O God, Show Your Marvelous Loving Kindness

“Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of deceitful lips. Let my sentence come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes behold the things that are equal. You have proved mine heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me, and shall find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Concerning the works of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Hold up my goings in Your paths, that my footsteps slip not. I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God: incline Your ear unto me, and hear my speech. Shew Your marvelous loving kindness, O You that saves by Your right hand them which put their trust in You from those that rise up against them.” Psalm 17:1-7 (KJB)

The Kingdom of God

“And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, ‘Lo here!’ or, ‘Lo there!’ for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.’ ” Luke 17:20-21 (KJB)

Please note who is asking this of Jesus. The Pharisees, a sect of religious leaders who did not even see the signs of the coming of the Messiah. The one’s who should have not missed the obvious.

They were more concerned with rituals, and religious observances, etc. than they were with the presence of God, or the kingdom of God.

To their question Jesus answers. His answer is probably not what the Pharisees wanted to hear. He is basically telling them, “It is here, near you, and you are missing it”. They missed all the Scriptural signs of Jesus’s birth. They are missing the signs they have actually heard and seen Him do.

The kingdom of God is not announced like a business advertisement. It is not brought in by demonstration and fanfare. God is present all around; within His people, and within creation. It is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.

If you refuse and reject Jesus Christ for who He is you miss the kingdom of God. He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose from that grave and forever lives within the hearts and lives of those who love Him, and is seated at the right hand of  the Father.

Treasure

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7  (KJB)

Gold, silver, precious stones, or metals; is that what I write of today?  There is a treasure so great that it is greater than ourselves. It is greater than houses or lands.  It is even greater than family or a multitude of friends.

I write of the presence, the power, the grace, and knowledge of God in our lives. Our greatest treasure is knowing the All-Powerful, All-present, and All-Knowing One who has created all things, and is greater than the universe itself; and that He is Immutable, and that He knows those who are His.

Our treasure is where our hearts and minds dwell; for Jesus said,

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21

I will finish this by leaving with you the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown on 2 Corinthians 4:7…

“Lest any should say, How then is it that we continue to enjoy such unspeakable glory in a mortal body? Paul replies, this very fact is one of the most marvelous proofs of God’s power, that an earthen vessel could bear such splendor and keep such a treasure” [Chrysostom, Homilies, 8.496, A]. The treasure or “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” The fragile “earthen vessel” is the body, the “outward man” (2Co_4:16; compare 2Co_4:10), liable to afflictions and death. So the light in Gideon’s pitchers, the type (Jdg_7:16-20, Jdg_7:22). The ancients often kept their treasures in jars or vessels of earthenware. “There are earthen vessels which yet may be clean; whereas a golden vessel may be filthy” [Bengel].

that the excellency of the power, etc. — that the power of the ministry (the Holy Spirit), in respect to its surpassing “excellency,” exhibited in winning souls (1Co_2:4) and in sustaining us ministers, might be ascribed solely to God, we being weak as earthen vessels. God often allows the vessel to be chipped and broken, that the excellency of the treasure contained, and of the power which that treasure has, may be all His (2Co_4:10, 2Co_4:11; Joh_3:30).

may be of God … not of us — rather, as Greek, “may be God’s (may be seen and be thankfully [2Co_4:15] acknowledged to belong to God), and not (to come) from us.” The power not merely comes from God, but belongs to Him continually, and is to be ascribed to him.Him continually, and is to be ascribed to him.”

The Great Treasure is to have this treasure in these flesh and blood bodies,  and know that He has saved us, He has redeemed us, and thought this body is decaying He is being glorified in and through us.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem us unto the Father, was buried, and He rose again.  Will you believe this?  Turn from your sins and to Jesus.

Show Us the Father

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him.’
Philip saith unto Him, ‘Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou, ‘Shew us the Father?’  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.  Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.’” John 14:6-11  (KJB)

Jesus is the only way to God, His presence, and His throne. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus anyone who calls on the name of Jesus for mercy and grace will find help in the time of need; at the throne of grace.

Philip has said to Jesus, “Show us the Father…” and Jesus said, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father.”  When a believer sees Jesus for who He is we see the Father.  We stand before the very presence of GOD.  In Christ Jesus we are seated in heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 1:1-5).

Through Christ Jesus we can know God the Father. Hear the words of the Master.  “I and My Father are One.” (John 10:30).

The Eyes of the LORD

Proverbs 15:1-33

1. THE ALL-SEARCHING EYES OF THE LORD (vv. 1-7) focus 3).
He watches from a “lofty tower” or a very high place.

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

22 times in the Old Testament is the “Eyes of the LORD” written and only once in the New Testament in 1 Peter 3:12
How John describes the eyes of the LORD – “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;” Revelation 1:14

2. THE SACRIFICE AND WAY THAT IS ABOMINATION TO THE LORD (vv. 8-10) focus 8-9).
Think of Cain’s sacrifice. Think of Saul’s sacrifice of disobedience (1 Samuel 15:22). God is not delighted by wicked sacrifice (Jeremiah 6:20).

3. THE INESCAPABLE PRESENCE OF THE LORD (vv. 10-24)focus v. 11).
Verse 11-

“If God knows the secrets of the world beyond the grave, much more does he know the secret thoughts of men on earth. The heart is the source of action. (see Mat_15:19, etc.)” Pulpit Commentary

4. THE DESTROYED HOUSE (v. 25).
The house of pride will be torn down, destroyed.
Psalm 52:1-5; 138:6; Isaiah 2:12; 1 Peter 5:5

“The proud, self-confident man, with his family and household and wealth, shall be rooted up. The heathen saw how retribution overtook the arrogant.” Pulpit Commentary

5. THE ABOMINATION AND THE PLEASANT WORDS (vv. 26-28)focus 26).
The righteous or good man or woman thinks before they speak. The tongue; a mighty force; will show the heart of an individual.

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:34-37 (KJB)

6. THE PRAYER THE LORD WILL HEAR (vv. 29-33)focus v. 29).
“A MAN”S NEARNESS TO GOD IS TO BE MEASURED BY HIS CHARACTER.” Pulpit Commentary. Long prayers are not a sign of one’s nearness to God, neither are big and impressive words.

God is impressed with the humble and contrite heart. See Psalm 51:17

My Sentence… From Your Presence

Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of deceitful lips. Let my sentence come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes behold the things that are equal.”  Psalm 17:1-2 (KJV)

For this 17th day into our 150 Days I will let  C. H. Spurgeon, the author of The Treasury of David speak to you on verse two…

“Let my sentence come forth from thy presence.” The Psalmist has now grown bold by the strengthening influence of prayer, and he now entreats the Judge of all the earth to give sentence upon his case. He had been libelled, basely and maliciously libelled; and having brought his action before the highest court, he, like an innocent man, has no desire to escape the enquiry, but even invites and sues for judgment. He does not ask for secrecy, but would have the result come forth to the world. He would have sentence pronounced and executed forthwith. In some matters we may venture to be as bold as this; but except we can plead something better than our own supposed innocence, it were terrible presumption thus to challenge the judgment of a sin-hating God. With Jesus as our complete and all-glorious righteousness we need not fear, though the day of judgment should commence at once, and hell open her mouth at our feet, but might joyfully prove the truth of our hymn writer’s holy boast –

“Bold shall I stand in that great day;
For who ought to my charge shall lay?
While, through thy blood, absolved I am
From sin’s tremendous curse and shame.”

“Let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.” Believers do not desire any other judge than God, or to be excused from judgment, or even to be judged on principles of partiality. No; our hope does not lie in the prospect of favouritism from God, and the consequent suspension of his law; we expect to be judged on the same principles as other men, and through the blood and righteousness of our Redeemer we shall pass the ordeal unscathed. The Lord will weigh us in the scales of justice fairly and justly; he will not use false weights to permit us to escape, but with the sternest equity those balances will be used upon us as well as upon others; and with our blessed Lord Jesus as our all in all we tremble not, for we shall not be found wanting. In David’s case, he felt his cause to be so right that he simply desired the Divine eyes to rest upon the matter, and he was confident that equity would give him all that he needed.

I believe David knew what the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, meant when he wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1

…From the Presence of the LORD

“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before Me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” Jonah 1:1-3 (KJV)

In the presence of the LORD there is joy, peace, hope, and life.  Out of His presence there is fear, dread, and chaos.

Jonah was an actual man who lived during the reign of Jereboam 2 of the Northern kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 14:25).  He is also mentioned in a teaching by Jesus in the New Testament (Matthew 12:39-41), and Jesus was not referring to a parable, but using Jonah as factual history, and his being in the belly of a great fish/whale.

The central character of the book of Jonah is not Jonah.  It is God.

Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh.  It as a foreign nation which he knew did not believe in Jehovah/YHWH; and Jonah was a patriot of Israel; so he fled, and “went down to Joppa”  hoped on a ship going to Tarshish, paid his fare, and “went down into it.”

It is quite possible that Jonah sold all his possessions to flee.  He was leaving any family he may have had, friends, home, etc. behind to flee from God’s will for his life.

This was one time when this prophet had no intention of obeying God.  Did he know about God’s richness of mercy?  Most certainly he did.  It is probably why he chose to flee.  He did not want to see a hated enemy repent and experience the mercy of Jehovah God of Israel.

Notice the common thread of all who “flee from the presence of the LORD”.  The “presence of the LORD” is the only place of contentment, peace, rest, and fulfillment.  The “presence of the LORD” is the will of God for our lives (those who are in the faith of Jesus Christ).

Please notice the path of fleeing from the presence of God:  Every step is a downward step:

  1. “Went down to Joppa”  (v. 3);
  2. “Went down into it [the ship] (v. 3);
  3. “Was gone down into the sides of the ship…” (v. 5)

Twice in verse three its says, “…from the presence of the LORD”.  There is warning there for everyone who would step out of God’s will for any reason; no matter how reasonable it may seem.

It is shocking to find how easy it is to find the means to flee from God’s will for our lives.  A ship was at Joppa.  It is very possible that Jonah purchased the whole use of the vessel – he being the only passenger, and the other men being the captain and the crew.  We can always find means to flee, but we rarely find the means to do His will.

Did Jonah think he could go some place where God could not find Him? It is not likely.  For Jonah to flee was pure rebellion against the sovereignty of God in his life.  For any one who openly rebels against God’s will they flee “…from the presence of the LORD”.  We all must learn that where God calls us is going to be the place where we are content, at peace and joyous in the LORD.  That all begins by believing what God tells us about His Son Jesus who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day.  Call on Him and begin your life living in the presence of the LORD.

 

Day Three Hundred Twenty and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

This being the Lord’s Day February seventh, two thousand sixteen I want for Christians in Jenkins, Missouri; the State of Missouri; the entire U. S. of A. and the world to realize the importance of attending your local Church; and begin today to attend, and share your presence with your brothers and  sisters in Christ.

When Jesus spoke to the Churches, it was to seven local congregations…

“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write…
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write…
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write…
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write…
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write…
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write…
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write…

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”
Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14-22 (NKJV)

Come Before His Presence with Singing

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5 (KJV)

The whole Psalm is give above. Yes it is short, so I will endeavor to keep my comments short as well.

The Psalm is merely titled “A Psalm of Praise”. Many might be asking why we should praise the LORD? This Psalm gives us the answer. First of all let me tell you who is to praise the LORD. “All ye lands” that is the whole earth, and everyone on it. No exceptions. God made us for His praise and glory.

Praising Him involves serving Him with gladness, not complaint; and entering His presence with singing. The Spirit filled Christian is to be a singer (Ephesians 5:18-21), and it is honoring and glorifying to the LORD.

We ought to praise Him because it is He that has made us; He is our Creator (Genesis 1-2). It is He who has made us, and not ourselves.

We are also the “sheep of His pasture” which is a picture of how ignorant, and needy we really are. That may offend some people, but it is the truth; I am needy. The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalm 23), and with Him as my Shepherd I will not lack any good and right thing.

His “gates” are there to keep the enemy out, but let His people enter into His courts of splendor. We enter with thanksgiving, and go into His courts with praise. Thank Him for His blessings in your life. The apostle Paul said, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

A couple of more reasons for our worship of the LORD is His mercy and truth. He is constantly merciful, for all eternity. His truth never changes. As for His truth, there are some who things God ought to change with the times, the culture, and with society. God will never change, and because of that He is dependable, trustworthy, and stedfast.

The gospel message that Christ Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again has not changed either; nor has His promise to come again.

Living in the Presence

“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Exodus 13:21-22 (KJV)

The LORD had just worked out the deliverance of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.  Now He gives them the assurance of His presence, and His abiding with them with a pillar.  By day it was a Pillar of cloud; by night a Pillar of fire.  He would lead them by day and by night.

How did the Moses and the children of Israel know where to go?  God was leading them with His powerful presence.

This Pillar was associated with the “Angel of the LORD” and with when Moses spoke with the LORD (Exodus 33:9-11).  The Pillar was to stand between the Israelites and the Egyptians later before they would cross the Red Sea.  He was their Guide and Protector.  Notice too, that “He took not away the Pillar…”  He is the Living Presence.

For the Christian  that Pillar is the presence of GOD within every follower of Jesus Christ.  He is that Cloud by day, and Fire by night.  He is our Comforter, our Conviction, our Direction and Guide every moment of the day and the night (John 16:7-11).  The Holy Spirit is Jesus Christ in you to lead and guide you to become like Jesus in living.  That is the desire of every born again believer; to be like Jesus: loving the Father, doing the Father’s will, glorifying the Father, doing the work of the Father.

Living in the Presence of the LORD begins by following His Son Jesus Christ.

Day 45 – Thoughts from Psalms; Mercy

Today marks our halfway point in 90 days of reading through the bible.  We will have 45 more to go.  It has been a blessing, and a challenge.

My reading today took me from Psalm 136 through Psalm 150 finishing the reading of the Psalms, and by reading 15 Psalms today.  There is much mention of the term “Mercy” in the Bible; and in Psalm 136 it is framed in every verse; with the phrase, “For His mercy endureth forever”.  And so it does.

There are two acts of God that are confused at times; and they are mercy and grace.  There is much said of both.

I know an individual who frequently uses the word “Mercy” when someone says something that might be considered shocking.  Both mercy and grace are needed by humanity.  We need to receive both, and we need to practice both; but only God can give them in all their fulness.

Let me give you a definition of each one, then, we will deal with the mercy of the Psalms.  First, “Mercy”, the way I understand it is; not receiving what we justly deserve – which is the wrath of God.  Secondly, “Grace” is receiving from God what we do not deserve – that is His love, His mercy, His presence, power, glory, His Son, His redemption.  Only those who submit to Him, His Word and the work of His Son Jesus on the cross experience His grace.

God gives the human race His mercy everyday.  If He were to become unmerciful He would destroy the whole of creation, and there would not be one living person left.  Because of the gift of His Son we can be assured that will not happen.  Jesus Christ has paid the sin debt that humanity owed to God.

In Psalm 136 all 26 verses give tribute to the mercy of God.  His mercy endures forever.  There is nothing like His mercy.

We find that we are to give thanks for His mercy,

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.  O give thanks unto the God of gods: for His mercy endureth for ever.  O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for His mercy endureth for ever.”  Psalam 136:1-3 (KJV)

We find His mercy in the wonders that He performs; and in the Universe He has created –

“To Him who alone doeth great wonders: for His mercy endureth for ever.  To Him that by wisdom made the heavens: for His mercy endureth for ever.  To Him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for His mercy endureth for ever.  To Him that made great lights: for His mercy endureth for ever: the sun to rule by day: for His mercy endureth for ever: the moon and stars to rule by night: for His mercy endureth for ever.” 136:4-9

In His mercy God gave Egypt the chance to “Let My people go”, but they would not; so His mercy was displayed in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt –

“To Him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for His mercy endureth for ever: and brought out Israel from among them: for His mercy endureth for ever: with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for His mercy endureth for ever.  To Him which divided the Red sea into parts: for His mercy endureth for ever: and made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for His mercy endureth for ever: but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for His mercy endureth for ever.” 136:10-15

God was merciful when He was leading His people through the wilderness.  There was many a time He would have destroyed them, but His mercy endured, and He delivered them, and took them to the land He had promised.  Read verses 16 – 22.

The psalmist even goes on to state for all who are under His purview are provided for by Him –

“Who giveth food to all flesh: for His mercy endureth for ever.” v. 25

All of creation, God’s created order; whether they believe in Him or not; whether they are good or evil, are recipients of the mercy of God.  O, wicked man; you deny God’s mercy and grace, yet you breathe His air, you walk on His dirt, you experience His gift of your beating heart; when He could at a word, stop it, and send you into a dark and Christless eternity.

“O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for His mercy endureth for ever.” v. 26

As the Psalm began,so it ends.  With thanksgiving to the One who is merciful.  How will you thank Him today.  Begin by receiving His gift of grace given us in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Secret Place

You may remember, when you were young, having a place you could go to be away from others; family, friends, etc., and have time alone.  Maybe you went there when you were angry at someone; like Mom or Dad.  This was a place only you knew about; at least you thought so.  Let me tell you about a place for all ages of folks.  A place you can go to be alone with God.  It is a place of protection, encouragement, and many other blessings.  A place for receiving His message.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” Psalm 91:1 (KJV).

This is the place the follower of Jesus Christ lives. We never want or desire to live apart from the presence of the LORD. It is a genuine, real place. When you are with Him He speaks with you. He comforts you. He encourages you. At the times it is necessary He will correct you. Oh what a place it is; to dwell in the secret place of the Most High.

Here is one of the most wonderful promises of God’s Word.  It is wonderful because there is nothing so glorious as being in the “Secret place of the Most High” God.  You might be asking, “Just where is that secret place?”.  It is quite frankly not hard to find.  God is near you.  That secret place is in His presence.

To dwell in that secret place is to live in His presence.  You live in His presence by being in His Word; reading it, studying, praying, praising, and glorifying Him in word, song, praise and worship, and in the very acts of your life: with your acts living out the words that you speak.

The “Most High” is the One who is our creator.  He is our Sustainer.  He is our hope, our tower of strength, our sword, and our shield.  He could also be called our Exceeding Great Reward.

“Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty” is a place of protection; a place of shelter; not to keep us from the storms of life, but to take us through them.  Dwell in that secret place and you shall “Abide under the shadow of the Almighty”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Divine Architect

Ephesians 2:18-22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hear what God says of this cornerstone:

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

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

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

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

Hear what the apostle Peter has written:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship