The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 3:1)

No Love Like God’s Love 1

“Then said the LORD unto me, ‘Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.'” Hosea 3:1 (KJV)

The LORD again speaks to Hosea concerning his wife.

Hosea received command from God.  “Hosea, love your wife again.”  She is still in an unlovable state, yet God says, “Love her again”.  He was obedient in putting her away.  He was obedient in the naming of his children, and seeing God at work in his family situation.  Would he obey in this as well?  He would.  He would follow wherever the LORD led.

Notice who God tells Hosea to love.  Another woman?  N0!  The same Gomer who was entangled, and involved in temple prostitution, adultery against God and her husband.  When is he to love her?

  1. While she still has other lovers;
  2. While she is still practicing her lewd ways.

Why is he to love her?  He is to love Gomer to illustrate God’s love for unfaithful Israel.

God may withdraw His hand of grace, His protecting hedge about His people; for awhile, but it is always redemptive in purpose.  He never forsakes His people.  He loves His people and always knows what is beneficial for us.

“Woman loved by a lover” is equivalent to “Who look to other gods”, since Gomer represents Israel and Hosea – God.  “Is committing adultery” is equivalent with “Love the raisin cakes [flagons of wine KJV] of pagans”.  “The expression ‘And love raisin cakes’ describes the reason for their apostasy.  ‘Loving raisin cakes’ is equivalent to loving sexual sin.  ‘Raisin cakes’ were dried raisins pressed together for sweetmeat.  Participants in the licentious Baal rites ate ‘Raisin cakes’.  These delicacies symbolized to them the sweetness of their participation in the Baal fertility rites to satisfy their lusts, and to increase productivity throughout the land in every area of life.  Such sin may indeed be sweet for a season like ‘Raisin cakes’ in the mouth, but it turns within the stomach ‘to the venom of cobras (See Job 20:14).”  From the Study Book by John Traylor.

The “Raisin cakes” imply enjoyment of their lewd practices; and their neglect, and rejection for hearing the words of the LORD.  Sin can indeed be enjoyed, but only for a short period, and it pays “Loan shark” interest rates.

Like has been said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go; Sin will leave you longer than you want to stay;  Sin will cost you more than you want to pay.”  But you will pay.  By the love and grace of God our sin debt was paid by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, He was buried and He rose again.  He is alive.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Scarlet Thread – Cain and Abel

Throughout the Bible is a Scarlet Thread of Redemption.  A picture which the Creator has brushed onto the canvass of the ages through the pages of Scripture; to give us His promise of salvation; redemption from our sins.  These pictures are painted through true, historical events of people’s lives who have lived, breathed, sinned and died (All have sinned and come short of the glory of God… (Romans 3:23)); with the exception of the One of whom these pictures are only types of the anti-type.  We write, of course, of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God; who was born, lived, died, was buried, and rose again to life; and one day has promised to come again.

Think today of the picture of Cain the eldest son of Adam and Eve; and their younger son Abel.  The Scripture tells us;

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.  And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.  And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”  Genesis 4:1-5 (KJV)

The thing we need to see in this picture today is that Cain was a tiller of the soil – a man of the earth.  Abel was a shepherd.  Now who is it who is the  shepherd of the sheep and they shall not want; [have any lack]?  If you will note also the both of them came to worship the LORD with their offerings.  Cain brought of the “fruit of the ground”  of his own labors; of course; with the exception of God giving the increase; but it does not appear that Cain gives God any notice of that.  Abel on the otherhand, “brought from the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof…”  He brought the best that he had to give to God in worship.

Because of Abel’s worshipful gift the LORD accepted the gift; […the LORD had respect unto Abel…].   Abel is the picture, the type of our Lord Jesus as he was willing to give his best to God, was hated by his brother – Jesus hated by His brethren – and was a shepherd.  “The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want…”

Follow this Scarlet Thread of Redemption, it  leads to Jesus Christ, His cross, burial, and resurrection.  He is coming again.  Are you ready?

-Tim A. Blankenship

…He Should Give Eternal Life…

We continue to look at THE LORD’s PRAYER

“As Thou has given Him [the Son of verse 1] power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him.”  John 17:2 (KJV).

Since Jesus had come for the most distinct purpose of glorifying the Father He also realizes that the salvation of many is dependent upon the Father.  The Father has given His Son Jesus “Power over all flesh”.  He will give eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him.

We must understand that no one can be delivered from sin and given life eternal except it be given from above.  The man or woman on the street or in church, cannot, just with his, or her own accord, decide that they are going to follow Jesus.  It must be given to them of the Father.  It is the Father who will open their eyes, and their hearts, make them aware of their sin, their lostness, then they have desire to know God, and to call on Him for salvation.

Salvation or eternal life is given by the Father and the Son as a free gift.  It cannot be earned, nor bargained for.

These verses, and this whole prayer declares to us the very sovereignty of God in our salvation.  It is solely of God.  Our part is only in receiving the gift.

“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)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Ten – Thirteen Through Sixteen

“And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”  Mark 10:13-16 (KJV)

Jesus loves children.  There is much adults could learn from children, if we would only listen and watch them.  We could learn to trust again.

Our area of the world collapses at times; friends forsake us by lying about us, betraying us, and our parents even can let us down at times.  As parents we get disappointed by our children’s behavior at times, and we need to discipline them to show them the right and correct way.  We can learn from them when we don’t see them as being in the way.

Little children are not without sin, because we are all born into sin.  One thing we can learn from children is “Trust”.  When a child trusts their parents, mother or father, they rely on them completely.  If a dad says to his son, “Come on now and jump off the end of the porch, and I will catch you.”;  most of the time the boy will jump into his daddy’s arms (unless daddy  has caused the son not to trust him).  That is the kind of trust we must put in our Heavenly Father, and the finished work of Jesus on the cross.  Children are dependent upon their parents.  They trust them to provide their food, shelter, clothing, and security.  Children are secure with their parents.  The only way this would not be so is, if the parent(s) are brutal, mean and abusing to their children.   I think it would be a bad parent who would teach a child not to trust anyone; even themselves.

When we become adults we often forget about trusting God.  Troubling things happen, and we can find no help in our own abilities, our own strength; like in a sickness, a debilitating accident, a major life changing event; something we had no control over.  When these things happen we need the “faith of a child”, and put our trust completely in the Lord.

“Receiving the kingdom of God as a little child” would be trusting so completely that they look no where else for security or any other need.  Is God able to supply our need for salvation?  Most assuredly.  Is He able to supply our “Daily bread” [our daily needs]; again, most assuredly.  Some of us get a little off on this latter thing, though.  We can believe that God is able to provide our salvation, but when it comes to meeting daily needs, we kind of tend to leave that in our own hands.  Is that the heart of a child.  These verses are not talking of remaining immature in faith, but having that unwavering trust in the Lord no matter what the case may be.

Without this kind of faith no one can enter the kingdom of God.

-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

Who We Are, and Our Blessings In Christ

Ephesians 1:1-5

Purpose of this study:

1. To discover the greatness of being in Christ;
2. To know the richness of His blessings;
3. To know and understand our purpose in Christ;
4. To better understand our calling.

The book of Ephesians was written by Paul the apostle while he was imprisoned in Rome.  Ephesians is known as one of the “prison epistles”, along with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

The city of Ephesus was the seat of “Diana” worship (Acts 19 note verse 28).  A goddess worshipped by a superstitious people and profited on by business men and silversmiths.  The preaching of the cross of Jesus Christ caused a great loss of income for these men and their businesses when some of the worshippers of Diana, turned from idolatry to the true God (Acts 19:23-41).  These men would have done almost anything to take away Paul’s and other Christian’s right or freedom to speak.

This church is the same church that would receive a letter from the Lord Jesus Christ a few years later.  It can be read in the Revelation of Jesus Christ chapter two, beginning with verse one.

At the time of Paul’s writing, approximately 55 A.D., the church of Ephesus is strong in faith and longing to grow in the Spirit of Christ.  In this letter Paul teaches them two main truths:  1) Who they are [their position] in Christ (chapters 1-3); and  2) How they are to live [their practice] (chapters 4-6).

Knowing who we are in Jesus is still important for Christians.  By knowing our position in Him we are strengthened in faith, and greatly encouraged to live for Him.

If we are to be the Christians God calls us to be we must be discovering the greatness and riches of being in Christ, our calling, the richness of His blessings, and the purpose of our calling.

The term “In Christ” or its equivalent is mentioned at least 34 times in the bood of Ephesians.  Fifteen of those being in the first chapter alone.  So we learn already that it is important for  us to recognize, to know who we are in Jesus Christ.

CALLED OUT AND FAITHFUL (vv. 1-2).  “Set apart”, “called out” and faithful.  Consecrated unto the Lord is the meaning of the word “Saint”.  The Christian has been called out of sin, set apart for the glory of God to be different from the world philosophies, and doctrines.

The Christian understands the problem of sin, and the human heart, as best as can be understood, and that is by the understanding which God gives by His Spirit, His word, and the life of Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:10-11 spells it out for us; “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God…”  We are called out of sin, unto faith in Jesus Christ; to live in the Spirit of Christ for the glory of the Father.

The “faithful” are the one’s who dedicated to the work and will of glorifying God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  We glorify Him with a life given to living holy, separated, lives of witness.  The words we speak, our work ethic, our family lives, our church service and our worship of God alone is a witness that other’s will see or won’t see.  Unwavering faith in God, and His Word, and holy desire for His will to be done is shown in faithfulness.  Faithful in belief.  Faithful in and to His Word.

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” John 14:21 (KJV)

THE RICHES OF HIS BLESSING (v. 3;  2:6).  These blessings are not in the material things of this world, although we are told that all things are under His feet.  The blessings of Christ are spiritual, however, they are not limited.  “Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…” Ephesians 1:3 (KJV).  I don’t know if we were meant to understand this whole all thing, but it sounds so full, awesome, and glorious.  Do we put enough emphasis on the spiritual things of Christ?  It doesn’t seem so in my life; and I really doubt it is in most Christian’s lives.

These spiritual blessings are in heavenly places; that is the place where Jesus is.  The blessings that Christian’s have in Christ Jesus cannot be attained through science, technology, knowledge, sorcery, witchcraft, incantations, rituals, liturgy, rites, religion, flagellation, wealth, or fame.  These blessings are all part of the grace given us who are in Christ Jesus through faith in Him by His death on the cross; His carrying our sins away; and the bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead.  These are blessings of His grace.

In these spiritual blessings there is cleansing from sin, condemnation and guilt.  There is the personal relationship with holy God reserved only for those who have no sin debt.  We also have the gift of eternal life with Jesus Christ and the Father; and in complete fellowship with Him.

OUR ELECTION AND OUR LIFESTYLE (v. 4).  If a king were to choose you as their son or daughter would you not find it a great privilege, and honor?  If the king were known as a wealthy, and good, and honorable man I think most of us would be honored by the prospect.  This is not likely to happen, of course, so don’t set your sites too high for this; except when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the King of kings.  He will rule with honor, power, and goodness; and He is wealthy.  He has chosen us in Himself.  We are getting into a topic of great controversy, and that is dealing with “Election” and “Predestination”.  There are some “scholars” and preachers/teachers who try to avoid these doctrines.   They are, however, in the Word of God, and need to be dealt with.  I am not sure that I can aid in this or not, but since they are here, I will say this.  When it comes to “Election” we have the clear teaching from the Word that those who are in Christ have been chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.  It is great to know that God chose me, and that He knew me long before I was ever conceived in the womb of my mother.  That is so of all who will come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Dealing with this “Election” of God let us look further into Scripture – “And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” Exodus 33:19 (KJV).  As our Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Advocate, Judge… He has every right to choose whomever He will, to call to Himself.  Someone may ask, “Doesn’t mankind have a ‘freewill’?”  To that I would readily agree.  The very fact that God placed the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” in the midst of the garden near the “Tree of Life” tells me that God gave them a choice, thus free will to choose to obey or disobey.  They chose the latter of the two, and sin, death, and misery came into the world.

So how do the teachings of Election, the Sovereignty of God, and man’s free will operate?  I don’t know that I have the answer to that, but these things I do know and believe; and that is that God says that He knew me before the foundation of the world and He chose me; He has enriched me with spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus, and that according to His will, the free will of men, and  His Sovereignty somehow work together to fulfill His will and glory.

The greatness of this “Election” is that God chose me before I ever did anything good or bad.  His choosing me was not based on any merit of my own, but solely on the grace of God alone.  Since He chose me before doing anything good or bad, that only means that there is nothing I could do to be plucked from my Father’s hands:

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” John 10:28-29 (KJV)

This does not give license to sin.  This does give us freedom from sin to live for Jesus Christ.  Before we came to faith in Jesus Christ we were bound by sin.  In Christ we are free to live for Him, and Him alone. This election is a calling to holiness (2:10;  John 15:16).

OUR PLACEMENT IN THE HEAVENLIES (v. 5).  By the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross we are born into relationship with the Father (John 3:3;  1 Peter 1:23).  By that blood we are legally sons/children, however, there is something else that happens to those who come to faith in Jesus Christ.  We are placed into the position with Christ as legal heirs of all that is His.  That is the “Adoption”.

That is the predetermined plan of God.  That is the “predestinated” will of God.  In John 1:12 we are told this – “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them tht believe on His name.”  Some new translations place children where the KJV uses sons, and that seems to me to be a tragedy, for we miss the greater meaning.  With Christ as our Lord and Savior we are given the same rights as the Elder Son, who is Jesus.  In the Old Testament economy the elder son received a majority of the father’s estate, and was given the responsibility of caring for the parents when they became unable to care for themselves.

Now consider this; since we are born into the family shouldn’t we just receive a minority of the inheritance?  Jesus has paid the price of our sin, making it possible for us to be in God’s family in the first place; He is the One who deserves it all.  By grace He places us with Him as joint heirs (Romans 8:17) with Him.

There is an example of this given in the Law of Moses concerning inheritance, and the daughters of a man who had no sons, and would be left out of the inheritance except for the grace given.  Zelophehad (Numbers 27:1-7) had five daughters, and he would be left out of inheriting any of the promised land, leaving nothing for any sons who might come along later.  Thus, in a since, they are placed in the position of an elder son, inheriting the land that would have been their father’s.

There is such a wealth at the hands and feet of every believer in Jesus Christ.  It is a wealth that is not of this world, however it is accessible in this world; and through it and by it we can live in victory.  The enemy has been defeated.  Let us rejoice.

We are “Predestinated” to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and that is to live in glory.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29 (KJV)

We have yet to “tap into” the wonderful resources that are ours in Christ Jesus.  If we were the people of God in Christ that He has called us to be, walking in the Spirit, walking in the power of His word, there is no attack of the enemy which could stop us, and no human force could stand in our way; and He would be seen and glorified in many hearts and lives.  What God calls “Complete” is complete.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Discipleship – The Pursuit Of Godliness

Hebrews 12:14-17

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”  Hebrews 12:14-17 (KJV)

OUTLINE –
I.  A PURSUIT OF PEACE AND HOLINESS (v. 14).
II.  TAKING OVERSIGHT OVER ONE’S LIFE IN MATTERS OF GRACE (v15).
III.  BE AWARE – BE WARNED OF THE “ROOT OF BITTERNESS” WHICH IS PUFFED UP TROUBLING YOU (v. 15). Deut. 29:18
IV.  THE EXAMPLE OF ESAU/EDOM DESIRING GOD’S BLESSING WITHOUT GOD (v. 16).
V.  THE TRAGEDY OF BLESSING WITHOUT GOD (v. 17).

In previous verses of Hebrews 12 we are told not “to despise the chastening of the Lord”.  The chastening of the Lord could be called His discipline, correction, or discipling.  After reading something I believe was Charles H. Spurgeon saying, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”, that has been in my mind from the day I read it.  I believe it to be a true saying.  Though you will not find those words spoken or written that way in Scripture; it does seem that the principle of that is spoken of in the verses we look at today, and those few preceding them.

A brother in Christ has called it “God’s Discipleship” when he is making us holy, and pursuing peace.  One great achievment or failure to succeed in the Christian life would be to fail at sin.  Now, wouldn’t that be a great achievement as a child of God?

People are pursuing all sorts of things.  Success in employment, success on the job, a bank account with money left over after the bills are paid, health, personal recognition, popularity, prestige, power… you get the idea.  Godliness is not so much sought after, even by those who profess to be Christians.

A PURSUIT OF PEACE AND HOLINESS (v. 14).  Peace is a topic of much talk, and use of many words; however it doesn’t seem real close in the realm of the political world, and at times the religious world.  One thing I think I know and that is those who know the Prince of peace – Jesus Christ are at peace with God, and one another.  It is the “peace that passes all understanding” which “Keeps our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 KJV).

“G1515
εἰρήνη
eirēnē
i-rah’-nay
Probably from a primary verb εἴρω eirō (to join); peace (literally or figuratively); by implication prosperity: – one, peace, quietness, rest, + set     at one again.” From e-Sword Strongs

Being at peace with God, “at one” with God, “walking with God”, in agreement with Him (Amos 3:3) is the greatest and best thing that has ever happened to mankind.  Anyone who has not made peace with God will not be at peace with anyone else.  That tells us much about ourselves. Doesn’t it?  “Turning the other cheek” can only come from an individual at peace with God.  Loving the unlovable comes from a heart at peace with Jehovah.  Those who are truly merciful, and have obtained mercy have the peace of God.

It is because one has been “Justified by faith” that one can “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).  This peace will also lead us into holiness; and the penman of the Hebrews Letter tells us “without which no one shall see the Lord”.  The word “Holy” is given this meaning in Strongs

“G38
ἁγιασμός
hagiasmos
hag-ee-as-mos’
From G37; properly purification, that is, (the state) purity; concretely (by Hebraism) a purifier: – holiness, sanctification.”
From e-Sword Strongs

Peace and holiness are God’s to give.  They come from the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ; paying the price for our sins Himself, taking their guilt, condemnation, and power away; rising to life victorious over them, declaring Himself to be whom He said He was and is; the Great I am.

TAKING OVERSIGHT OVER ONE’S LIFE IN MATTERS OF GRACE (v. 15). We are living in a day very much in need of personal oversight.  Many not wanting to take personal responsibility for their actions, behavior, words, or otherwise.  Those who are Christian need very much to be leaders in this matter.  Taking the oversight in matters of grace.  Lest we be the cause, or a catalyst of others falling.

The duty of the Christian; leader, teacher, person in the pew; is to be on watch, guarding one’s own heart and life, and the lives of others.  Part of “shepherding” is to keep the younger from straying, and going over the edge endangering their lives and/or the lives of others.

If we see any of the brethren straying we can, should, and will guide them back to the straight and narrow path that is the right one.  The path is not without effort, nor pain, but it is a path with destination and that destination is into the presence of God for all eternity.

“G1983
ἐπισκοπέω
episkopeō
ep-ee-skop-eh’-o
From G1909 and G4648; to oversee; by implication to beware: – look diligently, take the oversight.”  e-Sword

BE AWARE – BE WARNED OF THE “ROOT OF BITTERNESS” WHICH IS PUFFED UP TROUBLING YOU (v. 15).  Moses wrote by the Spirit of God on this same matter when he penned, “Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood…”  Deuteronomy 29:18 (KJV)

I grew up around trees.  We have had trees all around us.  Oak trees (of various kinds), cedar trees, maple trees, apple trees, peach trees, Walnut trees, Hickory trees, Ash and elm trees, and if I could name them all I probably would.  The thing I want to illustrate here is the root system.  In many cases these trees have more of what cannot be seen under the ground, supporting through the feeding, providing foundation, and strength against strong winds; than that which can be seen above ground.  What the writer of Hebrews and Moses of Deuteronomy is warning about is that which cannot be seen if in bitterness is very destructive.

This “root of bitterness” is a poison which can suddenly come to the surface and ruin you.  If the root of a tree gets something poisonous it will kill the tree.  This bitterness, this bane can lead to all kinds of immorality and evil in one’s life.  Evidently that is what the writer is saying concerning Esau.

“All it takes for a grudge to grow is for the one who is holding it to keep nursing it.”  I am not sure that this is a correct quotation, or who said it, but it is still the truth.  Bitterness is the root of evil, and for evil grudges to grow they must be nursed.  Feeding, coddling, cherishing those bitter feelings.  Saying things like, “I can never forgive that person”.  Anyone who has ever said that was mistaken, and/or have never been forgiven.

This “bitter root” nursed, and cherished by its holder will one day have this poisonous root spring, explode onto the scene, and it will not be a pleasant scene for the holder of that grude.  As long as that grudge is nursed, cherished, coddled like one’s baby there will be no relief from guilt, sin, shame, or anger, and destruction.

THE EXAMPLE OF ESAU/EDOM DESIRING GOD’S BLESSING WITHOUT GOD (v. 16).  Esau, the first born son of Isaac was a man with a bitter root, and he never let it die.  It was passed on to his children (Genesis 36:8, 19).  How do we know this?  Because of Edom.  Edom  hated the children of Israel (Numbers 20:17-21).  Where did this innate bitterness, anger, envy, and hatred come from?  There is one conclusion to that; and that is from their father; Esau.

Esau had not only given up his birthright for a “bowl of beans”, but he had evidently been a very immoral rascal.  Giving himself to various immoral activities with the women of foreign tribes whom his people had been forbidden to have relations with.  John Gill wrote this concerning Esau,

“Heb 12:16 – Lest there be any fornicator or profane person,…. The first of these is guilty of a sin against the second table of the law, as well as against his own body; and which is opposed to the holiness the apostle had before exhorted to; such who are guilty of it, are not to be continued in the communion of the church; and it is a sin, which, lived in not repented of, excludes from the kingdom of heaven: the latter is one who is a transgressor of the first table of the law; who is an idolater, a swearer, a despiser of public worship and ordinances, and who behaves irreverently in divine service, and mocks at the future state, as Esau; to whom both these characters seem to belong: and this agrees with what the Jews say concerning him: they have a tradition (w), that he committed five transgressions on the day he came out of the field weary.

“He committed idolatry: he shed innocent blood; and lay with a virgin betrothed; and denied the life of the world to come (or a future state); and despised his birthright.”

It is elsewhere (x) a little differently expressed.

“Esau, the wicked, committed five transgressions on that day: he lay with a virgin betrothed; and killed a person; and denied the resurrection of the dead; and denied the root, or foundation, (i.e. that there is a God,) and despised his birthright; and besides, he desired his father’s death, and sought to slay his brother.”

It is common for them to say of him, that he was an ungodly man; and particularly, that he was a murderer, a robber, ונואף, “and an adulterer” ”
The (w) being (“Targum Jon. ben Uzziel in Gen. xxv. 29.”), and the (x) being (Shemot Rabba, sect. I. fol. 89. 3. T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 16. 2.). From e-Sword Commentary by John Gill.

THE TRAGEDY OF BLESSING WITHOUT GOD (v. 17).  Esau lived on in immoral conduct.  He had sought forgiveness from his father Isaac for his selling of the birthright, and with tears, but to no avail (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).  His “repentance” was not a real repentance which would get forgiveness, but only sorry he got caught with his “hands in the cookie jar, and still wanted the cookie”.  He wanted the blessing of God without wanting God.  That is typical of many who profess Jesus as Savior today and probably in any era of time since the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  As long as things go well; as long as the blessings pour in; as long as there is good health; as long as there is wealth at their disposal; and no sorrow, then all is well with the “faith”.

Because of the sin of Edom, Edom has no place in the future (Ezekiel 32:29;  Joel 3:19).  That is not the desire of God’s heart to have His children pass along the envy, hatred, bitterness, and anger to our children and/or to the rest of the world that is already perishing.

SUMMARY –

i.  The pursuit of peace and holiness is the pursuit of all Christians, and one obtained only through faith in Christ the Lord.

ii.  Those in pursuit of peace and holiness will take oversight of their behavior, words, actions; and feed themselves daily in the word of God, prayer, and holy life pursuits.

iii.  The ones in pursuit of peace and godliness will be aware of the root of bitterness, guard against bitterness, and its poisonous, disastrous, death which it brings with it where ever it springs up.

iv.  Peace and holiness leads to peace and life; and makes for peace with all people (Proverbs 16:17).

-Tim A. Blankenship

This is the my study notes for the message for Sunday morning September 13, 2009

The Battle For Jerusalem

Jerusalem the “city of David”.  So called by the Old Testament Scriptures; and given to the nation of Israel.  In Jerusalem is a mount on which at the present time stands a mosque of Islam.  It is on a sight which is respected by two groups of people.

It is respected by the Jews because of it being the place of Solomon’s Temple which he built by request of his father David.  It was a glorious temple of beauty, sacred devotion to Jehovah [YHWH], and great design.  It is respected by Islam because that is the place where Al Aqsa Mosque is presently standing.

There is still a battle raging over this special site in Biblical history.  Scripture promises that the temple will be rebuilt.  What this means for the mosque is up for discussion, and could mean one of several things; which I will not get into here.

Recently, however, the Moslem Mufti, Sheik Sabri told thousands of moslem children that the temple of the Jews would never be rebuilt. You may read more of this story here at Prophecy Today. What exactly does that say concerning the Scriptures, God’s Word.  Islam claims to have such high regard for the Bible, yet we see time and again their disdain and disrespect for the promises of God to the Hebrew people concerning their land, and the temple.

The City of Jerusalem is still the “City of David” as the Scriptures proclaim (called “city of David” at least 43 times from 2 Samuel 5:7 – Nehemiah 12:37).  It sounds to me as though it is the “City of David”, and not the city of Mohammed.

It was king David’s desire to build a temple to Jehovah, and GOD would not permit him to do so, but passed that honor on to Solomon; because of the “blood on David’s hands”.

It is possible that the temple will be not only rebuilt, but there will be another temple built in that one’s place when Jesus returns.  See 2 Thessalonians 2:4;  Ezekiel 40-42.

For someone to give a message that God is not going to fulfill His Word is to doubt God and His promises.  To doubt God and His promises is to wage war against the Most High, and declare Him a liar.  Yet the Word of God is true, “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).  The Mosque may crumble and fall, and never be rebuilt; however, the temple will be on the Temple Mount once again.  And it could be very soon.  God will fulfill every word of Scripture.

Come Lord Jesus.  Come soon.

-Tim A. Blankenship

His Kingdom Is Forever

When He came He established His headquarters in Capernaum which was within the area of Isaiah’s prophecy.  In Matthew 4:12-16 the apostle has written, “…That it might be fulfilled  which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet…” then Matthew quotes the first two verse of chapter nine of Isaiah the prophet.

It leaves no doubt of whom the prophet is speaking.  Joy will increase under His government, and then we read these wonderful words;

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”  Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV).

If you will remember the promise of Isaiah 7:14 the prophet spoke, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”  and Matthew says after quoting these words, “Which is translated, ‘God with us’. (Matthew 1:23).  I just don’t understand how so many can miss these words.  Clearly speaking of the coming of the Messiah, and He is called Emmanuel in the New Testament by Matthew the apostle.  The disciples heard it, seen His works, heard His words, and they believed Him.

In these verses is further reason for hope for us and for Israel.  These promises are first of all to Israel, then to the rest of the world.  This Child born is born to be “God with us”.  He would come live as one of us.  Suffer our hurts and pains, and frustrations.  He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.  He truly endured even knowing that His purpose in coming this time was not to set up His kingdom, but to die on a cross under the hands of the ruling human government, and for the sins of mankind.

“A Child is born” – ‘unto us’, thus, a “Son is given”.  John the apostle wrote the words of our Savior when He said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…“  In this verse we have a Child born, a very certain Child; born ‘unto us’, and when He becomes a man He is the “Son given” for the redemption of our sins.

If we were to look at these as all these events happening in the same age we could see why the disciples, and many of the unbelieving Jewish leaders of Jesus’s day and our own could reach the conclusion that Jesus doesn’t meet the criteria.  Yes, He was a “Child born…”, and yes He was “given”, but He didn’t stick around and carry out the rest of the prophecy.  That is because of His mercy and grace.  In the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus He justified all who believe in Him; and took back the ruling power which was given to Adam in the first place.  In His death sin died.  In His burial all sin was carried away, cast into the depths of the sea, and cast as far away as East is from West; then He arose from the grave proving and showing to all that He had accomplished His purposes as God incarnate, and fulfilling our justification – for all who believe.

This is a divided prophecy.  Just because it has not been fulfilled yet does not mean that it won’t be fulfilled.  While we await His coming again, hearts are being changed, lives are being delivered from the bondage of sin, shame and self-righteousness which is as “filthy rags” before the God of all Creation.

There is coming a day when the “government will be upon His shoulder”, and we shall not have a thing to fear.  Look at these names.  Though the King James Version separates “Wonderful” and “Counselor” it seems that they belong as one name.  He will have supernatural wisdom, because He is the Son of God and incarnate God, born, died, buried and raised again; returned, glorified upon the earth.  As “Mighty God” He is the warrior who can conquer all things evil, and holds all things in His hand.  He is sovereign, and even in this day when it seems that evil rules; He still overrules.  As Everlasting Father He comforts, encourages, and meets the needs of His children, and He disciplines them when needed.  As Prince of Peace, there can be no peace without Him.  Paul the apostle wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”.  That has just about everything to do with peace.  When we are at peace with God there will be no more war.

The kingdom of which Isaiah speaks is an everlasting kingdom, and it will have no end.  He will see to its order and establishment, and everything will be carried out just as the Scriptures say.  The Lord Himself, in His righteousness and zeal will see that all of these things come to pass.

Jesus Christ as the Sovereign Lord sees all things to its completion.  Nothing of God’s word will fail; nor will this everlasting government.  HIS KINGDOM IS FOREVER.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Freedom’s Responsibility

It seems that there are many  people who believe that freedom means living your life as “I please”; and it matters not who gets hurt.  As long as “I can do what I want”, then freedom means, “I am answerable to no one else”, “I can drive however I choose”, “I can say anything I want to say”.

If that is the attitude of “freedom” you have, then you of all people are enslaved.  Real freedom is taking responsibility, for your own actions, for helping with others who have needs, and considering others before yourself.

Hear what the Word of God says:

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”  Galations 5:13 (KJV)

The Christian’s freedom is considerate of others. It does not wish its own way; but the way that will honor and glorify Jesus our Lord and Savior.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Distinct Compassion

“And on some have compassion, making a distinction…” Jude 22 (NKJV).

We will be looking today at a group on whom Jude is calling for Christians to have compassion. There are times when we Christians are seen as being without compassion. The definition for “compassion” is: ’sympathetic feeling: PITY, MERCY.’ That is according to THE MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY. It is for those who have experienced mercy to give or show mercy.

We have already seen that we are all responsible for our own growth in our Lord Jesus Christ. There are, however, many who have fallen victim to false teaching, and the teachers of it. These victims of apostate teachers need us to show them great mercy, because they are some who have not reached a firm conviction of who Jesus truly is, about eternal life, and they remain unsure, doubtful, and could be persuaded of the truth of the identity of Jesus Christ.

Most Christians probably know some who have sit, or presently are sitting under the teaching of a man, or a woman, who is leading them away from the truth of Jesus Christ. These teachers proclaim, in the name of Jesus, things that lessen the power of the cross of Christ. They magnify “faith” over truth. Magnifying “faith” over truth is done by focusing more on what you can have, ie., wealth, health, etc., but there is no teaching on growing in the Lord Jesus and becoming more like Him. These apostate teachers may in fact, teach that you can become “Christ”. I recently heard of an apostate group who believe that the universe revolves around the earth, and that the King James Version of the Bible is God in written form.

We must have “compassion” on those who have fallen into these cultic practices, and beliefs. It is tragic that there are those who would develop followers unto themselves, and lead them astray from the Lord Jesus. I have always said, and believe, that I want no one to elevate me, or see me in a position of grandeur. I am solely a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God, through the death – shed blood of Jesus Christ, His burial, and resurrection. And I, like most Christians; am looking forward to the day when we can see Jesus our Lord and Savior face to face, and live in His eternal presence.

When we see those who have been led astray; we must have compassion, give them the truth; in love; and trust the Holy Spirit of God to show them the way. When someone has sit under false teaching for a long time it may take much compassion, and patience with good Bible teaching to deliver them from the snare of the apostates.

Let us be strong. Let us be compassionate. Let us let others see the true Jesus and His truth in us. There are doubters in this world that are still open to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us love them like Jesus would. Let us show mercy with our words and our lives.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

In The Love Of God

“…Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 21 (NKJV).

We are continuing with the theme of personal and individual Christian responsibility. It is our personal responsibility, led by the Spirit of God, God’s Word, and through praying in the Spirit to build up our faith (v. 20). It is also the personal responsibility of every Christian to keep themselves “in the love of God”.

That “keep yourselves in the love of God” is accomplished much like “building your faith”, and that is through the power of God in us; given us at our new birth. That power is the presence of the Spirit of God. Paul wrote to the Romans, and one of the things he was inspired by the Spirit of God to write was, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” (Romans 8:9b). The “Spirit of Christ” is the same Holy Spirit who lives in all believers/followers of Christ Jesus. That Spirit is the same Holy Spirit who lived and abided in Jesus as He lived and ministered walking on earth.

The love of God cannot be taken from us. We have this promise of God from another of the apostle Pauls writings, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 8:38-39, NKJV). The love of God is immeasurable. It is wonderful. It is powerful. The love of God is really beyond the common man’s grasp; anyone’s grasp. It can only be received as a gift, a gift from the giver of love.

“Keeping ourselves in the love of God” is done through persevering in the faith. Ministering to others in love, expecting nothing in return. To be always faithful in obedience and faithful in living out the salvation which has been so freely given to us.

We are to always be “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” by the expectant heart for the return of Jesus Christ. That will be the fulfillment of His mercy. That should be the expectation of the heart of every believer. Looking for the return of Christ Jesus. Jude was looking for that day. That will be the day of mercy, unlike any other day we have seen. It was so good and wonderful and gracious of the Lord to give us assurance of salvation, grace and mercy on that day we knelt before Him acknowledging Him as Lord, and receiving Him as our Savior, by His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection; and put within the heart of every follower of Jesus Christ is the desire to see Him face to face.

Remain in the place of obedience. The MacArthur Study Bible note for this verse notes, “It means to remain in the place of obedience where God’s love is poured out on His children, as opposed to being disobedient and incurring His chastening (cf. 1 Cor. 11:27-31; Heb. 12:5-11). Keeping ourselves in the “love of God” is done through an obedient love for God. It is not a task or a burden. It is really a joy for the true child of God to live in and keep the love of God. It is also a joy to live for and expect that day when Jesus comes and takes us to be forever with Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Secure The Documents

The prophecy of Isaiah has been strong. The people who have heard his preaching of these prophetic words of judgment coming are calling him a leader of conspiracy. In fact in conspiring against his own people and nation.

He has told them of one coming who would be a sanctuary and a “Stone of offense and a Rock of stumbling”, in fact “a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem”. Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone who we are told in the New Testament is that Stone of offense and Rock of stumbling, are warned not to let that Rock fall on us, by Jesus Himself (Matthew 21:42-44; Mark 12:10). This is the stone also of which Daniel the prophet would describe coming down out of heaven, and in the kings dream –

 “Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold–the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” Daniel 2:45 (NKJV); (Also see verses 34-35ff).

The responsibility of keeping these prophecies – writings were those disciples who were following Isaiah, and writing down what he preached (8:2). To “Bind up the testimony” is to secure them for future acknowledgement of the events which the prophet foretold. They have been kept secure now for over 2,700 years. That is in fact what we are reading today.

Hear the Word of the Lord:

“Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.  And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.” Isaiah 8:16-17 (KJV)

The prophet is secure in the preaching of the LORD’s message. The prophet would not see the invasion of the invading forces of Babylon. The word of the LORD which he had spoken, and his disciples who believed the message would have it to show and prove to those who were living at that time that it was foretold.

When we read the words, “Hiding his face” it means in judgment, or shame, or maybe both. God is not looking on “Jacob” in favor is its implication.

Isaiah the prophet will “Wait for the LORD’ and ‘hope in Him”. The confidence of Isaiah is wonderful. He may be tried beyond understanding, and normal patience; but no matter what his faith in God will see him through. We see the nation we live in crumbling morally, and economically around us; when we see the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ watered down with “Feel good” messages, and messages of prosperity and health, without our suffering with Christ; we too have the faith to look to the LORD, and “Wait for the LORD” of heaven to come in all His glory and power, and to put all things under His feet. Let us pray that He is not hiding His face from His people today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Sensual Division

“Remember the words…by the apostles… How they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” Jude 18-19 (NKJV).

A continual warning, and caveat’ to stand your ground, be faithful, follow the teachings of the apostles, etc.; is much needed, but too many of our minds can become redundant. We need to be encouraged by the words of Jude and the words of any preacher who is teaching us to stand guard over our heart, and against the teachings and teachers which would lead us away from the truth.

These apostates are actually haters of God; yet use the name of God to have their way in Christian circles. Jude in no way is saying to us that all true teachers of God’s Word are infallible, but that they will be faithful to proclaiming the truth of God. We can all make mistakes. It seems that we, in our humanity are almost prone to make one now and then, just to remind us that we are still, in fact, fallen creatures; who have been redeemed by the perfect Savior.

However, these apostate heretics, are those who purposely teach doctrines contrary to God and His Word to draw a following for themselves, put their fleeced flocks money in their own pockets, and live in lavish homes, and estates. Now, before any one flies off the proverbial handle, let me add that there is nothing wrong with having or gaining wealth; as long as it has been done by hard work and labor; without taking advantage of the weak; and God is given all the glory for it. God gives wealth to enable those with it to be stewards and help the weak; and that includes the widow, the orphan, the poor, and downtrodden. These take no thought of others, however. The lavish homes and estates are almost their personal trademarks.

They are “sensual”, and that can be greedy, filled with lusts; and lusts can be for anything including power, position, popularity, and pomp. When the truth is not proclaimed, the one proclaiming that which is contrary to the truth are the dividers. That is something we always need to remember.

One of the teachings which is popular among many churches and pastors is the teaching about sex, using Scripture, but using the most lewd, crude, and shocking forms of “language” that can be heard today. “It’s part of our culture” those using it say. “They will not listen unless we speak that way”, they continue. We are always to speak the language which will glorify our Lord, and His language is not lewd, crude, or “shock jock” style. The Bible deals with sexual matters many times, but always treating it with respect, and even mystery; and so should those who are supposedly trying to teach people. In many cases using sensual language which inspires lust, rather than genuine love; they destroy the purity of God’s Word and its teaching. These are sensual dividers.

These types of talks draw the crowds; just as motor crosses, NASCAR, boxing, wrestling and the Olympics. Little for the glory of God is done in any of the these events. They are for some to make money, and others to spend and or lose it. It may be popular, but popular does not make it holy or right.

Many times, when the one who comes in exposing the lies for what they are, they are always the one who is accused of causing division. It is the one’s who are teaching and preaching the lies who are the dividers. The division-makers do not have the Spirit of God, and if not dealt with by the truth, and with firmness, will themselves be inhabitants of hell. They must be confronted, and given the opportunity of repentance, and finding genuine peace with God.

Be strong in the faith. Grow in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Confront and hate the evil, and expose it. Love the good, and the godly. Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Conspiracy Theorists

Prophets were often accused of conspiring with enemy forces. Isaiah was no different. Isaiah was involved in a conspiracy, but not with the enemy of Israel or Judah. He was in a conspiracy with the LORD of hosts. That is “The Conspiracy” I write of in this article. If preachers are to be the men of God we have been called to be we will be accused at times of conspiring against our church, our people, and sometimes even accused of going against tradition, when we really are not.

The prophet Isaiah is told by God, “not to walk in the way of this people”. When our people are going astray, when they are living out of the will of the LORD, when they are in feuds with one another, when they are charging the preacher of conspiracy, then is the time for that preacher to stand and preach like he has never preached the Word before. It is not the time to back down.

Hear the Word of the LORD spoken to Isaiah:

“For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,  Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.  Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” Isaiah 8:11-15 (KJV)

The prophet is being directed by the LORD to have no walk in the way of his people. They were actually accusing this man of God of conspiring with the enemy, and they wanted to pronounce judgment upon this man Isaiah.

As I look as this passage of Scripture I find myself wondering, “What did they fear?”, “What did they dread?” Were they fearing the dreaded enemy that they had heard was coming? It seems to me that they were probably fearing the failure of the economy. The failure of their insurance policies, ie., their walls. They may have been more fearful of their health failing them as well. What ever they feared Isaiah is told not to fear the same things, but rather to “Regard as holy” Him who is speaking to the prophet. He is assured that God will be his sanctuary – a place of protection and solitude.

The prophet is also told “Let Him (ie., God) be your fear, and let Him be your dread”. The only hope anyone has is in the LORD. It does no one any good whatsoever to fear and dread anything that is human, or thing, or thought, or act of another. We have absolutely no control over other’s lives; but God does.

We can stand assured by God and His Word that those who stand against God, His Word, and His men will find a Rock of offense, they will stumble, they shall fall, and be broken. If there is a conspiracy among the men of God; let “The Conspiracy” be that we are faithful to God, His Word, and His way. Let us be faithful in proclaiming the Word, warning the people, encouraging the people who are weary, “comforting the afflicted; and afflicting the comfortable.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Grumbling Apostates

“These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.” Jude 16 (NKJV).

Jude still speaking/writing of the apostate heretics who lead the people of God astray if they will not stand guard over their minds and hearts; calls them grumblers, complainers. Have you ever heard a “grumbler”? These people may profess Jesus as Savior, and they have tasted of the goodness of God, seen the power of God, and are not satisfied with God.

This same type of behavior called “murmuring” in the King James Version, and is similar to the murmuring going on in the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. The apostates are never satisfied with God. They do not know God, or they would not be apostates. They have never known God, or they would not be apostates. Why is it people can witness and see the power and glory of God and walk away, go into their homes or place of business, their car, or anywhere and there grumble about the lack of God’s care, love and intervention in their lives.

Many a time when a professing Christian has tragedy come into their lives; a loss of a loved one, a very bad automobile accident, sickness, disease they ask the question, “Why did God do this to us?” or “Why did God allow this to happen to us?” They become angry with God. These questions come to us in times of tragic events, but the child of God never lingers in them. We have seen the power of God and we give Him glory through these events, by clinging to the Lord Jesus, believing He is going to bring us through this for His glory and our good.

The apostate will not find peace with God, but continue grumbling, and always finding fault with God. What do you think calling Jesus a “Wimp” is? If not finding fault with God. One prominent, “Word of faith” preacher has called Jesus a wimp on the cross dying for our sins. One prominent television talk show host is constantly talking about finding god within you, or something along that line. That is actually finding fault with God, because it is not enough that there is one God who has loved us so much He gave His only Son to die for our sins; so we must have god in our image.

These are apostates not satisfied with God, and making god like they want him. They are grumblers, complainers. “Complainers” are always finding fault with the good. The devil himself fits into this category; he complained against God, and attempted to take over heaven; but was cast out. Cain was a complainer, and wanted god his own way. Apostates are the same way; wanting god their way.

The apostates are also flatterers. They make people feel good about themselves. “You can achieve anything, if you only believe” are words many will say, while asking for your dollars. “Believe in yourself” is another phrase that is being passed around today, and sadly in many “churches” as well. The apostate heretics teaching these things are only grabbing the fame, fortune, and supposed future they desire. At the same time abusing the Word of God for their pleasure, and leading multitudes into hell. They will meet their victims there; unless they repent and turn solely to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust only in the finished work of Christ on His cross.

Guard your heart and mind against the flattering words of the preachers and teachers who refuse to preach the power of the cross – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and His coming again. When they refuse to preach and teach the cross of Jesus, they are in effect; not preaching Jesus at all.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Worth Of A Picture…

There were a few times when I was a boy, growing up in the home of my parents, that my Dad would try to explain something to me. When it seemed as though he was not making it clear, Dad would ask, or make a statement; I am not sure if it was a question or a statement; “Do I have to draw you a picture”(?.) Maybe you can answer that for me.

Any way to finish the title of this article “…a Thousand Words”. Pictures explain a lot. If you have seen the Grand Canyon you can tell people about it, but that does not begin to explain it the way a picture can. Think of the Rockies in Colorado, or wherever you have seen them; can you describe them the way that photo you took of them can? There is not enough words in the English vocabulary to explain their grandeur; and a picture can only get close.

Pictures are an important part of life. Sometimes we receive word pictures. Sometimes we give word pictures. A lot of the Bible is word pictures. The prophet Isaiah was pretty good with word pictures.

If you were to look back to the seventh chapter Isaiah had gone to Ahaz the king with a message from God, and had asked the king to ask God for a sign. The king had refused to ask, and had even said, “I will not put the LORD to the test” (7:11-12), feigning humility, but exhibiting pride instead; because God had asked him to ask a sign. So Ahaz received a sign anyway.

It was the prophecy of a baby who would be born. One would be born to prove the truth of this prophecy – a son of the prophet – and the other; who would be the fulfillment of all Bible prophecy; was to be Immanuel [God with us] (7:14).

Now we come to the near fulfillment where the king [Ahaz] is shown that what the prophet has said will come to pass:

“And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz.  For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.” Isaiah 8:3-4 (KJV)

“This boy Mahershalalhashbaz was the picture which the prophet painted for the king to view and to see, and to know, that the invasion of Assyria was going to come on the land of Judah. The close fulfillment would happen just a few short months following the birth of this boy. He would not even be speaking the words, “Daddy” or “Momma”. The picture (given in 7:14) was also with a distant prophecy. A promise picture of a Great Hope for the people and the land of promise.

His name would be Immanuel [God with us]. He did come, and we know Him as Jesus. There was much judgment upon the land, before Jesus came. There was much more after Jesus died, was buried, rose again and ascended into Heaven. There is much more to come. Immanuel will come again, and He will make all things new.

There is a great thing about this too. Being Immanuel we do not have to wait for His physical appearing. He is present with us now. He is making lives brandnew. He is changing old, cold, dead, and heartless lives new, warm, quick, and full of passion for things that are good, and holy, and right. Hear Him as He speaks through His Word and through His Spirit. God will fulfill all His promises. Not one will go undone.

Do you see the picture? If not let the LORD open your eyes that you may see.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Enoch Prophesied

“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” Jude 14-15 (NKJV).

As the verse above notes Enoch was the seventh from Adam, and that is according to the Biblical genealogy of Genesis 5, and 1 Chronicles 1:1-3. Of Enoch we are not told much. However, according to Jude, and the inspiration of the Spirit of God we know more than is given us in the rest of Scripture.

According to the account of Enoch in the Genesis account he was the son of Jared and the father of Methuselah. Something evidently happened in the life of Enoch which inspired him to become a prophet. He was sixty five years of age when Methuselah was born to him, and for three hundred years Enoch walked with God. According to Jude he was a prophet who preached the judgment of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

By the birth of Methuselah Enoch was revealed a coming judgment of God on the earth. The name “Methuselah” means “Judgment” and even, “When he is dead it shall be sent”. The preaching of Enoch was evidently not necessarily dealing with the coming flood judgment on the whole earth, because Jude mentions the “Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints…”, and that is surely a description of the second coming of Jesus Christ. That is how Jude takes it.

Enoch was warning of these apostates who were coming in. The ungodly, morally perverted, denying Christ, defiling the flesh, Rebellious, revilers of holy angels, filthy dreamers, ignorant, corrupted, grumblers, fault finders, self seeking, arrogant speakers, flatterers, mockers, cause of discord among brethren, worldly minded, and without the Spirit of God. These are the type of people Enoch warned about, and the coming judgment of Christ coming with His saints, including the angels of heaven.

We are being told by the culture of our day that to be exclusive with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not popular, and we will drive people away. Better to drive people away than to deceive, lie, and not give them the true message of Christ Jesus, and His cross. Yes, the cross may offend, but it is also the only means of salvation. The cross of Jesus Christ has always been an offense to the mind of the world. However, it is the glory of God.

Preach the cross. Preach Jesus Christ and His cross. Preach repentance. Repentance being the turning away from sin to Christ. Will that offend? Most likely. Is it the truth? Most definitely. Preach it to the death if need be. Thank God for those preachers of the gospel who put their lives, and the lives of their family on the line every day. God bless them each and every one.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Holy Seed

The prophet Isaiah is in the Temple in the presence of the LORD of all creation. Humbled, bowing in His presence, and God calls Isaiah to go to a people who are stiffnecked, hardhearted, obstinate, and unworthy of the grace of the One who made us all. But, then, doesn’t that sound familiar. Does that not fit for all people, of all times, in all countries and cultures?

What would you do with such a call? A great and humbling call from the YHWH.

“Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,  And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.  But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” Isaiah 6:11-13 (KJV)

It almost seems crude to my mind to think that God would command a prophet like Isaiah to preach, and tell him, “But no one is going to listen. Their hearts will grow hard”. Yet there are times, and I think it is most of the time I fully understand. We human beings can reach points in our lives where we want our way, and it must be when we want it, and how we want it. It does not matter if God fits in the equation or not.

The prophet’s heart must be broken. To think that he is going to preach his heart out, but there will be no converts, there will be no repentance on the part of the masses of people. Instead God is promising to remove his people from their land, the cities lying in waste – destroyed, and they will be carried away captive. They are given the opportunity of repentance, reject it and we know from the history of Judah; they went into the Babylonian captivity approximately 150 years later. How could Isaiah preach that? Was he a doomsday prophet? Not in the least.

Isaiah was a man of God, proclaiming the truth of God, to the people of God. They rejected the message, refused repentance, and a return to God. The last verse of chapter six is a verse which has much hope and promise for God’s people. “Like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is the stump.” v. 13 (ESV). Cut a tree down, leave the stump, and it won’t be long and saplings will begin to grow from that stump. Often, it is not just one sapling, but several. To say God is finished with this Nation is to say God is finished with the fulfilling of His Word, and I am not yet in Heaven with Him, so that leaves that out.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Heart To Go

Prophet’s Possible Perspective

Awesome is the cleansing power of the LORD God. The coal taken from the altar by the angel was a fierce burning heat, purging my unclean lips of their filth.

The presence of the glory of the LORD is truly something wonderful. He came to me and asked me a question. Here are His words –

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” Isaiah 6:8-10 (KJV)

One thing I know from God’s calling on my life and that is that He truly loves this people of His. He is gracious, loving, forgiving, and full of mercy. He has placed a burden on my heart for this rebellious and stubborn people. There is judgment that is coming because this people has grown so complacent, and apathetic.

When the LORD asked the question, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” I immediately responded, “I will go. Send me.” I have seen the chaos of my peoples lives. There are few who are following the LORD, and they are not the elite among us. There is a family scattered here and there whose heart’s are given to the worship of the LORD of hosts. They can make very little impact with the immoral leadership of our nation. People usually follow the moral direction of their leadership.

We are a prosperous nation. There is much wealth among us, and no one sees any danger on the horizon, but it is coming whether they see it or not. That is the reason I have answered God’s call to go and preach to this people, even with the caveats He has given me concerning their reactions to His Word.

They will keep on hearing, but not understand; keep on seeing, but not perceive. Their hearts will be made dull. Their ears made heavy with the preaching of the Word, and simply because it is continually rejected. O, that my people would hear and obey. Do they not know that the more they hear and reject the more they will grow lethargic to God and His Word. They hear themselves into disobedience and rebellion. They have grown cold and God just seems to be a convenience, rather than the person of devotion and worship He is truly worthy of.

It is sad that I am to be the instrument of God that will cause the truth of God’s Word to be hidden from their hearts and minds. It is only because their hearts have grown hard. When people continue to turn a deaf ear to the Word of God and His way for their lives they will not hear and obey when judgment is imminent, and that is the way of the ministry to which I have been called. There will be little to no repentance. Call on the name of the LORD while you have the heart for it. Do not delay.

“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near…” Isaiah 55:6 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Unharnassed; No Boundaries

Do we ever stop to think what our lives would be without boundaries, without rules, without laws? It is as though we think they hinder our freedom; provoke us to evil or something. Car commercials have spoken about going outside the boundaries – usually referring to driving off road – and if they are equipped for it, then in a car, I would say, “Go for it.” However, for people, boundaries, lines, and laws give us definition, purpose, and direction.

How does it look for little children who are learning to use crayons, and a coloring book, and they get out of the lines? We will make over a one or two year old who uses their “skills” and it is cute to watch them take the different colors, and do their best, and they will always get wild and out of the lines. We tell them how good they have done, but the only thing that gives us a clue as to what they have colored is the lines under the coloring. When a child gets a little older we expect more from them, and expect them to color within the lines, and use good colors for the article, as they get older there should be no more coloring outside the lines.

Are harnesses and boundaries necessary in a free society? Most definitely. They are even more necessary in a free society. Israel was a theocratic government; meaning God our Creator was the Sovereign ruler of the nation. They were to follow the laws, commandments, statutes, word, ordinances, testimonies, and precepts of God which had been given them through Moses, the priests and the prophets. There is no country on earth that I know of who does not have laws. These laws, whether they are just or unjust are for the people to follow [when they honor God] for their protection.

The prophet Jeremiah was grieved by the treachery of the leadership of Judah; from the prophets, priests and the kings. They had forsaken God, His laws, His word, and had began following foreign gods which are not gods (v. 7). Jeremiah addresses the leadership of Judah:

“I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased. How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” Jeremiah 5:5-9 (KJV)

The “yoke” is what was used for the oxen for plowing the field, pulling a cart, and other farm work. It was a means by which the farmer controlled the oxen, to plow a straight line, and to bring the oxen back to the barn for their safe keeping. We see a picture here of the leadership of Judah having broke the laws of God that was there to give them guidance, direction, and definition; and leaving them at the mercy of the surrounding enemy. One of the greatest things we can see in this picture is that God loves His children. However when God’s children break His law, His words, His commandments; they step outside the area of God’s protection and provision, and providence.

The oxen that breaks its yoke and is “free” is at the mercy of the “…lion out of the forest…”, and the “…wolf of the evenings..” and the speedy “leopard” watching over them. As the farmer would desperately try to round up the oxen, bring them back to the barn/stable; so God pleads with His people to return to Him putting away all the evil of their hearts.

Can we not hear the heart of God as He pleads with the leadership of Judah, “Thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses”? God had blessed Israel and Judah for many years, and they turn against Him; forsake Him, and turn to other gods which are not gods at all, but mere pieces of wood, stone, or jewels, or precious metals. They have turned from worshipping the Creator to worshipping the creation.

It is sad to realize that when God had blessed Judah so abundantly that their hearts grew cold toward God, His Word, His prophets, and faithful priests. As the heart grows cold toward God; cravings, desires for other things begin to affect the mind and heart. God shows that blessing without harnesses, laws, boundaries; if you will; leads to ungodly deeds, and is rebellion against God. Blessed minds without following the law of God will end with a heart as a “lusty stallion” (v. 8 NKJV, ESV). Adulterous minds, and hearts prevailed in the leadership of that day progressing into the very act of adultery with a house of prostitution; and stealing what belonged to others (Proverbs 6:26-35).

The horse that is still a stallion goes after every mare that he senses, and is hard to control. These leaders were as those stallions when it came to their positions of power; it was as though it was due them. No man’s wife was off limits in their thinking, and it almost seems that there are some religious leaders like that today [2009].

We should consider it a great, awesome, mighty, and wonderful think to have a visit from God – “Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD”. This visit was not one that we should want or desire. It is somewhat like the father visiting the son in his bedroom following a day of causing Mom problems. That boy would just as soon be out of the house when Dad gets home.

The heart of the child of God longs for the visit of the LORD when He will come with arms outstretched welcoming us into His presence. We should be thankful for those visits which are as the one above when He comes to chastise us. His coming to chastise us proves that we are His children (Hebrews 12:6-8); His coming to visit Judah with all the enemies around them was evidence of His great love for this chosen people.

When we live in faithfulness to God, His Word, and His Son Jesus Christ then, we have the great blessing of our worship in Him, and great pleasure to His name and glory. There is only one way into the pleasure and glory of God and that is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He fulfilled all the requirements of righteousness. When we sin we have an Advocate with the Father (1 John 1:9-2:1), and we are cleansed from all our sin.

Let’s walk, live and die in His blessings. Let’s be faithful to Him in all that we do. We do it through the power of Christ within us, ie., the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself is our Harness, and our Boundary. And we are free from sin and its bondage.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Renewed Covenant

Abraham’s faith is really amazing.  He believes God to within inches of taking the life of his son Isaac.  We must not overlook, though, the faith of Isaac; the trust he places in his father, and in God.  The two, father and son have gone that journey up the mountain which the LORD told Abraham of, and they have gone alone.

The man of faith built the altar, tied the hands and feet of his son, laid him on the wood, then took the knife to slay his only promised son.  His hand is stayed by the angel of the LORD; and the LORD speaks to Abraham:

“And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.” Genesis 22:15-19 (KJV)

The “angel of the LORD” speaks as being the LORD Himself.  “By Myself have I sworn…”.  The beginning covenant is renewed.  His son has been restored to him, and totally given to the LORD at the same time.  He gave up what he could not keep to gain what he could never lose.  This “angel of the LORD” is most certainly, again, the preincarnate manifestation of the Living Word of God; the Son of God who would become flesh and dwell among us.  He spoke as God, for God, because He is God.  This was no created being who was speaking; this was God speaking.  This was God who spoke with authority.  It was God who made, and renews the covenant with Abraham.

It is sad to see that in our day many nations are turning against Israel, the people who have been given this covenant.  In the end it will mean certain judgment upon any and all nations who will not be a blessing to Israel.  All the nations have been blessed through Israel.

It is through Israel that we have the written word of God; from Genesis through the Revelation these have been written and preserved by the people of Israel; their priests, prophets, kings, fishermen, with the exception of maybe one; and that is the doctor Luke who penned down the Gospel of Luke, and the book of  “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” or “Acts”.  We have also received from Israel the One who has done more for Israel and the nations of the world than all the men and women who have ever lived; and done more for every individual who has ever lived – He is Jesus.

The final verse of our text for today tells us that only Abraham returned to the servants who were left while Abraham and Isaac went to the mountain top alone.  Where is Isaac?  There is another picture given us here by the silence, and the absence of Isaac in the text.  He is not mentioned, nor seen again until chapter 24.  There Isaac is mentioned as father Abraham and his servant prepare to find a bride for him.

The picture given is of our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ from the grave, ascended to glory in the  presence of His Father, while the Father and the Servant who glorifies our Lord, seeks for Him a bride.  Isaac is not seen again in the text until Genesis 24:62-67, and it is when Rebekah is brought to him to be his bride.

The Father  and the Holy Spirit are working today in the absence of our Lord Jesus preparing a Bride for our Savior, the Son of the Living God.  While He is absent from us in body, we; those of us who know Him; have the promise of His soon appearing to claim His chosen Bride.  We are daily being prepared to appear before Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Who Is Jesus???

The question, the title of this article  is still one that is often asked; even in this modern, or post-modern society.  Does it really matter who Jesus is?  Some think so, and that includes myself.

There is plenty of historical evidence that a man named Jesus lived during the time of the one named in the New Testament.  Was he just a man who was different from all men, and inspired great hope in others; or was He something more?

Many of the world religions believe Jesus lived, but to Mohammed he was only a prophet.  The god [Allah] of Mohammed has no son.  The followers of Mohammed need no one to die in their place.  To many other religions of the world they seem to all place Jesus in the realm of a “great teacher” or a “great prophet”, but Son of God, or God incarnate?  NO!

The question has even came up in talk shows concerning the matter of Jesus.  There are well known people, celebrities who tell things such as “We can all become our own savior, our own god, by becoming a christ spirit, or allowing the christ spirit to inhabit us”.  In my mind it is a mixture of demonism, and self worship; which when it really comes down to the truth is demon worship.

Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”  The following is the full question and the session where Jesus asked the question:

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” Matthew 16:13-20 (KJV)

You will notice that when Jesus had asked the question there were various answers.  “Some say you are John the Baptist; some that you are Elijah; others say you are Jeremiah or one of the other prophets” .  It seems that people may have believed in some form of reincarnation or something.

Let’s think about that question for a moment.  “Who do men say that I [Jesus] am?”  To some he is a good teacher, or a good prophet, or a good example to follow.  Does that really answer who Jesus is?  I really don’t think so.

Jesus’s question includes the term “Son of man”.  For Jesus and His work this was a term of respect, and only used of on other man in history, and that was the prophet Ezekiel.  For Ezekiel it meant that he was a prophet of the Deity.  For Jesus it means much more.

As we look further into this dialogue Jesus asked the great question which all people need to answer.  “Who do you say that I am?”  Who is Jesus to you?  Your answer to this question will determine your destiny for eternity.  There is only one answer which God blesses.

Peter, the hasty one, answered very quickly, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  “Christ” is the annointed one.  This would mean the Messiah of Israel the Annointed One of God.  The Messiah is the Son of God and the Son of man.  God became flesh and dwelt among us.  He is Immanuel meaning “God with us”.    Where did Peters answer; his confession come from?  How did he know this answer?  Listen to the words of Jesus.

“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. “

Jesus blesses Peter for his answer telling him that this did not come from his own mind or flesh, but by revelation from God.  His [Peter’s] answer was more than just an intellectual knowledge, it was heavenly knowledge given him by God the Father.  No one can, in or of themselves, just decide one day that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.  It comes by revelation from God.  When it comes by revelation from God, that is when that becomes a strong conviction one will die for, and it is one worth living for to die for.  Peter would later give his life for the cause of Jesus Christ.

The blessing the Lord gave to Peter was more than just words.  The confession of Peter becomes the bedrock, the foundation upon which the Church [the Body of Christ] is built.  No one comes into Christ apart from this confession.  No one comes without the faith announcement, heart conviction, life changing event, of acknowledging that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Jesus was not saying that Peter was the rock upon which the Church is built.  The Rock is Christ, and our confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Jesus tells  Peter that He gives to him the “Keys to the kingdom”.  Keys represent authority.  With keys we can shut up a building to prevent entry by unauthorized personel.  With keys we secure a car, a truck, a building.  That is what gives us power over what we own, or are given from an approved authority.

The following is from The MacArthur Study Bible on the matter of the “Keys of the kingdom of heaven” –

 

16:19 the keys of the kingdom of heaven.  These represent authority, and here Christ gives  Peter (and by extension all other believers) authority to declare what was bound or loosed in heaven.  This echoed the promise of John 20:23, where Christ gave the disciples authority to forgive or retain the sins of people.  All this must be understood in the context of 18:15-17, where Christ laid out specific, instructions for dealing with sin in the church.”

The MacArthur Study Bible, NKJV, p. 1423

This includes the power that we have in prayer, the leadership in our churches, and our power with God in heaven.

The question remains, “Who is Jesus?”  It does not really matter who others say He is; when it gets down to where the rubber hits the road; then what really matters is who Jesus is to you.

If you do not see Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God, then you are not in a right relationship with God, you are lost, condemned, yet in your sins.  Jesus said to Philip, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9-11).

God, and Father, open the eyes of all who may read this that they may see the truth of who Jesus is, and save them for YOUR own glory.  Amen.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Substitute

Isaac, son of Abraham, the only promised son of Abraham was an obedient, trusting son.  He went all the way with his father to the place “afar off” to a mountain which the LORD showed him.  The faith of Abraham has been seen since Genesis 12, and he has been faithful to God.

Faithful to God does not mean there has not been some times of failure, disobedience or sin; it does mean that in all his faults he always trusted the LORD;  he always returned to God.  Those of us who are Christians are called to a faithful life, a life of faithfulness, and that does not mean there won’t be times we do not fail or fall into sin; it does mean we won’t stay there.

Our study today will include verse 10 once again:

“And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” Genesis 22:10-14 (KJV)

Abraham, believing God would keep His promise of making a great nation through Isaac continues with an obedient act to the LORD God, takes the knife to slay his son, and then hears the “angel of the LORD” call his name.  It seems that the “angel of the LORD” stops the hand of Abraham from its downward motion.  It does not seem too far to say that the LORD stopped Abraham’s hand from slaying Isaac.

There are some things in this event that we must consider.  First of all, Isaac was not a worthy sacrifice (Psalm 14:2-3; Romans 3:10, 23).  He was human, with the uncleanness of sin, as we all are.  No sinful human being can pay the sacrifice for their sins, nor anyone else’s.  Secondly, God has actually forbidden mankind from offering human sacrifice.  Human sacrifice was the practice of the people whom Abraham left in Ur of the Chaldees, and the practice of the people in the land of Canaan, and God’s people are forbidden to practice the evil of the Canaanites.

It seems that we have sacrifice of children in the USA, and in other nations of the world.  We see no value in the unborn so in the past 36 years we have sacrificed 48,000,000 (48 million) unborns to the gods of pleasure and convenience.  Their blood cries out to the thrice  holy God, and condemns the people of the nations who have practiced this unholy act.  The blood of even these is insufficient to atone for the sins of those who committed the acts of treachery and murder.  The unborn children that have been treasonized by their mothers cry out against them, and the “doctors” who have committed treachery against the medical profession.

Abraham’s hand is stayed by our LORD from carrying out the sacrifice showing himself faithful to God.  Abraham turns and sees a Ram caught by his horns in a bush.  Now, how many times would that happen.  On a hill top far away from any other flocks of sheep, God provides a substitute for Isaac.  We are all in need of a Substitute for our sins; a Substitute who will take our place.  If we were to die for our own sins that would mean an eternity apart from God, because our death does not suffice the take away our sin; it also does not provide for us eternal life; but eternal death, apart from God; suffering eternally for our sins.  That is what we deserve.

As the Ram was the substitute for Isaac, so our Substitute is the Lamb of God.  The Ram whose power was yielded to His Father, and was willing to subject Himself to the evil hands of men, be the sacrifice for the sins of all mankind, offering forgiveness to all who will call on His name.

There is forgiveness to all the women who have killed their unborn children, and to the “doctors” who have committed the treacherous acts against the children, the mothers, and the medical profession by their acts of abortion.  Jesus Christ is our Substitute for our sins.  He died on the cross to take away our sins, cleanse us from sin, to be the atonement for our sin, to be the one who took upon Himself the wrath of His own Father, having become sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“Jehovah-jireh” our God has provided well for us through His Son Jesus.  “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).  Be saved, be cleansed of all your sin through faith in Jesus Christ; our Substitute; today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Is It All About Bread???

The Pharisees and Sadducees were a constant heartache to our Lord. As they were supposed to be the religious leaders of Israel during this time they were filled with doubts, unbelief, jealousy, and condemnation of any and all; including our Lord; who were not “letter for letter” correct to their own understanding. Many of these men hated Jesus, very few loved Him.

After dealing with the Pharisees concerning signs (vv. 1-4) Jesus will deal with the disciples concerning their faith, give them warning concerning evil doctrine, and hypocrisy.

“And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:5-12 (KJV)

The disciples must have had their attention diverted by physical need concerning Jesus’s caveat concerning the “leaven of the Pharisees”. It had not been so long ago that they had witnessed the power of the Lord when He took 5 loaves of bread and two small fish, and fed a multitude of 5000 men, plus women and children (14:13-21), then later fed 4000 men, plus women and children with seven loaves a “a few little fishes” (15:32-38). They had forgotten to bring food with them, except for one loaf (Mark 8:14), and they assume that Jesus is speaking of bread.

He speaks of “Leaven”. Of course, leaven is used in bread. It is, however, used to puff up, fluff up, and stuff up. It gives baked goods a fuller appearance than they would have without it. It is my belief that every time there is mention of “leaven” in Scripture, it is as a symbol of hindrance, sin, or evil. Hindrance because when the children of Israel were leaving Egypt they were commanded to prepare bread without leaven (Exodus 12:15-20). They were going to be leaving Egypt very quickly, therefore no time could be taken to allow bread to rise, thus they would have been in rebellion to even have it in their homes. Leaven also represents false doctrine, and hypocrisy (clouds without rain in a time of drought).

There are many professing Christians in our day who do not believe we need to be concerned about doctrine; whether it be right or wrong; just believe something. Anything is okay as long as you sincerely believe something; even if it is that your dog is the reincarnation of Geronimo. Jesus, however, gives an earnest warning to His disciples to “Take heed and beware of the leaven [doctrine] of the Pharisees. It is also a warning of hypocrisy. There is glaring hypocrisy in the Pharisees; requiring things of the people they lead, and give themselves loopholes around their own laws. False doctrine, and hypocrisy seem to go together.

Jesus’s warning is for all Christians of all ages, because we fall into a gross pit of oozing manure when we fall into false teaching and hypocrisy. Very often a pit that is very hard to get out of, or be rescued from.

It is not all about bread. It is not all about physical needs; Jesus meets those needs daily. It is a warning of being sure the doctrine is right and they life is right with God. This means much of the responsibility for remaining correct in what we believe and how we live lays on our own shoulders, and the Spirit of God within us. We can do this by staying true to the Lord in the reading, study, and meditation upon His Word; spending time with Him in prayer – walking with Him daily; faithful attendance to our local church as often as the door is open; and to faithfully serve the Lord by loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves by giving of ourselves in serving others when possible, and sometimes when it gets in our way.

-Tim A. Blankenship