Why We Fight For The Faith

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Jude 1:3-4  (KJB)

Resurrection and the Ire It Causes

The reactions of people are wide a varied. When Lazarus had died, and was buried four days Jesus came and spoke to the dead man, and Lazarus got up, and came out.

There were many Jews who saw this and believed in Jesus. Some, not only sought to kill Jesus, but also Lazarus. Religious envy often raises the Ire, the anger, of some religious leaders; and this was one of those cases.

“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that He was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom He had raised from the dead.
But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.” John 12:9-11 (KJB)

You would think that seeing Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead would have opened the eyes of all the Jewish people. Why did it not? Because of their hard heart of unbelief. They trusted a religious system; not God. They loved the attention of the crowds; not God. They loved to have power over the people; not surrendering themselves to the power of God.

Do we not know, that every time a soul comes to Jesus in faith, that is a resurrection from the dead.  That is the greatest miracle of all. That a man, a woman, boy, or girl who calls on the name of Jesus Christ in faith is doing so because they have heard Jesus say “Come”, and because He has made the spirit of that individual hear, just as dead Lazarus did.

Redemption is given us by the grace of God through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is God the Son.

 

Accusation and the Judge

“And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, said unto them, ‘Ye have brought this Man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined before you, have found no fault in this Man touching those things whereof ye accuse Him: no, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto Him.
I will therefore chastise Him, and release.’ ” Luke 23:13-16 (KJB)

During the first days and months of Jesus’s ministry there were those who despised His life and His teaching. For years they sought how they might destroy Him. When we first note this in Scripture is when Jesus stands in a synagogue and reads the prophecy from Isaiah (Luke 4:17-19; Isaiah 61:1-2). There they tried to kill Him.

There are two gospels that tell us that Pilate saw that it was for envy they sought to kill Him (Matthew 27:18; Mark 15:10). They were envious of His power, authority, and His closeness with God. He was, and is in fact God become flesh – God Incarnate. That alone sent them into a tizzy fit.

Now, they have succeeded in a trial of their own making, in secret, very early in the morning, and these have found Him guilty based on false witnesses that their testimony did not even agree. Yet the religious leaders can not condemn any to death; they must get Him before the governor, who is by Roman appointment, and he must declare Him guilty and sentence Him to die by crucifixion.

Pilate, nor Herod found any fault, neither guilt for any crime in Jesus. Pilate wanted to release Him. The people cried “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” They even chose the release of a guilty murderer over the sinless Son of God.

Pilates verdict was “Not guilty”. Jesus the Man who was the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary lived a life without sin, was guilty of nothing, sentenced to die because He was perfect.

Dying on the cross He took the curse that was ours. He was judged by His own Father as guilty, because on the cross He became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). He lives. All who will come to Him He gives eternal life.

Jesus Christ paid the sin debt that was mine and yours. He carried away our sins in His burial. He rose victoriously declaring the sin debt fully paid.

 

Giving From Poverty

“And He looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said,
‘Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.’” Luke 21:1-4 (KJB)

It seems that the wealthy; many of them; like to make much to do about their giving. Though any giving to aid those who are less fortunate, or are experiencing difficult financial times is generous. Being noticed for it, or seeking applause from the populace is not applauded by God.

Jesus, in the verses of Luke above, was sitting near by where the giving box was located, and He must have heard the jingling of the coins as they went into the metal receiving. Those who were more able to give wanted it to sound as though they were giving much, and Jesus noticed a poor widow who put in all that she had.

When it comes to giving who gives more the man with a million dollars who only gives a tenth of his wealth? or the one who lives from week to week on wages, whose take home pay maybe 400 dollars, and he/she tithes from that? I will let you answer that.

A few years ago there was two very well known billionaires who made the announcement, and quite publicly that they were going to give half of their wealth to aid the poor.  Now there is no doubt in my mind that that was a very noble act. Let us think about that for a moment.  At that time the younger one of the two had a net worth of over 50 billion dollars. Now let us think of that. If he was giving half of that to aid the poverty stricken, he still has a net worth of 25 billion. There is absolutely no sacrifice in the giving.

These people that were putting their money in the box were giving from their wealth; that is what Jesus said. The widow was giving all she had, and Jesus applauded this woman for doing so.

At this time of year many people get generous with giving. Giving gifts to family, friends, work associates, etc.  Organizations give food, clothing, and gifts because of the time of year it is.  That is wonderful. Why do we not make it a year round policy to give sacrificially to others in need? One month in a year. That is good.  Great giving would be doing it from January 1 through December 31.

Think of this. Genuine generous giving is when you give until it hurts; and you need to cut back on something for yourself  to give.

Jesus Christ gave us all He had. He gave His life, dying on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again. In Him and through His is life everlasting.

God of The Living

“Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him.” Luke 20:37-38 (KJB)

When He was asked by the Sadducees about a spurious thought, that was only being used to try and trap Him, the Master of life and death gave them that answer.

The Sadducees were a group who did not believe in anything spiritual – no angels, no spirits, no resurrection of the dead. Someone said, “That is why they are sad you see”.

Jesus uses the quotation from Exodus 3:6…

” ‘…Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” Exodus 3:6

Jesus confirms that there is a resurrection; that when this body of flesh and blood dies and lies in the grave, returns to the dust from which it came, that there is life after death. He clearly states that “God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”, and that would include all the other saints who are with Him.

There are many people who do not believe in the resurrection. They are part of the same group of Sadducees, and desperately in need of a change of heart and mind. Hear the voice of the Master today.

You can believe Him, and live forever. You can reject Him and die forever. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again. He is one day returning to separate the believing from the unbelieving.  Where do you fit in?

God is the God of the living.

When God Runs

“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” Luke 15:20 (KJB)

In Luke 15 Jesus tells us three beautiful stories. The first is of a Lost Sheep; the second of a Lost Coin; and the third of a Lost Son. I am dealing with the third today, knowing it is the most remembered one often called the story of the Prodigal Son.

Please read the whole chapter. I will deal mostly with this one verse.

The lost son was lost because he decided to leave the father’s house and go out on his own living (In riotous living), on his inheritance, make friends, and be set for life. He finds himself broke, busted, and bankrupt; and feeding swine, and eating with the very hogs he was feeding. His “friends” had forsaken him, since his money ran out. Something we should all remember is that even as money, the material is temporary; so are people who are friends when you have money.

I like the phrase in verse 17 which states, “And when he came to himself”. He got to thinking. His mind cleared up, and he got to thinking about his father, and the way it could be at home. He humbled himself, went back to his father, to submit to him; not as his son; but to be a servant.

He heads home, and we can see something quite clearly. The father was watching for his son’s return. I can imagine everyday, several times a day he would look down the road in the direction his prodigal son would be coming from, longing to see him treading the way back.

We see the father spotting his son at a far distance, had compassion on him; and I would imagine tears joy and happiness flowing from his eyes; and he runs to greet him. The father prepares a great feast, a party welcoming the son home.

This father represents the God of Heaven. The lost son is anyone who is away from God; out of fellowship with God, and have no joy, peace, or love in their life.

The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ longs for your return. Come to your senses, and know that the Father is waiting for your return. When you start that return He will run to greet you.

When does God run? When ever His wayward child comes home.

The Disciple of Jesus Christ

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33 (KJB)

Jesus has dealt with the cost of following Him in verses 25-33 of Luke 14. Many who have or are thinking of themselves as followers of Christ have truly sacrificed, and given themselves for that great name – the name of Jesus.

There is a cost to being a disciple of Jesus Christ. First of all, your heart and life become His – you are His possession. You are no longer your own. You are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). Secondly, you see as He sees, you believe as He believes. If He has declared something a sin; it is sin. You are in agreement with Him and His word. Human opinion is moot against the word of God. Third, you love Jesus Christ more than family, friends, work, play, sports, deer hunting, hunting, wife, children, grandchildren, and more than your own life (Luke 14:26). In this there are times when you will stand for the truth of God and His word at the disdain of these. Fourth, not the least of these is your greatest treasure is Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34).

The cost of discipleship – of following Jesus – is the cross we must choose to pick up. Let us keep in mind the price He paid that we could do so. He went to the cross, laid down His life, took the judgment that was yours and mine, died, was buried, and then He rose again. Through Him, there is life everlasting.

Hearing

“He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me.” Luke 10:16 (KJB)

Hearing the words and teachings of Jesus, and hearing the gospel is the pathway to knowing the holy, righteous, and Just God. Jesus has pronounced “Woe” upon some cities because of their refusal to hear (Luke 10:13-15).

Many times Jesus says, “He that hath ears, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15; 13:9;  Luke 8:18; 14:35). Of course our ears are for hearing. However, too often we do not hear what is being spoken to us by others even though we are looking them in the face, hearing the words, and their sounds; yet we do not hear.

In the verse above Jesus likens hearing the disciple to hearing Him. It would seem that the “Not hearing” is the despising of the disciple, thus the Lord Himself.

The words of the Lord, even spoken by His children; a born again child of God; is as spoken from the Lord Himself. To reject the word of the Lord is to despise Him. The Dictionary.com site defines “Despise” = “Despise = “to regard with contempt, distaste, disgust, or disdain; scorn; loathe.”

That is certainly not the way a disciple of Jesus Christ should be about hearing the word of the Lord. It is, however, the attitude of many.

Let us who are of Christ Jesus have our hearts and minds and ears open to the word of the Lord. Let us have hearing ears, not despising Him. When we hear Jesus Christ we hear the Father as well.

Hear the word of Jesus Christ the Son of God today. Hearing, call on His name in repentant faith believing that He died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and He rose again.

Arise

“And He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, ‘Maid, arise.’ ” Luke 8:54 (KJB)

A young girl who was sick and dying, of the age of twelve. A woman who had had a medical problem of losing blood for twelve years (Luke 8:42, 43). I am not sure of any significance in the years.

There is certainly significance in the Healer.  The woman touches Jesus as He comes through a crowd of people. She reaches out and touches the “border of His garment”, and the blood flow is stopped. She is healed in a moment by the Great Physician. What physicians could not do in twelve years; just one touch of the border of Jesus’s garment, and she is made whole.

Before Jesus gets to the twelve year old girl to heal her, she dies. He makes a statement that the people around her laugh about;

“And all wept, and bewailed her: but He said, ‘Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.’” v. 52

Because of the unbelief He faces He put the mockers out. Jesus takes her by the hand and speaks the words, “Maid, arise” and her spirit, her soul, her life returned to her. She sat up, and Jesus told them to give her something to eat.

The Son of God, the Son of Man, God the Son cares for the lives of people. Yesterday we witnessed in the Word that He raised a widow’s son. Today He heals a woman with a blood issue for twelve years simply by her touch of faith; and he raises a twelve year old girl to life again.

He cares for you. He cared all the way to the cross to die for your sins, and took them upon Himself receiving His Father’s wrath, was buried, and He rose again; and He forever lives. Call on His name. He hears. He saves; and in saving He heals, and raises what was dead to life.

GOD Came Visiting

“And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, ‘That a great prophet is risen up among us;’ and, ‘That God hath visited His people.’ ” Luke 7:16 (KJB)

Her son was dead. The widow was grieving. She had no idea what she was going to do now to live. Her son, the joy of her life; as with any mother; was grieved by her loss.  It also went deeper than that. Her son was her means of a living; buying the groceries, keeping the roof over her head. Now he is dead. [Read of the event in Luke 7:11-17]

As the funeral procession was being carried out for burial they pass by Jesus, and He says to the woman “Weep not” then He touched the bier or coffin, and said to the woman’s son, “Young man, I say unto you, Arise”, and he sat up and spoke. O, what joy must have come into this widow’s heart and life on this blessed day.

That is the event that led up to the verse for today. What would have been my response at seeing a dead man rise before my eyes?  What would your response be?  Probably one of wonder, awe, but also fear.

Knowing the One whom I know now; that is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, who is God the Son; I would, and will always glorify God.

God has visited His people. He sent Jesus His holy, only begotten Son, and He is called Immanuel which is “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). He is the Great Prophet foretold through Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15).

The greatest of miracles which Jesus performs today is when a soul is saved through His death, burial, and resurrection calling on His name in repentance and faith.

Have GOD come visit you today.

The LORD Gives Life

“Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

‘Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, and say, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; ‘Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee in thy blood, ‘Live;’ yea, I said unto thee in thy blood, ‘Live.’ ” Ezekiel 16:1-6 (KJB)

Ezekiel’s word from God for Israel is that “You were found by Me in a state of  death, and dying. No one else took pity on you. There is no other god who found you, and gave you life. I said unto you, ‘Live’ and gave you My grace and mercy.”

The condition of every man, woman, boy, or girl who has ever been born is death. Apart from the grace of God, and the blood of the Lamb of God, who is Jesus Christ there is only death for all.

The only Man who ever lived without sin died for us all, that we might have life through His name. His name is Jesus.

May we not flaunt His grace through licentious, debaucherous, hate filled living which comes from death.

Paul the apostle tells us, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23),  and he also tells us that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

The Lord GOD through faith in Jesus Christ is the only One who gives life. Call on His name.

Know the LORD

“And they shall know that I am the LORD, that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.” Ezekiel 6:10 (KJB)

The phrase “…Shall know that I am the LORD” is used three other times in this chapter (vv. 6, 13, 14), and it is used at least 59 other times throughout the prophecy of Ezekiel. In chapter 6 it is directed toward the nation of Israel, and they are being reminded of why they are in captivity.

God will have His people know that He is the LORD.  That should be a reminder to all people of all days, times, ages, that GOD will do whatever it takes to make His people holy; because He is holy.

In many of the other 59 times the phrase is used it is toward the nations around them.  The LORD desires that people of all lands know that He is the LORD.

To know that He is the LORD is to know Him personally.  Know Him as our Creator, the All Powerful, All Knowing, All Present, and Immutable [Unchanging]  God; also to know Him as Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and King. To know Him is to see Him revealed in the person of His Son Jesus Christ who took all of our sin upon Himself upon the cross, bled and died, was buried, and He rose from death, conquering death, hell, and the grave; and He forever lives as our Mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5).

Turn to Jesus Christ from sin, and know that the LORD, He is the LORD.

Fear Not; For You Shall Not Be Ashamed…

“Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.  For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of Hosts His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called.” Isaiah 54:4-5 (KJB)

I love the “Fear not” of these verses, and all of Scripture.  This one seems to be extra powerful.  It is probably due to the prophecy before it of our Suffering Servant Savior prophecies in chapters 51-53. Their Messiah would come, suffer, and die even by their own religious establishments hands, yet He is “Smiten of God and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4).

Through the sacrifice; the suffering, the bleeding, the dying of Jesus Christ, all of sins debt was paid.

I leave you with more thoughts from F. B. Meyer…

“We have heard the exiles summoned to leave Babylon, and have beheld the Savior becoming the sin-bearer. Here our attention is recalled to the still desolate condition of Jerusalem. See Neh_1:3; Neh_2:3; Neh_2:13-17. Jehovah says, Sing, but Israel replies that she cannot sing so long as she lies desolate. In reply God declares His inalienable love: He is their husband still and has sworn that the waters of death and destruction shall never be able to separate them from Himself. The kindness of His mercy is everlasting, and His covenant of peace shall outlast the mountains and hills.

In the closing paragraph, Isa_54:11-17, we behold the chosen city emerging from her heap of ruins. Watched by the eye of the great Architect, wrought by unseen hands, tested by the line and plummet of righteousness, she arises to fulfill her mission to the world. To inspired hearts it seems as though her common stones are jewels. Her children are taught of the Lord. Every accusing voice is hushed. All weapons of destruction are impotent. The New Jerusalem seems to have come down from heaven.” THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY – F. B. Meyer “The Wondrous Love of God” on Isaiah 54:1-17

What To Do When Evil Surrounds Us

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:12-15 (KJB)

Christians who live godly lives will suffer persecution. Have you ever been laughed at because of the simplicity of your faith in  Christ, the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to cleanse, to heal, to redeem, and get us into the presence of Holy God? Have you ever been threatened for your faith in Him? How about beaten and maybe left for dead?

Evil abounds in this world. Anyone who has eyes and ears knows there is evil in this  world; and it is in the hearts of the people who live on this planet.  As Christians we must guard our own hearts and minds through the word of God and prayer.

The Apostle tells us that “Evil men and seducers shall become worse and worse…” The evil ones are not only those who would do us physical harm; but also those who would do us spiritual harm by teaching lies, deceiving, and themselves being deceived.

So what do we do when evil surrounds us?

  1. Remember the things you have been taught from Scripture;
  2. Continue in those things applying them to your life, living for Jesus Christ and standing on His word;
  3. Always remember that those teachings you have learned in the word are the words of wisdom and for your salvation;
  4. There is absolutely no instruction to identify (to participate) with the world around us.

Always remember the gospel – the good news is – that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and He rose again.

Christians in an Immoral Culture

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12  (KJB)

Many of the Christians in Corinth seems to have been indifferent to the culture in which they lived.  Sexual immorality was rampant in the city, and Christians were participating in the sin as well becoming more and more bound by their sinful actions; and thinking nothing of it.

It does the Christian of 2019 and every age to read the words of Paul in this chapter concerning these matters.

As Christians we are to live a life that honors, edifies, and glorifies the Holy and Righteous God who has purchased us through the blood of Jesus His Son.  That is done through the Holy Spirit and the word of God; applying His teachings and commandments to our lives.  We are not part of the evil world culture.

To yield to the temptation of the world is to be brought under the power of sin.  There is gross sexual immorality in the Christian community.  Eagerly participating in sexual intercourse before marriage; some after marriage who have no problem with sleeping with as many women or men as they can find.  God is not pleased with this. He is not honored, He is not glorified; and neither is the Christian living such a licentious life a faithful witness for the Holiness of God.

Let me  leave you this morning with the commentary of the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary:

“1Co_6:12-20. Refutation of the antinomian defense of fornication as if it was lawful because meats are so.
All things are lawful unto me — These, which were Paul’s own words on a former occasion (to the Corinthians, compare 1Co_10:23, and Gal_5:23), were made a pretext for excusing the eating of meats offered to idols, and so of what was generally connected with idolatry (Act_15:29), “fornication” (perhaps in the letter of the Corinthians to Paul, 1Co_7:1). Paul’s remark had referred only to things indifferent: but they wished to treat fornication as such, on the ground that the existence of bodily appetites proved the lawfulness of their gratification.
me — Paul giving himself as a sample of Christians in general.
but I — whatever others do, I will not, etc.
lawful … brought under the power — The Greek words are from the same root, whence there is a play on the words: All things are in my power, but I will not be brought under the power of any of them (the “all things”). He who commits “fornication,” steps aside from his own legitimate power or liberty, and is “brought under the power” of an harlot (1Co_6:15; compare 1Co_7:4). The “power” ought to be in the hands of the believer, not in the things which he uses [Bengel]; else his liberty is forfeited; he ceases to be his own master (Joh_8:34-36; Gal_5:13; 1Pe_2:16; 2Pe_2:19). Unlawful things ruin thousands; “lawful” things (unlawfully used), ten thousands.” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Be sure to read the whole chapter six. Let those of us who name the name of Christ Jesus live the name as well.

The Man That Makes the LORD His Trust

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.  And He hath put a new song in my mouth, praise unto our God: many shall see and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.”  Psalm 40:1-4  (KJB)

The LORD does indeed lift us, picks us up, out of the miry clay, the pit of sin, and sets our feet upon a rock; the Rock is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4).

The way of sin is darkness, and cold. O, it may seem like the way to go at the time; it may seem like it is the comfortable thing; it may seem to be pleasurable, but it leads to shame, pain, misery, and death.  Be an instrument of praise to the LORD God.  Call on the name of the Lord and be delivered from that pit to which you are imprisoned.

Let me share with you the thoughts of Charles Spurgeon from the Treasury of David on verse four…

“Blessed.” This is an exclamation similar to that of thePsa_1:1-6, “Oh, the happiness of the man.” God’s blessings are emphatic, “I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed,” indeed and in very truth. “Is that man that maketh the Lord his trust.” Faith obtaineth promises. A simple, single-eyed confidence in God is the sure mark of blessedness. A man may be as poor as Lazarus, as hated as Mordecai, as sick as Hezekiah, as lonely as Elijah, but while his hand of faith can keep its hold on God, none of his outward afflictions can prevent his being numbered among the blessed but the wealthiest and most prosperous man who has no faith is accursed, be he who he may. “And respecteth not the proud.” The proud expect all men to bow down and do them reverence, as if the worship of the golden calves were again set up in Israel; but believing mean are too noble to honour mere money-bags, or cringe before bombastic dignity. The righteous pay their respect to humble goodness, rather than to inflated self-consequence. Our Lord Jesus was in this our bright example. No flattery of kings and great ones ever fell from his lips; he gave no honour to dishonourable men. The haughty were never his favourites. “Nor such as turn aside to lies.” Heresies and idolatries are lies, and so are avarice, worldliness, and pleasure-seeking. Woe to those who follow such deceptions. Our Lord was ever both the truth and the lover of truth, and the father of lies had no part in him. We must never pay deference to apostates, time-servers, and false teachers; they are an ill leaven, and the more we purge ourselves of them the better; they are blessed whom God preserves from all error in creed and practice. Judged by this verse, many apparently happy persons must be the reverse of blessed, for anything in the shape of a purse, a fine equipage, or a wealthy establishment, commands their reverence, whether the owner be a rake or a saint, an idiot or a philosopher. Verily, were the arch-fiend of hell to start a carriage and pair, and live like a lord, he would have thousands who would court his acquaintance.  TREASURY OF DAVID, by Charles Spurgeon verse 4

Faith Living

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into different temptations; knowing that the trying of your faith works patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all liberally, and reproaches not; and it shall be given him.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:  but the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.  For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withers the grass, and the flower of it falls, and the grace of the fashion of it perishes: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
Blessed, the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted of God:’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God.  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and overflowing of evil, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholds himself, and goes his way, and immediately forgets what manner of man he was. But who ever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, ‘To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, to keep himself unspotted from the world.'”  James 1:1-27

REFERENCES: 4:8; Deuteronomy 32:26; Acts 2:5; 13:26; 1 Kings 3:9; Mark 11:24;  Job 5:17; 14:2; Numbers 23:19; Jeremiah 2:3; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 15:2; Matthew 7:21; Romans 2:13; Luke 6:47; Isaiah 1:16; John 8:31-32

For Christ’s Sake, Do Your Brother Well

“Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer, and to beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith, which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.  For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by you, brother.
Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin you that which is convenient, yet for love’s sake I rather beseech, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.  I beseech you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: which in time past was to you unprofitable, but now profitable to you and to me: whom I have sent again: you therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: whom I would have retained with me, that in your stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: but without your mind would I do nothing; that your benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.  For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that you should receive him for ever; not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto you, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
If you count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.  If he has wronged you, or owes anything, put that on my account; I Paul have written with mine own hand, I will repay, because I do not say to you, how you owe unto me even your own self besides.  Yea, brother, let me have joy of you in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.  Having confidence in your obedience I wrote unto you, knowing that you will also do more than I say. But immediately prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.
There, you salute Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow laborers.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Philemon 1:1-25

REFERENCES: Ephesians 1:2; 3:1; 2 Corinthians 7:13; 9:7; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 16:17; Colossians 4:9; Genesis 45:5

The Church at Sardis

THE CHURCH AT SARDIS

Revelation 3:1-6

INTRODUCTION:
I. THE CHURCH WHICH IS BELIEVED TO BE ALIVE; BUT IS DEAD.
II. JESUS IDENTIFIED AS HE WHO HAS THE SEVEN SPIRITS AND SEVEN STARS.
III. JESUS KNOWS THE TRUE STATE OF THE CHURCH.
IV. JESUS CALLS ON THE CHURCH TO WATCH…
V. HOPE FOR THE FEW.
VI. THE BOOK OF LIFE.

I. Note the Perfection of the One who has All Power, is Perfect, and Holds the Messengers in His Hands (v. 1).
A. Speaking of the Fulness of Christ…

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD…” Isaiah 11:1-2

B. The fulness of the Power of God…

“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, ‘This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.'” Zechariah 4:6

II. It is a Sad State to Think you Live, but Really are Dead (v. 1).
A. They evidently had the appearance of life to many within and without.
B. Their works were busy, busy, busy… but not living for and glorifying the Lord.

“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Cor. 3:12-15

III. There is a Calling to Watch, and Strengthen the Things which Remain; and Repent (vv. 2-3).
A. Many times throughout the NT we are commanded to “Watch”.
B. With things which remain we must strengthen them, and then;
C. We must repent – turning our eyes, our hearts, our minds, our very lives back over to the Lord, our Redeemer.

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Rom. 13:11-14

IV. A Few Will Walk With Him in White (v. 4).
A. Another reference to garments…

“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” Rev. 16:15

V. White Raiment, Book of Life, and Confessed before the Father and Angels; and the Challenge to Hear (vv. 5-6).
A. The Book of Life is mentioned several times throughout the Bible.

“Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written.” EX. 32:32
“Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” PS. 69:28
“And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.” Philippians 4:3

Also Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 20:12

B. Another of the books is the Lambs Book of Life.

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Rev. 20:12
“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Rev. 21:27

C. Is your name written in the book of Life, and the Lamb’s book of Life?

Precious Faith

These sermon points are from the message Tim A. Blankenship preached on Sunday morning August 05, 2018.

The reason this one faith in God through Jesus Christ is the Precious Faith…

1 Peter 1-25

I.  It is Most Precious (vv. 1-5)

II.  More Precious than Gold (vv. 6-11).

III.  It was the desire of Prophets and Angels (vv. 10 & 12).

IV.  It is Precious to maintain Holiness; Keeping the Faith ((vv. 13-25).

Right and Just Business Practices

Balances, Integrity and Righteousness – Proverbs 11:1-6

1.  Balances were a means of conducting much agricultural, metals, and other forms of business in days of the past.  Notice that the “False balance” is an “Abomination to the LORD” – something that is disgusting, and wicked in the sight of the LORD.

This proverb (v. 1) can be tied with the command to “Love our neighbor” (Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31) as ourselves; and the final six of the Ten Commandments.  The Lord delights in a just weight or right balances.

2.  Pride, arrogance, insolence, presumptuousness are words very similar in meaning.  Most people hate arrogance when it is seen in someone else.  The Mirriam/Webster Dictionary defines “arrogant” as being “Offensives exaggerating one’s own importance”;  “insolent” is defined as “contemptuous, rude, disrespectful, or brutal in behavior or language: OVERBEARING, BOLD”; “presumptuous” means “overstepping due bounds; taking liberties: OVERBOLD.”  With this “Pride” comes shame following closely on the heels – see Proverbs 16:18.

In contrast is the “lowly” or the modest individual.  These are usually the thankful person.  The individual who knows they are not alone and trust the Lord for their every need.

3.  “Integrity” equals “Soundness:  adherence to a code of values: utter sincerity, honesty, and candor: completeness.”  These, of course, would be guided by the teachings of God’s word and the Holy Spirit in the Christian.

In this verse as well as verses 2, and 4 through 6 there are contrasting statements:  “The integrity of the upright” and “The perverseness of transgressors”;  Riches and righteousness;  “The righteousness of the perfect… but the wicked shall fall…”

There is destruction awaiting those connected to unrighteousness.

There is deliverance for the righteous; but “transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.”  (Jeremiah 2:19)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Communicating Perfection

Communicating Perfection

Matthew 5:33-48

We start off with an “Ye have heard…” statement. It is the fourth of five if you count the “It has been said” of verse 31. This shows us Jesus’s familiarity with Scripture and the Law. It also shows that He is familiar with the general interpretation of those Laws.

In looking at the SERMON ON THE MOUNT we must realize that for the time being these principles are our goal. I fall so short of these principles of His Kingdom. The only way they are lived is when we are in complete obedience to the leading of the Spirit within us. Let me say here that our perfection/completion is only by God’s own decree – “You are Justified. All your sins are gone. Jesus has paid your debt”. This is still our goal for now.

THE PLACE TO BEGIN LIVING HONESTLY, WITH HIGH HONOR AND INTEGRITY IS WITH JESUS CHRIST (vv. 33-37).

* When your heart is right with God your first responsibility of honesty is with Him.

+ He already knows your heart and thoughts why would you lie to Him.

+ Why lie to others, if indeed, you see the image of God in them, and we should.

* When making a vow, or promise, let your Yes, Be Yes; and your No, be No!

+ If you must swear on a “Stack of Grandma’s Bibles”, then, your word is probably as good as the ocean front property in Arizona.

THE PLACE TO BEGIN SEEKING THE GOOD OF OTHERS IS BY LOOKING AT THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST AND BE LIKE HIM (vv. 38-42).

* Jesus even turns this toward those who would strike you.

+ Is it a wimpy thing for a man to “turn the other cheek”?

+ Is it the right and courageous thing to “turn the other cheek”?

* Giving others what belongs to you shows that you care for them more than we care for things.

+ Giving them our time – if you are “compel(led) to go a mile, go with him twain”.

+ Giving possessions – if he “take away you coat, let him have your cloke also” (vv. 40, 42).

“Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3 (KJV).

LIVING WITHOUT THE ATTITUDE OF RETALIATION IS A WORK OF JESUS CHRIST IN OUR HEARTS (vv.43-47).

* I recall nowhere in Scriptures which tell us to “Hate your enemies”.

+ Most error in such things comes from misinterpretations and evil hearts.

+ Here, Jesus quickly puts that thought out in the cold

* The law does teach, “Eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:23-25).

+ Seeking justice and seeking revenge are two different thoughts.

+ You can still love the person when justice is being done, but revenge almost requires hatred.

* When we love those who love us, we are doing only what others will do.

+ When we love those who have stricken us, who have lied about us, who have harmed us, then, people will see the love of Jesus Christ, and the difference He has made in our lives.

+ We need to be strengthened by the Spirit of God each day to walk with Christ and be like Him, in loving and forgiving those who have despised us, even hated us.

THE PERFECTION OF GOD IS THE COMPLETENESS WE HAVE SOLELY IN HIM (v. 48).

* This is similar to God’s command to Israel:

+ “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44-45, and 1 Peter 1:15-16.

* Perfection is the work of God taking us and making us more into the likeness of His Son.

+ It is the goal of every follower of Jesus to one day be made like Him for we have the promise;

+ “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 (KJV).

-Tim A. Blankenship