Expressing Praise to The One Who Is Worthy

“Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the Everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise, glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.” Romans 16:25-27 (KJB)

As I read the apostle’s doxology to the epistle to the Roman Christians I thought of the Doxology our Church sang to open every Sunday morning worship service when I was a child.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen

We ought to always praise and worship the Lord Most High.  He alone is worthy.

Continuing Prayer

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:2-4 (KJB)

The Apostle has just dealt with Christians who have in their employment people of lesser wealth. Masters were to treat their servants or employees rightly (Colossians 3:22-4:1).  The verses above could also be  Paul’s words for them; but even the words of Paul in the previous chapter are words for Christians in every age.

What was the Apostle encouraging the saints at Colossae to do?  To continue in prayer.  The request was for Paul to have an open opportunity to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that all about Jesus would be revealed as the word went forth.

How we need that continuing prayer today.

As I read these words this morning I got to wondering about the phrase the apostle Paul used “Pray without ceasing”.  Is there any difference between “Continue in prayer” and “Pray without ceasing”?

I found this note from the Matthew Henry Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing…

Note, The way to rejoice evermore is to pray without ceasing. We should rejoice more if we prayed more. We should keep up stated times for prayer, and continue instant in prayer. We should pray always, and not faint: pray without weariness, and continue in prayer, till we come to that world where prayer shall be swallowed up in praise. The meaning is not that men should do nothing but pray, but that nothing else we do should hinder prayer in its proper season. Prayer will help forward and not hinder all other lawful business, and every good work.

Pray for those who are standing in the place of sharing, of preaching the gospel of Christ. Pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, for an open door of opportunity, and His work in revealing the word of God to the hearers.

In Jesus Christ alone is there honest sincere prayer heard by the throne of God; and that through the blood of Christ shed at Calvary’s cross, His burial, and resurrection.

Nothing Kept Secret

“And He said unto them, ‘Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed?, and not to be set on a candlestick?  For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.  If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.’
And He said unto them, ‘Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.  For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.’” Mark 4:21-25  (KJB)

Since Jesus had just explained the parables mentioned before, now Jesus it telling them the importance of giving these words, telling them to others.  Jesus has revealed to them the light and power of the gospel. Now the apostles have the responsibility to share the gospel with others.

So as we who have believed; because the Spirit of God has opened our understanding, revealed to us the gospel of Christ; so also do we have the power and calling to let it shine and endeavor to give it to others.

Let us take note of the caveat’, “For he that has, to him shall be given: and he that has not, from him shall be taken even that which he has.”  If God gives me the ability to understand, and I share it, I am faithful in giving it away, then He will give me more understanding; but if I keep it all to myself, and do not share it, then He will take away even what I have.

Nothing was held back in giving understanding of the mystery of the gospel; its light, power, and glory; neither did they put it under a bushel to hide it.  Neither should the Christian of today.

Through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”  1 John 1:1-4 (KJV)

“…From the beginning…” is certainly a reference to the eternality of the Christ.  If He is eternal then He is Deity – He is God – and worthy of worship.

“We”, John says, “have heard and seen the eternal One.”  How could it be possible for the finite to behold the infinite; for the sinner to hear and hold the sinless?  How can flesh hear, see, and hold the Spirit?  There is only one way.  That is for the Spirit to become flesh.  God became flesh (John 1:1, 14).  God is Spirit (John 4:24).  “…The Word was made flesh…” – the very character of God became man.  God revealed Himself to us.  if we have seen Jesus we have seen the Father (John 14:9).

Jesus then, is the revelation of God to man.  He is God manifested to us.  What God did in His Son Jesus was not secretive, but was done openly for the world to see.  His birth was proclaimed by angels to shepherds; was revealed by a “star” leading the “Magi” to follow where the Child would be found.  The works Jesus did loudly proclaim He is who He claimed to be.  His death was no secret.  The Roman government was deeply involved.  One Roman soldier proclaimed while watching Him die, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).  It must have been in the way He died.  There was no spite, but forgiveness in Him as He hung there on that cross.  He showed care for those around Him; He assured a thief of his place in paradise; He made sure His mother would be cared for.  Only the loving God incarnate could keep His mind and do these glorious things while so near to death.

Is it important to truly believe these things about Jesus?  YES! We know Him by believing these things and we believe Him because we know these things, because He has been revealed to us.

There is no fellowship with the holy, righteous, just God and Father except through Jesus His Son.  The only way brothers and sisters in Christ can fellowship is through our fellowship with Jesus and the Father.

In order to bring others into the fellowship, we must declare what we have seen and heard.  We must declare our own personal experience of faith in Christ.

The joy of a Christian is far beyond happiness the world often endorses.  Happiness is fleeting.  It can be here today and gone tomorrow.  Our joy is based on our fellowship with God, and circumstances cannot control it.  There is no possible way for one to have Joy apart from faith in God through His Son Jesus Christ, and fellowship with Him.

 

No One Knows the Son…

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in Spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered to Me of My Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.”  Luke 10:21-22 (KJV)

Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit because of what He had previously said.  He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven and had given the ones whom He sent out power to tread on the evil forces of hell.

Now He speaks to the Father, thanking Him for His revelation to others of who the Son is and that no one can know the Son except the Father, and no one can know the Father except the Son.  Now if I were to leave it there that would leave us all lost.

Jesus says,

“…And he to whom the Son will reveal Him”.

To Know God the Father and God the Son is not done by our choice.  To know Him is revealed by the Son through the Holy Spirit who is Christ in us until Jesus returns again (Matthew 16:13-19).

If you know the Father you will know the Son, and if you know the Son you will know the Father.  If you deny the Father you deny the Son.  If you deny the Son you deny the Father.

See these references –  1 John 2:22-23;  4:14-15;  5:12-13

Wisdom, Vision and Happiness

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.
Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:15-18 (KJV)

Wisdom gives instruction.  Instruction many times will include correction, discipline, and what is called a “Good whipping”.  I  have heard many people say; at least those in my age bracket; that they would have rather had a whipping from their dad, than “A talking to”.  I know what they meant.

Let me give a word of wisdom here concerning correcting a child. When correcting it should be done with vision.  What do you desire the outcome of this discipline to be?  Is that something to think about?  I now, would like to have known that when I was raising my kids; but it is something I see is necessary now.

Look at the verses above.

Children need correction (v. 15).  Correction, instruction with vision is the means of having a child who is a blessing in the home, the Church, the community and in our Country with we live.  Without correction and discipline then there will be shame instead.

Wickedness is certainly noticed in our world today.  As it multiplies transgression (the breaking of the laws of God and man) increases.  Notice the outcome though – “…The righteous shall see their fall” v. 16).

Do you desire that your children will be a blessing and delight to your heart and soul?  It must start at a very young age.   You cannot wait until they are 13 years old to try and teach them right from wrong.  By that age you will teach them nothing.  If you have had no vision for where they need to be in life; especially in their relationship with God; then, you will have a child without life direction.  Of course if you have no vision for yourself, then you will have no vision for your child.  If you have come to your senses, or will come to your senses, then call on the Lord, and He will deliver you; then, pray for your children to turn as well (v. 17).

Verse 18 shows us that “Vision” or as the New King James says, “Revelation” is the means of being alive.  Where there is no absolute right and/or wrong given to us from the word of God people will perish; or cast off all restraints; and live in abominable rebellion in their lives.  They will perish.  They will die in rebellion against God.

People want to be “Happy”, but refuse to hear how true happiness is available.  Hear the vision of Jesus…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:1-12

The greatest vision/revelation we can have is Jesus the crucified, buried, and risen Son of God who is God the Son.  He will guide  your life.  He will guide your children’s lives.  You first must submit to Him.

Jesus in Genesis (5)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10c)

We are going to look at a picture of Jesus in Genesis 22 in this study. It is surely one of the clearest pictures of Jesus, the crucifixion, and resurrection that you will ever find in all of the Old Testament.

First of all I want you to put from your mind the old Sunday School picture of Isaac being a small child as he and his father, Abraham went on this journey of sacrifice. It is highly, more probable, that he is a man in his thirties. I will explain that a little later. Now, how do we see the Lord Jesus in the text of Genesis 22.

The command from God to Abraham is,

“Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering up one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (v.2).

God the Father offered up His only Son for the sacrifice for sin upon the cross of Calvary. Which is said to be the very place where Abraham came to offer Isaac. It was a planned place, “which I will tell thee of”. Abraham rose without question, “early in the morning” maybe to avoid the questions of Sarah, but he went in faith. If you will notice how many times it is stated rather emphatically that it was a “certain place” (vv. 2,3,4,&9).

After Abraham had gathered all the necessary items, his son, a couple of servants, the wood, and the fire they journeyed for three days (v. 4) and “saw the place afar off.” In the heart and mind of Abraham, Isaac had been three days dead. He had been committed to obey God believing according to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews that God was able to raise Isaac from death (Hebrews 11:17-19). From this point on Abraham and Isaac proceed up to the mountain top alone. What is about to transpire can only happen between the father and the son. What happened on Calvary between the Father and Son was such a transaction that no one will ever be able to describe. Three hours of darkness. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us about the event.SEE Matthew 27:45-46; Mark15:33-34; and Luke 23:44-45.

If you will, now, notice the wood that Abraham, “…laid it upon Isaac his son…” Notice also who took “the fire” and “a knife”. By whose hand was this judgment to fall? The father. See Isaiah 53:4-5ff.

Now, back to something I mentioned earlier. Isaac would have been a grown man, not a child as is often pictured in many Sunday School quarterlies. He could have been 37 years of age. I base that on Sarah’s age at the time of her death (Genesis 23:1) 127, and age of Isaac at the time of his marriage to Rebekkah – 40 (Genesis 25:20; also see 24:67). The reason I mention this is because as a grown man he would have been able to overthrow his father, and not be the sacrifice, but Isaac went as a willing participant in the offering. He was submissive to his father’s will. 1) He took the wood (v. 6); 2) He walked up the hill carrying the wood (v.9); 3) He allowed his hands and feet to be bound (v. 9). Does that sound familiar?

Isaac’s typology of Christ ends here at the altar. He was an unworthy sacrifice for sin. Isaac himself needed a substitute, and that would be the ram. At the point where the “angel of the LORD” stops the hand of Abraham from slaying Isaac, in the heart and mind of Abraham Isaac is alive again. He has been resurrected and lives. Three days dead, now living. On the way, alone with his father, Isaac had asked, “…Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”, and Abraham responded, “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering… (vv. 7-8). God has provided HIMSELF as a sacrifice for sin in the person of His own only Son.

I do not think it to be an accident that it says, “…and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns…” In Scripture horns represent power and authority. The ram was held by his own power. Christ “…Stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…” (Luke 9:51).

May they who have a heart for seeing Jesus see Him clearly here. If you cannot see Him here you will miss Him elsewhere.

Christmas Day Seventy and One

What do I want for Christmas today?

To be the man of prayer that I ought to be; praying in the will of God, for His glory, power and praise; to pray continually, earnestly, diligently that His purposes may be accomplished in my life and the lives of others.

“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:2-4 (NKJV)

Day Three Hundred and Ten

What do I want for Christmas?

In a world where we people are always wanting, even lusting for things and people, I want Christians especially to understand and realize that we; when we truly love Jesus; will want, will desire what His mind and heart desires.

We learn what He wants and desire through the Holy Bible; from Genesis through The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said,

“Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:22-24 (NKJV)

The Revealed Things

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 (KJV)

There are many things which belong to God that He has not revealed to us in His word or in any other way. We have been given the things we need to know that we may obey Him and His word.

Someone has said, “It is not the things I do not understand about the Bible that causes me problems; it is the parts I do understand.” At least something similar to that, and with that I sympathize. The parts we do understand are the ones we do not practice as we ought.

So why should we spend time trying to understand the “secret things that belong unto the LORD”, and leave undone the things we do understand? That is to our shame.

God has revealed to us His Son Jesus Christ. He [Jesus] is the fulness of God revealed to creation . Let us follow Him, walk in His footsteps and by the power of His Spirit within us be like Him in our living; in our words, our walk, our witness.

GOD of the Present

GOD of the Present

 

Exodus 3:1-22

We are told in the New Testament, by Jesus, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:32; Mark 12:26). He is not only Lord of all that is past, He is GOD of the present. He is Onmipresent, and that means everywhere; past, present and future.

1. HE Makes a Personal Appearance (vv. 1-6).

A. The “angel of the LORD” is understood by many to be an preincarnate appearance of Jesus. (v. 2).

B. He will be seen as Holy, and calls holy actions on His people’s lives as well. (v. 5).

C. Many of today’s professing Christians have become like the world rather than separate from it.

 

2. HE is Compassionate Toward His People (vv. 7-10).

A. Psalm 78:38

B. Luke 15:20

 

3. HE Will Reveal Himself to His People (vv. 11-18).

A. Jesus, in His humanity is the bodily revelation and representation of God to the world (Colossians 2:9; Heb. 1:1-3).

 

4. HE Will Show Himself Strong (vv. 19-22; 2 Chronicles 16:9).

Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Father, and Keeping His Commandments

“If ye love me, keep My commandments.  And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.  Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also.  At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.  He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.” ~Jesus (John 14:15-21)

The Happy Man

Happiness can be fleeting.  It is often measured by how well one’s life is going.  If one get’s a surprise check or an unexpected amount of cash in the mail, or slid under the door, or show up in the car, or win the lottery; then, one can be very happy.

Happiness defined by the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary means,

“1: a state of well being and contentment; also : a pleasurable satisfaction 2: aptness”

There is a “Happiness” gained by being godly.  There has been much written on the Psalms and the First Psalm is no different.  The word in the Bible for Happiness is “Blessed”, though the word means so much more than the definition of happiness in the above mentioned dictionary.

The First Psalm begins,

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”  Psalm 1:1 (KJV)

Jesus Christ begins the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes with the word “Blessed”.  There are also seven “Blesseds” in the Revelation.  If you would like you may click on the link and read more about the Lord’s happiness that He gives.

The man is happiest when he is walking with the Lord in His Word, doing His will, going His way, and worshipping and praising only the great and mighty God who has made all things, and mankind in His own image.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:3 (KJV)

The individual is haughty and proud is not an individual who fits our Lord’s description of “Happiness”.  The “Blessedness” of the Lord is enduring.  The happiness of the world is fleeting, and dependent upon circumstances.  When you walk in the happiness of the Lord, you walk in the light of the Lord.

Have a blessed day.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 68 – From Kings to The King

I have spent the last 67 days in the Old Testament.  In the OT we learn of God’s plan for the human race, their departure from Him – in sin and rebellion – and His grace and mercy extended to all who will come to Him believing Him.  We learn in the OT of a Savior and King of kings who is to come.  We read prophecies of One who is to come.

When I attended Boyce Bible School, I had a Professor who told us, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed”.  A verse in the Revelation of Jesus Christ says, “…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10b).  That meaning that all the Bible is the testimony of Jesus.

It is with great interest and growing love for my Saviour, Lord and King that we enter the New Testament today; and we hear from Him as He walked among men, as a man, yet, more than a man.  He is the God/Man.  Fully God; Fully Man.

We enter the beginning of the testament of our Saviour and King with a genealogy of kings.  I will not post the whole genealogy of Jesus, but the last two verses of that tell us,

“And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.  So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.”  Matthew 1:16-17 (KJV)

In Matthew 5 – 7 we have what could be called the Kings Constitution, or His Kingdom’s Constitution.  How many times have you heard, “I live by the Sermon on the Mount”.  I am telling you, that the Sermon on the Mount as it is called is more condemning than is the 10 Commandments.

It is within the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus says,

“For I say unto you, ‘That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.'” Matthew 5:20

I can only long for the day that I can adhere to every detail of these Beatitudes (5:3-12), commandments, and expectations.  I cannot; though my heart desires it very strongly.  My only hope for heaven is the grace of God through His Son Jesus.  These are in me because Christ lives in me.

In chapter 13 we have a chapter of parables where the King gives us the layout of His kingdom and who is in it.  It is basically those who hear the Word of God and keep it.

How can one have the assurance of spending eternity with the King of kings?  By giving one’s life totally over to Him, believing that He bled and died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and arose bodily from that grave conquering the power of sin, death, and hell.

I pray all will have a glorious Resurrection Sunday.  This is the day when once per year the resurrection is remembered by Christians the world over.  However, every Christian also knows that we remember the Resurrection of our Saviour every Sunday; every Sunday is resurrection Sunday.  That is the day He bodily arose and came out of the grave, and appeared to many.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Psalm of the Creator

Psalm of the Creator

Psalm 104:1-35 (1-23)

Colossians 1:16;  John 1:1-3

I.  THE CREATOR OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH (vv. 1-9; Genesis 1:1-8).

II.  THE CREATOR MEETS THE NEEDS OF HIS CREATURES (vv. 10-18; Genesis 1:11-13).

III.  THE CREATOR PROVIDES THE LIGHTS OF NIGHT AND DAY (vv. 19-23; Genesis 1:14-19).

part 2 –

Psalm of the Creator

Psalm 104:1-35 (24-35);  Genesis 1: 20-31

IV. THE CREATOR MADE THE SEA AND OCEANS OF THE WORLD (vv. 24-26; Genesis 1:20-23).

V.  THE CREATOR CARES FOR HIS CREATION (vv. 27-30;  Genesis 1:24-31).

VI.  PRAISE AND BENEDICTION TO OUR CREATOR (vv. 31-35; Revelation 21:22)

-T.A.

These are sermon points from the sermons preached at Carr Lane Baptist Church on Sunday August 28, 2011.

B F & M – Last Things (Eschatology)

The study of “Last things” is one of my own favorite lines for ruminating Scriptures.  There are a vast aray of differences of the understanding of “Last thing”, that the BF&M of 2000, covers most of what we as Baptists believe concerning the return of Jesus Christ.

Studying the Revelation, the Major and Minor Prophets of the Old Testament, and their prophecies concerning the first coming of Jesus, and also concerning the second coming of Jesus is a fascinating endeavor.

There is blessing and reward for those who love the appearing of the Lord: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” 2 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV).  This is clearly concerning the appearing of Christ when He comes in all His glory, and becomes King of Jerusalem, and the world.

Our Statement of Faith:

“X. Last Things

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.”

There are many things which happen before the appearing of Jesus in His glory.  There are several views concerning these events, and some views which do not believe in some of the events that I do.

Some believe in the “Rapture of the Church” which there are probably three views concerning this as to the timing of the rapture.  There is the “pre-tribulation rapture” view; then, the “mid-tribulation rapture” view, and some who believe in a “post-tribulation” view.  There are some who do not believe in a rapture.

There are some of us who believe in a millennial [one thousand year] reign of Christ on earth when He comes in His glory.  There are some who believe that all prophecy has been fulfilled.  I will not get into that study here.  The study of “Last things” is called – “Eschatology”

For my beliefs on these “Last things” you can go to Fire and Hammer, or click Revelation or Thessalonians in the sidebar called Gleanings (categories).

-T.A.

B F & M – The Kingdom

There is a kingdom coming on earth which is unlike any kingdom to ever exist.  It seems that the “Crusades” which were foolish “Christian” attempts to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth has brought legend and myth to the idea of a heavenly kingdom.

When Jesus was with us on earth, He said to His disciples as He sent them to preach, “…As you go, preach saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.  That meaning, of course, that it was very near.  The Gospel of Matthew uses the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven”.  “Kingdom of God” is used mostly by the other Gospel writers.  There are some who believe that means it is speaking of two realms of divine reign; and most believe one encompassing the other.

Here is our Statement of Faith concerning the Kingdom:

“IX. The Kingdom

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.

Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.”

There is one thing we can know for sure and that is that Jesus Christ is the King of the kingdom of heaven, and His kingdom which will come on the earth.

In His kingdom on earth, there will be no more wars, but peace will abound.  There will be no more sickness, health will abound.  There will be only beauty, joy, and love.  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom.

Those who refuse Jesus as their King will be cast alive into everlasting fire.  The blessed kingdom reign of Jesus is coming when Jesus comes again.

-T.A.

B F & M – The Lord’s Day

In the Old Testament the people of Israel were to worship God, and rest on the seventh day of the week.  It is called the sabbath day.  It was on the seventh day that God ceased in His work of creating.

As Baptists we do not see the First day of the week as the sabbath, but as the day of remembering the resurrection of our Lord.  It is the beginning of a new week.  It represents a New Life, and particularly New Life in Jesus Christ.  We are living resurrected lives, no longer condemned under the law lives.

The following is our Statement of Faith:

“VIII. The Lord’s Day

The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.”

Though this day is not the sabbath day of the Old Testament, nor one of the other sabbath days the Israelites were required to honor, we must still respect a day of rest.

The Lord’s Day has always been a day of rest in my family.  We have attended worship services on Sunday morning and evening.  It is a wonderful day for remembering the wonder of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is surely a sign of our departure from the Lord, that everything in the business world is doing business on this day.  One day there will be the Day of the Lord where there will be judgment and that day will not be pleasant.

-T.A.

The Scarlet Thread – Fire

There are many times in Scripture where God answers by fire from above.  Today we look at one of those in the book of Leviticus:

“And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.”  Leviticus 9:24

What does the fire have to do with the scarlet thread of redemption which flows throughout all of Scripture?  It has much to do with it; but I will probably not begin to touch the surface of its true power, and instruction.

Most likely the first time it was seen, though not mentioned directly, is in the sacrifice offered by Abel in Genesis 4:4 and God had respect unto Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s.  The LORD probably answered by fire to show His approval of the offering.

In our text for today God is showing His approval on the leadership of Moses and Aaron in their worship and upon the worship in holiness.  The fire shows us the holiness of God and His acceptance of holiness when He sees it.  We cannot manufacture the fire of God; His acceptance.  There is much in worship today that is manufactured; put on and forward as worship which is more a show, entertainment, than worship; and with that I am sure the LORD is not well pleased.

The sons of Aaron; Nadab and Abihu; found out that “strange fire” was not accepted by GOD.  They died as a result of their own attempt at fire.  The fire, excitement of the flesh which we manufacture is not holiness, but unholiness before the Almighty, and Holy One.

We must always keep in mind that holiness is from God.  We cannot manufacture it.  It is revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ.  He is holy.  We see in the Revelation a revealing of the Son as He is now;

“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.  His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire;  and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters.”  Revelation 1:12-15

Notice particularly “…His eyes were as a flame of fire; His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace…”  He could be called the living fire of God.  Those who may be reluctant to accept this image of Christ will be reluctant to receive His as Lord and Savior of their lives as well.  For the apostle Paul writes,

“For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29

-Tim A. Blankenship

Standing in the Fire

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16 (KJV)

Considering that we are Christian by faith in Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection, and promised coming again; and that there are going to be trials and tribulations; which our Lord warned us of; how then should we live in this world? We are given guidance, counsel, and commandments as how we should live. It is really summed up in one short sentence – “Be ye holy, for I am holy”.

Peter addresses this matter beginning with the mind. The mind is the place of our thought processes. The mind is full of imagination both good and evil. There must be a “Girding up” of the mind. That is, bring it under control. A picture can be given concerning the ancient men of Bible days. When they were in a hurry and had to run; for an emergency, to get a message to an important person as quickly as possible, or even when defending one’s home – the men of that day wore robe type garments – they would take the bottom of their robes and tuck them into their belt, shortening the robe, and giving their legs room to move.

The “Gird up of the mind” would be just taking control of your thinking. Directing your mind toward wholesome thinking, pure thinking, godly thinking. You could even say, “Pull in all the loose ends”, so as not to leave something that will cause you to stumble later. Keep the mind on the things of God. Even for the Christian man or woman the mind can be a playground for evil. We need to guard the mind and keep it for God. If we do not do so, then, when evil temptations approach us, we will not be able to stand. None of us are without temptations.

The second thing we are told by Peter is “Be sober”. Those of us who do not drink alcoholic beverage may think, “Well, I don’t have anything to worry about there”; O yes we do. This has nothing to do with alcohol. It does have to do with the ability to think clearly. It would involve not allowing any substance influencing our thoughts; be it legal or illegal drugs, and that does include beverage alcohol. You will not be thinking clearly, or soberly when you have been influenced by the world’s drink, and other drugs. The MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE note for this verse, and this word states, “Be sober. Spiritul sober-mindedness includes the ideas of steadfastness, self-control, clarity of mind, and moral decisiveness. The sober Christian is correctly in charge of his priorites and not intoxicated with various allurements of the world.” These allurements can be an intoxication with finances, sports, technology, etc., anything that will lure the thoughts away from clear thinking.

Our hope should rest upon the promise of the return of our Lord and Savior. This is a teaching which is becoming less and less taught in some churches. It is called the “Blessed hope”, and that should be a light that brightens our eyes and our lives. When our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper, He said, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29 NKJV). Jesus also said; concerning this Supper, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19), and 1 Corinthians Paul writes, “For as often as you eath this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (11:26). The revelation of Jesus Christ is much more than Him coming into your life to live. He is coming again with that same body He was raised and glorified through, in the resurrection.

When we go to a home where children are running about without a disciplinary hand, and there just seems to be chaos in the home we usually do not think to highly of those parents parenting skills. When you see them in the stores shopping they will be the children screaming for this toy, that game, or that particular set of clothing. Sometimes they will scream and carry on until they get it. No discipline in the home. Parents who allow that will usually not be looked upon as good parents. They will usually be ones who will say things like, “Kids will be kids”, or “We just can’t do anything with them”. However, when you go into a home and there are children who listen to their parents, and Mom tells them to sit and be quiet and they obey, or Dad tells them to put their toys away and they do it without fuss, you know you have come into a well disciplined home. We, as Christians, are the children of God. How does the world view the household of God? Are we obedient, well behaved, showing forth the good name of our Father? With girded up loins of the mind, having a sober mind, and having our hope firmly upon the promise of the coming of Jesus we will be obedient children. Obedient children will be putting away the former lusts which we practiced in our ignorance of godliness. It is from the hand of the loving Father who gave His love and paid the price for our sins, that we are able to love Him in return and know that we have everlasting life and His love forevermore.

The conduct of the Christian is to be in holiness. For some reason there are many who profess Jesus as Savior, but will not submit to His Lordship. Some of these call themselves “Free Grace” believers. I have a word for them. Grace is not free – It costs God the best that He had, and that was the life of His Son. If you have not submitted to Him as your Lord, then, He is not your Savior. Some one said it like this, “If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all”. His commandment is to be holy. “Be holy, for I am holy”. Jesus Himself said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name,a nd done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV). Will He know you by the change that has taken place in your life by grace, through your faith that works?

Somewhere around the latter part of the sixth century B.C. there were three Hebrew young men who literally stood in the fire. They were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Daniel 3). They stood their ground in faith. No matter what may come – they stood by faith. They are forever remembered for the stand they took. They stood in the fire of Nebuchadnezzar, and we can stand in the fires of our testing only as we yield to Him our body, soul and mind. These three young men had girded up the loins of their minds, they were thinking clearly; they were not under the influence of any drug, but under the influence of the Spirit of God. They were remembering a greater purpose and Being than themselves. They knew it was not about them, but about God, His plans, purposes, and His glory. They chose to be holy. They chose to live and die if need be, for God. That is what the Christian must be and do.

-T.A.

Observations From John – 033011

Please remember that the gospel of John is pictured in Ezekiel 1 as the eagle in the face of the Living creature, and the flying eagle in the Revelation 4:7.  These show forth a symbolic picture of the deity of our Lord.  John’s writing of Jesus is clearly that Jesus as the Son of God is God.

In the thirteenth chapter of John’s gospel we have the event of the Lord’s Supper, and this is what I have observed;

“He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.  After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.  Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, dost thou wash my feet?’  Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.’  Peter saith unto Him, ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet.’  Jesus answered him, ‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.’  Simon Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.’  Jesus saith to him, ‘He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.'” John 13:4-10 (KJV)

There is much to see here, however there is one observation and truth I want you to see; and that is that God came down to heaven in the form of a man [Jesus Christ], and then stooped even further to wash His disciples feet.  To me that is a really big thing, and says a whole lot about us as the human race.

The beauty of it is in the Son stooping to serve, and wash the feet.

When was the last time I stooped to serve another in like fashion?  How about you?

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Observations From John – 032611

We begin reading through the gospel of John in today’s reading.  Chapters 1 – 3.

John’s gospel is clearly showing forth the deity of Jesus Christ.  The Son of God comes in the flesh; in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet without sin.  It is clear from reading verses 1-5 of chapter one that the WORD is God, and God is the WORD.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”  John 1:1-5 (KJV)

To remind you of the four evangelists who were inspired by God to write this “God-breathed” Scripture, Matthew appears to write of the King and His kingdom; Mark writes of His service; Luke writes of Jesus as the Son of Man – His humanity; and John shows Him as Deity – even as being the Creator of all that is – “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

“As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.”  Ezekiel 1:10

and the apostle John writes in the Revelation of Jesus Christ…

“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.  And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”  Revelation 4:6-7

Of course you will notice that Ezekiel calls one animal an “Ox” while John refers to that animal as a “Calf”.  These are from the Bovine created animal. The picture is still clear.  Jesus came to serve us and to give His life a ransom for all who will believe in Him.  Notice too that John writes of the “Flying eagle”; certainly declaring the All Present, All Knowing, All Powerful, and never changing character of GOD.

John also declares to us…

“And the WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” 1:14

He is also declared by John the Baptist as being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (1:29).

The only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ, Son of the Living GOD.  John writes…

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” 3:36

That is the Observations from John for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Dealing With Evil…

“The LORD hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil”  Proverbs 16:4 (KJV).

To many this may be a very troubling verse of Scripture.  In it, however, the follower of Jesus Christ should find rest and peace.  As a matter of fact all people who are troubled by the problem of evil, and believe in God could find solace in these words.

We rest in the truth of the Word of God.  We are told of the beginning where God created all things.  Here we are told that He “Made all things for Himself…”.  John the Revelator [writer of the Revelation of Jesus Christ] has written, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for THOU HAST CREATED ALL THINGS, and FOR THY PLEASURE THEY ARE AND WERE CREATED.” Revelation 4:11 (KJV).  (Caps are for emphasis from me).

We can rest assured that though there is evil in the world and there are evil people in the world who thrive in doing evil deeds; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are accomplishing His purposes in the world.  Evil will be dealt with.  Evil will be judged.  Evil will come to an end.  God will be glorified.

PRAISE THE NAME OF THE LORD.  PRAISE THE NAME OF JESUS.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Marriage Of Isaac

It is seen in the study of Genesis that Isaac is the promised son of Abraham and Sarah,  according to the Word of God.  In this study I want us to see the picture of the Christ and His Church which is found in Genesis chapter 24.

I did a short study on this in 2006, and posted it here on Fire and Hammer.  I will repost it here.

We must remember the apostle Paul’s words when he wrote, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Romans 9:7) quoting Genesis 21:12.  We are not wrong in seeing an allegory of the Church in Rebekkah, nor of seeing Isaac as a picture of  Jesus Christ.

“1And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: 3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: 4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. 5 And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? 6 And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. 7 The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. 8 And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again. 9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.” Genesis 24:1-9 (KJV).

I will not post all 67 verses, but I will put the verse numbers for your reference to check out.

There is a wedding which is going to be celebrated, in what I believe to be the not too distant future. Here in the Old Testament book of Genesis is a picture of the bringing together of the bride and the Bridegroom.

Jesus promised that after His ascension into Heaven He would send a Comforter. This comforter would guide into all truth. He would draw people to Jesus Christ.

In our text we have an unnamed servant of Abraham who is sent to find a bride for his son. It is amazing how the Holy Spirit inspired the writings of Scripture in the way He has here showing forth the glory of God, and His work bringing the lost to Jesus.

The servant went to the assigned place to seek a bride for Isaac. Rebekah was that chosen bride. This bride 1). “Believed a man she had never met before, 2). was asked to go to a land from which she was never to return, 3). was asked to marry a man whom she as yet had never seen.” M. R. DeHaan. The journey was about 600 miles on the back of a camel.

When the servant chose Rebekah it was then, a decision for her to make. The decision was one that could not wait (vv. 55-58). So Rebekah chose to go on a journey over hard country – a barren, dry and dangerous country.

When Rebekah saw Isaac for the first time he was coming from Lahairoi, which means, “The well of a Living One”. This is the first appearance of Isaac since the altar of Mount Moriah. Jesus will one day appear to take His bride who has been chosen by the Holy Spirit.

Let’s look at four of the characters in this text, and we will try and focus the picture on the One who is True.

First of all, look at the father. He loved Isaac and wanted a bride for him. He believed that God was faithful and would keep His promise and provide the bride. The bride could not be an outsider. The Father getting a bride for His Son, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day”. John 6:44 (KJV).

The next character we see in the text is the servant. He is a model servant. He does not go unsent (vv. 2-9), he goes where he is sent (vv. 4-10), he does nothing else, is prayerful and thankful (vv. 12-14, 26-27), he is wise to win (vv.17, 21), he speaks not of himself, but of his master’s riches, and Isaac’s heirship (vv. 34-36; Acts 1:8), he presents the true issue, and requires a clear decision (v. 49).

The work of the Spirit of God is the True: the antitype. “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” John 15:26 (KJV). “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” John 16:13-14 (KJV).

The third character is the chosen bride herself. She welcomed a stranger, whom she had never seen. This servant came to the well, seeking God’s direction, and Rebekah came and fulfilled the needs of this servants prayer (vv. 18-20, 24, 25). She accepted the servants invitation (vv. 55-58). The invitation was that she return to Canaan to be the wife of Isaac and receive the blessings of what he would inherit. Rebekah and the servant must have spoken much on the journey to meet the Bridegroom. She learned more about Isaac (v. 65) and more as she saw him and was getting nearer to him. She went over hard country in the care of the servant. This “Hard country” is the hardships, trials, and tribulations of living and growing in the Christian life. M. R. DeHaan said, “Rebekah was asked to believe a man she had never met before, to go to a land from which she was never to return, and to marry a man whom she as yet had never seen.”

The final character, but certainly not the least of the four is the son, in particular; his wedding. Weddings are most always a joyous event. It was for Isaac, and it was for Rebekah. When Rebekah came riding up on the camel with the servant she leaped off the camel. It does not say what she did when she leaped off the camel, but I just suppose that she ran to meet him, and their hearts became as one. In leaping off the camel Rebekah had left the last of her worldly possessions behind. Her journey is complete.

When Jesus and His Bride are joined together at last, they will never part, because it will be for all eternity.

The invitation is still extended. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17 (KJV).

If we have “Eyes to see, and ears to hear” we can see quite clearly the picture the Master has painted for us. We can see Jesus’ death in Isaac at the altar, we see His resurrection and ascension in that Isaac came from the “Well of the Living One”. We can see the work of the Holy Spirit in Abraham’s servant as he sought a bride for Isaac.

God is so good He paints us such beautiful pictures to show us how He is working throughout all of time to draw us to Himself. The Antitype is even more beautiful.

“1And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:5-10 (KJV).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The following is a link to more of Jesus In Genesis.

Mark Chapter Nine

Mark 9:1-50

“And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. 2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. 4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. 7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. 10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. 11 And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? 12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. 13 But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.”  Mark 9:1-13 (KJV)

THE GLORY OF JESUS IS SEEN BY A FEW WHILE JESUS SPEAKS TO ELIJAH AND MOSES ABOUT HIS DEATH (Luke 9:31).

In verse 1 Jesus is most likely speaking of those who would see His “Transfiguration” which is about to happen, and it happened only before the three disciples – Peter, James, and John.  In Luke’s account of this glory the three disciples had fallen asleep.  There are times to sleep and times to fight going to sleep, and this seems like it was one of those times to fight sleep.  They almost missed it.

The two to whom Jesus was speaking were considered dead and gone.  Moses died and Elijah had just “gone” by the power of a “chariot of fire”.  Moses represents the “Law” of God, and Elijah represents the “Prophets” of God.  It is important for us to catch the message which the “Voice from Heaven” speaks.  “This is my beloved Son: hear Him.”  Those words tell us that the most important thing we can hear is Jesus.  The “Law” and the “Prophets” speak of Jesus.  John the apostle wrote in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, “…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (REV. 19:10).

According to Luke 9:31 Jesus was speaking to Moses and Elijah of His coming death.  No other of the gospel writers mention this.  It tells us clearly that was the direction Jesus was headed – to Jerusalem to die, and make atonement for the sin of mankind.

In Matthew and Luke the text tells us it was “Moses and Elijah”.  Mark is the only one who writes “Elijah and Moses”.  It is important for us to remember the history of these two men.  Moses died and was buried by God, and no one knew where he was buried (DEUT. 34:5-6); and Elijah never died.  He was carried to Heaven by a fiery chariot (2 Kings 2:11), and Elisha, his pupil in the prophetic ministry, received a “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit.  There is quite a picture given here to us.  That is that at the future coming of Jesus Christ in His glory all that know Jesus, the living and the dead, will be raised to share in that eternal glory with Him.

“And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. 15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. 16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? 17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; 18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. 19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. 20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. 26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”  Mark 9:14-29 (KJV)

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO THEM THAT BELIEVE.

It is apparent by our text that the young man of whom it is speaking was afflicted by an “evil spirit”.  He has been afflicted for several years, even from early childhood.  We can see from this that children are not exempt from evil or even the devil or his demons.  Children can be susceptible to Satan from a very early age, but then, all are born into sin, and none are without sin.

This boy had often been thrown into the fire, and into the waters.  This demon hated this boy, and that is something we all need to remember that the devil and his hordes hates mankind, and will do whatever it takes to destroy the human race.

Notice, Jesus’ rebuke of the “Faithless generation”.  He is probably referring to “scribes” who are there in argument with the disciples, accusing and excusing their own actions and accusing the disciples of not having power to help this boy.

When Jesus calls for the boy and they bring him to Him the boys goes into a “fit”; falling on the ground and foaming at the mouth.  You will notice the father is not only asking Jesus to help his son, but also himself; he says, “Have compassion on us, and help us.”  The father later says, “I believe; help thou mine unbelief”.  This father new to whom to bring his son, but he had not witnessed the power of Jesus before, but he was about to.  He had the faith to bring his son to Jesus, and that was a good starting point.

There are many psychologists who probably would reckon this boy to have epilepsy, or some neurological disorder, but not demon possessed.  Notice though why it must be demon possession;  1) this personality recognized Jesus because he did not want to come before him, thus causing the boy to throw himself on the ground and foam at the mouth;  2) Jesus spoke to the spirit and commanded him to come out, and to stay out;  3) the spirit cried out through the boy and wreaked havoc on him one last time, evidently fighting for his “territory” but could not fight against his creator and win.

Note Jesus’ final words on this matter, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. Mark 9:29 (KJV)”.  The matter of this boy’s well being hinged on the battle of two worlds, and who was to overcome.  There is a spiritual warfare we must wage everyday.  It is not an easy fight.  We must commit ourselves to prayer, and at times we must give ourselves to it diligently even to the point of forsaking our food and nourishment for the day or a period of time.  We cannot win spiritual battles if we are weak in the Spirit of God.  That was the problem with the disciples, and why they could not help this man or his son.  It is a battle we wage to keep the souls of men from eternal torment.  We must pray for them to have opened eyes to see the death of Christ on the cross, his resurrection; and that they will have an open heart to receive the glorious salvation of God through Jesus Christ.

It is an imperative  that we remember the words of Jesus, “All things are possible to him/[her] that believeth”.  It is not just believing in the event as history, but in the person of Jesus Himself.

“And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it. 31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. 32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him. 33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? 34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. 35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. 36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, 37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. 38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. 39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is on our part.”  Mark 9:30-40 (KJV)

A GRASPING FOR POWER BRINGS A REBUKE FROM JESUS, AND AN ANSWER TO THEIR PROBLEM.

Jesus is teaching a valuable lesson in these verses about service and “Greatness” or power and position.  He says He is going to die and then He will be glorified by resurrection.  He will die for our sins, and then by resurrection be given all that was His from the beginning.  By His death Jesus was serving the human race by providing our eternal salvation.

There are many people today looking for a longevity to life; they look for power and prestige, and position; but they look to themselves, when all that is needed is to bow at the feet of Jesus and call Him Lord, and wash the feet of our fellow man by service.  What great privilege it is to serve the Lord and bless our fellow man.

Jesus does enlist a small child as an illustration of humility and service.  A child will subject themselves to an older person, and most of the time trust in their care.  We are to come to Christ as little children, and we are to always receive our fellow man as if they were “little children”.  In receiving the “child” we receive Jesus and the One who sent Him.  And that is the Father.

When we see others working in the name of the Lord do we grow jealous, protective of our own work, or do we say, “Great!  Someone else is working in His vineyard.”  The latter should be our attitude and we should be an encouragement to all who are serving the Lord, and living for His glory.  This is not to be a blanket statement that approves of all who claim to be working in the name of Jesus, but to those who are Biblically sound, and those who are truly in Christ Jesus.

“For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. 42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. 50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.”  Mark 9:41-50 (KJV)

THE HORRENDOUS, ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES OF SIN.

What is the price of sin?  “Sin will take you farther than you want to go; slowly but wholly taking control;  sin will leave you longer than you want to stay;  sin will cost you far more than you can ever pay.”  ANON.  It is something that Jesus took quite serious.  He took it so seriously that He went all the way to the cross and died, taking all our sin on Himself, paying the price that was mine and yours to pay.

How seriously does Jesus take sin?  Let us look at these verses.  Do not offend a “little one” for it would be better that a millstone were tied around your neck and be thrown into the sea.  “If your hand offends you, cut it off”;  “If your eye offends you pluck it out”.  It seems to me like Jesus takes sin quite seriously.  He was willing to pay the price for our sin that we might have eternal life in His eternal presence.  Jesus is not advocating the torture, or destruction of our bodies, but He is showing us the degradation of sin and its costliness and the price we should pay.  Simply cutting off a hand will not keep you from sinning.  Plucking out an eye will not keep you from the sin of lusting.   We saw in chapter seven that it is in the heart of man where we must deal with sin.  How much are you willing to pay to rid your life of sin?  Jesus was willing to give His life.

Jesus uses here the illustration of Gehenna – the garbage, trash, waste dump of the city of Jerusalem – that burned continually and the fire was never out.  There is an eternal fire that burns, where no desires are ever met, and there is nothing but pain, sorrow, hatred, vileness, hostility, and war.  Is that the place you want to be?  Is that the place where you want your friends and neighbors to spend eternity?  It is the place Jesus described as “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:46 (KJV)”.  He mentions this twice.  Is there a Heaven?  If Jesus said He was preparing a place for us, and that He was coming to take us to that place; then, yes there is a Heaven.  Is there a place called Hell?  Jesus mentions more about Hell than He does about Heaven.  He spent a whole story of a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus to tell us of the reality of Hell.  He describes it as a place of flames, torment, and a place you would not want to be.  This is in Luke chapter sixteen.

Hell is the place we all deserve to be.  We do not deserve Heaven, but because of the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross and by the power of His resurrection we can go to Heaven for all eternity, but not without Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

In the beginning of this chapter we see Jesus in His glory and speaking with Elijah and Moses.  In between this picture of the glory of Jesus and this warning of Hell we find a child being tormented by a demon, disciples arguing about who is the greatest will be the greatest among them, and one disciple wondering about a man who is doing the work of Jesus who is not a part of their group.  These are the things that happen between Heaven and Hell.  As a matter of fact when Jesus died on the cross His head was toward Heaven and His feet were toward Hell, and His arms were outstretched to the world in invitation to come to Him.

What a Servant.  What a Savior.  For His arms are still outstretched to all so we may come to Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Five Qualities Of The Believer’s Hope

Five Qualities Of The Believer’s Hope

1 John 2:28 – 3:3

It needs to be understood at the beginning of this message that none are perfect nor can we be perfect in this life.  Our Lord is working in us toward perfection when we shall see Him face to face.  However, we must, by the Holy Spirit within us who know personally the Lord Jesus as Lord and Savior have Christ as the central being of our lives.

As a Christian we have new hope and desires; the first of which is seeing  Him one day; and seeing Him face to face.  We also desire to one day be like Him, and as verse three of chapter 3 tells us; “We shall see Him as He is”.  What a glorious day that will be.

In this message we will look at FIVE QUALITIES OF THE BELIEVER’S HOPE.

I.  A LONGING FOR – A DESIRING FOR THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST (v. 2:28).

A.  A longing for the appearing will motivate the believer to “abide in Him”.

1. It is like the  branch abides in the vine (John 15:1-11).
2. It is similar to your home – the place you live.

a.  You may leave it to go to work, on vacation, etc., but you know there is no place like home – you return.

b.  It is the place where you receive nourishment, and love.

B.  This abiding ‘in Him’ keeps us from being ashamed when he returns.

1. When we ‘abide in Him’ we keep His commandments;
2. When we ‘abide in Him’ we have the anointing –

“But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.”  1 John 2:20 (KJV)

II.  KNOWING JESUS IS RIGHTEOUS – THOSE BORN OF HIM PRACTICES RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 2:29).

A.  Jesus is righteous – He is Deity [God].

1. He is righteous as the Christ;
2. He is righteous as the sin-bearer;
3. He is righteous as the resurrected One.

B.  Those who do righteousness are born of Him.

1. Doing what is right in one’s life;
2. Doing what is right according to God’s law;
3. Doing what is right to others.

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  Matthew 7:12 (KJV)

III.  ENAMORED, AWED, AND STRENGTHENED BY HIS GLORIOUS SALVATION (v. 3:1).

A.  Nothing in this world is comparable to the love of God.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:35-39 (KJV)

1. Love ‘bestowed upon us’ by our benevolent, loving Father through His precious loving Son.
2. John seems to be awe-struck with the thought Himself.

B.  Love so great we are called ‘the sons of God’.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:12-13 (KJV)

C.  The ‘Inhabiters of earth’ are so enamored with the world, they miss God.

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”  Revelation 3:10 (KJV)

“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?”  Revelation 6:10 (KJV)

“And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!”  Revelation 8:13 (KJV)

“And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.”  Revelation 11:10 (KJV)

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  Revelation 12:12 (KJV)

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
“And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.”
” And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”  Revelation 13:8, 12, 14 (KJV)

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people…”  Revelation 14:6 (KJV)

“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”  Revelation 17:8 (KJV)

IV.  EXPECTANT OF BEING CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST – NOT CHRIST, BUT LIKE HIM (v. 3:2).

A.  In moral character.

1. Not Christ, not deity, but of His character and love for the Father and one another.

B.  Now the ‘Sons of God’.

1. That means living like ’sons of God’ – Kings and priests.
2. Living right in the present time unto the day of His appearing.

C.  We will see Jesus as He is.

V.  KEEPING THEMSELVES READY FOR HIS APPEARING (v. 3:3).

A.  The hope and promise of His appearing is the greatest hope of mankind.

1. His appearing otherwise known as Second Coming is a grand promise of change according to the Scriptures;
2. It will mean the change in ge0logy (Zechariah 14), environment, government and most of all in the hearts and lives of mankind;
3. It will also means change in the animals of the earth as well.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”  Isaiah 11:6-9 (KJV)

B.  Those who are prepared for His coming will be keeping themselves ready.

1. The presence and  gift of His Spirit within directs us to preparation.
2. There is a place being prepared for the prepared.
3. We must fight the good fight – there is a war going on daily in our lives.

“1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  John 14:1-3 (KJV)

“7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:7-8 (KJV)

C.  Let’s keep ourselves pure – as much as Christ is in us.

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”
2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)

1. Because of Jesus’s wonderful gift;
2. Because of these precious promises;
3. Because we are the ’sons of God’.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Taught By God

“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall be taught of God’.  Every man therefore that hath heard, and learned of the Father, cometh unto Me.”  Jesus  (John 6:45 KJV).

The prophets to whom Jesus was referring and the address of the words written in the prophets are Isaiah 54:13; Jeremiah 31:34; and Micah 4:2.  Maybe some who read this think, “My goodness is Jesus all he has to write about?”  He is the very reason for my being.  The very reason for my existence, and for yours as well.  He is worthy of so much more than what I can write or say.

You read in Genesis, and you will see Jesus when God has given you Light to see Him.  In Exodus Jesus is there as the lamb’s blood is put on the door posts and the lintel.  He is the Passover Lamb.  As the children of Israel journey through the wilderness,  Jesus is the Healing of the waters at Marah.  He is the Rock that followed them through the desert.  All of Scriptures testify of Jesus.

Do I ever get tired of speaking or writing about my Jesus?  Never.  I cannot do it enough.  The Revelator [John] wrote in the Spirit of the Lord, “…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”  Revelation 19:10 (KJV).  Jesus told those who hated Him; speaking of the Scriptures, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.”  Jesus (John 5:39 KJV).  To know God one must be Taught By God.

If you want peace, hope, encouragement in this life, and eternal life; then, give yourself completely to Jesus.  He gave His for you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Heavenly Vision

The Heavenly Vision

Acts 26:19-20

The reading of verses 13 – 18 would be a good thing for the study of this passage of Scripture.

Now I think it would be good to see what the writer of the Proverbs says about “vision”.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”  Proverbs 29:18 (KJV).

“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.”  Proverbs 29:18 (NKJV).

It would appear that by looking at the NKJV rendering of the verse that there might be a problem of interpretation and comparison between Paul’s heavenly vision and this revelation but it would not need to be a problem.

Where there is revelation there is hope, and people will follow the revelation of God when they believe it.  Every one needs vision for guidance, and worth-while-ness.

To have Revelation/Vision is a necessity for having a moral and decent society.  The vision Paul has is a life changing vision.  It first changes the heart and mind of Saul when he met Jesus.

The true Revelation/Vision is from God.  Paul’s vision was of Jesus Himself.  When there is no Revelation/Vision from God; people will live without power or authority, and find themselves without direction.   They will not recognize their true enemy; and they will blame others for their own faults, problems, and sins.

THE PURPOSE OF THE REVELATION/VISION (v. 16).  The highest aim or purpose of the Revelation/Vision is to glorify the Father.  The purpose of the Revelation/Vision for Saul was to be called to minister for the cause of Jesus Christ, and to glorify Him.  The minister is a servant to all –

“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered  unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45 (KJV).

The minister of Jesus Christ has no life of his own, but has given it up to the Lord.  Called to be a witness in two ways;  1) To be a faithful witness in the things that are seen:

* The death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ;
* The power of the gospel to change lives

and 2) To be a faithful witness through the revelations Jesus would reveal (John 14:21):

* Paul’s teachings of the pure gospel came by the revelation of Jesus: “For I neither received it of men, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galations 1:12).
* He has more writings in the New Testament than any othe penman – possibly 14;
* We are to bear witness in these two ways;

1. Preaching the gospel and showing forth a changed life;
2. By teaching the revelation of Jesus in all areas of life.

The Scriptures are complete.  Within them we have all the revelation of Jesus Christ and how He wants us to live that God has given us.  We are to learn it and seek His will for our lives.

THE PROMISE OF THE REVELATION/VISION (v. 17).  God never calls anyone to serve Him without Purpose, nor without Promise.  His promises in Revelation/Vision encourages, strengthens, and gives us perseverance.  God’s promises are the Christian’s hope of the future – eternity with God in glory – His glory.  It was God’s promise that motivated Abraham to leave his homeland without knowing where he was going:

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11:8 (KJV)

He only knew that he was going with God.  He did not know the place on earth.  He has promised to deliver from enemies of the gospel.  There will still be persecution, but the persecutor will not prevail.  Many a persecutor, like Saul of Tarsus, fell under the power and authority of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

THE POWER OF THE REVELATION/VISION (v. 18).  The power of the revelation/vision is the power of a changed life.  There is no religion that can change a life for eternity.  There are many good ministries which stress self-reformation, and cleaning up your act, but they basically give not power to maintain the life which one ought to live.  Usually if there are any lasting changes the organization gets the credit and the glory, and none goes to the One who created us, and all thing.

Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and you shall be witnesses unto Me; both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the utter most parts of the world.”  (Acts 1:8)  He said in Matthew, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth”  Matthew 28:18 (KJV).  We find also that Jesus said to Peter,  “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 16:17 (KJV).  Peter was only able to know the true identity of Jesus because it was by revelation from God the Father.

The Revelation/Vision of the person of Jesus Christ, when accepted, believed, practiced has the power to change the life of that individual.  Jesus Christ has the power to forgive, remove, cleanse, from all sin.  He has the power to open eyes that they might see the work of God in the world.  He has the power to turn a life of darkness to a life in the Light.

In some cases – many cases – people love darkness rather than light:

“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:20 (KJV)

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Ephesians 2:1-3 (KJV)

If you are in that darkness you can come out by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on Calvary’s cross for you.  The only cleansing and forgiveness is in the Light of Jesus Christ.

In Christ Jesus there is also a wonderful inheritance:

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Romans 8:17 (KJV)

“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:15 (KJV)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5 (KJV)

This is an eternal inheritance which has been provided us by the Lord Jesus Christ by His death, burial and resurrection.

THE PERSON OF THE REVELATION/VISION (vv. 13-15).  As Saul/Paul is riding a horse toward Damascus, and for the purpose of taking captive many Christians, and putting them to death; he meets the One whom he is really persecuting.

Saul had seen the Christian message of Jesus Christ as a great and vile threat to his own religion.  That was the Jewish religion he had grown up in, and this Jesus was a rabble rouser, a trouble maker, a deceiver, and they could not have this man upsetting the purity of Judaism.

Saul does, however, find out that he is not persecuting the people who are calling themselves followers of Jesus; but he is actually persecuting Jesus Himself.  He is alive.  Now Saul knows it, and falls on his face before Him, and calls Him “Lord”.

It was upon his meeting Jesus, the Revelation of Jesus Christ to Saul of Tarsus, that he realized the conviction, the torment of soul, the troubled heart and thoughts; his kicking against the pricks (vv. 14; 9:5) finally hit home in his life.

Is there a troubled area of your life where you just can’t find peace?  Maybe it’s your whole life, and you just can’t find peace with yourself, your spouse, your family, or with God.  That maybe your pricks from the Spirit of God and He is calling you to Him.

There is only one true Revelation of God to man (other than creation), and that is His Son Jesus Christ.  He came to earth as a man; to die for the sins of mankind, carry our sins away in burial taking all guilt and shame, and then, He rose agains bodily from the grave.  The bodily resurrection is proof of His revelation of God to man.  It is the divine work of God.  It is not of the flesh, but the Spirit of God.

Salvation is through the Son of the Living God, and His name is Jesus.

THE PERCOLATION OF THE REVELATION/VISION (vv. 19-20).  Percolation is a filtering process by which to arrive at a desired effect or goal.  The Christian with the Revelation/Vision is the instrument of God to reach a lost world.  Disobedience to this vision will do these five things:

* Cause guilt for neglecting those who you leave  untold;
* Cause ineffective ministry and ministries;
* There will be a lack of prayer;
* There will be a lack of time with and/or for God;
* The individual will be in a backsliden condition, slipping ever farther away from God’s loving, protecting hands.
* …This is not an exhausted list.

Obedience to the heavenly vision will give us five things:

* Peace of heart and mind;
* Joy in an of ministry;
* A life of prayer and drawing near to God;
* Takes every opportunity for God;
* Has a growing Christian testimony;
* …This list is not exhausted.

Our Christian lives, lived in the presence of others, will be the only vision of heaven they may ever see.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Early Church and the Testimony of Scripture

Acts 7:1-60

Stephen, a spirit filled deacon, a servant of the early church, and serving tables; had stood up and preached the message of Jesus Christ, and was being called a “blasphemer”.  In Acts 6:8-15 we see the beginning of chapter seven and Stephen’s sermon of the testimony of Scripture and the history of the Jewish people.

The charge of “blasphemy” is a serious charge, especially in Israel, during these early days.  In some countries it is still a serious charge and often paid with the death of the accused or guilty.  Blasphemy is the calling someone God who would be human, or using the name of God to proclaim a message that was not of God.  In Stephen’s case all he had apparently done was quote the words Moses had written concerning the Prophet who was coming, and proclaimed Jesus as the Prophet, and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When the true gospel of Jesus is preached it reveals Him in His true character, ie., God-man.  How could a man stop storms, walk on water, raise the dead?  No mere man would willingly go to a cross of death in the place of a sinful world; Jesus did.  No mere man has ever been raised to life in His own power; Jesus has.  To these Jewish leaders Stephen was a blasphemer, because He had proclaimed Jesus as deity – the God-man.  Thus, they sought to put Stephen on trial.

In verse eleven of chapter six we find them bringing in false witnesses against him.  Sound familiar?

THE TESTIMONY OF ABRAHAM AND THE PATRIARCHS (vv. 1-8).  Stephen, filled with the Spirit of God confronts them with their own Scriptures and history.

The history of Abraham is one of the nation of Israel.  Without Abraham there would be no Israel.  Abraham is the man whom God chose to use to birth the nation.  He was a man of faith, and his faith grew.

Called out of Ur of the Chaldeans he left the life he knew to go to a land he had never seen, and did not go where he was going.  All he knew was that he had met God, and God told him to “Get”, and he got going.

Stephen is not answering to the charge of blasphemy; he just gets into the Scriptures proclaiming to them, what they probably do not want to hear.  He gives it to them anyway.  Some preacher I once heard made this statement after telling about being caught in a mob, “When you have an angry crowd, and they are trying to do you bad; then preach”, at least something along that line.  I would not say that is what Stephen is doing, but even if he is, it does not negate the message.

The land was promised to Abraham and he never so much as received one acre of it; with the exception of a tomb for Sarah, and himself (Genesis 23).  Yet, he still believed, trusted the Lord and is an example of great faith to all followers of Jesus Christ today.

Isaac was/is the promised son of Abraham’s faith.  Isaac also received the promise of the land, and of being a great nation; as did his son Jacob as well.

The message of Abraham is faith.  The history of Abraham is faith.  He left all to go where he knew not where.  He faced famine in that land almost immediately upon arriving, yet even though he left the land, he returned and is called the “friend of God”.  The ultimate test of his faith was when God called on him to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice, and in that he was faithful.

THE TESTIMONY OF THE PATRIARCH’S ENVY, JOSEPH, AND EGYPT (vv. 9-16).  When we find that Abraham was counted righteous by God, according to Scripture, we also find that God gave Abraham a bit of prophetic knowledge.  In Genesis 15 we read,

“And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”  Genesis 15:13-14 (KJV)

In verse 6 of Genesis fifteen we find these words,

“And he [Abraham] believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

He was not counted or reckoned “righteous” because of his good works, or for anything he had done, but because God had spoke and he acted on it believing God.

Joseph, the son of Jacob, the first born son of Rachel; Jacob’s beloved wife; was a dreamer of dreams.  These dreams were not brought on by eating too much pizza, or from some dose of crazy weed, but they were from God.  As a dreamer of God dreams he also had an understanding of dreams.  Because of some of his dreams the other brothers got jealous of him.  According to his dreams the brothers and the whole family would one day bow at his feet.

Joseph may not have realized the significance of his dreams.  The significance was that what he was dreaming was going to be the fulfillment of God’s promise/prophecy to Abraham in bringing a nation out of Egypt.  The significance was that God was working through the evil conduct of his brothers.  You may flinch at that thought, but God is sovereign over all things, and so don’t think for a minute that evil thwarts the will of God; in fact He uses it to accomplish His purposes and will.  That in no way means He approves it, causes it, or empowers it; it only means that man has a freewill, and God uses man’s freewill to accomplish His own.

The Psalmist wrote of Joseph:

“He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” Psalm 105:17-19 (KJV)

Verse 19 in particular is the one we need to see.  “Until the time that his word came the word of the LORD tried him.”  From the time Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery, into Egypt, to Potiphar, then to prison, then freed; there was probably a total of about twenty years.  Do you think Joseph had ever dreamed that he would go through all these trials?  I really doubt it.  Joseph, however, remained ever faithful.  There appears to be no doubts, no complaints, no anger toward God, no heart of vengeance against his brothers (though some may want to disagree with that when he comes face to face with his brothers).  All the time Joseph was waiting for the word of the LORD to come to pass.  Oh, how the Christian today needs that type of faith; that “waiting faith”; that faith that waits on God, and His time and place.

THE TESTIMONY OF MOSES, THE RED SEA, AND THE WILDERNESS (vv. 17-36).  The time between the last verse of Genesis and the birth of Moses, recorded in Exodus 2 is near to 400 years; nearing the promise and prophecy of God to Abraham in Genesis 15.

The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have grown to quite a large number in those 400 years.  They have become so numerous that the Pharoah who rules at the time of Moses’s birth is a tyrant toward Israel, has no memory of Joseph, and doesn’t care for the people at all; but fears their numbers.  This tyrant Pharoah orders the death of all baby boys born to the Hebrews.  The mother and father of Moses hid him for a period of three months, and then finally put him in a “ark of bulrushes” placed it in the Nile River, along the shore, and floating down near the place where the princess of Egypt bathed; was found and adopted by her.  Only the sovereign LORD could work something like that out.

The Hebrew people were enslaved, and treated like livestock or worse.  They were not allowed to worship God; and maybe only a few really knew about YHWH [YaHWeH].  We know that they did have homes to live in, though what condition we are not aware.

Moses was taken out of the water of the Nile and named Moses by the daughter of Pharoah.  “Drawn out” is the meaning of his name and it is a perfect fit for him.  We see him all his life being “drawn out”.  He was “drawn out” of the water.  He was “drawn out” to his own people.  He was “drawn out” to the desert/wilderness.  He was “drawn out” to serve Jethro for forty years.

For forty years Moses was in Egypt learning the ways of Egypt.  For forty years he was in the desert with Jethro learning the ways of the desert/wilderness.  After delivering the children of Israel from Egypt he spent forty more years in the wilderness preparing  them for life in the Promised Land.

We complain if we must wait a minute or two at a traffic light.  Lord help us.  How we need to learn to wait, and trust the LORD with His word, His church and His people.  Moses had to learn the lesson of waiting on God.  He supposed that when he killed the Egyptian that the people would know that he was God’s deliverer, but it was not the time, and Moses had to leave Egypt to be prepared.

A THOUGHT:  Joseph, by God’s providence, was in Egypt to prepare Egypt for the world famine, and to prepare Israel to become a nation.  Moses fled from Egypt to be prepared to return to Egypt, and deliver the people from the world.

In the wilderness the new nation saw the mighty hand of God the LORD.  When they did not see a way God made a way across the Red Sea.  The LORD delivered them from their enemies by causing the Sea to collapse in upon the soldiers of Egypt, killing them all.  The Almighty provided them water, meat to eat and He provided them with bread from heaven – “Manna” meaning “What is it?”

THE TESTIMONY OF ISRAEL’S REJECTION, REBELLION, AND CAPTIVITIES (vv. 37-50).  Moses testified of One who would come, a Prophet, the Prophet of prophets.  Stephen reminds his listeners, persecutors of the prophecy of Moses and his teachings.  Hear the words of the prophet Moses concerning the Prophet;

“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken…” Deuteronomy 18:15 (KJV).

While Moses was in the wilderness with the people we find them many times rejecting his leadership, such as while he went up on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from the Lord.  They built a golden calf to worship in the place of God.  Our impatience is somewhat astonishing.  God says something and we do the opposite.

We Christians have been accused by some who refer to themselves as atheist or agnostic of being “makers of our own god”, and they mean that of the world religions as well.  With the latter I would agree.  The God of Creation who created all that is is not a god of man’s own making, however.  No man has ever imagined a god who is Almighty, All-Knowing, All-Present, All-Powerful, and Immutable.  No man has ever invented a god who condemns sin and wickedness, and provides a means of fellowship, relationship, justification, sanctification, and  being glorified together with him in an eternal home.  No man has ever created a god that would send his only son to die for the sins of the world.  The God of Christianity is the Creator of the universe, and all that is in it; and He loved us so much He did send His Son to die on a cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose again bodily from the grave and was witnessed by over 500 eyewitnesses.

All the gods of man’s creation allow them to behave and act any way they choose.  The god’s of men cause the immorality of all the world.  The god’s of men’s own making is what causes wars and strife.  Every individual without Jesus Christ is their own god; and will one day crumble, fall at the feet of Jesus, and be cast from His presence into eternal fire.

The “golden calf” for those people of Israel was a reminder of their lives back in Egypt.  They had been freed from its bondage, yet they still cling to it, even to the point of desiring to return and continue as slaves.  Even the gods people worship today, the images, are images which puts no guilt on them, or would make them question their actions.  The world hates any guilt, or shame.  That is one of the things, however, which is needed in the world; ie., guilt and shame. It can be the “straw that broke the camel’s back” and turn them toward the only One who can cleanse them and forgive all their sin.

When people turn to Wall Street, Dow, or other stocks and bonds, etc. for their security; then they have turned their back on God.  Christian we may be in a financial crisis in this nation [USA], however, there is a greater crisis that many do not even realize.  That crisis is a Spiritual crisis.  With greed ruling the day through the lies of satan; there is a genuine spiritual need for God.  Whether it is believed or not; there is only one way to God and heaven, and that is the way He has provided; and that way is by way of the cross of Jesus Christ, his burial and resurrection.

Oh, how we need to understand the fulness, power, vastness, and glory of our God.  The nation of Israel is still in rejection of their God, His Son and their future foretold by God.

THE TESTIMONY OF ISRAEL’S REJECTION OF JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRIT (vv. 51-54).  These men to whom Stephen was speaking were just as the prophets which foretold the coming of the Prophet, the Messiah, their Deliverer.  “Stiffnecked and uncircumcised heart” shows a rebellious attitude and an unclean heart of these people.

All Stephen did was proclaim to them the truth of their own history, confront them with Jesus, their betrayal of him, and how they had “murdered him” (v. 52).

THE TESTIMONY OF STEPHEN A PERSECUTED, MARTYRED SOUL FOR JESUS CHRIST (vv. 55-60).  When the angry men heard the message delivered by faithful Stephen they proceeded to kill him.

The Word of God works as a sword, a “twoedged sword”.  In the book of Hebrews we read,

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged 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 (KJV)

In other words; that means God will make things uncomfortable  for you until He gets you where He desires you to be; if you are His own.  When you are God’s He will not allow you to remain in sinful behavior.

These men hated Stephen and his words that he spoke, then, they proceeded to kill him.

The deacon never sought to strike back.  His last words before his dying breath was, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge”, and then he “fell asleep”.  The stones which were hurled at Stephen, hitting his body, were stones of identity.  It is not without merit to mention that in the Revelation is mentioned a stone,

“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 hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Revelation 2:17

Stephen had his stones, and they were stones of blessing because as he was dying he looked into heaven and could see glory;

“Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”

O, for the passion of our people like Stephen had.  For a fire to burn in our hearts for people who are bound in religion, but hate Jesus Christ, and refuse His death, burial and resurrection, by continually trying to earn their way to God’s presence and favor.  Preaching to the religious may not get you any popular vote, but you will see God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

These are the study notes for a sermon preached on October 05, 2008.

Jesus, God-Man, Servant

The gospels have been identified as being written identifying Christ from four different perspectives.  First, Matthew shows Jesus as the King of the Jews;  Mark shows Him as a servant – there is no genealogy showing His  heritage in birth;  Luke shows him as man – in fact the God-man;  and John shows Him as deity – fully God and fully man, and makes quite clear (to all who can see and understand) that He is Deity.

This picture is even seen in the book of Ezekiel 1:4-14, and verse 10 shows us the faces of the gospel.  The lion would represent royalty – the King;  the ox face would represent service – the Servant;  the man’s face would represent the man – the God-man;  and the eagle represents majesty/deity – the God who became flesh and dwelt among us.  In the Revelation 4:7 the Apostle John even list them in the same order as the gospels are in.

“And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.” Revelation 4:7 (KJV)

Study of Mark 1:1-20:

VV. 1 – 8  —   THE COMING OF THE ONE WHO CARES PROCLAIMED BY THE PROPHET.

The dignity of Jesus is full proclaimed by the messenger who was His fore runner preparing the way for Him – basically preparing the hearts of men to receive Him.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ was a fulfillment of prophecy – a fulfillment of Scripture.

The ministry of John the Baptist produced, for a time, a great effect upon the Jewish nation.

John’s doctrine of Christ was clear and characterized his own preaching – John knows that the one who is coming is mightier than he.  The One coming will not baptize you with water, but with fire.  He will change your life; cleanse you and make you whole.

VV. 9 – 20  —   THE COMMITMENT AND AUTHENTICATION OF JESUS AND HIS MINISTRY.

Jesus, being totally committed to His Father’s direction and plan for His life shows the commitment by following the ordinance of the law, and identifying Himself with mankind in baptism.  The Father confirmed Him by speaking from Heaven as an authentication of who He genuinely was/is.

Jesus was then placed under temptation without sinning to show Himself without sin to man, and as proof of His power to conquer sin and death.

The nature of our Lord’s preaching is similar to John’s in that He was calling sinners to repentance, and different in that He called for obedience to the gospel.  Now; just what is the gospel?  It is a word which means, “Good News”.

Jesus calls two men as He is walking on the sea shore – Simon and Andrew – and calls them to follow Him, and He will make them “Fishers of men”.  They would no longer be fishing for fish, but they would be “fishing” for the souls of men.   According to John’s Gospel chapter 1 and verses 40 – 42 Andrew is one who brought Simon [Peter] to Christ.

“One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.”John 1:40-42 (KJV)

That is an amazing thing for a brother to do.  There is no contradiction here only further clarification.  When you put the four gospels together you have a full story, not complete, but the story as the writers witnessed it.

These men were called to the office of a preacher.  Not everyone considers the office a great one, but Jesus was a Preacher – a Preacher of preachers – if you will.  Jesus was committed to the work which He came to do.  In the beginning of His ministry it was to preach, and glorify His Father;

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”Luke 4:18-19 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Blossoming Light

The people of Israel, including the Southern kingdom of Judah and Zebulun, Naphtali, and Galilee were a people who had been given great light.  The light had shined brightly upon them when they were delivered from Egypt.  They walked out of their captivity with great wealth given to them by their captors practically begging them to leave, and they left with payment for the 430 years of labor they had performed for the nation in which they had once found solace, food, and a home.

After their departure from Egypt they found themselves wandering in the desert, guided by the Pillar of Cloud by day, and the Pillar of Fire by night; which was the LORD God.  There were times that the Fire took up the rear guard, and protected them from enemy assault.  They had witnessed the power of God parting the Red Sea, and they crossed over it on dry land, and after safely crossing the walls of water came together crushing the Egyptian army which was pursuing them through the divide.  After questioning God’s provision of the Promised Land, and its being the land of milk and honey, they took the advice of 10 men they had sent to survey the land, and had told them, “We can’t do it.  There are giants in the land, and we are as grasshoppers in their sight” (Read Numbers 13).  Then, because of their unbelief the whole nation, is condemned to wander through the desert for 40 years.  Why?  God had delivered the children of Israel from Egypt in a matter of a few days; He would take forty years to get Egypt out of Israel.

When the forty years were accomplished, they then, stood on the banks of the Jordan River, crossed over just as God told them, trusted the LORD God, and He gave them the land.  However, their faith was not perfect.  After many years of failing, and trusting; and trusting and failing, they found themselves separated from the land, and in the throes of enemy bondage, and that is the place they really find themselves to this day having never fully returned to their God given lands.  Yes!  There is a nation of Israel, but they are still dominated by Gentile rule (United Nations, and the United States of America).

They are a people to whom God gave a great light, and that light went dim, and even went out, at the least, covered  by the ashes of the fire.  Underneath there is a hot coal, waiting for the fuel to spring to life.  O, how sad it is for a people who had light to find themselves in darkness.  There is hope for the nation.

Hear the Word of God through the prophet Isaiah –

“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)

Back in the land following the return from Babylonian captivity to the Roman invasion, they are a land still in darkness until One who came gave them the Light.  The Light shined so brightly that they were blinded by His glory.  It was one of those cases where they “could not see the forest for the trees.”  All they had to do was listen, and receive the message which He proclaimed, but many refused, and even crucified the Light; thinking they had done God a service.  Thus the nation remained and still remains in darkness.

Isaiah presents this prophecy as though it has already happened.  Why does he do this?  First of all because what ever God says will happen; will happen just as He has said, and in the way He has said.  Not one word He has spoken will return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).  He will accomplish what He pleases.  The prophet has not only given promise of the Savior coming, but there is promise of Him coming again in the verses which follow.

Matthew quotes these verses (1 & 2) as being prophecies of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 4:13-15.

With the power of Christ waning in many professing the name of Jesus would it not be a safe say that the power is fading because the light that shines is growing dim.  Jesus told the Church at Ephesus, “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.”  Revelation 2:5 (KJV)  Any church or professing Christian leader needs desperately to stand and demonstrate their love for Jesus Christ, His Word, His Church, and the Gospel of Christ.

We have been given great Light.  However, if we give in to our culture, its pluralism, and begin speaking politically correct to win the hearts of the enemy of God, then, we become Biblically corrupt; and spiritually bankrupt, with no message that will convert a condemned people.  When we do that the light has gone out.  The salt is good for nothing but to be trampled under the feet of men (Matthew 5:13)

We were in darkness at one time, but we have the great Light of Christ.  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”, Jesus said.  We are told to let the light shine, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that multitudes are going to notice, and surrender to God’s will for their lives.

The way the light continues to burn is by continually adding good fuel to the fire.  The fuel is works of the Spirit of God — the reading and diligent study of God’s Word, fervent prayer, and an obedient life committed to the way of the Lord; done through the faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross.

Today is the greatest day to let your light shine, and the Light of Jesus Christ in us is the Light in the darkness of this world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Righteous King

The Righteous King
Proverbs 16:10-15

Looking at the life of Solomon we find a heart partially devoted to the LORD; a divided heart; unlike David his father whose “was a man after God’s own heart”.  If there is to be righteousness in the land of kings, then there must be righteous kings.

In light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that we have been decreed as “kings and priests” (Revelation 1:6; 1 Peter 2:9) of God through Jesus Christ then we find in these Proverbs how we should reign,  and that is in the likeness of our Lord and Savior and our God Jesus Christ.

OUTLINE –

I.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING MAKES GODLY DECREES, AND RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS (v. 10-11).

II.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING LIVES RIGHTEOUSLY, AND ESTABLISHES THE THRONE IN RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 12).

III.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING APPRECIATES, LOVES, AND DELIGHTS IN LIPS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 13).

IV.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING IS RESPECTED AND REVERED AS JUST IN HIS JUDGMENTS (v. 14).

V.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING’S COUNTENANCE BRINGS JOY TO THOSE WHO WERE IN HIS DISPLEASURE (v. 15).

THE RIGHTEOUS KING MAKES GODLY DECREES, AND RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS (v. 10-11).  One thing that is needed in the Nations, States, Counties, Cities, and homes and churches of the world is leaders who have a righteous heart.

There is truly only one who has the completely righteous heart and His name is Jesus.  Those who are in Him; through having trusted Him, His work on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection; have the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

In Christ Jesus and Him alone can we make Godly decrees, and righteous judgments.  Many of the judgments made by the Judiciary of the United States, and many other countries are not made in righteousness, but for what is popular or politically expedient.

Pro 16:11 – A just weight and balance are the Lord’s,…. These are of his devising; what he has put into the heart, of men to contrive and make use of, for the benefit of mankind, for the keeping and maintaining truth and justice in commercial affairs; these are of his appointing, commanding, and approving, Lev. 19:35;
all the weights of the bag are his work; or, “all the stones” ; greater or smaller, which were formerly used in weighing, and were kept in a bag for that purpose; these are by the Lord’s appointment and order. This may be applied to the Scriptures of truth, which are of God; are the balance of the sanctuary, in which every doctrine is to be weighed and tried; what agrees with them is to be received, and what is found wanting is to be rejected. The Targum is,
“His works, all of them, are weights of truth.”

When Jesus Christ comes back to earth He will make all things right and Just.  When we go to Him for a judgment we can rest assured that it will be a righteous judgment.

THE RIGHTEOUS KING LIVES RIGHTEOUSLY, AND ESTABLISHES THE THRONE IN RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 12).  The only King who has lived without sin was the King of kings; Jesus Christ Son of the Living God.

The writer of Proverbs says, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (29:2).  When true righteousness is in authority, there is reason the people rejoice.

1. There is a ruler who fears God;
2. There is fairness in appointments, and the courts;
3. There is a just trading system;
4. There is justice in the courts;
5. There is no fear of the enemy.

THE RIGHTEOUS KING APPRECIATES, LOVES, AND DELIGHTS IN LIPS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 13).  What king, president, or any ruler can stand for long who is surrounded by liars?  Lying lips are not righteous lips.

Righteous lips love the truth, seek the truth, and are truthful themselves.  Our Righteous King, the King of kings is the living Truth, and in Him is no lie at all.  Some one has given us this quote, “Liars never figure, and figures never lie”.  If you tell the truth about something you never need to remember what you said; but when you lie, it will come back to get you.

A righteous leader; be they president, king, pastor, husband, father, mother, or boss; needs always to be surrounded by people who will tell the truth.

“Buy the truth and sell  it not…” (23:23), and it seems that “Love the truth” would fit there as well.  Why “Buy the truth” if you don’t love it also.

We can see today what lying does with the stock market and people’s lives.  For example:  Bernie Madoff who scammed, swindled, and suckered punched many investors out of billions of dollars, living a lie.  Now the man has brought ruin to the lives of the people he stole their life savings from, his own family, harmed his nation, and destroyed his own life.

THE RIGHTEOUS KING IS RESPECTED AND REVERED AS JUST IN HIS JUDGMENTS (v. 14).  King David was loved, respected and revered by many including his family; at least until he sinned with Bathsheba [Uriah’s wife], and brought harm to his own family and the nation.

Unrighteous living is costly for the one who is righteous.  We must understand that righteousness is not from our own selves.  Righteousness comes from God; for only He is righteous.

If there is to be righteousness it comes from Christ alone who is our righteousness.  “For God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

A righteous king, or ruler would give His life for his subjects.  An unrighteous king expects his subjects to give their lives for him.  “There is no king like that “, someone might say.  Oh, but there is His name is Jesus; and He gave His life on the cross of calvary that those who will trust Him, believe Him, might have eternal life.  He faced the judgment for our sins, the wrath of His Father to pay the sin debt; our sin debt; that we might be saved, having our account paid in full, by His precious shed blood.

We can trust a king like that.  We can believe that this type of king would be loved, respected and revered, and be just in all his judgments.

THE RIGHTEOUS KING’S COUNTENANCE BRINGS JOY TO THOSE WHO WERE IN HIS DISPLEASURE (v. 15).  A righteous king can be offended, and when one of his subjects offends him his countenance fades.

When his subject offends him realizing that he/she has done so, and they seek the king’s forgiveness the king’s countenance will be brighter, and favorable toward the one who had offended.

When I think of all the times that I have offended King Jesus, and know that His countenance was not favorable toward me for that offense, then, I know that I must seek forgiveness.  I can know before hand that in genuinely seeking forgiveness He will forgive me; but I must not willfully seek to offend Him.

Our righteous King Jesus is often offended by His subjects, but when we seek His face we know that we are cleansed and forgiven; and our joy is restored in Him.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”  1 John 1:9-10 (KJV)

There is eternal joy in the presence of the forgiving King.  His countenance is bright and pleasant and warm to all those who come to Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Science Needs God

The most recent email update from Answers In Genesis was an interesting one; they all are to me.   Dr. Greg Bahnsen has written some articles concerning the matter of science and their need for God.  There would be no science [knowledge] apart from God’s creating it.

The following is from the AiG email update in its entirety:

Q: Why does science need God?

A: 

It is one of those embarrassing historical ironies that modern science could not have arisen except in the atmosphere of a Christian world-and-life view. Nevertheless, the scientific community today persists in playing the prodigal by assuming an antagonistic stance against the Christianity of divine revelation. Hypnotized by Darwin’s evolutionary scheme and enchanted with the products of scientific technology, modern man has granted science a secularized godship and bows before it in fetish idolatry.

The pitting of science against revelation is certainly odd. For, a certain state of affairs is needed for the scientific endeavor to be meaningful or fruitful. The scientist must believe that the state of affairs is conducive to science, or he would not venture into the scientific enterprise. He must believe that there is a world of things and processes that can be known and that he himself sustains a relationship to this world that allows him to know these objects and events. But then, what reason can the scientist give for his belief that the state of affairs is actually conducive to science? Why is the world such as it is and not otherwise? 

Here the scientist, who depends on the self-sufficiency of his logico-empirical procedures, is in a predicament. His response is usually to make various hypotheses about the world and then point to the beneficial results that flow from such hypotheses; he gives, can give, no reason for those hypotheses—they just are, because they work. If pressed, or if he is philosophically inclined, he may even go so far as to say that his “working hypotheses” have no reason unless it be “chance.”

In other words, the consistent naturalistic scientist seems to hold to an irrational set of beliefs about the state of affairs simply in order that his “rational” scientific endeavor may get off the ground. It is rather obvious that prior to any scientific endeavor we must begin either from speculation (about “chance” hypotheses) or from revelation. The Scriptures (of the one Person who knows) reveal how it is that this world, and man in it, are such as to make scientific endeavor meaningful. The state of affairs that exists is due to the creation and providence of the sovereign God. If science (so-called) could actually refute the truths of Scripture, then there would be no actual basis for science at all. The desire of the scientific community to pit its enterprise and conclusions against Christian revelation is ultimately suicidal.

Revelation, Speculation, and Science, the first of our articles by Dr. Greg Bahnsen.

If the link above does not work then maybe this one will.  Thanks to Ken Ham and all at Answers In Genesis.

-T.A.

Our Love For Jehovah

OUTLINE for Deuteronomy 5:6-21;

I.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART (vv. 6-7).
II.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL (vv. 8-10).
III.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND (v. 11).
IV.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH (vv. 12-15)

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART (vv. 6-7).  God [YHWH or YaHWeH] is the One and only One who delivered Israel from Egypt.  Delivered from the house of bondage He calls His delivered people to trust only in Him.

To LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART is to love only Him.  When a man is  in love with a woman, he grows more in love with her with each passing day.  The same is true with knowing and loving God.  In the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy we are told, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart…” (v. 5); and in Matthew, Mark and Luke Jesus is quoted saying the same thing (Matthew 22:37;  Mark 12:30;  Luke 10:27).

When God speaks here He is not authorizing us to put Him at the top of the list of gods to worship.  His heart’s command is to worship Him alone, and there is no other.  Would a man tell his wife “As long as you have me at the top of the list, you may see all the other men you want”?  No man in his right mind, and with any moral character would say that.

The heart is the seat of who we are.  The heart of the one who worships God alone will have his/her heart filled with God.

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL (vv. 8-10).  Mankind is the only one of God’s creation which is made in His image and after His likeness.  We are told that when God had made Adam, “…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7 (KJV).

When we LOVE GOD WITH ALL OUR SOUL we are loving Him from who we really are.  He breathed into our nostrils the breath of life, and that is not said of any other creature of creation, but mankind.

When we worship and love gods of our own making we denigrate ourselves.  Even when we worship self through selfishness, atheism, agnosticism, or in science, technology, or any other means of self worth garbage; we do not lower God we lower ourselves.

It is certain, at least in my mind, that everything which God has made obeys the ordinances and laws of God set down for each of them with the exception of one; and that one is man.  The one made in His image has sinned, rebelled, and seeks other things as their god.  The worship of other gods is demon worship;

“What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” (1 Corinthians 10:19-22).

Man is the only part of God’s creation of which God has said is made in His image and after His likeness. Remember, everytime you look at another human being you are looking at the image of God. Though this image is darkened by sin; there is light for thier soul. To murder the unborn in the womb is to murder the image of God. To curse another human being is to curse the image of God. To lie about another is to lie about the image of God.

The greatest, purest, and clearest Image of God was the One who walked on earth as God’s Son.  His name is Jesus.  He said, “If you have seen Me,  you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND (v. 11).  It is certain, at least to me, that many people of our society need a renewed mind. I know that Jesus also said that, “…From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh…” (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45), but is it not the mind that gives the mouth the ability to speak. And, we do often “Speak our mind”. We say things like, “…I will give them a piece of my mind…”, and usually when we cannot afford to give them any.

God’s name is often used, even by professing Christians who use His name without thought. It has been said that the Hebrew scribes, when writing the Scriptures would change “pens” to write the name of God. It was so special that the name of God is not even clearly revealed in the original languages. In the Hebrew language all we know of the name God is YHWH. That name has been transliterated to Jehovah or YaHWeH. The best name we have for God is J-E-S-U-S. And, how often we hear His name used vainly.

The heart that is abundant with the things of God and Jesus His Son will speak from that abundance. An abundant heart will have a clear, thinking mind. The abundant heart will speak things which will glorify the Father and the whole God-head. When your heart and soul are filled with God, are you going to speak vainly of God? No way.

There are those who use God’s name in vain by cursing and swearing. What about those who speak God’s name, seemingly in a reverent manner on Sunday at church, but the rest of the week live like the world in the way they speak? It seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy. Not just a hypocritical act but the act of a Hypocrite.

There is nothing that turns off a someone away from God quicker than someone who professes Christianity on Sunday, but imbibes in the world the rest of the week. This is a taking of God’s name in vain as well. God help us to guard our minds, by always speaking reverently of God. “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” (Psalm 111:9).

What about those who do all the churchy, traditional things, but overlook doing right toward their neighbor?

“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” (Isaiah 29:13).

“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8-9).

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Luke 6:46-48).

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH (vv. 12-15).  This is the fourth and final commandment having to do with our relationship with God. It is important to have this relationship. We are born into this world with that relationship in deadness. There is no spiritual heart for God. The law is pure evidence that this is so. There is no human being who has obeyed the law of God completely, except the Son of God Himself – Jesus Christ.

In the first place the Sabbath was initiated by God after the sixth day of creation when His work was finished.

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Genesis 2:1-3).

In creation God established a work cycle for mankind. Contrary to some beliefs work is not a part of the curse. Laziness is a sin and is a part of the curse. God made it where every hard working person would have a day of rest and worship. It is still necessary to have a day to rest and to worship the Lord our God. It is a shame on our society in which people work seven days a week and never give God a thought. The only god some people worship is the “Greenback” which can do absolutely nothing for peace or joy.

For Israel it was a day for renewing their strength after six days of laboring, and for worshipping God. The Christian is not bound by this commandment. We find our strength and rest in Him. He is in fact our rest and strength. That does not mean that we are to forsake the day of worship. It does mean that our worship is to be everyday, and when we join with our brothers and sisters on Sundays to lift up the name of our Lord and Savior, and God.

The Christian and the Sabbath is shown us in Hebrews 4:1-11. There we are told,

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief…”.

Because Jesus fulfilled this and all the law by His complete and perfect obedience to God, His Father, we are privileged and honored to join together on the first day of the week to do so, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (Acts 20:7). “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” (Romans 14:5-6). The reason we worship on Sunday is because of the fulfillment and completion of the law in Christ Jesus and His resurrection on Sunday morning. The Christian’s rest is in Jesus Christ, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28). Jesus said this before He died and was buried and rose again. That means it was so in the beginning as well.

Our strength is God’s.  He gives every breath we breath.  He gives every beat of our heart.  He gives us every step we take.  Our sole allegiance ought to be to Him and to Him alone.

Loving God We Love Our Neighbor

OUTLINE vv. 16-21

I.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR BEGINS AT HOME (v. 16).
II.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS LOVING AND RESPECTING HUMAN LIFE (v. 17).
III.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS CHERISHING THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE (v. 18).
IV.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR RESPECTS PRIVATE OWNERSHIP (v. 19).
V.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE BEAR WITNESS OF THE TRUTH (v. 20).
VI.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE DESIRE THEM TO BE BLESSED (v. 21).

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR BEGINS AT HOME (v. 16).  Without our mothers and fathers we would not be present in the world.  That should be a good thing for us.  It is a sad thing that many a child grows up never knowing their dad, and sometimes their mom.  One of the most dreadful things is that some of those who do grow up with both parents is the disrespect many have toward them.

Usually, when a child does not honor and respect their parents, they have less respect, if any respect, for law enforcement, and for any in places of authority; thus getting themselves into a multitude of troubles.  God intended children to have their parents.  Mom’s and Dad’s; you are not ordained by God to be a friend to your child; you are called, ordained to be a parent, giving them guidance, correction, love, care, providing for them as they are growing and learning.  Friendship with your son(s) or daughter(s) will come when they are grown, then, you will have a friendship which you will cherish.

This is the only commandment of the ten with a promise.  One reason for the Babylonian exile was Israel’s disrespect for parents;

“In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow”. (Ezekiel 22:7);

“Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee. Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it. And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee. And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 22:13-16).

Could it be that many of the problems of the society within the United States is much related to the disrespect of children toward parents, many authority figures, and God Himself?  That may have started with adults having a disrespect for human life.  Which would have began with a turning away from God.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS LOVING AND RESPECTING HUMAN LIFE (v. 17).  This sixth commandment is given to protect life, human life.  We are to cherish, and respect all human life.  The human baby in the womb of his/her mother, or even the embryo in the glass dish, or frozen in storage.  The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Pocket Dictionary defines “embryo: a living being in the earliest stages of development–”,  and we have “Scientist” who want to cut up and destroy human embryoes for the purpose of “life saving” stem cell research.  These are not “Scientist”; they are butchers.

Let me get one thing straight.  This commandment is a commandment against cold-blooded murder.  Willful, pre-meditated, planned taking of a human life.  It is not commandment against protecting one’s own life.  It is not commandment against the execution of a murderer.  The execution of a murderer is surely the surest form of respect for human life.  Capital punishment of the murderer shows all that every human being is equal before God.  When we allow a convicted murderer to live; we count her/his life more precious than the one they killed.  When we put to death the one who killed maliciously; we  show not only respect for human life, but also show the respect that is due God’s commandments.

Here is some Scripture to reconcile the sixth commandment with capital punishment –

“And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’ brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Gen. 9:5-6).

“And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.” (EX. 21:15).

“And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed: If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.” (EX. 21:18-19).

Then a New Testament passage,

” Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13:1-7).

All human life is precious.  Our neighbor’s life and all in his/her household are precious in the sight of our Lord.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS CHERISHING THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE (v. 18).  This commandment, the seventh, is a decree of respect and honor for the marriage of every man and woman.  Marriage is not a right it is an institution of God.  It is decreed by God that “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24), and this definitely means a man and a woman.

The First Institution God Ordained. This first institution is MARRIAGE. This blessed institution is falling by the wayside in our modern society. Our government penalizes married couples by charging them more  taxes in some cases. Elderly couples can receive more Social Security benefits by living together without marrying. This, in essence, is government, our government of the United States; rewarding immoral behavior.

Young couples are living together more and more without marriage. They want to “Test drive” the relationship, similar to test driving a car they want to purchase. This is a relationship not a piece of property. If you test drive a car and buy it there will come a day in a few years, at the most, where you will get rid of that car. If you “Test drive” that relationship, that is what most likely will happen to the relationship too. Why? Because there is need for commitment, and where there is no commitment, there is no power or permanance to the relationship. Either party in the relationship can leave at any time. It is with sadness that I must admit, there are many who enter marriage with this attitude as well. If you are not prepared to spend a lifetime with someone do not marry, but do not make a sham of marriage by living in rebellion to God’s law by cohabitating. There is little to no respect for the institution for marriage, and it seems due to the fact of no respect for God and that which is holy, righteous and good.

Marriage is more than, “Just a sheet of paper…”. It is in fact the bringing together of two – one man and one woman – before God and they two become “One flesh” (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31). It is in fact a life-time commitment with binding vows that promise one another, and God, that whether “…rich or poor, in sickness or in health, loving no other, until death do we part.” That is more than a sheet of paper; it is a “binding contract” with God, and has serious repercussions if the bond is broken any way other than by death.

THERE IS FORGIVENESS (John 8:1-11). In the Bible the penalty for adultery is death. The Scripture given previously to the last sentence shows this was what was in the heart and mind of this woman’s accusers. Quick to pick up the stones of accusation, slow to mercy, slow to forgiveness. With this woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus gives her forgiveness.

Notice Jesus’s words, “…Go, and sin no more”. It was not just a blanket forgiveness without responsibility. She had been forgiven, and now her life would reflect the cleansing and forgiveness she had received. Muse on these questions for awhile. Where was the man who was caught in the act with her? What did Jesus write in the dirt on the ground? Why didn’t they throw the stones?

The only one who could have stoned her forgave her instead. THERE IS FORGIVENESS FOR THE SIN OF ADULTERY. There is forgiveness for all sin, when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR RESPECTS PRIVATE OWNERSHIP (v. 19).  For some reason there are many  who think society owes them something so they take what they want, when they want it, and often at great cost to someone else.  Some people who work in some business think they have a right to take a little something which belongs to their boss.  It could be “just a box of paper clips”, or only showing one’s self busy when the boss is watching.  It is theft.  It is stealing.

* Of the first seven commandments; death is the penalty for the violation.
* This eighth commandment does not call for the death penalty – it calls, rather for restitution (Ex. 22:1; Luke 19:5-10).
* There is one exception, that is if they “Kidnap” – steal a human being (Ex. 21:16). This called for the death penalty.

If we love God and one another we will not desire what another has, and take and steal. We will practice what Paul taught the Ephesians, rather, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Eph. 4:28). There will be no need for gambling, stealing from those who are more needy – doing it legally. When one loves their neighbor there is also a love for God and for being a faithful steward of God’s resources He has put in our trust. Also there will be the need to see that all debts are paid in full, especially the debt to our neighbors that could be the redemption of their souls.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE BEAR WITNESS OF THE TRUTH (v. 20).  This commandment is a decree against lying against your neighbor.  Bearing false witness to condemn, to elevate one’s self, to unjustly bolster one’s self image over another, or to bring condemnation before a court.

The Truth is precious, and we should be truthful with our neighbors, with our families, and most of all with God.  When we love God and our neighbors the truth will be precious to us.

The law of God says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” What exactly does this involve. Is it for the individual who is witnessing in court? Yes! Is it for the individual who is witnessing to a neighbor? Yes! You are witnessing as you share a word of gossip. You are witnessing as you defame the character of someone you do not care for. Is this a good witness? No! This is as true in politics. When one candidate charges the other with things they have heard, but are not proven. When one charges the other with something they know is not true.

J. Vernon McGee writes,

“Did you know that there are more words for breaking this commandment than all the other commandments put together?….some of them – lying, mendacity, prevarication, slander, backbiting, defamation, detraction, belittling, censoriousness, gossip, depreciation, derogation, rumor, vilification, aspersion, forgery, mudslinging, falsehood, guile, hypocrisy, insinuation, innuendo, railing, whispering, talebearing, libel, fib, fable, equivocation, disparagement, fabrication, aberation, deceit, trump up, forswear.” (From LOVE, LIBERATION, & THE LAW by J. Vernon McGee pg. 150).

That is a terribly long list of bad words, which are words in action to destroy another.  Should we not consider that when we are guilty of that it is almost certain that it will not be long and they will come back to get us.

Just a few Scriptures will bear out for us the lies destination.

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” Prov 19:5 (KJV).

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.” Prov 19:9 (KJV)

“Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.” Psalms 101:5 (KJV)

Now look in the New Testament,

“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” Rev 21:27 (KJV)

“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Rev 22:15 (KJV)

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matt 12:36 (KJV)

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE DESIRE THEM TO BE BLESSED (v. 21).  When we have real desire for others [our neighbors] to be blessed we will not have the audacity to desire, lust for, covet the property which belongs to them; or the persons which are in their love and care.

Though this commandment is the final of the ten, it could be the KEY COMMANDMENT.  Think about this; if we disobey this commandment we can very easily and are breaking every one of the other nine.

James tells us, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10 (KJV). Get that, “Guilty of all”. Now that can be said of all the others too, but here, I hope you can see why it is important to realize that covetousness is a seed of evil, that breeds evil, and leads to the decay of the whole law in the hearts of people.

According to the book of Colossians it is Idolatry to covet. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” Col 3:5 (KJV). Even the book of Ephesians backs this up by saying, “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Eph 5:5 (KJV). Note that Paul has written there, “Nor covetous man, who is an idolater…” O, the sad thing is there are many, many, too many people who live for the grasping and holding on of things, or people, or positions, or power; do I need to go on. I think you get the point.

The following verses are the words of Jesus:

”Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15 (KJV).

Again Jesus says,

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: ) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matt 6:31-34 (KJV).

Now if this is not a word for those who covet things and such, I am mistaken about the whole issue,

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt 6:21 (KJV).

If your heart is on the things of the world, that is your treasure. However, if your heart is on the Lord and His righteousness and glory, that is your treasure. If you are going to covet; covet the godly things, that will glorify the Savior.

When our treasure is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, then we have these laws written in our hearts, and our desire is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  No one I know of wants any of these negative acts conducted against them.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Error Of Balaam

Numbers 31:16

There are some in the work of the ministry for the ministry of keeping, or getting into others wallets, billfolds, and purses.  Maybe it should be called the taking of others wallets, billfolds, and purses.  This is not a new thing.  The man who is called by God to proclaim the message of God’s word can find himself in many temptations.  One of the strongest is that of obtaining all the wealth of this world he can.

That tends to be the problem with Balaam.

The Bible says;

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude 1:11 (KJV)

There are two other men named in this verse; Cain of Genesis 4, and Korah [Core] from Numbers 16.  Cain killed his brother; Korah verbally attacked and led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron.  What is the “error of Balaam”?  Greed for reward.  And that is not only gold, silver, precious stones; but it can be power, prestige, position, performance, and/or profit.

Let’s look at Balaam, and his life, his acts – both good and bad, and his demise.

I.  KNOWN TO BE A PROPHET; HE IS REQUESTED TO CURSE THOSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (Numbers 22:6-14).

II.  SEEN TO BE AN ANXIOUS PROPHET TO CURSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (vv. 15-21).

III.  GOES TO BALAK, BECAUSE HE CANNOT SEE (vv. 22-35).

IV.  BALAAM EVIDENTLY HAS THE RIGHT WORDS; BUT NOT THE RIGHT HEART (23:7-12, 18-24).

V.  BALAAM’S EYES ARE OPENED TO THE TRUTH OF ISRAEL (24:2-9, 15).

VI.  BALAAM PROPHESIES OF ISRAEL AND THEIR FUTURE BLESSING (vv. 15-24).

VII.  BALAK BRINGS A CURSE UPON THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (chapter 25).

VIII.  WHAT BALAAM DID TO AID IN THE CURSE UPON THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL (Numbers 31:16)

NO ONE CAN CURSE THOSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (Numbers 22:6-14).  God has previously told, and promised, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you” (Genesis 12:3).  What Balak was requesting was a curse on himself, but then, they were already cursed by their own fear, hatred, and rejection of God’s people.

Balaam seems to be a sorcerer that was well known among the people of the land of Moab.  His sorcery is spoken of,

“And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.” (Numbers 24:1)

He dealt with “enchantments”, “ritual”, or “performance”, and this is probably the very first time God has intervened in his greedy pursuits; and because it was going to relate to His people.  It can only be but by the mercy and grace of God that He intervened.  This could have been nothing more than God showing them, ie., Balaam, Balak, and the Moabites the power of the One True God of Israel.

The thought of Balaam’s face being set toward the wilderness is that he may find a way to curse them.  He at least desires that he may find a cause for God to judge them.  In other words he is not interested in doing the will of YHWH; he is interested in lining his pockets from the wealth of Moab, and their king.

TOO ANXIOUS, FROM GREED FOR WEALTH, LEADS TO THE ATTEMPTED CURSING OF WHAT GOD HAS BLESSED (22:15-21).  Remember Esau, and Jacobs stew (Genesis 25:29-34)?  Esau had gone to hunt or something; may have been gone for a day and without any game on returning.  He is hungry, tired, and the scent of Jacob’s stew makes his mouth water.  At what price will Esau feed his stomach?  At what price will Balaam feed his greed?  At what price will a pastor sell out his calling, ministry, family, or church?  At what price will the Christian man sell his faith and home for that woman at work who pays him more attention than his wife at home?  At what price will that Christian woman sell her faith, her children, her husband, for that more lavish lifestyle?

Is our faith something we can sell?  Some seem to think they can.  When Balaam set out on the journey which was fanned by the flames of greed and fear; the voice he heard louder than any other was the jingle of the gold and silver coins in their purses, the position, power, prestige and profit he could receive if he would just “curse” these people wandering in the wilderness.

He did the right thing in turning down Balak the first time.  He heard the word of the LORD there.  Then, the servants of Balak returned with a better offer, and if he would have been the man of God he should have been; his answer would have been an immediate, NO!

When God has given a clear answer in the negative; especially in this type of situation; there is no need to seek God’s advice again.  He is simply wanting God’s approval to go with the men (Numbers 22:1-21).  God in his patience with Balaam gives him a clear message which he disobeys (vv. 20-21).  Balaam is one of those who merely use God for his own means.  He is a sorcerer (he uses enchantments (24:1)), and he is also known for using all other kinds of sorcery, thus seeking the guidance of the devil as well.  He is a man, a prophet, with a divided heart, and no loyalty to God, holiness, righteousness, or justice.

What price did Esau pay?  He paid the sum of his birthright.  What price will Balaam pay?  That will become apparent by the end of the message.

WHEN THE DUMB CAN SEE AND SPEAK THE LORD MAY COME AND OPEN BLIND EYES THAT THEY MIGHT SEE (vv. 22-35).  Balaam, being anxious to sin against the will of God, and to get him his wealth arises early the next morning saddles his donkey, and gets himself ready to go.  Did Balaam not hear what God had said?  Hear God’s words to Balaam:

“If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.” 22:20 (KJV)

The text tells us nothing of the men coming to him;  he just rises up and gets ready to go.  His mind, his heart is not on God but wealth.

Why is it that we can get out of the will of God, then blame God for not working in our lives?  “I can’t see God doing anything anymore”; someone might say.  “What have you done to shun God or His Word?” would be my first question.  Have you gone your own way?  It could be that God may have some “donkey” to speak to you so as to spare your life.  And He might for me when I am in a similar situation.

Here are some signs of the blindness of Balaam:

1. It is quite clear that the first approach was from enemies of God’s people;
2. Their payment method of divination, shows us that he was viewed by the haters of Israel as connected with sorcery;
3. He listened to them and their payment a second time without reservation;
4. When God tried to stop him, or at least to get his attention, he could not see it.

When it got right down to the truth it was his lowly donkey who saw the “angel of the LORD” standing in the way, which would have killed him had it not been for the donkey.  Balaam could not see the hand of the Lord ready to slay him; he only thought it to be his donkey.

THOSE WHO SAY THE RIGHT THINGS; BUT DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT HEART (vv. 23:7-12, 18-24).  Can a  prophet or preacher say the right words without being in right relationship with God?  Is it possible for the preacher or prophet to know the Gospel of  Jesus Christ without knowing the Jesus Christ of the Gospel?  It is certain that Balaam knew the right words to say, and evidently God was giving him those words to say.  So the answer to those questions must be; YES!

That can go for the Sunday School Teacher, the Deacon, the Elder, the church Treasurer, or the pastor to the man and woman in the pew.  There are many professors in our churches who are not possessors of the person of Jesus Christ, ie.,  His Spirit within.  They know the right words to say in a personal word testimony, but their life bears no fruit.

Balaam’s life bore no fruit of righteousness.  Even John the apostle writing to the church of Pergamum,

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” Revelation 2:14 (KJV)

This plot between Moab, and the Midianites prove too that it doesn’t matter who is in your family line.  Moab is the eldest of the incestual sons of Lot [Nephew of Abraham] (Genesis 19:36-38).  The Midianites come from Abraham as well; through the wife named Keturah (Genesis 25:1-5); whom Abraham married following Sarah’s death.  Moab gets the Midianites to join them in trying to overthrow Israel.  It is not the bloodline that counts; it is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses all our sin.

WITH EYES WIDE OPEN; YET CONTINUE TO DENY THE TRUTH FOR SAKE OF LUST (vv. 24:2-9, 15).  It is the confession of Balaam himself that says his eyes were opened.  It is the LORD who opened his eyes (v. 4) to see Israel for who they were.  Yet, this man, who divines, who deceives, who has the revelation from the only true and wise God of the identity, work, and uniqueness of this nation, still hungers, craves, lusts for power, prestige, position, and profit.

Jesus said;

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

and the “things” He speaks of is not wealth, riches, power, prestige, position or profit.

There are many who say they know Christ, but have a greater heart for making wealth than they care to know the One who makes wealth.  All things are in His hands, and no one can take them away from Him.  We are, as Christians, “seated with Christ in heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:20; 2:6).  The thing is the soul that is with Jesus does not have their hearts on the things of the earth.  Those who do fit into the same category with the “earth dwellers” of the Revelation.

Many of these know the truth of the Gospel, may profess to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; but they bear no fruit for Christ, thus are eternally lost.  These fit into the same type relationship with Balaam.

THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL, AND THEIR BLESSINGS (vv. 24:15-24). God has opened the eyes of Balaam.  Remember he couldn’t even see the “angel of the LORD” that would have killed him, but his donkey saved his life; thus the LORD was merciful to this false prophet.

His eyes have been opened to the blessing of God upon the nation of people called Israel.  This term [“eyes open”] is used by the prophet himself in a parable he speaks; and uses it at least three times (vv. 4 third parable, 15, and 16 fourth parable).

In this “parable” is a prophecy of the Lord Jesus; “there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel…” (v. 17).  Moab and Edom had been sources of conflict with Israel; even though related; and the coming King would and will deal with them according to His power and might.

The prophecies of Balaam are promises of Israel, and Balaam never fully realizes the truth of what he has spoken.  The mere mention of his name throughout Scriptures seem to indicate that he was false in his life, and that is one of the keys to the recognition of the man of God.

1. The man of God is true to God;
2. The man of God is faithful to God and His Word;
3. The man of God lines his life with the Word of God;
4. The man of God speaks and the Word of God comes to pass.

There are two examples of these in the five books of Moses (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20-22).  Both of these examples speak of turning the hearts of God’s people to other gods (which are not gods at all), and the worship of demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-20).

The God of Israel is the Holy One; He is the only One;  He is the righteous One; beside Him there is no other.  He is known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; working in the flesh of His Son.  One day all of Israel will turn from their unbelief; and see their God through their Messiah.  The King of kings is coming to rule on His throne in Jerusalem.

AN EVIL THAT CAN BRING GOD’S CHASTISEMENT UPON HIS CHILDREN AND THE ANSWER (Chapter 25).  When God’s people sin it causes grief in the heart of God.  Yet, as the loving, forgiving God and Father that He is He desires to bring them back to Himself.  I have said it many times, and believe it to be a quote from Charles H. Spurgeon, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”.  His children, His people are those who believe Him and His Son Jesus Christ; and live their lives for Him and His glory.

Since Balaam could not curse the people of Israel; he did one of the worse things that a pretender, hypocrite can do; cause evil to come into the heart of God’s people.  There are those in 2009 who believe that just because they are descendants of Abraham they are God’s children; even John the Baptist and Jesus has something to say about that:

“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.” Matthew 3:9 (KJV) [words of John Baptist.]

“I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.” John 8:38-40 (KJV)

Notice those words of Jesus; “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galations 3:6; James 2:23).

The only righteousness of God available is that righteousness which comes through the shed blood of Jesus on Calvary’s cross.

Though the death of Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins we still sin; but as a child of God we have the power, and ability through Jesus Christ not to sin.  When we sin God is not pleased, but He does want us to know that we have and Advocate with the Father (1 John 1:9 – 2:1).

The deception of Balaam brought evil into Israel, and a plague destroyed many of the people, and Phineas acted jealously for God, and stopped the plague.  Some of the people of Israel had fell to the lust of other gods which involved prostitution, and it is the worship of demons.  In this plague 24,000 people died.  God will not, and does not allow His children to sin successfully.  There may be times that it seems; at least in our eyes; that He is letting some things slip by.  If you profess to be a child of God and can sin without guilt, shame, or fear of God’s judgment; you are not His child.

We are not to live in fear, but in peace and love and contentment with God.  You cannot have that if there is sin in your life.  Deal with it.  Paul said, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Deal with sin quickly.  “Keep short accounts”.

THE HEART OF BALAAM WHICH WORKS RUIN (Numbers 31:16).  Now, we come to the opening Scripture verse.

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.”

We see the trespass which Moses mentions in chapter 25, the wrath and judgment of God; the plague upon Israel taking the lives of 24,000 people; and some dying due to God’s commandment to slay all the guilty.

Though the heart of Balaam was with the Moabites and the Midianites; and for the wealth and perks that went along with it; there is in the midst of this immorality, and debauchery; many people who are grieved by the sins taking place in the camp of God.  These are found at the “…door of the tabernacle of the congregation”, and weeping because of this great sin against God and the people of God.

As the people of God we are to seek to bring good and blessing into people’s lives; not ruin, and harm.  We are to be springs of living water – cool and fresh; refreshing the weary soul.  We are to be hotsprings for healing, renewing and strength.  We are to be especially so to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

If we do things to cause a brother to sin; or to stumble and fall; then we fall into the category of the error of Balaam.  If we do or say something that causes us to look good while harming another; then that is the error of Balaam.  You may think, “I am not doing or saying it for pay?”  Oh!  You’re not?  You have taken away something that belonged to another.  You are in the “Error of Balaam”.  The heart of Balaam was to work ruin in the people of Israel.

Let’s always to seek to lift up our Lord Jesus Christ, glorify His name; and we will not be tearing others down to build up ourselves.  Nor, will we be leading others into sin.  Balaam died at the hands of Israel, along with the kings of Midian (Numbers 31:8).  Though the child of God cannot sin successfully; neither will God overlook those who treat His children poorly.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Rest Of His Ministry

Luke 21:34-36; 4:18-19

Purpose –  To proclaim the purpose of the second coming of Jesus, why Jesus stopped with, “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord…”.

In this message I want us to remember the words of Jesus when He appeared in the synagogue, read from Isaiah 61:1 & 2, but stopped short from finishing the text.  Where there were probably many Jewish people expecting a king to come, deliver them from Rome, and set them free; they were not expecting a healer, Lord and Savior.

The proclamation of Isaiah states;

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV)

You can see by these verses that Jesus never read the whole statement.  Was there an error in His reading by stopping short?  He stopped at the phrase, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” and never continued with, and the day of vengeance of our God…” and the following words of  promise.  So what do we do with this seeming conflict?  Realize there is no conflict, but rather a prophetic word of urgency.

It is as though Jesus was saying, “I am here now to do these things.  When I come again the other, that not yet done, will be done.”

THE MINISTRY OF JESUS AT HIS FIRST COMING (Luke 4:18-19).  We are told by Scripture that Jesus came to do the will of God.  He said, “Know you not that I must be about My Father’s business”  and He also said, “I am come to seek and to save the lost.”  His purpose was not to heal the sick, raise the dead; that was His ministry, but not His purpose for becoming man.

He did not come to be served, but to serve, He said, “and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  We are told that near the end of His ministry on earth He had His “face was as though He would go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).  As you read the gospels Jesus spent His life doing what would please the Father, and accomplish His will, and glory.

In Jesus’s work and ministry He declared this is the time for salvation, “…The acceptable year of the LORD”.  The apostle Paul wrote, “…now is the day of salvation”(2 Corinthians 6:2).

JESUS WARNS OF A TIME OF SPIRITUAL LAXNESS,  DARKNESS, AND WORRIES OF LIFE (v. 34;  1 Timothy 4:1-4).  Can we as people get caught up in our everyday business, life, life pursuits, ballgames, vacations, etc., and not give a care about our spiritual well being?

YES!  We can.  It is often so easy to get engulfed, overwhelmed and busied by life that spending time with God, living for Him by Biblical living, and sharing the gospel is never on our mind.  There may be more to Jesus’s words than just those things though.  The word “surfeiting” expresses along with the word “overcharged” over doing the food and drink; making gluttons and drunkards of one’s self.  The party atmosphere is not the best atmosphere.  It may be fun, and it may be exciting, but what happens after it is over?  If there is overeating, gluttonous eating, then there may be sickness, pain, misery.  If the over indulgence is with drink, and it is alcoholic then there won’t be a whole lot of difference.

Jesus is warning of spiritual darkness that can creep in silently, and take hold of your life, when you least expect it.  I wonder if the apostle Paul did not have Jesus’s words here in mind when he wrote,

“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5 (KJV)

Jesus would not want His followers to be in darkness.  He gives us a warning to stay alert at all times, no matter how good or bad the economy, or our health may be.  Jesus also warned of the times being similar to the time of Noah (Matthew 24:37-39).  People simply going about their daily lives, with thier problems, business, and life in particular, as though everything would go on as it is.

THE WHOLE EARTH ENSNARED; NO ONE LEFT UNTOUCHED BY THIS EVIL (v. 35;  Revelation 3:10; 11:10; 13:8 ).  This verse reminds me of these three verses in the Revelation of our Lord which say, “(Them, They, or All)that dwell upon the earth”, and Jesus is giving all plenty of warning of a time coming on earth where the “whole earth” will be ensnared in unrighteous, debauchery, loose living, drunkenness, and gluttonous acts.

“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 3:10 (KJV)

“And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.” Revelation 11:10 (KJV)

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8 (KJV)

Let it be understood that we are all visitors on this earth; meaning by that that we are all only here for a short time.  Some of us have realized that there is another and better place “far away” for which we can go when we are prepared.  We make our home here, see it as only temporary, and live our lives for the One who has sent His Son to redeem us from all our sin.

It seems very real to me, that Jesus is telling all who heard Him speak the words, and all who would read these words in years to come, that only those whose hearts are dwelling on earth, making this a permanent home, are the one’s who will be ensnared.  Trapped by the lies of a deceptive leader who would lead all who follow him to destruction, and eternity in the fire.

BEFORE IT COMES BE SURE YOU ARE COUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE THESE THINGS AND STAND BEFORE THE SON OF MAN (v. 36).  Jesus’s words “Watch… and pray always”, and then, “…that ye may be accounted worthy of to escape all these things…” implies what I have said above.  There is a way of escaping the traps of what is coming on this world, and that is that we “May be accounted worthy of escape”.

How is one counted worthy of escape?  Is it with good labors?  Good works? The right ritual worship?  The right baptism?  NO!  It is nothing according to the flesh of men that makes one worthy to stand in the presence of the Son of  Man, and accounted by Him fully worthy.  This is the work of God alone.

The Word of God tells us plainly:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7 (KJV)

No one can be accounted worthy to stand fully righteous and worthy, except by the cross of Jesus Christ; that is His death, His burial and His bodily resurrection from the dead.  He the perfect, sinless, Son of God gave Himself, a sacrifice, that those who would trust in Him might be saved.  Through His sacrifice we are accounted as worthy.  Accounted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass.

The reason for our need to “Watch… and pray” is so that it does not come on us suddenly and we are caught unaware of His taking us out.  This is our means of discerning the times and the seasons of men.  We, as Christians, ought always be looking for the appearing of our Savior, and listening for His shout.

AT THE APPEARING OF JESUS; HIS JUDGMENT; AND FOLLOWING  (Isaiah 61:2-3ff).  When Jesus stood in the synagogue and read from Isaiah 61, and stopped reading at the verse ending with “…the acceptable year of the LORD”, and closed the book He was saying that time had come, the rest would come later.  His first coming was not as the religious leaders had expected, and they refused to accept Jesus because of that they tried to kill Him, then, by throwing Him over a cliff (Luke 4:28-30).

When you continue reading in Isaiah 61 you find;

“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV)

“The day of vengeance of our God”, and Jesus never came in His incarnation to bring the wrath and judgment of God on sin.  He came to be the instrument of receiving the wrath and  judgment of God for sin.  He took the wrath that was ours upon Himself, that mankind might have a path, a bridge, a “narrow way” before the very throne, and the very face of God.

If you will take note of verse 3 above, when He comes again to earth, it will be to comfort those who mourn, giving them “beauty for ashes,… oil of joy for mourning,… garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”  His coming again will be to establish the kingdom on earth, and to restore Israel, fulfilling all His promises to them.

Watch and pray that you may be accounted worthy to escape the wrath that is coming upon all who dwell upon the earth.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Guard Against Filthy Dreamers

“Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.” Jude 8 (NKJV).

We must look backwards in the text to see the meaning of the “Likewise”. The apostates who lived in unbelief, rebellion, and immoral conduct were also “filthy” (KJV) dreamers. They had no regard for the Word of God. They reject all authority, and spoke evil of those who had leadership.

In rejecting leadership this most likely means that of God’s Word, His leaders, and spoke evil of angels as well – the angels of God especially; probably assigning themselves power over angels. Giving dreams, and visions as much authority as the Word of God. Any messenger of God would have been evil spoken of.

The ones of whom Jude writes were probably saying they had a message from God, when all along their message was opposed to God.

Hear what Peter said of this very act:

“…Especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries…“ 2 Peter 2:10 (NKJV).

These that speak evil of dignitaries are those who have no love for Jesus, nor much care for truth. They are given to whatever makes them feel fulfilled. “If it feels good that must be the right thing”. Could this also be dealing with those who have authority over us in government positions? “They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries…

With spirituality on the rise we as Christians must continue to guard our hearts and minds against the teachings of many who profess to know Christ, but do not, and teach in a manner which cries for the temporal fulfillment of the here and now; with not desire for the eternal, and living for Christ Jesus now.

Beware of those who pretend to know Christ, but deny the cross of Christ, deny His deity, deny His resurrection, and His coming again. These also will deny the full, completed revelation of the written Word of God. The truth of Jesus Christ is that He died on the cross for our sins, and the victory was won on the cross, He was buried carrying our sins away, and He arose from that grave bodily to show forth the victory over sin, death, hell and the grave.

Trust in the power and the authority of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Faithful Until The Light

References – Amos 3:7;  Revelation 22:6

OUTLINE OF LUKE 1:5-25

I.  THE FAITHFUL IN A TIME OF DARKNESS (v. 5).

II.  FAVORED BY GOD – DISFAVOR AMONG MENT (vv. 6-7).

III.  THROUGH DIVINE APPOINTMENT THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE FAITHFUL HEART AND LIFE (vv. 8-17).

IV.  FROM SILENCE TO JUBILATION (vv. 18-25 referencing vv.  57-80).

At the time of Zachariah and Elisabeth it had been about 400 years since God had spoken through a prophet.  There had been no prophet for God’s people.  It was a time of darkness; and there were praying and desparate souls longing/desiring for the presence of the glory of the LORD.

There was a Temple [Herod’s Temple- not yet finished], but no “Ark of the covenant”.  It had not been recovered, and returned to the place – the Most Holy Place.

There was a favored couple – favored by God; probably viewed by the people as being disfavored by God due to having not been blessed with a child.  Zachariah and Elisabeth had both been declared “Righteous” by God.  This was “Favor”.  When God declares one “Righteous” then, that one is “Righteous” indeed.

Zachariah had his once in a lifetime duty to fulfill.  The MacArthur Study Bible note states:

“Because of the large number of priests, most would never be chosen for such a duty, and no one was permitted to serve in this capacity twice.”

In this of course we would see a Divine appointment.  Does God not direct the fall of the “Lot”?  Thus God gives a message to Zachariah that a messenger – foretold in Malachi 4:5-6 – is about to be conceived and born to he and Elisabeth.

This “incense altar” was to be kept burning perpetually.  Morning and evening that one priest had privilege of tending the altar making sure the special fiery fragrance ascended to the throne of God.  The  The couple had been praying/longing/desiring a son, and as Zachariah goes about his duties he receives the answer.

It is interesting to note that the name Zachariah means “Jah has remembered” or “YHWH has remembered”.  Through 400 years of silence God was working, and never forgot His people.

FAITHFUL IN A TIME OF DARKNESS (v. 5).  As Zachariah and Elisabeth were faithful, they have been declared “Righteous” by God; so too are all who are in Christ Jesus.  When we see wickedness abounding we have a word from God that “grace much more abounds” (Romans 5:20).

We must understand that our works, words, deeds, are worthy of righteousness.  The righteousness of God is from God alone, declared by God alone.  Righteousness comes as a gift from God through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Even when God seems silent; be faithful; believing light is on the way.  For many years Zachariah and Elisabeth kept on believing.  Do we believe in God only for what He can give us?  Do we believe in God only because of the good things He does?  Do we believe in God only because of His power, His might, and awe-inspiring displays in creation?  If we only believe during these things and only when they are visible to us; we will not be likely to stand faithful like Zachariah and Elisabeth during those dark times of life.  Always trust the Lord, believing that there is a greater Light

FAVORED BY GOD – SEEN AS DISFAVORED BY GOD (vv. 6-7).  Despite the seeming rejection by God, Zachariah and Elisabeth continue faithfully.  Though others could not see it; most likely; they were counted by God as “Righteous”.  Many people probably viewed them as cursed by God, and because of their faithfulness some may have wanted them to be cursed by God.  Read Psalm 3:1-3.

They continued throught he many years looking/praying/desiring/waiting for a child.  We must see, and remember that there is nothing that tells us that God had ever promised them a child.

The believer in Christ must continue looking/praying/desiring/waiting for the the promised return of our Savior.  We live for our God who has pronounced us “Righteous”.

THROUGH DIVINE APPOINTMENT THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE FAITHFUL HEART AND LIFE (vv. 8-17).  Have you ever started thinking, “It will never happen”?  Maybe it was a desire, longing, or prayer you had prayed; you have kept asking, but deep in the recesses of your mind your thoughts were “It’s not going to happen.”

You may at this moment be praying for help with your income situation; your housing situation; matters of education; a health problem that is causing real worries or fear.  Do you believe in God appointments?  “God appointments” or “Divine appointments” are those things that to some will seem like ‘conincidences’, but to the child of God we know who ordains them.  RIGHT?  RIGHT.

God has a way of teaching us faith; growing, abiding faith, and that training never stops; until we see Jesus face to face.  Then, I could not tell you for sure, but what we may also learn throughout all eternity.

Zachariah having waited many years to serve in the Temple, had also waited for a child with Elisabeth.  It is sad to see so many people who are impatient, and cannot wait for anything.  Far too many times I have grown impatient in matters of waiting.  Who enjoys waiting at a traffic light, or even for a train to pass when you need to get over the tracks to the other side?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “Is God delaying me for a purpose?”  We may never know on this side of glory, but that delayed traffic may just be a Divine appointment for our safety somewhere down the road, beginning at the light we are sitting at.

Christians must learn the godliness of waiting.  The Bible speaks much about waiting, and very little on “Hurry”.

The priest hears God speak through the angel Gabriel, and the message is good news of a son to the couple who had waited for many years.  Now, this is God’s timing.  It could not have been at a better time.  The conception and birth of this son was going to bring such joy into their home, their lives, and their neighbor’s lives as well.  Everyone was going to rejoice with Zachariah and Elisabeth.

The conception and birth of this son was going to be a fulfillment of prophecy (Malachi 4:-5-6).  They would probably not be alive at the time of this prophet’s ministry.  Zachariah is told to name his son “John”.  A very specific message, with a very specific name.

This prophet would be a preparer of the way of the LORD, and the Lord’s name is Jesus.

FROM SILENCE TO JUBILATION (vv. 18-25 referencing vv. 57-80).  While Zachariah is in the Temple fulfilling his duties, receiving the message, but not believing it he is stricken with dumbness (both mute and deaf – see v. 62).  He comes out of the Temple, and cannot speak, and the people having seen him being so long in the Temple perceive that he must have received a vision from God (v. 22).  Yet he could not speak.

Can you imagine being in your place of worship, conducting your duties in the church, and Gabriel comes to you with the message, “You will receive what you have been asking for.”  You don’t believe this messenger, so he tells you that you are not going to be able to speak, because you have not believed.  You cannot tell others of the blessing that is on the way.  You must contain yourself, and only write on a piece of paper.  You may now want to shout, but because of not believing in the first place you can’t.

Oh, how difficult we make things for ourselves at times because of our unbelief, or doubts.

John the prophet of God was born to Zachariah and Elisabeth in their old age.  There was much joy and rejoicing.  There was, in fact, much jubilation.  When Zachariah admitted to the name John his mouth was open, his hearing returned and there was jubilation.  When the Word of God is believed, and practiced in our lives others will hear and believe.

John would be the herald; the messenger of God proclaiming the coming of the Holy One of God, calling for repentance, and for the people to get right with God.

There is a day coming when Jesus will come again.  We are the heralds of His coming today.  We can be the means of others finding peace with God through Jesus Christ.  We look forward to that day when we will stand with Jesus, worshipping Him, giving Him glory; and there will be great jubilation.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Being Ready In Delay

Matthew 25:1-13

As I have studied the Olivet Discourse there have been several questions which have crossed my mind. Some of those questions I have written down, some I remember without writing them down, and some just continue to come to my mind. There is one thing I want to be sure of and that is that I interpret what Jesus said correctly, and “Rightly divide the word of truth” as Paul taught Timothy.

In studying throughout the Gospel according to Matthew, I am carrying the theme; because I see it in the writing, the genealogy, the tone, etc.; that of JESUS THE KING. There were some who wanted to force Him to be king; however it was not the time. There were some who refused to see Him as the King, and hated Him. The theme, JESUS THE KING, continues throughout this study of the Olivet Discourse.

Some of the questions I have asked myself in this study are obvious to most men who study the Word. First of all, To whom is Jesus speaking? Secondly, what is the Abomination of desolation? Third, when will this take place? Fourth, has it already taken place or is it yet a future event? Those are some of the questions I asked concerning the twenty fourth chapter.

When I came to chapter twenty five I asked some more.

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” Matthew 25:1-4 (KJV)

The first question I asked here is “Who are the ‘ten virgins’?” Secondly, “What are the lamps and what is the oil?” Thirdly, “Where is the Bride?”; “Has the groom already came and taken her to his home, and now has come for the wedding party?” My last question for here, but not exhausted, is “Could these ‘ten virgins’ represent Israel and Judah, and that 50 percent of them will believe Jesus?” Like I said they are only questions. Most of this study is going to come from my own heart, I pray fed by the Word and the Spirit of God, and not from commentaries – though that is not a bad thing – and I pray that there will nothing be written here that will lead any astray from God and His Word.

The last time I presented a study where Jesus had referred to the ‘kingdom of heaven’ was in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew. There are about seven parables which Jesus gives, and each of them (except the first) begin with, “The kingdom of heaven…” Luke mentions the “Kingdom of God”, and some ask the question; “Is there a difference between the ‘kingdom of heaven’, and ‘the kingdom of God’?” Of all the explanations I have heard on this; those who say there is a difference, and those who say there is no difference; I find confusing. It seems to me that they are dealing with the same “Kingdom”, and Luke was seeing the kingdom as being overseen by the Father, and Matthew seeing it after “All things were under His feet…”, after the cross and resurrection; and being ruled by our Lord and Savior.

In the first five verses of this chapter we have “ten virgins”. Virgins are seen as a symbol or type of purity. Here they represent what in the modern day wedding would be called bridesmaids. The largest wedding party in which I was a participant, was made of of one bride, one groom, six bridesmaids, and six groomsmen. My brother and I were two of the six groomsmen. The way I have understood the Jewish wedding is like this: The vows have been made a year or so before the consummation of the couple. Time is given for the groom to return to his home, prepare a place for he and his bride to live, and have a means of living the first year together without being apart, in order to get to know one another better, and grow in love with each other. After that year of the groom working, and preparing a home he would return for her at an unappointed time, and she was to be ready; the sound of the herald crying, “The bridegroom is coming, the bridegroom is coming” was all the warning she received. That brings me to the question, “In this picture, where is the bride?” Has she already been taken to the home? and now it is time to bring the wedding party together for the Marriage supper?

Leaving that final question unanswered, for now; I will proceed with the study. The ten virgins representing a people who should be prepared for the coming of the bridegroom; however, only half of them are ready; one half having their lamps and oil with there lamps, and half having the lamps but no oil. In this there is another question: What is this oil? Oil is necessary for the burning of the lamps, needed to provide light should the bridegroom come in the night. Some have said this is the symbol or picture or type of the Spirit of God [Holy Spirit]. If this represents the Holy Spirit does that mean the five lose the presence of the Spirit? Does it mean that the Spirit of God can be purchased since we are told later, “…but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy…”?

It seems to me that this parable likens the ten virgins to the nation of Israel, and/or maybe Israel and the nations. It could be Israel and the nations, since the number 12 seems to always represent Israel alone. In the events of chapter twenty four we looked at those signs and the times as being part of the time of Jacob’s trouble, or what is known to Christians as the Tribulation period. It seems that thought must continue here, and to be near or at the end of the Tribulation. If that is the case, then the bride is in the home of the bridegroom, and he is returning for the prepared wedding party to take them home for the wedding supper.

At any rate, there were five wise and five foolish. Five were prepared and five were unprepared. Could it be that only half of the survivors of the Tribulation will be going to the Wedding/Marriage Supper of the Lamb? What of the other half. I have written on that a little in the previous study (Matthew 24:36-44); ” Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Here is the paragraph where I dealt with that:

“On that day it seems there will be a separation which takes place in that moment; at least in that very day. Two working side by side – one will be left to live on in the kingdom of Jesus because of their faith in Him, and the other will perish. Matthew’s gospel mentions two men in the field, and two women at the mill, and would probably cover every situation of the workers in that time to come. It leaves us to understand that no gender, or workplace, is without the separation. One believes and is left to live on in the Kingdom or our Lord, while the unbelieving perish, and await the final judgment.”

On that day no one will be able to stand before the Lord without being prepared. Prepared in His grace. If the foolish virgins would have been ready they would not have left, and they would not have needed to go seek more oil. When Jesus comes again to this earth, there will be no second chances for being prepared. What happens to the five foolish virgins, or the half who live through the Tribulation yet are not prepared for His coming? They will perish. The believing will continue to live in the Millennial reign of our Lord and Savior.

As Christians today, we must live faithfully, always be ready; for we do not know when our Lord comes. Even when it seems that He has delayed or is not coming; He will come.

“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” Matthew 25:5-6 (KJV)

In these two verses we find the five foolish, and five wise virgins sleeping. There is nothing wrong with sleeping in its place. There was one occasion where Jesus chided Peter, James, and John for sleeping when they should have been praying (Matthew 26:36-46). You would think that people who know the coming of the Bridegroom is near would be awake, alert, and waiting in anticipation for His appearing, but that does not seem to be the case here.

There are those who have changed their beliefs due to the fact that Jesus has not returned yet. I am sure most of them would not agree with me on that, but they have grown weary of the wait, and have thus fell asleep, and so they believe now, that the Lord has already returned, and that His kingdom is in charge of the present world administration, economy, and power; or something like that. Or they believe that through God’s kingdom on earth [the Church] things will get better and better, and then Jesus will return. That, it seems to me, to be asleep at the wheel.

The herald of the bridegroom has come with the shout, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh”; He is near even at the door (Matthew 24:33). Waking from their slumber and sleep they are practically stunned to find that the bridegroom is coming. If they weren’t then why were they not prepared. They never believed he was coming. Paul the apostle wrote in Romans 13,

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

The cry of the herald was, “Go out to meet him”. Being unprepared the foolish cannot, therefore leave to find their preparations. While they are away searching, the bridegroom comes and goes home without them. The lesson in this for the Christian of today is don’t be unprepared for the coming of the Lord. Don’t give up on His coming. He said, “I will come again”. Be a part of those who love the appearing of the Lord, and await it with anticipation.

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12 (KJV)

“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10 (KJV)

The reason for using James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10 is for anticipation of our Lord’s return. Anyone who does not love the coming/appearing of our Lord; most likely does not know Him, is out to sleep and slumber and will be very rudely awakened one day to find themselves without preparation.

“Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” Matthew 25:7-10 (KJV)

Jesus has said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38 (KJV). The presence and gift of the person and power of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Christian will be like rivers of living water, having an effect in the lives of other people around us. Springs send forth water to the nourishment of the recipients down stream from them. The recipients down stream cannot produce the spring water themselves. The water flows from God through the spring cave, and the only way for the recipients to be producers of this water is to become a spring producing the water, and that can only be done by God.

The foolish virgins ask the wise to share their oil. They cannot share in that sense because it would leave them short. Every believer needs their own oil, their own preparations; their own personal relationship with the Lord, and their own labor of love, or the good works which follow their faith. It will be no different on that last day when the Lord comes again.

If this is reference to the nations of the world and Israel together, as the possible wedding party, then we need to conclude that only half the survivors will enter that Marriage Supper. According to the Revelation, chapter nineteen the “bride has made herself ready”, and he continues, “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). Why, Oh why will people not hear the call? Why will people not realize that sin has been dealt a death blow by the cross of Jesus Christ? Why will we Christians not proclaim the coming of the Lord, warning the lost dying world of our coming King to judge and put away sin forever? That day will come and the door will be “shut” forever.

“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 25:11-13 (KJV)

Could it be that on that day of the “Marriage feast” there will be those survivors show up to say, “Let us in. We too believe. We too survived the tribulation – the time of Jacob’s trouble?” The Lord says, “I know you not”. Jesus has said before, “I never knew you. Depart from Me ye workers of iniquity.” (Matthew 7:23; Luke 13:27).

It is one thing to say, “I know the Lord”. It is quite something else to know and say, “The Lord knows me” and for Him to say, “I know you. Come on in” on that great day when the Lord comes. How do we know we are known by Him. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them” (John 10:27) and He said also, “I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine” (John 10:14). So both knowing Him, and being known by Him is of the utmost importance. You cannot have the one without the other.

Since we do not know the day, or the hour in which Jesus will come again; no matter how slow the approaching may seem to us; we must be ever vigilant to live, work, play, worship and praise in the name of the Lord. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Only those who know Him and are known by Him can do all for His glory. Let’s do it whether, in our thinking He delays His coming, or not; all for His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship
 
 

 

Jesus and Politics

There is a whole lot of politics going on. You know the idea, and ask the question, “How do you know a politician is lying?” The answer is… I will let you know a little later. That almost sounds like a good answer. That is not it, however.

How should Christians who are ‘followers of Jesus Christ’ be involved in politics, or should they be? Jesus said, “Render to Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”. It seems you could get a clear and distinct answer of being involved from that statement, “Render to Caesar…” When we are citizens of a Nation which has a democratic process of elections, then, we should participate in those elections and let our vote and voice be heard.

Should Christians try to get moral legislation for that Nation? That may be a little stickier. As Christians we understand that morality, nor legislation is going to change a nation. A nation changes as the hearts of the people are changed. That works in the positive and the negative. If the life changing message of the Gospel of Jesus is received by the populace, then there will be a positive change of hearts. If, on the other hand, society begins to turn more and more away from God, His Word, equal justice for all, giving of their resources to others in need, and morality, then there is the negative change and evil will increase. The streets will be filled with crimes such as street shootings, school shootings, robberies – banks, convenience stores, jewelry stores, churches, etc. Husbands killing wives, wives killing husbands, parents killing children, children killing parents, co-habitations, and all kinds of immoral sexual behavior.

Christians must have a voice, and that voice is in their church buildings and in the voting booth, and in the public forum. Christian, you have the right to vote: Use it or lose it.

I was behind a car from New Hampshire on the afternoon of Friday October 27, 2006 in Cassville, Missouri. I noticed something about that plate and the motto on the plate. It read, “LIVE FREE, OR DIE”. I thought when I saw it, “Now who ever came up with that one had a bold thought”. As long as you and I have the freedom to vote we have a say in the way things are run in our country.

If we get to trusting in the political process to save our Nation we are doomed. In the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ it speaks of a woman riding a beast. That woman represents religion, and the beast is – I believe – democratic government. I must say, has not religion in recent years been riding the beast of democracy? What follows is not pretty.

The Gospel of Jesus will change hearts and lives. No political process can do that. Legislate as you will.

Now to answer the question at the beginning. Their mouth is moving. But, you probably already knew that.

-by Tim A. Blankenship