Sacrifice and Prayer

“In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.
The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is His delight.”  Proverbs 15:6-8  (KJB)

Blessed That Man That Makes The LORD His Trust

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
Blessed that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O LORD my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast Thou not required.” Psalm 40:1-6 (KJB)

Giving From Poverty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Stones Would Cry Out

“And He answered and said unto them, ‘I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.’ ” Luke 19:40 (KJB)

Jesus had come into Jerusalem fulfilling Scripture riding on a donkey. This was a presentation of the humble King, not a conquering king, but a servant King (Zechariah 9:9). The people who had some wisdom, recognized the Scriptural significance, laid palm branches down as a coronation and worshiped Him, saying,

“Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.” v. 38

The response Jesus gives to the spiritually blind Pharisees is one that sounds quite odd, and we might think and say, “Well, that would be impossible”. We need to remember that nothing is impossible with God.

If people will not recognize the King of kings, then the rocks of God’s creation can and will.

Let me leave you today with thoughts from teachers from the more recent past:

From John Gill –

“And he answered and said unto them, I tell you,…. As a truth, which may be depended on, and you may be assured of; this he spake with great earnestness, fervour, and courage:
that if these should hold their peace; be silent, and not sing the praises of God, and ascribe glory to him, and profess the Messiah, and make this public acknowledgment of him:
the stones would immediately cry out; either against them, or in a declaration of the Messiah: by which expression our Lord means, that it was impossible it should be otherwise; it would be intolerable if it was not; and rather than it should not be, God, who is able out of stones to raise up children to Abraham, would make the stones speak, or turn stones into men, who should rise up and praise the Lord, and confess the Messiah; hereby commending his disciples, and tacitly reflecting upon the Pharisees, for their stupidity; and also giving a hint of the conversion of the Gentiles, who might be compared to stones, especially in the opinion of the Jews.” From John Gill’s EXPOSITION OF THE BIBLE

From John Wesley –

“If these should hold their peace, the stones, which lie before you, would cry out – That is, God would raise up some still more unlikely instruments to declare his praise. For the power of God will not return empty.” From John Wesley’s NOTES ON THE BIBLE

Have you cried out to the Lord for His mercy and grace in salvation? His presentation that day was as the Servant King to serve as a sacrifice for the sins of Adam’s race. He died, was buried, and He rose again.  Call on His name. He will hear. He will save.

We Go Up To Jerusalem

“Then He took the twelve, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished…’ ” Luke 18:31 (KJB)

Since the day of His birth the salvation story was for Jesus to go to Jerusalem, and die for the sins of Adam’s race, thus the world (John 3:16).  Jesus’s heart was to glorify the Father, and accomplish all that the Father gave Him to do.

All that the Law had spoken condemned Adam kind, and provided no hope but only complete obedience to it, without flaw, or blemish. The prophets spoke of One who would come, to be the sacrifice for sin, One who was without sin, without flaw, who would fulfill all the commandments of God (Isaiah 51 – 53), and Jesus was the fulfillment of those prophecies.

At this time of year we are reminded of the birth, the first coming of our Redeemer. Lest any forget Christmas is not just a holiday, it is a Holy day, to remind us that Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem to one day (33 years later), go up to Jerusalem, to be falsely accused, wrongly and evilly judged, and found guilty of nothing more than being the perfect, sinless Son of God. He was sentenced to die on a Roman cross on that hill called the “the Skull”. He bled, He died, was buried, and He rose again.

Back in February I wrote on verses 31-34; and it seemed appropriate to write on this verse near the end of the 2019 year.

We need to always remember that if  God has said it; it shall be done. We do not need to go up to Jerusalem to meet Jesus, and to call on His name. He is as close as you speaking a word. Call on His name. He will hear. He will save.

What He Should Accomplish At Jerusalem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Great Name Of The LORD

“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto My name, and a pure offering: for My name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of Hosts.” Malachi 1:11 (KJB)

 

For — Since ye Jewish priests and people “despise My name” (Mal_1:6), I shall find others who will magnify it (Mat_3:9). Do not think I shall have no worshippers because I have not you; for from the east to the west My name shall be great among the Gentiles (Isa_66:19, Isa_66:20), those very peoples whom ye look down upon as abominable.

pure offering — not “the blind, the lame, and the sick,” such as ye offer (Mal_1:8). “In every place,” implies the catholicity of the Christian Church (Joh_4:21, Joh_4:23; 1Ti_2:8). The “incense” is figurative of prayers (Psa_141:2; Rev_8:3). “Sacrifice” is used metaphorically (Psa_51:17; Heb_13:10, Heb_13:15, Heb_13:16; 1Pe_2:5, 1Pe_2:12). In this sense the reference to the Lord’s Supper, maintained by many of the fathers, may be admitted; it, like prayer, is a spiritual offering, accepted through the literal offering of the “Lamb without blemish,” once for all slain.” JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY for Malachi 1:11

The only sacrifice for sin was/is the blood of a perfect, spotless lamb. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, God the Son was, and is God’s perfect, sinless, spotless Lamb that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).

What Happened At Shiloh?

“In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying,

‘Thus saith the LORD; ‘Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: if so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. And thou shalt say unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to Me, to walk in My law, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.’

So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD.” Jeremiah 26:1-7 (KJB)

Shiloh is the place where the ark of the covenant was kept in the Tabernacle in the wilderness which Moses had made after the pattern of God’s in Heaven.  Shiloh was the place from which it was taken foolishly by the priest thinking it had special powers even when the hearts of the people had turned against hearing the word of the LORD.  It would do the reader good to read 1 Samuel 1 – 4 to get the background of what Jeremiah is saying.

When people will not hear the word of the LORD, and do what He says then you can be sure no amount of prayer, special offering, sacrifice will suffice to please God. He is pleased when we hear His word, and do it.

There are many places that are alive with activity in the name of the Lord, but full of ignorant, disobedient, sacrificing, giving people; separated from God, and do not even realize it. Their lives are empty and without meaning, because these places have a whole lot of fire, but not fire from God in Heaven. They will not hear and heed the word of the LORD.

Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name,…. The temple, as in Jer_7:11, for though it was called by his name, and his name was called upon in it, yet this could not secure it from desolation; for so the name of the Lord was set in the tabernacle at Shiloh, and yet he forsook it through the wickedness of the people:

wherein ye trust; they trusted in the sacrifices there offered up, and the service there performed; in the holiness of the place, and because it was the residence of the divine Majesty; wherefore they thought this would be a protection and defence of them; and this was trusting in lying words, as in Jer_7:4,

and unto the place which I gave unto you and your fathers; meaning either Jerusalem; and so the Syriac version renders it, “and to the city”; or the whole land of Judea, as in Jer_7:7,

as I have done to Shiloh; See Gill on Jer_7:12.”  From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible on Jeremiah 26:6

O hear the word of the LORD. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life.  That is a starting place.

Destruction happened at Shiloh.  Life eternal happens at the cross of Jesus Christ. Hear the word of the LORD.

You That Tremble At His Word…

“Thus saith the LORD, ‘The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me, and where is the place of My rest? For all those hath Mine hand made, and all those have been,’ saith the LORD: ‘but to this man will I look, to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.

He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.  I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.’

Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at His word; ‘Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name’s sake, said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified:’ but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to His enemies.” Isaiah 66:1-6 (KJB)

Fear Not; For You Shall Not Be Ashamed…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Egypt, Assyria, and Israel as One Nation

“In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of Hosts, which He shaketh over it.  And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of Hosts, which He hath determined against it.

In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of Hosts; one shall be called, ‘The city of destruction.’

In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.  And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of Hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a Saviour, and a Great One, and He shall deliver them.  And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform.  And the LORD shall smite Egypt: He shall smite and heal, and they shall return to the LORD, and He shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.

In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.

In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the LORD of Hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance.’ ” Isaiah 19:16-25 (KJB)

The Glory of the Father and the Son

“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” John 17:4-5  (KJB)

Glorify the Lord. Now that is a grand statement, and it is one that describes how our lives are to be. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” How can we who are born sinners, then, glorify the Lord? Of ourselves we cannot.

Now that is a bold statement coming from a man who some would say, and are saying that He is not deity. No mere man could make such a claim, but Jesus does in His prayer to the Father. How could He make such a claim were He not equal with the Father? He could not. It would be the height of pride and arrogance for anyone else to say such a thing. It would be next door to blasphemy.

To glorify the Lord would be to be obedient to Him in all things, and fulfill every thing that God has for you and me to do. There would be no disobedience. There would be no mistakes. There would be a life completely “Sold out” to doing the Father’s business. Jesus has lived a life of complete obedience to all the Father had for Him to do, and all the way to Calvary; the cross of sacrifice.

The desire of every Christian is to live for the glory of the Lord. The only way of doing that is to live the life of Christ in you, the hope of glory. We do that by realizing that it was by the sacrifice of the life of Jesus that God has reconciled us to Himself, and given us means to glorify Him in Jesus.

Notice the faith and confidence in Jesus’s praying. He is eternal with the Father. He possessed glory before the world, or the universe ever was. His glory is His greatness, His power, His strength, His song, His priority. His Father’s glory. Where I have fallen short; where you have fallen short of His glory; Jesus is the Father’s glory.

Jesus is praying for His own glory. It seems quite clear. This is His High Priest prayer, and He has come to accomplish His Father’s glory by the sacrifice of Himself for all the world. The task He came to do required that He lay His creation glory aside, take on the flesh of man, and die. How can God die? He cannot. Becoming flesh He could become sin, paying the price of sin, being put to death – the penalty for sin – and then rise again victoriously over death.

The glory is seen by His resurrection from the grave. The Father restores His glory in the resurrection, and He is alive for all the world to see. Did the Father answer His prayer; this prayer? Most assuredly He did; and is every day.

Jesus is alive and in His glory.

Hearing and Doing

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, ‘If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31-32 (KJB)

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47

Verses 31 and 32 were spoken to seems to have believed in Him, but they could not see themselves as being in bondage; even while they as a people were enslaved to the Roman empire.

The words of verse 47 seems to show that they were not hearing God’s word to the point that Jesus was teaching. To “Continue” in His word is to live, to abide in it; making it every bit a part of one’s life.  Many of these leaders of religion could quote the whole law, but did not rest in neither trust their God and only Savior.

They were in fact still bound by the law which condemns them, and shows them their is only one hope.  That hope is found by means of a single sacrifice for sin.

That single sacrifice for sin was given when Jesus went to the cross and died for the sins of the world.

Do you want to be free, truly free?  Then, the only way is through the death, burial, and resurrection of the God-Man Christ Jesus.  He forever lives.  This is God’s grace.  Grace is not free.  It was paid for with the life of God’s own Son.

Now, what are you going to do with that information?

Prepared for the Battle

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.
Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath. The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.  He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.
The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?
A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.
A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way. There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.
The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.  Proverbs 21:10-31 (KJB)

Prepared for the Battle – Proverbs 21:20-31

Verse 20 –  The treasure to be desired.  The oil in the dwelling of the wise.  Foolish spending.

Verse 21 –  Following righteousness and mercy.  The fruit of the find is righteousness and honor.

Verse 22 –  While the mighty may believe their wall is impregnable; the wise will scale the wall and defeat the city.  The confidence of the city is then cast down too.

Verse 23 –  More wisdom concerning the mouth and the tongue.  Keeping the mouth equals guarding what you say.  Those who will guard their mouth and tongue will have far less troubles and sorrows of soul.

Verse 24 –

“If you meet a proud and haughty man, just call him “Scoffer.” That’s his name! The name, of course, stands for what a person is. “For as his name is, so is he” (1 Sam. 25:25).”  From Believer’s Bible Commentary.

Verses 25-26 –  A difference in the slothful and the righteous.  The slothful desires big things, but refuses to labor; while the righteous labor in order that they might have to give to need.

Verse 27 –  Sacrifice of the wicked; the wicked mind.  Compare Cain’s sacrifice with Abel’s (Genesis 4:1-15); King Saul’s sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:10-15ff) with the heart of David (Psalm 51:1-19).

Verse 28 –

“The contrast of a false witness with one who hears indicates that a person who testifies falsely has chosen not to listen carefully to either the matter at hand or the requirements that a witness act justly. Both the person and the perjury of such a witness will ultimately perish, because it is the Lord who clearly sees and judges these things (vv. 2, 12) and causes the word of the faithful witness to endure (cf. 12:19; 19:5, 9).”  From the ESV Study Bible notes.

Verse 29 –

“A wicked man hardeneth his face,…. Against all corrections and reproofs of parents, masters, ministers, and others; he blushes not at sins committed, and is not ashamed of them, but glories in them: or, he “strengthens with his face” (l); he puts an impudent face upon his words, and confirms them by his impudence; if he tells the most notorious lies, and says things the most shameful and scandalous, his countenance does not alter, by which he would be thought to have spoken what is right and true;

but as for the upright, he directeth his way; or “his ways” (m); according to the various reading; the man that is upright in heart, and walks uprightly, he directs his way according to the word of God; and, if he does amiss, when sensible he is ashamed of it, and amends.”  John Gills Expostion of the Bible.

Verses 30-31 –  “And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.”   (Jeremiah 51:29).  Note; “…for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed…”  No plan working against God will succeed.

The Believer’s Bible Commentary summarizes verses 30 and 31 this way:

“Verse 30: Nothing avails against God.
Verse 31: Nothing avails without God.”

No one is prepared for a victorious battle whose heart, mind, weapons, and armor are against the LORD.

What Gift?

Just some thoughts from these sermon notes:

What Gift?

Matthew 5:21-26

OLD LAW – Concerning murder; meaning Pre-meditated having to do with planning before hand with malice and forethought.

ANGER – Leading to hatred. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”1 John 3:14-15 (KJV).

GIFT – A gift is above the requirements of the law;

– A gift is given, usually in sacrifice;

– When giving God a “Gift”, and realizing your offense/debt to another: leave the gift at the altar, then go and pay the debt.

TERMS/AGREEMENT – Do it with haste;

– First with God;

– Second, with brethren, and with your fellow man when possible;

– Only when in right fellowship with God can there be right fellowship with brethren;

– It is also possible, that if we be out of fellowship with brethren, we are out with God too.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Steward of God’s Stuff

The Stewardship Of Worship

Malachi 1:1-14

PURPOSE – Learning to avoid boredom in the worship of our Lord.

Some time back a “Baptist” paper ran an article asking the question of boring churches. Something along the line of, “Are your church services boring?” If we look at the condition of the people of God – called Israel – at the time of Malachi we can find conditions of their heart which we can learn, that we do not want, nor need in our hearts or churches.

INTRODUCTORY OUTLINE –

I. GOD CHOSE JACOB, RATHER THAN ESAU, TO BE IN THE LINEAGE OF JESUS CHRIST (vv. 1-5).

They Had Questioned God’s Love.

II. THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE CHOSEN AND CALLED UPON TO GIVE GOD THE BEST IN OFFERING AND SACRIFICE (vv. 6-11).

They Had Questioned God’s Character and Word.

III. DISRESPECT, BOREDOM, CONTEMPT IS NOT BECOMING FOR THE CHILD OF GOD (vv. 12-14).

They Had Questioned The Value of Worship.

I. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE; THAT YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD (vv. 1-4).

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9.

A. There are many who are troubled by this phrase, “I loved Jacob and hated Esau”.

1. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:26.
2. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Romans 9:13-16.

B. We should not be so amazed that He ‘hated’ Esau, but that He loved Jacob.

1. Jacob was chosen by God and Esau rejected before either one was born; “And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” Gen. 25:21-23.

“ And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)   It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Rom. 9:10-13.
2. This in itself is a picture of grace – God’s unmerited favor.

“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 Spirit…” Titus 3:5ff.

II. SINCE WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY HIM AND PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE ANYTHING, EXCEPT THE BEST (vv. 6-11).

A. If we are to avoid boredom in worship then we must give Him our full attention in our worship – personal and corporate.
B. If God is our Father we ought to honor Him as Father.

1. If Jesus is our Master we are His servant.
2. You fear and obey your father, and master, or you are disciplined. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” Heb. 12:7-8.

C. When we cease to give our best, that is when we begin losing the fire [excitement, enthusiasm] of worship for God.

1. Worship begins to be ‘Contemptible’ to us.

a. It starts becoming something of lesser importance – other things become more important.

2. We begin looking for places to place blame for ‘Dull and boring’ worship services.
3. We attend ‘Worship services’ more out of habit or duty, rather than desire and love for Jesus.
4. If the spiritual leader(s) shows contempt toward these things; it will trickle down into the congregation.

a. These were calling the ‘Table of the Lord contemptible’ – basically referring to the total ministry.
b. These were also offering blemished, unholy offerings compromising the Word of God.
c. The spiritual leaders are to commit sound teachings to ‘Faithful men’ – that includes right worship.

“ And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2.

D. God will not, does not accept half-hearted worship (v. 10); “Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.”
E. God’s name will one day be great among the nations of the world.

III. BOREDOM IS THE POISON OF THE CHRISTIAN SOUL (vv. 12-14a).

A. To overcome ‘Boredom’ in your worship you must come giving yourself first of all.

1. If you come to worship corporately with brothers and sisters in Christ and offer nothing, then you will be bored and receive nothing.
2. No one ought to ever come to worship without giving, and expecting God’s presence, power and glory.
3. When you see the cross of Jesus, His death, burial, and resurrection you can give yourself and all you possess.

B. One of the biggest parts of worshipping our Lord is loving the Lord Jesus.

1. When you love Him nothing you commit to Him will be a waste of time nor will it be boring.
2. There is nothing more exciting than serving and worshipping our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

C. Overcoming boredom will come when we treat the Name of God and His Word with great awe and respect.

IV. REMEMBERING THE GREATNESS OF OUR GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD WILL KEEP US FROM BOREDOM (v. 14b).

A. We will learn to show the utmost awe and respect for God and His Word by daily hearing it and applying it, by the power of the Spirit of God to our lives.
B. By God, His Word, and His creation we are constantly reminded of His greatness.
C. By calling on His name daily for fellowship, and directions for the day we can avoid becoming stale and bored.
D. If you experience boredom; get into God’s Word, get involved in someone else’s life for their good; develop an active sense of mission.
E. Be sure Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior.

SUMMARY –

I. REMEMBER YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD.
II. ALWAYS GIVE GOD THE VERY BEST OF YOU.
III. AVOID BOREDOM BY CARING, AND BEING INVOLVED IN GOD’S WORK – OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES FOR THEIR GOOD.
IV. REMEMBER THE GREATNESS OF GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD.
V. IF YOU HAVE BACKSLIDEN; COME BACK TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU LEFT GOD: IF LOST – BE SAVED TODAY.

THE CURE FOR BOREDOM: 1.) Know the Lord Jesus Christ; 2) Study His Word and pray; 3) Have an active sense of mission; 4) Read regularly from Christian materials that are in keeping with Scripture, and glorifies Jesus, and builds your faith; 5) Be a part of other’s lives.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Living Sacrifice

The Committed Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1-2

In chapters 1-3 Paul writes his opening greeting, and from the greeting to verse 20 of chapter three he writes of the sinfulness of mankind, and our condemnation. From chapter 3 and verse 21 to chapter 8 verse 39 he has written of the righteousness of God, and that there is justification for all who will come through faith in Jesus Christ. In chapters 9 – 11 we have Paul’s theology and eschatology on the Nation of Israel, and their place in “God’s Plan of Salvation”. In the remainder of the book of Romans we will be looking at the practicality of the theology which Paul has written.

It would seem to me that Paul; using the background of the previous three chapters; is reminding us to be unlike Israel. Those chapters have an inherent warning of turning away from the Lord. It too, does have promise for the Nation of Israel, that God has not forsaken them. The warning and the promise should be especially meaningful to Christians.

There are a few words and phrases in these two verses that will be necessary for clearer understanding of what Paul is teaching us.

1.  “Beseech” – is a word which is from the same word family where the word “Comforter” is taken for the Holy Spirit = “Paraklete” “parakaleō par-ak-al-eh’-o From G3844 and G2564; to call near, that is, invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation): – beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray.” See John 14:26. Paul strongly urges the believer.

2.  “Mercies of God” – We receive mercy from God every day. It is not something we often thank Him for. These mercies include His love, and all that Paul has reminded us of through chapter eleven, than again here. “His mercy is everlasting”; “His mercy endureth forever”.

3.  “Present your bodies a living sacrifice” – There are some who believe and teach that God is only interested in our soul or spirit. That is not true, however. Here we see Paul strongly urging the believer to “come along side” with God’s mercies, and give our “bodies” as “Living sacrifices”. Giving the body as a living sacrifice means sacrificing the fleshly appetites which would take us away from holiness, and away from being “holy and acceptable unto God”. The body, after all will be redeemed from the grave, a brand new body. This present body must be presented fully unto God, that He might do a work in us for cleansing, purging, and making it holy unto Him.

4.  “Reasonable service” – The MacArthur Study Bible note on this verse, “reasonable service. ‘Reasonable’ is from the Gr. For ‘logic.’ In light of all the spiritual riches believers enjoy solely as the fruit of God’s mercies (Rom. 11:33,36), it logically follows that they owe God their highest form of service. Understood here is the idea of priestly, spiritual service, which was such an integral part of OT worship.” p.1716. The LORD God, our Lord and Savior deserves the highest form of worship and service.

5.  “Be not conformed to this world” – Conforming is taking on an identity that is not the genuine reflection of the heart or the inner being. A sheep putting on a wolf’s clothing [skins] in order to dwell among the wolves for example. Why do we have Christians who may have the greatest motives wanting to put on the array of the harlot, the gambler, the drunk? It is not the array of God. The prince and princess should dress and act accordingly, so as not to bring shame to the King.

6.  “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” – a metamorphosis refers to an outward change that has transpired which is a result of the inward change. It represents a change for the whole person. Not just for a short period of time, but day by day, and for every moment of each day. This kind of “transformation occurs only by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the life of the believer, and the power of the Word of God working in our lives. The renewed mind is saturated with the Word of God. “Order my steps in Thy Word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV). “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word” (Psalm 119:9 KJV).

7.  “That you may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God” – Basically the only way to be good, acceptable and in the perfect will of God is by being the living sacrifice to God that Paul has admonished us to be. The individual who does not know God’s will for their life is in disobedience in their life.

The practical message here is that our bodies are to be presented as living sacrifices. Yielded to the Lord for His service, His will and His glory. We are strongly urged to do so, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God. It is proved by living such lives before the eyes of a watching world whom we do not think is watching.

-Tim A. Blankenship

I Do Not Like the Old Testament…

I Do Not Like the Old Testament, Especially Leviticus

(Reading Exodus 38 – Leviticus 18) Exodus 39:30-32; 40:34-38; Leviticus 13:1-3

I just recently realized that I do not like Leviticus. It is painful to read. It is hard to understand. It is judgmental about human life and living. It condemns me.

Even if I do not like Leviticus there are some things I can learn from it. Then I need to apply that to my life.

1. We are continually reminded that God is Holy, and that He is the LORD.
2. We are reminded again and again that we are unholy and unclean.
3. We are reminded again and again that there must be a sacrifice, or there is no approaching God.
4. We are reminded that that the most basic sacrifice is the blood of a Lamb.

I wrote this in 2013 while I was studying Leviticus.

So that you may know; I do love the whole of the word of God from Genesis – Revelation, and that has been given me as God’s gift of grace.

Prayers of the Saints Heard by the Great High Priest

“And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”  Revelation 8:1-6 (KJV)

The One who created all things, also still holds these things in His hand, to show forth wrath upon the “Inhabiters of the earth”; and the Priest who judges sin.

In the national life of Israel trumpets played an important role and had three important uses: 1) For calling the people together (Numbers 10:1-8); 2) For announcing war (Numbers 10:9); and 3) For announcing special times (Numbers 10:10).

And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. Revelation 8:1 (KJV).

The final seal is opened. Notice the response of Heaven. Silence. This could be caused by awe because now the book is opened and the glories and power of God are revealed. All that was concealed is now revealed to all of Heaven for the first time.

Not a whisper, nary a sigh, but only silence. Sometimes the greatest reverence is given God by our silence. The Psalmist even wrote, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a).

It is not told us why there is silence for one-half hour, but it does have to do with the seventh seal and the book [scroll]. There could be more than one reason, but I do believe the above reason is a biblical one. Other than that we just do not know.

It seems that the seven seals and the seven trumpets are interrelated. The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet introduces the seven vials of wrath. These cannot be separated, then, because they all fit together. Each series of judgments seem to lead to a more severe wrath.

The seven angels are not named and it is not necessary to do so. They are given one trumpet each.

There is “another angel”, an eighth mentioned who seems to be a priestly angel. Some have equated this angel to being like the appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ – referred to in the Old Testament as the “Angel of the LORD”. It is not clear who this angel is. Jesus is the High Priest who atoned for our sin, and He is the One who will judge the world. Whoever he is he is fulfilling the work and ministry of a priest – unlike the work of any angel.  Since the Lamb is Christ Jesus and the One who opens the seals, I will believe this is just a completely different angel.

He stands at the brazen altar of judgment and sacrifice, with a golden censer [cup or bowl] for the incense which was given him. The incense is offered with the prayers of the saints [your prayers and mine, as well as the saints of the tribulation]. The incense is a symbol of prayer and worship.

In the Old Testament the high priest would kill the sacrifice at the brazen altar, collect the blood, and God received the offering by fire. The priest would take the golden bowl and take fire from the altar [which was never to go out Leviticus 6:12-13, and it was lit by God Leviticus 9:23-24], and enter the holy place with the blood, and with the fire, take the incense from the golden altar which was located outside the Holy of Holies [the presence of God], and he would enter the presence of God veiled in the smoke of the incense, pouring out the blood of the sacrifice at the throne of God – the presence of God. This made atonement for the people’s sins for one year.

Notice after the prayers and incense is offered to God the eighth angel takes fire in the golden censer, from the brazen altar of judgment, and casts it upon the earth.

Our prayers for deliverance; the prayers of the tribulation saints for deliverance and retribution, and for the glory of God to come will be done in God’s time. The “Imprecatory Psalms” (Psalms 7; 26; 35; 52; 55; and 58 are examples); these are not cries from selfish people, but cries for God to vindicate them according to His Word and grace.

It is amazing that God seems to store our prayers as a sweet fragrance to Him and will carry out their request in His time and according to His divine will. Have you grown weary and tired of prayer? Keep praying from a yielded and repentant, and broken heart. He hears you.

After the fire is taken from the altar and cast to the earth it causes great upheaval. Voices, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake. It seems clear that the censer used for offering up worship and prayer is now used to hurl judgment and vengeance upon the earth.

Nothing is said about how the seven angels “Prepared themselves”. It could be a simple thing as raising the trumpets.

Let us as the saints of God raise our hearts and voices in prayer to God.  The time which we live is urgent.  Let us begin by repentance, seeking forgiveness of sin, and seeking revival of the Church.  The world is in grave need.  Let us be the Church; the Body of Christ. The Great High Priest who forgives our sin; also judges sin.

Jesus Through the Bible – The Scapegoat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contrast of the Righteous and the Wicked

There are many gifts given that are given in sacrifice.  Some even given so hopefully to appease a wrathful god who holds a scale in his hands weighing our good and our evil deeds.  No one can judge another heart in the matter.  But the Almighty God knows.

In a couple of verses we look at today we see what God thinks of sacrifices given by the “Wicked”; and the prayers of the “Upright” or the “Righteous”.

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is His delight.” Proverbs 15:8
“The LORD is far from the wicked: but He heareth the prayer of the righteous.” Proverbs 15:29 (KJV)

It is good to be reminded of king Saul’s sacrifice (1 Samuel 15), and Samuel’s words to Saul concerning sacrifice,

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23

Wickedness is the act of hostility toward God, His Word, His messengers, and His works.  Who are the wicked?  Those who practice such things.  For those who are the wicked; God does not honor, remember or bless your “sacrifice”.  It is an abomination to Him; and will be counted against you unless you believe Him.

Proverbs 15:29 tells us that “The LORD is far from the wicked”.  He is far from them as far as their wickedness is concerned.  The place where they lie at night He is there; but they are far from Him.

In both of the verses of Proverbs is mentioned “Prayer”.  The prayer of the upright; and the prayer of the righteous.  The righteous are those who have heard the Word of God, believed it, received it, and are born into the kingdom of heaven because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“The prayer of the upright is His delight”.  The “Upright” are the righteous, and God is delighted– favors, finds pleasure, good will, and acceptance in their prayers. For those who are born again in Christ Jesus it is wonderful to know that He hears our prayers…

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

O turn away from your wicked hostility toward God, His Word, His people, His messengers, and His works.  Call on the name of the Lord.

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.

The Righteous Cannot be Saved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Foot, My Mouth, and My Sacrifice

“Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 (KJV)

Our feet are the means of our transportation. With them we walk about our homes. We walk to our automobiles. Some people who live near their place of employment walk to work, and we need feet to do such a thing, and such things. It is a good thing to have feet.

However, we must watch where we place them in order to walk safely, soundly, and securely. The thing is true in God things as well. As a matter of fact; for the Christian everything we do ought to be done with the thought of “Will this glorify the Lord?” and if it does not; it is not worth doing. Watch your feet when you go to the house of God. Be careful where you step, so that you do not harm your testimony; and so that you do not profane the name of our God.

Saul, the first king of Israel did not keep his foot. He boasted of his faith when he offered a sacrifice in disobedience to Samuel (1 Samuel 15 note verse 22). Sacrifice without obedience is blasphemy, and is sin. God has no pleasure in those who do all the right things for the wrong reasons.

The mouth is a thing often affected by the way the feet move, and where they go. To go to the house of God we should be silent when we are being taught, except in participating in discussion of the lesson, and on track.

God is not well pleased by sacrifices done in the wrong motive, nor words spoken that are contrary to one’s life (Isaiah 1:10-15). Any words we speak in the place of worship should be toward God; admiring, adoring, and worshipping Him. Otherwise they should be few.

As a Christian we need to realize that our bodies are the temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); therefore we are to walk with Him wherever we go; whatever we do; to glorify Him; and

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

We all need the fellowship of others; to encourage others in the faith; and for ourselves to hear from others and be encouraged, and strengthened in the faith.