.

King Saul had died in the battle with the Philistines by falling on his own sword, for fear that the enemy would mistreat him if he were taken alive.  David had been chosen as King of Judah, but the other tribes were still being led by the General of Saul’s army, and he had appointed the young son of Saul, Ishbosheth, as king.  That is an inside battle.  A nation at war against itself.

Abner had been murdered by Joab, David’s General, because Joab because in a battle between the two factions Abner had killed Asahel Joab’s brother.  Joab killed Abner in hatred, revenge, and at a time David had made peace with Abner.  It was not the act of King David.  It was the act of a vengeful Joab.

Joab’s act was a wicked act against God and King David.  The words of David in the Scripture of 2 Samuel 3:39 are words that are just and right.

Again the reader is reminded that there are consequences to our actions.  Good from good.  Evil from evil.  We all reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  We need; all of us who take a breath of air; need to flee to the cross of  Jesus Christ where, there alone, our sin debt is paid in full.

“The LORD shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness.”

Our hope; mine and yours; lies in the death, the burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

The Shout of Creation

“Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them has He set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” Psalm 19:2-6 (KJV)

The declaration of creation is that God is. There are those who look at the order of this ordered creation and somehow, though very illogically, proclaim that “It just happened”.  Really?

Would you say that your new car was formed when a tornado tragically went through a salvage yard, or even a steel mill, and suddenly that car landed there fully formed.  Now, that is just plain illogical; if not just plumb dumb.

Creation shouts of the glory of God.  The size of the universe is beyond my comprehension.  Yet we have scientists who are trying to figure out just how large it is.  All they have is a wild guess.  No matter how big the universe; God is bigger.  He created it.  He spoke the world, and the stars, the planets, and any other solar system which exist, into existence (Psalm 33:6).

The apostle Paul clearly proclaims…

For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.  Romans 1:20

“They that are without excuse” are those who cannot hear the shout of creation telling loudly and clearly that God is.  The creation is even groaning waiting for the deliverance from corruption (Romans 8:21-22).  Do you not hear the groaning in the fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the evil of Adamkind in the world.

When you have one of our own political parties that are more concerned will illegal aliens in our nation, and definitely not concerned about the legal murder of 63,000,000 unborn babies; there is something desperately wrong, and evil in the minds and hearts of this world, and this country.

Can you hear the shout of creation?  Can you hear the shout of the gospel of Jesus Christ that a good, righteous, holy, just, and innocent gave His life for the evil, unrighteous, unholy, unjust, and guilty race of Adamkind?  He died, was buried, and He rose again.  He is returning again to receive His own unto Himself.  O, will you hear Him?

If I Have Rewarded Evil Unto Him that Was at Peace with Me

O LORD my God, in You do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver. O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; if I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yes, I have delivered him that without cause is my enemy:) let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yes, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay my honor in the dust. Selah.”  Psalm 7:1-5 (KJV)

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ we put our complete faith and trust in Him.  It is a good thing not to be concerned about those who might persecute us due to our faith, but we ought always pray for them, and that they would come to the faith of Christ as well.

There are none who can deliver as our GOD and King who we believe, know, and receive through the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our prayer can and should be that of David as he prayed this prayer – “If I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; if I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me…”, then, we can know that we will be aware when we have behaved ourselves unseemly toward another  of Adamkind.  We ought to always love our neighbor as we love ourselves; and that is seen the the final six Commandments God gave us.

In David’s prayer he even asks for his judgment to be swift and sure concerning his evil treatment of those who were at peace with him.  I would say we ought to always be a good neighbor, no matter who that neighbor might be.  Difficult?  With some neighbors, NO!  With other neighbors, Sometimes, and maybe always.  The responsibility of being a good neighbor is mine, the Christians, not the neighbor’s.

If we mistreat someone who is peaceful toward us, then, we need not complain when we are treated likewise by someone else.  There is still, and always will be application of Paul’s words, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7).

 

One Day it Will be Said, “Your Judgment Has Come”

And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come. Revelation 18:9-10 (KJV)

I know that posts like I have been sharing recently, are not popular.  I do not share them to draw a crowd.  I share them because they are the truth, and to give warning to those who are the “Earth dwellers”, and love material things, wealth, houses and lands more than the Lord Jesus and His word.  As Jesus says, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Even if one is drawn here by the Spirit of God, sees, and hears the word and is delivered from the bondage of sin, then that will be a glorious thing.

As a contrast to chapter 17, in which the kings desolated the “great whore” and “burned her with fire” (17:16), here they “bewail her” and they “lament for her”. They have great sorrow of heart. Their means of wealth has fallen. This in itself shows us this is the commercial or economic Babylon.

The “kings of the earth” are fearful. She had been strong, wealthy, and “beautiful” just a few hours before, now she is FALLEN, poor and desecrated. They stand “afar off” – at a distance – fearful of where their wealth will go, of what will become of them now; is there anyone to protect their losses.

Isn’t it great to know that when one knows and trusts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior our treasure is in Heaven, where thieves cannot break in and steal, where moth and rust cannot corrupt, and that it is riches that can stand the fires of God’s judgment, even coming out of the fires of a purer sort.

The suddenness of judgment upon this economic empire could loosely be likened to the crash of the stock market that caused the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s. People lost wealth and threw themselves from windows, and committed suicide in various ways. Times like these are certainly times when we find out where our heart and treasure is (Matthew 6:19-21).

It seems that at the time of this judgment the nations of the earth will have been prosperous. Great prosperity will abound in the last days of man’s rule on earth – economically. The banks and governments will be wealthy; the people, for the most part, will be in slavery. Babylon, the city of wealth, has fallen. A sad day for the “kings of the earth”.

There is a kingdom coming which will never fall but will stand forever, and that is the Kingdom of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.  See Daniel 2:44-45.  Jesus came and died on the cross to build His kingdom.  His kingdom is built on the confession of all those who will hear and believe His word, trusting their all completely to Christ and His finished work on the cross.  Jesus died, was buried, and He rose again.

To Fulfill God’s Will

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And He saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. Revelation 17:14-18

From verses 12 – 13 of the previous post, The “Ten horns” are ten kings which will rule the earth.

These unite to make war with the Lamb. They will be defeated by the Lamb because He is the “Lord of lords, and King of kings”.

There are four descriptions of the people of Christ: 1) They are with Him, 2) Are called, 3) Chosen, and 4) Faithful.

The fall of Religious Babylon is described in these verses. The sovereignty of God is seen throughout all of Scripture and it is none the less so here. God using a wicked political system to put away the wicked religious system. God hates hypocrisy and destroys all religion that opposes His plan and will for mankind. Remember this, “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will… until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”  God does work in mysterious ways; His wonders to perform.

When these political rulers think they are serving their own purposes and plans they will actually be carrying out the judgment of the Holy God upon the unholy harlot.

Any religion that bases salvation of man upon works, rather than by grace through faith, is a false religion and will fall under the judgment of our holy God.

The keeping of sacraments, indulgences, confession, rosary, witnessing, saying empty words, are works; and not grace provided by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. To claim works obtain salvation is to make void the cross of Christ, and commit “spiritual adultery”.

WORKS ARE THE FRUIT OF SALVATION, NOT THE CAUSE.

This will be THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MOTHER/CHILD RELIGION. Let me pose a question. Could this beast be the beast of democracy?

Religion rides highly in democratic governments, in most cases. Just think about many of the political campaigns of our day. Somehow “god” always comes into the picture. God is a big campaign word.  It is sad when the name of God is used in Church to make personal gain.  It is sad to see it in politics as well.  It is even spiritually gross to hear His name used to promote wrong, vile, and evil things.

O, friend, will you turn your life; your heart, your mind, your soul, and your strength over to Him now?  He died on the cross for you, was buried, and He arose alive, and lives forever.  Call on His name and He will hear you, save you, and give you eternal life.

The Peril of the Unrepentant in the Face of Holy

“And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”  Revelation 9:13-21

The sixth trumpet sounds and John hears a voice from the “Golden Altar”. This altar is the same altar as in chapter 8:3-6. The horns of the altar are mentioned in the Old Testament. There are times when men fled to the altar and “Caught hold on the horns of the altar” (1 Kings 1:50-51; 2:28). It was a place for pleading. Evidently pleading for one’s life as other men sought them. From this place of former mercy proceeds a voice of woe. The second woe. The first has passed.

The voice heard tells the sixth angel to “Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates”. These four angels are not the same four of chapter 7:1. There is nothing said about the chapter 7 angels being bound.

Since these four are bound it would lead us to conclude that these are evil angels or otherwise known as demons (Jude 6).

Today there is demonic activity, but not as the like of which when God removes His restraints.

The release of the four evil angels comes at God’s appointed time. “Were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year” has nothing to do with duration, but with God’s timing. The dastardly work of the four is to kill one-third of all people on the earth. Remember, one-fourth part of mankind has already been killed at the opening of the fourth seal (6:7-8). This means more than one half of the world’s population will be killed by the time this “Woe” is carried out. The judgment of the flood will pale in the comparison of these judgments.

The released angels kill by means of a two hundred million man army. China boasts to have such an army, and it is to the East of Jerusalem and the Euphrates river.

This also could be another demonic attack upon mankind, but it could be this in the form of an actual army of men. And, of course, the way things are in the world today there are probably women in this army as well. It seems that the horses are the sources of destroying power, “Out of their mouths issued fire and smoke, and brimstone” (vv. 17b-18). This almost sounds like a nuclear war.
Where the demonic mass of verses 3-11 was only allowed to torment and not to kill this army, vast in number, is allowed to kill.

Have there ever been events such as these on the earth? We have never read of them in history. This is clearly prophetic and not historical.

There is further mention of the Euphrates in 16:12 in connection with the “Sixth vial of wrath”.

The move of this army could be a move during the middle of the tribulation when the “Peacemaker” breaks the treaty with Israel and then havoc rules.

Isn’t it amazing how people can continue in sin and rebellion against God when they can see His mighty and judging hand at work. Rather than turning to the true and living God during this time of His wrath upon wickedness they lift up their idols of stone, gold, silver, brass, and wood. They cry out to gods who are no gods, becoming like them (Psalm 115).

Morris Ashcraft in the Broadman Bible Commentary wrote, “One cannot overlook John’s conviction, though voiced as a lament, that idolatry has a hold on man so great that he will go on worshiping the works of his own hands even while the infinite power of the true God is displayed all about him” BROADMAN COMMENTARY vol. 12 pg. 297.

It is a sad day when men turn to things made of their own hands and imaginations rather than to the God who displayed His love and wrath on a cross of wood judging our sin on the account of His Son.

Every kind of evil is mentioned in these verses. John is lamenting. It is nothing but outright, willful rebellion against the God of Heaven. There is no reason for rejoicing here, other than the fact, that God will destroy and put away all sin. All of sin, darkness of evil, and evil will be brought to an end.  Amen.

The Faces No One Wants to See

And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. Revelation 9:7-12 (KJV)

Now we are given a more complete description of these locusts creatures. A demon horde; the most vile and hideous of creatures; whose main purpose is to steal, kill, and to destroy all of humanity.

When this “Woe” takes place on the earth it may be possible that wicked men will not even see their tormentors.

John’s description of them is horrendous. Sometimes demons can manifest themselves as beautiful beings, but when we see them in the light of God’s Word and eternity they are the most hideous and deceitful of beings.

As also stated in verses 5 and 10 they are only given a period of five months in which to inflict their agony. There is no reason to try and make something more of the months than is indicated. It is probably a literal five-month period.

“Five months is the ordinary time in the year during which locusts commit their ravages” (HENRY ALFORD as copied from The Revelation of Jesus Christ by John Walvoord pg. 161).

These demon creatures have a king of sorts. This is probably the one to whom “Was given the key of the bottomless pit” or the other name is “Abyss”. A demon while speaking to Jesus mentioned this place (Luke 8:31).

The name of this king is given in Hebrew and Greek. “Abaddon” is the Hebrew, and “Apollyon” the Greek. Both names mean “Destroyer” and Satan is known as the destroyer. SEE John 10:10. So the one who was given the key to the pit and the king of the demon realm is probably one and the same, Satan, the Destroyer.

Verse 12 announces the end of the first woe. The enemy of all mankind is given a free hand with some limitations that clearly show us that the God of Heaven and all creation is in complete control. Remember “Woe” is great calamity, and what a calamity it will be when the demons of hell are unleashed on a God-hating people.

There are some people who have trouble believing a loving God could allow such to take place. It is because of His love, mixed with His holiness and righteousness that this does happen. In His love, He has chosen a people by His grace. In His holiness and righteousness, He judges the unrepentant to declare and manifest that there is a holy race of people. All those are redeemed through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ shed on the cross, for the atonement of man’s sins.

When Allowances for Evil are Made

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 2:18-29

In these verses, we will see that Jesus, as the holy and righteous Judge, will not tolerate wickedness, corruption in His Church, but that He exposes and judges it, and sets apart those within the body who are not partakers of the vileness.

Jesus introduces Himself to the church of Thyatira as the Judge. He is one who exposes unrighteousness in the forms of heresy, idolatry, and all abominable acts.

This church was a corrupt church. Toleration of “Jezebel” is their chief sin. Refusing to confront and judge her themselves, Jesus would come and do so Himself.

False teachings still corrupt the church today. There is very little teaching of holiness or righteousness, but much about self-awareness and self-acceptance. There are also teachings of “Antinomianism” disguised as freedom in Christ, the priesthood of the believer, and the liberty of the Spirit. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” from the bondage of sin. We are not at liberty to sin, but at liberty to serve and follow Jesus Christ.

There may have been some who tolerated “Jezebel” in order to practice “Church Growth”. There is a “Jezebel spirit” in that area especially. BEWARE!!!

Verse 18 begins the longest letter, and it is addressed to the church of Thyatira.

This letter opens with a word of warning to the unrepentant church member. The way in which Jesus identifies Himself is the warning. “His eyes like unto a flame of fire and His feet are like fine brass” (1:14-15). His eyes are eyes which pierces through the hardest of hearts and determines the motive and sees the sin of every heart. The feet like fine brass. His feet are pure and He is worthy to judge all who fail to give Him place – His rightful place.

Thyatira was a small city approximately 40 miles East of Pergamum. It was known as a city which manufactured purple dye. It is mentioned in the book of Acts 16:14-15. Lydia, a purple merchant, was from Thyatira and very well could have been used by God to start this church.

The people of the church for reasons yet to be mentioned have to be reminded of the deity of Jesus Christ, therefore, in this letter alone does He identify Himself as the Son of God. What tragedy when the Church loses sight of His divinity.

This is a church that is the opposite of the church of Ephesus. It appears their love for Jesus was stronger, their works were not mere religion, but done out of true love for Jesus (v. 19).

The church of Ephesus had the works but not the love, but they hated false teaching and dealt with it. The church of Thyatira had the love but tolerated false teaching and evil. Both of these are in the extreme on opposite ends. There needs to be both a love for Jesus and hatred for false teaching and evil and confronting it. This church sounds much like many churches of the 21st century. “You can love the Lord, and other gods and things; we will love you, no matter what; and there will never be any judgment against you. Let’s love and tolerate one another.”

Sin and false teaching must be dealt with.

The condemnation against Thyatira is because of tolerance of evil, deceptive teaching led by a strong, domineering woman who is “Jezebel” in character. “Jezebel” is probably a symbolic character reminding the people of the domineering, deceptive practices of the queen of Israel in 1 Kings 16 and following, who led Israel into Baal worship while pretending to hold on to the worship of YaHWeH (vv. 20 – 23).

This woman may have had a large following because of her strong leadership abilities and her loose morals. She probably was seen by some as a peacemaker, a worker for unity, especially between Christians and the government, and employers who did not want Christians who stood up for their Savior. She was corrupting the Church. This was probably the beginning of Maryolotry. Putting the virgin Mary on equal, if not a greater scale with Jesus.

Jesus gave her time to repent, but she refused. All who yielded to her teachings and practices would be cast into judgment with her. The bed that had been a bed of pleasure and peace would become a bed of pestilence. “Kill her children with death” is showing pestilence – disease, plague, drought – it would end in death.

By this judgment, all the churches will know that Jesus knows the heart, mind, and motives of His people – and of the wicked as well. When these have sown seeds of corruption what is the harvest, except corruption – destruction.

“Jezebel” would be an unredeemed person who crept in by stealth and deceit. Her only purpose is to lead astray, corrupt, and destroy. God’s purpose would be to strengthen the believers.

To those who are pure – have kept themselves from this doctrine of “Jezebel” Jesus’s promise is to put no other burden upon them (vv. 24 – 25).

This is the third letter in which Jesus has mentioned the enemy (Satan). To Smyrna, He calls the false Jews, “The synagogue of Satan”. To Pergamos, He calls it the place “Where Satan’s seat is”, “Where Satan dwelleth”, and then of Thyatira, “Those who have not known the depths of Satan” – probably referring to indulgence to sinful idol worshipping practices which “Jezebel” practiced along with her followers. “Give in to the world. Be silent about your faith. Do not lose your job because of Jesus, just go along with the crowd”. God forbid that we give up and give in to “The depths of Satan”.

Jesus says to those who are faithful, “Hold on to that which you have.” Keep the faith. Be patient, “Until I come”. This is a promise of deliverance to the faithful.

In verses 26 – 28 Jesus mentions the overcomer. The overcomer operates by faith and keeps His works unto the end. He has no other life. He knows no other position, than the one he has in Jesus Christ.

Notice the mention of the Millenial reign of Jesus. Yes, I believe the millennial reign of Christ to be literal. There are hundreds of Old Testament passages having to do with the Kingdom of Christ on earth where the lamb will lie down with the lion and wolf, and children play over the dens of serpents. The “Overcomers” will be given a position of authority in that day. Remember! We are joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) and “All things under His feet” (Ephesians 1:22). This rule will be one of shepherding people who are on earth at that time. When do you see the “Morning star”? At the beginning of a new day. A new day begins in Jesus Christ. He is the Morning Star. The “Overcomer” is one who is a possession of Jesus, and Jesus is their possession.

Verse 29 gives us the call to hear. It is the first of the seven letters that have the invitation to hear on the very end of the letter.

It is at the end of the following three letters as well. Perhaps to let all know, who are reading and hearing these words, and find themselves in a similar predicament. Jesus will be the judge of all sin and sinners who do not repent of their sin. Woe be to the one who does not hear and heed the message to the church of Thyatira.

In conclusion, wickedness abounds in this world. This is not the time for the church to be tolerating evil practices and/or false teachings. When we give allegiance to the world and “Christ” we give no allegiance to Christ.

The world around us is looking for hope and deliverance from all the things which plague our world. The Church has the answer. If we follow the world, who does the world have to follow? We are the light that shines in the darkness. Evil corrupts, but the light will overcome.

Be a source of hope to a dark world by building on the foundation principles of the Word of God and His righteousness in Jesus Christ. Let the world know there is right in the Light.
Jesus, to this very day, is the Judge of all evil and corruption and He still will not tolerate evil, especially within His Body, which is the Church.

Slaves

“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.” Romans 6:15-20 (KJV)

We are all born into sin.  Separated from God, totally depraved, and without hope apart from God’s intervention.  We are bound to sin, death, and the grave.  We were slaves to sin.  That sounds bleak and dark does it not?  That is our condition when we human beings are born into this world.

We cannot help but sin, because we are born into the slavery of sin.  Someone has said, “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.”  That is why there is evil in this old world.  Jeremiah the prophet said it right,,,

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

When we are away from God, outside of His grace and mercy there is no help to keep us from evil, and doing evil.  God the Creator, the Almighty, All-Knowing, All-Powerful and All-Present GOD knows our plight, our sin situation, our condemnation, and He has intervened to deliver us.

He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ as our sacrifice for sin.  He was our sin-bearer.  The Perfect One for the sinful, imperfect ones.  He was smitten for our sins.  Through faith in the Christ and His finished work on the cross we are set free from sin, its slavery, its condemnation, and its death; and we will live forever.

Now, having been set free from sin, we are now the slaves, the servants of righteousness.  We have the freedom to do good, to do right, and to shun all that is evil – all that is against God, against His word, against His Son and against His Spirit.

Hear the Spirit of God as He shows you the Lord Jesus Christ as Son of God, God the Son, and the Immutable [Unchanging] One.

Let the Earth Keep Silence

“What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. But the LORD is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:18-20 (KJV)

Habakkuk was a prophet like others, and other people who have asked the question “Where is God in the matter of justice?”; or “Why does God not judge wickedness?”  I have noticed in reading these questions, and having asked them myself a time or two, that God never gives a direct answer, but always takes us to Himself.

God had told this prophet that He was basically judging evil, even by using an evil king and nation to do it.  I have learned that if we want to know about evil and justice, then we first need to look inward.

With Habakkuk, the LORD was showing that this nation which He was using to chastise His own people was idol worshipers.  They would one day find out that they were going to experience justice as well; the judgment of God.

Every idol will one day be exposed for what it is.  There is idolatry in every nation on earth; yes, even the U. S. of A.  We have an idol in New York harbor, that we hold more dear than we do the word of the LORD.  We revere the words of physicians over the word of the LORD.  We hold the word of financiers as more valuable than the word of the LORD.  We value science over the word of the LORD.  These idols will one day come crashing down.

However, “…The LORD is in His holy temple…”, and that is speaking of His heavenly throne, and in this world His temple is also within those who have believed in Him through His Son Jesus, and the cross, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Son of God, God the Son (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Let the children of God, all Christians, cast off the works of the flesh, and put on the garments of salvation (Romans 13:12, 14; Galatians 3:27), and show forth the glory of Jesus our Lord and Savior.  This would be revival in the truest sense of the word.

When God’s people repent of their sins, and come out of the world, then by the grace and power of God, there will be change in the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of the earth.

 

Man of God – A Man of Prayer (1)

 “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes…” Daniel 9:1-3 (KJV)

Read Daniel 9:1-18

 Daniel was first and foremost, not a prophet who could look into the future, but a man of God. He is even referred to as the “a man greatly beloved” (v. 23; 10:11). Being a “Man of God” means more than just being able to understand, tell, and know God’s will and plan for the future. It is first knowing God and loving Him.

This prayer shows us why Daniel was ‘a man greatly beloved’ – why he was a ‘man of God’. Many a preacher and pastor could learn from Daniel. Looking at Daniel we could learn to pray and know God, and know His heart. Every preacher and pastor who is leading a church, or group of Christians should be ‘a man of God’ first. Too many are now becoming “Men of the people” or “Men of the congregation”, and rather than praying they are playing. Rather than preaching the Word of God, they preach the words and philosophies of men.

In this study we will see nine different points. Six are related to the prayer, and the final three are answer to the prayer.

The first thing that we see was what brought Daniel to prayer, and that was HIS DEVOTION TO THE WORD OF GOD (vv. 1-2). It is quite evident that Daniel was devoted to the study of God’s Word – as much of it as he had – because he was reading very devoutly the writing of Jeremiah the prophet. It must have encouraged his heart as he ready Jeremiah 25:1-12 and 29:10 that his Nation would be held captive for only 70 years. He knew the time was getting close, and this got him on his knees.

That is how it should affect Christians today when we read the Scriptures, and see the signs the Word speaks of concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus again. Remembering that the signs are only of the Lord’s second coming – the time when Jesus will literally come to earth to rule and reign as King – should make us mindful that the rapture of the Church is nearer. Knowing this we ought to be in earnest prayer. Getting ourselves ready by confession of sin. Confessing how we have brought shame to the name of Jesus, and pleading the mercy of God upon us. The Word of God is the “Sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17); and is the only weapon we hold in our hands. Of course, the only other weapon we have is PRAYER.

The second point we see is HIS CONFESSION OF SIN – HIS AND HIS NATION’S (vv. 3-5, 8-9,11,14,15). Note, how many times Daniel mentions, “We have sinned”. He does not say, “They have sinned”, but “We have sinned”, “We are a sinful nation”. Any time a preacher/prophet only points out “Their sins” he is failing to communicate the whole truth. “We have sinned” is the message of every prophet of God. If we are to get right with God it must be the confession of every prophet first of all. So many times we talk about the sins of the world, when in truth it is the sins of God’s people that hinders His work; if there is a lack confession, and not repented of.

Not meaning to jump ahead – take a look at verse 20. Daniel says, “And confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel”. We cannot blame others for our spiritual decay, and captivities. It is our sin that brought us to the place of captivity we are in.

Daniel confesses God’s righteousness. Without God’s righteousness He would not be God. In His righteousness He gave us His Son Jesus; He gave us the cross; that a holy, sinless person might die to pay the sin debt that was ours.

When we walk in disobedience to God we have “confusion of face” or “open shame”. In other words, “We have disgraced our God, our identity as the people of God, and have lost our power with God”. When that happens God will do whatever is necessary to get His people where He wants us to be.

Recognizing that our time is short here on earth. Recognizing there are many lost people who need Jesus we must dedicate ourselves to prayer, the study of God’s Word, that we might be equipped for service, and to witnessing of God our Savior to every one possible. We are going to glory. If we tell them of Jesus; they at least are warned of coming judgment, and possibly may come to faith in Jesus and be in glory also.

The third point we see is that DANIEL RECOGNIZES GOD’S JUDGMENTS (vv. 12-14). Daniel realized that the nation of Israel was being judged by God. That was the reason for their captivity.

The Christians of our day are not recognizing the judgments of God. “It’s the weather”, “It’s the way things are”, “It’s just a man-man leading mad men”, “It’s just the way of the day”. Why are Christians not recognizing the judgments of God on our nation today? They do not know God. It takes personal accountability away. After all, what can we do about what someone else is doing to us. We can do nothing about the weather.

What are some ways God is judging America – the good ole USA? Drought, flood, earthquake, tornado, storms that seem to be wreaking vengeance upon those it strikes, this would include Winter storms of excessive snow and ice. Power outages caused by these events. Terrorism from enemies. We were once protected from these things. Now, ie., in the past ten years we have had three noted terrorist attacks one of those was from a fellow citizen of our own country. One in 1993 on the World Trade Center that caused much damage, but not like the last attack on the WTC which completely destroyed it, and killed nearly 3000 people in conjunction with the attack on the Pentagon. According to some, “God is not judging our country”. These people who say such things very much need to WAKE UP from their sleep, and take a good look at God. We are also being judged by the influences of sodomy in our country.

Because we have gotten away from God we have become tolerant of all forms of evil. Because of the philosophies of men we have an excuse for every vile affection. We call ‘adultery’ an affair. We call an unborn child ‘a mass of tissue’. We call sodomy ‘an alternative lifestyle’. There are no drunks anymore they are all ‘alcohol dependent’. If a young man murders someone, it is due to their environment in which they were raised. Why can we not quit mealy mouthin’ around about sin, call it sin, and admit we have sinned, get right with God and get God’s people and His churches back in touch with the One who created us. When God’s people get right, then there will be a much better chance of reaching the rest of the Nation, and the world.

It will begin the healing, growing, and strengthening process with God when we get on our knees and pray fervently concerning our sin, seeking forgiveness, repenting, and seeking God’s power again.

In the fourth point we see DANIEL RECOGNIZES THE OFFENSES AGAINST GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS (vv. 16-19). When the people of God are disobedient to Him we become a reproach to Him and to the nations or people around us. The Israelites lost their witness to surrounding nations, because they were rebellious to God, His prophets, and His Word. They began living like the world around them, they built and worshiped idols, they practiced temple prostitution, and by doing these things they committed spiritual adultery against God. Notice what Daniel prays. First, that God’s face might shine upon His desolate sanctuary; second, to purpose His ear to hear this prayer; third, open His eyes to behold the people’s desolation; and fourth, that God answer them according to His own righteousness and mercy.

Prayer is for the purpose of the glory of God. It is not a wishing well, a genie in a bottle where you get three wishes. It is not akin to tea leaves, tarot cards, or palm reading. Knowing God’s will, then praying for it to come to pass is the prayer that glorifies God. Daniel knew God’s will. He prayed God’s will, then, what he prayed came to pass. This gets us in on God’s will; rather than expecting God to get in our will. David Jeremiah said…

“Our prayers really ought to be prompted out of our deep understanding of what the will of God is”.

From ‘THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL’ pg. 175. He also went on to say…

“The biggest waste of time in Christendom is praying about things that God already said we shouldn’t do.” IBID.

God will answer the prayers that are prayed to glorify Him. That is how Daniel prayed. NOTE; Daniel prayed, “For we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousnesses, but for Thy great mercies…” We do not deserve it, O God, but remember Your promise. It was God’s integrity Daniel was concerned with. He knew Israel did not deserve to go back to Jerusalem; but God must keep His Word. Daniel simply knew God never broke a promise. He was demanding nothing. He was merely standing on God’s own integrity and power.

HAVING RECOGNIZED, FROM READING JEREMIAH THE PROPHET, OF THE SEVENTY YEAR CAPTIVITY; DANIEL PRAYS FOR GOD’S WILL TO BE DONE ACCORDING TO GOD’S MERCY (v. 18).

The Wise Counsel

“Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety. Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.” Proverbs 24:3-7 (KJV)

A short study of the twenty fourth chapter…

VERSES 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 19-20, 24 – The evil and the wicked. The wise are instructed to not envy the evil. The devices of the evil and the wicked are contrary to God, and the wise.
Those who are just and righteous (v. 16) when they are knocked down, will get back up; but he wicked “shal fall into mischief”.

“Candle of the wicked” (v. 20) probably refers to the spirit within every man, which is the door way to knowing God. Look at these verses… Job 21:17; Psalm 18:28; Proverbs 20:27.

To call the wicked “righteous” is to bring a curse on the one who does it (v. 24).

VERSES 3 – 7, 27 – Wisdom is needed in building a house and a home; in filling that home with material blessings as well as true riches.

The foolish man does not know what to speak when it is time for good judgment (v. 7).

There is wisdom in being prepared before one builds a home (v. 27).

VERSES 10 -14 – Wisdom leads to strength to stand in times of adversity. Understanding will help us make the right decision at important, difficult times; for ourselves and others (vv. 11-12).

On verses 13-14 – The ESV Study Bible notes state…

“Prov. 24:13–14… …Just as honey is sweet to the taste and good for the body, so wisdom is pleasant to the soul that feeds on it, fostering a secure hope (cf. v. 20; see notes on 23:17–18; Ps. 37:9).”

VERSES 17 – 18 – It is not wise to rejoice when we see an enemy, or a foolish individual fall.

VERSES 28 – 34 – We ought always to refuse to return evil for evil (vv. 28-29; Romans 12:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9). The wise man or woman will not allow themselves to grow slack in following that which is good.

Wisdom’s Communication

Who do we keep company with?  Who are the people we call our friends?  It is an important if we are to live the life of faith in God, trusting Him and to grow into the image of His Son Jesus Christ.

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.” Proverbs 13:20-21 (KJV)

How many times have parents guarded the people their children hang out with? Good parents will keep watch.

“Evil communications corrupt good manners” 1 Corinthians 15:33

“Communications” in the KJV can be interpreted “companionship”

All Christians need to learn and know that there is much to be said about who you keep company with. You can be known by who your friends and who your enemies are.

The people we run with, hang out with can be a detriment or a blessing in our lives. In any case as a child of God we need to be the thermostat that sets the temperature; and not a thermometer that only registers the temperature.

Some Things God Hates

There are some things which God hates.  You might be one of those people who find it difficult to believe that God hates anything.  The writer of Proverbs tells us of seven abominations which He does hate.  That is what we look at today.

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19

We must understand that the God of the Bible is holy, righteous and just; and because He is those things there must be of necessity things which He hates the above seven things are some of them – seven in fact which cover the entirety of the human race.

Seven things which God hates. These seven things are directly related to the heart of evil.
From the ESV Study notes we read of verse 16,

“This numeric literary device presents a representative rather than exhaustive list (cf. 30:15–16, 18–19, 21–31) that seeks to draw particular attention to the final item as the focus of God’s hatred. It is easy to agree that God hates the first six items; it is also easy to overlook the seventh (v. 19b), and thus the author pulls the reader up short.”

From the Matthew Henry Commentary we find,

“God hates sin; he hates every sin; he can never be reconciled to it; he hates nothing but sin. But there are some sins which he does in a special manner hate; and all those here mentioned are such as are injurious to our neighbour. It is an evidence of the good-will God bears to mankind that those sins are in a special manner provoking to him which are prejudicial to the comfort of human life and society. Therefore the men of Belial must expect their ruin to come suddenly, and without remedy, because their practices are such as the Lord hates and are an abomination to him, v. 16. Those things which God hates it is no thanks to us to hate in others, but we must hate them in ourselves.”

I want you to realize today that God loves you.  He loves the world and you and me are part of the world and He loves us.  So much that He gave His only Son that believing in Him we would not perish, but have everlasting life.

Some one once said, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully.”  The child of God cannot continue to live in sin and its abomination without serious consequences.

Follow this link to a more thorough study of these verses.