False, Empty Religion Versus Christ

“And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it,
“No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.”
And His disciples heard it. And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And He taught, saying unto them,
“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves.”
And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy Him: for they feared Him, because all the people was astonished at His doctrine. And when even was come, He went out of the city. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, “Master, behold, the fig tree which Thou cursedst is withered away.” And Jesus answering saith unto them,
“Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, ‘Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea;’ and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”  Mark 11:12-26 (KJV)

IN THE FIG TREE JESUS SHOWS US THE FRUITLESSNESS OF A DEAD RELIGION AND CONFRONTS IT.
As Jesus and the disciples were  leaving Bethany, back toward Jerusalem, Jesus spots a fig tree with leaves on it – advertising that it had fruit.  When Jesus arrives there they discover it has no fruit.  Jesus curses the fig tree.  To some this may seem unnecessary for Jesus to have done, but it seems to me that there is a message we must hear and heed.

  1. “There was a voice in it for the JEWISH CHURCH. Rich in the leaves of a formal religion, but barren of all fruits of the Spirit, that Church was in fearful danger, at the very time when this withering took place. Well would it have been for the Jewish Church if it had had eyes to see its peril!”
  2. “There was a voice in the fig tree for all the branches of Christ’s VISIBLE CHURCH in every age, and every part of the world. There was a warning against an empty profession of Christianity unaccompanied by sound doctrine and holy living, which some of those branches would have done well to lay to heart.”
  3. “There was a voice in the fig tree for all the branches of Christ’s VISIBLE CHURCH in every age, and every part of the world. There was a warning against an empty profession of Christianity unaccompanied by sound doctrine and holy living, which some of those branches would have done well to lay to heart.”   From J. C. Ryle commentary on Mark’s Gospel.

Dead religion offers nothing but leaves, and like the “fig leaves” which Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with were inadequate, so are the “fig leaves” of a dead religion.  In Scriptures the “Fig tree” often represents the nation of Israel and/or its religion (See Hosea 9:10; Nahum 3:12;  Zechariah 3:10).  It is somewhat intriguing that we have Jesus’s strong words to this fig tree just before He enters the Temple compound and finds them “Buying and selling”.  You will also notice that when Jesus and the disciples pass by the fig tree again that it is dead.

Why did Jesus “curse” the fig tree.  First of all “it was not the season for figs” according to the text, but it had leaves, and most usually the leaves and the figs grew together.  Secondly, by having leaves but no figs it was “advertising” it had fruit when it did not.

There are many people who do not believe that Jesus ever became angry.  Those who think that must have never read of the two times Jesus cleansed the temple.  He cleansed the temple once when He had just began His ministry three years prior to this, and then He does it again here.  You can read about the first “Cleansing” in John chapter two, verses thirteen through seventeen.

Here is what was going on in the Temple compound.  It was expected that the animals brought to the Temple for sacrifice would be inspected by the priest, but it had became a practice to find fault when there was no fault.  It may have been something like this – A priest would say an animal was at fault then sell the owner of the “faulty” offering an “approved” offering, and then, he would sell this man’s animal as “approved” to someone else.  Some people who traveled great distances may expect to buy a Temple approved offering at the Temple.  It was nothing more than theft, and dishonesty that was taking place in the name of God.  There was no holiness, righteousness, or godliness in the place.  The “House of prayer” had been turned into a “Den of thieves”, and Jesus would not tolerate it.

The money changers would charge great fees for exchanging Greek and Roman monies for the Temple money.  They made a great deal of profit by this deed, and took advantage of many poor people by the selling of doves for an extravagant  profit.

The Church of the Lord Jesus this day needs to pay careful attention to this.  The things of God are not for the making of profit.  Using the name of God to attach a price on things is theft, and dishonors the name of the Lord.  There are business men today who attend church so as to maintain a base for their business, and to keep a good name in the community they are in.  Some will even try to conduct a little business in the church.  There are some who think the church should be conducted like a business, when it is not a business, nor should it be conducted as such.  It is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and is to be conducted by His guidelines and for His purposes, and glory.

In looking at the fig tree this is how we could define “Dead religion” – 1.  It offers much but delivers little;  2.  It is cold and formal;  3.  It seems alive by its much activity [its buying and selling], but God is not there;  4.  Its leaves cover its fruitlessness, but not to God’s eyes.

In verses 20 through 26 Jesus gives us a lesson in faith.  The fig tree He “cursed” the day before has already withered – it is dead.  It was so dead that even its roots were dried up.  “Have faith in God” is the statement Jesus issues to the disciples.  It is faith in God that makes all things possible.  Someone has said, “Where God guides, He provides”.  Is that true.  Yes! it is.

Faith is believing in what you cannot see, touch, smell, taste, or hear in the physical realm.  You can see evidences of faith in God, for instance; the rising of the sun, and its setting; the order of the universe; the intricacies of the human body, and the bodies of animals as well;  the singing of the birds;  and all the other details of life.  Faith believes in God, even when there is no possible way of something happening.  Jesus’ words on prayer are strong, and is telling us to ask as if we have already received it  “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”  Mark 11:24(KJV).

That is genuinely the prayer of faith.  Believing you have received it before you do.

Notice the importance Jesus places on “Forgiveness”.  Without forgiveness we cannot expect answer to our prayers.  God is so good to forgive us, we ought also to forgive those whom we believe responsible for offending us.

Remember this, NO FORGIVENESS, NO ANSWER TO PRAYER.  KNOW FORGIVENESS, KNOW ANSWER TO PRAYER.

The Power of Faith

“And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it,
‘No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.’
And His disciples heard it.  And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.  And He taught, saying unto them,
‘Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer?’ But ye have made it a den of thieves.’
And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy Him: for they feared Him, because all the people was astonished at His doctrine.  And when even was come, He went out of the city.  And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, ‘Master, behold, the fig tree which Thou cursedst is withered away.  And Jesus answering saith unto them,
‘Have faith in God.  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.’ ”  Mark 11:12-26 (KJV)

IN THE FIG TREE JESUS SHOWS US THE FRUITLESSNESS OF A DEAD RELIGION AND CONFRONTS IT.
As Jesus and the disciples were  leaving Bethany, back toward Jerusalem, Jesus spots a fig tree with leaves on it – advertising that it had fruit.  When Jesus arrives there they discover it has no fruit.  Jesus curses the fig tree.  To some this may seem unnecessary for Jesus to have done, but it seems to me that there is a message we must hear and heed.

  1. “There was a voice in it for the JEWISH CHURCH. Rich in the leaves of a formal religion, but barren of all fruits of the Spirit, that Church was in fearful danger, at the very time when this withering took place. Well would it have been for the Jewish Church if it had had eyes to see its peril!”
  2. “There was a voice in the fig tree for all the branches of Christ’s VISIBLE CHURCH in every age, and every part of the world. There was a warning against an empty profession of Christianity unaccompanied by sound doctrine and holy living, which some of those branches would have done well to lay to heart.”  From J. C. Ryle commentary on Mark’s Gospel.

Dead religion offers nothing but leaves, and like the “fig leaves” which Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with were inadequate, so are the “fig leaves” of a dead religion.  In Scriptures the “Fig tree” often represents the nation of Israel and/or its religion (See Hosea 9:10; Nahum 3:12;  Zechariah 3:10).  It is somewhat intrigueing that we have Jesus’ strong words to this fig tree just before He enters the Temple compound and finds them “Buying and selling”.  You will also notice that when Jesus and the disciples pass by the fig tree again that it is dead.

Why did Jesus “curse” the fig tree.  First of all “it was not the season for figs” according to the text, but it had leaves, and most usually the leaves and the figs grew together.  Secondly, by having leaves but no figs it was “advertising” it had fruit when it did not.

There are many people who do not believe that Jesus ever became angry.  Those who think that must have never read of the two times Jesus cleansed the temple.  He cleansed the temple once when He had just began His ministry three years prior to this, and then He does it again here.  You can read about the first “Cleansing” in John chapter two, verses thirteen through seventeen.

Here is what was going on in the Temple compound.  It was expected that the animals brought to the Temple for sacrifice would be inspected by the priest, but it had became a practice to find fault when there was no fault.  It may have been something like this – A priest would say an animal was at fault then sell the owner of the “faulty” offering an “approved” offering, and then, he would sell this man’s animal as “approved” to someone else.  Some people who travelled great distances may expect to buy a Temple approved offering at the Temple.  It was nothing more than theft, and dishonesty that was taking place in the name of God.  There was no holiness, righteousness, or godliness in the place.  The “House of prayer” had been turned into a “Den of thieves”, and Jesus would not tolerate it.

The money changers would charge great fees for exchanging Greek and Roman monies for the Temple money.  They made a great deal of profit by this deed, and took advantage of many poor people by the selling of doves for an extravagant  profit.

The Church of the Lord Jesus this day needs to pay careful attention to this.  The things of God are not for the making of profit.  Using the name of God to attach a price on things is theft, and dishonors the name of the Lord.  There are business men today who attend church so as to maintain a base for their business, and to keep a good name in the community they are in.  Some will even try to conduct a little business in the church.  There are some who think the church should be conducted like a business, when it is not a business, nor should it be conducted as such.  It is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and is to be conducted by His guidelines and for His purposes, and glory.

In looking at the fig tree this is how we could define “Dead religion” – 1.  It offers much but delivers little;  2.  It is cold and formal;  3.  It seems alive by its much activity [its buying and selling], but God is not there;  4.  Its leaves cover its fruitlessness, but not to God’s eyes.

In verses 20 through 26 Jesus gives us a lesson in faith.  The fig tree He “cursed” the day before has already withered – it is dead.  It was so dead that even its roots were dried up.  “Have faith in God” is the statement Jesus issues to the disciples.  It is faith in God that makes all things possible.  Someone has said, “Where God guides, He provides”.  Is that true.  Yes! it is.

Faith is believing in what you cannot see, touch, smell, taste, or hear in the physical realm.  You can see evidences of faith in God, for instance; the rising of the sun, and its setting; the order of the universe; the intricacies of the human body, and the bodies of animals as well;  the singing of the birds;  and all the other details of life.  Faith believes in God, even when there is no possible way of something happening.  Jesus’ words on prayer are strong, and is telling us to ask as if we have already received it

“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Mark 11:24(KJV).

That is genuinely the prayer of faith.  Believing you have received it before you do.

Notice the importance Jesus places on “Forgiveness”.  Without forgiveness we cannot expect answer to our prayers.  God is so good to forgive us, we ought also to forgive those whom we believe responsible for offending us.

Remember this, NO FORGIVENESS, NO ANSWER TO PRAYER.  KNOW FORGIVENESS, KNOW ANSWER TO PRAYER.

A Lesson on Faith

“And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, ‘Master, behold, the fig tree which Thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them,
‘Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, ‘Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea;’ and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.’
”  Mark 11:20-26

Only One Sin In Which There Is No Forgiveness

“And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth He out devils. And He called them unto Him, and said unto them in parables,
‘How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.
Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:’

because they said, ‘He hath an unclean spirit.’ ”  Mark 3:22-30

Experiencing Forgiveness

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”   Matthew 6:14-15

Forgiveness is a difficult matter and event in life. I know that I have been forgiven many times by my parents, my wife, my children, grandchildren, and other people as well. I know that most of all I have been forgiven by the One who has created all things.

If anyone thinks that forgiveness is an easy matter, then they probably have not forgiven anyone.

The truth of the matter of forgiveness is this: Jesus Christ died for our sins, forgiving those who nailed Him to the cross, and paying the price for our sins giving redemption, forgiveness, and healing to all who trust in Him.

The person who would say, “I will never forgive you” or “I cannot forgive that” has never experienced the forgiveness of God. If we experience the forgiveness of God what is there in the world that could cause us to be unforgiving.

Come to Jesus trusting in His finished work on the cross and experience forgiveness; the forgiveness of Holy God.

Who is born of God?

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him. 1 John 5:1
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?  Verse 5
He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.  Verses 12 – 13
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.  Verse 20

As I was reading the first epistle of the apostle John I noticed once again the important emphasis he puts on Jesus Christ as the Son of God. The title of this post is “Who is born of God?” That is a question we all must answer, and know ourselves. Are you, have you been born of God?

In chapter 5 verse 1 John writes “Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” and he goes on stating that to love the Father (the One who begat), is to love the Son (the One who is begotten). If we love the Father we will love the Son; and on the other side too; if we love the Son we love the Father. These are the one’s who are born of God.

We learn in the five verses above too, that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the One who overcomes the world, and through Him we do too. In Him we have life, and without Him is no life. Without life in Him there is only death. Through Jesus Christ and Him alone can we have the true assurance of eternal life, and we can know quite well that we will live with Him eternally.

In knowing Jesus we receive understanding from Him knowledge of who He truly is. In Christ Jesus we are in the True God, and have eternal life. The moment, by grace through faith, you turn from your sin to Christ calling on His name for salvation you receive eternal life.

Who is born of God? If you have not been born of God will you call on Him today?

False Witnesses and Witnesses of Jesus Christ

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.”  Proverbs 19:9

“And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.”  Acts 10:42-43

Let us pray for strength, courage and faith to always be a true witness to those around us. That when we are around the unbelieving, we do not act as they act, do as they do for that is a false witness of what Jesus Christ has done for us; when they do not see the change He has made in us. Be a faithful witness.

May we always be faithful to the cross of Jesus Christ in our life and testimony. Testifying that Jesus Christ is the Judge of the living and the dead. In His is life, and life everlasting. In Him alone there is forgiveness and cleansing of all sin.

If you have not done so call on the only One who died for your sins. His name is Jesus the Christ. He did on the cross, was buried, and He bodily arose and came out alive.

Knowing What to Speak

“The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.”  Proverbs 16:23
“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.’ ”  Acts 5:29-31

Pray for a wise heart that teaches the mouth to speak with grace and love and show forth through our lips the word of God to those who are perishing.

Pray also that we know when to speak; and that we be knowledgeable in the word of God and know when to stand against those who would try to thwart the preaching of the word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Prayer for January 9, 2021

Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.” Proverbs 9:6
“Then came Peter to Him, and said, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.’ ” Matthew 18:21-22

I thank You, Lord, that I did not gain a relationship with You through any good deed, any act of kindness, or even my own obedience to a need I witnessed. I gained the New birth relationship through the blood of Jesus’s death on the cross. For that I am grateful.

Lord I ask that I might forsake the foolish things and go in the way of understanding; through the wisdom that comes only from You. I also ask that I will always be forgiving to those who may seem unforgivable. You have forgiven me. How can I negate my forgiving any wrong someone has done to me?

Thank You, Lord, for the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all our sin; the burial which carried them all away; and because He is risen from the grave death, hell and the grave is proven defeated, and we have eternal life through Him who forever lives. Amen.

Prayer for January 7, 2021

Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.  Proverbs 7:24
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.’ ” Matthew 14:27

Father and Lord of all, to You I give praise, honor and glory, because You are worthy. You spoke all that is into existence, and without You was not anything made that is made. You are light and in You is no darkness at all.

Forgive my sloth, lust, greed, and hate in my heart. Thank You for the forgiveness that is available through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus; and because of Jesus’s righteousness, I am now righteous. Thank You for clothing me in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ; and for clothing all who come to You through faith in Him, in His Righteousness.

I ask for forgiveness for the sins of our Church, our County, State and Nation. We have turned our backs on You, on the power and the authority of Your word and against the power of the Holy Spirit. Why is it that we do not like hearing the verses where we are told “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” That is the power and the authority of the Spirit filled child of God. Forgive me Father and forgive this sin of all Your people.

I need You. Our Church – all within need You. Our County needs You. Our State needs You. Our Nation needs You. There is so much evil, and it is evil that wants to keep on killing the innocent – those who cannot defend themselves, the unborn, and those in nursing homes and convalescing.

Lord GOD Almighty take Your people in Your hand and set our hearts aright. May we become people of prayer, of Your word, of Your Spirit; and let us walk by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. May we walk by faith, not fear.

I ask, Father, that You will burden my heart, and all Christian hearts with the burden of seeing the lost, the perishing, the hopeless and the helpless come to saving faith of Jesus Christ and may we be laborers in the field which is the world. Amen.

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 091520

“And as they led Him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him. But Jesus turning unto them said,
‘Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.’  Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us;’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?’
And there were also two other, malefactors, led with Him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
Then said Jesus,
‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’
And they parted His raiment, and cast lots.”  Luke 23:26-34  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 090920

“Then said He unto the disciples,
‘It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.’
” Luke 17:1-4  (KJB)

There Is Forgiveness With The LORD

“Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
Lord, hear my voice: let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If Thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”  Psalm 130:1-8  (KJB)

Do Not Forget All His Benefits

“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”  Psalm 103:1-5  (KJB)

You LORD Are Good, and Ready To Forgive

“Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O Thou my God, save Thy servant that trusteth in Thee.
Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto Thee daily. Rejoice the soul of Thy servant: for unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. ForTthou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee.”  Psalm 86:1-5  (KJB)

Sin, The Law, and Grace

“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Romans 6:15 (KJB)

There were some in Paul’s day who were accusing him of teaching that if one is saved by grace alone then one can live how ever they please; and the apostle is correcting this mistaken gross idea.

Sadly it is a notion of many of today’s professing “Christians” that “I can go ahead and do this thing, I can live with this girl or this guy without marriage to see if it works out or not; I can divorce my wife or husband, and marry this other one; and God will forgive me”.  Put what ever element of sin into the equation you choose, and it has probably been thought, and acted upon.

If a man or woman who professes Christ can do such a thing, then live with the enjoyment of their act, they will not enjoy God. There, in fact, cannot be forgiveness.

Verse 14 of this chapter of Romans says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you”.

The truly redeemed, born again child of God; the true Christian hates their sin, seeks every opportunity to put away sin, stay away from the sin that tempts them, does not seek it out. Neither can the Christian enjoy living in sin, letting sin have dominion over them.

If you call yourself a Christian, and can enjoy sinful acts, thoughts, and living, and you are not disciplined by the Lord, then, you are not His (Hebrews 12:7-8)

Let our prayer today be that of the Psalmist…

“Order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalm 119:133

Grace is not a license, and approval, from God or freedom from God to sin. It is, in fact, the freedom from sin, and the power to take authority over sin.

Justification By Faith and The Law

“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31 (KJB)

Since people are justified by faith without the law does that void the law? Paul says, “NO!” The law was given to show mankind his condemnation; to cause him to fall on his knees before our righteous and holy God in repentance, calling on Him by faith.

In the work of Jesus Christ on the cross the demands of the law were fulfilled, thus, by faith it is possible for a sinner to be made righteous before God; not on his own merit, but on the merit of Jesus Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection.

In Christ the holiness and righteousness of God toward sin is intact. His love for His enemies is shown. All who believe Him are declared righteous. That is an amazing salvation.

Actually the law is firmly established. All God desired is accomplished. Sinners; by God’s declaration; become saints.

When a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ the desire of their heart is to be with Him; to be like Him; to serve Him whenever and however possible. We desire to learn more about Him. We desire to be around others who love Him. We grieve over our sins and seek forgiveness quickly and diligently. We grieve over lost sinners who are condemned and pray for them, witness to them, and lead them to personal faith in Jesus. We seek to worship God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. That certainly sounds like the establishment/fulfillment of the law.

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 2:16

A Self Exalted King

“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
‘Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty….” Ezekiel 28:11-12 (KJB)

Tyre was evidently a rocky island in the Mediterranaen sea. It was known as a place where the known world of the time traded; a place of commerce. The king of Tyre or Tyrus was arrogant, and exalted himself as God. This is an arrogance in the extreme, and definitely invites the judgment of the Lord GOD.

I pray as you read this you will read chapters 26 – 29 of the prophecy.

In God’s lamentation of the king it seems directed at the spirit of iniquity; the place from which the evil heart and mind really comes the person who was in the garden of Eden, and questioned the word of God, and caused the man Adam and his wife Eve to question the word too.

When we see evil in the world it can be traced to this vile, wicked, evil, serpent who also exalts himself over the throne of God (Read Isaiah 14).  We see kings and rulers today who are trying to silence the word, the will, and the way of the Lord GOD, and kill all that profess the name of Jesus Christ who is the Son of the Lord GOD.

To you who are self exalted kings and gods; you will not succeed. You are doomed to the fires of Hell unless you repent of your sins, and turn to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  He is the One who died, was buried, and rose again. He is the King of kings, and ultimately you will bow to Him.

To you who are not kings and/or rulers of any land or nation. If you think you are the master of your own fate; the captain of your soul; you are not. This One who died on the cross (Jesus Christ), was buried, and rose again is. Submit to Him, His Lordship, and call on His name.

Not Forsaken

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rest and grow in His grace.

Sin and Temptation

“Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted of God:’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:13-15 (KJB)

From F. B. Meyer…

“The word temptation may stand for trial and testing, without implying that there is any necessary impulse toward evil; or it may stand for the direct impulse of the evil one. Here, however, it is used in this latter sense. But of whatever kind the temptation is, whether upward or downward, whether of pain and sorrow at the permission of God, or of direct solicitation to evil at the suggestion of Satan, those who refuse to swerve from their high quest of nobility attain to higher levels of life. In the words of this paragraph, they receive the crown of life “here” and hereafter.

Notice the genealogy of sin, Jas_1:15. Lust is the parent of sin, and sin when matured is the parent of death. How different to the blackness of this dark picture is the light and glory of our Father’s home and realm! All the good things of our lives are from His good hand. He is not fickle and changeable. Even our sin cannot make Him turn away. His sun still shines on the evil and the good, and His rain descends on the just and the unjust. See Mat_5:45. We are His children; let us be sweet to the taste as the grapes of Eschol!”  Through the Bible Day by Day by F. B. Meyer

There are many accusing Holy God of tempting  us, and even of sin. Let God be true and every one else a liar. God does not tempt anyone, neither is He tempted.

When you think about it it is like the clay calling the potter ‘Evil’ (Jeremiah18).

The race of Adam is evil at heart (Jeremiah 17:9), and needs a Redeemer. That Redeemer was sent unto us by our loving Father, and that Redeemer is Jesus Christ.  He died a horrendous  death on a cruel cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and in three days He rose again; and He forever lives and is seated at the right hand of power in glory. He will hear you when you call on His name.

Triumph in Christ

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 (KJB)

The thankful apostle which has written this second letter to encourage the Church at Corinth to forgive the sins of their members who had repented of their acts of immorality (1 Corinthians 5); their acts of pride over their spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12-14), and other issues as well.  He is still unable to be with them.

In looking at the above verse we see Paul giving the glory to our Lord.

Any victories we have is due to the victory of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial, and His triumph over death, and the grave in His resurrection.

“…Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:15

The Church had much; and presently has much to rejoice in.  Jesus gives us the victory we must walk in it.

Father in Heaven, forgive our sins, our flimsy excuses for our sins. Forgive also our cheapening of grace; which is given us to free us from sin, and is now used as a license for sinning.

May we realize that Jesus died for our sin, in our place, paying the redemption price for our sin. We must turn from our excuses and our sin to triumph in Christ.

Fill us with Your Spirit, for then we will not walk in sin. Draw us nearer You, for then we will see our sinfulness and our greatest need of You.

Glorify Jesus Your Precious, Holy Son. Amen.

The Reign of Sin is Stopped

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:18-21  (KJB)

Sin’s offense against God began in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve; and that passed on from one child of Adam, one after another.  None are immune to sin (Romans 3:23).

People today in 2019 are too easily offended, and have forgotten how grossly our God, the Creator of all things, was offended by sin. Take the offense you feel and multiply that by a million million, and you might begin to experience the offense our Lord feels toward our sin.  Note that I said “…you might…” but it is highly unlikely.

There is one who brought all of sin, and its contagions, disease, and death upon us; but praise the Lord of Hosts, there is One who takes it all away.  He (Jesus Christ) bore our sins, our curse upon that old rugged cross, was buried carrying our sin, shame, condemnation, and death away; then, He rose again and He forever lives and reigns in all things.

Sin and death no longer need to have power over you.  He defeated sin and death on the cross and showed it to be true by resurrection.

The rule and reign of sin has been stopped.  What are you doing in that hog pen of sin?

When We Walk in the Light

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; for the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”  1 John 1:1-10

 

REFERENCES:  John 1:1, 9; 17:21; Acts 2:32; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 6:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Kings 8:46; Proverbs 20:9; James 3:2; Psalm 32:5

On this Friday which Christians are remembering the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior let us also focus on the fact that in His suffering He won the victory over the devil whose head was crushed that day.  The victories of the cross are expressed in those seven sayings of Christ as He suffered, bled, and died.  He asked the Father to forgive us;  He told the thief “Today you will be with me in paradise; He cared for His mother;  He experienced the hell that should have been ours in the forsaking of His Father and God;  He finished the work He came to do; and lastly, He committed His spirit back to the Father.  His dying on the cross was the greatest of victories.

The devil was defeated His doom is sure.  The resurrection three days later was the proof and evidence of what took place – the victory – on Calvary.

Praise the LORD Jesus is risen.  He is alive.

Forgiving Most

“And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.’ And he saith, ‘Master, say on.’
‘There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?’
Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.’ And He said unto him, ‘Thou hast rightly judged.’”  Luke 7:40-43  (KJB)

To get a better look at the story I pray you have read Luke 7.

Simon, a Pharisee, a very religious Jewish leader in the Law, has invited Jesus into his home, and has shown him no hospitality as was the expected thing of the day – washing the feet of their guest, etc.

Comes in a woman off the street who breaks a very expensive alabaster box of fragrant anointing oil, and this cause a ruckus with Simon.

This woman knows who Jesus is.  Her very act puts her in the category of the “one forgiven most” that is concerning the parable Jesus speaks.  Simon has not demonstrated the respect to Jesus that would be given to any other guest, but this woman brings a perfume that would, by some accounts, be as costly as a years wages.

This woman demonstrates her faith, and shows she needs forgiveness.

Simon NO!  The woman Much forgiveness.

Let us demonstrate our need for forgiveness by loving Jesus with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength.

The Case of the Hypocrite Fig Tree

“And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, ‘No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.’ And His disciples heard it.” Mark 11:12-14

“And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, ‘Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.’ And Jesus answering saith unto them, ‘Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive, and ye shall have. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.’” Mark 11:20-26 (KJB)

Do you desire to accomplish great things for God?  Do you desire having power with God in prayer?  Do you desire to be able to move mountains, and cast them into the sea?  It could also be asked, “Do I desire to have power to deliver people from demon possession?”

Jesus was able to curse the fig tree, and the next day was a teaching moment for the disciples to learn; and for us too.  Why would Jesus curse the fig tree?  It was saying it had fruit when it did not.  It was a hypocrite fig tree. The leaves on the tree, even though it was not the season for figs; was declaring that it had figs.  It did not.  Thus Jesus cursed the tree, and it died.

Jesus’s words when they see the tree died away was “Have faith in God…”.  Jesus then proceeds to describe the power of faith in God for those who are forgiven, and forgiving.

Here is a thought for you.  The fruit of being forgiven is forgiving.  If you cannot forgive what someone has done to you; you have not experienced forgiveness.  Can we figure out the rest?