Faith and Duty

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said,
“If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, ‘Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea;’ and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, ‘Go and sit down to meat?’ And will not rather say unto him, ‘Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?’
Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.'”
         Luke 17:5-10

The disciples have come to Jesus asking Him “Increase our faith” (v, 5), and Jesus tells them the above words in part of His answer.

What can we learn from His lesson? First, we must have our faith solely in the One who gives it, and that is God through His Son Jesus. Second, we must go about our duty to Him with love and admiration without expecting anything except the pleasure of knowing Him and serving Him. Thirdly, we need to see ourselves as unworthy of the duty that we have, and be grateful for such a great privilege.

This goes back to loving God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strengths. When we truly love God we will love our neighbors; then we can have the faith that moves sycamine trees into the sea.

I guess I am not there yet; but I am learning.

Full Joy – Greater Love

“These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
This is My commandment, ‘That ye love one another, as I have loved you.’ Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another.
  John 15:11-17

Prayer for this Lord’s Day January 31, In the year of our Lord 2021

“Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. ”  Proverbs 31:9
“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.'”   Luke 17:10

Our Lord God, Father and Savior we worship and adore You. We come to You through the glorious name of Jesus Christ  Your holy and only begotten Son who is with You in all eternity, past and present.

By the power of Your Spirit we will judge righteously and plead the cause of the poor and the innocent who cannot plead for themselves. Forgive our sin of being respecter of persons, because You are not; neither should one of Your children be.

Also, Lord by the power of Your Spirit who is given us at that moment we call on the name of Jesus, Your Son for salvation and the receipt of Your grace and faith we will be faithful to live by faith, and do that which is our duty to do.

Thank You for Your multitude of blessings. Thank You for Your love, mercy and grace that saves. Amen.

Remember Not Our Former Iniquities

“O God, the heathen are come into Thine inheritance; Thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.
The dead bodies of Thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of Thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them.
We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us. How long, LORD? Wilt Thou be angry for ever? Shall Thy jealousy burn like fire?
Pour out Thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known Thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon Thy name. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place.
O remember not against us former iniquities: let Thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.”  Psalm 79:1-8  (KJB)

Teaching a Young Pastor

“But you speak the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.  The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, discretion, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
In all things showing yourself a pattern of good works: in doctrine uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.  Servants to be obedient unto their own masters, to please well in all; not answering again; not stealing, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise you.”  Titus 2:1-15

REFERENCES: 1 Timothy 2:9; 4:12; 1 Peter 3:3; 5:3; Ephesians 5:24; 6:24; Nehemiah 5:9; Matthew 5:16; Luke 3:6; Romans 5:15; Acts 24:15; 2 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 9:28

After Being Forgiven Much; and We Do Not Forgive

“Then came Peter to Him, and said, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me that thou owest.’ And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, ‘O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?’ And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.’
” Matthew 18:21-35 (KJB)

Yes! A little bit of a lengthy parable.

As a man, and as all who will admit and confess to it we need forgiveness from our transgressions.  God has forgiven me more than I could ever repay.  How can I not forgive another who owes me very little?  Or owes me nothing?

Something we all need to think hard about if we ever want to be unforgiving toward another.

Purpose Driven Holiness and Awe

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”  Revelation 11:15-19 (KJV)

This seventh and final trumpet ushers in the seven vials of wrath. Although they are not mentioned until chapter fifteen there is a break in the judgments to reveal some things that will happen during the latter half of what is often called “The tribulation period” – the latter half is referred to as “Great tribulation” (2:22).

There were voices saying that the Lord is King and “He shall reign forever and ever”. This only means God has allowed sin to run its course, and “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh” (Psalm 2:4). It seems that this would fit chronologically with chapters 19 and 20.

The Lord Jesus will take possession of the property which He died to redeem. At the last trump, the Lord takes what is His. Praise Him.

The same “twenty-four elders” of chapter four are in Heaven worshipping the Lord of glory.

They are awed by His awe-inspiring power over sin and evil and the vanquishing of all wickedness from the earth.

How do they worship Him?

  1. They recognize His power – Almighty;
  2. They praise His eternalness and immutability [Unchangingness];
  3. They recognize Him as Judge – both to reward His servants and punishment upon the wicked. Worship to God is simply given by recognizing Him for who He is.

“The nations were angry” takes us back to Psalm 2:1-3. The wrath of the nations is powerless and vain – for man’s own selfish revenge. God’s wrath is not for revenge, but to dispell sin, and His wrath is powerful and purposeful.  When we think of God and His love we must always remember that God is holy and no sin can stand in His presence; therefore because He is holy He does judge sin; our sin.  We must also remember the cross, for it was there that all our sin was laid on Him to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).

There is a great need for the fear of God in our day. It does not matter what the false prophets are saying about “God is love” – a half-truth is a lie. God is love, but He is also hating sin and judges it. He is wrathful. That is the truth. He is to be feared – held in awe.  A few years ago I stood upon a portion of the Rocky Mountains and I said, “This is awesome”.  A few years later I stood on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and wept with tears and said, “This is so awesome”; however, when I look into the Word of God, and I see Him in His Son Jesus I weep and rejoice at His Awesomeness, because there is no awe, such as His AWE.  He made the mountains,  the Grand Canyon, and all that there is.  He is holy and AWESOME.

The original temple. The one in Heaven. The one used to model the “Wilderness tabernacle” after. The one where God in His glory dwells. It is opened. The way to God is open today. The way into the holiest of all is through the Lord Jesus Christ. This reminds us not to take for granted God’s open door.

Within the temple, there was seen the “Ark of the testament”. The ark of God. This was the “Ark of the covenant” behind the veil, in the “Holy of Holies”. It contained the Ten Commandments, a bowl of manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded.  It is, in fact, the testimony of God dwelling among men; and that is Christ Jesus

Those who know God have received Jesus – the Bread of Life; Jesus – the fulfillment of the law written in the heart, and Jesus – the resurrection to new life. Talk about the temple being open, access to God, we have it. At least for now.  The day of the closing door, however, is drawing close.

Because many refuse God’s open door to Himself judgment upon the Christ-haters and sin lovers is certain. The lightnings, voices, thunderings are mentioned in 4:5. “Earthquake and great hail” is added to this sentence.

It seems that the very source of our salvation is also the source of judgment upon the wicked. We have the choice to be saved now or be judged through eternity. Bless the Lord.

The two witnesses of verses 1-14 who are yet to come will be empowered by God. So are all of those who know Jesus today, by the presence, glory, and power of God’s Spirit who lives within. The door is open. We too are the witnesses of God.  Let us never forget that His holiness and awe is with purpose.

The Surrender

“And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you.” 2 Kings 25:24 (KJV)

Surrender is never a pleasant topic; especially for those with strong personalities, and stubborn hearts.

The prophet Jeremiah had told the people of Judah to surrender to Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar, because he was going to come and capture the people, take the articles from the temple, and leave it in ruins (Jeremiah 27:12ff). Now it had occurred and a governor of Judea had been appointed. Gedaliah (Jehovah is great) was speaking words of encouragement to some people who had came to him seeking advice.

Surrendering to the enemy is not easy. Surrendering to God is often not easy, because we have our own ideas; our own way; and God’s way is not always what we desire at the start. The question is: Do we want God as our enemy? That is what we make Him when we say no to His plan, His way

In the end; this is not so much surrender to Nebuchadnezzar as it is surrender to GOD.

“Fear not” God will have His way with our enemy, and He will have His way in your life and mine.

Hallelujah

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise Him, O ye servants of the LORD.” Psalm 135:1 (KJV)

The servant of GOD.  The child of GOD.  The people of GOD.  These are the ones who are to “Praise the LORD”.

Those who are of the Lord Jesus Christ are to Praise Him.  Brag of Him.  Lift up His name.  Glorify Him in His power, His honor, His glory.  There is nothing which we know of God which we should remain silent about.

He loves you.  He loves me.  Let us not be ashamed of that grace, that mercy, that love that comes solely from the GOD who created all things.

Hallelujah simply means “Praise the LORD.”  So, let us Praise the LORD.

Praise Him in Song. Praise Him in prayer.  Praise Him in word; with tongue, lips and mouth.  Praise Him with your life.

Boasting; More Boasting

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.” Psalm 113:1 (KJV)

I have never met anyone who likes arrogance in a man or woman.  I think we do not like to think of it in God either; but God is worthy of boasting.  He is the Great One.  He is worthy of praise and glory.

We glory in ourselves when we do good at something.  You may say you do not; but I would say to you that is vain, false humility; which is not humility at all.  We sometimes glory, are prideful of our “Humility”.

The Maker of us all, and of all things, needs not be humble.  He glories in Himself, and rightly so.  We are to glory in Him, and in and through us He is glorified.  Maybe this is why so many hate God, and even choose not to believe in Him.  Even in these God will be glorified.

Do you find yourself boasting of your accomplishments?  Rather boast of the greatness of God.  Boast of His mercy.  Boast of His grace.  Boast of His power.  If you have been redeemed through the blood of Jesus, then boast of that; and glory in the cross of Jesus and His burial and His resurrection.

What You Do When You Hear the Word of the LORD

“He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: and he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.” Exodus 9:20-21 (KJV)

The words are written as the warning from Moses to Pharaoh, and his people of Egypt, of a plague of hail and fire that would kill every thing caught in the open field.  Those who had seen the previous plagues happen just as Moses had said, “feared the word of the LORD”, and acted upon it, and saved animals and human life.

What do you do when you hear the word of the LORD?  What is our response when God speaks?  Do you even hear when God speaks?  Do you care when God speaks?  You need to respond.  You need to hear.  You definitely need to care.  Your eternal destiny depends upon it.

There is judgment coming, is even already here, if you have eyes to see it, and ears to hear it.  Fear the word of the LORD, and flee for shelter.  The shelter is the cross of Jesus Christ.  There is no safety outside the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

WHAT YOU DO WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD will determine your eternal destiny.  If you fear the word of the LORD and seek shelter in the cross of Jesus you will live forever with Him.  Outside the cross of Christ is eternal torment, eternal dying.

The Christian and the Ordinances of Men

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  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.  Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” 1 Peter 2:13-17 (KJV)

No one likes the word “Submit”, however the Christian is given decree, commandment by the apostle Peter, and Paul (Romans 13:1-5) to submit and be subjected to the “Ordinance of man”.  We may not like it, and we will also see that that command is when the king, or governor is doing righteously, for good, and not for evil.

The Christian is free from sins guilt, condemnation, and free to be obedient to the LORD.  In the LORD we are not to use our freedom for evil purposes, or as Peter puts it “For a cloke of maliciousness”; or a cover to do evil.

Peter ends the statement with “Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honour the king”.  And that is the direction we are to take.  We are to love the brethren, and honor the king; however we are to “Fear God”; not the king, or any form of government.

-T.A.

God’s Word Today 081212

In this post today I am attempting to post daily.  My post will be from Scripture, the Word of the LORD.  These be come from my reading of God’s Word for the day it is posted.  Hear the word of the LORD.

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; the which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.  And the LORD hath sent unto you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.  They said, ‘Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: and go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke Me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.  Yet ye have not hearkened unto Me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.  Jeremiah 25:1-7 (KJV)

I will be finishing up the study of Elijah when I can get my thoughts to putting it down in print form.

-T.A.

 

 

Day 82 – Spiritual Blessings

It could be said probably, that, everybody likes a blessing.  Those who do not believe in God, however, may not call it “Blessing”.  What would you have to be thankful for?  Who would you thank?  I do not have the answer.  My reading this morning was reading through Ephesians and Philippians.  Two Epistles [Letters] written by the apostle Paul with words of encouragement to the church of Ephesus and the church of Philippi.

To Ephesus Paul writes,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…” Ephesians 1:3 (KJV)

It is one thing to bless God with words, such as the apostle does above; but how are we at blessing Him with our lives too.  Both are a part of the faithful Christian’s life.  We are to bless God by remembering His blessings to and upon us.

While Paul is addressing “Spiritual blessings” which involve the things that are in the following verses; “He has chosen us in Him”,  “Predestinated us unto the adoption of children…”,  “…We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins…”.  He goes on and includes “…an inheritance”, and that “Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise…”.  The spiritual blessings go on and on.

Those spiritual blessing work themselves out into living in this world and life.  If we do not live with these spiritual blessings; having thankfulness for them, then, we will most likely be a negative, bitter, envious, carnal individual; probably not a true Christian.  Do you realize your spiritual blessings?  Are you thankful for them?  Particularly for the grace given to us by the Father, putting His own Son to death on the cross, and raising Him again bodily from the grave?

In Ephesians we are told about grace.  It is by grace we are saved; plus nothing, minus nothing.

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

In chapter five we are admonished to “…Be filled with the Spirit”, not spirits; how husbands and wives are to respect and love one another, especially how the husband is love his wife as Christ loves the church, and gave Himself for her.  Children are to obey their parents, parents are not to “Provoke” their children (chapter 6).  Servants, even employees, are to serve their bosses as though they are serving Christ.

In Philippians we see that Jesus Christ was a man of humility; humbling Himself even to the death of the cross;

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  Philippians 2:5-8 (KJV)

It is one of the greatest spiritual blessings to know the God/Man who came to be with us and without sin, offer His life as an atonement for our sin, that we might be like Him.  Because of Him we have great cause for rejoicing, which the apostle addresses in the letter (4:4).

Let me end with just a note concerning the passing of a man of God.  Charles Colson who was the founder of Prison Fellowship and aided in many prison reforms; and many men and women coming to faith in Christ who were in prison; has gone home to be with Jesus.  Reading his book “Born Again” was a blessing to me.  I have also read several of his other books.   Thank God for men such as Charles Colson who devote their lives to the name and cause of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Ten – Seventeen through Thirty One

“17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. 28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.”  Mark 10:17-31 (KJV)

There is an inheritance which we have through Jesus Christ, but it is not obtained, it is given as a gift.  It is not earned, or purchased.  It is a gift that has been paid for in full by its giver.

This man, asking Jesus what he must do to “inherit” eternal life, is assuming that he must do something to earn it.  Sadly, that is an assumption that many people make in this day and time.  Jesus asks  the man if he knew the commandments.  The one’s which Jesus mentioned all have to do with our fellow man, not one had to do with God – the first four of the commandments.  The man  says, “I have observed these from my youth”.  Had he?  Jesus did not question him about it, but put him to a test.  “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.  Mark 10:21 (KJV)”.

If this man would have followed the Lord in these words this man would have eternal life – the very thing he was asking for – but he would not put Jesus Christ in first place.  He would not put God first in his life.  There can be nothing between those who have eternal life and God.  If there is something between there is another God whom that one is trusting.  This man went away grieved because he had “great possessions” and was not willing to surrender them to the Lord.

There are some people who believe that the “Eye of the needle” to which Jesus is referring is a spot in the wall of Jerusalem where if a person was to enter through that “gate” – with his camel – he would need to unload his camel, then take the camel through.  It is my belief that Jesus was referring to the eye of a needle – as for sewing clothing.  With the former interpretation it is possible for a man to get the camel through the eye of “The needle”, with some effort.  With the sewing needle’s eye it is impossible for man, but with God “Nothing is impossible”.  As long as an individual is looking to his wealth and his own efforts there is absolutely no way to enter the Kingdom of Christ Jesus, but with God, and his laying his burdens down he may enter in.  In this man’s case his burdens were his riches which he would not give up.

There are wonderful blessings to those who give their all for the glory and life of Jesus Christ.  There is nothing this world can offer that can take the place of faith in Him.  He has promised to those who have given up all for Him; and for this time, houses, family, and land.  We must note, however, that He does mention that there will be persecution, and they will have eternal life.

Jesus’ last sentence here may be further mention of servanthood (v. 31).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Descending The Mount

A few hours had been spent on the “Mount of Transfiguration” – the name for which the place has been called – and now they were descending.  Having taken place with the glory of Jesus being revealed to Peter, James and John; and they seeing Moses and Elijah with Jesus in His glory.

When Moses and Elijah depart; in verse 8; we have the words: “…they saw no man, save Jesus only”.  That implies clearly that the law and the prophets declare, reveal, and glorify the Lord Jesus.  It goes along with what the apostle John wrote in the Revelation 19:10 “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  The law and the prophets cannot make man righteous before God; only Jesus can.

Now, we come to the descent from the mount of Jesus with His disciples:

“And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.”  Matthew 17:9-13 (KJV)

What the three disciples had witnessed was not to be told until the resurrection of Jesus had taken place.  It is almost certain that these three did not yet understand what He was even talking about – Resurrection – “Yeah!  Sure!”  Their thoughts were still on the idea of Jesus being their reigning King in a few days; and not crucifixion.  God forbid that their King hang on a tree.

They are probably thinking of the prophet’s writing,

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”  Malachi 4:5-6 (KJV)

Their thinking is needing to be set in order.  They are thinking of a different day than what is going to happen.  “The great and dreadful day of the LORD…” is when the Lord comes and pours His wrath out on an unbelieving and godless world.  At this time God is going to pour His wrath out upon His Son for the atonement of the sins of mankind.

The disciples had partially discerned rightly concerning the prophecy of Scripture; however, it was not until Jesus gave the word, that they realized that John the Baptist was a fulfillment of the prophecy, but unrecognized by the religious leaders, and “royalty”, and they put John to death.  John the Baptist came in the Spirit and power of Elijah.  There is no idea of “reincarnation” given here.  John the Baptist is John the Baptist, not reincarnated Elijah.

John Baptist came having the same type ministry of Elijah.  A bold and fiery message of repentance; calling the people of God to prepare their hearts for the coming of the LORD.

Jesus also informed the three that the “Son of man” would suffer by the hands of those same people.

It would do the disciples of Jesus Christ in the world of 2009 to hear the message of God’s servants; preachers who preach the inerrant, infallible, literal, and living word of God;  Sunday School teachers who present the word without favor or fear; Deacons who honor the word of God with their lives in witness, work and service.  We dishonor our Lord when we fail to listen to God through His servants who proclaim the Word and “diminish not a word” of it.

Do we really understand the impact of the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the word proclaimed and taught without “shunning to declare the whole counsel of God”?  Are we prepared, willing and able to give our lives for the preaching of the Word of God to a world who hates God?  It is time to think about this and ponder it in our prayer life; and all of life.

When we are descending  our “Mount” of joy, encouragement, let not forget that it is Jesus who remains with us.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Evidences Of The Filling Of The Spirit

PURPOSE: To show that  by the Christian’s yielding control of life to the Holy Spirit that Christian is filled with the Spirit, making life more heavenly on earth.

OUTLINE OF EPHESIANS 5:18 THROUGH CHAPTER 6: 9:

I.  BE CONTROLLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD (vv. 18-20).

II.  SPIRIT CONTROLLED LIVING IS A LIFE OF SUBMISSION (vv. 21-24).

III.  SPIRIT CONTROLLED HUSBANDS LOVE THEIR WIVES SACRIFICIALLY (vv. 25-33).

IV.  SPIRIT CONTROLLED CHILDREN OBEY THEIR PARENTS (vv. 6:1-4).

V.  SPIRIT CONTROLLED CHRISTIANS PRACTICE THEIR GOD GIVE VOCATION (6:5-9).

BE CONTROLLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD (vv. 18-20).  From the beginning we must understand that every born again individual is indwelt by the Spirit of God.  He inhabits your body along with your spirit that has been born anew in Christ Jesus.

Most of us have witnessed the activities of a drunk who was mad drunk by drinking by alcoholic beverage or some other drug legal or illegal.  The man or woman now drunk has become boisterous, knows no fear, will do things they would not normally do when they were sober.  The individual made drunk by this foreign substance, is controlled by another substance which has robbed him of self control.

Paul knew what the excess of wine did to people.  I know what the excess of wine does to people, as I am sure you do as well.  Most drunks believe they can drive, maybe even fly, or do anything.  Paul uses the likeness here in a somewhat analogous way.  Drunks (for the most part) become drunk willingly and by drinking what they know will inebriate them.  The Holy Spirit filled believer becomes Spirit filled willingly.  The drunk knows no fear.  The Spirit filled believer is not fearful.  The drunk does things he/she would not normally do, if sober.  The Spirit filled Christian does things he/she would not normally do, such as one on one witnessing, preaching, serving others, teaching, giving, loving, and living with the fruits of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) more practical things.

Now here is wheree this analogy breaks down.  The drunk has no self control, while the power of the Holy Spirit, in the Spirit filled Christian, gives each Christian self control.

In verses 19-20 (Colossians 3:15-17) we begin seeing what the life of the Spirit filled person is like.  He/She is in an attitude of worship.  He is at peace with God in his heart, always praising God.  Always a song in the heart and on the lips.  The Spirit filled/controlled Christian will have their lives filled with song and singing.  Always thankful, for all things, and identified in the Lord Jesus.

SPIRIT CONTROLLED LIVING IS A LIFE OF SUBMISSION (vv. 21-24).  Further evidence of Spirit controlled living is submission to one another.  Submission in this event is recognizing God ordained positions and being subject to those who are in those positions as God has designed and led.  For the man; a woman is far superior to the man at being a woman, and all that God has designed for her to be and do.  For the woman; the man is far superior to the woman at being a man, and all that God has designed for him to be and do.  Therefore, there is cause for us to submit to one another.

As members of the Body of Christ [the Church] our Lord and Savior, we are to be first submissive to Him, and if we are genuinely submitted to Hom we will also be to one another.  We will be accountable to each other in our walk with Christ.  When a brother or sister in Christ submits to another Christian it is motivation for Christian living unseen any other way.  We submit one to one, all to one, and one to all.  Husband to wife, wife to husband, and children to parents and parents to children; of course remembering that God has placed some in positions of authority.

Wives are to submit to their husbands [in the Lord] because God ordained it so in the order of creation (1 Timothy 2:11-13).  It was from Adam’s side which God created woman to be his helper.  Believe me ladies; we men need a lot of help. 8)  She is to submit to her husband as to the Lord and for His sake.

The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church…  The head is what keeps the rest functioning properly.  Without direction, vision and leadership from the head the collective body will fail.

In every organization, business, military endeavor, church and home there must be a head who will lead the way.  If all try to lead you have chaos.  Now, we understand as human beings, leadership that is dictatorial is not responsible leadership.  The head, in human affairs, will listen to advice and counsel from others, and make decisions accordingly.

Wives and their husbands should be able to sit down together and make plans and talk things through.  Generals who listen to good advice from privates would be wise Generals indeed.  In many cases it may be that listening to Privates, is part of the reason they made the promotion of General.

The husband is a wise husband, and wise head who will listen to his wife.  The husband as head of the wife and analogous to Christ should also see the picture of sacrifice.  Christ gave Himself for the Church.  If the husband is willing to sacrifice his life for his wife she will have no problem being submissive to him.

SPIRIT CONTROLLED HUSBANDS LOVE THEIR WIVES SACRIFICIALLY (vv. 25-33).  Holy Spirit filled husbands love their wives sacrificially.

As Jesus gave Himself for the Church in order to have a glorious bride the Spirit filled husband voluntarily gives himself to and for his wife.  She is a special and precious treasure.  He will see her as an extension of himself, a partner, a friend, a helper for life.  He cares for her well being; physically, financially and spiritually.  He loves her as he loves himself.  A man will give up almost anything to do what he wants to do – what he REALLY wants to do.  If the husband really loves his wife he will give up anything to show her that love.  Jesus gave up the glory of heaven for a time to show He loves His bride.

No longer under the care of his parents he loves his wife and becomes one with her for the rest  of their lives.  There is no one else by her that he sacrifices for, not even himself.  If husbands want reverence from their wives we must first love them sacrificially, and do so at the expense of our own comfort, pride, and well being.

Here is some other sacrifices husbands can make for their wife’s benefit:

  1. That favorite football team that’s playing the same time your wife wants you to go shopping with her; what will you do?
  2. Her favorite TV show is on the same time as yours; what will you do?
  3. Your home from work for the day, there are things you could be doing that you enjoy, the wife is working, and there are dirty clothes to be washed, and dishes in the kitchen sink; do you wait for her to come home and do them? or will you do them? instead of what you want to do?

The above mentioned things are not giving your life, but merely giving up your wants for what would be good for her.

SPIRIT CONTROLLED CHILDREN OBEY THEIR PARENTS (vv. 6:1-4).  Obedient children are a blessing to any home.  Children who love our Lord, and are Spirit filled are obedient and hold their parents in honor and respect.

The Christian home should reflect the likeness of Jesus.  Even though He is the Creator of the world He subjected Himself to Joseph and Mary in honor and obedience.  Children who are born again and are controlled by God’s Spirit are an excellent testimony of God’s power to change lives.  Children who live solely for self are not subject to anyone, not even God.  It is a sure sign, that if a child is disobedient and disrespectful to their parents, they are in the same condition with God.

The same can be said of the father who is abusive to his children, and neglects to hear their cries and hurts.  If the father provokes his children, or does not sacrificially love their mother, he is not Spirit filled or controlled.  The Spirit filled – controlled – father teaches, encourages, without downgrading his children.

The care and encouragement in the Lord is what our children need.

Living as Spirit filled Christians is about as close to heaven as we will come in this world; at least until Jesus Comes and makes all things right.  Our God has equipped us, and given us His Spirit to help us in the endeavor of living holy lives.  It is only possible as we yield our selfishness to the control and influence of His Spirit.  Yielding will bring harmony to the church, marriages, parents, and children, and in all realms of living.

The only way to Spirit filled/controlled living is through faith in Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection.

SPIRIT CONTROLLED CHRISTIANS PRACTICE THEIR GOD GIVE VOCATION (6:5-9).  Remember the Submission part; about submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God… (v. 21).  It is for the place where we are employed as well; or the place where we employ employees – as owners or boss.  When we see ourselves as the servants of Jesus Christ it will not matter what our job, but in the power of God’s Spirit will do our job “as unto the Lord.“

The word servant used here is a reference to “slaves”.  Slavery was a dominant institution during the time of Paul’s writing.  According to some the word is used in referring to involuntary or voluntary slavery.  If this means “slave”, then how can it apply to Twenty first century America?  It applies in the factories, grocery stores, farms, churches, families, government offices, Law offices, Court buildings, Police headquarters, Fire stations, Ambulance services, Hospitals, Highway/Road departments, etc., thus, everyone is an employee somewhere.  An employee must appear at work at a set time, leaves at a set time, is paid on a set day, and must work according to the employers policies; or be fired.  When you are working for someone other than yourself, you are serving someone.  In what is called service oriented businesses; even if you are “working for yourself” you are still serving others.  You may not like the term, but you are a servant to that employment – a slave.

You can talk to just about any one who works for someone else and they will often begin telling you all, or at least some of the problems of their employer.  There are a lot of people who are dissatisfied with their place of employment.  It seems to be human nature to complain, however, it is not God’s nature.

Be obedient… unto Christ (v. 5), could form the entire sentence.  Even when the boss seems to be messing up, if we are to be faithful, Spirit filled Christians we comply with his directions – as long as his directions are not immoral, or physically harmful, and/or violate your conscience.

Spirit filled Christians are different in their labor than are the rest of the laborers.  Where others complain and slack off in their work the Spirit controlled believer is thankful, and works his/her best.  Her single purpose being to glorify Jesus Christ.

The very fact that more is said in these verse cold show who the majority of Christians were in this church.  These words to encourage them in their labor.  It is Jesus for whom we labor.  The Scriptures say nothing of a division of secular and sacred.  For the Spirit filled Christian all things are done, as unto Christ.

The Spirit filled Christian employee will not serve with eyeservice; seeking the approval of the boss only when he is watching.  This term eyeservice implies only doing the work; and maybe even with a little more effort; when being watched.  Many people who are of the world work one way when no one is watching and a completely other way when they know they are being watched.  To please the boss (while he is watching) could mean a promotion, they think.

It is the will of God that Christians do their work heartily as the servants of Christ .  The work of the Christian is not to please men, but to glorify their Lord.  Those Christians who do their work unto the Lord will recrive eternal rewards from Christ (Colossians 3:24).  This is not unto salvation but rewards which glorify our Lord.

Doing a job cheerfully can be contagious.  Others see you working, and enjoying the work of your Lord, and it begins to rub off on others.  What kind of witness is it to be sour and complaining about low pay, no benefits, poor work environment, and whatever other complaints there are?  I heard Elisabeth Elliot say, “If you aren’t doing the work you like, then, like the work you do.”  We  can only learn to like it by seeing that  our true Master is our lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Verse 8 is the link to what has just been said.  If  there is anyone who has doubt that this idea of servanthood is not relevant for our day, Paul includes, “Whether he be bond or free”.  In other wards the principles given are for all Christians, and for all ages.

When we go to a place for employment we are subjecting ourselves to their rule of practice and operation.  We voluntarily become a bond-slave to our employer with the understanding we are being  paid for what we do, and at an agreed upon wage.  However, if we expect to be paid, the employer expects good work.

The good work that Christian employee does, along with a joyful and giving attitude, is a witness to everyone around, including the boss.  God promises reward to those who serve the Lord in this way.

When it is said and done we are all bond-slaves to someone or something.  There are some who are slaves to sin and obey its every craving and desire.  The Christian, however, is free from sin, and is a bond-slave to Christ, because he was redeemed with the purchase price of the shed blood of Jesus (Romans 6:14-18).

The Christianity part does not lay on the employee alone; that is the responsibility of every Christian employee and employer.  We look now at the duties of the Christian employer, Business owner, Supervisor, Boss; let’s also keep in mind 5:21, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  We are all subjects of Christ.

The “master”  is to do service to the servant, “as unto the Lord”.  Paying a wage that enables the servant to have a life supporting his family and providing for their health needs.  This is speaking of the Christian employer.

For the “master” he is to do it as a servant of Christ.  Not beating, nor threatening, but encouraging.  The “master” realizing that he too has a Master “in heaven”.

The Master in heaven has no “respect of persons”, but every one of His children are equal in His sight; receiving from Him according to their need.  The master/employer should  treat his employees equally according to their needs and abilities.

When Christians are filled with the Spirit they will be the best employees an employer can find, for they see that they are servants.  Servants not of their employer, but of Christ, who is Master over all.

The Christian [Spirit controlled] employer will give the best of care to his employees, because he realizes he has a Master, and when the employees are respected and blessed by their employer they will give more of themselves without complaining.

Wouldn’t it be great if employers were always on the look out for Christian employees because every Christian  who cam to work for them was a hard and joyous worker?

Wouldn’t it be great if the Christian employer was gracious and took care of his employees, and his employees loved him and because of his generosity worked their best for him?

We give evidences of the filling of the Spirit of God by these things which the apostle has written.  Husbands and wives submitting to one another, respecting one another’s place filled by God;  Children loving and respecting their parents, obeying them and parents filled with the Spirit correcting their children with love;  Servants/Employees be submitted to their bosses; Christian employers/bosses/business owners submitted to the servant.  As Christians we must remember we are to be submitted one to another.  See the other as better than ourselves and seek others well being.  This is a practicing, active, living Christianity.

-Tim A. Blankenship