They Fell On Their Faces

And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.   And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.       Leviticus 9:23-24

Leviticus is probably not my favorite book of the Bible, and not of the five books of the Law. It does clearly show us the need of a blood sacrifice for the redemption of us all. It is also clear that the blood, of lambs, goats, rams, and bullocks are not adequate for the taking away of sin. These sacrifices are a foreshadowing of the coming of Jesus Christ to once and for all, and all time, put away our sin.

What Leviticus declares to us is the sinfulness of Adamkind, and our need for a Redeemer. We do know today, that the only redemption for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ poured out at Calvary’s cross where the wrath of the Almighty was put on His Son, and He was judged on our behalf; so that all who come to Him through faith would receive eternal life.

As the people in the days of Moses, and Aaron and his sons fell on their faces when they saw the glory of GOD; we have an even greater reason and privilege to fall on our faces before the Living Son of God, Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. Fall down before Him in repentance and faith; call on His name.

As the LORD Commanded

According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work.   And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.                    Exodus 39:42-43

Reading these chapters of Exodus dealing with the commandments of the LORD of the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and all its furniture, from the ark of the covenant to the brazen altar; and then all the skins that make up all the coverings is almost mind boggling. Then, to read that the men who did the weaving following the heavenly pattern, and Moses checking it and it was all done correctly; just as the LORD commanded. WOW!

The men who were the artist of these works received the commendation of Moses too.

We all enjoy words of appreciation. A question I think of and direct to myself first is this: How often do I speak words of appreciation, and/or show appreciation for those who are ever faithful in doing the Lord’s work? I know we need to express appreciation in all aspects of our lives; let us do that. Let us also show and express our appreciation to those who are faithful in serving the Lord, no matter who it may be. The elderly who can no longer attend church, but were faithful in the work of the church before, and are now continually praying for the church, the pastor and deacons, the secretary, the maintenance, sound people, children’s teachers, and on and on.

To all of you who are faithful to serve the Lord and are doing what the Lord commands in the Church you serve. Thank you and keep up the good and godly work you are doing. God is blessing you.

I also thank all of you who come here to read this blog. You are a blessing and encouragement to me. Thank you.

A Coffin and a Promise

And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.   And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees.   And Joseph said unto his brethren, “I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”   And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.”
So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.         Genesis 50:22-26

After the creation of Adam and Eve, and their placement in the Garden of Eden we find out about sin and death coming through them due to their disobedience to God who made them. We hear of a global flood, where all air breathing animals, except for those God brought to the ark, drowned in the flood, along with every man, woman, and child, except for Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives.

God is gracious and full of mercy. Because of our disobedience sin, trouble, sickness and sorrow plagues this world. He has given us a way of deliverance.

This book, “Genesis” the book of beginnings, begins in a garden, and ends at a grave. The grave is that of Joseph. He had served as an Egyptian ruler for about 80 years.

Joseph was hated and sold by his brothers at about the age of seventeen, sold to Potiphar in Egypt and served him for about 13 years including the time he spent imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. At the age of thirty he was brought out of the prison to interpret the dream of Pharaoh, which he did and doing so was appointed as a ruler, just under Pharaoh himself, and delivered his people who had sold him, and Egypt and the world. At the age of one hundred ten years Joseph died.

God does not leave us at the grave alone though. There is a promise given by Joseph from God. “God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.” It was a promise that originally given to Abraham, “And He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”  Genesis 15:13-14.

God’s promises written in His word, not some that are contrived by human imagination, are always fulfilled. When we read Exodus which takes place about four hundred years later that is what we see; God keeping His promise to His people.

God’s great promise to people today is believe My Son, and you believe me. His Son, Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again. If you do not know Him, call on His name today and be delivered from the condemnation of sin.

On The Third Day

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.  Genesis 22:4

Abraham, the father, had been directed by God to sacrifice his only son.  Father and son were going to a certain place, to carry out the command of the Most High God.  Remember Abraham had been promised that through “Isaac his seed would be called”, and that God would make of him a great nation.

Keep the word of faith spoken by Abraham in mind which he spoke in verse 5, and Hebrews 11:17-19. Abraham was certain of God’s delivering power.

Remember now the third day following the sacrifice of God’s only Son Jesus, if you will; now consider this.  When Abraham and Isaac went on together; in the mind of Abraham Isaac was already sacrificed, that is what he was doing, where he was going.  On this third day Isaac was delivered by a ram caught by his horns in the bush; now consider this Isaac’s resurrection .

Jesus and the Father were at the cross, the sacrifice for our sins.  What Jesus did He did alone for you and me.  He bled, He died, He was buried, and three days later He came out of that grave bodily; and He forever lives.

Believe Him and be saved.

They said That He was Making Himself God

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them,
“Many good works have I shewed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me?”
The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.”       John 10:31-33

There are religious cults who say that Jesus Christ was not God. One even goes so far as to change what they call their version of the scriptures to read that He was “a god,” they would be saying that He was making a false claim about Himself.

One way to properly interpret what the Bible says, and what Jesus says is to study the culture of the time we are studying and the teaching, in this case of the religious leaders.

The Jewish leaders of Jesus’s day knew what Jesus was saying when He said, “I and My Father are One” (John 10:30); and there are many other references in John 8 through 10; as well as other verses in other chapters of the gospels; where Jesus clearly calls Himself Deity.

Jesus tells us in John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.”  The words Jesus spoke in this verse are clearly of deity. For Him to say that they would die in their sins if the did not believe that He is who He says He is will be their death in their sins; their damnation eternally.

Dear friends, will You receive Jesus Christ for who He says He is? He is the Christ – the Messiah – the Son of God, and the Incarnation of God, God the Son who came to die on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He came out of the grave with a flesh and bone body (Luke 24:39), and is eternal.

Dead On The Cross

All Thy works shall praise Thee, O LORD; and Thy saints shall bless Thee. They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom, and talk of Thy power; to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.  Psalm 145:10-13

But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.  And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.  For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “A bone of Him shall not be broken.”  And again another Scripture saith, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”        John 19:34-37

The Psalm tells us that the works of God shall praise Him. As far as Adam’s race is concerned the great gift of God, the great work of God is the sending of His Son Jesus to be the  propitiation for the sins of Adam kind. Jesus said it, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent”  (John 6:29). This is the great work or God that ought, I say, that ought to get our attention; and partly because of the above verses of John 19:34-37.

The verses of John prove that Jesus was dead. He was not faking His death; not swooning as some call it. He died. He was dead on the cross. He showed that His death was under the power of His Father, that no man could take His life from Him; He gave it Himself. Why do I say that? His legs did not get broken a fulfillment of Psalm 34:20. The two who were crucified with Him had their legs broken to cause their near immediate death; but the death of Jesus was in the Father’s power.

They did not break His legs because He was already dead. Romans knew dead when they seen it. The one soldier took his spear and pierced the side of Jesus and out flowed blood and water fulfilling another Scripture prophecy in Zechariah 12:10; also see The Revelation 1:7.

John wrote this as he was witness to the death of Jesus. His testimony was true when he wrote it, and it is true today and for all eternity. He tells us why he wrote it as well. He wrote this testimony that we might believe.

The death of Jesus on the cross was the payment for our sins, Jesus becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21); His burial was another evidence that He was dead and that He took our sins far away; and His resurrection was for our justification and evidence that all the words that Jesus had spoken were indeed truth and power of who He is.

Believe Him today.

Persistent Praying

And He said unto them,
“Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?’ And he from within shall answer and say, ‘Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.’ I say unto you, ‘Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.'”                                            Luke 11:5-8

In this short illustrative story Jesus is teaching us about persistent prayer. Persistence is related to having a burden, a need so great that you will not give up on seeing that it comes to pass.

Please note that I said “Need” not “want”. For the child of God the greatest need we see in our families, and  for our neighbors, and for strangers is that they need to recognize their lostness, their great need to turn from their sin, and to trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

In Jesus’s story it is of a friend who goes to a neighbor at midnight. The man has had a guest show up and he does not have the means of feeding and being a proper host to that friend. In his “troubling” his neighbor he awakens him from sleep to ask for help. It was a shame to a family in that day for a hosting family not to care for their guest by feeding them, even washing their feet. The man persist with his neighbor and finally wins out, because of his need and his persistence.

Now God our Father in Jesus Christ never sleeps, and He is never disturbed by our prayers. He is more disturbed by our lack of prayer, and especially our lack of persisting in prayer. If we have a great need, we ought to desire it so much; in His name; that we keep asking until God answers. We must remember it will be according to His will and in His time.

Do you have a lost friend, family member, neighbor? Are you continuing in prayer for them? Do not give up and quit. Keep on praying. Do you have a health need, or know someone who has a great health need? Keep praying, and be persistent in praying.

Read verses 9 through 13 as well.

Two Foundations

And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to Me, and heareth My sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.                                                         Luke 6:46-49

Jesus is speaking of two different hearts.  Everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” will not enter His kingdom (Matthew 7:21). Just because one professes “Jesus is Lord” does not make it so.

Doing what He says is the fruit of our confession of Jesus. Believing Him and doing is the work of God which brings forth fruit of salvation, and Jesus is Lord of one’s life.

The one who lays the foundation of faith in Him, plus nothing, minus nothing, will have the faith that stands the test and trials of every storm, wind and rain, and flood.

If we say “Jesus is Lord” then let us build on that foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11). He is the exclusive way, the only way to God the Father, eternal life, peace and joy (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

Gain the World and Lose Your Soul

And when He had called the people, with His disciples also, He said unto them,
“Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:34-38

When the culture and the world around us is promoting self, “Love yourself”, and as I mentioned yesterday, “Me too”, the Bible, Jesus still says, “Deny yourself”.

That is what the Christian life really is. It is a life of being a blessing to others by living as  God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit guides us in His word. This adulterous and sinful generation does not need us to be like them. The world and the self loving culture needs to see us losing our lives for the name of Jesus Christ.

If you are thinking, “But no one will like me,” or “No one will promote me,” or “I won’t have any friends;” then, you deny the Lord Jesus and lose your own soul, and the Father and the Son will also be ashamed of you.

The answer is “Take up your cross” that is lay your life down for Him, and follow Him, and you will be blessed by Him.

More Than Washing Feet

So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them,
“Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”                                   John 13:12-15

This was the final full day of Jesus’s life. He was quite aware of His destiny, and the end result He knew to be victorious, and He and His Father would be glorified.

Jesus gets down on His knees, takes a bowl and a towel, and has washed the disciples feet. He is teaching them, and all who read of this event a great lesson. It is much more than washing feet; it is living a life for others; even loving them unto death of one’s self.

How willing am I to give my life to save the life of another person? Maybe for my wife, my children, grandchildren; but for a neighbor. Willing to serve a neighbor in need? Yes! Dying to save the life of a neighbor, especially one I do not know? One who possibly even dislikes me? I would be willing to help them change a flat tire on their car, maybe, if I saw their house about to catch fire get it put out before it starts burning. But to give my life? How about you?

Lord Jesus, You gave Your life for me, and even now I know You have washed my feet, and I see that clearly by Your death on the cross for my sins, Your burial, and finishing the work by rising from the dead. Help me to be willing, and when and if it is needed that I give my life for one in need.

The Great Shepherd and His Sheep

Jesus answered them,
“I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: 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. I and My Father are one.
                                                                   John 10:25-30

They have shown not only doubt, but also great contempt for Jesus and His teachings; not believing His words or His works. The religious rulers who worshiped their religion rather than the One who deserved the worship.

They had just asked, more like demanded, that Jesus show them He was the Messiah. They wanted Him to do some glorious thing. They were blind to the truth of who is was and is. He had already did mighty works which they tried to contribute to the power of the devil. They were in truth rejecting the teachings of Moses, and they claimed to be his disciples.

These verses of our text today are from the “Good Shepherd” text where Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd” (v. 14), and all who hear His voice are His sheep and they follow Him.

From the text above let us glean a few things from it.

First, Jesus works in His Father’s name, and the works He does is His witness as to who He is.  Second, these accusers do not believe Him and are not His sheep.  Third, Jesus’s sheep hear His voice, Jesus knows them, and they follow Him. Fourth, He gives those who are His sheep and follow Him eternal life. Fifth, all those who are His sheep will never perish, neither will they ever be plucked out of His hand. Sixth, it is His Father who gives Him these sheep. Seventh, none is able to pluck them out of the Father’s hand. Jesus then tells us that He and the Father are One.

When you receive eternal life is at that moment you have in repentant faith called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, receiving His gift of grace given us by the death of Jesus on the cross, His burial, and He rising from the grave, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews 1:1-3). Do you hear His voice? Call out to Him.

Lord Of The Elements

And when even was now come, His disciples went down unto the sea, and entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But He saith unto them,
“It is I; be not afraid.”
Then they willingly received Him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.                                              John 6:16-21

Walking on water. Only one Man ever accomplished doing that with success. There is the gospel account where Jesus bids Peter to come to Him, Peter gets out of the boat and does for a moment, but when he sees the waves, the rough sea around him, he sinks calling for the Lord to help him (Matthew 14:26-31).

So who has the authority to take control over the elements, and to command others to even do so, but God? No one.

We must recognize who Jesus Christ is. He is in fact the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ, the Sent One by God. He is in fact the Son of God, the Son of Man, the God-Man who is fully God and fully Man. He is Man, yet without sin. He can walk on water. He can calm the storms.

He can also heal the sick, cause the cripple to walk and leap about, open the eyes of those born blind, open the ears of the deaf, and the mouth of the mute. He still went to the cross bearing the sins of the world, dying; and He was buried taking away all our sin, shame, guilt and condemnation; and He arose and came out of that grave, and forever lives seated by the Father’s right hand.

Repent of your sins, believe Him and be saved.

An Already Condemned World, Loved By God

For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but He that believeth not is condemned already, because He hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.                   John 3:17-21

There are many who believe that God in the Old Testament, and God in the New Testament are two separate persons. That, however, comes from an ignorance of the Old Testament.

God in the Old Testament is a God of love too. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, it was God’s love that provided covering for their sin and nakedness. It was His love that saved Noah and his family to redeem Adam’s race.

Because of Adam’s sin in the garden we were all born into sin. Born with a sin nature, separated from God, condemned for eternity. This message is prevalent through out Scripture. It is also clearly seen that God loves the race of Adam – that is people from every tribe, tongue and nation.

In His love God sent His only begotten Son to be our Redeemer, so that through Him we might have everlasting life.

There are many who love their sin and darkness more that they do the light, glory and forgiveness of God. They love darkness rather than light. They love their own way rather than God’s way; therefore, they continue in their condemnation.

The answer for Adam’s race is hear the words of Jesus Christ, call on His name, repenting of your sin, believing Him and He will hear you and give you life eternal.

See Romans 8:1.

The Promise from a Dying Man to a Dying Man

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, “If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us.” But the other answering rebuked him, saying, “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss.” And he said unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” And Jesus said unto him,
“Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.”           Luke 23:39-43

We think that dying men cannot keep promises made while they are dying. However, there is a man who did make a promise to another dying man as they were both dying.

Of course, if you are one of those people who do not believe in life after death, then this will not be real in your realm of thought. It is however true whether you believe it or not.

Jesus Christ, as He was bleeding and dying next to the man on His right and the one on His left is the One who made the promise; and it is certain that He fulfilled that promise to the other dying man who made the request “Remember me.”

The two guilty men had been mocking Jesus along with the unbelieving crowd. Something happened in the heart and mind of the one, and he believes Jesus is the only real answer for what lies ahead. He calls out to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

On the cross Jesus gave him the promise of being with Him in “Paradise” that very day. Why did He give him his request? He believed the Lord was who He said He is.

There is a blessed eternal life of joy, peace and rest with Jesus through faith in His death on the cross, the burial, and bodily resurrection.

Believe Him and call on His name today, and you will have the assurance that He will keep His promise.

When Will Jesus Come Again?

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.      Luke 21:25-28

The prophets and the Psalms foretold the first coming of Jesus, Immanuel, and He came. His purpose and mission in coming the first time was to redeem unto Himself a people who were in need of redemption, a people He loves, despite the evil of their hearts, and hatred for Him. His mission was to go to Jerusalem and die on a cross.

That mission was a complete success. He died on the cross taking all the sins of the world; because He loves the world; and He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and took the wrath of God for our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6), He died and was buried, then He arose and came out of the grave; and when we call on His name, turning from sin, we receive His Righteousness.

Since those Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled to the letter we can rest assured that the Old Testament prophecies concerning His second coming will be fulfilled as well. Since Jesus spoke the words above, and He is the Truth, the Way and the Life it should be doubly sure that He is coming again. But when?

We cannot know the day or the hour; but we can see from the word of Jesus that it will be during the ending of the worst times the earth has or ever will see.

The time Jesus speaks of is following a time of great tribulation on earth, that Jeremiah the prophet calls, “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), and the whole world turns against Israel, and tries to destroy them, and many people all around the world will be killed by plagues, fear, and earthquakes, violent storms and so much more.

My point today is, Jesus is coming again. He is coming again in power and great glory. You may not believe it, but do not be in doubt but believing that every word God has spoken in His word will come to pass just as He has said. Believe Him, so it will not be too late.

Faith and Duty

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said,
“If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, ‘Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea;’ and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, ‘Go and sit down to meat?’ And will not rather say unto him, ‘Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?’
Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.'”
         Luke 17:5-10

The disciples have come to Jesus asking Him “Increase our faith” (v, 5), and Jesus tells them the above words in part of His answer.

What can we learn from His lesson? First, we must have our faith solely in the One who gives it, and that is God through His Son Jesus. Second, we must go about our duty to Him with love and admiration without expecting anything except the pleasure of knowing Him and serving Him. Thirdly, we need to see ourselves as unworthy of the duty that we have, and be grateful for such a great privilege.

This goes back to loving God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strengths. When we truly love God we will love our neighbors; then we can have the faith that moves sycamine trees into the sea.

I guess I am not there yet; but I am learning.

The Place Called Hell

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” But Abraham said, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
Then he said, “I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” Abraham saith unto him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” And he said, “Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.” And he said unto him, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
          Luke 16:19-31

It has been noted by others that “Jesus said more about hell, than He did about heaven” and He did teach much about hell in the above Scripture.

We do not hear much about hell in today’s pulpits. “It offends too many people” some will tell us. If we as pastors and preachers of the gospel fail to warn people of hell; who will?

Hell is the destination; eternal destination; of all who refuse to believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again. Those who refuse to come to Him in repentance and faith believing in His great love, mercy, and grace.

For those who believe there is everlasting life in the presence of the Lord Jesus, the glory of the Father.

Hell is an everlasting eternal fire of torment. Heaven is everlasting glory, and enjoyment of the presence of Holy God, made available to us by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross for all our sins, and carrying them away in His burial, and rising victoriously over death, hell and the grave.

Call on His name. Believe Him and be delivered from your sins.

The Light

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.
Luke 11:33-36

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” He went on to say in that same verse, “…He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  (John 8:12).

When we live for Christ His light burns in our lives and it cannot be hidden in a secret place or put under a basket, but out for all who see us will be able to see that the light of Jesus Christ is within us. There will be a single focus on the life in which the Light of Jesus Christ dwells. That single focus will be of loving, worshiping, honoring and adoring the Lord Jesus.

In First John the apostle wrote, “This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1:5).  When we walk in the Light of Christ we are “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), which will be visible as the world passes by.

Turn to the Light of Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead. It is His light that exposes the evil of our hearts, and in the world, and sets the soul free for all who will come to Him.

Mystery of the Kingdom of God

And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, He spake by a parable:
“A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold.”
And when He had said these things, He cried,
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”                               Luke 8:4-8

I will not share any comment or commentary on this parable, but to ask, Do you have ears to hear? If you are without understanding or hearing it, then read the whole of Luke chapter 8.

The Blessed For the Sake of the Son of Man

And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said,
“Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”
                                              Luke 6:20-23

The poor of whom Jesus is speaking are those who are poor in their view of themselves and their spiritual state, a broken and contrite heart is what God desires, and those are blessed.

It is also true of those who hunger for righteousness, those who weep because they see much wrong doing against what is holy, righteous and good, according to the Biblical definition; not the cultural or societal definition.

The world we live in, today’s culture and society hate holiness, righteousness, and the good defined by the word of God. They also hate all who stand on a Biblical world view. We can see many working against all that is godly.

What we are to do as the followers of Jesus Christ is to grow in our faith of Him, not follow the world’s way. Be faithful in teaching the word of God, be faithful in living the teachings of the word of God, and grow in our love for Him, also growing in our continued faith of His love, grace, mercy, holiness, righteousness and justness.

If you have slid backwards away from Him, now is the time to fall on your knees in repentance, and come back to faithful obedience and love for Him.

If you have never called out to Jesus Christ, He is the One who died for your sins on the cross, taking the place we all deserved, He died, was buried, and He rose again. Believe Him and receive forgiveness, and eternal life with Him.

Good Tidings… To All People

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”                                Luke 2:8-12

Yes! This is a message which is typical for the Christmas season. I know that it is not yet that season; at least for me it is not. Yet, this message is needed year round.

The message of God’s love for Adam’s race is never out of date, out of time, neither is it too early, ever. God’s message of love and grace is always right on time, and for every season.

The message we need to see today are the words of the angel of the Lord, “Fear not” is first spoken to the shepherds who were watching over their sheep. It is a message of “good tidings,” “great joy” and to “all people.”  What people?  All people.

The birth of Jesus Christ that evening so many years ago is still a message of salvation for all who will hear Him and answer His call, believing Him to the place of loving obedience.

The good news, “good tidings” is that Jesus Christ the Son of God, has come into the world to save us from our sins, through His death on the cross, His burial and resurrection. The “great joy” comes by hearing and believing Him. Who did He come to save? All people who will hear Him and believe.

The Guilty Over The Innocent

Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired.  And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate answered them, saying, “Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?”
For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.                                                              Mark 15:6-11

The perfect, sinless, spotless, Son of God is on trial for His life. Why? Because of the envy of the religious rulers who hate Jesus with a passion.

Of course prophetic Scripture was being fulfilled just as God had spoken it even hundreds of years before the sad event took place.

The hard hearts of the vile, envious men in Jerusalem would rather a guilty, murderous man go free, than for the innocent Son of God be set free.

People today might say, “How cruel” or “How unjust”; but I charge that should Jesus be born into our day, and come into our churches (if they would even let Him in) and synagogues, they would still set the guilty man free, and convict the Innocent one.

Where do you stand today? With the guilty murderer, or the sinless, perfect, and innocent Son of God?

 

Hypocrisy Addressed

And He said unto them in His doctrine,
“Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.” Mark 12:38-40

Jesus addressing the issue of hypocrisy sees it in these “scribes” who were “keepers” of the law. Not meaning they practiced the law, but were the ones who kept it in tact in the writings. The scribes deemed their work so highly they demanded recognition for their labors.

They were good at their skill, yet did not practice what they wrote down. Those who demand recognition probably do not deserve it; because they do not practice what they teach.

Those who deserve recognition, of course are those who quietly go about their task, their duties, their labors without complaint, and without expecting anything more than the peace and contentment of a job well done.

Let us live for Christ by loving Him with all our souls, all our hearts, all our minds, and all our strength; and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves (loving them and treating them the way we desire to be loved and treated).

Let us stop living for any recognition or praise of men; and be content and at peace with our calling in life through faith in Jesus Christ

The House of Prayer

And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And He taught, saying unto them,
“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer?’ but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy Him: for they feared Him, because all the people was astonished at His doctrine. And when even was come, He went out of the city.       Mark 11:15-19

In the reading of Scripture it becomes quite apparent that there is a theme that comes “Leaping out of the pages,” and it is this; that God desires the world to know that He is the LORD (Jehovah or YaHWeH). It is also quite apparent that God, being holy and righteous and just is also loving and has shown the world His great love.

God is jealous to defend His holiness, and that is seen in the above text. The scene of the verses above is Jesus, for the second time cleansing the temple of avarice and greed being in His house. The first time of cleansing John writes,

And when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables… John 2:15

The first time was near the beginning of His ministry; the second was within the final week of His life and work.

It is mentioned by Ezekiel over 60 times “You shall know (or They shall know) that I am the LORD”. The house that Jesus was cleansing the last time was when He left it never to return to it before He died for the sins of the world.

His dying on the cross for the sins of the world is a clear display of the love of God for all the people of the world. Jesus Christ took upon Himself all our sins, and bore the judgment of our sin from His Father for all who will call on His name. Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.

Believe and call on His name.

Without Honor

But Jesus said unto them,
“A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”
And He could there do no mighty work, save that He laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And He marvelled because of their unbelief. And He went round about the villages, teaching.                      Mark 6:4-6

There are preachers and pastors who do not deserve any honor. That is a sad thing to see and to say. Why would one not deserve honor?  Because they demand it.

I do not see myself as worthy of honor from the people God has given me to shepherd, to feed the word of God, and to lead them to still water, and green pastures. There are many men of God who do, simply because they are being faithful to preach the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and lead by example in a holy, and sanctified life which gives honor and glory to Christ.

God has given me the opportunity to pastor seven different churches in the past 37 years. The Church I am endeavoring to be the pastor of I have been there twice and is the Church I grew up in, was saved in, where I surrendered to preach and they licensed and ordained me to preach the gospel. I only pray that God bless this ministry with souls coming to faith in Jesus, and that will see the need in the Jenkins community for many to come to Jesus Christ.

Six of the churches I have endeavored to be the pastor of were and are in the State of Missouri. I said “were” because the first Church I was at closed its doors about one year after I resigned, and is no longer a church. That was one of the saddest things I heard; when they closed their doors.

One of the blessings I have received is to be the pastor of a Church in the State of California; a small town in the Cuyama Valley, about 150 or so miles north of Los Angeles. We were only there for 16 months, but I think I visited every one in town, and the people of the New Cuyama Valley Baptist Church showed my wife and I great love, honor and respect, and showed much respect for the preaching of God’s word.

I realize these words do not have much to do with the text above, but I tell it only to say, Show honor to whom honor is due, and that is your pastor. Many pastors labor in ministry from sunrise to sunset and even sometimes into the very early hours of the morning. One of the best ways to honor your pastor is to pray for him; he is praying for you.

It is much encouragement to a pastor to hear words of encouragement for his work in the study of God’s word, his preparation of sermons, and the step by step foot work of ministry to you and to others in your community. Honor those who preach God’s word being faithful to the text, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.