“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But You, O LORD, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” Psalm 3:1-3
“And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.” Luke 9:30-31 (KJB)
Jerusalem. The city of Peace. The city of David. Sometimes called the city of God. It is also a city of great division, scorn, and evil.
It is the city of great admiration of the people of Israel, and the world. It has been said, “As goes Jerusalem; so goes the world”. David in one of his Psalms tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).
Jesus is said to have had His eyes set on Jerusalem (Luke 9:51, 53), and that was due to the calling in His life since before the foundation of the earth was set. In the text before our above verses Jesus is on the Mount speaking with Moses and Elijah about the coming days; and not too far off.
Jerusalem would be the place of His great sacrifice. Jesus would lay down His life for the sins of the whole world; and He would do so because He loved, and revered His Father; and He loved lost, condemned sinners.
In the mind of the ordinary human being, dying does not seem like much to accomplish. Some of the teaching I have heard among the prosperity gospel folks, makes it sound as though Jesus failed in dying on the cross. One of the final statements Jesus made before He died on the cross was, “It is finished” (John 19:30). May I shout with the words…. IT WAS HIS VICTORY… ; and His bodily resurrection is the proof of it (Romans 1:4), and our justification.
Jesus accomplished, at Jerusalem, all that He had came to earth as a man to do. He accomplished in His death all that the Law and the Prophets could not do – the redemption of Israel, and the redemption of all those in the world who will come to Him believing; receiving the blessed gift of His grace.
Call on His name believing. He will hear. He will save.
“And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people…” Luke 2:10 (KJB)
I find it somewhat odd that the scholars, the priest, the religionist of the day in Jerusalem missed the obvious signs. The signs that the Messiah was on the way. I will not get into what those signs were. Others saw them from further away.
The shepherds in the field were not the first. They are the first mentioned in our text, but in the totality of the text of the gospel it includes the wise men from the east (Matthew 2:1-12). The wise men would have began most likely weeks before when they saw the “star”, and they traveled together and found the new born King, not in a manger, but a house.
In the birth of Jesus the LORD of Creation is declaring that His Son’s birth is a gift to all who will come to Him and believe in the gift of His grace. The grace that will be displayed by His death on the cross, His burial not only proving He died, but that He also carried all our sin, condemnation, guilt, and shame away, and then He arose leaving all of that behind and He eternally lives. Because He lives all from every nation, every tongue, and every tribe of people who believe in Him have eternal life.
“Fear not” the angel said. The great good tidings to all the earth. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 (KJB)
I will let another speak today. the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown…
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning — “instruction”
through, etc. — “through the comfort and the patience of the Scriptures”
might have hope — that is, “Think not that because such portions of Scripture relate immediately to Christ, they are inapplicable to you; for though Christ’s sufferings, as a Savior, were exclusively His own, the motives that prompted them, the spirit in which they were endured, and the general principle involved in His whole work – self-sacrifice for the good of others – furnish our most perfect and beautiful model; and so all Scripture relating to these is for our instruction; and since the duty of forbearance, the strong with the weak, requires ‘patience,’ and this again needs ‘comfort,’ all those Scriptures which tell of patience and consolation, particularly of the patience of Christ, and of the consolation which sustained Him under it, are our appointed and appropriate nutriment, ministering to us ‘hope’ of that blessed day when these shall no more be needed.” See on Rom_4:25, Note 7. (For the same connection between “patience and hope” see on Rom_12:12, and see on 1Th_1:3).” From the JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY
“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Romans 11:29 (KJB)
In chapters 9 – 11 of Romans the apostle Paul has spoken of his nation of people from which he was born, the Hebrews. They have been a people whose eyes have been blinded to the truth of who Jesus is. Even the great apostle was blinded to that truth until the Lord Jesus Himself put him face down on the ground on his way to Damascus to bring back Christians for trial and death (Acts 9).
Now, there are many who tell us that God is finished with the Jewish people. Reading this verse alone (11:29) should be ample evidence that God does not go back on His promises. If not read the whole of chapter 11. If that does not suit your appetite then read chapters nine through eleven thoroughly. If you are still not satisfied read the Old Testament through.
The Promises of God to Israel are irrevocable. They will not be recalled; because God does not recall His promises.
God will finish His work with Israel when He has taken the Church to her reward (“…the fulness of the Gentiles be come in”).
The Christian should be able to rejoice in the fact of this irrevocable promise of God. Knowing this gives us the assurance that what He has began in us He is able to complete as well (Philippians 1:6).
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is an irrevocable promise of God, that whosoever believes on Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life.
“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, ‘In Isaac shall thy seed be called.’
That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.” Romans 9:6-9 (KJB)
Abraham had a son by Hagar, Ishmael (Genesis 16); but he was not God’s promised son. The promise was that Sarah would have a son. Many people do not realize it but Abraham had many other sons too through another wife by the name of Keturah (Genesis 25:1-6); so just because you may be born of the stock of Abraham does not make you a child of God.
You become a child of God through the Son of Promise. Isaac was a child born of faith to a man 100 years of age, and a woman of 90 years of age. God promised them a son. They had a son in God’s time; not theirs.
The Son of Promise through which one becomes a child of God is the Son of God Himself who born into this world as any other child, yet not just any other child – He is the Son of God. He came for one purpose, and that purpose was to glorify His Father; and He would do that by giving Himself as the perfect Lamb of God on a cross to die for the sins of the world.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God the Son died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again fulfilling all the Father’s will for His life. He is the Son of Promise. He is the way for anyone to become a child of God; by grace through faith call on His name. His name is Jesus.
“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.
“Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Romans 4:23-25 (KJB)
For our understanding of the word impute –
“IMPU’TED, pp. Charged to the account of; attributed; ascribed.” WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN ENGLISH (1828)
Abraham believed God, and it was accounted (or imputed) to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3). The salvation of Adam’s race has never been any different than it is today.
For the people of the Old Testament period of time imputation of righteousness was on credit waiting for the coming of the Messiah to die for the sins of the people, having all our sins imputed onto Him; while on those who will believe He imputes His righteousness.
For those who believe today it is a debt that has already been paid. All our sins and trespasses were laid on Him, He died for our sins, was buried, and as the Scripture above says, “…was raised again for our justification”.
Being declared “Just” and “Righteous” by God is His work of grace; and that comes only by way of the cross of Jesus Christ.
“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:1-4 (KJB)
These are without excuse because they are able to make judgments of others. Why does the religious, moralist think they shall escape the judgment of God? (v.3). They will not. There are three things mentioned in these verses about our gracious God.
1. His goodness;
2. His forbearance; which is His tolerance of us;
3. His longsuffering.
His longsuffering is patience. Patience = the duration which God demonstrates His goodness and forbearance for long periods of time. He deliberately shows us patience even when we think we are so moral that He has nothing to judge us for.
Without the grace of God through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ we all are guilty before God. We are condemned sinners; transgressors of His law, guilty, and condemned. Turn to Jesus and live, or continue in death.
“Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feedingplace of the young lions, where the lion, the old lion, walked, and the lion’s whelp, and none made them afraid?” Nahum 2:11 (KJB)
Nineveh was the city to which God called Jonah to go about 100 years previous to Nahum’s prophecy. God sending Jonah, though a reluctant prophet, was God in His grace and mercy reaching out to a lost and condemned people.
Nineveh was a fierce people. At the time of Jonah God numbers the city with 120 thousand souls too young to know their left from their right hand (Jonah 4:11). That would be young children, babies. Yet, the whole city from the least to the greatest of the people repented and turned to the LORD due to Jonah’s preaching (Jonah 3:5).
Now a hundred years later they have returned to their old ways, against the LORD, and against the people of GOD.
Who are these “Lions of Nineveh?” The lion is a feared creature of the field, and the jungle. The roar of the old male is a fearful thing to hear to its prey, yet we have these “lions” in fear. Why? Because the LORD is about to show up in His wrath against the whole city. The lions are the king, the other rulers, and the young ones coming up in leadership.
The most fearful thing that people of all places, countries, cities, and provinces is that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31). It is by God’s grace we can fall into the hands of the loving Creator, God, Savior, and King Jesus Christ. He took the curse that was ours, dying on the cross, was buried, and He rose again; and He forever lives and reigns.
Call on His name, and He will deliver you from the bondage of sin and shame.
“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, ‘I pray Thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest Thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech Thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.’ ” Jonah 4:1-3 (KJB)
It do not know, and yet I do know; I believe God was displeased with Jonah’s attitude; and he had to be disciplined. I am not sure by the end of the chapter and short book that Jonah had learned about mercy and grace.
The prophet Jonah was a patriot to the nation of Israel. It was the godly nation. It was the nation of God’s people. Here he is angry because God had mercy on a heathen people.
Let us who are saved by the grace of God through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; the only begotten Son of God; was buried, and He rose from the grave, always remember that God desires the whole world to know that He is the LORD God. That is stated again and again through out Scripture.
Let us rejoice that enemies of God and our faith become our brethren, and love the Lord just as we do. We too, were once enemies of God, and the cross of Christ (Romans 5:8-10).
Rejoice every time a soul is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, who is Jesus Christ.
“And My people are bent to backsliding from Me: though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt Him.” Hosea 11:7 (KJB)
The prophet is speaking of the people of Israel. Their hearts were set on turning from the Lord GOD. Yet, God in His great mercy and grace was set on redeeming them.
He called prophets who would teach them, deliver them, and warn them of the path of rejection and rebellion they were walking, living in.
I must be honest with you, that for me, and I believe every Christian; one of the easiest things for us to do is to go our own way. To worship God, and Him alone takes a devoted, undivided heart for God, and His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.
That is why it is a necessity to be a faithful student of the word of God – the Bible. We must be people who see it as our necessary diet for daily strength. When we get in His Word, and it through the Holy Spirit gets into us God makes us a different and powerful person for the glory of the Lord.
Father, turn Your backsliden people back to You. May we all turn our eyes upon Jesus Christ, His death on the cross for our sins, His burial carrying away all our sin, our shame, and condemnation, and His resurrection; and knowing that He lives is evidence that we too shall live with Him forever.
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12 (KJB)
Well I am back. I never really went anywhere; just felt I needed to take a break from this blog, and focus on some other things.
The following is from a former post back in May of 2013. It is just a portion of that dealing with verse 12 of Hosea 10.
“The “Fallow ground” of verse twelve is land that had previously been plowed, but now left unused. God’s Word and His Spirit is the plow that is needed to break up the soil of a hard heart (See Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23). Hard hearts cannot yield crops of righteousness and mercy.
It is a prominent theme in Hosea that the children of Israel will reap exactly what they have sown. It is a law of God’s created order to reap what we have sown – and that, no matter the timeline, culture or society which we may live.
Hosea gives us three steps to heal the land:
- Break up your fallow ground (v. 12);
- Put God’s Word in your heart – “sow with a view of righteousness” (NAS v. 12);
- “Reap in accordance with kindness (NAS) referring to the breaking of their hard hearts through repentance and sowing the seed of God’s Word in their lives.
God gives Israel every opportunity to repent. It is God’s desire then to cleanse them, and make them a vessel of His grace. Judgment would come.” From BROKEN PIECES of May 04, 2013
There is a very relevant need for Christians of 2019 to realize the seeds we are sowing. We are in the time of year where in the agricultural world there is harvesting going on. That does not happen by accident. The farmers sow seeds to bring in a harvest, and when God blesses with good soil conditions, and rainfall these men and women have a great harvest when the time of harvest comes.
They sow seeds of what they desire to harvest. They desire to reap a harvest like the seed they have sown; and they will not reap any other type seed.
There is a real life lesson for us in this and it is found in the apostle Paul’s letter to the Church of Galatia…
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:7-8
The only fruit worth the harvest is the fruit we bear because of Jesus Christ through His death, burial, and bodily resurrection. We can only do that through faith in Him; faith that works; not for salvation, but because of salvation by grace.
“I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 24:14 (KJB)
From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible on Ezekiel 24:14…
“I the Lord have spoken it; it shall come to pass,…. What God has said shall be accomplished; his word shall not return void and empty, or be without effect:
and I will do it; being God omnipotent and unchangeable:
I will not go back; from his word, or the thing threatened and denounced; nothing should prevail upon him to act such a part:
neither will I spare; show any mercy or compassion, or abate of the punishment due:
neither will I repent; or change the course and method of Providence; but abide by the decree gone forth, and the sentence pronounced, and thoroughly execute it; a heap of words ascertaining the truth of what is predicted:
according to thy ways and according to thy doings shall they judge thee, saith the Lord God; that is, the Chaldeans shall judge and condemn thee, and execute my judgments on thee in a just and righteous manner, as thy evil ways and works deserve.”
It seems the Christian of 2019 wants to live on the promises of God from the Old Testament; but we tend to forget about those promises or warnings of judgment for neglecting His word, and turning from Him. Every word God has spoken will be done.
“Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
‘Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, and say, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; ‘Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee in thy blood, ‘Live;’ yea, I said unto thee in thy blood, ‘Live.’ ” Ezekiel 16:1-6 (KJB)
Ezekiel’s word from God for Israel is that “You were found by Me in a state of death, and dying. No one else took pity on you. There is no other god who found you, and gave you life. I said unto you, ‘Live’ and gave you My grace and mercy.”
The condition of every man, woman, boy, or girl who has ever been born is death. Apart from the grace of God, and the blood of the Lamb of God, who is Jesus Christ there is only death for all.
The only Man who ever lived without sin died for us all, that we might have life through His name. His name is Jesus.
May we not flaunt His grace through licentious, debaucherous, hate filled living which comes from death.
Paul the apostle tells us, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and he also tells us that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
The Lord GOD through faith in Jesus Christ is the only One who gives life. Call on His name.
“Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me. And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
‘Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face. Should I be enquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; that I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from Me through their idols.’ ” Ezekiel 14:1-5 (KJB)
In the United States of America we love our cars, our houses, our freedoms, and just about anything else including sports and education. We far too often give more attention to those things than we do to the One who created us; and who has provided our eternal salvation.
Remember Ezekiel, and those “elders of Israel” who came to him were in Babylon; captives of Nebuchadnezzar. These men were coming to ask the prophet to seek God for them, but God knew their hearts.
“Should I be enquired of at all by them?” Did you catch that question from the LORD? That gets me to thinking of what prayers God will hear.
“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17
The broken heart is the one who realizes there is no help, no hope, no Savior but in the Lord. The contrite one is is one who is physically and mentally and spiritually collapsed. These are the sacrifices; the prayers God will hear.
The one’s who come to God in the pretense of worship, with feigned words and empty acts of reverence will not be heard.
Remember this. God knows your heart, and your mind. There is nothing about you that is a secret to Him.
Turn to the One [Jesus Christ] who died for your sins. Turn to the One who died on the cross, was buried and He rose again. Come to Him with a broken, contrite, and surrendering heart.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.” Jeremiah 17:9-11 (KJB)
Let me get right to the point. There is no male or female who is without a wicked heart, until that heart has been changed through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the perfect, sinless, Son of God; the only One who did not have a wicked heart.
Apart from the grace of God displayed on the cross that wicked heart can still make an appearance if we stray for walking with the LORD.
The part of these verses that caught my attention this morning was verse 11 dealing with the partridge; apparently a bird that could have been known for taking eggs of another bird, sitting on them, an leaving them at the first sign of trouble.
The wicked heart of Adam’s kind steals from others, and is shown to be a fool in his end.
God knows your heart. You may think you do. When you have seen some evil, wicked thing; you may have thought, or even said out loud, “I would never do anything like that”. That wicked heart you do not believe you have can show up suddenly, and openly, then the whole world around you will see. It is, in fact, your wicked heart that would lead you to think, and/or say such a thing.
O you of Adam kind will you give your heart, your soul, your mind to Jesus Christ? Do so today.
“I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6 (KJB)
This is a prophecy of the trial, pain, beating, the suffering of the sinless Son of God as He gave Himself as the propitiation for our sins. A prophecy given to the prophet Isaiah around 700 years before Jesus was even born in the manger.
From Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse six…
“smiters — with scourges and with the open hand (Isa_52:14; Mar_14:65). Literally fulfilled (Mat_27:26; Mat_26:27; Luk_18:33). To “pluck the hair” is the highest insult that can be offered an Oriental (2Sa_10:4; Lam_3:30). “I gave” implies the voluntary nature of His sufferings; His example corresponds to His precept (Mat_5:39).
spitting — To spit in another’s presence is an insult in the East, much more on one; most of all in the face (Job_30:10; Mat_27:30; Luk_18:32).” From the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary
O, come to Jesus Christ who loved us so much He gave Himself to redeem us to the Father God in Glory.
“Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD God of Israel. At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel. And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.” Isaiah 17:6-8 (KJB)
God has spoken of the judgment upon Damascus; and also Ephraim (the northern kingdom also called Israel), and Syria. The word of this text is to Judah.
Christians can, and need to learn much from the discipline of God upon His people of the Old Testament. One is that He will not allow His children to continue living in sin without some form of discipline, even judgment of our sin, to turn our hearts back to Him. Remember what the writer of Hebrews has written,
“…If you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards (or illegitimate), and not sons” Hebrews 12:8
Commentary for Isaiah 17:6-8…
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse 6 – 8…
“in it — that is, in the land of Israel.
two or three … in the top — A few poor inhabitants shall be left in Israel, like the two or three olive berries left on the topmost boughs, which it is not worth while taking the trouble to try to reach.”
Verse 7 – “look to his Maker — instead of trusting in their fortresses – (Isa_17:3; Mic_7:7).”
Verse 8 – “groves — A symbolical tree is often found in Assyrian inscriptions, representing the hosts of heaven (“Saba”), answering to Ashteroth or Astarte, the queen of heaven, as Baal or Bel is the king. Hence the expression, “image of the grove,” is explained (2Ki_21:7).
images — literally, “images to the sun,” that is, to Baal, who answers to the sun, as Astarte to the hosts of heaven (2Ki_23:5; Job_31:26).”
Look to your Maker today. He is the One who died on the cross for you, was buried, and He rose again. He is the soon returning King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God, God the Living Son.
“…Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:13-18 (KJB)
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake…” Philippians 1:29 (KJB)
A major automotive company has a commercial of a new medium size truck. In that commercial they show people doing many different things to show how the race of Adam puts himself through a lot of suffering, and all for the fun and adventure of it.
People go to gyms every day of the week to “work out” for the purpose of “staying in shape”, getting in shape, and to be physically fit. They do this then they have aches, and pains, and have even been overheard saying, “I have to go to the gym today.” Some run, many walk pushing themselves to their limit. They suffer with a goal in mind.
We often think nothing of suffering to gain our intended goal; but did you guess that; or did you know that suffering for Jesus Christ and His gospel is a gift from Him…
“…It is given in the behalf of Christ… to suffer for His sake…”
No one enjoys suffering. I am recovering right now from a whole day spent yesterday helping two of my sons put in laminate flooring in our house. We did two rooms. I am grateful to the men for actually doing it; I merely helped supplying the planks, doing saw work, etc. We got it done. The outcome is wonderful.
We could say that the outcome of our suffering for the name of Christ is marvelous, wonderful, and magnificent. When we suffer for the sake of Christ, He is glorified.
I cannot say that I have ever suffered too much for Christ. We do have brothers and sisters in Christ in countries like some of the nations of Africa, India, even Saudi Arabia, and many more. Hang on brethren in those nations. Continue in faith believing not only in Jesus Christ, but also in suffering for Him.
Lord Jesus, I pray that I too will be faithful in times of suffering for Your name. Amen.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJB)
Gold, silver, precious stones, or metals; is that what I write of today? There is a treasure so great that it is greater than ourselves. It is greater than houses or lands. It is even greater than family or a multitude of friends.
I write of the presence, the power, the grace, and knowledge of God in our lives. Our greatest treasure is knowing the All-Powerful, All-present, and All-Knowing One who has created all things, and is greater than the universe itself; and that He is Immutable, and that He knows those who are His.
Our treasure is where our hearts and minds dwell; for Jesus said,
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21
I will finish this by leaving with you the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown on 2 Corinthians 4:7…
“Lest any should say, How then is it that we continue to enjoy such unspeakable glory in a mortal body? Paul replies, this very fact is one of the most marvelous proofs of God’s power, that an earthen vessel could bear such splendor and keep such a treasure” [Chrysostom, Homilies, 8.496, A]. The treasure or “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” The fragile “earthen vessel” is the body, the “outward man” (2Co_4:16; compare 2Co_4:10), liable to afflictions and death. So the light in Gideon’s pitchers, the type (Jdg_7:16-20, Jdg_7:22). The ancients often kept their treasures in jars or vessels of earthenware. “There are earthen vessels which yet may be clean; whereas a golden vessel may be filthy” [Bengel].
that the excellency of the power, etc. — that the power of the ministry (the Holy Spirit), in respect to its surpassing “excellency,” exhibited in winning souls (1Co_2:4) and in sustaining us ministers, might be ascribed solely to God, we being weak as earthen vessels. God often allows the vessel to be chipped and broken, that the excellency of the treasure contained, and of the power which that treasure has, may be all His (2Co_4:10, 2Co_4:11; Joh_3:30).
may be of God … not of us — rather, as Greek, “may be God’s (may be seen and be thankfully [2Co_4:15] acknowledged to belong to God), and not (to come) from us.” The power not merely comes from God, but belongs to Him continually, and is to be ascribed to him.Him continually, and is to be ascribed to him.”
The Great Treasure is to have this treasure in these flesh and blood bodies, and know that He has saved us, He has redeemed us, and thought this body is decaying He is being glorified in and through us.
Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem us unto the Father, was buried, and He rose again. Will you believe this? Turn from your sins and to Jesus.
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (KJB)
The following is the exposition of these two verses by Alexander MacLaren titled “Strong and Loving”…
There is a singular contrast between the first four of these exhortations and the last. The former ring sharp and short like pistol-shots; the last is of gentler mould. The former sound like the word of command shouted from an officer along the ranks; and there is a military metaphor running all through them. The foe threatens to advance; let the guards keep their eyes open. He comes nearer; prepare for the charge, stand firm in your ranks. The battle is joined; ‘quit you like men’-strike a man’s stroke-’be strong.’
And then all the apparatus of warfare is put away out of sight, and the captain’s word of command is softened into the Christian teacher’s exhortation: ‘Let all your deeds be done in charity.’ For love is better than fighting, and is stronger than swords. And yet, although there is a contrast here, there is also a sequence and connection. No doubt these exhortations, which are Paul’s last word to that Corinthian Church on whom he had lavished in turn the treasures of his manifold eloquence, indignation, argumentation, and tenderness, reflected the deficiencies of the people to whom he was speaking. They were schismatic and factious to the very core, and so they needed the exhortation to be left last in their ears, as it were, that everything should be done in love. They were ill-grounded in regard to the very fundamental doctrines of the faith, as all Paul’s argumentation about the resurrection proves, and so they needed to be bidden to ‘stand fast in the faith.’ Their slothful carelessness as to the discipline of the Christian life, and their consequent feebleness of grasp of the Christian verities, made them loose-braced and weak in all respects, and incapacitated them for vigorous warfare. Thus, we see a picture in these injunctions of the sort of community that Paul had to deal with in Corinth, which yet he called a Church of saints, and for which he loved and laboured. Let me then run over and try to bring out the importance and mutual connection of what I may call this drill-book for the Christian warfare, which is the Christian life.
‘Watch ye.’ That means one of two things certainly, probably both-Keep awake, and keep your eyes open. Our Lord used the same metaphor, you remember, very frequently, but with a special significance. On His lips it generally referred to the attitude of expectation of His coming in judgment. Paul uses sometimes the figure with the same application, but here, distinctly, it has another. As I said, there is the military idea underlying it. What will become of an army if the sentries go to sleep? And what chance will a Christian man have of doing his devoir against his enemy, unless he keeps himself awake, and keeps himself alert? Watchfulness, in the sense of always having eyes open for the possible rush down upon us of temptation and evil, is no small part of the discipline and the duty of the Christian life. One part of that watchfulness consists in exercising a very rigid and a very constant and comprehensive scrutiny of our motives. For there is no way by which evil creeps upon us so unobserved, as when it slips in at the back door of a specious motive. Many a man contents himself with the avoidance of actual evil actions, and lets any kind of motives come in and out of his mind unexamined. It is all right to look after our doings, but ‘as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ The good or the evil of anything that I do is determined wholly by the motive with which I do it. And we are a great deal too apt to palm off deceptions on ourselves to make sure that our motives are right, unless we give them a very careful and minute scrutiny. One side of this watchfulness, then, is a habitual inspection of our motives and reasons for action. ‘What am I doing this for?’ is a question that would stop dead an enormous proportion of our activity, as if you had turned the steam off from an engine. If you will use a very fine sieve through which to strain your motives, you will go a long way to keeping your actions right. We should establish a rigid examination for applicants for entrance, and make quite sure that each that presents itself is not a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Make them all bring out their passports. Let every vessel that comes into your harbour remain isolated from all communication with the shore, until the health officer has been on board and given a clean bill. ‘Watch ye,’ for yonder, away in the dark, in the shadow of the trees, the black masses of the enemy are gathered, and a midnight attack is but too likely to bring a bloody awakening to a camp full of sleepers.
My text goes on to bring the enemy nearer and nearer and nearer. ‘Watch ye’-and if, not unnoticed, they come down on you, ‘stand fast in the faith.’ There will be no keeping our ranks, or keeping our feet-or at least, it is not nearly so likely that there will be-unless there has been the preceding watchfulness. If the first command has not been obeyed, there is small chance of the second’s being so. If there has not been any watchfulness, it is not at all likely that there will be much steadfastness. Just as with a man going along a crowded pavement, a little touch from a passer-by will throw him off his balance, whereas if he had known it was coming, and had adjusted his poise rightly, he would have stood against thrice as violent a shock, so, in order that we may stand fast, we must watch. A sudden assault will be a great deal less formidable when it is a foreseen assault.
‘Stand fast in the faith.’ I take it that this does not mean ‘the thing that we believe,’ which use of the word ‘faith’ is the ecclesiastical, but not the New Testament meaning. In Scripture, faith means not the body of truths that we believe, but the act of believing them. This further command tells us that, in addition to our watchfulness, and as the basis of our steadfastness, confidence in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ will enable us to keep our feet whatever comes against us, and to hold our ground, whoever may assault us.
But remember that it is not because I have faith that I stand fast, but because of that in which I have faith. My feet may be well shod-and it used to be said that a soldier’s shoes were of as much importance in the battle as his musket-my feet may be well shod, but if they are not well planted upon firm ground I never shall be able to stand the collision of the foe. So then, it is not my grasp of the blessed truth, God in Christ my Friend and Helper, but it is that truth which I grasp at, that makes me strong. Or, to put it into other words, it is the foothold, and not the foot that holds it, that ensures our standing firm. Only there is no steadfastness communicated to us from the source of all stability, except by way of our faith, which brings Christ into us. ‘Watch ye; stand fast in the faith.’
The next two words of command are very closely connected, though not quite identical. ‘Quit you like men.’ Play a man’s part in the battle; strike with all the force of your muscles. But the Apostle adds, ‘be strong.’ You cannot play a man’s part unless you are. ‘Be strong’-the original would rather bear ‘become strong.’ What is the use of telling men to ‘be strong’ ? It is a waste of words, in nine cases out of ten, to say to a weak man, ‘Pluck up your courage, and show strength.’ But the Apostle uses a very uncommon word here, at least uncommon in the New Testament, and another place where he uses it will throw light upon what he means: ‘Strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.’ Then is it so vain a mockery to tell a poor, weak creature like me to become strong, when you can point me to the source of all strength, in that ‘Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind’ ? We have only to take our weakness there to have it stiffened into strength; as people put bits of wood into what are called ‘petrifying wells’ which infiltrate into them mineral particles, that do not turn the wood into stone, but make the wood as strong as stone. So my manhood, with all its weakness, may have filtered into it divine strength, which will brace me for all needful duty, and make me ‘more than conqueror through Him that loved us.’ Then, it is not mockery and cruelty, vanity and surplusage to preach ‘Quit you like men; be strong, and be a man’; because if we will observe the plain and not hard conditions, strength will come to us according to our day, in fulfilment of the great promises: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee; and My strength is made perfect in weakness.’
And now we have done with the fighting words of command, and come to the gentler exhortation: ‘Let all your things be done in charity.’
That was a hard lesson for these Corinthians who were splitting themselves into factions and sects, and tearing each other’s eyes out in their partisanship for various Christian teachers. But the advice has a much wider application than to the suppression of squabbles in Christian communities. It is the sum of all commandments of the Christian life, if you will take love in its widest sense, in the sense, that is, in which it is always used in Paul’s writings. We cut it into two halves, and think of it as sometimes meaning love to God, and sometimes love to man. The two are inseparably inter-penetrated in the New Testament writings; and so we have to interpret this supreme commandment in the whole breadth and meaning of that great word Love. And then it just comes to this, that love is the victor in all the Christian warfare. If we love God, at any given moment, consciously having our affection engaged with Him, and our heart going out to Him, do you think that any evil or temptation would have power over us? Should we not see them as they are, to be devils in disguise? In the proportion in which I love God I conquer all sin. And at the moment in which that great, sweet, all-satisfying light floods into my soul, I see through the hollowness and the shams, and detect the ugliness and the filth of the things that otherwise would be temptations. If you desire to be conquerors in the Christian fight, remember that the true way of conquest is, as another Apostle says, ‘Keep yourselves in the love of God.’ ‘Let all your things be done in charity.’
And, further, how beautifully the Apostle here puts the great truth that we are all apt to forget, that the strongest type of human character is the gentlest and most loving, and that the mighty man is not the man of intellectual or material force, such as the world idolises, but the man who is much because he loves much. If we would come to supreme beauty of Christian character, there must be inseparably manifested in our lives, and lived in our hearts, strength and love, might and gentleness. That is the perfect man, and that was the union which was set before us, in the highest form, in the ‘Strong Son of God, Immortal Love,’ whom we call our Saviour, and whom we are bound to follow. His soldiers conquer as the Captain of their salvation has conquered, when watchfulness and steadfastness and courage and strength are all baptized in love and perfected thereby.” From Alexander MacLaren’s Exposition of Holy Scripture
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” Romans 16:17-20 (KJB)
This is not dealing with the “love” the world professes; love and accept everybody, approving of all that they do – you know the verse most like to use, “Judge not, lest you be judged”.
The verses from Romans are dealing with division caused by those who are in ministry for power, popularity, and profit. Love confronts evil of division; it never tolerates it; especially within the Body of Christ.
Some thoughts on this matter:
*There are people in some churches, or even who seek out churches where they can cause division; by teaching false doctrines, by the error of Balaam, ie., causing others to fall, etc..
*The one who teaches the truth of God’s Word and the gospel, and who labors for God and the people of God, and the ministry is not the source of division. The ones who come in trying to bring in heresies, and division are truly the dividers
* Unwillingness to be taught, false teaching, hatred envy, going outside God’s guidelines causes division in the local Church. An unwillingness to cooperate with godly leadership; a malicious, slanderous spirit and tongue are sources of division. The loving leader will expose, and correct those who are trouble makers within the Church.
*Do that which is good in the local Church. Be wise toward evil, its way and its harm.
*Grace is the element that sets Christianity apart from world religions.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. Romans 1:22-23 (KJB)
Who are these Professors of Wisdom? They are the one’s who had the knowledge of God; that He is the Creator of all things, the seen and the unseen, the man and the woman; yet have chosen to reject Him (v. 21).
Who are these Professors of Wisdom? They are numerous in today’s world. they are the one’s who say that their form of “Science” is the truth, when science only means “to know”. We can only know from the evidence before us; that which God has given us.
Who are these Professors of Wisdom? It is those who choose to make God in their own image, and deny what the Scripture says of Him. When we deny the holiness, righteousness, and wrath of God and only see Him as a God of love, mercy, and grace we make Him into the God we want Him to be. This is not according to Scripture.
We take God in the entirety of what Scripture says of His character. We see God as holy, righteous, just, and judging sin; He is loving, merciful, and full of grace. By the way, I have not exhausted the words for His character. Search the Scriptures and you will see them.
God in His great mercy, love, and grace gave us the gift of His Son Jesus. Why? Because we were ones in that state of heart and mind. Jesus Christ took upon Himself all the sins of the world, and died a cruel, tortured death; He was buried, and He rose again. He is our only hope.
“And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.'” John 19:14-15 (KJB)
In this scene Jesus is being tried for accused sins and transgressions; not actual charges, but false charges brought about by those who hated God, His word, and His Son.
Jesus is the King of the Jews. It was those who should have known the Scripture best which denied Him, were jealous of His successes, His power, and His followers. One of the chief priest even said that “One must die for our nation” (John 11:49-51).
Here stood the Man, the God-Man whose character, power, miracles, grace, mercy, holiness, and justness was clearly displayed by His life. He lived solely to do the business of His Father (Luke 2:49), from the early age of 12 years. He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, cleansed lepers, raised the dead. Hey, He defied the elements by walking on water, speaking to storms and they ceased. He cast out demons.
How could these religious “Leaders” be so blind? Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?”. Their sad, and hateful words say it all about their dark hearts… “We have no king but Caesar?”
When citizens of a nation which is enslaved by another nation chooses the king of the occupying nation over their own king; especially like these do they are denying God. These Jewish leaders should have been looking for the coming of their Messiah; maybe they were, but were not expecting this Jesus; this suffering Servant of God; willing to die for the sins of the world.
For the Christian of 2019 are you aware of; are you alert to the words of your King? Jesus is your King. He has called us unto Himself, turning from sin to His righteousness, to live in holiness. Are we saying the same thing those religious leaders of His day said when we choose to go our own way, do our own thing? Are we not saying, “I have no king but Caesar/myself?”
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, ‘If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31-32 (KJB)
“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47
Verses 31 and 32 were spoken to seems to have believed in Him, but they could not see themselves as being in bondage; even while they as a people were enslaved to the Roman empire.
The words of verse 47 seems to show that they were not hearing God’s word to the point that Jesus was teaching. To “Continue” in His word is to live, to abide in it; making it every bit a part of one’s life. Many of these leaders of religion could quote the whole law, but did not rest in neither trust their God and only Savior.
They were in fact still bound by the law which condemns them, and shows them their is only one hope. That hope is found by means of a single sacrifice for sin.
That single sacrifice for sin was given when Jesus went to the cross and died for the sins of the world.
Do you want to be free, truly free? Then, the only way is through the death, burial, and resurrection of the God-Man Christ Jesus. He forever lives. This is God’s grace. Grace is not free. It was paid for with the life of God’s own Son.
Now, what are you going to do with that information?
“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?’” Luke 23:27-31 (KJB)
This event and Jesus’s words are only spoken here in Luke’s account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has spoken similar words in teaching the disciples in Matthew 24 – 25, and in portions of Mark, and John; but not directly as a warning for those who are following behind Him as He goes to His death.
These “Daughters of Jerusalem” are not of those who love Him, and have spent time with Him for verse 49 of this same chapter says,
“And all His acquaintance, and the women that followed Him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.” v. 49
These were women of the city of Jerusalem who had heard of His mighty works, His authority in God’s words, and His deeds; but had never committed to Him. Jesus warns them of a time coming in the not distant future for them that would cause them to cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, because the judgment was so severe.
If you would read the prophet Isaiah, and chapter 2 you would see some of these same words from the word of God spoken by the prophet.
Just to explain the “green tree” and the “dry”…. Jesus is the green tree and they were killing Him, He is alive. The dry was Israel or Jerusalem; a worse time was coming for them.
Why are these words important for the Christian of 2019? Do they have any importance for the unbelieving of 2019?
To answer the first question for the Christian it should be a wakeup call for us to be diligent in living for Christ, reading the Scriptures [Holy Bible], applying its teachings to our lives, praying for daily filling of the Spirit of God, and being a vibrant witness for Jesus to a lost and dying world. Remember the words of Jesus,
“…Lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.” Luke 21:28
To answer the second, it is important for your life, your eternal soul that you heed the words of Jesus. Those women of Jerusalem had heard of Jesus, maybe even recognized Him as a good man, great teacher and prophet, but were experiencing great emotion about His death; but yet did not believe Him. Maybe one reading this feels badly concerning the illegal, manufactured, lying judgments brought against Jesus, and the sentence given this guiltless Man; yet, you have not called on His name for salvation. Will you do so today?
Jesus went on to the cross, laid Himself down on it, and died for our sins. He was taken down from the cross dead, and was buried in a borrowed tomb. Three days later He came out of that grave alive. You can trust Him. Believe Him. Receive Him.
“And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ‘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, 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 18:9-14 (KJB)
Two men are mentioned who went to pray. That is not to say that it could be members of the feminine sex as well, because there are those two kinds of women as well.
One full of themselves; and the other repentant and humble, realizing they are in need of God’s bountiful grace and mercy.
The Pharisee knew the law, and exalted himself in his own purity, and talk about judging others unjustly; this Pharisee certainly did. He saw himself as better than the publican. The Pharisee being a “great” religious leader.
The publican (not Republican), was a despised, and hated tax collector. He gathered taxes from his own people (the Hebrews), and many counted them as traitors to Israel. Matthew was a tax collector when Jesus called him to follow, and he left his table and followed Jesus (Matthew 9:9; 10:3).
It is the heart that our Lord sees. Repentance, humility, before the throne of God is what He desires.
God does not hear neither grant request from an arrogant and prideful heart. It was the hated, despised tax collector who went home justified by God.
The apostle Paul writing on the matter of Justification said,,,
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2
It is by God’s own declaration of justification that we are made just; not our own. Who then are made just? Those who come before the cross of Jesus Christ, lost, lonely, sinful, broken, and ashamed, and plead for His mercy, love, and grace.
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12 (KJB)
I am going to let the exposition of John Gill give you an explanation of the above verse.
From John Gills Exposition of the Bible…
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now,…. From the time that he began to preach, to the then present time,
the kingdom of heaven, the Gospel, and the ministry of it, first by John, then by Christ and his apostles,
suffereth violence; or “comes with force”, and power upon the souls of men: it was attended with the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; as appeared by its being the means of quickening persons that were dead in trespasses and sins; enlightening the blind; causing the deaf to hear; melting and softening hearts of stone; making, of enemies, friends to God and Christ; turning men from the power of Satan unto God; setting at liberty such as were slaves and vassals to their own corruptions; and, in a word, in being the power of God unto salvation, to many souls: and which was further seen, in the manner it did all this; suddenly, secretly, powerfully, and effectually, and yet not against the wills of men; and by such instruments as the apostles were, poor, sinful, mortal men; despised by the world, and attended with opposition and persecution: or “suffers violence”; which may be understood, either of the vast numbers, that pressed and crowded to hear the Gospel preached: great numbers followed John, when he first began to preach, and baptize: still a greater number followed Christ, some to hear his doctrine, others to see his miracles, others to behold his person, others out of selfish ends; and some behaved rudely and indecently: or of the ardour and fervency of spirit, which appeared in some, to the ministry of John and Christ, and in their desires and expectations of the kingdom of the Messiah: or of the Gospel’s suffering violence by the persecutions of its enemies opposing and contradicting it, reproaching it, intimidating the professors of it, and seeking to take away the life of Christ, the great subject of it:
and the violent take it by force; meaning either publicans, and harlots, and Gentile sinners; who might be thought to be a sort of intruders: or rather the same persons, as being powerfully wrought upon under the ministry of the Gospel; who were under violent apprehensions of wrath and vengeance, of their lost and undone state and condition by nature; were violently in love with Christ, and eagerly desirous of salvation by him, and communion with him; and had their affections set upon the things of another world: these having the Gospel preached to them, which is a declaration of God’s love to sinners, a proclamation of peace and pardon, and a publication of righteousness and life by Christ, they greedily catched at it, and embraced it.
Saved by grace, through faith, that works (Ephesians 2:8-10).
“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;
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into different temptations; knowing that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all liberally, and reproaches not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: but the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withers the grass, and the flower of it falls, and the grace of the fashion of it perishes: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
Blessed, the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted of God:’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts 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 brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and overflowing of evil, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholds himself, and goes his way, and immediately forgets what manner of man he was. But who ever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, ‘To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, to keep himself unspotted from the world.'” James 1:1-27
REFERENCES: 4:8; Deuteronomy 32:26; Acts 2:5; 13:26; 1 Kings 3:9; Mark 11:24; Job 5:17; 14:2; Numbers 23:19; Jeremiah 2:3; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 15:2; Matthew 7:21; Romans 2:13; Luke 6:47; Isaiah 1:16; John 8:31-32
“Let brotherly love continue.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your way of life be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’ So that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.’
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their way of life.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
Be not carried about with different and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied with them.” Hebrews 13:1-9
REFERENCES: Genesis 18:3; 28:15; Matthew 25:36; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 22:14; Joshua 1:5; Romans 14:17; Colossians 2:4
“Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer, and to beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith, which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by you, brother.
Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin you that which is convenient, yet for love’s sake I rather beseech, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I beseech you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: which in time past was to you unprofitable, but now profitable to you and to me: whom I have sent again: you therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: whom I would have retained with me, that in your stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: but without your mind would I do nothing; that your benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that you should receive him for ever; not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto you, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
If you count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If he has wronged you, or owes anything, put that on my account; I Paul have written with mine own hand, I will repay, because I do not say to you, how you owe unto me even your own self besides. Yea, brother, let me have joy of you in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord. Having confidence in your obedience I wrote unto you, knowing that you will also do more than I say. But immediately prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.
There, you salute Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow laborers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Philemon 1:1-25
REFERENCES: Ephesians 1:2; 3:1; 2 Corinthians 7:13; 9:7; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 16:17; Colossians 4:9; Genesis 45:5
“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is right, because that your faith grows exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other abounds; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure: a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer: seeing a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 4:16; Revelation 6:10; 14:13; Psalm 68:35; 79:6; Deuteronomy 33:2; 2 Peter 3:7; 1 Peter 1:7
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly in Christ: according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; in Him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will: that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom you also, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set at His own right hand in the heavenlies, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and has put all under His feet, and gave Him the head over all to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all. Ephesians 1:1-23
REFERENCES: Romans 1:7; Galatians 1:3; Exodus 33:19; Matthew 3:17; 1 Peter 1:18; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 3:22; Isaiah 46:10; James 1:18; John 1:17; Luke 21:28; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:4
“It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he sees me or he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me,
‘My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
REFERENCES: Acts 14:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 10:8; 11:30; Luke 23:43; Deuteronomy 3:23; Romans 5:3
“And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, ‘Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.'” Acts 15:6-11 (KJB)
“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him.’
Philip saith unto Him, ‘Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou, ‘Shew us the Father?’ Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.’” John 14:6-11 (KJB)
Jesus is the only way to God, His presence, and His throne. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus anyone who calls on the name of Jesus for mercy and grace will find help in the time of need; at the throne of grace.
Philip has said to Jesus, “Show us the Father…” and Jesus said, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father.” When a believer sees Jesus for who He is we see the Father. We stand before the very presence of GOD. In Christ Jesus we are seated in heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 1:1-5).
Through Christ Jesus we can know God the Father. Hear the words of the Master. “I and My Father are One.” (John 10:30).
“And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power.” Luke 4:31-32 (KJB)
Speaking of Jesus of course; He spoke amazing things. His doctrine [teaching] was with power and authority which is probably a redundancy, but for strength and clarity it is repeated.
I pray that I will grow so in love with the Lord Jesus and His word and walk [live] in the fullness of His Spirit [the Holy Spirit] that I too will have that authority. I do not desire it for myself, but for His name’s sake; and that others might come to know Him as their own personal Lord and Savior. I pray this for every pastor, every man and woman of God, and every youth who has given their lives to Him.
Let us grow in the Spirit and power of Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.