Heart or Lip?

It is a sad thing when the heart of God’s people grow cold toward Him, His word, His ways, His Son Jesus, and His Spirit.  That was a very prominent thing in the land of Israel and Judah.  They had grown away from God.  Still maintaining their worship ritual, without  heart for God; giving Him only “Lip service”, but their hearts were far from Him.  It would do Christians of 2017 and beyond to hear the prophets of the Old Testament, because these words apply to all God’s people when it comes to our worship, and devotion to Him.  Now, hear the prophet Isaiah…

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? And who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? Isaiah 29:13-16 (KJV)

For Christians one of  the easiest things to do is stray.  Stray away from time with God, and you will begin straying away from fellowship with His people, and worshiping together.  You will stray away from prayer. When that happens you will get into sin, that you thought you would never be part of.  Then, the Lord does a work in your life; you might call it a trouble, trial, even a sorrow so deep it causes grief and pain of heart; God is getting your attention; asking the question, “Whom or what do you trust?”  Sometimes these trials may come when you are walking with God.  Maybe to check your faith.  Remember Job.

Those who pay “Lip service” with out any heart for God are those to whom Jesus spoke of…

Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23

I fear that there are far too many people who are boasting of a relationship with God that they do not have. You may be one.  You claim to be Christian, but you only pick up your Bible on the way out the door for worship or Bible study.  The rest of the week you give no thought to God, His Son or His word.  You live your life, your way, and stomp on all who get in your way.

By the work and grace of God, when you are God’s He will always bring you back to Himself.  To love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love your neighbor as yourself. None of us can love God except through the cross of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  He is the one who spoke those words in red above, and though not in red, He spoke through the prophet Isaiah the words of Isaiah.

If you call yourself “Christian”, then stop just giving Him “Lip service” and give Him your heart.  Jesus also said,,,

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45

What is in your heart?

 

Catch the Foxes Which Hinder a Good Marriage

Catch the Foxes

Song of Solomon 2:1-17,

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  Song of Songs 2:15 (KJV) Also see John 10:10

With there being deceptions and lies concerning marriage and love in our society and culture it is needful, even necessary for the Church of Jesus Christ, and every individual Christian to stand firm on God’s definition of Marriage, and His meaning of love.

It is my conviction that the Home and Marriage is the beginning or the end of a Nation or a society of people.  When marriages fail so will society and nations.  “As goes the home/marriage; so goes the nation.”

There are hindrances to a good marriage.  These can be the children, and the job, or career, school activities, failure to build your marriage and home upon the foundation of Christ and His word.

So what can be done to keep a marriage strong.  Let us look at four ideas from Solomon’s Song of Songs;

  1.   Be sure; even make it a habit to praise, and adore and admire one another verbally (vv. 1-3).
  2.   Be sure to make yourself accountable to one another, and to another; who is not of the opposite sex; so as to maintain a holy lifestyle (vv. 4-7).
  3.   Be sure to make time for one another… Have some alone time.. Go to the “clefts of the rock” and get away together (vv. 8-14)
  4.   Be sure that within marriage you have a sense of belonging… “I am my beloveds, and he is mine”
  5.   This is an addition to the original post… Make God the primary Person of your marriage.

You are not your own.  You are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20)

The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ must be the bedrock of your marriage and home.

I was running short on time this morning so I wanted to share this with you.

The Redeemer Who Lives

“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job 19:25-27 (KJV)

Job had been falsely charged by his friends. He also felt neglected, despised even by God; but Job still trusted the love, grace and mercy of God.

Are you beaten, battered, bruised, sick or diseased? Do you feel you have been forsaken by God, your family, your friends? Do you believe that no one cares? God does care. God does love you.

Even the righteous (those declared so by God Himself) suffer. Job is a great example of that; yet, Job’s faith went on trusting and believing in God.

Job believed that he was probably going to perish; was going to die; that his body would decay, and be eaten by the “skin worms”. Yet, he believed that his Redeemer lived, and that he would see Him stand upon the earth.

That Redeemer is none other than the One who died for the sins of mankind upon a cruel, old rugged cross, was buried, and arose bodily from the grave. He (Jesus Christ) will one day return to rule and reign as King of the earth from Jerusalem.

My Redeemer Lives….

Plead For Your Neighbor

“O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!” Job 16:21 (KJV)

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar had come to Job with good intentions. Their silence for those first seven days was more comforting, caring, and supportive than any of the words they spoke thereafter. Job even states in verse 2; “Miserable comforters are ye all.”

Job’s words in the text is as a man, or a woman could stand before God; like in a court; and plead for their friend or neighbor. Job’s thoughts were pleading for a reprieve from suffering, judgment, pain. If the shoe was on the other food, that is what Job would have done; if it were possible.

Can we make a plea to God in behalf of our friends, neighbors; even our enemies? If we can should we? The answer is yes on both counts.

Because of the wondrous grace of God through the cross of Jesus Christ we have access to the very throne and presence of God. Those who have come to God through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the priests of God; therefore we can come before Him with our pleading, supplications, prayers, and petitions.

We come before the court of our LORD, and plea for our neighbor’s salvation; their health which may be failing; their wealth; their family; and any other thing or need they may have. It should be a privilege, honor, and duty of love to do so. Even if your neighbor is an “Enemy” we still must pray, and plead for them.

Will You Live Again?

“If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.” Job 14:14-15 (KJV)

As I was reading Job 11 – 14 I found myself laughing. Laughing at the way Job uses sarcasm to rebuke his friends (12:2-3), and tells them that he would have been better off if they would have kept their mouths shut (13:4, 5, and 13).

Then I was brought to tears. Mostly tears of joy due to Job’s faith, as he states, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him”, and again in the above verses of our text.

It can be seen that he looks at the created order of things, and realizes that a tree can be cut down, and it sprouts again to life. Is it not amazing how God has built into the creation the hope of resurrection; living again. Job, may have very well been thinking that the tree had more hope than he did; but then, he states the above.

“All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” What change? The change of the resurrection of the body.

The whole created order of things is a testimony of God, and His promises to fulfill all His word.

The greatest hope ever given was when Jesus became our sin on the cross; was judged for our sin, put to death; and then bodily arose from the grave to show that the cross was the place of defeat for sin, death, hell, the grave, and the devil. The Courts of heaven, by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ rules today. By His resurrection there is a resurrection to life in His presence for all eternity.

A Prince Near to God

A Prince Near to GOD

Job 31:35-37

1.  Job has a longing to be heard in God’s court;
2.  Job is willing and does sign his petition to have the Almighty answer him;
3.  Job believes that if the Almighty has written a book, then he will be found guiltless of the charges against him;
4.  He would present himself as a prince near to GOD.

I.  HOW CAN JOB BE CONFIDENT OF HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS BEFORE GOD? (v. 35).

II. THE BOOK HAS BEEN WRITTEN AND THE HUMAN RACE, EVEN THE “RIGHTEOUS” ARE FOUND GUILTY (v. 35).

III.  WHEN GOD FINDS A MAN RIGHTEOUS WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO SHOW FORTH THE ONE WHO IS RIGHTEOUS – THERE IS A “CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS” (v. 36; 1:8; 2:3;  2 Timothy 4:8).

IV.  WHEN WE ARE DECLARED “RIGHTEOUS” BY GOD WE HAVE THE RIGHT, THE POWER (John 1:12) TO COME NEAR UNTO GOD AS A PRINCE AND/OR A SON(v. 37).

Summary –
i.  The only way of confidence of  righteousness before God is knowing that God has declared one righteous before Him;
ii.  Without the just righteousness of God we all stand guilty before sinless God;
iii.  God has declare many righteous, by grace, through the work of His Son Jesus Christ;
iv.  We have inherited all that belongs to Christ Jesus Himself (Romans 8:14-17).

-T.A.

The sermon points of a message preached at Carr Lane Baptist Church 07/31/11 by Tim A. Blankenship

How Should Any be Just with God?

How Should Any be Just with God?

Job 9:1-35

1.  The legalism of Bildad;
a.  This is the judgment of God (8:1-7);
b.  Look at the issues of past history (8:8-10);
c.  Look at the evidence of nature (8:11-22).

2.  Job’s questions;
a.  How can I be just/righteous with God? (v. 2)
b.  How can stand before God in debate? (v. 3)
c.  In chapter 10 he asks, “Why was I even born?”

I.  JOB’S CONCLUSION IS THAT DEBATING WITH GOD IS FUTILE (v. 3).

II.  THE GOD OF CREATION IS UNAPPROACHABLE BY MAN ALONE (vv.  4-15).

III.  BEFORE GOD EVERY MOUTH WILL BE STOPPED/EVERY MAN CONDEMNED AS A LIAR (vv. 16-21; Romans 3:4).

IV.  WITHOUT A REDEEMER WE ALL STAND GUILTY BEFORE GOD (vv. 22-31).

V.  JOB AND ALL MANKIND NEEDS A MEDIATOR BETWEEN OURSELVES AND GOD (vv. 32-35).

Application –

i.  Mankind in his pride, religion, moral goodness cannot stand before the just, righteous and holy GOD;
ii.  As far as we are concerned He is unapproachable, because of His purity; and our impurity;
iii.  All the accusations of mankind will be stopped and we shall be accounted as liars;
iv.  However, there is a redeemer; He too is just, righteous, and holy;  He is GOD; our “daysman” – Mediator;  His name is Jesus.

-TA.

This sermon was preached in the Sunday morning worship 07/24/11

Blessing In The Storms

As I sit and write this morning rain is coming down in our area.  Rain is a much needed item here in Southwest Missouri for hay, crops which are grown here, and for all our gardens.  Rain, in short, is a wonderful blessing.  However, there are times it may seem a bit like a curse upon us when we get what we may deem ” a little too much”.

We can see the rain as a blessing when the ground gets too dry, and especially after drought conditions have prevailed for several months.  I think we are in a drought condition spiritually.  I need some rain, and maybe even some storms to come into my life.  We all do; or we just dry up.

I think we need to hear what Job said to his wife when she told him, “Curse God, and die”.

“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.  But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”  Job 2:9-10 (KJV)

How would we know comforts if we did not know discomfort? How would we know pleasure, if we knew no pain? How would we know good, if we knew no evil?

God is working for the good of those who love Him; and for His own honor and glory.  Let’s rejoice in the storms and evil which comes our way.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Divine Architect

Ephesians 2:18-22

The chapter begins by the apostles reminder that we were “dead in trespasses and sins”, and gives us good reason for believing it so.  Even more does he remind us that we have been “quickened” or “made alive”, and delivered from the old course we were once walking.

We are also told of God’s rich, marvelous, wonderful and glorious grace and mercy due to His great love for us.  That we have been raised up with Christ to sit with Him in “heavenly places” (v. 6).  Then in verses 8-10 the good and  faithful words, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV).  It does not seem right, nor Biblical, nor even teaching if we do not include verse 10 in there with verses 8 and 9.

The Gentiles of Ephesus, and you and I who are not Jewish, are reminded that we were not or are not of the “common wealth of Israel”; we did not receive the oracles, the Word of God, nor have we ever had the presence of God previous to the birth of the Church.  We were once strangers, separated from any hope, but God sent His Son.  It was like a wall of separation, that now, “through the blood of Christ” are made near, and brought into the Family of God.

THE WALL IS TORN DOWN BY THE DEATH OF JESUS ON THE CROSS (vv. 18-19).  God raised up a nation of people who would follow Him, and be a light to other nations ( ).  The nation of Israel has not been faithful to the LORD’s calling, and were not an obedient people.  However, the LORD still used them to give us His Word; both the written oracles, and the Living Oracle [Jesus Christ].

It was and is the  will of God to bring together in the one body of Christ people from all nations, races, cultures.  With the people of Israel, through the call of Abraham from Ur, to go to a land he knew not of, with Sarah his wife, and to a land yet inhabited, but promised to his people in a future day; God promised to make of him a blessed nation.  God promised to him, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3); and we have with the oracles [Scriptures] which have been written for us. The Law, History, Poetry [Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Lamentations], and the Prophets (Major and Minor).

Where all seemed to be specifically for the Jew; now through the cross of Jesus Christ, there is access for all.  When Jesus died on the cross, the veil which separated the holy place in the Temple from the most Holy place was torn from top to bottom; signifying to us that the way was made by God Himself, into the very presence of the throne of God.

Those who come to God through Jesus (which is the exclusive way) become the “…Household of God”.  No longer strangers, no longer aliens, but brothers and sisters, with one Father.

THE DIVINE ARCHITECT’S FOUNDATION AND CORNERSTONE (v. 20).  Before there is a building there must of necessity be a foundation and a cornerstone.  Jesus Christ is that cornerstone.  It is the cornerstone which determines the size, the shape of buildings made of stone.

Hear what God says of this cornerstone:

“The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” (Psalm 118:22)

“Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation…” (Isaiah 28:16)

“For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11)

Actually before there was the “foundation of the apostles and prophets”, there was the cornerstone which is the beginning of the foundation.  The “Apostles and prophets” have spoken, and written the words of God for us to hear and read, applying them to life and heart that we through the power of the Holy Spirit, believing would be living stones, added to the “building” of this “household of God”.  Since the “Apostles and prophets” are the foundation, and this is dealing with Scriptures, then, there can be no more apostles and prophets.  They have already spoken and written what God has given us.  Let’s be more diligent by His Spirit to obey what we have received; instead of searching for something new which will most likely be deceptive, and seek to lead astray.

Hear what the apostle Peter has written:

“To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” 1 Peter 2:4-8 (KJV)

According to Peter’s inspired words we are, through faith in Jesus Christ, “living [lively] stones, are built up a spiritual house”.  That house is the “household of God”.  It can be called the “Family of God”.

THE DIVINE ARCHITECT FITS ALL WHO BELIEVE INTO THE “BUILDING” AS HE SEES FIT (v. 21).  It is only the Divine Architect who can “organize compactly” all those who are called to fit in just right for His glory.  A stone building designed correctly will have each stone in its proper place, fitting every niche, so that it will sit well with the one below it, beside it and over it.

Think of it this way.  Each part of this “household of God” is placed into this household in its proper time, proper place, and proper service.  It is Jesus Christ who determines this.  It is He who shapes and molds us for that fit that He needs, at that time He places us into His household.

WE HAVE BEEN DESIGNED TO BE THE PLACE OF GOD’S DWELLING ON EARTH (v. 22).  Everyone who is born again is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Together all born again believers are the Temple of God, giving Him even greater glory.

It is a sin against Him when we refuse to join together.  It shames His glory when we have the opportunity of gathering with brothers and sisters, and refuse to because of some carnal mindset, such as hurt feelings, something is not quite the way you like, envy,  jealousy, etc..  What shame.  Glorify God in your body and your bodily presence with the other saints in Christ gathered together for His glory.

Together we are strengthened.  Together we are encouraged.  Together we are empowered to resist sinful desire and temptation.  Together we can assault the gates of hell.  Together we can pray with authority and power.  Together we are the Body of Christ.

You are the place of God’s dwelling.  Let others rejoice with you by joining with other dwellings of God, becoming one with Him.  God does not have any “Only child”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Man and the Horses

THE MAN AND THE HORSES

“Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?” Zechariah 1:7-12 (KJV)

It seems that my view of these horses and the man among the myrtles is going to be a bit contrary to those who I would give the greater credit for their many more years of learning than myself. However, here is what I am seeing in Zechariah’s vision. An angel is speaking to the prophet, thus Zechariah calls him, “my lord”, as opposed to the “LORD” of verse seven and the following verses where Jehovah/YaHWeH is represented in the text. It does not seem clear to me that the Angel of the LORD is the one who has been riding on the “Red horse”.

It seems more clear that the rider on the “Red horse” is being held at bay by the man standing in the myrtles. Zechariah’s question as to ‘What are these?’, and the angel who was with him means to give him understanding. The man standing among the myrtles, does not seem to be on horseback, as do the others, and gives the answer, “These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth”. The walking ‘to and fro through the earth’ seems to me to be a clue as to their identity. This same phrase is used in the book of Job 1:7 and Job 2:2 where this is used speaking of the devil and the “sons of God”. There are similar horses mentioned in Revelation 6:1-8, and it has been said by some that the white horse rider of the Revelation is Christ, if He is seen as having already come the second time, or that He is visible only in His Church and that the Church will be victorious on the earth.

The myrtle tree is a lowly tree, and grows in the lowlands; the valleys, and hollows of the country. They could represent the lowliness of the nation of Israel. Here is the study note for “among the myrtle trees in the hollow. Myrtle trees wer associated with booth-making at the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev.23:33-44; Neh. 8:15) and with messianic blessing (cf. Is. 41:19; 55:13), and thereby possibly speak of restoration and blessing. Their location in the hollow has been thought to refer to a low place where such shrubs would flourish. Because of the lowliness (these shrubs would never exceed 8:ft. in height)commonness, fragrance (from white blossoms), and abundance in flourishing places, it is best to see these as representing Israel, God’s people. They are the lowly and yet enriched people. Their lowliness in thehollow could also refer to Israel’s current humiliation.” MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE, p.1340.

In the vision the prophet would be seeing that the devil had been a disciplining tool of God during the seventy years of judgment upon Judah. The red horse would be a symbol of blood shed; much blood has been shed during the battles and dispersion of the Hebrew people. The angel of the LORD is probably the Lord Jesus as a theophany – preincarnate manifestation. He is the One standing among the “myrtle trees”, but I do not notice Him on any of the horses.

These horseman could have been walking “to and fro throughout the earth” for the purpose of destruction of the Hebrews who had all been taken captive with the exception of a small remnant which Jeremiah followed into Egypt. With the rest of the earth at rest the angel of the LORD pleads with the LORD of hosts for mercy on all Judah, and mercy on Jerusalem since there has been seventy years of judgment.

It is not the horsemen who plead mercy. It is the angel of the LORD who pleads for mercy for all Judah and the city of Jerusalem. “…We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” 1 John 2:1; and “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 (NKJV), and while He pleads with His Father He holds the demon legions at bay. The Lord Jesus is the reason for mercy upon the whole world, and for grace for all who will call upon His name. It is because of the mercy of God that His wrath has not fallen on us all.

Jesus Christ is returning one day on a white horse, and that is according to the Revelation of Jesus Christ chapter 19:11-16; and at that point and time will deal with those who “dwell upon the earth”, ie., those whose hearts are on material things, have refused the Lord, His Word and His messengers, and believe that humanity has the answer for all that ills the earth. He will rule with a rod of iron, and there will be no wars, and the earth will have plenty after His restoration.

It is by the cross of Jesus that He entered that spiritual darkness, experiences the wrath of the Father, pays our sin debt, and defeats the devil and his demons. In which He also pleads mercy for His brethren who have endured seventy years of judgment starting in Babylon then on to Ahasuerus, and to Cyrus who gave the first authorization for the rebuilding of the temple.

-Tim A. Blankenship