The Baptist and Jesus

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets,
‘Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached, saying, ‘There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying,
‘Thou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ ” Mark 1:1-11 (KJB)

Why Are You Troubled?

“And He said unto them, ‘Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.’ ” Luke 24:38-39 (KJB)

Here we are on the Eve of Christmas and there are many of us who are troubled. Most of our trouble is dealing with material things; such as financial debt, did I get the right gift for some loved one; or could be even troubled because of inability financially to buy gifts for loved ones.

The trouble of which Jesus addresses above is concerning His appearance to His followers whom He has just appeared to in this room. The door was locked, and He came in. Keep in mind all of the life of Jesus was about fulfilling the word and will of His Father, purchase our salvation, our redemption by His death on the cross, be buried – not just to prove His death, but to fulfill the type of the scapegoat of Leviticus 16:20-28. When that portion of the Law was fulfilled He rose from the grave alive with “flesh and bone”.

The disciples, followers were troubled because they thought they were seeing a ghost, a spirit, but Jesus quells that by telling them to look at His hands and His feet. His hands still had the scars from the nails of the crucifixion; His feet as well. Then He confirmed His body by speaking of being flesh and bone. He even invites them to touch Him… “Handle Me”

Why are we troubled? We are not mindful enough of the presence of the Lord Jesus, the bodily resurrected Lord Jesus alive, and seated at the right hand of the Father; and that He has given us the earnest of His Holy Spirit abiding in all those who are His (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5); awaiting that day when we shall be glorified with Him.

The One was born of a virgin, lay in the manger in Bethlehem, grew to be the Man that would give His life as the sacrifice for all our sin. He was buried, and He rose from the dead. He died for you and me. Why? Because He loves us so much He gave.

Child of God; if you are troubled about things in this world, your family situation, your finances, your health, or your eternal condition, then look to the One who has showed Himself alive forevermore.

This Scripture Is Fulfilled

“And He began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Luke 4:21 (KJB)

Jesus had been given the opportunity to read the Scriptures in synagogue that day, and He opened to the prophet Isaiah and read:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19

If you will take note; Jesus stopped before completing the reading of the whole prophecy. Why? It would be because He had come to fulfill only this portion for this time; the other would come later.

The following is more of Isaiah’s prophecy from Isaiah 61. If  you want to read it in it entirety pick up your Bible and read it.  Jesus is coming again.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me; because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,…”
“…and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified…” Isaiah 61:1-3ff

We can be sure that since He came to fulfill the first portion of this prophecy; He will definitely return to fulfill the latter part of it as well.

GOD IN THREE PERSONS

“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22 (KJB)

The belief in one God is standard among those who believe in God among Christians, Jews, and Muslims; and there could be others. We begin to part in our beliefs when we as Christians believe that God is revealed in Scriptures as three in One God.

I am not going to try and explain it. It is only fully understood by God Himself, but the answer is the Scripture clearly shows us in the text above, the presence of the Triune Godhead (Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9), at work on the day of our Lord’s baptism.

Jesus the Son of God, God the Son coming up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descending, the voice of the Father speaking, “Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased.”

You can believe what the Bible says, or you can choose not to believe, but there it is.

The words of the blessed old Hymn came to my mind as I thought of these Scripture verses this morning. The following are verses 1 and 4 of Holy, Holy, Holy:

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy; Merciful and Mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, Holy, Holy; Merciful and Mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

 

Evidence Given Us From God

“This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.  For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.  And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son.

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:6-12 (KJB)

From the Geneva Bible Translation Notes for 1 John 5:6…

“(8) This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; (9) not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the (g) Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

(8) He proves the excellency of Christ, in whom only all things are given us by six witnesses, three heavenly, and three earthly, who wholly and completely agree together. The heavenly witnesses are, the Father who sent the Son, the Word itself, which became flesh, and the Holy Spirit. The earthly witnesses are water, (that is our sanctification) blood, (that is, our justification) the Spirit, (that is, acknowledging of God the Father in Christ by faith) through the testimony of the Holy Spirit. (9) He warns us not to separate water from blood (that is sanctification from justification, or righteousness, begun from righteousness imputed) for we do not stand on sanctification, but so far as it is a witness of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us: and although this imputation of Christ’s righteousness is never separated from sanctification, yet it is the only matter of our salvation.

(g) Our spirit which is the third witness, testifies that the holy Sprit is truth, that is to say, that that is true which he tells us, that is, that we are the sons of God.” Geneva Bible Translation Notes

 

A Joy of the Heart

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (KJB).

Paul was a thankful man.  It gave his heart joy to see people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ through the  preaching, and teaching of the word of God.  Remember what he preached was from the Old Testament. That was what they had. Some of the New was out there, but not readily available.

These people had been people bound in darkness. The Apostle had come to them with the good news of the gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ – and they had heard, and believed.  Lives had been changed.  There was true repentance; a complete turn around, a change in their lives.

All the talking and powers of persuasion are not always effective at changing someone’s mind or heart.  With the gospel it is only the power of the Holy Spirit who can reveal the truth of the gospel, the power of the gospel, and the light of the glory of Jesus Christ; that He is the Son of God, God the Son.

Will you be the joy of someone’s heart today?  Has the Spirit of God revealed to you the truth of who Jesus is?  Turn to Him, away from sin, believe Him, and be saved.

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 Best Gifts

But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. 1Corinthians 12:31
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (KJB)

The Corinthian Church was laden with Christians who were competing for who they considered the best preacher, teacher, and the best spiritual gifts.  One gift in particular was one that was causing the greatest stir.

Corinth was a troubled Church.  The apostle Paul sent this letter, because he was not able to come and see them.  The purpose of the letter is to address and endeavor to correct the problems of jealousy, envy, immoral conduct, and selfishness.

The apostle had dealt with the issue of tongues.  It was a sign gift, probably for the unbelieving Jews to see the Old Testament fulfillment, but they would not understand (Isaiah 28:11; 1 Corinthians 14:22).  Now that I have dealt with that let us consider the best gifts.

The best gifts are those that edifies the Church.  They build up, they encourage, they motivate the Church; and lead the Church in building up the name of Jesus Christ.

The greatest thing to have is love; it is the “more excellent way” as Paul describes godly love in chapter 13.  Many people, Christian and non-christian knows of 1 Corinthians 13, but know little or nothing of the chapters preceding it, or the three chapters following.

Spiritual gifts are good, even great; but if you do not have love you are empty.  The love spoken of by the apostle is not the feel  good love many think of.  It is love that acts when a wrong is witnessed, or a need is seen as one drives by a neighbor’s home, and you stop to help.  It is the love that acts without thought of recovering the cost of the effort.

There is also faith and hope and love, Paul says, “but the greatest of these is love”.

Father in Heaven fill me with Your Spirit so that I might love like You do.  That I might love my neighbor as I love myself.

Longing for the Redemption of the Body

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”  Romans 8:22-23  (KJB)

Only a believer, a born again Christian who is knowledgeable of Jesus Christ, our sin, and the word of God could begin to understand these verses.

The soul of the Christian man, or woman is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are made new in spirit by the power of the Holy Spirit who comes to live within us, changing us, making us more and more into the image of Christ Jesus.

With our soul redeemed, and the presence of the Holy Spirit; Christ in us; then we have the hope of eternal life for our bodies as well.  Even when these bodies die, the believer’s body will be raised a new body (1 Corinthians 15:35-57).

With the sin of man came also chaos in the rest of the created order. Earthquakes, storms, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tidal waves, savage animals; you get the picture.  Sickness, and disease came on mankind.  The worst part of sin was there was no more fellowship with God; no relationship with God.

God sent His Son Jesus to redeem man to Himself.  The soul of man, through faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross, is redeemed unto God.  Our body in the meanwhile is longing for the redemption of the body.  That will be complete when our bodies are made new at the resurrection of the Just.  Every Christian has a great desire for this; looks forward to it; longs in groans even for it.  How about you?

Verse 22 even tells us that “the whole creation groans” and is groaning for redemption. One day all of creation will be made new because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

Let me close with commentary from the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now — If for man’s sake alone the earth was cursed, it cannot surprise us that it should share in his recovery. And if so, to represent it as sympathizing with man’s miseries, and as looking forward to his complete redemption as the period of its own emancipation from its present sin-blighted condition, is a beautiful thought, and in harmony with the general teaching of Scripture on the subject. (See on 2Pe_3:13)

Those Christians

“Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.  Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.  For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”  Acts 11:22-26  (KJB)

The word of the Lord, the gospel of Jesus Christ was spreading, growing, lives of Jews and Gentiles alike were being changed by the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16).  Some changes were not good for the one’s preaching the gospel; because sometimes hearts grow hard against the gospel, and their lives are darkened with their minds and souls.

When the word of God and the gospel is preached there is always a response.  Some will just say “No! Not now”,  Some will give positive acceptance to Christ with a “Yes! I believe”; then there are those who are angered by it and set out to destroy the messenger.  You will also have the passives who will do nothing with what they hear.

Barnabas was sent to go as far as Antioch.  He saw the grace of God and was glad; that is that the grace of God was working wherever he went on the way.  He must have arrived in Antioch and realized there was so much work to do that he needed help; so he went to find Saul to come and help.

Saul joined with Barnabas and they taught much of the people there.  Some where in the ministry of these two men of God the name “Christian” came to be what they called a follower of Jesus Christ.  Whether it was a derogatory term or just a name that seemed to fit is probably not even needed to know.  The name “Christian” has stuck, and it is a good name. It simply means “Follower of Christ”.

Yes I am a follower of Christ.  I want to pattern my life, my actions, my words, my heart, and my soul to His way.  I am one of those Christians who believes that when you meet Jesus your life is changed.  I am one of those Christians whose whole life is affected by the Spirit of Christ in me.  I still commit sin, but I am ashamed of my sin, repent and He forgives me.

The Christian life is one to live inside the church house, the family house, on the city square, the traffic jammed highways and freeways, grocery check out lines, theme park lines, the voting booth, and as a politician too.

May God give me; may God give us all the strength and boldness to be like Jesus Christ.  Yes, I am one of Those Christians.

Neither Barren Nor Unfruitful

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth.
Yes, I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.  Moreover I will endeavor that you may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the Excellent Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; to which you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake moved by the Holy Spirit.”  2 Peter 2:1-21

REFERENCES: 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:4; Hebrews 12:10; 1 Peter 3:7; 5:12; Galatians 6:10; 1 John 1:7; 4:21; Ephesians 5:26; Romans 14:15; Psalm 119:105; Romans 12:6; Matthew 17:1-8

The Mediator’s Own Blood

“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.  And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service; but into the second the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and the errors of the people: the Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;  only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed until the time of reformation.
But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  And for this cause He is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.  For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.  For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives.
Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.  For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the testament which God has given unto you.’  Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission; therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world has He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:1-28

REFERENCES: 3:1; 5:3; 6:19; 8:5; 9:7; Exodus 16:33; 24:5, 8; 25:8, 18; 26:31; 29:12; 30:10; Leviticus 14:4; 16:2; Numbers 28:3; Daniel 9:24; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:14; Romans 3:25; 1 Timothy 2:5; Galations 3:15; Genesis 3:19; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 26:28; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 2:24

Grace in Dispute

“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)

The Good News For All Who Will Hear

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, ‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is Lord of all:) that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God 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.’
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. Acts 10:34-44

Our Hearts Burn Within Us

“And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?’
And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, ‘The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.’ And they told what things were done in the way, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread.” Luke 24:31-35  (KJB)

When we are first introduced to these two from Emmaus we are told, “But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him” (v. 16).  On the way the resurrected Lord spoke the Scriptures of Moses and the Prophets, and taught them of the Christ.  It was not until He broke bread with them in their home that their eyes were opened.

Jesus disappears from their sight.  They get up from their table, and return to Jerusalem to find the others, and share with them about their personal encounter with Jesus.

As I read this, this morning, it was fresh and new to me like I was reading it for the first time.  Though nothing new was revealed to me, but it was like the Lord Jesus was very very near to me, and He always is, but like a refresher filling of the Spirit. He is near.  He is always near.

He is risen just as He said.  Remember the Scriptures.  They tell us of Him.  That is when our hearts burn within us.  Our hearts burn, yearning, longing, desiring to see our Lord, and to hear Him speak to us.  Is your heart burning for Him?  The fuel for the fire is the Scriptures.

He Preached With Authority

“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.

God of Our Hope

The God of Hope

Romans 15:1-33

The chapter begins with summing up of the previous teaching of considering others in our demeanor, actions, and deportment. We need to act in accordance with what will glorify our Lord, and keep our brother or sister in Christ from falling.

Paul even means that we go much further than tolerating a brother’s weakness, but rather do all possible to strengthen them in faith. Carry their load. Carry them when necessary.

We are to see to it that we with one mind and one mouth glorify God together, “even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Having the heart, mind, and mouth like unto that of Jesus Himself. Being likeminded together, with Him (vv. 1-7).

Paul was obviously a believer in God’s promises. He understood that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promises of God, and their confirmation.

1. The Confirmation of the Promises came by Jesus Christ (v. 8). The Old Testament is full of promises. Promises of the coming One. A Deliverer. The Messiah. A Savior who will save the people from their sins.

In Jesus’s birth He confirmed Scripture. Born a Jew. Born in Bethlehem. Called a Nazarene. He fulfilled the law.

He was a healer; healing the lame, and the blind. Lepers were freed from their sores, the dead were raised to life. He walked on the water, stilled storms, fed multitudes, and cast our demons

Only few followed Him, and still chose to go to the cross and die for our sins as the suffering servant (Isaiah 53).

2. Jesus Confirmed the Promises by Opening the Gate for all people. Paul reminds his readers that God’s plan has always been to include all people no matter what their race or nationality or culture (vv. 9-13).

“Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” Psalms 18:49 (KJV) v. 9.

(v. 10) “Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.” Deut 32:43 (KJV).

(v. 11) “O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.” Psalms 117:1 (KJV).

(v. 12) “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” and “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:1, 10 (KJV)

All our hope and power is from the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

3. Something in which to Boast (vv. 14-21). When is it right to boast? We can boast of the faith, work, patience, boldness, and goodness that others do through Christ Jesus.

We can boast of the goodness of God, and what He has done in us, and through us.

To boast of anything concerning Jesus’s mighty deeds is a good boast.

4. Through Prayer for the Sovereign Leadership of the Lord in our lives and other’s lives we can grow in trusting The God of Hope (vv. 22-33). The following was the desire of Paul’s heart, and his requests from the Roman Christians.

To be delivered from the unbelieving Jews in Jerusalem;

That his work and ministry for Jerusalem would be accepted by the believers;

That he would be able to visit them – at Rome – in the will of God and be “refreshed” = renewing joy, peace and rest; with them.

God is the sovereign One. He directs the affairs of all people in all lands. His will will be done despite our arrogant, self-styled, self-willed disobedience.

The Light That Shines

The Light That Shines

Matthew 4:1-25

Jesus never declared Himself to be King. It is decreed by scripture that there would be a King to always sit upon the throne of David. Jesus is often called the Son of David, and that means He is the One to sit on the throne.

As the king He is the Light. As the Light He even calls us the Light. We will see in the fourteenth through the sixteenth verses that Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the Light that would break the darkness of Zabulon and Nephthalim. That Light shines still today around the world in the lives of His people.

I. THE LIGHT IS VICTORIOUS OVER THE DARKNESS IN HIS TEMPTATIONS (vv. 1-11)

A. Following His baptism Jesus was “led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (v. 1)

1. This was a testing of His being, and to strengthen Him in Spirit.
2. His faith must be tested in order to be obedient to the Father — “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” Heb. 5:8 (KJV).

B. The first temptation was concerning His desire and, ours to Survive.

1. “If you are the Son of God”
2. “Turn these stones to bread”
3. Survival sometimes tempts us to take shortcuts around what is right, good, godly and best.
4. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”

C. The second temptation was concerning His desire, ours to be Secure.

1. The devil’s temptation was one that would require Jesus to prove arrogance and stupidity, not security.
2. When one has genuine security it does not have to be proven to anyone – if you must prove it you don’t have it.
3. To prove His Security at this point and this manner would be to tempt God. “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”.
4. Jesus was so secure that He trusted that His Father would take Him all the way to fulfill His destiny, and that destiny as a Man was to die on the cross.

D. The final temptation was concerning His desire, and ours to be successful.

1. Worship me, and I will give you the kingdoms of the world (Ps. 2:8).
2. Jesus would one day have dominion of the kingdoms of the world, but not this way; Jesus knew there was a debt to pay, the sin debt which was owed to the Father.
3. Worshipping God, the Creator, is the only means of success.

II. THE LIGHT SHINES WHERE JESUS DWELLS (vv. 12-17)

A. Jesus as the Light continued the message of the Baptist – the message of repentance.
B. Notice that Jesus departed from Nazareth, and came to Capernaum to dwell.

1. This was His place of residence; his ministry headquarters now. (John 6:16-24).
2. One thing that always stands out in the Gospel of Matthew is that Jesus fulfilled Scripture.

C. Jesus wants His Light to shine in and through you.

III. THE LIGHT SHINES IN AND THROUGH HIS FOLLOWERS/DISCIPLES (vv. 18-22).

A. Jesus walks along the seashore seeking men to follow Him.

1. The sea often represents the realm of mankind, and their doomed, despairing, drowning, dying cries for help.
2. That sea of man is still here and we are all still needy, by when we have come to the light we can go with Jesus.

B. Jesus takes Simon and Andrew first, then He calls James and John.

1. These were all fisherman, and He finds them all about the task of their work.
2. They can understand the call “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”.

C. The call still rings through the word and the hearts of His disciples, “Come follow Me”.

IV. THE LIGHT SHINES AS EVIDENCE OF HIS HONOR, GLORY AND POWER, THROUGH HIS TEACHING, PREACHING AND HEALING (vv. 23-25).

A. These are the credentials of the Divine King – the Son of God.

1. In His teaching He taught with supreme authority (7:29).
2. In His preaching He announced the kingdom of heaven.
3. In His healing and miracles it was divine clarification of His identity and authority.

B. The greatest healing and miracle Jesus came to do was to give Light to the darkness of human hearts.

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

C. Why do we follow Him?

1. Is it solely because of what He can do for us?
2. Is it solely because of what He has done for us?
3. Is it because He loved us and made it possible that we love Him?
4. Is it because of who He is?

SUMMARY –

I. IN HIS LIGHT THERE IS VICTORY OVER EVERY TEMPTATION.
II. THE LIGHT OF JESUS SHINES WHERE HE DWELLS; LET HIM SHINE IN AND THROUGH YOU.
III. HAVE YOU HEARD THE CALL OF JESUS – “COME FOLLOW ME”?
IV. HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED HIS LOVE, THAT ENABLES YOU TO LOVE HIM, BY EXPERIENCE OF HIS GRACE AND SALVATION?
V. CONFESS YOUR SIN, REPENT OF SIN, BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED, WAS BURIED, AND ROSE AGAIN.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Satisfaction of Imperfection

Satisfaction Of Imperfection

Colossians 3:5-11

Why the title, “THE SATISFACTION OF IMPERFECTION”? It just seems that people who profess themselves to be Christian, are more and more giving excuse for their rude, and sometimes lewd behavior, as “Well! Nobody’s perfect”. That is an acclamation of THE SATISFACTION OF IMPERFECTION.

To excuse our sins as just being normal for being human, rather than seeing them as an offense to God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; and harm to our fellowship with them is wrapped in hardcore unbelief, or pure ignorance. Paul has told these things are dead with Christ on the cross, however, in our present text we are told to put them to death.

The Gnostics had a problem with the flesh and the Spirit of God being together, so they basically just said, “Live how you want in the body. You will be okay”, but Paul tells us to put these evil practices to death. “Mortify” means to put to death. This requires “The Set Mind” which we looked at in verses 1 – 4. Paul believed we were able, by the power of the Holy Spirit within to put these evils to death; put them out of our lives.

It is true that we are not perfect people, and as humans, yes, we will and do sin. That is no excuse for offending the holiness of God which is within us. As has been stated before, “We do not have to sin”. If we have been saved by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and His resurrection, then we do not have to sin. We have been made free. That is the greatest independence that has ever been given to mankind, if we would only receive it, and its blessings.

OUTLINE –

I. PUT TO DEATH THOSE THINGS WHICH SO EASILY DRAG US INTO SIN (v. 5a).
II. A LIST OF SINS CONCERNING PERVERTED LOVE THAT LEADS TO EVIL MOTIVES (v. 5b).
III. THESE ARE SINS OF THE CHILDREN OF UNBELIEF AND WILL COME UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD; WE USE TO LIVE THERE, BUT ARE DELIVERED (vv. 6-7).
IV. A LIST OF HATE SINS WHICH LEAD TO AN EVIL ACT (v. 8).
V. EACH ONE PUTS ON THE ‘NEW MAN’ AND PROCEEDS TO HOLINESS AND A SATISFACTION FOR HOLINESS (vv. 9-11).

I. PUT TO DEATH THOSE THINGS WHICH SO EASILY DRAG US INTO SIN (v. 5a).

A. We, as Christians, have been given a gift; the gift to say no to sin, and not let sin reign in our lives.

“ Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” Rom. 6:12-14
B. It is up to the Christian to live with the Set Mind to overcome sin, and not let it have dominion.

1. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ has freed us from sins death and bondage, but the mind of the Christian must work out the victory in living it.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” Philp. 2:12-13.

II. A LIST OF SINS CONCERNING PERVERTED LOVE THAT LEADS TO EVIL MOTIVES (v. 5b).

A. All of these sins are acts related to sexual immorality.

1. Fornication – The Greek word for this is ‘porneia’ from which we have the word pornography, and has to do with harlotry, idolatry, adultery and incest.
2. Uncleanness – physically or morally impure.

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:  All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” Jesus (Mark 7:21-23).
3. Inordinate affection – unregulated, disorderly passion and lust.

“That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;   Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God” 1 Thes. 4:4-5.
4. Evil concupiscence – depraved, forbidden, injurious desire or lust.
5. Covetousness – Greediness, avarice = excessive desire for wealth; REMEMBER THE TENTH COMMANDMENT, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s” Ex. 20:17.

B. All of these things are connected to covetousness which is “Idolatry”.

1. Whatever consumes your mind, and your time is your god; that is what you worship.
2. Our lives are God’s – Let’s worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

III. THESE ARE SINS OF THE CHILDREN OF UNBELIEF AND WILL COME UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD; WE USE TO LIVE THERE, BUT ARE DELIVERED (vv. 6-7).

A. The afore mentioned sins are sins of the children of the devil.
B. The “Wrath of God” will come on all those who are living in them.
C. In the past we were also ‘children of the devil’ walking like them, but no longer are ‘in them’

IV. A LIST OF HATE SINS WHICH LEAD TO AN EVIL ACT (v. 8).

A. Hate in the mind leads to hateful actions which lead to all kinds of deeds, and their consequences.

1.. Anger – is desire with a violent passion.

a. Anger is an emotion that is given us by God, but what we do with it and how we use it is another thing.

b. In this verse it has meaning of negative actions; uncontrolled, destructive actions.

2. Wrath – fierce passion and indignation.
3. Malice – to actively seek the harm of another whether by words or by actions.
4. Blasphemy – evil speaking, railing against God – ‘Railing’ is to mock, babble, joke; to complain angrily.
5. Filthy communication – cursing, swearing, filthy joking, taking the name of the Lord in vain, etc..

B. The Christian is to “Put off” these things.

1. These things should be like clothing that smells terribly bad, or on fire; we get them off really quick.
2. Since we are told to do this we must believe that we can do it.

V. EACH ONE PUTS ON THE ‘NEW MAN’ AND PROCEEDS TO HOLINESS AND A SATISFACTION FOR HOLINESS (vv. 9-11).

A. Having ‘put off’ the “Old man” and “Put on the new man” we are to practice holiness and have the satisfaction of perfection.
B. We are renewed daily as we read, study and apply the Word of God to our lives, and daily living

1. We are renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created us.
2. We progressively become more like Jesus – there is growth; though much of the time we may not be able to see it ourselves.

C. The ethnic background does not matter; we are equal before God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

No Condemnation

NO CONDEMNATION
Romans 8:1-9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

I Trust in You LORD

Unto Thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You: let me not be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me.”  Psalm 25:1-2 (KJB)

This is the 25th day of writing through the Psalms again.  I know that I missed yesterday, yet this is still the 25th day of Psalms. I appreciate all who take your valuable time to come here to read these studies, and I do pray that when you do God blesses you abundantly with His Spirit to enlighten your understanding of God, His Word, and His Spirit; and His work in you.

The Psalmist (David) is declaring the LORD as his God.  He also declares, “I trust in You.”  That ought always to be the heart of the believer who has given heart, soul, body, and mind to Him.

When we give our life to God through His Son Jesus Christ there is no room for shame, but praise, love, joy, peace, and a life filled with the love of God in us for others, and mostly for Him who loved us that He gave His only Son to die on the cross for our sins.

Do we have enemies?  Most definitely.  Those who hate God, and work against His word, His will, and His way are His enemies; they are my enemies and if you love God; they are your enemies as well.  We have a promise from God that has been given to all God’s people down through the ages…

“So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.”  Isaiah 59:19

 

Sealed Servants of God

For some, there will be a problem in this chapter. We see two distinct groups of saints. A number of one hundred and forty-four thousand is given for the first group and, “…A great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues…” (v. 9) of the other group. Of the latter group, it is said that they, “…stood before the throne, and before the Lamb…”. These seem to be martyrs who died for their faith during the early part of the tribulation.

One thing we can be assured of is that, no matter what happens on earth, God always has a remnant of people who are faithful to His cause.

It almost seems that chapter seven gives us a break from the words of judgment, and shows us His grace and the destination for all who have faith in Christ Jesus. Chapters fourteen and twenty-one, seem to have like purpose. There are going to be some who read this now, “There were no divisions by chapters and verses in the original writings.” That I would agree with but does it not seem very directed that every seven chapters (and some in between) provides a “rest spot”?

“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”  Revelation 7:1-3 (KJV)

“In contrast to chapter 6 which seems to give the chronological sequence of major events of the great tribulation, chapter 7 does not advance the narrative, but directs attention to two major groups of saints in the tribulation” JOHN F. WALVOORD.

Some have tried to use verse 1 as proof of the Bible’s lack of scientific accuracy, implying that “Four corners” would mean the earth is square. It is only speaking of the four points of the compass – North, East, West, and South. There you have the “Four corners” of a somewhat round earth. The winds of the earth are mysterious. Who controls the wind? Is it merely cool and hot, or is there a divine hand in it? All of creation is in God’s hand. Wind can aid the sailor at sea, and it can help a car get better gas mileage or worse, depending on the direction you are traveling. I am not sure what the significance of the angels “holding the four winds of the earth” is. Unless it might be to give a reprieve from judgment for a few moments. A time to stop, think, contemplate, all that is happening, and is about to happen. It is for sure to give time to seal the 144,000 messengers of God and postpone judgment until they are sealed.

These verses give us clear evidence that the control of the wind is in the hand of God. SEE Matthew 24:31. It could almost seem that satanic forces are trying to use the wind to hinder the placing of the seal of protection upon the people of God.

This break, actually a parenthesis, in the judgments give us reason to contemplate the purposes of God. The purpose of the judgments is for sin to have its way and run its course to its end while God redeems a chosen people from sins bondage. Oliver B. Greene says this of chapter 7…

“Chapter 7 of Revelation is parenthetical. In this chapter we look away from the breaking of the seven seals, in order that the Spirit might enlighten us concerning the sealing of a chosen group of evangelists to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to the teeming millions who never heard the Gospel of the Grace of God. After the Rapture, these 144,000 will do what the Church should have done during the Dispensation of Grace. God has never been without a witness on the earth, and He never will be” From “The Revelation” commentary by Oliver B. Greene pp. 223 & 224.

These 144,000 messengers are to be sealed with the seal, “in their foreheads”. The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is sealed by the Holy Spirit “Until the day of redemption” (Ephesians1:13-14; 4:30). These messengers are untouchable until God’s work for them is finished.

We as the servant and child of God need to remember this:  The man and/or woman of God, in the will of God, is invincible until the work of God in us and through us is finished.

Passion and Love for Christ

“And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:22-24 (KJV)

The apostle Paul was bound by his own spirit to go to Jerusalem to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to his people of Israel.  He had been chosen by God as the apostle to the Gentiles, but he still had a heart for Israel

My question is to myself.  Am I willing to go to my people willing to lose my life, for the sake of the gospel?  For the sake of Jesus Christ?  They are people who are perishing in their sins.  They too need Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  I cannot save them, but I can tell them the glorious news of God’s love through the cross of Jesus, His burial, and resurrection.

The passion of Jesus was the cross.  He had His eyes set on Jerusalem; and that means to go to the cross and die for the sins of the world, that those who will believe might have everlasting life.  He was willing to die that we might have a personal relationship with God.

Lord God, may my passion be to tell all I meet of the glorious Christ Jesus who died on the cross, was buried and rose again.  May I also tell them that same resurrected Jesus is coming again.

The Prisoner of the Lord

During Paul’s life as a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ he was beaten, and left for dead; he was whipped; he was shipwrecked; he suffered at the words of false brethren, and he endured it all for Christ sake.

My heart’s desire is that I could have that said of me.  Someone could say it, but would it be true?  It is true of Paul.  Everything that happened should be seen as the closing or opening of a door by the Lord as He directs our paths.  That is the way  Paul viewed things. He was truly a PRISONER OF THE LORD.

“And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle. And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” Acts 23:10-11 (KJV)

The prisoner of the Lord often encounters problems with the religious crowd.  The Sadducees, and the Pharisees were united against the apostle at first.  Then Paul realized their differences, he used that to proclaim the truth of the gospel of Christ (Acts 23:6).  At issue was the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If Jesus is alive then the religion that crucified Him is greatly in error.  One group did not believe in resurrection, or anything spiritual.  These religions who are stuck on religion, but not the truth completely miss out on Christ Jesus and the salvation that is available to all who will believe.

In verse 11 where the Lord speaks to Paul giving him assurance that he will go to Rome and be a witness of the resurrection of Jesus.  He receives a message for the Lord that he might be courageous.  It is also a message of commendation for ministry and the power of the Holy Spirit within him and upon him.  Can you imagine what this did for Paul’s confidence?  Wonders.

When people do not like the truth being spoken they will more often than not attack the one speaking it (vv. 12-22).  Get this in your heads:  The messenger is not the one making you the way you are.  The truth often hurts, and if the truth makes you angry then you are the problem.

These are some who hate the truth; no matter where it comes from.  They are blind to the providence, and sovereignty of God.  Enraged mobs are thoughtless and heartless.

Some things we can learn from chapter 23 of Acts:

  1. Most times God uses what some would call “Unapparent means”;
  2. God uses time, that seems wasted, as a time for ministry to others;
  3. God uses people to accomplish His ways.

The following are the persons He uses:

  • The government;
  • The rebellious;
  • Satan;
  • Willing servants.

Let us be willing to trust the Lord.  Trust Him in such a way that He will work in our lives changing us, then work through us to change the lives of others.  Every open door should be viewed as an opportunity provided by God unless by going through it you would be violating His Word, His Spirit, or your conscience.