Undone

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.

Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Then said I, ‘Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts.’” Isaiah 6:1-5 (KJB)

I read these words again this morning and I will share something with you which I wrote and posted here about 10 years ago.  The following is written as though the prophet Isaiah was speaking the words…

Prophet’s Possible Perspective

The king Uzziah had died, and I had gone to the temple to pray and seek the Holy One of Israel. My heart was broken, and I grieved over my kings death. I must have needed to know that this was not the end. I needed to know there is my God who is holy, sovereign, and has everything under control.

My, what a sight to behold. The temple lit up in the most glorious light. That is what God’s presence will do. Seraphims; servants of the most High’s presence; had appeared and announced the thrice holy GOD. “Holy, holy, holy”, they had declared “is the LORD of Hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory”. The most wondrous and powerful decree any servant of GOD could ever declare. I was awed by His Presence.

“And the posts of the door was shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.’ So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have see the King, the LORD of hosts.’” Isaiah 6:4-5 (NKJV).

I am learning that when God shows up things can and are often shaken up a bit. The shaking really begins in our own hearts. My heart and life has definitely been shaken a bit. I must say that I needed to see that the true King is the LORD of hosts. My how much more assurance does a man need than that.

This presence of the LORD was much needed. I learned by this that when you are in the presence of genuine holiness, that of GOD, that you see yourself as you truly are. There are woes that need to be announced against an ungodly people, but I see that I am ungodly; I am undone; I am a man of unclean lips; I am dwelling with people of unclean lips. We are an unclean people.

The best part of this is that though I am undone and unclean the most High revealed Himself to me. What a wonderful, holy, holy, holy LORD.

“And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” Hebrews 12:27 (KJV).

A Joy of the Heart

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (KJB).

Paul was a thankful man.  It gave his heart joy to see people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ through the  preaching, and teaching of the word of God.  Remember what he preached was from the Old Testament. That was what they had. Some of the New was out there, but not readily available.

These people had been people bound in darkness. The Apostle had come to them with the good news of the gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ – and they had heard, and believed.  Lives had been changed.  There was true repentance; a complete turn around, a change in their lives.

All the talking and powers of persuasion are not always effective at changing someone’s mind or heart.  With the gospel it is only the power of the Holy Spirit who can reveal the truth of the gospel, the power of the gospel, and the light of the glory of Jesus Christ; that He is the Son of God, God the Son.

Will you be the joy of someone’s heart today?  Has the Spirit of God revealed to you the truth of who Jesus is?  Turn to Him, away from sin, believe Him, and be saved.

To the Hypocrite, Religious Leaders

“Serpents, generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Matthew 23:33

These words spoken by Jesus is from the heart of the God-Man Jesus Christ.  They are spoken through most of the twenty third chapter of Matthew.  He calls them, serpents, vipers, hypocrites at least nine times.  Now He tells them they speak poisonous words.  They bind people in legalism, and make their converts more a child of hell than themselves (v. 15).

O how we as pastors and preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).  O how all of those who are born again need to realize that in Christ Jesus we have been made free from the demands of the law, because the law is within our hearts and minds to do it.

From the Pulpit Commentary on Matthew 23:33…

“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers; γεννηìματα ἐχιδνῶν: offspring of vipers. Our Lord repeats the Baptist’s denunciation (Mat_3:7). They were of devilish nature, inherited from their very birth the disposition and character of Satan. So Christ said on another occasion, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth” (Joh_8:44). How can ye escape? Πῶς φυìγητε; the deliberative conjunctive, How shall ye escape? Quo mode fugietis? (Vulgate). There is no emphasis on “can” in the Authorized Version. What hope is there now of your repentance? Can anything soften the hardness of your hearts? The Baptist had spoken more hopefully, “Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” But now the day of grace is past; the sin against the Holy Ghost is committed; there remaineth only the fearful looking for of judgment.
The damnation of hell; literally, the judgment of Gehenna; judicio Gehennae (Vulgate); i.e. the sentence that condemns to eternal death (Mat_5:22). The phrase is common in the rabbinical writings (see Lightfoot). “Before sinning, we ought to fear lest it be the filling up; after sinning, we should trust in a truly Christian hope that it is not, and repent. This is the only means to escape the damnation of hell; but how rare is this grace after a pharisaical life!” (Quesnel). Hypocrisy is a bar to repentance.”

May hypocrisy be cast out of my heart. May hypocrisy be the enemy of my heart, my mind, and my life.  May hypocrisy be cast out and trod under our feet.

The Message Jesus Preached

Going back to the New Testament today…

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”  Matthew 4:17 (KJB)

The Thoughts of F. B. Meyer…

“Our Lord’s earliest ministry seems to have been centered in Jerusalem and its contiguous villages. See Joh_2:1-25; Joh_3:1-36. But on the news of the Baptist’s imprisonment, He took up His testimony to the hearers of the heavenly kingdom, which is the reign of God over the hearts and lives of men. Someone has said that it is “the universal awareness of God.” Yet there was a difference! At the commencement of His work, the Savior showed a tenderness and a winsomeness which were very inviting to the crowds of harried sheep. See Mat_9:36. His ministry resembled the gentle, holy dawn that breaks over the mountains and dispels the black shadows of the night. The evangelist quotes the prophet’s anticipation of the coming of Him who is called “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God.” Oh, do not be afraid when Jesus comes to your heart! You may be as far away from goodness and purity as Naphtali and Zebulun from Jerusalem, but Galilee of the Gentiles is included in Joh_3:16.”

The Thoughts of John Gill…

“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say,…. Not from the time he dwelt in Capernaum; for he had preached in Nazareth before he came there, Luk_4:16 nor from the time of John’s being cast into prison; for he had preached, and made disciples, who were baptized by his orders, before John’s imprisonment, Joh_3:22 Joh_4:1 but from the time that Satan left tempting him; as soon as that combat was over, immediately he went into Galilee, began to preach, and called his disciples. The words with which he began his ministry are the same with which John begun his; which shows the entire agreement between them, in that they not only preached the same doctrine, but in the same words; See Gill on Mat_3:2.”

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand — Thus did our Lord not only take up the strain, but give forth the identical summons of His honored forerunner. Our Lord sometimes speaks of the new kingdom as already come – in His own Person and ministry; but the economy of it was only “at hand” until the blood of the cross was shed, and the Spirit on the day of Pentecost opened the fountain for sin and for uncleanness to the world at large.”

It is time for all who call themselves Christian to turn to Christ, turning away from sin.  It is time for you who do not know Jesus to know that He loves you so much He paid the penalty for sin by His death on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again.

Call on His name today.

The Mind and Counsel of the Lord

“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.’  As concerning the gospel, enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, beloved for the fathers’ sakes.  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! ‘For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counsellor?   Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?’  For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”  Romans 11:26-36  (KJB)

References: Psalm 14:7; Isaiah 27:9; Daniel 9:24; Numbers 23:19; Romans 3:9; Jeremiah 23:18; 1 Corinthians 8:6

The Sick and The Sinner

“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He saith unto him, ‘Follow Me.’ And he arose, and followed Him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, ‘Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?’
But when Jesus heard, He said unto them, ‘They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’” Matthew 9:9-13  (KJB)

What do the sick and the sinner have in common?  When the sick know they are sick they will; at least in most cases; seek out a physician or someone who can help them.  When the sinner realizes they are a sinner they will seek for a savior; for someone who can and will deliver them from their sin.

In the above verses Jesus had just called a publican [tax collector] to Himself.  His name is Matthew.  Mark and Luke call him Levi.  He is a Hebrew collecting taxes from his own people.  Many of the Hebrew people; especially the Pharisees despised the Jewish men who did such a thing.

The Pharisees also rejected and despised Jesus.  Many of the people who came to Jesus were those who were rejected by the religious hierarchy, sick, weak, hungry, fearful, despised, and rejected by many others.

My summation of the above is this: When you know you are sick you will seek for help; when you know you are lost you will seek help; when you know you are a sinner you will seek for a savior.  There is no help or savior for those who are safe and secure within themselves.

Before you can be delivered from your sin you must realize you are a sinner.  Jesus Christ is the only one who bled and died on the cross for your sins and mine; He was buried, and He rose again.  Trust in Him and His work on the cross; believe Him and be saved.

The Coming and Fulfillment of Righteousness

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, ‘O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham to our father’, for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?’ And Jesus answering said unto him, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered Him. And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a Voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” Matthew 3:7-17  (KJB)

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (3)

The Wickedness of Mankind

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” Genesis 6:1-7 (KJV).

Sermon Points for Today August 26, 2018

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is a Certain Event

2 Peter 3:1-10

The second coming of Jesus Christ is just as certain as His first coming and it will be a cleansing world event.  Read Zechariah 14.

I.  The Stirring of the Prophet’s and the Apostle’s writings (vv. 1-2).

II.  There will be Those Who Scoff at the Promise (vv. 3-7).

III.  The Lord is Not Slack in His Promise, and Calls for Repentance (vv. 8-9).

IV.  The Thief and the “Day of the LORD” (v. 10).

Much Needed Repentance

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read for today Judges 9 – 10…

“And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, ‘We have sinned: do Thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto Thee; deliver us only, we pray Thee, this day.'” Judges 10:15  (KJB)

Since the death of Gideon the tribes of Israel had grossly strayed from the path the LORD had laid out for them, and had turned to the worship of foreign gods, which means they had turned their backs on the LORD.  The LORD God was the One who had delivered them from Egypt, gave them deliverance through crossing the Red Sea, provided water from the Rock, given them manna for bread in the wilderness, and protected them from many enemies in their journey.  Yet they had gone astray in the land of Promise.

Reading chapters 9 – 10 of Judges we find departure, defeat, and chaos.  They are distressed by…

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The Faithful and True Witness

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”  Revelation 3:14-22 (KJV)

In closing the letters to the seven churches we come to the final church of Laodicea. This was a wealthy city, and thus, believed themselves to be in need of nothing. This attitude had gotten into the church, thus the need for the letter. In this letter, we will see the sovereignty of Jesus Christ and His power in working with spiritual fervor, or the lack of it, and His immediate position to those who say they have no need.

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God…”

Jesus reveals Himself as “The Amen”, which means “So be it”. Whatever Jesus has said, or is about to say will definitely come to pass. He is the God of truth. He is truth, fixed and sure.

Jesus is the One who has, possesses and owns everything. “The earth is the LORD’S and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1).

Again Jesus is presenting a characteristic of Himself which the church needs. As Sovereign, He owns and possesses all things.

He reveals Himself as the very source of all creation. “…The beginning of the creation of God…” declares in fact that He is the Creator, not a created being (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). He is the source of the needs the Laodicean people did not realize they had. Paul was familiar with Laodicea. The epistle of Colossians was sent to Laodicea for them to hear and read concerning the deity of Jesus, and other matters.

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

In these verses, we see what Jesus has to say to the congregation of Laodicea. It is not pleasant or good. He mentions no good works, no good doctrine, there is absolutely no commendation, but condemnation, with a call to “Repent” and “…Open the door…” as the only hope.

This is a church which only acted as a thermometer. It only registered the temperature around it. It was no more than a stagnant water or a dead body. Its environment was all it registered. A thermostat is used for raising or lowering the temperature. Every child of God should be like a thermostat.

When we look through Scripture we find that there are three spiritual temperatures;
1. The burning heart. This heart yearns for the Word of God and loves to hear the exposition of God’s Word. You find an example of this heart in Luke 24:32.
2. The cold heart. This heart is just not interested in spiritual things. It finds greater pleasure in the world than in God’s words. An example of this heart is found in Matthew 24:12.
3. The lukewarm heart. This is the heart who is comfortable and complacent. It is the worst condition of the three. This individual or church will not be committed to doing anything much. May or may not be a regular worshiper. We find this example in our text (v. 15). You never know where this type of people or church stands on any issue or debate.

The John MacArthur Study Bible note on verse 16 states,

“Nearby Hierapolis was famous for its hot springs, and Colosse for its cold, refreshing mountain stream. But Laodicea had dirty, tepid water that flowed for miles through an underground aqueduct. Visitors, unaccustomed to it, immediately spat it out. The church at Laodicea was neither cold, openly rejecting Christ, nor hot, filled with spiritual zeal. Instead, its members were lukewarm, hypocrites professing to know Christ, but not truly belonging to Him (cf. Matt.7:21ff).”

Jesus says of this church, “You make me sick”. They are willing to sacrifice truth for peace.

If they would have been hot Jesus would have commended them. If they would have been cold, He would have rebuked them and heated them up. As they were lukewarm, they did not even realize they had a need. Everything was going their way. They had money, notoriety, rich jewels. They had everything other people in the city had – including the presence of the absence of Jesus. They did not even know Jesus was not there.

When things are going good, and we get comfortable, let us make certain Jesus is present no matter what the cost may be. If we are comfortable we must be careful not to grow complacent to the needs we may have as well as the needs of those around us. The greatest need the world around us has is that they see Jesus Christ in those who are His – for the church to be the Church – and not living as the world.

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

The church needed to be made aware of their comfortable complacency. Because of the material riches they had been blessed with they had drifted into lukewarmness and had become a negative testimony for Christ.

Lukewarmness happens when blessings are many and the worship of Jesus slacks off. Pride and self-satisfaction is the ruin of many individuals and churches.

The city was one of vast wealth and the church has been a recipient as well. They had “Need of nothing” and were blind to their real need. They were able to handle things themselves. Their blindness kept them from seeing their nakedness, and poverty. Spiritual blindness leads to spiritual bankruptcy.

These people were clothed in the richest of garments materially, yet without the righteous garment of Jesus, they had nothing of God. They were clothed in “Fig leaves” before the eyes of God.

Blindness is sometimes caused by poor diet – malnutrition. Warren Wiersbe said…

“Diet has bearing on the condition of one’s eyes, in a spiritual sense as well as a physical one.” They had feasted heavily on material things and were fat and lazy. They had neglected the Word and worship of God in Christ and were blind as a bat without sonar, in Spirit. Poor, miserable, blind and naked.
They needed cleansing. They needed to stand for Jesus to show the world the difference one’s life has in Christ. This would lead to persecution, for the Scripture says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

They needed to be clothed in the white and righteous garments of Jesus. In Jesus they would have true riches; “Gold tried in the fire” or persecution and trials of faith in Him. God, raiment, and sight that is for eternity, rather than that which the moth and rust eat away, corrupts and fails.

Laodicea was known for an eye ointment for helping sight problems. This ointment could not help them see Jesus, their true need, however. Jesus offers the ointment of the Holy Spirit who gives sight to the spiritually blind.

Jesus’s words in verse 19 are directed to a small remnant within this church who are in Christ. They have sadly backslidden, yet Jesus warns them to repent. His chastening hand brings His children out of the lie of self-satisfaction into a satisfying fellowship with Himself.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

The saddest statement of these letters, and possibly in all of Scripture is the proximity of Jesus in relation to this church.
1. He is near, but not in;
2. He is knocking at the door; the ones inside unaware of His absence;
3. He is asking to come in.

This was more a social club than a church. If the One who instituted the Church is not in the church, then, it is not the Church. It does not matter how loud a group yells they are a church. What does matter is, where Jesus is in relation to them. Likewise, it matters not how loud the individual declares He is a Christian, it does, however, matter the proximity of Jesus in relation to that individual.

For those who will open the door and let Him in there is great fellowship and feasting in His presence and glory.

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

The promise to the “Overcomer” is an eternal one. To sit with Jesus on His throne (Ephesians 1:3; 2:6). He has called us to be overcomers, placed in us His Spirit who seals us to that great day. Why do we want to persist in our own way, knowing that the riches of Jesus is ours through overcoming faith in Him?

Now is the time to hear. Hear the Spirit as He directs you to Jesus. Hear Him as He rebukes you of your sin and your backslidden condition.

Many individuals and churches are in the Laodicean condition. We need not stay there. If the Laodicean church did not repent they were judged. If the Church today does not repent of its comfortable complacency judgment will come on all who do not overcome.

In conclusion, this is the only church that had no commendation said of it. It was soundly rebuked for its lukewarmness. It was a “church” which made Jesus sick. Jesus was not even present in the church. He was outside, asking to come in, but they were not listening.

Let none of us who are in the Body of Christ get to the place where we do not even notice the absence of Jesus. What do we have if Jesus is not present in our gatherings as a local congregation? We have a social gathering and some Christians who need repentance. What do we have if an individual does not have the presence of Jesus? A lost individual, or a backslidden Christian. Jesus is Lord. He establishes His Church. It is Jesus who decides who will sit with Him on His throne. He is the Sovereign King; He is the Faithful and True Witness.

I Will Come Unto You Quickly

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: nd hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Revelation 2:1-7 (KJV)

The day in which we live needs the Church to be the Church, and not living to be like the world to win the world. The sheep do not need to put on the wolves clothing. The true Church needs admonishment and encouragement to keep doing the good and the right, with the right motive of loving the One who is our first love, and the One who holds the “Angel/Messengers” in His hand.
This is the beginning letter to the seven churches. These are important letters to the Church of all ages, and especially, I feel for the Church of today.

In the study of the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians Paul commends them for their faith and teaches them who they are in Jesus Christ. They are a vibrant and faithful people and growing in faith and knowledge of Jesus.

Jesus says that something is wrong with the church at Ephesus. They have abandoned their “First love”. If they do not repent their “Candlestick” – the light of His glory – “will be removed”. He gave the light. He can also remove it and give it to another.

He commends them and encourages them to be overcomers to eat of the Tree of Life which can be seen in the “Lampstand” of the tabernacle in the wilderness, of Israel’s wanderings.

Beginning the letter to the church of Ephesus, our Lord reminds the church of who holds the seven stars and walks among the “seven golden lampstands”. Of course, it is the One who is speaking. The One who is the Light Giver.

We are looking at each “angel” as being the messenger, ie. pastor of each local congregation. It would not make sense for an “Angel of Heaven” come and deliver a letter from Jesus. Jesus used John to pen down the letters, John sent them to each of the churches, and the leader, ie. pastor read it to the congregation. That would be so exciting to have an actual letter from Jesus read to us. Wait a minute!!!! WE DO. WOW!!!

Ephesus was a port city. It was the greatest of these seven cities. It was the seat of “Artemis” worship, also known as “Diana” in Acts chapter 19. Paul preached the gospel here for about three years. He built this church and encouraged them in their faith through the letter of Ephesians. It is said that John was in Ephesus for about 30 years.

In this first verse, Jesus gives greeting as He does to the others. He also identifies Himself as the One “That holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks”. This is one of the descriptions given in chapter one. The very fact of His walking “In the midst” shows Jesus’ love for the local church, and that His people are to be found in the local church.

The seven golden candlesticks are an Old Testament picture given in Exodus 25:31-37. The priests were to keep the light in the tabernacle burning. There were no means for the natural light of the sun to enter, so there was the need for the “Candlestick” or “Lampstand” for the priests to do the rest of their daily duties. Jesus being our Great High Priest keeps the flames burning the light shining in order that the world might see Him in His Church.

We now enter the “I know” portion of the letter. He is the “All-Knowing” One.
The people of Ephesus Church were a busy people. They were working and laboring to the point of exhaustion. For this devotion Jesus commends them. These were also a people who were sound in doctrine, they hated evil, and they were a discerning people. They could tell the true from the false. The reason they were able to discern so well is, that, they had learned the truth so well.

Jesus commends them for their perseverance (v. 3) in continuing to deal with the false apostles and persevering in faith despite the persecution they had faced.

By all appearances, Ephesus was a good church. They were serving the Lord well. Not many churches today could be so commended.

It seems, according to verse four, however, that the church was laboring with the wrong motives. Jesus commends them for their work but suddenly gives them condemning statements. It was only one thing. It was no small thing.

“Thou hast left thy first love” is one of the most tragic, and probably is the most tragic condemnation Jesus could lay on a church. It is the abandonment of the “first love” that causes all kinds of iniquities, and sin. It may have been that the church had been lured away from loving Jesus by the fulfillment received from performing their duties, or by the allurements of the city and their ways of worship.

The “First love” of every Believer is Jesus. If there is no time for Jesus, for hearing His words, sharing your hearts needs with Him, and practicing His ways, then, you have “Left” or “Abandoned” your “First love”.

This is the only one of the seven churches of which is warned of the removing of the “Candlestick”. Ephesus has no Christian witness to this day. Why? Because they had forsaken their love for Jesus. They were diligent in their work and task, but without a passion for Christ. I just recently heard a television preacher say, “Passion is more important than doctrine”. I do not agree with that. Passion without doctrine will end in emotionalism, an anything goes way of worship, and immorality; and doctrine without Passion will be legalistic and cold. So what is the answer? There is need and room for both, and a correct doctrine with the passion for Christ. It seems the church had good works, good doctrine, but no heart for Christ. The light of Christ has been removed.
Jesus’ condemning statement is followed by a statement of hope and warning (v. 5).

He says, “Remember”. Remember from where you have fallen. They had once been Gentiles without hope and Jesus redeemed them (Ephesians 2:11-13). It always helps to go back and remember what you were before Jesus saved you from the bondage of sin. If there has been no change, no difference then, it will do no good to ‘Remember’. You need a time where change begins. It can be now through faith in Jesus.

He then says, “Repent”. Begin to stir the coals. Put some fuel on them. Fan the flames. Ignite the flames of passion for Jesus that you once had. If there are no coals there, but only ashes…….., then what? Turn away from the pride of your work and your labors – love Jesus. We love Him least when we trust ourselves most; we love Him most when we trust Him most.

One of the first works of one with that “First love” mentality is telling others about His love; His death, burial, and resurrection.

The warning is that He will judge quickly if there is no turning. The judgment would be removing the candlestick. The light of their witness, their testimony, as a body, would be gone. Today Ephesus is an archaeologist’s fantasy land. The church no longer exists, nor does the city. Ichabod has certainly been written on the church of Ephesus. “Ichabod” meaning THE GLORY IS DEPARTED.

Jesus commends them in verse six for their hating the “Deeds of the Nicolaitans”. There is some dispute over who these were. Some take the name to mean “Conquerors of the people” meaning this group was the beginning of the separation of “Clergy” and “Laity”. The placing of a “Priesthood” lording over the people. Others relate the name to a man whose name was Nicolaus who taught that once you were saved you could live in sin and return for forgiveness anytime. NOTE – I wrote “Live in sin” which is continual action. This belief is called “Antinomianism”. I personally see no conflict between these two understandings. The separation of the “Priesthood” from the people lends leniency to immoral living and takes away personal responsibility, for one’s self and others. Though God has set an order for His local church, there is no one person of more importance than another. The pastor is to be the leader but is no more important than the janitor. Each has their God given duty, and each duty is important in God’s church. Jesus is Superior to all. The very fact that there is no description of these “Nicolaitans”, other than these views, seem to add credibility to this.

In the final verse of this important letter, we find an exhortation to hear. It is an exhortation to each individual to hear. The individual is responsible for his/her love for Jesus. Responsible for discerning right from wrong. For repentance when sin is committed. Individuals make up the local church.

The Spirit speaks expressly to the church and the individuals to hear.

To the individual who overcomes he will eat the fruit of the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden to keep them from the Tree. There is a symbol of the Tree of Life in the “Lampstand” of Exodus 25:31-37. It is likened to an almond tree. Jesus is the Caretaker, the Priest. Jesus is the only means for man to partake of the Tree of Life. He is in the midst.

Jesus said, “On this rock I will build My Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). In Ephesus, there was a remnant who departed and went elsewhere. When the “Candlestick” is removed there is no more light, no more witness. As long as there is a remnant there is light and hope.

Maintaining and feeding your love and passion for Jesus assures you of eating from the Tree of Life.

Our Walk With God

Those of us who follow Christ Jesus have been set apart unto Him that He might be glorified.  Being set apart is what is meant by the word “Sanctified” or “Sanctification”.  At salvation we are sanctified; but throughout our lives we are being sanctified unto Him, until we are finally, and completely sanctified eternally.  Hear the words of Paul…

“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (KJV)

The prophet Amos in chapter three of the prophet’s prophecy asked the question,  “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)  Well, the answer to that is – “Not in peace and harmony.”

I heard someone say, fairly recently, “The Christians greatest battle is not with Satan, but with God.”  That would be because we still battle those old temptations to rule our own lives.  The continuing work of sanctification deals with this in our lives.

We must continually deal with sin and its ugly face. Sin separates us from God.  Sin will lead us on a detour away from God.  Walking with God means walking His path, His way. It means obedience to His word.  It is hating sin, and loving the Lord, and they cannot dwell together.

Reading the passage of Scripture you will notice that last sentence, “He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit.”  If you can turn away from that truth and say something so foolish as “I will live my life my way, and nobody can tell me how to live”, then, God has a word for you;  “You fool”.

Cry out to God in repentance.  Come to Him through Jesus Christ who died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and was raised from death and the grave.

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

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Forty and Two

“At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in My sight, that it obey not My voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” Jeremiah 18:7-10 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want our Nation’s (U. S. of A.) people and leaders to know that this life we live, the rulers who rule are actually overruled by God; because this life is not about “Me”; it is in fact about Him, His love, His mercy, His grace; and He has paid a redemption price by the gift of the life of His Son Jesus, that all who will believe on Him would not perish, but have everlasting life; and this is true for all the people of the world as well.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Sixty and Two

“For Jerusalem stumbled,
And Judah is fallen,
Because their tongue and their doings
Are against the LORD,
To provoke the eyes of His glory.
The look on their countenance witnesses against them,
And they declare their sin as Sodom;
They do not hide it.
Woe to their soul!
For they have brought evil upon themselves.” Isaiah 3:8-9 (NKJV)

This prophecy is a message directed to the city of Jerusalem in the prophets day, and the people of Judah.  We can, however, see that the message would fit with the Christianity as well in the Twenty First century.

What do I want for Christmas?

Seeing that many sins, shame, and condemnation is within the lives of many who call themselves “Christian” and there is no remorse, no repentance; I want the power of the Spirit of God to come over  every Christian, including myself, to make us aware of our guilt, our sins, unto repentance, and to embolden us to stand for Christ Jesus, His cross, His burial, His resurrection; and His second coming, and to tell others of His power, glory, and His glorious salvation through faith in Christ.

 

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day 200

Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want repentance to be a daily event of my life; to repent when I sin, and I want all who call themselves followers of Christ Jesus to know that turning from sin; from darkness to the Light, is evidence of faith in Him.

True Repentance is turning from sin to Christ; and we are not guaranteed another day.

Day Two Hundred Sixty and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

I want all the Nation of Israel to know that God has your back; He is watching over you; and I want you to know that  Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and God the Son, and that one day you will look upon Him, bow before Him as your King and Messiah.

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Romans 11:26-29 (KJV)

“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the LORD; My Spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.” Isaiah 59:20-21

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 364

“Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (NKJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

In the coming year I want to see many who are the enemy of God [Jehovah]; those who refuse the gift of God in His Son Jesus Christ; to have their eyes opened to the truth of who Jesus is; and that they will fall on their knees in repentance believing Him, trusting all that the Word of God says of Him, that He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and that He rose from the dead, for our eternal salvation.

The Righteous Cannot be Saved

Many religions place importance on doing something to gain God’s favor. Let me at the beginning just say; there is nothing you or I can do to gain God’s favor. There is no sacrifice, there is no sacrament, there is no good deed to your neighbor or the world which will gain you or me eternal life and/or the favor of Holy God.

This very mentality is what Jesus is addressing in the following verses:

“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:10-13 (KJV)

When Jesus was ministering to the publicans (tax collectors) and sinners the religious leaders began questioning Jesus’s purpose, power, and ministry. “What kind of man would sit with tax collectors and sinners?” they were asking themselves, and the disciples.

There is only one sacrifice which God the Father accepts; and that is the sacrifice, the death of His only begotten Son. Still the religious; the self-righteous try to gain the favor; the grace; of God through sacrifice and sacrament.

God shows grace and mercy to the sinner who will come to Him through the cross of His Son Jesus with a repentant heart. Through the act of repentance on the part of the sinner, trusting Christ Jesus, God clothes the sinner in the righteousness of God the Son.

You may be a righteous person today. You cannot be saved. Until you see yourself as the sinner your really are you will remain lost, condemned, dying, guilty, and spiritually dead.

Come to the Father through the cross of Jesus. Sinner hear Him and be saved. He came to save the sinner.

This Present Evil, and Our Prayer

We are looking at a recorded prayer of Daniel today. Daniel is confessing the sins of his people, his nation while they are held captive in Babylon. He has read the prophet Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2), and saw the great need for the repentance of the people. The place to begin repentance is with myself.

Hear the heart of Daniel and read through chapter nine, but for this post hear the heart of the man:

“As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand Thy truth. Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all His works which He doeth: for we obeyed not His voice. And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought Thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten Thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.” Daniel 9:13-15 (KJV)

Daniel sees that the LORD is righteous, and that He watches over us even when evil is prevailing; so that the evil that is upon His people might work to make His people a holy, and righteous people.

One of the things that seems apparent to me is that evil is its own destruction. Evil never triumphs at anything. Evil causes fear in the hearts of people, and God’s people too. Evil causes us to move away from God, then it is brought to destruction; and the people of God return to Him.

We must confess our sin; for we have sinned. We must ask for forgiveness from God. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Through the cross, the shed blood of Jesus Christ, His burial, and bodily resurrection there is forgiveness, and everlasting life in the presence of the Lord our God.

Irrevocable Promise

There are so many who are telling us that God is finished with Israel. That they are no longer God’s chosen people or nation. However, for someone to say that they are going against both the Old Testament prophecies, and the teachings of the New Testament as well.

Look at this prophecy through the prophet Ezekiel:

“Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are My people, saith the Lord GOD. And ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 34:30-31 (KJV)

Reading from verse 25 of the same chapter you will notice “My servant David”, and it is a reference to the Messiah of Israel, bringing them peace, and safety. Their Messiah is Jesus. Now I realize that they rejected Jesus when He came the first time, born as a baby in a manger; but that was for our benefit; for the whole earth’s benefit (Romans 11:11-15).  “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” Romans 11:29.

One day the remnant of Israel will see Jesus, God will be with them; He will be their God, and they will be His people.

May God save the house of Israel, and all those of the earth who are perishing (2 Peter 3:9); through the sacrificial blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Messiah of Israel.

Why Do You Die, O Sinner?

I hear people ask, “Why would a loving God send people to hell?” My answer has been, “He does not”. Some who hear my answer and ask then, “Do you not preach that sinners go to hell?” or something along that order of thought. Of course I do believe in hell. I believe in hell that was made for the devil and demons. It was not made for mankind.

However, hell is the destination of all who refuse God’s gracious gift of salvation. You are dying. You are a condemned person. Because of the fall of Adam; because of Adam’s sin we are all doomed to death, and hell. God does not send us there. That is our destination apart from God’s gift of grace. Hear the words of the prophet Ezekiel:

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Ezekiel 18:30-32 (KJV)

Yes, the LORD is speaking to Israel. Yes it has application for all people. Hear the words of Jesus in John 3…

“He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18

The question you need to be asking is not “Why would a loving God send people to hell?” the question should be; “Why do I reject the offer, the gift of grace, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ God’s Son?” Why do you? You are already condemned, dying, going to hell. God has freely given you His Son dying on a cross to redeem you.

Why do you choose to condemn yourself to an eternity without God, and to be in the flames of hell for all eternity?

God has no pleasure in your death. He is pleased when people come to Him. Just call on His name, and He will hear your cry for help.

Concerning Kings, Nations, and the People

“At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in My sight, that it obey not My voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” Jeremiah 18:7-10 (KJV)

The LORD is showing Jeremiah the potter and his work – concerning nations, kings and the people. I want to share with you what thoughts came to my heart and mind and which I wrote in my journal for the morning of August 14, 2015.

One thing I know, and that I am certain of; and that is that God, the Most High reigns in the hearts of kings, and nations and all people. It seems as though things and events in our nation (USA), and the world are on a fast track to the judgment of God of the last days. A judgment on the earth unlike any ever before.

The final judgment on earth that will bring millions to faith in God through Jesus Christ, and/or millions will be driven away from Him.  The U. S. of A. has turned her face against the Almighty, and has said, “We are going our own way.” There are in all probability millions of Christians in our nation who, like me, are praying for God’s glory to come down in power to show Himself strong in behalf to those whose hearts are perfect through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And I can say, Even so, Lord Jesus, Come.

Hearing God: Repentance

“Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath He covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.” Isaiah 29:9-12 (KJV)

At the time of Isaiah’s prophecy there was much religion, but little actual faith. There was a faithfulness to ritual religion, but no real faith. There was much repentance, but it was false repentance; because there was not real turning around.

The prophet says, “Stay yourselves” or “Stop” or “Pause” and “wonder” or “be amazed”. They talked of God, of the way of God, of their religion, and faith; but they only lived it on the Sabbath day.

Some of the more modern translations of where we read “cry ye out, and cry” read “Blind yourselves and be blind”. That is what happens when people hear the word of God and refuse to submit themselves to God and what He says. The crying out reminds me of what is said of Esau in the New Testament (Hebrews 12:17).

We can all be like the little boy who was caught taking the cookie from the cookie jar after his mother had made them, and clearly told him, “No cookies till after supper”. When he was caught with the cookies he says to his mother, “I am sorry momma”. She says “That is okay son. Just put the cookies back in the jar; and all will be fine.” “But momma”, the boy says, “I want to keep the cookies”.

The boy was not sorry for taking the cookies. He was only sorry he got caught. That is how the unrepentant are with God and sin. Too many times we are not sorry for our sin; we are only sorry we got caught. Too many times in our culture, and with society today there are many, even professing Christians who do not even acknowledge sin.

Christian; when God speaks, calling for repentance we best hear Him. When we refuse to hear Him we will receive discipline if we are His (Hebrews 12:7-8). When we are disciplined, then we need to know to repent; turn away from our sins; and believe the LORD. When we cease hearing God He can be silent to us as well.

If you have not heard from God for awhile; maybe you need to check your life, and judge it.

The Light is Shining

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:2 (KJV)

The nation having departed from the Word of the LORD, His law, and His prophets is in darkness. A darkness covers the land. A darkness of sin, of captivity, of departing from the Living God, to dead idols, to shame, to sin, and its captivity.

The verse is one of the promised Messiah who would come as Light to this nation in darkness; and its people dwelling in the “shadow of death”.

When Jesus came into Israel, born as a man; a baby in a manger; the Light truly did shine; and there was hope for the land, the people. Jesus Christ was and is the fulfillment of this prophecy of Isaiah. This verse is given in detail in Matthew 4:15-16, and following this verse Jesus says,

“Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (v. 17)

It is time for repentance, in our day. A time for turning away from sin to Christ Jesus and life in the light. When we are in darkness the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ shines brighter. It shines brighter as those who are His will stand, and be strong in the LORD, and the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10ff).

The ultimate fulfillment of this verse will be when Jesus the Messiah will come again, and set all things right, and reign as King of all kings.

The Light of the Messiah; the Christ is shining brightly in this dark world. Paul the apostle of Christ said,

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound…” Romans 5:20

Because of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Light (John 8:12; 9:5).  The Light is Shining brightly.

Mercy or Justice???

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1 (KJV)

This Psalm are the words of David to the LORD following the confrontation of his sin with Bathsheba.  David is guilty of sin; adultery, and murder of Uzziah the husband of Bathsheba.  David deserves to die.  That would be justice.

Because of David’s repentant heart God gives David mercy, and preserves his life.

In 2015 I have heard many call out for “Justice”, and yes sometimes that seems in short supply.  There is justice for many unborn children, but no mercy.  There is much mercy shown to those who do not deserve mercy, because they have shown no mercy.  Wait a minute.  Who deserves mercy?

Let me define what these words mean; at least as I see them.  First “Justice”  equals getting what is rightly deserved – death, judgment.  “Mercy” equals not receiving what we justly deserve – but instead receive forgiveness, life, love, liberty.

The Psalmist asked for mercy.  I believe he received it.  He received forgiveness, cleansing, and his sins blotted out.  Hear the word of the LORD;

“I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isaiah 43:25

My prayer is that we ask for mercy from God for our transgressions, our sins; and that we also ask for mercy for those who sin against us.  I need mercy.  What about you?

The Offerings of Grace

The Offerings of Grace
Leviticus 1-5

1. The Burnt offering, burnt sacrifice was a gift given voluntarily to GOD to dedicate one’s whole self to GOD (1:1-3). (“Offering” = a gift, present same as “Corban” from Mark 7:11)
A. The atonement of Christ
B. The sinless nature of Christ

2. The Grain Offering – A Voluntary Gift (“Corban”) – The Gift of our Labor (2:1-3).
A. Jesus is dedicated/consecrated to His task.
B. Jesus is wholly devoted to the Father’s will and purpose.

3. The Peace Offering – A Voluntary Gift (a sacrifice of thanksgiving -voluntary) (3:1-3). (sheh’lem)
A. Jesus is our reconciliation to God, and our fellowship with God.
B. Christ Jesus was, is at peace with God.

4. The Sin Offering – A Necessary Offering for Expiation of Sin (4:1-4).
A. He is our propitiation (Rom. 3:25; 2 Cor. 5:21).
B. Jesus Christ gave His life for us.

5. The Trespass Offering – Necessary for Dealing with Guilt (5:1-6).
A. Through Jesus Christ we find repentance.
B. Jesus paid the full price for our redemption.

Sinners – Not the Righteous are Called to Repentance

“And after these things He went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He said unto him, “Follow Me.”  And he left all, rose up, and followed Him.  And Levi made Him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.  But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against His disciples, saying, ‘Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?’  And Jesus answering said unto them, “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  And they said unto Him, ‘Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?’  And He said unto them, “Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.”  And He spake also a parable unto them; “No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, ‘The old is better.'”  ~Jesus dealing with the scribes and Pharisees (Luke 5:27-39)

Jesus: Judgment and Cities

“Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.  And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.  But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 11:20-24)

The Good News of the Kingdom of God

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’  Now as He walked by the sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And Jesus said unto them, ‘Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.’  And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed Him.  And when He had gone a little further thence, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.  And straightway He called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after Him.  And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day He entered into the synagogue, and taught.  And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.”  Mark 1:14-22

What We Have Forgotten

The prophet Jeremiah’s heart is grieving for his people as he views their lives through the eyes of the LORD. They don’t and won’t. At least for some time to come. The generation the prophet is addressing is one who has refused to see and hear the Word of the LORD.

The LORD asked a question, “Have I been a wilderness to Israel, Or a land of darkness?” There is a contrast the LORD desires them to see. Have I been barren and left you with nothing or has My witness to you been that of darkness and not light?

Hear the Word through the prophet:

“O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel, a land of darkness? Wherefore say My people, ‘We are lords; we will come no more unto Thee’?  Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.” Jeremiah 2:31-32 (KJV)

The people had become self dependent rather than depending upon the LORD God. Some people have said and believe that faith is a crutch, or that God Himself is a crutch. Some have said things like, “Only the weak need God.” I need God, and I can only have God in my life as God gives Himself to me through His Son Jesus Christ. Am I weak? You better believe it. When it comes to the things of God; when it comes to pleasing God; when it comes to getting into the very presence of God; when it comes to having a relationship with God, and fellowship with Him; yes! I am weak. None of those things can be mine on my own. They are given to me as a gift of God.

You may be your own lord, but you do not know God; nor can you as long as you have that attitude and heart. If God wants you He will have you. You will submit to Him and He will have His own way in your heart and life.

The virgins of Jeremiah’s day wore special ornaments, which was a reminder of their virginity, and their purity. Brides, as always, seem to greatly admire their wedding gown, and may even become quite prideful in that attire. There is something quite beautiful about a bride in her gown, coming down the aisle, and it causes the groom to take a deep breath, and gasp at her beauty. “Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire?”, seems to indicate that these had more care for their ornaments and their gowns, than they had for the Word of the LORD. They had not forgotten their ornaments, nor their beautiful clothing, and gowns, but they had “Forgotten” the LORD; “Days without number”.

I can see this as very similar to our own day of 2013 in the United States of America.  Many pride themselves as “Christian” yet live as though the filling of lustful desires are what this life is about.  It is time that the Church in the U. S. of A. repented of her sins, and returned our focus to the One who bled and died for our sins, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave; and He lives forever more.

Christian, may we never forget the price that Jesus paid for our salvation. May we always be reminded of the body and the blood of Jesus; broken and shed that we might know God. The only true and righteous One who loves us, and gave Himself for us.

For those of you who have not believed, and trusted the finished work of the cross of Christ; the day is drawing near when He will return.  Then  you will see Him as He is.  You will stand before His great white throne of judgment and be found guilty.  Why allow that to happen when He has already paid your sin debt.  He offers it to you as a free gift of grace.  Repent and believe.

He is coming again. How will He find us?

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Reminder of His Love

In the last article on this chapter of Jeremiah, the final verse of our text was the last part of verse 19 which tells us, “And the fear of Me is not in you,’ says the Lord GOD of hosts.” That is usually the reason for departure from God.

As we look into the following verses we see the Lord having them recall their deliverance from bondage, then playing the harlot, turning against their deliverer.

“For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me? For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith the Lord GOD.” Jeremiah 2:20-22 (KJV)

One of the things that we can see throughout God’s dealings with the chosen people is that He loves them. His grace is everlasting, and His mercy endures forever. That is a theme for His people throughout all of Scripture.

God had delivered His children from the bondage of Egypt, and burst the bonds which held them. He had done this in just a matter of days while working in Egypt through the plagues upon the land and the people. They witnessed the mighty power of God. Not just Israel, but Egypt witnessed this awe-inspiring events which turned the heart of Pharoah, at least for a time, to let God’s people go.

The people had promised God they would not transgress His law. They did. That is why the declaration is made, “When on every high hill and under every green tree you lay down playing the harlot”. The pagan, Gentile altars were on the high hills, and under the trees. God is charging the people with spiritual adultery. That is, the forsaking of the true Husband for an imposter. They had turned away from holy God for unholy pleasures. They had forgotten the attitude of Moses. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way –

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”  Hebrews 11:24-26 (KJV)

The prophet Isaiah in a previous time had spoken of Israel as a vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7). He speaks of the Husbandman planting the vineyard, but all He received were wild grapes. God says through Jeremiah, “Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality”, and now they have turned their backs on God and are worshipping stone, wood, flesh. They have in fact become an “alien vine”. That is not what God planted. That is the picture we see.

When they have made themselves unclean before God, they then, evidently feel guilty, try to wash themselves clean with the strongest cleanser they have available that day. They would go and worship the false gods, taking pleasures that should not have been their’s to have. After their violation of holiness with God they would then seek to make themselves clean before God, and without true repentance.

Thus God says, “Yet your iniquity is marked before Me”.

The lesson for the follower of Jesus Christ is that we have been delivered from sin. Our sins have been forgiven. The law of the Lord is written in our hearts. We are free to live righteously, holy, and undefiled lives through the power of the Spirit of Christ who lives in us. When we sin we have an advocate with the Father. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. There is need for repentance and that is a turning from sin and to the Lord Jesus.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Case Against God’s People

Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. Known for that because of his mourning for the sins of the people of Judah, and Jerusalem. He sees the failings of the priesthood, of which he was part. The weaknesses, the hypocrisies, and often blatant lies and deceptions; not only among the priests but among those who called themselves prophets of God.

God could speak with Jeremiah. Jeremiah heard, and many times responded to what God said. Hear what God says to Jeremiah near the beginning of his ministry;

“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of His increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD.'”  Jeremiah 2:1-3 (KJV)

God begins in the first message by confirming them in their first belief. They had followed, at least through Abraham, had been obedient in the wilderness, and had grown in love with the LORD. There was kindness, fondness, love in their hearts for the LORD, realizing that He alone was responsible for their having a land, a promise. They had been chosen from the place of God’s amazing grace and mercy. They were undeserving. They were unworthy. They were sinners among the other sinners of the earth. There was nothing special about them, thus in there early days they loved the LORD.

Despite the fact of their departure the LORD reminds them of His promise, “All that devour him will offend; disaster will come upon them,’ says the LORD”. No one can expect God’s blessing who lifts their hand against the people, the nation, whom God ordained to give us the Scriptures, ordinances, and laws. Yet there is room for His judgment. Pray for Jerusalem – Israel.

As Christians we must remember our “First love”. That love we had for Jesus when we first believed. The things of the world around us have a power which can lure us away from loving Him. God commended five of the early churches of the Revelation, but would only condemn two of them because they had departed from Him.

If you truly know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then, there was a time when you walked with Him, you loved Him, cherished Him, and it did not bother you that there were times He seemed distant, but you trusted His Word when He said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

Something has happened in the past few days, weeks, months, or years that have caused you to get away from Him, His Word, from praying, and cherishing His abiding presence. You have become more consumed with sports, entertainment, comforts, leisure, conveniences, and even family activities, than with your walk with Him. It is time to return to Him, before the judgment of your sin comes on you.

He puts His protecting hand on all who have trusted Him. You can believe He will keep you, protect you, and anyone who raises an evil hand against you will suffer by His hand. Be assured God loves you with an everlasting love. Enjoy it, revel in it, rejoice in it, and He will be glorified.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Words for Christian Living – A Strong Heart

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”  2 Corinthians 4:1-2 (KJV)

There are many people walking around in this world who have been told by their physicians that they have weak or failing hearts.  Some of us have had different types of surgery for their heart from stentz placed in arteries of their heart to what is called “Open heart” surgery.  The “Strong heart” of which I title this does not refer to the physical heart, but to the inner individual.

“…We faint not”  has much to do with having “A Strong Heart”.  The man or woman of God; every Christian; must be committed to being faithful to God and His Word.  That is what Paul the apostle is speaking of.  From the time we become a follower of Jesus Christ we “Renounce the hidden things of dishonesty”; these are the sins of our past.  We have repented, and our lives are changed.

It is a mark of the Christian, too, that we not use tricks, or deceit when it comes to the word of God.  One of the things that angers me is the way I see many a Christian leader using emotion to entice “worship”; then people walk away thinking they have been in the presence of God; they go out the doors of the Church or the stadium, and their lives are left unchanged.  Nothing wrong with emotion if it is not manipulated by deceit and the mishandling of God’s Word.  Be careful Christian that you do not let wrong handling of the word of God lead you astray.

The truth will be all the commendation one needs.  Know the truth.  Keep your heart for God strong.

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 5:1 – 6:11)

Rebellion and False Repentance
Hosea 5:1 – 6:11

To love God is to hate evil (Psalm 97:10).  “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13).  So declares the inspired Scriptures.

The problem with Israel as much as with people today, in general, even professing Christians, is that, we claim  to love God, and hang onto evil as well.  That cannot be, if we love God.  God says so, and it is so often ignored.

God’s desire for His people is that we learn.  Learn His ways, walk His paths of beauteous splendor.  But, there is such (what seems like) an unwillingness to learn, such desire for ignorance, rather than for a knowledge of God.

Many times in Scriptures the words “hear”, “give heed”, and/or “listen” are verbalized with great vehemence, that God cries out for their attention, but they do not give it.  Maybe I  ought to say “We do not give it” just to be fair.

The Word of God has been rejected and despised by the priests and rulers of Israel.  They have captured the people for their own gain.  The priests, the common people, and the king are guilty before God.  They all must repent and seek God.

“Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.  And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all.”  Hosea 5:1-2 (KJV)

Many times God cries out through His messengers, the prophets, for His people to “Hear”.  Sometimes they listen and hear and turn form their path of destruction; many times they do not.

The judgment is toward all who are in the land.  As a response to hearing the Word some will turn, but will still suffer in judgment along with the nation.  Like we are told in Scripture “It rains on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45), and that includes blessing and judgment.

The leaders; the priests, the king, tribal leaders had ensnared and exploited the people.  The nobles and leaders were not only indulging in the practiced sin of the nation, but were also profiting from the immorality.  They did not want to cease from their sin.  There was too much profit, and an extravagant amount of pleasure to lose in doing so.  As long as there is enjoyment in sin there is no chance for repentance, and no blessing from God.

There was much bloodshed “slaughter”.  Slaughter of innocence.  The baby to the fire, the elderly “No longer useful to society”, those who cry out against audacious and vile decadence.  This will be judged.  There are many people today who worship at the fiery idol of “Choice”.

“I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from Me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.  They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD.  And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them. They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find Him; He hath withdrawn Himself from them.  They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.” Hosea 5:3-7

Rebellion and impenitence is the theme of these verses.

When a lost soul turns to God for salvation, that same soul has turned away from sin and the path of Hell.  There has been a change of heart and of life, and of lifestyle.

This is what God was wanting for Israel.  Israel’s problem is that, they wee caught in a trap.  They were enslaved to their won devices of sin, and could find no way out.  In fact they did not want out.  That is the blindness of sins darkness.  Jesus spoke of the bondage of sin and its darkness in John 3:19-20.  He said, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (NKJV).

In verses three through seven God cites five reasons He would chastise Israel, and ultimately Judah.  There were probably some in Hosea’s audience who would not believe Israel could or would be destroyed, thus, the five reasons.

  1. Ephraim had prostituted herself, and Israel stood defiled (v. 3);
  2. The Israelites deeds would not allow them to return to the Lord their God (v. 4);
  3. They in their pride had rejected God’s appeal for them to turn to Him for help (v. 5);
  4. They, instead, turned to the fertility gods for help (vv. 5b-6);  “The real tragedy is that their sin had so blinded them that they thought they were seeking God by the sacrifices, and other rites at the fertility shrines.”  Traylor page 56.
  5. Their treachery against the Lord God (v. 7).

On the part of Israel was betrayal, rebellion, and an intensity to sin.  On God’s part, He remained faithful.  The result of Israel’s continued rebellion against God was destruction.  Who are we to think that it cannot happen to us when we want to hang on to our sins?

“Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin.  Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be.  The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out My wrath upon them like water.  Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.  Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.  When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.  For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.  I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face: in their affliction they will seek Me early.”  Hosea 5:8-15 (KJV)

Judgment would come from within and without.  For those today who say, “Well, God wouldn’t do that” you better get a new thought.  God does not allow His children to sin successfully.

This blowing of the “Ram’s horn” is a warning to invaders.  There is a need for sounding a warning of invaders when people forsake God, and refuse to return to His way.  The warnings, as with Israel, often go unheeded, and the people continue to live a life of indulgent sin.  Wanting the blessings, of God, and yet clinging to godless living.

Judgment is inevitable when people hear the Word of warning, and refuse to turn.  The judgment comes due to  the lack of care.  Complacent, and apathetic toward the warnings; the enemy then comes in tearing and ripping and killing fulfilling the rebuke of God to turn His people from their sins.  Who can rescue one who is under the judgment?  God says, “No one can.”

God leaves His children to face their own sin, and its fruit. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galations 6:7).  He will not come to their aid until they confess their evil and repent of it.  God’s judgment upon His people is always redemptive.  Do not deceive yourselves; there are consequences to your sin.  You will reap the harvest of those sins.

“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.  After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.  Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”  Hosea 6:1-3

By all appearances  these verses seem to be a sign of true repentance.  At least what the Lord requires of His people for His promise to be fulfilled.  Let us keep them in context with the verses which follow.

How long does it take us to learn that we cannot fool God?  He knows our heart.  He knows our thoughts.  He knows when we are truly penitent, and when it is false.

Sorry they had been discovered, their sin found out, they want to avoid the judgment that was about to fall upon them.  Notice, there is no mention of forsaking their evil ways, only seeking to return in order to get blessing again.  They want healing, revival, and the rains, but God knows the heart.

“O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? For your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.  Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.  For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.  But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against Me.  Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood.  And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness.  I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.  Also, O Judah, He hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of My people.”  Hosea 6:4-11

God will, and does judge His people to produce godly knowledge, and loyalty to Him.

The two questions of verse four are very penetrating.  They imply with force, “Why do you deceive Me?”  The repentance of “Ephraim” is only fleeting.  Clinging to their sin, loving their sin, they cry for forgiveness.  The “Morning cloud” appears until the light and heat of the sun hits it, then, it is gone.  The “Early dew” lingers on the leaves, grass, flowers, and the fields until the light of day causes it to evaporate into nothingness, and it is gone.  The describes the repentance of Israel.  Sadly, it also describes the feeble cries of repentance; if there are any; in the Church of the 21st century.  While wanting the blessings of God we also want to cling to our sin that separates us from God.  Wreaking havoc upon ourselves, our Church, our nation, and the world, sin continues while God calls us to repent.  God’s people are to be a stabilizing force in society, and culture by being unmoved by passions of lust and greed.

The Word of God in written form, and from the mouths of His prophets inflicts wounds to cut out sin.  “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).  The Word of God is the Law which shows the way of freedom.  Sin is an evil, and cruel master destroying life, and godly relationships.

The LORD God desires permanence in our loyalties.  His frustration is with words that have no commitment, no devotion, no perseverance.  When judgment comes it is as a light revealing pitfalls, stumbling blocks, and dead-ends.  Judgment shows that departure from God to sin has taken place.

False repentance is eager to sacrifice money, maybe time, and even attendance at worship, programs and feasts, but not personal commitment to change, to show mercy and kindness, to love as God loves – loving “God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and our neighbor as we love ourselves”- to know God, and not just ritual.

The vileness of man’s heart continually transgresses God’s Law.  Acts of treason are committed against Him daily.  Treachery, the act to deceive, and  that which destroys trust, is committed by refusing to obey what has been agreed to by all parties.  God has no other choice but to judge.  Remember our God is holy.

Bloodshed, robbery, harlotry seem to be permanent encroachments upon the land.  God says, that it is “A horrible thing in the house of Israel.”  The house of Judah will not be exempt.  None who turn from God to serve self are exempt from God’s wrath.  Is there hope in that?  Those who experience God’s judgment, and confess their sins, and turn from their sins [repentance] to Jesus Christ, God’s holy Son will experience His mercy and grace.

-Tim A. Blankenship