His Name Is Good Before The Saints

“Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? The goodness of God endureth continually.
Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good; lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.
Thou lovest all devouring words, O deceitful tongue.
God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, He shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.
The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
I will praise Thee for ever, because Thou hast done it: and I will wait on Thy name; for it is good before Thy saints.”   Psalm 52:1-9  (KJB)

God of The Living

“Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him.” Luke 20:37-38 (KJB)

When He was asked by the Sadducees about a spurious thought, that was only being used to try and trap Him, the Master of life and death gave them that answer.

The Sadducees were a group who did not believe in anything spiritual – no angels, no spirits, no resurrection of the dead. Someone said, “That is why they are sad you see”.

Jesus uses the quotation from Exodus 3:6…

” ‘…Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” Exodus 3:6

Jesus confirms that there is a resurrection; that when this body of flesh and blood dies and lies in the grave, returns to the dust from which it came, that there is life after death. He clearly states that “God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”, and that would include all the other saints who are with Him.

There are many people who do not believe in the resurrection. They are part of the same group of Sadducees, and desperately in need of a change of heart and mind. Hear the voice of the Master today.

You can believe Him, and live forever. You can reject Him and die forever. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again. He is one day returning to separate the believing from the unbelieving.  Where do you fit in?

God is the God of the living.

Justification By Faith and The Law

“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31 (KJB)

Since people are justified by faith without the law does that void the law? Paul says, “NO!” The law was given to show mankind his condemnation; to cause him to fall on his knees before our righteous and holy God in repentance, calling on Him by faith.

In the work of Jesus Christ on the cross the demands of the law were fulfilled, thus, by faith it is possible for a sinner to be made righteous before God; not on his own merit, but on the merit of Jesus Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection.

In Christ the holiness and righteousness of God toward sin is intact. His love for His enemies is shown. All who believe Him are declared righteous. That is an amazing salvation.

Actually the law is firmly established. All God desired is accomplished. Sinners; by God’s declaration; become saints.

When a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ the desire of their heart is to be with Him; to be like Him; to serve Him whenever and however possible. We desire to learn more about Him. We desire to be around others who love Him. We grieve over our sins and seek forgiveness quickly and diligently. We grieve over lost sinners who are condemned and pray for them, witness to them, and lead them to personal faith in Jesus. We seek to worship God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. That certainly sounds like the establishment/fulfillment of the law.

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 2:16

The Confirmation

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-8  (KJB)

The apostle was writing to the Corinthian Church, saints, and was about to deal with some very difficult problems within that congregation.  He was troubled by their popularity competitions about who was the greatest preacher, teacher.  They had a problem with mystical revelations by emotional out burst, which caused trouble through confusion.

If you read the whole first chapter you will see that Paul does recognize them as “Saints” (v. 2), and in verse 2 you will see in the KJB that the words “to be” is in italics which means that was added into the text, supposedly for clarity and understanding.  However, the words “to be saints”; at least to me; seems to be that some day in the future they will be saints.  “Called saints” is the way it should read.  Not by Paul, not by a pope or a religious hierarchy.  Called saints by heavenly declaration, by God Himself.

The saint of God is an individual who is not perfect, neither without sin; but is daily being sanctified, set apart by God to honor and glorify Him. The saint of God never reaches a state of sinless perfection.  The saint of God realizes that as we get closer to the Lord God just how sinful, and awful we really are, thus depending, relying, trusting the only One who can bring us to completion.

The apostle Paul notes to confirmations for the saint of God:

  1. That the testimony of Jesus Christ is in their waiting for the coming of the Lord;
  2. That because of their faith in Jesus Christ they are blameless at the day of the Lord Jesus.

Blameless does not mean sinless; but because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1).

Who are you in Christ Jesus?  Has your faith in Him been confirmed by the Spirit of God, the awaiting of the coming of the Lord? He will complete His work in you, and find you blameless.

We Shall Judge Angels

“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?  Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world, and if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Know you not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.  I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?   But brother goes to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.  Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because you go to law one with another. Why do you not rather take wrong? Why do you not rather be defrauded?  No, you do wrong, and defraud, and that brethren.”  1 Corinthians 6:1-8 (TKJB)

References:  1 Corinthians 1:2;  Matthew 19:28;  Revelation 2:26;  2 Peter 2:4-10;  Proverbs 20:22;  Luke 6:29;  1 Thessalonians 4:6

Justice for All that Were Slain Upon the Earth

Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. Revelation 18:20-24 (KJV)

Remember what I said in previous posts, about the world’s rejoicing and God’s rejoicing.

He is speaking here to all the saints of God (“holy apostles and prophets”). Rejoice because God’s righteousness is being vindicated. We rejoice not over the condemnation of a lost soul, but for justice, and that God is glorified.

Babylon – religious, economic, and political – is utterly destroyed, to rise no more.

She will sink like the “great millstone” never to rise again. There is a similar story in Jeremiah 51:61-64. Jeremiah wrote against Babylon and had a young man read it to Babylon, and when finished reading the “book” to “bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates”. Jeremiah’s faith in God and His Word was sure. Babylon will fall. The Word of God continues.

The pronouncement of the angel, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen” is in the past tense. Just as surely as God said it, it shall be done.

The merchants will buy “no more at all” (v. 14); the city “shall be found no more at all” (v. 21); music “shall be heard no more at all in thee”; “no craftsman… shall be found any more in thee”; the work of the mill “shall be heard no more at all… (v. 22); “the candle… no more at all…”; wedding ceremonies “…no more at all…” (v. 23). Seven times is complete and final. God’s Word is true.

In looking at these verses we could have a very convincing description of our own nation. Capitalism, when not restrained by God’s Spirit, can breed greed, selfishness, and lust for power, yet, I believe it is the best economic system mankind has going for it when kept in check by the Spirit of God, not government. Babylon, very well, could be capitalism run amuck because of the absence of God’s restraining influence.

Because some chose to stand for Christ, the world of Babylon slew them. O, what a bloody city.

Here is a parallel to the Babylons of Scripture: The first is historical and found in Genesis 11 prepared to maintain the union of the world – overthrown by God through confusion of language and scattering of people. The second is ecclesiastical, symbolized by the woman of Revelation 17 proposes common worship and religion uniting all religions into one world church, and much advocated in our day by some of those in the reprobate church which will be destroyed by the beast in Revelation 17:16, thus fulfilling the will of God. The third is political, symbolized by the “great city” of Revelation 18, attempts domination of the world, by common market and world government. These are destroyed at Jesus’s second coming in power and great glory. EVEN SO COME LORD JESUS.

BABYLON IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN – Justice will come to those who have given their lives for the cause of God, His word, and His work. Stop trusting in the “Babylonish garment” (Joshua 7:21); the material things of this world, like gold, silver, garments, houses, and land, and trust the One who has already won the victory.

Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the One who died on the cross for us, was buried, and rose again.  He is the One who is now preparing to return and make all things right.

Because GOD Has Judged

And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say,
Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments.  Revelation 16:1-7 (KJV)

One of the four Living ones of chapter four gives each angel a golden vial [bowl] according to the plague for which they are assigned.

In 5:8 is mentioned “golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints”. It would appear that there is no more prayer – “no man was able to enter the temple”. The time for prayer will cease, and the time of God’s vengeance against those who mocked His name, His law, His holiness and righteousness, and His people has come.

The vials are the last judgment before the appearance of Jesus in all His glory.

The voice from out of the temple must be that of God the Most High. The prayers of the saints from 5:8 are being carried out to the fullest. Do we pray for vengeance upon evil today? Should we? I believe that we do and should; of course, for the cause of God’s glory. We must remember evil even in our own lives. In the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) is the phrase “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”; and that is what Jesus is speaking of. The fire of His Spirit falling on us burns away the dross and filth of evil. If you are “in Christ” ( a phrase used by the apostle Paul) you stand in the fire and come out purer and stronger before God.

Let us commit ourselves as followers/disciples of Jesus Christ to praying for God’s vengeance upon evil (starting with our own), and one day we will see it brought to pass. Let us pray also that friends, family, all our loved ones, and neighbors will be convicted of sin, and in that, lead them to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. Every time a soul is saved evil is judged.

It seems that where the seven seals, and seven trumpets speak of man’s choice to live without God, their sin brings judgment and finally in the bowl judgments God’s own hand is stretched out to judge.

  1. For God to pull away and let mankind have his way is a terrible judgment;
  2. Man’s selfishness, pride, lust, greed causes pollution, and environmental harm bringing their own judgment;
  3. Finally, when wicked men see God’s wrath and yet reject His mercy and grace, God steps in in full force to put an end to evil.

These vials [bowls] seem to coincide with the seven trumpet judgments. Remember the seventh trumpet brings in the seven vials of wrath. Where the seals and trumpets only seemed to touch a part of the earth – one fourth part in the opening of the “seals” (6:8), one third part in the “trumpets” (8:7-9) – these judgments seem to touch the whole earth and the heavens.

What the seven vials of judgment deal with and their correlation to the trumpets:

  1. 8:1-7 “The earth” 16:1-2;
  2. 8:8-9 “The sea” 16:3;
  3. 8:10-11 “The rivers” 16:4-7;
  4. 8:12-13 “The heavens” 16:8-9;
  5. 9:1-2 “Mankind – torment” 16:10-11;
  6. 9:13-21 “An army” 16:12-16;
  7. 11:15-19 “Angry nations” 16:17-21

These seem very similar, but the scope of their devastation is much different. The vial judgments are said to be “the last”.

With the vials:

  1. (V. 2) The objects of this wrath are clearly the ones who worshiped the beast;
  2. (V. 3) The whole sea turns to blood compared to only one third with the second trumpet (8:8-9);
  3. (VV. 4-7) Every stream and fountain of fresh water becomes “blood”; with the third trumpet one third of the waters became bitter (8:10-11)….

Verses 5-7 are a doxology of praise to God. It is a righteous and just thing to praise the Lord when He judges evil.  Let us also rejoice because one day all evil will be eternally dealt with.

Judgment is not a pleasant to talk about, however it would not be appropriate, neither would it be right to ignore these horrible events.  It would be improper for a doctor to find cancer in a patient and not inform the patient. God has made a way for humankind to miss judgment, and that is by way of believing and receiving the gift of eternal life purchased for you on Calvary’s cross – Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and on the third day he rose again.  He is alive forever more.

 

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.

Praying Always for You

Praying Always For You
Colossians 1:1-8

I. WE ARE SAINTS BY POSITION (vv. 1-2).

A. What we do does not make us a saint, nor does an edict by some religious authority figure make us one.
B. We are placed in the position of saint by the pronouncement of God Himself.
C. It is our justification.

*1. Our sin has been placed to Christ’s account, on the cross;
*2. His righteousness was placed on us [to our account], by the pronouncement of God the Father. “…The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
D. Grace and peace are from God.
*1. If you have grace you can have peace;
*2. If you have real peace – peace with God – you have grace; God’s grace.

II. AS SAINTS WE GIVE THANKS AND PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER (v. 3).

A. As a saint we can go directly to the throne of God; “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
B. You or I need no go between who calls himself a priest – except or Great High Priest who is Jesus Himself.

*1. You and I are priests.
C. We, like Paul, are to give thanks, pray, glorify our Lord and Savior.
D. Pray always for one another.

III. SAINTS OF FAITH, LOVE AND HOPE (vv. 4-5).

J. Vernon McGee writes, “Here Paul links the trinity of graces for believers” (1) faith – past; (2) love – present; and (3) hope – future” (pg. 121).

A. Paul acknowledges the faith of this people – their faith in God and of Christ.

*1. He also acknowledges their “love” for their brothers and sisters in Christ.
B. The last of those attributes mentioned by Paul is “hope”.

*1. The had hope [the church at Colossae].
*2. This hope is the “Blessed hope” that is mentioned by Paul to Titus in chapter 2 verse 13, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:13).

IV. SAINTS WORLDWIDE FRUIT (v. 6).

A. In Paul’s day Rome was “All the world”.

*1. By the time Paul had sent these letters by the hands of Epaphras and the others the gospel of Jesus Christ had spread to every area of the Roman Empire.
*2. It is believed by some that it may have even gone as far as into Great Britain.
B. The fruit of a Christian goes forth and bears more fruit.

V. SAINTS, PRAYING ALWAYS, WILL BE COMPLIMENTARY OF THOSE WHO PROCLAIM GOD’S WORD AND THE GOSPEL (vv. 7-8).

A. Paul credits Epaphras – remember he is probably the pastor of the Colossian church.

*1. He would have been the one God used to bring the gospel to Colossae and saw the bearing of much fruit.
*2. Epaphras is recognized as being a “faithful minister’ and, a “fellow servant”
*3. He is also credited for being the source of information for Paul of the church.

a. Learning from this we see that Epaphras brought nothing negative of the people, but we do know that he brought word of a creeping element of a deceiving, demonic teaching which could cause problems later.
B. Paul had heard the good things about the church.

*1. He commends the pastor/leader.
*2. It is a good lesson to learn – we ought to do no less.

SUMMARY –

I. WE ARE SAINTS BY POSITION NOT BY WORKS.

II. AS SAINTS WE GIVE THANKS.

III. WE ARE SAINTS OF FAITH, LOVE AND HOPE.

IV. AS SAINTS WE BRING FORTH WORLDWIDE FRUIT.

V. SAINTS WILL BE COMPLIMENTARY OF THOSE WHO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL AND PREACH THE WORD OF GOD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Born in a Manger Meek and Mild, But not for Long

In Christian churches every Sunday the resurrection of Christ Jesus is mentioned, He is worshipped as the risen Saviour. We can say, and do say that we are His and He is ours. He is a glorious Saviour, Lord, risen Lord, and coming King.

There is an obscure set of verses in Matthew. The event; part of the events of the resurrection of Christ; is not mentioned by any of the other three Gospel writers.

There are some who do not believe in the resurrection period who classify it as myth, or merely allegory. However, if we call this merely “Allegory”, then we call Scripture a lie; and it is not.

Hear the writing of Matthew:

“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” Matthew 27:51-53 (KJV)

At the death of Jesus (v. 50) the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom; signifying that the way to the presence and throne of God was open for all who would come through the cross of Jesus, and there was an earthquake. Notice that the graves of saints; Old Testament believers; were opened, and after the resurrection of Jesus many of these saints arose, and came out of their graves and appeared to other people.

There is much mystery in these verses. These people are mentioned nowhere else in Scripture. Let me give you a quote from the MacArthur Study Bible:

27:52 bodies of the saints…were raised. Matthew alone mentions this miracle. Nothing more is said about these people, which would be unlikely if they remained on earth for long. Evidently, these people were given glorified bodies; they appeared “to many” (v. 53), enough to establish the reality of the miracle; and then they no doubt ascended to glory– a kind of foretaste of 1 Thess. 4:16.”

These were part of the “First Fruits” of the first resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23; Revelation 20:5, 6).

There is life, and joy, and peace for all who will come by faith to the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour. He is coming again soon. When He comes again for His Church it will be in the air. It will not be secret; but only the redeemed of the Lord will be going with Him.

Sing a New Song

“Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and His praise in the congregation of saints.” Psalm 149:1 (KJV)

Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord is one of the evidences of the filling of the Holy Spirit in a Believer’s life (Ephesians 5:18-21 note v. 19).

There are a few references to a “New song” in Scripture.  They are Psalm 33:3;  40:3;  96:1;  98:1;  144:9;  149:1 (the above verse);  Isaiah 42:10;  Revelation 5:9; and 14:3.

Hallelujah.  Praise the LORD.  Those who trust Him and know Him have a new song to sing.  Let us sing it when we are alone with Him.  Let us sing it when we are meeting together a congregations of Believers.

Sing unto the LORD a new song.  Sing, sing, sing.

Pigs in the Pigpen

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Jude 3-4 (KJV)

Now when it comes to pigs, no one sees a thing wrong with pigs being in the pigpen.  That is pretty natural and normal; especially for the hog farmer.  He pens them to work, to raise them and get them fat ready for sale, or the market.  In the pigpen it gets pretty downright disgusting to see.  Mud and waste product, mingled with wasted feed, from the fights among the pigs for their feed.  It is pretty normal for pigs to be that way, live that way.

What does the pigpen have to do with Jude’s writing?  Notice it says that “Pigs have crept in unawares”.  NO!  It does not say that exactly; but that is what they are.  These that have “crept in” have taken the grace of God and turned it into a license to sin.  Just a few days ago on Peter’s epistle it was written,

“For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”

When we have these “Pigs” in the church we have chaos, unbelief, malicious conduct, selfishness, greed, lust, and all kinds of evil.  Is it any wonder the world wants to accuse us of hate; especially when they see it among us toward one another.  The pigpen is not natural or normal for the sheep.

Why is this happening?  Many of the one’s who profess Christ, and to be ministers of the Gospel are profaning the Gospel, denying the Scriptures, and living like the world.  Sir!  If you do not believe God and His Word get out of the Church, and back where you belong; and take the pigpen with you.

-T.A.

Be Fruitful

Be Fruitful

Col 1:10 (KJV).Might be fruitful in every good work…

When a tree matures enough to begin bearing fruit it will bear the fruit it is supposed to bear. An apple tree will bear apples. A peach tree will bear peaches. A thorn tree will bring forth thorns. You get the picture.

People bear fruit as well. When you were a lost sinner you bore fruit which would be compared to a thorn tree – basically useless and certainly not glorifying the Lord. We all were in that “thorny situation” at one time. A sinking ship, that was going down fast.

Now, that we are saved we will bear fruit that is honoring to our Savior, and will glorify Him. What kind of fruit do Christian’s bear? 1) Evidence of a changed life; 2) Telling others about Jesus; 3) Praising God; 4) Living a holy life; 5) Displaying holy attitudes. The Christian, when sin has invaded the heart, is convicted, and immediately upon the conviction by the Spirit of God will seek forgiveness. She/he does not let sin lay around for long, but wants that fellowship with Jesus Christ sweet and glorious.

When we pray for fruitfulness in one another we ourselves will become fruitful.

Last Sunday morning we looked at the first part of the prayer Paul prayed here in the first chapter of Colossians, “…to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;“ Col 1:9 (KJV), and Sunday evening at the second part, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing” Col 1:10 (KJV).

Is this prayer important to the life of the church? Is it important that the Christians of today pray a prayer similar to this? I believe so to both of the above questions. It should be every Christian’s desire to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. It should also be our desire to walk worthy of the Lord and be pleasing to Him; glorifying Him. It should also be our desire to see all our brothers and sisters in Christ fulfilling the same. Therefore, we must pray for one another to that very effect.

The desire of Paul’s heart for this part of the prayer is that, “We might be fruitful in every good work”.

Let’s define what ‘Every good work’ is. It would seem to me that every is self explanatory, as is good, and work. Does anyone do “good works” apart from the work of Jesus Christ in us though? It is necessary that on the outward appearance, there are many who do ‘good works’, but what is meant by us being ‘fruitful in every good work’? It would most certainly mean that all the good things we do in the Spirit of God working in us, which brings glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.

A quote from John Gill, “being fruitful in every good work; saints are trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord; good works are the fruit, which, under the influence of divine grace, they bring forth; and this is not of one sort only, as trees usually do, but of every kind; being ingrafted into Christ the true vine, and deriving life, sap, and nourishment from him, they are filled with the fruits of righteousness by him, which they bring forth and bear, to the glory of his heavenly Father; and being such, they are pleasant plants to him, as fruit bearing trees are to the owner of them: wherefore, in order to the saints walking in their lives and conversations unto all pleasing, or pleasing in all things, the apostle prays they might be fruitful in good works, and that in everyone, in every kind of good works: “ (From John Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible – e-Sword).

We cannot bear fruit except we abide in the vine. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.“ John 15:1-8 (KJV). Part of being in the vine and bearing fruit is getting answers to your prayers. That is seen in the above verse seven.

Let’s look at some of the fruits that we bear when we give ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ.

1.  There will be evidence of a changed life, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.“ 1 Cor 6:9-11 (KJV). Note, particularly the last verse. “Such were some of you…”
2.  Telling others of Jesus, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Matthew 28:18 (KJV). This commandment/commission is for all who follow Jesus;
3.  Praising God, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Heb. 13:15 (KJV);
4.  Living a holy life, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Cor. 5:7-8 (KJV);
5.  Displaying the “Fruit of the Spirit”, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Gal. 5:22-26 (KJV).

This fruit is not the same fruit. It is multiple fruits, and they are the good fruits of the Spirit of God, that works in us to accomplish the will of God and glorify Him.

Without knowledge which we spoke of last time, there would be no fruitfulness. Fruitfulness is a product of righteousness, which is produced through knowledge received by the Spirit of God, working in the mind, accomplishing the will of God in us. Every Christian bears fruit.

Let’s look now at how this fruit it produced.

1.  Comes by union with Christ Jesus, “ Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4-5;
2.  The wisdom of God is needed, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17. John MacArthur writes, “Lack of fruit is directly related to lack of spiritual wisdom”. (From THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY pg. 32).
3.  As Christians we must make every diligent effort, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Sermon notes from a sermon preached at Carr Lane Baptist Church September 17, 2006.

The Favorable Land

I believe that God has put His hand on the United States of America, and has raised her up for the glory of Himself in and through the nations of the world.  He has blessed the U. S. of A.  However, we are not that “favorable land”.  Do not think me a traitor; the land the Psalmist speaks of is the land of Jacob.  It is the land that has upon it the “City of David” – Jerusalem.  It is the land where are Lord and Savior was foretold of and where He was born, raised, grew, died on the cross, was buried and rose again.  It is the land to which He will one day return and rule the world from.

The Psalmist wrote so long ago of this land,

“LORD, Thou hast been favourable unto Thy land: Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.”  Psalm 85:1 (KJV)

Of this Psalm it is said that it is “A Psalm for the sons of Korah”, and is mentioned in other Psalms as well.

There is some disagreement over the time and author of this song.  Some believe it was David writing of the captivity by the Philistines; and yet others think it is another singer writing of the Babylonian captivity.  I myself tend to go along with those who hold with the Davidic writing.

However, no matter the time of the writing of this wonderful song; it is a song for all ages, and all saints of God.  When a child of God has strayed from the presence of the Lord in their lives we can know that He is faithful to restore us.

He is faithful to bring us back to our first estate, fill us with Himself, His presence, His power, His glory.

We are in “captivity” when we have allowed our sin to separate us from the presence and the power of God.  Our prayer ought always to be sinned and strayed,  “Forgive our sin.  Restore us to our place with You LORD.  Bring back the captivity of Your people.”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 031111

Reading today from Matthew 23 – 25.

After doing my reading this morning, I was wondering what I should post this morning for the Scripture reading over on our church blog, and our son James called and told me about a huge earthquake which had just happened in Japan.  Now, there are tsunami warnings out for all the West coast of the continental USA, Alaska, that they were vacating the Island’s of Hawaii, and Australia and other places.  It just reminds me of the reminders our Lord gives that He will return.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”  Matthew 24:36-39 (KJV)

“You Christians have been saying that for years, and it hasn’t happened yet.”  You could even say, “It has been being said, for about two thousand years”, and I would even go further than that.  God has been telling us that since near the beginning, because through Enoch was written the words,

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”  Jude vv. 14-15

and Enoch lived before Noah (Genesis 5:24).

We need not ask “When is Jesus Christ Returning?”   We do need to ask, “Is my life ready for His return if He were to come today?”  Since we do not know the day or the time we need to be drawing near to God through His Son Jesus each and every day through His Word and prayer, committing our lives to holy living through the power of His Spirit who lives in those who have called on the name of Jesus Christ.

If you will look around you today you will see much chaos.  Economic upheaval, National and international catastrophe, Political upheaval in all shapes and sizes; democratic, republics, dictatorships, anarchy.  Yet I believe God still reigns.  He is on His throne, and prayer changes things and people for the glory of God.

We have all these chaotic things going on, yet some people pay no mind, no attention to these matters; they just keep on partying, marrying, giving in marriage; and making no change to the way they live.  It is time to direct our hearts to the LORD of hosts.  He has directed His eyes toward us.  He has sent us His Son Jesus to die for our sins; made a way for all who will believe to call on Him and be brought into fellowship with Him.

You may think, “I can’t change.  I have tried many times and failed”.  To that I say, “No you can’t change yourself.”  However, God can change you.  Admit to Him that you are a sinner, that you are powerless, and submit yourself to His grace, call on Him, believe and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God Calls Him, “MY KING”

We have seen the arrogance of the world leaders, and their attempt to overthrow God and His ways.  We see it everyday as they make their futile attempts at “peace” with nations who want no peace, but through the destruction of God’s people.  We have seen that their futile attempts are only laughable to the Most High God – the One who sits ‘in the heavens’.  Judgment surely awaits those who attempt to take God’s position and sit on His throne.

“Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion” Psalm 2:6 (KJV).

To destroy His foes all God needs do is speak a word, and it is done.  How foolish and arrogant of man to attempt to take the throne of the Almighty. Yet we attempt it everyday.  Even the Christian who is not walking in the Spirit of God, but after the flesh (Romans 8:1-4); is attempting to overthrow the leadership, and power of God in their lives.  It is a failing proposition.

In the TREASURY OF DAVID by C. H. Spurgeon  is written, “Jesus Christ is a threefold King. First, His enemies’ King;  secondly, His saints’ King;  thirdly, His Father’s King”.  Let’s look at this quote on this matter.

“First. Christ is His enemies’ King, that is, He is King over His enemies.  Christ is a King above all kings.  What are all the mighty men, the great, the honourable men of the earth to Jesus Christ?  They are but like a little bubble in the water; for if all the nations, in comparison to God, be but as the drop of the bucket, or the dust of the balance, as the prophet speaks in Isaiah xl.15 [40:15], how little then must be the kings of the earth!  Nay, beloved, Christ Jesus is not only higher than kings, but He is higher than the angels; yea, He is the head of angels; and, therefore, all the angels in heaven are commanded to worship Him.  Col.ii.12, Heb. i6…..He is King over all kingdoms, over all nations, over all governments, over all powers, over all people Dan. vii. 14….. The very heathen are given to Christ, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession.”

Jesus Christ is truly this King of which the LORD God speaks.

“Secondly. Jesus Christ is His saints’ King.  He is King of the bad, and of the good; but as the wicked, He rules over them by His power and might; but the saints, He rules in them by His Spirit and graces.  Oh! this is Christ’s spiritual kingdom, and here He rules in the hearts of His people, here He rules over their consciences, over their wills, over their affections, over their judgments and understandings, and nobody hath anything to do here but Christ.  Christ is not only the King of nations, but the King of saints; the one He rules over, the other He rules in.”

First, Jesus Christ is King of His enemies; and secondly He is King of His saints.  I am glad that by His grace, I am a saint.  A saint is only a sinner who has been saved because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and by the power of the resurrection.
We now look at the third part of Jesus being a “Threefold king”.

“Thirdly.  Jesus Christ is His Father’s King too, and so His Father calls Him: ‘I have set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.’  Well may He be our King, when He is God’s King.  But you may say, how is Christ the Father’s King?  Because He rules for His Father.  There is a twofold kingdom of God committed to Jesus Christ; first, a spiritual kingdom, by which He rules in the hearts of His people, and so is King of saints; and secondly, a providential kingdom, by which He rules the affairs of this world, and so He is King of nations. — Condensed from William Dyer’s Christ’s Famous Titles, 1665.”

To conclude the teaching with this verse; when we can see Jesus as the “King of His enemies”, “the King of saints”, and as “His Father’s King” surely we can trust all affairs of this life to His care.  He is the sovereign King of kings, and He rules not only in the hearts of men, but over nature as well.  Remember He calmed the storms with merely a word.

All the efforts of the rulers of the earth, which are against the God, the King of glory, will come to naught.  All their efforts of evil will only be used against them to accomplish the will of God in the earth, and in eternity.  To submit to the King of kings, and be an agreeing participant in His work is the only way to peace.  The King of glory became a man to die on the cross, was buried, and rose again, and He ever lives to reign.

Is He your King?  He is whether you recognize Him as such or not.  Recognize Him as your King, be on His side, and have peace. The “peace of God which passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Prophecy of Enoch

Enoch, and the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ

I guess I am not into fancy titles or something. Just make it simple, and that is what I intend for this study.

When I read Scriptures from Genesis through the Revelation of Jesus Christ I read it like it is written for us to understand. When the Bible speaks figuratively it usually lets us know that it is speaking figuratively. When it is speaking plainly we take it plainly. When it speaks figuratively or metaphorically, then, that is how I will interpret it, and translate it. For the most part, and as best I can, I let Scripture interpret Scripture, and follow what Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” Let me warn you, that I am not a Bible scholar, nor am I the son of a Bible scholar. I also am not a prophecy scholar, nor the son of one; however, I do love the Bible, believe it to be the infallible, inerrant, eternal Word of God. I do pray that God can take my weakness and glorify His holy name.  The writings of the prophets enthuse me, encourage me, fill me, give me hope, and I just cannot get enough, or get away from what they have written down in the Word of God.

From what I have seen in many studies of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ is they begin with the Revelation chapter twenty. Maybe because that is where a “thousand year reign” (Revelation 20:2-4) with Christ is named. It may not be named, per se’, in the many other references, but it is certainly implied, inferred, and strongly suggested. The words, “a thousand years” or “the thousand years” are named six times in Revelation 20:2-7. I for one believe that to be no accident of John, nor of God, but is one evidence that the earthly kingdom of Christ’s reign will be literal, it has not yet happened, nor is it presently happening.

The first verses I want us to look at is in the book of Genesis.

“And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Genesis 5:21-24 (KJV).

Now upon the first read of this you may wonder, “What does this genealogy of Enoch have to do with the millennial reign of Jesus Christ?”, and if I didn’t know where this was going I probably wouldn’t know either. These verses will have to be taken with a New Testament passage from the epistle [letter] of Jude, our Lord’s half brother. That passage reads:

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude 1:14-15 (KJV).

We see from the New Testament letter that Jude was a prophet of God, and he warned the people of His day of the coming judgment of the Lord. This judgment he warned of was quite clearly the second coming of Jesus with His saints. It has never happened in the entire history of man. It is yet to come. This second coming will be to put away human government, to put away sin, and to set up His kingdom on earth.

Those “saints” mentioned will be those who were raptured off the earth according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and their spirits “with Him” will be joined to their bodies coming up out of their graves (at the rapture), and those who were living and knew Jesus Christ, will rise with them to meet the Lord in the air. The second coming will be seven years later. We will be returning with Christ at His Revelation, and that is when He takes the rule of the earth away from all human governments.

There will be no more Democracy, Tyranny, Dictatorships, Republics, or anarchy. Nor, will there be any human theocracies save that of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will reign from His throne in the capital city of Israel, which is, and forever shall be Jerusalem.

The message of Enoch was one calling for repentance. Understand the judgment which Enoch warned of was not the final judgment, but the judgment of ungodly kings, kingdoms, and the “Inhabiters of earth”, ie. those whose hearts love the things, the temporal things, with its greed, lusts, power, etc.; and hate all that is holy and godly, and all that is God. The Lord Himself will destroy them with the sword of His mouth, ie., the Word of God spoken in His glory. Then, when all human government is put away, Jesus will rule with power and glory from the truly Holy City of Jerusalem.

How can I get the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ from these verses. Jesus coming with ten thousands of His saints; the executing of judgment upon all, convincing all the ungodly of their ungodly deeds, that they have ungodly committed, and the hard speeches of the ungodly spoken against Him. This is taking place on the earth. Enoch’s message is of the Lord Coming again; He is coming back to earth. Jesus Himself tells us, “I will come again”. He was standing before His disciples, and others as He spoke this, in person; surely He meant that His “coming again” would be in our presence and in person, and not figurative or metaphorical. The last judgment is the “Great white throne” judgment (Revelation 20:11-14); takes place before the throne of God; and only the unrighteous will be judged here at this judgment throne. (I may get to do another study on that topic).

If He is coming back to earth, and removing all that hates the godly, He is surely coming to set up His kingdom on earth. If not what would be the purpose of His return? He is returning, with His saints (See 1 Thessalonians 4:14-15 again) to set up an earthly kingdom; will reign the world from Jerusalem, and Israel shall fulfill the promises of God to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come soon.

-by Tim A. Blankenship