Do Not Forget All His Benefits

“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”  Psalm 103:1-5  (KJB)

Preparing For The Blessed Hope

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Titus 2:11-15  (KJB)

He Has Chosen Us In Him

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”  Ephesians 1:3-14  (KJB)

You Have Redeemed Me

In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in Thy righteousness.  Bow down Thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be Thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
For thou art my Rock and my Fortress; therefore for Thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for Thou art my strength.
Into Thine hand I commit my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.  Psalm 31:1-6 (KJB)

Power

We, of Adam’s race are impressed by power and authority. We even crave it for ourselves. We often do not understand that genuine power requires great responsibility, and we see too many times in governments, and presidents, kings, and such that become despots and dictators.

When Jesus stood before Pilate, the governor, asked Jesus,

“Then saith Pilate unto Him, ‘Speakest Thou not unto me? Knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee, and have power to release Thee?’ ” John 19:10 (KJB)

He supposed that he was powerful enough to prevent Jesus from the crucifixion.  Just where do the ruling authorities get the power, the authority which they have? According to the words of one of the wisest kings,

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.” Proverbs 21:1

So Pilate needed to realize that he needed to not be prideful, and arrogant about his position of authority, but to submit to the will of the Almighty God.

Jesus Christ as the God-Man had submitted Himself to the Father’s will, His word, and His way all the way to dying on the cross for the sins of the world.

Jesus said,

“Thou couldest have no power against Me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” John 19:11

Jesus knew what was taking place was the plan for the redemption of the race of Adam, and was submitted to it. He was the One who could have called twelve legions of angels and stopped it (Matthew 26:53), and a legion of Roman soldiers was about 6 thousand men. He could have stopped it. He did not because of His great love for you and me.

Now, that is Power and authority with responsibility.

That They Might Accuse

“And as He said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge vehemently, and to provoke Him to speak of many things: laying wait for Him, and seeking to catch something out of His mouth, that they might accuse Him.” Luke 11:53-54 (KJB)

The things Jesus had said about the Sadducees, Pharisees, and the lawyers was what they needed to hear. Did they like it? Not hardly. They became angry, even bitter, and were seeking how they might trap Jesus in His words.

Jesus had denounced them with “woes”, and telling them of their judgment coming. They had opportunity to repent and to see who Jesus really was; but that would upset their way of rule, take power away from them over the people.

Political maneuvering, and posturing to get what they wanted.  It has been going on for centuries. It does not matter where or when. It goes on.  It was going on over the life of Jesus Christ; and these men, though they were not politicians, they had influence in the lives of political leaders.

They with an urgency urged Jesus, with vehement, hot, and flashy words trying to provoke words with which they could hang Him.

When we see this and we now know the outcome of it we know that all that happened was under the sovereign hand of the Almighty. What was about to happen within a short time was for the redemption of Adam’s race.

Jesus, the Son of God, became the Son of Man, that the sons of men, might become the sons of God. Jesus the God-Man; fully God, and fully man. God the Son. Jesus knew what He was doing. Every word He spoke; every word He speaks is true, righteous, and holy.

You can trust Him. You can put your life in His hands. Call on the name of Jesus “For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). No politician can stop it. No political action, neither anything else can stop the power of the cross of Jesus Christ.

What He Should Accomplish At Jerusalem

“And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.” Luke 9:30-31 (KJB)

Jerusalem. The city of Peace. The city of David. Sometimes called the city of God. It is also a city of great division, scorn, and evil.

It is the city of great admiration of the people of Israel, and the world. It has been said, “As goes Jerusalem; so goes the world”. David in one of his Psalms tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).

Jesus is said to have had His eyes set on Jerusalem (Luke 9:51, 53), and that was due to the calling in His life since before the foundation of the earth was set. In the text before our above verses Jesus is on the Mount speaking with Moses and Elijah about the coming days; and not too far off.

Jerusalem would be the place of His great sacrifice. Jesus would lay down His life for the sins of the whole world; and He would do so because He loved, and revered His Father; and He loved lost, condemned sinners.

In the mind of the ordinary human being, dying does not seem like much to accomplish. Some of the teaching I have heard among the prosperity gospel folks, makes it sound as though Jesus failed in dying on the cross. One of the final statements Jesus made before He died on the cross was, “It is finished” (John 19:30). May I shout with the words…. IT WAS HIS VICTORY… ; and His bodily resurrection is the proof of it (Romans 1:4), and our justification.

Jesus accomplished, at Jerusalem, all that He had came to earth as a man to do. He accomplished in His death all that the Law and the Prophets could not do – the redemption of Israel, and the redemption of all those in the world who will come to Him believing; receiving the blessed gift of His grace.

Call on His name believing. He will hear. He will save.

Dwelling In Christ Jesus

“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Romans 8:8-11 (KJB)

For those who dwell in Jesus Christ there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). Our dwelling in Him is due to His dwelling in us.  If His is not living in us; we are not in Him.

“Dwelling” means the place of our abiding; the place we live, where we sleep, we eat, we rest, we learn, we grow, etc.. For Him to dwell in us is for our benefit.

According to these verses, and the text of Scripture then to live in the flesh; to live a carnal life is the opposite of living or dwelling in the Spirit of Christ Jesus.

  1. They that are in the flesh cannot please God;
  2. You are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwell in you;
  3. If you do not have the Spirit of God in you, you are not God’s;
  4. If Christ is in you the carnality of the body is dead, because of sin (Isaiah 5:18);
  5. The Spirit is life because of righteousness – the righteousness of Jesus Christ;
  6. Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, and raised to life again;
  7. Just as Jesus Christ was raised to life again, the LORD will also raise our mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in us.

If you are condemned by your sinful life come to Jesus Christ. Trust His work of death on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection.  He will redeem you, forgive you, and set you free.

They Called Them to The Most High

“And My people are bent to backsliding from Me: though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt Him.” Hosea 11:7 (KJB)

The prophet is speaking of the people of Israel. Their hearts were set on turning from the Lord GOD. Yet, God in His great mercy and grace was set on redeeming them.

He called prophets who would teach them, deliver them, and warn them of the path of rejection and rebellion they were walking, living in.

I must be honest with you, that for me, and I believe every Christian; one of the easiest things for us to do is to go our own way. To worship God, and Him alone takes a devoted, undivided heart for God, and His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

That is why it is a necessity to be a faithful student of the word of God – the Bible.  We must be people who see it as our necessary diet for daily strength.  When we get in His Word, and it through the Holy Spirit gets into us God makes us a different and powerful person for the glory of the Lord.

Father, turn Your backsliden people back to You.  May we all turn our eyes upon Jesus Christ, His death on the cross for our sins, His burial carrying away all our sin, our shame, and condemnation, and His resurrection; and knowing that He lives is evidence that we too shall live with Him forever.

Israel’s Redemption

By the grace of Holy God…

“Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art My servant: I have formed thee; thou art My servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.

Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.

Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, ‘I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself; that frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; that confirmeth the word of His servant, and performeth the counsel of His messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, ‘Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: that saith to the deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: that saith of Cyrus, ‘My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, ‘Thy foundation shall be laid.’ ” Isaiah 44:21-28 (KJB)

The Redemption of the nation Israel is solely a work of God’s mercy, grace and love through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A great day coming when the redeemed remnant of Israel shall look upon the One whom their forefathers crucified; and they shall call Him LORD (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:37; Revelation 1:7; Daniel 7:13).

Shall Not Be Ashamed

“Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, ‘Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of Mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify My name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.’ ” Isaiah 29:22-24 (KJB)

For further thought see Romans 1:16; and Romans 9 – 11.

Redeemed With Judgment

“Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, ‘Ah, I will ease Me of Mine adversaries, and avenge Me of Mine enemies: and I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: and I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness…” Isaiah 1:24-27 (KJB)

Even though there were some kings who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, there was still wicked hearted people. So it is in every age, and every nation.

God redeems His people  through Judgment.  I am so thankful that Jesus Christ took the judgment of God for our sins upon Himself, and suffered hell; that we might be redeemed unto God the Father.

Like His Brethren

“For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on the seed of Abraham.

Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:16-17 (KJB)

As I read these words this morning the word “behoved” asked the question, “What is the meaning of this word?”  Behooved is the modern spelling. I found this…

BEHOOVE, v.t. behoof’. To be necessary for; to be fit for; to be meet for, with respect to necessity, duty, or convenience.

And thus it behooved Christ to suffer. Luke 24.” 1828 Websters Dictionary

So we can learn from these verses above that Jesus our Savior saw it as necessary that He die for the sins of the world that He might redeem unto Himself a people. There was, and there is no other way of redemption.

When God says there is no other way; whether it involve the giving of His son, or the salvation of Adam kind; then there is no other way.

Jesus Christ died for our sins; He was buried carrying away all our sin, shame, guilt, and condemnation; then He rose victorious over the grave. Call on His name He is  the only Savior of the world.

Longing for the Redemption of the Body

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”  Romans 8:22-23  (KJB)

Only a believer, a born again Christian who is knowledgeable of Jesus Christ, our sin, and the word of God could begin to understand these verses.

The soul of the Christian man, or woman is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are made new in spirit by the power of the Holy Spirit who comes to live within us, changing us, making us more and more into the image of Christ Jesus.

With our soul redeemed, and the presence of the Holy Spirit; Christ in us; then we have the hope of eternal life for our bodies as well.  Even when these bodies die, the believer’s body will be raised a new body (1 Corinthians 15:35-57).

With the sin of man came also chaos in the rest of the created order. Earthquakes, storms, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tidal waves, savage animals; you get the picture.  Sickness, and disease came on mankind.  The worst part of sin was there was no more fellowship with God; no relationship with God.

God sent His Son Jesus to redeem man to Himself.  The soul of man, through faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross, is redeemed unto God.  Our body in the meanwhile is longing for the redemption of the body.  That will be complete when our bodies are made new at the resurrection of the Just.  Every Christian has a great desire for this; looks forward to it; longs in groans even for it.  How about you?

Verse 22 even tells us that “the whole creation groans” and is groaning for redemption. One day all of creation will be made new because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

Let me close with commentary from the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now — If for man’s sake alone the earth was cursed, it cannot surprise us that it should share in his recovery. And if so, to represent it as sympathizing with man’s miseries, and as looking forward to his complete redemption as the period of its own emancipation from its present sin-blighted condition, is a beautiful thought, and in harmony with the general teaching of Scripture on the subject. (See on 2Pe_3:13)

He Is Before All Things

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.
And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all He might have the preeminence.”  Colossians 1:9-18

REFERENCES: Romans 12:2; Acts 5:41; 26:18, 23; Ephesians 1:7; 6:12; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 1:5; 3:14; John 1:1

The Sealed Book/Scroll

Revelation 5:1-4
References: Ezekiel 22:30; Psalm 30:5; Daniel 12:1-4;

INTRODUCTION:
I. THE FATHER IS SITTING ON THE THRONE OF HEAVEN.
II. WE ARE REMINDED OF JUDGMENT COMING AND OUR REDEMPTION.
III. THERE WILL BE CHAOS ON EARTH UNLIKE ANY EVENT EVER.
IV. REMEMBER HIM WHO SITS AT THE FATHER’S RIGHT HAND.

I. The Father on the Throne (v. 1).
A. He has had a plan and is working it daily in this universe.
1. The sealed book contains the plans of God of things to come.
B. It is a wise thing to follow His plans in our own lives.
C. Let’s compare Daniel 12:1-4.

II. Searching for a Man to Open the Book (vv. 1-2).

“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” Ezekiel 22:30

A. How much more is man unworthy before the throne of God, without redemption.
B. None is found who are worthy; that is; without sin, fault; NONE.

III. Who is Worthy, Found Worthy to Open the Book (v. 3).
A. The heart of man is deceitful above all things.

“The heart deceitful above all, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

B. All of mankind has sinned and are unworthy of such an endeavor.

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one…” Rom 3:10
“…For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” Rom. 3:23

IV. Weeping May Endure for a Night, But Joy Comes in the Morning (v. 4).

“For His anger a moment; in His favour life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

A. The weeping of John is the result of a holy heart, a desire for the righteous, and to see justice done on the earth.
B. The book reveals the holy character of God, His Divine love and grace, His compassion for all who are His.
C. Four things that would happen if no one was found worthy to open the book…

1. All Old Testament prophecies of the Christ earthly reign would be voided;
2. Creation would remain under the curse of the fall of man;
3. The kingdom would never be restored to Israel;
4. The Bible would not be true – trustworthy;

D. If none of those were in affect, then there would be no salvation for any.
E. We are, however, not without a Redeemer – who is Jesus the Christ; the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29)

CONCLUSION:
1. The Father who sits on the throne knows full well what lies in store.
2. The is a Man in Heaven who is the Lamb of God… Next weeks message.
3. Our Redeemer is Jesus the Christ.
4. The book will soon be opened and Israel, along with a wicked world will be tried, many will be redeemed, and many will die.
5. Let us who are the saved, the redeemed today, be ever vigilant to live for Christ, and honor and glorify His name.

Words of the Prophets – Jeremiah (2)

As a Shepherd doth His Flock

“Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.”  Jeremiah 31:10-17 (KJV)

The Law, the Warfare, and the Victory

THE LAW, THE WARFARE, AND THE VICTORY

Romans 7:1-25

OUTLINE –

I. THE AUTHORITY OF THE LAW (vv. 1-6).
II. THE MINISTRY OF THE LAW (vv. 7-13).
III. THE INABILITY OF THE LAW (vv. 14-25).

In the book of Romans Paul speaks much about the law. The same continues to be true in chapter seven.

Those who believe that by keeping the law one can attain God’s favor are “Legalists”. A “Legalist” has a set of do’s and don’ts that he/she tries to maintain, and more often expects others to maintain. Instead of obtaining God’s favor, however, she/he obtains her/his own and becomes condemning to others who do not meet their standards. The “Legalist” also soon discovers some things about himself which they may or may not confess.

The Christian is not under the ‘dominion’ or rule of the law; he/she is under grace. The ‘Old law’ was written in stone. The new becomes new, now, and only because it is written in our hearts. It is no longer an obligation, duty, nor means of gaining God’s pleasure, but longing desire, and pleasure of the Christian.

THE AUTHORITY OF THE LAW (vv. 1 – 6).

“To be under the law means that I must do something for God; to be under grace means that God does something for me.”

The laws authority is over us only so long as we are unredeemed, and it is condemning us. The unredeemed man is still totally self-ruled, and the law does hold him/her in its dominion.

Paul uses an illustration of this in marriage. According to the law, when a woman is married; and this applies to men too; to a husband – or a man to wife – she/he is bound to their spouse as long as the spouse lives. If they marry someone else while the spouse is still living the man or woman commits adultery. If the spouse dies they are no longer married, and are free to marry another. Paul is not addressing the issue of divorce and/or remarriage; he is using a known and familiar law to illustrate the authority of the law.

Notice, that, nowhere does Paul say that the law is dead. Instead, he writes, “Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ.” No longer are we under the dominion – the rule, and condemnation – of the law, but under the majestic love and grace of Almighty God; Jesus Christ having lived in complete obedience to the demands of the law, and met the requirements of the law in His death on the cross. On the cross all the demands of holy God to redeem fallen mankind was finished.

Believing Jesus Christ, trusting Him we are born again. We have received a ‘New Spirit’. It is not the spirit of man, but the Spirit of God, and He revives or resurrects our spirit and empowers and enables us to walk in the Spirit, rather than trying to please God through obedience to the law.

THE MINISTRY OF THE LAW (vv. 7 – 13).

Some might think that if God never gave any laws we all would be better off. However, we would not know sin, unless there is law. The law was given for the benefit of mankind, not to harm us. Without law we would still be condemned, separated from God, and miserable.

Is the law sin? Paul writes, “God forbid”, “By no means”. Before Paul trusted Jesus he believed he was blameless before the law. He knew the words of the law forwards and backwards, and believed himself right with God, because he ‘Kept the law’ – outwardly.

The law causes sin to come into the open. It opens eyes to see how far we are from God’s expectations. Sin even increases with the law. As human beings we do not like rules and regulations; so when we know of a law instead of obeying it we see if we can get away with disobedience. Doing so increases the condemnation of the law.

The ministry of the law, then, is to show us that we are sinners; we are condemned, and fall far short of God’s expectations. When sin becomes sinful to us, then, the law has done its work.

THE INABILITY OF THE LAW (vv. 14 – 25).

Sin is enjoyed by the unredeemed. They enjoy their ‘freedom’ of living without realizing their actual blindness and bondage. They can enjoy sin until the law of God awakens them to their plight.

Even Paul enjoyed the life of a Pharisee. As a Pharisee he enjoyed the honor and respect given him by people. His ego was really sailing, because he knew the law. He prided himself in his ability to be ‘Pleasing to God’ by keeping the law.

Remember the law is good and holy. It does not cause sin, but neither can it deliver the sinner from sin.

When a person becomes a believer something amazing takes place. This redeemed individual receives a desire to walk with God – in agreement with Him. He no longer desires his own selfish way, but God’s way. He realizes that he cannot please God by doing, but only by believing.

With this reborn person a war, a struggle, if you will begins also. Although no longer under the dominion of the law the body of flesh desires sin while the mind – the will – desires God. The things my mind wants to do for God, I do not do. The things I do not want to do that are displeasing to God, I do. This struggle was not there before a person is redeemed. This is clearly a reference to a redeemed individual. She/he has a desire for what is godly, holy, and good. She/he has the desire to shun all that is evil. These are not in the life of the unredeemed.

This brings us to realize that the law is unable to redeem us; it only condemns us.

Who can deliver us from this struggle? Like Paul, “Thank God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ask Life, and GOD Gives It

The king shall joy in Your strength, O LORD; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. For You meet him with the blessings of goodness: You set a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of You, and You gave it him, even length of days for ever and ever. His glory is great in Your salvation: honor and majesty have You laid upon him. For You have made him most blessed for ever: You have made him exceeding glad with Your countenance.”  Psalm 21:1-6 (KJV)

King David was speaking of much more than what he had requested.  He was speaking of the future King of Israel, King of the world who would receive all that He requested because He had died to redeem His bride unto Himself.

On that word “Selah” I want you to remember that I look at that word and pause, think about what was just read, what it says, and reflect on it.  Now thinking on that second verse for a bit: did David get all those things?  Did he get all that his heart desired?  I really do doubt it.  He was joyous in knowing the LORD and resting in Him.  It would seem to me that it is directly related to the coming King, the Messiah of Israel, and Savior of the world.

He asked life and was raised from the dead.  He asked for long life, and will live eternally, even for ever and ever.  He is glorified in the salvation GOD has provided through His death, burial, and resurrection.

This Psalm is a song of David thanking and praising the LORD for His answer to his prayers; that they are exceedingly abundant over what he could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

Ask Life, and GOD Gives It.  He gives life through faith in His Son Jesus.  Will you ask?

Inhabitants of the Earth, and Two Seals

And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. And I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Revelation 6:9-17 (KJV)

The Lamb opens the fifth seal to reveal “Souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held”.

There have been Christian martyrs ever since the near beginning of the Church. These are a different set of martyrs unless of course, you see this as merely historical, and that, in my opinion, does not fit with the rest of scripture. Who, then, are these martyrs mentioned in verses 9-11?

The Church is in Heaven praising and worshipping God around the throne as seen in the twenty-four elders. Whereas, man has been allowed (after the translation of the Church), by the coming of the rider on the white horse, to have his way on the earth to the point of destroying the human race; these martyrs are those who opposed him and died for the faith believing God’s Word and bearing testimony to that affect.. These martyrs are people who believe God and reject the rule of the “man of sin”, or “son of perdition”.

The cry of those who were slain is their cry for justice upon the unrighteous. These, are at this time without resurrection bodies. Yet, it is said, “White robes were given unto every one of them” (v. 10). It is not known how a spirit can support a robe, but they do seem to have some type of body. They are waiting to receive their resurrection bodies at the last part of “The first resurrection” (Revelation 20:4-6). (EXPLANATION: The first resurrection began with the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and those who came out of their graves (Matthew 27:52-53); it continues with the translation [rapture] of the believers, dead and living (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), before the time of judgment begins in Revelation six. The first resurrection ends when all those who died because of faith during the judgment will be raptured and given resurrection bodies.) These martyrs are told they must wait until all who will die for the faith have died.

The sixth and final seal of chapter six is opened by the Lamb and now begins the intervention of the divine judgment. The Lamb of God “Slain from the foundation of the world” is now wreaking judgment upon a God-hating, Christ rejecting world. As far as a time frame on this there is no certainty, but let me lay out a small outline of a proposed time. The first four horses and horsemen would represent the first three and one-half years of Daniel’s seventieth week (Daniel 9:24-27). The fifth horse and horseman would be at the end of this three and one-half years, partly due to the “prince” of Daniel breaking the covenant, and causing the death of all who believe in Jesus Christ. The sixth seal would then begin the latter half of the three and one-half years, with the seventh seal continuing the judgment upon the earth, and the “Inhabiters of the earth” (8:13 & 12:12). The “Inhabiters of the earth” are those whose heart is on the things of earth, rather than God and His Christ.

Earthquakes are not in the power of man, nor are the other celestial bodies in the realm of human control. The earthquake is probably one so violent the whole world shakes. Every living thing feels the shaking, heaving and volcanic eruptions which take place.

The sun is darkened. There appears to be no reason to see these as symbols of something else. It is simply divine judgment upon mankind. The moon turns as red as blood. Stars fall to the earth. We have meteor showers all the time, but this will be a spectacle of catastrophic proportions, such as never seen before, nor, will be again. Not only is the earth shaken, but it seems the entire solar system is shaken. Only the divine could accomplish that. Hebrews 12:25-29 could be a reminder and warning to God’s people of what is truly important. The Almighty God is doing this in order to build an unshakable kingdom.

When faced with this divine judgment the people of earth flee from God. Notice there is no economic, social or religious group which receives special favor among the unrighteous. Each is equal before the judgment of God. Many times today, when we face divine judgment we flee to God – at least that is the heart of a child of God. Because of the hardness of heart by sin, these flee from God and cry out for death rather than to face holiness. They cannot hide. Even in death, they will face their Creator and His eternal judgment.

From whom are they fleeing? From the Lamb and His wrath. The gentle, meek, bloodless (because He shed His for us), Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.

For those of you who believe that God is only love, and would never consign anyone to eternal judgment, you have never read the Revelation or either have chosen not to believe it. The Revelation makes it quite clear that the One who died for our sins will also severely judge those who reject His gift of eternal life.

Who shall stand in the great day of His wrath? Only the redeemed of the Lord.

BEHOLD. The wrath of the Lamb on the inhabitants of the earth.

Jesus Through the Bible – The Scapegoat

Scapegoat “A person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.” From Dictionary.com We hear the word “Scapegoat” many times. Someone was a scapegoat for an evil political action that was done, or something of that order. Someone was a scapegoat for a bad business decision, etc.

There is, however, a certain “Scapegoat” mentioned in Scripture. This scapegoat gives us a picture of Jesus Christ; at least a picture of His work on the cross, and His burial. In Leviticus we read…

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.” Leviticus 16:7-10

The first goat was to be a sin offering which would bear the sins of the sins of Aaron and his house (Leviticus 16:6), and they were to “cast lots” to determine which goat was to be the sin offering, and which was to be the scapegoat. I want us to deal with the scapegoat, though we must understand they are both necessary for this part of redemption. We do not often picture a goat as having redeeming qualities; but let us see the goat as representing the sin which our Saviour bore on the cross.

The sin offering died, thus through Christ sin was put to death (Also read Romans 6:1-16), it has no more power over those who are the redeemed. Sin also lays on us death, sin, guilt, condemnation, and O, such sorrows. The scapegoat was taken alive into the wilderness to never be seen again.

When the child of God has laid on her or him these condemnations; then we must remember that all our sins were laid on Him who died, was buried; and in His burial He carried all our sin, death, shame, guilt and condemnation away, and He arose bodily alive, victorious over all of death’s vices.

Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, God incarnate became on the cross the very thing which He and His Father hated: Sin (2 Corinthians 5:21); was judged by the Father; the Father resurrected Him, and by His resurrection we are raised with Him. Cleansed, forgiven, and in fellowship with God for now and all eternity.

Jesus Through the Bible – The Lamb of God

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.” Exodus 12:5-7

The final plague was coming upon Egypt. Moses had received instruction from the LORD for the deliverance from this final form of judgment on Egypt; it would affect all in the land of Egypt, even Israel. None can stand before the final judgment without the redemptive power of the blood of the lamb.

Note in the above verse the placing of the blood on the “two side posts”, and on the “upper door post” of their homes. Within that alone we have the sign of the cross. It was on the cross of Calvary where our blessed Savior bled out His life’s blood for our redemption. The perfect Lamb of God who willingly gave His life for my sin and yours.

John the apostle wrote of John the Baptist as he said,

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29

Your sins and mine have been paid for by the blood of the perfect, sinless Lamb of God Jesus Christ. You are lost and condemned without Him. Repent, believe Him, and be saved, today.

From Feb 4, 2014

Wisdom Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Sixty and Seven

“Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” Proverbs 29:20 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to always be wise in the use of words, the timing of speech, and to not just speak because I feel strongly about an issue, but for the purpose of influence, encouragement, repentance, hope, peace, and redemption; and to never fail in presenting Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, His burial and resurrection; because He is our hope and redemption.

When Will Jesus Return?

Over the many years people and so called prophets, and preachers have predicted and set dates in which our Lord Jesus would come again.  We see that His people are still here and many of the “prophets” have went to eternity; wherever that may be.

The founder of the JW cult predicted that Jesus would return in 1914 or so, and we know that did not happen.  In 1988 there was a booklet that came out called “Eighty Eight Reasons Jesus Will Return in 1988”; and again he has not come.

Jesus Himself said,  “…I will come again, and receive you unto Myself…”  (John 14:3), and we were warned about people saying “…Where is the promise of His coming?…” (2 Peter 3:4).  Jesus Himself said,

“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.” Matthew 25:13 (KJV)

There is our answer to the question.  When will Jesus return?  We do not know.  Even Jesus; the Son of God and God the Son;  while He walked on earth among his fellow man did not know the time of His return (Matthew 24:36).

The reason we do not know is that this way we live in preparation for His coming.  We ought always be ready; bearing the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22), and continually being filled by the Spirit of Christ; being His witnesses in a dark world, and  ”…So much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25).

There are plenty of signs we can see that declares something is about to happen.  The nation of Israel is daily attacked by her enemy, Christians are daily persecuted by beheading, and sale as slaves in some parts of the world.  There is much fear.

Christian!  Lift up your head.  Your redemption draws near.

The Exclusive Christ Jesus – Christmas Day Two Hundred and Fourteen

What do I want for Christmas?

And this is for everyday.

I want all those who profess to be Christian to realize, and to know that the faith of Jesus Christ is exclusive; meaning that He is the only way to God and Heaven; that there is no other way, but the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; that those who do not believe in Him will perish (John 3:16), and there is no other hope, salvation, redemption, or eternal life, except Him.

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.” John 14:6-7 (KJV)

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Five

What do I want for Christmas?

I want you; I want the world to know that God is still greatly offended by our sins; that judgment’s hell fire is what you and I deserve, because of our offense toward God; but God has loved us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son to die for our sins, paid our redemption price with His own life, was laid in a tomb taking our sins, shame, guilt condemnation away in death, then bodily arose alive from that grave; and whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life with Him.

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2 (KJV)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the people, the families of victims in the bombing in Brussels, Belgium to be comforted, strengthened, and to be drawn near to the Lord Jesus Christ through these horrible events.

Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3-5 (KJV)

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28

Day Three Hundred and Six

What do I want for Christmas?

I want everyone to know that Jesus must be coming really soon, because I am getting very uncomfortable, every passing day, with this world, and all that is going on in it; and I know other true followers of Jesus are growing more uncomfortable with it too.

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:25-28 (NKJV)

Day Three Hundred and Twenty

What do I want for Christmas?

I want people of Jenkins, Missouri; the State of Missouri; the United States of America; the North and South American continents; and the world to know that they are sinners, apart from God, lost, condemned and dying; and that Jesus Christ the Son of God, and God the Son died on the cross, was buried, and bodily arose again for you (for us all) that we might be redeemed to God, and have the peace of God which passes all understanding.

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV)

“And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”” Luke 19:9-10

Responsible for Sin

“And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, Mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.” Exodus 32:31-35 (KJV)

Moses had been on the Mount receiving instructions of the worship of God for the people of Israel.  They had previously received the Ten Commandments in word, having heard the voice of God speaking to them in Exodus 20.

The first Commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before Me”.  The second is “You shall not make for yourself any graven image…”, and that is exactly what Aaron and the people had done.  They had disobeyed God the LORD of all glory.  They, by making the golden calf, had separated themselves from the worship of YaHWeH.  They transgressed the law of God.

Moses, the man of God, the prophet of the Law of God, prays that if someone is to perish for their sin, “…Blot me, I pray Thee out of Thy book which Thou has written”.  It is apparent from God’s response that no one is responsible for the payment of sin except the one committing the transgression.

There is the promise of God that “Mine Angel shall go before thee…”, but there is still a visitation of judgment that must be made upon sin.

God has not, nor will He ever forsake His  people; but Oh how His people have forsaken Him.  Yet, He is merciful.  He is forever with us.

We are the ones responsible for our own sin debt, but God has provided a Substitute who has paid the price, by becoming “sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  The name of that Substitute is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Song for the King

My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalm 45:1 (KJV)

The heart of the writer of this song is overflowing, jubilant, praising.  It may be because it is the King’s wedding day.

For a scribe, a ready writer, one who loved the King it would truly be a wonderful, glorious day; and he would write of it with a joyous heart.  This Psalm was written with a king in the lineage of David in mind; and it would not be wrong to especially include the Messiah of Israel as this King.

Those who love King Jesus can understand the jubilance of this song.  The Christian is longing for that day when we will see the King in His glory when He comes to claim His bride, and completes the redemption of creation.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. 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 3:1-3 (KJV)

If you do not know this King He is the one who died on the cross, was buried, a bodily arose and came out of that grave alive.  He is the one who is soon returning.  Call on His name.  Ask forgiveness for your sins, and turn to Him believing Him.  His name is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Invitation and Redemption

Sermon Points –

Invitation and Redemption

Genesis 7:1-24: 8:1, 20-22; 9:8-17

1. The Invitation is To Come Into the Ark of Safety (7:1).

2. God Remembers His Promises to Those to Whom He Gives Them (8:1-5).

3. Recognizing God’s Grace, Deliverance and Redemption (8:20-22).

4. Unconditional Promise (9:8-17).

 

Preached in the evening service @ Shiloah Baptist July 13, 2014

Jesus Through the Bible – The Scapegoat

Scapegoat “A person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.”  From Dictionary.com  We hear the word “Scapegoat” many times.  Someone was a scapegoat for an evil political action that was done, or something of that order.  Someone was a scapegoat for a bad business decision, etc.

There is, however, a certain “Scapegoat” mentioned in Scripture.  This scapegoat gives us a picture of Jesus Christ; at least a picture of His work on the cross, and His burial.  In Leviticus we read…

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.  And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.  But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”  Leviticus 16:7-10

The first goat was to be a sin offering which would bear the sins of the sins of Aaron and his house (Leviticus 16:6), and they were to “cast lots” to determine which goat was to be the sin offering, and which was to be the scapegoat.  I want us to deal with the scapegoat, though we must understand they are both necessary for this part of redemption.  We do not often picture a goat as having redeeming qualities; but let us see the goat as representing the sin which our Saviour bore on the cross.

The sin offering died, thus through Christ sin was put to death (Also read Romans 6:1-16), it has no more power over those who are the redeemed.  Sin also lays on us death, sin, guilt, condemnation, and O, such sorrows.  The scapegoat was taken alive into the wilderness to never be seen again.

When the child of God has laid on her or him these condemnations; then we must remember that all our sins were laid on Him who died, was buried; and in His burial He carried all our sin, death, shame, guilt and condemnation away, and He arose bodily alive, victorious over all of death’s vices.

Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, God incarnate became on the cross the very thing which He and His Father hated: Sin (2 Corinthians 5:21); was judged by the Father; the Father resurrected Him, and by His resurrection we are raised with Him.  Cleansed, forgiven, and in fellowship with God for now and all eternity.

Jesus Through the Bible – The Lamb of God

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.  And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.”  Exodus 12:5-7

The final plague was coming upon Egypt.  Moses had received instruction from the LORD for the deliverance from this final form of judgment on Egypt; it would affect all in the land of Egypt, even Israel.  None can stand before the final judgment without the redemptive power of the blood of the lamb.

Note in the above verse the placing of the blood on the “two side posts”, and on the “upper door post” of their homes.  Within that alone we have the sign of the cross.  It was on the cross of Calvary where our blessed Saviour bled out His life’s blood for our redemption.  The perfect Lamb of God who willingly gave His life for my sin and yours.

John the apostle wrote of John the Baptist as he said,

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”  John 1:29

Your sins and mine have been paid for by the blood of the perfect, sinless Lamb of God Jesus Christ.  You are lost and condemned without Him.  Repent, believe Him, and be saved, today.

I Will Not Cast Them Away

…I Will Not Cast Them Away…

Leviticus 26:44-46

1.  After reading the first 25 chapters and hearing about the benefits of holiness we now hear God’s Word concerning unholiness and its consequences.
2.  God promises great reward to those of His children of Israel who will obey Him as a nation, a priesthood.
3.  There are also grave consequences for disobedience for the people and the land; so that the land can heal.
4.  Even though the LORD may punish or discipline His people He does not forsake them.

I.  GOD DESIRES TO DWELL AMONG HIS PEOPLE WHOM HE HAS REDEEMED UNTO  HIMSELF (v. 11; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).

II.  THE LORD DESIRES TO BLESS THE LAND, HIS PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD (vv. 1-13).

III.  WHEN GOD’S PEOPLE ARE NOT HOLY; HOW CAN A HOLY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS; EXCEPT BY CLEANSING (vv. 14-39)

IV.  THOUGH THE PEOPLE HAVE DISOBEYED, REBELLED, AND BECAME UNHOLY; THE LORD SAYS, ‘I WILL NOT CAST THEM AWAY’ (v. 44).

Application –

i.  God dwells in His people through the antitype who is Christ Jesus Himself – He lives in those who are redeemed through His precious blood.
ii.  The land could be a type of the spiritual blessings of those who are in Christ Jesus; spiritual gifts, life lived and given to the LORD.
iii.  Even the Christian who is not walking with God suffers grave consequences (Galations 6:7-8), and must come back into a right and holy walk with God.
iv.  He has promised, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5) and He will not cast away His redeemed people (John 17:11).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Preached at Carr Lane Baptist Church February 2011.

W4CL – Heirs

“Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father.’ Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”   Galations 4:1-7 (KJV)

There has been much talk in our nation, and around the world of the new “Royal baby” which was born a week or so ago.  “Third heir to the throne” we have heard.  What is he heir to?  The ceremonial, traditional position of the king of England.  A small, and somewhat influential country in the world; an honor for this baby, and the ones which preceded him.

It is Paul’s declaration that those who have been born of God are heirs with Christ Jesus.  Now that is not a ceremonial, nor traditional thing; it is an eternal, very influential thing.  According to Romans 8:17 those of us who have been born again through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, buried with Him in His baptism, and raised again to new life through His resurrection are “Joint heirs with Christ”.  What does that mean?

It means that we will not be ruling a penniless, bankrupt nation (spiritually and economically); we will rule the earth with King Jesus on the throne.  He is the one who “Owns the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10).  He also owns the stars in the deepest parts of space, and the earth is His footstool (Matthew 5:35).

If we are joint heirs with Christ, and we are; then, as heirs of Christ we should behave like heirs of Christ until He comes again.

In Christ you are heir to more than a fading kingdom; you are an heir to all that is God’s.

Words for Christian Living 060613

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, ‘He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.'”  1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (KJV)

It seems to me that far too much of our time and efforts today when we are speaking to others of Christ Jesus is spent in debate.  Now, do not take me wrong.  There is nothing wrong with debate.  The idea of debate is to try and persuade someone who is persuadable; is it not?

The message of Christ is not up for debate.  No one will change my mind concerning Christ, His death, burial and resurrection, His second coming; even the Pre-tribulation rapture of the Church.  So it is a waste of effort with me to try and change my mind on those matters.

I only mention these things because we hear of Christians spending much time in debate with atheists, and trying to persuade them that God exist, using our own “Persuasive abilities”, knowledge of Scripture, and seem to forget that the persuasion is not in our own power, but the power of the Holy Spirit.  If an unbeliever wills not to see; they will not see by our words.

“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…”  Let us quit casting pearls before swine, and seek those who might possibly want and need the Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of GOD – Hosea 13:1 – 14:9

The Redeeming Love of God

The Healing Love of GOD

Hosea 13:1 – 14:9

In the study of Hosea we have seen that the doom of Israel/Ephraim was certain.  They had rejected God’s ways for their lives, and their nation’s continued prosperity.  Instead, they began to trust their prosperity and abilities, and began  to build their own gods.  God sent prophets to warn them.  Certainly, there were individuals who turned [repented], but as a whole the nation was corrupt.

We will find in this message that the indulgence of sin has eternal consequences.  Sin has the power to destroy forever, a nation, or an individual.  God in His grace, however, provides a way to defeat the power of sin.  Sin’s power could destroy Israel forever; however, God was not through with them.  He would raise them up to fulfill His glorious purpose.

“When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, ‘Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.’ Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.”  Hosea 13:1-3 (KJV)

Ephraim has been used throughout Hosea to represent the total land of Israel.  Now it appears to be speaking of the tribe.  They have gone from glory to shame.

Ephraim was a respected tribe, and spoke with authority.  Joshua the son of Nun was of the tribe or Ephraim (Numbers 13:8, 16).  He, as you may remember, was Moses’ successor who would lead the people into Canaan, the land of promise.  He would lead them in battle, and the settling of the land.  By this tribe’s faithfulness to God they were exalted among all the people.

When Israel split as a nation, Jereboam also of the tribe of Ephraim, led the people into the worship of false deities, and rejected the true Go.  Because of this they would die.

Molten images, the work of their own hands, became the object of their worship.  Because of this they would soon disappear, as the chaff of whet, smoke from the chimney, the early dew, and the morning cloud.

“Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but Me: for there is no saviour beside Me. I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten Me. Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.”  Hosea 13:4-8 (KJV)

God would go from being their Saviour; to being their Destroyer.

From the time that Moses came back to the land of Egypt to the time of Canaan God brought them through.  He worked powerfully  in their deliverance from Egypt.  He fed them, gave them water to drink, even when there was no water He was their source of supply.

God blessed them abundantly in the “Promised land”, and they soon forgot Him.  They began to neglect the reminders of His deliverance for other things.  Afterwards, they began to reject God’s will and way for them.  Finally, they would forget God and be destroyed.

God would become to them as ravenous beasts seeking its prey.  The lion is strong and brave.  The leopard is an animal of stealth and speed, sometimes lying in wait to surprise its helpless prey.  The mother bear is extremely dangerous, especially, if she thinks her cubs are in danger (Proverbs 17:12).  They would be torn and ripped to pieces because of their sin.

There is hope for them. Because there would be a remnant left from which to accomplish  God’s purposes.

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help. I will be thy King: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities, and thy judges of whom thou saidst, ‘Give me a king and princes?’  I gave thee a king in Mine anger, and took him away in My wrath.”  Hosea 13:9-11 (KJV)

They went away from God as King to destructive leaders.

Israel, was destroying themselves.  It began when they determined to be life “Other nations” and wanted a king (1 Samuel 8:1-7).  God was their King.  In their unbelief they rejected God as King, and chose to have a foolish, and obstinate man rule over them.

Sure, God anointed Saul as king, but Go also knew that Saul would be representative fo the majority of the kings in Israel.  In his rebellion and pride he rejected God’s way.

“The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels. Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”  Hosea 13:12-16 (KJV)

The judgment of God is not fro revenge, nor only punitive.  In judgment He seeks to redeem.

“The iniquity… is bound up” is communicating to us that God has a record of Israel’s/Ephraim’s sin.  They cannot hide it (v. 12).

God likens their judgment to that of a woman giving birth to a child.  He is a stubborn child.  Unwilling to be born into what God desires, causing greater pain for his mother.  The child represents the individual – the mother Israel.  Before the nation can be healed, the individual must repent and accept the ways of God (v. 13).

“Death ultimately involves eternal punishment in hell (‘The second death’) for those who refuse God’s redemption (Revelation 20:13-15).  Taken together in the larger biblical context, Sheol and death picture sin’s power to demand the penalty of eternal death.  In the case of the people of Hosea’s day, Sheol and death would be the power of their sin to destroy them forever as God’s  people.”  John Traylor page 120.

God was determined to redeem Israel.  He would ultimately do that through the death of His Son Jesus on the cross.  Placing all the sins of mankind upon Him, God put the power of sin to death.  Romans 8:3 says, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.”  (NKJV)

The law of God demands eternal death because of sin.  God says, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave.”  See 1 Corinthians 15:55-56.  God would raise Israel up once again.  God would have compassion  on them (v. 14).

Death, through judgment would have to come before resurrection.  This shows the power of God to redeem.  When there is no hope that appears, there is hope and possibility in God.  He is the God of resurrection – of New Life.

“O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto Him, ‘Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, ‘Ye are our gods: for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy.'”  Hosea 14:1-3 (KJV)

God calls for Israel to truly repent.

Forget the rituals, the gifts of offering, and sacrifices.  Offer to God “Words”.  Not empty and vain words, but “Words” of a heart that is truly broken and repentant.  Life that is changed, turned around, by God is true repentance.

Israel had to turn around to realize there was no hope in anyone or anything, but God.  In God is mercy, grace, and hope.

“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From Me is thy fruit found.”  Hosea 14:4-8 (KJV)

After true repentance great things begin to occur.

Remember, God has brought them to repentance.  God heals their backsliding hearts. Now, they cling only to Him.

Israel would experience the fullness of God’s love.  There will be no need for His anger any longer.  God is their source of refreshment, and blessing.  The bringing forth of this fruit is the result of their trusting in God.

“Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.”  Hosea 14:9 (KJV)

The word of, and the way of the Wise.

The Wise receive the redemption of God, and stop depending on false gods.

Hosea points the one who is wise to the love and joy of our Saviour.  There is life in God’s way.  Death awaits the foolish who reject God’s way of life.  Jesus said,  “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man [no one] cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”  (John 14:6)  Someone once said, “Without the Way there is no going; without the Truth there is no knowing; without the Life there  is no living.”  The way is hard it is not easy.  The truth is all you can trust.  The life is eternal through faith in this One who died for our sins.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God – Hosea 7:1-16

The People Deceived and Deceitful
Hosea 7:1-16

Can you imagine the actions of Gomer when Hosea came to redeem her from the slavery she was in?  “I have no need of deliverance” (Proverbs 30:20).  Hosea had her best interest at heart.  She was relishing her “Freedom”.  His interest was Gomer and her healing.  Eaten up and ensnared by pagan practices, and worship, which destroyed her relationship with God.

Remember Gomer is representative of the nation Israel, and Hosea is representative of God.

“When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.”  Hosea 7:1 (KJV)

The message is God’s to Israel.  “I would have healed you.”  His mercy was waiting to work.  Even though redeemed they refuse to turn from their evil ways.

The death of Jesus on the cross was the price paid to redeem and heal all mankind, yet people persist in sin refusing to let God do a work of grace and redemption in their hearts and lives.
Because grace is rejected evil continues to work like leaven [yeast].

“And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before My face.” verse 2

Israel was continuing in sin and rebellion against God believing He would not see, He would not punish or chastise.  They were dealing falsely with God.  If one can be deceitful, and operate falsely with God they can, and will with their fellow man as well.

To think that we can hide our sin and disobedience from God, or to think He does not take notice is completely ludicrous.  The psalmist wrote, “Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance” (Psalm 90:8).  Only the wicked can believe that God does not, or cannot see our sin, and does not punish it.  Ezekiel heard God speak saying, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols?  For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land’” (Ezekiel 8:12 NKJV Also see Psalm 10:2-11).

God does “Remember” sin.  He does not turn away, but it is judged.  All sin was for all time judged in God’s Son Jesus Christ.  He who rejects God’s Son rejects God’s love, and can expect judgment for his/her own sin – the price is eternal.

“They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.  They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened.  In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.  For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.  They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto Me.”  verses 3-7

There was a familial delight in evil deceit, debauchery and anarchy.  Instead of a family or house of God delighting in holiness, and seeking Him; there was a family of deceit.  Seeking to seduce and lead others away from, rather than toward the Lord God.

It even seems tha the rulers, both the religious and civil were “Glad” with the wickedness.  It is quite likely that there was great financial gain through wickedness.  Why else would they be “Glad”?  Except for their  evil indulgence.

Their passions burned within them; keeping them “Banked” until the time was right – until sin reached its height.  Then, like the baker, the fires were stirred and the fires burned hot.  Their lust is pictured as an hot oven.  Lust is pictured as a burning fire; also in the New Testament.  Paul writing to the Corinthians said, “But I say to the unmarried adn to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am [unmarried]; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry.  For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9 NKJV).

When the time for the putrid party begins the baker [initiator] stirrs the fires, and it becomes a “Flaming fire”.  Its leaping, dancing, gyrating flames alluring, inviting the masses to join in.

The ruler are bought and paid for by the wicked.  They cannot rule justly.  They cannot judge rightly or mercifully.  The judges, the kings have fallen.  Fallen to their own lusts and greed.  Fallen from the way of mercy and justice.  They all seek their own way.  God says, “None… calleth unto Me.”

“In terms of human relationships, adultery is the ultimate act of deceit, betrayal, and treachery.”  (John Traylor).

Evil became such a way of life that anarchy began to prevail.  Kings died by assassination, and judges perished by same.  If God pulls back his hand, his “Hedge” of protection, and lets man have his own way anarchy rules.

“Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.  And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek Him for all this.” verse 8-10

Israel turned from the Law of God, and accepted heathen practices.  It is hard for many of us to see the picture portrayed in verse eight, “A cake not turned”.  The picture is like a pancake, similar to like mothers or cooks prepare everyday for children or visitors to restaurants.  A pancake left unturned by its cook.  It burns on one side, and is left as dough on the other.  It is unfit for consumption, and the best thing to do is toss it out.

They have given themselves to evil.  They lose their strength of youth without even realizing it.  He has lost his power, because of turning from God to serve self, and does not even notice, that, God is no longer upon him.  Sin so blinds that the direction headed, and the direction turned from cannot be seen.  It is a great tragedy for the child of God to go on in sin and not realize that God’s Spirit, power and strength has departed.

Even though God continues to reach out to Israel, in pride they reject Him.  Their pride is a testimony against them (5:5).  We can handle it ourselves while we head to destruction.  The LORD hates “A proud look” (Proverbs 6:17).

“Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.”  verses 11-12

Have you ever had a bird in your house, or caught in any building?  It flies into the windows, the walls, ceiling, and frantically searches for a way of escape.  The door can be open, but it wants its own way out.  Most times you have to catch the bird, carry it to the door, and then release it.  The “Silly dove” is a picture of Israel seeking her own way.  Mankind seeking his own way.  You seeking your own way.  In order to be delivered God must capture her, and show her the way out in His hands of chastisement.

“Woe unto them! For they have fled from Me: destruction unto them! Because they have transgressed against Me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against Me.  And they have not cried unto Me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against Me.  Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against Me. They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.”  verses 13-16

Again God’s heart cry for His people is shown.  They flee from God to seek evil, and to their own destruction.  They lie about God, and to Him.  They “Lie against” God in two ways;

  1. By denying that Hosea’s message is from God;
  2. By attributing the blessings of their past to their worship of idols, and a possible third;
  3. By making God equal with all others.

Even though God has redeemed them they still persist in denial of God’s deliverance and power.

They are returning to ritual.  Ritual has no holiness requirements.  It has no power to change lives.  It makes many other requirements but provides no personal relationship.

Like an archer’s bow that is not true, and curved rightly it will not hit its target, even with the best of archers.  The bullseye is missed.  The bullseye of God’s glory; “For all have sinned, and come short [missed the mark] of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

There are seven reasons given for the destruction of Israel [Ephraim];

  1. They were set in their rebellion (v. 13);
  2. They were set in false witness against  the LORD (v. 13);
  3. Their insincerity in calling upon the LORD (v. 14);
  4. The committed apostasy in the way they sought for yields or better yields of their crops (v. 14);
  5. The people “devised evil” against the LORD (v. 15);
  6. The Israelites did not seek God (v. 16);
  7. The scornful speaking of the rulers of Israel (v. 16).

“Woe unto them! For they have fled from Me”  Beware children of God when you are getting so close to culture, and society you begin to identify more with them than with God.  When we begin to call good evil, we are in disagreement with God and in agreement with the world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 3:2-3)

No Love Like God’s Love 2

“So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: and I said unto her, ‘Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee.” Hosea 3:2-3 (KJV)

Obedience must be the heart of the prophet.  Hosea obeyed.  He bought his wife and freed her from the licentious, debaucherous  bondage she was in.

The price was steep.  What price is too high to pay to redeem what you love?  The price God would pay to redeem all mankind was high as well.  It cost Him the life of His only begotten Son.

Hosea was not told to wait and love Gomer after she straightened up her life.  He was commanded to love her unconditionally.  It is hard to love the unlovable, the unloving, the unkind.  It is hard to love when that love is not returned.  That is what real love is.  Hosea did.  God does.  His children do, else they are not His children (1 John 4:8).  We are able to love, because we are God’s purchased possession (1 Corinthians 6:20).  We are forgiven, and indwelt by the Spirit of Christ.

Just as Hosea paid a price for Gomer’s redemption, and God pays a price for Israel’s and our redemption, so too, it requires a price for us to love unconditionally.  The price we pay is openness; our lives opened up to hurt, rejection; when we love we open our lives to those we love.  The price we pay is giving; giving ourselves, our time in order to see that one we love set free from their problem, trials and bondages.  The price we pay is tough love; chastening is not pleasant; it will be hated at times by the one we love.  The price we pay is forgiveness; someone must pay, and it will be the one who forgives.

Redemption is always at a high price.  Forgiveness and cleansing are not free.  Someone must pay.  In Gomer’s place Hosea paid the price.  In Israel’s stead God pays the price.  “The Redeeming Love of God” for all people is through the death, burial, and resurrection of God’s Son Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:19; 2:24;  John 3:16).

Accepted redemption, such as Gomer’s must have made, requires and gives a change of life, and life style.

There was to be a period of cleansing discipline for Gomer.  She would not go back to her “Lovers”.  She would not “Play the harlot”, or would Hosea have another woman.

When God redeems us there is a time for cleansing – it is called life.  There will come a day when we will be with Him; and when we stand in His presence we will be clean, by the blood of Jesus.

-Tim A Blankenship