When The Almighty Answers

Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Job 38:2

We are at the ending words of the book of Job. Job has been asking for a visitation from the Almighty, and now he gets one.

Many of us who preach and teach the Scriptures think we know God pretty well, but when it comes to the truth of the matter of knowing God we know very little. All we know about God is what we learn from His word.

We hear some people think and say things like, “If I were God…” The point is none of us are the Almighty.

We live now in an era where many are thinking that they know better than God what is good and right for themselves. So, you elevate yourself over the knowledge and will of God. You are on your way to a rude awakening one day.

Job did not like the way God had handled his life with loss, grief, sickness and disease. Job also did not know what went on in the courts of  Heaven between Satan and God Most High. Neither do you or I.

When we face sorrow, whether it be by the loss of a family member, a friend, a job or career let us say and let us live like and believe this, “I do not know what God in His good counsel is doing; but I trust Him.”

In all his pain and loss Job never cursed God, sure he questioned what was going on; as would and  do most of us. Always and I say again, always keep faith in the One who has all things in His hands.

Why? Because He loves us so much He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That is when the Almighty answers.

In Bad Circumstances

Then said his wife unto him, “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.”  But he said unto her, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this did not Job sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10

In bad circumstances? Are you suffering from some sickness, disease, financial chaos, family issues that are tough? You are not alone.

Job was a man whom God proclaimed, that Job was “perfect and upright” and that he feared God, and shuns evil (Job 1:8; 2:3). Yet if we look at his life he suffered unlike any man or woman ever has, or ever will; with one exception being that of God’s only begotten Son who died on the cross for the sins of the world.

Let us look at the above two verses from Job two. It concerns his wife who is unnamed in the book. Her faith was evidently unlike that of Jobs. Job and his wife had lost their ten children, though they were evidently grown. They had died in a great wind storm (Job 1:18-19); and that would be quite sorrowful to any mother and father.

“Why don’t you just curse God and die”, was the wife’s response. That probably cut to the heart of Job, but in faith he responds, “You speak as one of the foolish women. Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and not hardship as well?”

It would hurt the heart of a man who loves his wife, and he seeing her as a woman of faith as well, to have her come to him and say what Job’s wife said.

The past two years have been very difficult for many  people. Having lost loved ones that in our minds seems too soon. “They were so young. They didn’t deserve to die.” That is really one of those statements that come from pain of sorrow, but holds no authority.

Did Job’s children deserve to die? “It is appointed unto all people once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). So we are all going to die. It is not in our purview to know how or when anyone dies, including ourselves.

Some very somber thoughts, I know. Let us think about this for a moment. You do not know when you will die. You do not know when your spouse will die; or when a single one of your children will die. So what can we do?

The One I spoke of earlier who suffered worse than Job, is the One who loves Job and you and me.  We can be ready to meet death without fear. Without fear of when or where it will take place, and without fear of where we will spend eternity.

When you receive God’s free gift of grace in salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ death is defeated, and you will have everlasting life.

Are you in bad circumstances? Call on the name of the Lord.

Be Of Good Cheer: Come

“And straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a spirit;’ and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying,
‘Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.’
And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.’ And He said,
‘Come.’
And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, ‘Lord, save me.’ And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him,
‘O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?’
And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying, ‘Of a truth Thou art the Son of God.’ ” Matthew 14:22-33

Some things we immediately see as we read this portion of Scripture:1) Jesus orders, commands, or made the disciples get into a boat to go to the other side; 2) After sending them away He went to a mountain to pray, and He was alone; 3) the boat the disciples are in is in the midst of Sea of Galilee tossed by the waves and the wind; 4) It was the “fourth watch” between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. when Jesus went walking to them on the water; 5) When the disciples saw Jesus they thought Him to be a “spirit”, and were afraid; 6) Jesus says to them, “It’s Me. Don’t be afraid”; 7) Peter asked Jesus to allow him to walk to Him on the water, and Jesus says, “Come”; 8 ) Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water, began walking to Jesus, but when he saw the boisterous wind he began to sink, and cried out to Jesus for help; 9) Jesus reached out His hand to Peter, and “caught him”, then says, “O thou of little faith…”; 10) back in the boat the wind ceased; 11) The disciples worshipped him confessing, “Of a truth Thou art the Son of God.”. Quite a few interesting events are taking place here and some which Matthew does not mention as well; according to the other gospels. I will get to those later

Dealing with the matter of JESUS THE KING we can see by this that He is not only the King of men, but also the King of creation, and all created things. Only the sovereign King and God can walk on water, and command the winds and the waves.

Having fed at least 15,000 people with five loaves of bread and two small fish; Jesus has sent the multitudes away with their stomachs full, their hearts should also be full after having been in the presence of our Lord. Being fully God, yet also fully man, Jesus is probably weary, tired and needing some time of refreshment and rest. He needs to be alone. Yet He know that He is never alone; because the Father is always with Him. The multitude sent away and the disciples rowing across the Sea of Galilee he goes up to a mountain to pray, to speak to His Father.

They are on the East side of the Sea of Galilee, and were rowing toward the West side. Matthew says, “Other side”. Mark writes, “Bethsaida”. John says, “Capernaum” was the destination. Matthew’s destination could mean anywhere on the West side, but I think there is more than that meant. Mark’s destination was more definite, yet speaking of an area on the West side. John speaks of the place where Jesus headquartered His ministry. There is not a contradictory statement here in any of them. First of all they are all three mentioning the West side. Secondly, we do name things like this all the time. For instance; when my wife, our son and I lived in California, and we would come back to Missouri; we were sometimes asked where we were going when we were planning on traveling back home. We would say the Southwest Missouri area; and another time we might tell them Barry County in Missouri; and we might be a little more specific and say Jenkins, Missouri. Now, were we making contradicting statements? NO! Where we were coming was to the Southwest part of Missouri and into Barry County, to the community of Jenkins, Missouri. We have three different testimonies as to their destination, and they are all accurate.

It seems to me, that in this historical event in the life of the disciples and the life of Jesus Christ there is a picture of life, its troubles, and trials and our deliverance.

How many times have we heard the phrase, “Other side” concerning the death of someone we know; whether it be a family member, work associate, or a friend? “He/She has gone to the other side”. Could there be a lesson on life and our eternal destination in this event of history? I think we can see it if we look at the situation, and understand the truth that is presented here.

Capernaum is where the headquarters for Jesus’s ministry is, and possibly in Peter’s home. We can see in Matthew 4:12-16 that Jesus went to Galilee and “dwelt in Capernaum”, and did so that the Scripture might be fulfilled spoken by Isaiah the prophet. Then, in chapter 8 we find Jesus at Peter’s house healing his mother-in-Law (chapter 8:14-15). He dwelt in Capernaum, and when they were there stayed in Peter’s home. Capernaum was home for Jesus on earth. Capernaum, though did not realize who was living among them.

In this act, this miracle of Jesus,  He gives us a picture of His coming for those who are His, and our eternal deliverance.

As Christians go through life, it is sometimes likened to the “Sea of life”, and these seas get very troubled at times. Physically our Lord Jesus is not with us and we row, and struggle and grow fearful that the boat we are in is going to fill with these troubled waters and sink, capsize, and we will not make it. Then Jesus comes, our faith grows, and then, in an instant, we find ourselves on the other side. John writes, “Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going”. Where were they going? to the “other side”, writes Matthew. Where were they going? “Bethsaida”, says Mark (Mark 6:45). Where were they going? “Capernaum”, writes John (John 6:17). Where were they going? Headquarters. Home.

When Jesus comes again, as we struggle in this life we will immediately appear with Him in glory, where we shall forever live with Him. No more struggles with life; no more tears, no more fear, no more death or dying…” Home Sweet Home.

2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

To show that the suffering we endure for our faith is evidence of righteousness, and that contrary to what some believe judgment awaits all who reject God and His Gospel.
INTRODUCTION:
When your hope has been dashed, and smashed to pieces what do you do? Most times we give up, or not, and push forward. We say, “What is the use? Jesus is coming soon I can quit my job; I can quit trying to lead people to Jesus. He is going to come and all this just won’t matter anymore.” God forbid that we feel this waay, and worse practice these thoughts and feelings.
The Church at Thessalonica was praised by Paul for their faith and love. The last verse of 1 Corinthians 13 mentions faith, and love. Why did Paul not recognize and admire their hope? They had lost hope. At least some of them had quit their jobs thinking, maybe saying, “What is the use?” Some false teachers were telling them they were already in the “Tribulation period”. Their faith and love; they had plenty; but hope had been lost in the persecution they were experiencing, and because of the false teachers and their teaching. When your hope is taken away there is just not much left worth living for. Paul is writing to reestablish hope in them.
Sometimes hope is dashed when we look and see evil prospering. God will have His day on the evil wicked of the world. They will not be able to stand the judgment of the wrath to come.
We who are in Christ Jesus, need not lose hope. The very evidence of our endurance in the midst of persecution is evidence of God’s righteous judgment. He gives endurance to those who are His – He strengthens us to persevere to the end (Matthew 24:13).

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2 (KJV)

This is the same introduction as the first letter, therefor, not too much need to comment, except to say Paul was very high on the grace of God. He depended on it. His life, and ours must depend on it for eternity.

“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure…” vv. 3-4

Paul has noticed something missing at Thessalonica – hope. They were quitting, just giving up. The persecution they were experiencing even affected their work – their way of making a living. Those who owned businesses were being shunned because of their faith [We would call it a “Boycott”].
They needed hope. Hoe is the life-blood of progress. People who have hope can accomplish just about anything. The only hope for mankind – all of humanity – is faith in Jesus through whom God gave the gift of salvation – eternal life. If we understand hope; hope is the motivation of faith and love.
People who are without hope – especially a Church that is without hope is dead or dying. We preach and teach that Jesus is coming soon, but where is our hope? If we had hope, would we not be telling everyone to get ready? At least as many as we possibly can? Understand, our hope – “The Blessed hope” – is not wishful thinking which has no substance. Faith is the substance of our hope (Hebrews 11:1). God said it, I believe it, so that settles it. One I like better than that one “God said it; that settles it whether you and I believe it or not.” Our hope as Christians is backed up with what God has said; His promises and prophecies will not fail.

“Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer…” v. 5

God uses persecution to build us and make us stronger in faith, and to root out those without faith. Those who endure persecutions because of their faith show the “righteous judgment of God”, and those who do not persevere show it as well. God truly knows those who are His.
Many complain about trials and persecutions in their lives, but does an athlete complain about running till his/her legs ache, lifting weights until his/her arms hurt? If a mountain climber does not hurt he probably has not climbed a mountain for a while. We can think, “Well these people voluntarily do that.” A-men. Do not we the people of Faith volunteer as well? If we are to be strong in faith let us face the weights, the running, and the mountains for the glory of our God, and His righteousness.

“…Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you…” v. 6

Those who fall away are many times the very ones who will cause the faithful trouble. There are some who seem to remain faithful to the Church, but never endure any persecution, because they live outside the Church like everyone else. They are trouble to the Church, whether they actually lift a finger against her or not. It is a righteous act for God to cause them trouble.

“…And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…” v. 7

While the rest of the world will be suffering from God’s judgment the Church will be at rest. During that period of seven years we will be in the presence of our Lord and Savior enjoying His glory. Where will you be when He comes?

“…In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power…” vv. 8-9

In Hebrews 10:31 the word of God tells us, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” Hebrews 12:29 says, “For our God is a consuming fire.”
Just as surely as Jesus is coming for His Church, He is coming also to take vengeance on the unbelieving – those who obey not the gospel. Many cannot see a loving God doing this. This loving God made a way possible for unholy men and women to become holy, and the unbelieving spit in His face, stomped His blood under their feet, and still proclaim with much hate toward Him, “I don’t need that. God is love. He won’t cast me into Hell.” If this holy, loving God will not cast unbelievers into Hell, then His Word is not trustworthy, there is not salvation, and there awaits nothing but damnation for us all.
Notice the forms of judgment mentioned: Flaming fire, Vengeance, Punishment, Everlasting destruction, Separation from the presence, glory, and power of the Lord.

“…When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” v. 10

What glory that will be when He is glorified in us. What is that glory? That others believe Him through our faith and testimony.

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” vv. 11-12

Hope can often be restored by letting people know you are praying for them, and how you are praying.

How was Paul praying? 1.) That God would count you worthy of this calling; 2.) Fulfill the good pleasure of His goodness; 3.) The work of faith with power; 4.) That Jesus name be glorified in you; 5.) You in Him; 6.) According to His grace; 7.) Fulfilled through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and His coming in the clouds.

It is solely by His grace. There is no other way of salvation.

We can rest in God’s grace that He will deliver us from the wrath to come, when we are in Christ. We have that hope, that promise in Christ Jesus.

If our lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors die in unbelief there will be no rest for them. After Jesus comes, any hope of salvation is gone.

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 090520

“There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them,
‘Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.’
”  Luke 13:1-5  (KJB)

The Suffering Shepherd

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, O You that inhabits the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You: they trusted, and You did deliver them. They cried unto You, and were delivered: they trusted in You, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him. But You are He that took Me out of the womb: You did make Me hope when I was upon My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from the womb: You are My God from My mother’s belly.” Psalm 22:1-10 (KJB)

Patience and Comfort of the Scriptures

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 (KJB)

I will let another speak today. the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown…

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning — “instruction”
through, etc. — “through the comfort and the patience of the Scriptures”
might have hope — that is, “Think not that because such portions of Scripture relate immediately to Christ, they are inapplicable to you; for though Christ’s sufferings, as a Savior, were exclusively His own, the motives that prompted them, the spirit in which they were endured, and the general principle involved in His whole work – self-sacrifice for the good of others – furnish our most perfect and beautiful model; and so all Scripture relating to these is for our instruction; and since the duty of forbearance, the strong with the weak, requires ‘patience,’ and this again needs ‘comfort,’ all those Scriptures which tell of patience and consolation, particularly of the patience of Christ, and of the consolation which sustained Him under it, are our appointed and appropriate nutriment, ministering to us ‘hope’ of that blessed day when these shall no more be needed.” See on Rom_4:25, Note 7. (For the same connection between “patience and hope” see on Rom_12:12, and see on 1Th_1:3).” From the JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY

 

Exactly As GOD Said

“I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6 (KJB)

This is a prophecy of the  trial, pain, beating, the suffering of the sinless Son of God as He gave Himself as the propitiation for our sins. A prophecy given to the prophet Isaiah around 700 years before Jesus was even born in the manger.

From Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse six…

smiters — with scourges and with the open hand (Isa_52:14; Mar_14:65). Literally fulfilled (Mat_27:26; Mat_26:27; Luk_18:33). To “pluck the hair” is the highest insult that can be offered an Oriental (2Sa_10:4; Lam_3:30). “I gave” implies the voluntary nature of His sufferings; His example corresponds to His precept (Mat_5:39).

spitting — To spit in another’s presence is an insult in the East, much more on one; most of all in the face (Job_30:10; Mat_27:30; Luk_18:32).”  From the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary

O, come to Jesus Christ who loved us so much He gave Himself to redeem us to the Father God in Glory.

The Gift of Suffering

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake…”  Philippians 1:29 (KJB)

A major automotive company has a commercial of a new medium size truck. In that commercial they show people doing many different things to show how the race of Adam puts  himself through a lot of suffering, and all for the fun and adventure of it.

People go to gyms every day of the week to “work out” for the purpose of “staying in shape”, getting in shape, and to be physically fit.  They do this then they have aches, and pains, and have even been overheard saying, “I have to go to the gym today.”  Some run, many walk pushing themselves to their limit.  They suffer with a goal in mind.

We often think nothing of suffering to gain our intended goal; but did you guess that; or did you know that suffering for Jesus Christ and His gospel is a gift from Him…

“…It is given in the behalf of Christ… to suffer for His sake…”

No one enjoys suffering.  I am recovering right now from a whole day spent yesterday helping two of my sons put in laminate flooring in our house.  We did two rooms.  I am grateful to the men for actually doing it; I merely helped supplying the planks, doing saw work, etc.  We got it done.  The outcome is wonderful.

We could say that the outcome of our suffering for the name of  Christ is marvelous, wonderful, and magnificent.  When we suffer for the sake of Christ, He is glorified.

I cannot say that I have ever suffered too much for Christ.  We do have brothers and sisters in Christ in countries like some of the nations of Africa, India, even Saudi Arabia, and many more.  Hang on brethren in those nations.  Continue in faith believing not only in Jesus Christ, but also in suffering for Him.

Lord Jesus, I pray that I too will be faithful in times of suffering for Your name. Amen.

This Jesus

“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” Acts 2:32 (KJB)

There have been and still are many ways the name “Jesus” is said, used, and abused.  There are, in fact, many Jesus’s in this world, and there always has been.  When you speak of Jesus which one do you make reference of?

The One in our text is the One who came as a Suffering Servant/King.  He came into this world just as we all do, by birth from His mother’s womb.  His conception was far different from ours.  His Father was Jehovah/YHWH the All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and All-Present One; the Immutable One – He never changes.

The One of whom I write this morning is the One who was despised of mankind, hated, mocked, spit upon, falsely accused of blasphemy, and doing good.

“This Jesus” took upon Himself willingly all the sins of the world.  All of my sins; all of your sins and was judged by the Judge of the universe as a sinner; yet He Himself was without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was buried in a borrowed tomb. He arose and came out of that grave.  No one has ever found His body. There is none to find.  He is alive

This Jesus is the Jesus of whom Peter is speaking in Acts 2.  When Peter says, “…Whereof we all are witnesses” he is speaking of the apostles, and those who saw the resurrected Jesus.

Those of us who believe in “This Jesus” today are also witnesses of the crucified, buried, and resurrected Jesus.  Though we have not seen Him, yet, we have seen the fruits of His Spirit, and the power of the spiritual gifts He gives all who have come to Him.

Let us choose to be vibrant, diligent, faithful, holy, witnesses for This Jesus.

The Grace of Suffering

“Forasmuch then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think it strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.  But the end of all things is at hand: you be therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the Spirit of glory and of God rest upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.  Yet if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.  For the time that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if first at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Therefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.  1 Peter 4:1-19

REFERENCES: 2:20; 3:19; Ezekiel 9:6; 44:6; Acts 10:42; 17:30; Romans 12:13; 14:10; 2 Timothy 4:1; Matthew 5:11; 24:13, 45; Proverbs 10:12; 1 Corinthians 3:13; James 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; Isaiah 10:12;

Captain of Our Salvation

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.  For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will?
For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.  But one in a certain place testified, saying,
‘What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that You visited him? You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of Your hands: You have put all things in subjection under his feet.’
For in that He put all in subjection under him, he left nothing not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.  For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  For both He that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,

‘I will declare your name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto you.’

And again,

‘I will put my trust in Him.’

And again,

‘Behold I and the children which God has given Me.’

Since then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.  For verily He took not on angels; but He took on the seed of Abraham.  Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.  For in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to rescue them that are tempted.”  Hebrews 2:1-18

REFERENCES: Numbers 15:30; Matthew 4:17; 28:10, 18; Luke 1:2, 74; Mark 16:20; Psalm 22:22; John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:54

Take Hold; Draw Out

Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.
Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. Psalm 35:1-3 (KJB)

The thought that David is giving (concerning the “shield and buckler” v. 2) is that the LORD is his protection and strength against all his enemies; his accusers.  The LORD is our protection against the onslaught of the enemy, and our accusers.

There is none who can accuse quite as strongly, maybe even honestly as the devil, that old serpent, Satan himself.  John the revelator calls him the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10).  So when you are attacked, accused, ridiculed, or viciously beaten and bruised; yet, still living; God is your strength and your shield.

Let me make something plain from our text.  God, the LORD has no need of physical weapons such as a sword, a shield, or a buckler.  They are, however, great examples of God’s means for our protection and safe keeping.

When Stephen was stoned to death in the book of Acts chapter 7 verses 54 through 60 we find Jesus standing to welcome him to his new home with Him.  The Lord stands with us in our time of suffering and pain.  He is with you today.

If you have not trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior do that today.  He is your help, your shield, your strength. He is all those and more for all who trust in Him.

Christ in You

SN110506

Christ In You

Colossians 1:24-29

In the past few years and months I have heard of sermons having to do with growing in your suffering, rejoicing in your suffering and such as that. Paul was writing from a place of suffering, and he was suffering for the cause of Christ and the cross. Can we or should we rejoice in suffering?

If we are to rejoice in suffering; how is that possible? It does seem that while Paul was suffering from imprisonment in a Roman prison he was rejoicing in Jesus our Lord and Savior. He has voiced words of approval of the people of Colossae, so we see he was not bitter. He did not complain. You hear nothing but contentment, and peace in his words.

Just how is it we can rejoice in suffering? Does this rejoicing include all suffering, such as sickness, financial hardship, family problems – marriage or having to do with children? It seems that we can rejoice in suffering, and in all forms of suffering.

There is a “Mystery” revealed in this passage of Scripture which gives us reason to believe that we can suffer and rejoice in the suffering as well. It is the mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.

OUTLINE –

I. REJOICING IN THE SUFFERING OF AFFLICTIONS OF CHRIST (v. 24). See MacArthur
II. CALLED TO FULFILL THE WORD OF GOD (vv. 25-26).
III. THE MYSTERY REVEALED AS ‘CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY’ (v. 27).
IV. THE PREACHING, THE PRESENTATION, THE PERFECTION, AND THE POWER (vv. 28-29).

In verse 23 Paul states that he is a “Minister of Christ”, and in verse 24 “And now rejoice in my sufferings for you”. Paul was REJOICING IN THE SUFFERING OF AFFLICTIONS OF CHRIST (v. 24). How can Paul do this? The word for “Rejoice” here means “to be full of cheer”. Cheerful and suffering just do not even seem to belong in the same sentence little lone the same life together.

What would the word “Cheerful” mean if we had no suffering? Would the word or the condition even exist? That goes with the words of a song of several years ago which says, “If I never had a problem, how could I know that God could solve them?”

Here are some thoughts from John MacArthur on why suffering is a cause for joy,

“First, suffering brings believers closer to Christ.” (Philippians 3:10). “Second, suffering assures the believer that he belongs to Christ.” (John 15:18; Matthew 10:24; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:14). “Third, suffering brings a future reward.” (Rom. 8:17-18; 2 Cor. 4:17). “Fourth, suffering can result in the salvation of others.” “Fifth, suffering frustrates Satan. He wants suffering to harm us, but God brings good out of it.” The above quotes by John MacArthur are from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Colossians/Philemon pg. 75.

In suffering for Christ, Paul was fulfilling the will of God and Jesus Christ in his life. For every child of God that suffers for the faith, Christ is glorified and exalted above all. Thus, suffering for Jesus fulfills the suffering of Christ for the Church. This has no redemptive purpose, but is due to redemption.

Paul saw his ministry to the church as being one CALLED TO FULFILL THE WORD OF GOD (vv. 25-26). There were many things that had been hidden in mystery (a secret hidden in the past, but now revealed) concerning grace, salvation, and the church. These things were not even seen in the law, but were there. Such things as having a “Heart of stone” and it becoming “Heart of flesh”;

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:” Ezekiel 11:19.

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 (KJV).

The only way this kind of change is possible in an individual’s life is through the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God is fulfilled when these wonderful things have been made plain. They are now revealed, and open for all to see, hear, and receive. To some, whose eyes may be darkened to the light of the Gospel, it will remain a mystery, and only by the power of God will they ever see. That is the only way it ever came to be in the first place.

There is a glorious thing about all of this, and that is THE MYSTERY REVEALED AS ‘CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY’ (v. 27). This is a wonderful, glorious thing. Our hearts should be full to overflowing to think, to know that Jesus Christ is in us. He is in us individually, and as a corporate body of believers when we are gathered together.

How can sinful people have the essence of holiness living within them? It is by the grace of God. How can we as the people of God – made so by grace – continue to live in our own power, and not rely on the One who lives, who abides within us?

The answer to the problem of the “Mystery” is “Christ in you”. You will not find that in the law, or in the Old Testament. Jesus Himself is “The Hope of Glory”. He is our hope of being with Him in glory ie., heaven. He is though, far more than just a hope. He is our salvation. He is our joy. He is our strength. He is our Savior. He is our Lord. He is our Master. He is the One in whom we trust. He is Creator, and our creator. He is Sovereign. He is All-present. He is All-powerful. He is All-knowing. He is God. He lives in those who confess Him as their personal Lord and Savior, whose lives He has changed.

Jesus did say to us, “Abide in Me…” (John 15:4). To abide in Him is to have Him abiding in us. The two go together “Abide in Me, and I in you.” O, the things we must give unto Him to make His life and presence revealed to this lost and dying world. Wherever we go do others see “Christ in you, the hope of glory”, or do they just see the ordinary? May God help me to have others see Christ in me, the hope of glory for others.

THE PREACHING, THE PRESENTATION, THE PERFECTION, AND THE POWER (vv. 28-29). Why did Paul suffer for the cause of Jesus Christ? Why did he rejoice in his suffering? He gives us the answer in these two verses.

He desired to present to Christ in that day a people who were complete in Christ. It is not a work to be left to the disciples own doing. The individual disciple of Christ is ultimately responsible for their own growth in Christ, but only after they have been taught the way; you might even say, after they have been taught to feed themselves.

All those who are in Christ will have presentations to make before Christ. The ones we have led to faith in Jesus will be there for that presentation. Do you desire that they be complete? That should be a strong burden for every Christian, ie., to see the newborn to faith in Christ grow from a babe to full grown adulthood.

The only way we can accomplish this, of course, is through the power of God – Christ in us, the hope of glory. We have no power, but His. We have no Word, but His. We have no spirit to accomplish this task, but His.

CONCLUSION –

I. THERE IS REJOICING WHEN WE SUFFER FOR THE NAME OF CHRIST, AND IN HIS NAME.
II. AS CHRISTIANS WE HAVE BEEN CALLED TO FULFILL THE WILL OF CHRIST IN OUR LIVES.
III. LET THE TRUTH OF ‘CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY’ NO LONGER BE A MYSTERY.
IV. GROW IN LOVE AND BE BURDENED TO SEE OTHERS GROW IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST; THAT YOU MIGHT PRESENT THEM COMPLETE BEFORE JESUS AT HIS COMING.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Chastisement, Correction or Testing?

“Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: for He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He woundeth, and His hands make whole.” Job 5:17-18 (KJV)

These words are from the first speech of Eliphaz the Temanite; one of Job’s three friends who had heard of Job’s plight, and came to comfort and encourage him. They had sat with him for seven days in silence, never saying a word. Maybe they should have remained silent; but that was not to be.

The words of the verses above are true. It is a blessed, a happy thing to know that God chastens those He loves (Hebrews 12:7-8). However, Job was not being chastised for any evil, any wrong he had done.

Job, nor his friends knew to the scene that had taken place in heaven. God was placing trust in Job, and his faith.

Remember when you are disciplined by the Lord that He loves you. That is a great encouragement. Let us also remember when it comes to the trials of another that silence is sometimes the best encouragement and comfort that we can give.

We are too prone to the fallacy of thinking that goodness never suffers; and evil always suffers.

We can be encouraged by the fact of knowing that when we err in sin, as one of His children, He chastens us; but all trials, and suffering are not the result of sin.

The answer is that in blessing and in pain rejoice in the LORD, and be a blessing to His name. Praise Him

GOD Builds a People

GOD Builds a People

Exodus 1:1-22

1.  GOD”S Sovereign Providing Hand Fro His People (vv. 1-7).

A.  This history begins with the word “Now…”

 

2.  GOD builds His People in the Midst of Affliction (vv. 8-14).

A.  “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered”  Heb. 5:8.

B.  By this we can see and understand that suffering is not just the plight of the wicked.

 

3.  GOD Honors Life and Blesses the Lives of Those Who Honor and Respect Life (vv. 15-20).

A.  The end result of saving lives of babies can be a deliverer, a Saviour.

B.  The end result is not often see by the one who has respect for life.

 

4.  GOD Blesses His People for Their Faithfulness (vv. 21-22).

A.  The blessed people are all who “Fear God”.

B.  Fearing God begins by receiving the Gift of God through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Through the Bible in a Year – 081813

Life of Rejoicing
Philippians 1 – 4

1. SUFFERING FOR THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST (Philippians 1:27-30).

2.  HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST JESUS (2:5-11).

3.  A LIFE OF AWAKENING (3:1-3).

4.  DOING ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST (4:10-14).

Evening Message –

In Love with GOD, His Word
Psalm 119:129-136

1.  HIS TESTIMONIES ARE WONDERFUL (vv. 129-130).
A.  It is the love of God in Christ which motivates our keeping them.
B.  They give light and understanding.

2.  THERE IS LONGING FOR HIS COMMANDMENTS (vv. 131-132).
A.  It is not the will of the flesh to have the commandments of God; but the Spirit of God within us.
B.  Because of His commandments we still seek His mercy.

3.  OUR STEPS ARE ORDERED BY HIS WORD (vv. 133-134).
A.  By the ordered steps of His Word we refrain from iniquity (v. 9).
B.  We will remain undeterred by the oppression of men.

4.  WE DESIRE TO LEARN HIS STATUTES (vv. 135-136).
A.  Learning His statutes we know that His face shine on us.
B.  We also mourn when we see others who will not heed the Law of God.
-T.A.

Words for Christian Living – God’s Will

“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”  Ephesians 5:17

I have spent a big portion of my Christian life looking, searching for God’s will.  About a month ago I realized I do not need to search for the will of God; that I am living in it.  I am not saying I am perfect, that I have reached the state of full knowledge or anything so preposterous as that.

The MacArthur Study Bible says this…

“…God’s will revealed to us is that people should be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-4), Spirit filled (v. 18), sanctified (1 Thes. 4:3), submissive (1 Pet. 2:13-15), suffering (1 Pet.2:20) and thankful (1 Thes. 5:18).”

Knowing God, His will for our lives, and serving Him is as close as His Word and His Spirit.  When we are Saved, Spirit filled, Sanctified, Submissive, Suffering, and Serving; then we are in the will of God, doing the will of God; and there shall be nothing which will be withheld from us.

The Psalmist has written…

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”  Psalm 37:4 (KJV)

When we know the LORD, are in His will, then God’s desires will be our desires.

Words for Christian Living – Resurrection

“For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?  As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.”  Job 14:7-15 (KJV)

Suffering Job was expectant of a resurrection.  He saw it in trees which might be cut down, and they sprouting back to life.  He saw in the oceans never drying up; nor the major rivers of the Middle Eastern areas.  The above is where the question is asked; yet he already knows the answer – “If a man die, shall he live again?”  and his answer is “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”

And all those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ says, “AMEN!”  Amen!  (See 1 Corinthians 15).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Praying For Knowledge

Colossians 1:9

I. THERE IS A DESTRUCTION FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.“ Hosea 4:6 (KJV).

A. “Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.“ Prov 19:2 (KJV).
B. “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (be mature).“ 1 Cor 14:20 (KJV).
C. Without knowledge you cannot know what is truth.

“Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.“ Isaiah 5:13 (KJV).

II. BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE.

A. The Bible speaks of being ‘Filled with sorrow’ – “But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.“ John 16:6 (KJV).
B. The Bible speaks of being ‘filled with fear’ – “And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Luke 5:26 (KJV).
C. There is the term ‘filled with rage’ – “And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.“ Luke 6:11 (KJV).
D. Then, last but not least of which is ‘Filled with the Spirit – “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;“ Eph 5:18 (KJV).

1. The filling represents total control.
2. Being filled with knowledge would then, have you and me under control of knowledge.

a. That means when we are ‘filled with knowledge’ when the “Know-it-alls” [Gnostics] surround us; when they overwhelm us; when they belittle us; and tell us, “You know nothing”, we are knowledgeable and can stand on the truth of the knowledge we have of God from His Word.

III. KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL.

A. Sometimes, it is a struggle to find and know the will of God.
B. There are seven things for which we can be certain is the will of God for our lives:

The first time I heard of these seven things I believe, were from a message by John MacArthur, then I read them in a study of Spiritual Gifts.

It is God’s will that we be Saved – “ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.“ 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV). “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.“ 1 Tim 2:4 (KJV).

It is God’s will that we be Spirit filled – (Eph. 5:18);

It is God’s will that we be Sanctified – “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:“ 1 Thess 4:3 (KJV).

It is the will of God that we be Submissive – “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. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:“ 1 Peter 2:13-15 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Suffering – “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.“ 1 Peter 4:19 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Serving – “ As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.“ 1 Peter 4:10 (KJV); “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” Eph 4:1 (KJV);

If we are faithful in following these six elements of God’s will then it is what ever we desire. “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.“ Prov. 16:3 (KJV); and “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart “ Psalms 37:4 (KJV).

John MacArthur writes,

“How does a person obtain knowledge? First, he must desire it. In John 7:17 Jesus says, ‘If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.’ That thought is echoed in Hosea 6:3, “Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.’ Second, he must depend on the Holy Spirit. It is through Him that we know the things God has revealed to us (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10-12). Finally, he must study the Scriptures, for they make the believer ‘adequate, equipped for every good work’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Perhaps the most graphic text related to the pursuit of divine truth is Job 28.”  From The MacArthur New Testament Commentary -Colossians & Philemon p.29

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING.

A. In an age of careless theology where people make their own god and interpretation of Scriptures the wisdom of God is greatly needed.

1. Scriptures, nor personal experiences can be properly understood by the question – What does this say to me?.
2. Scripture must interpret Scripture, comparing spiritual with spiritual, and personal experience in light of Scripture (1 Cor. 2:13-14).

B. With wisdom we collect and organize principles taught in Scripture.
C. With understanding we apply these principles to daily living.

John MacArthur writes,

“Having the knowledge of God’s Word control our minds is the key to righteous living. What controls your thoughts will control your behavior. Self-control is a result of mind-control which is dependent on knowledge. Knowledge of God’s Word will lead to all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Ibid p. 29ff

SUMMARY –

I. CHRISTIANS WILL FILL THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM OF GOD AND HIS WORD.
II. BEING FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD…WILL ENABLE US TO DEFEND THE TRUTH, STAND FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND BE VIBRANT AND DILIGENT WITNESSES FOR CHRIST.
III. HAVING THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL WILL FULFILL OUR BEING AND WE WILL BE MOST SATISFIED IN CHRIST, AND WILL GLORIFY HIM.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. John Piper

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING IS NECESSARY IN A WORLD THAT IS FULL OF DARKNESS, AND THE COMING OF CHRIST DRAWS NEARER.
V. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR YOU NEED HIM NOW.

-T.A.

Day 33 – Weary of Life

Does life ever seem like a weary process to you?  Do you ever feel like you are all alone and that no one cares?  Not even God?  There are many Biblical characters who experienced these thoughts, and the one we will look at today is probably the most known.  His name is Job.

My reading today was Job 10 – 23, but let me do a little recap of chapters 1 – 9; particularly the first chapter or two.

It is said of Job that he was “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed (avoided) evil”.  He was a man who had a large family of seven sons and three daughters, and he was a wealthy man (1:1-3).  We are told by Scripture that the “sons of God” which probably is referring to angels came before the LORD, and Satan came too.  Then we learn that the devil is challenging God’s treatment of Job.  God has protected Job and blessed him.  “No wonder”, the devil says, “he will not turn away from you the way you have blessed him.  However, if you would take all that away he would curse you.”

Job loses all his children, his wealth, and finally he loses his health as well; and he begins to feel as though God will not hear him.  He has three wonderful friends; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar; who show up to give him comfort.  We should all be so blessed to have friends who are willing to come, sit with you and listen to your heart, aches and all.  For seven days (2:11-13) they sat with him, weeping and mourning with him, not saying a word; but then, they should have gone home.  I had a friend who is now in Heaven with the LORD who had the philosophy of time on the phone should be no longer than three minutes; and if you spent any longer than that you started saying much more than was necessary.

It is great to mourn and weep with those who mourn and weep; however, it is probably best to let them do the talking, and you be silent, and just listen.  Understand, they are hurting, they are expressing their anguish and pain.  It is not the time for big theological discussion.

Be assured Job was encouraged by the visit of the three friends, but when they started talking, accusing him that this was all due to the sins of his children and his own sins; then, they became a source of further pain and grief.

There is much evidence in Job’s testimony that he was feeling like God was not listening to him.  You will never hear him deny God’s existence, or see a lack of faith in God, in any of Job’s words.

“My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” Job 10:1 (KJV)

It seems sometimes like all I get done is go to the doctor.  I have blood pressure problems, heart problems, with five stents put in veins of my heart last April.  I am not telling you this to feel sorry for me, please do not.  My wife had heart surgery on September 21, 2010, and she sees the doctor quite a bit, and we are still a young couple; we feel that way.  There are times, however, I feel a lot like Job felt.  Job was a far more righteous man than I am.  He was a man of much faith; mine seems weak much of the time.  My soul gets weary of this life, my life at times.  Life, however, is in God’s hands.  That is where I will leave it.

I know there are many others who are suffering much more than my wife and I are.  So many have cancers eating away at their bodies, weakening them physically, and gradually taking their lives.  Some overcome the cancer; and we struggle with God, and our faith.

There are many faith statements which Job makes in these 14 chapters read today.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.” 13:15

With this statement Job is saying that he will continue to trust the LORD even if He does not grant him a session with Him.  He will trust God and believe His word no matter what.  If you never heard from God again, never sensed His presence again; would you still trust and believe Him?

Another statement of faith from Job;

“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” 14:14

Though put in the form of a question you will notice that Job is waiting for that day when he rises from the grave, and “My change comes”.

The final one I leave you with today –

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” 19:25-27

To me that statement is probably the strongest statement of faith that Job has made thus far.  “I know that my redeemer liveth…”  Even though we may question God in our pain and grief, those questions are a statement that we believe God and are trusting Him.  If we did not would we be calling out to Him.  I think not.

That redeemer that lives is Jesus the Christ, Son of the living God.  He is the One on whom Job believed, trusted and confided in.  No Jesus the babe in a manger had not yet been born, but here is another manifestation of the presence and glory of Christ even in the Old Testament.  He is LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

How Should Any be Just with God?

How Should Any be Just with God?

Job 9:1-35

1.  The legalism of Bildad;
a.  This is the judgment of God (8:1-7);
b.  Look at the issues of past history (8:8-10);
c.  Look at the evidence of nature (8:11-22).

2.  Job’s questions;
a.  How can I be just/righteous with God? (v. 2)
b.  How can stand before God in debate? (v. 3)
c.  In chapter 10 he asks, “Why was I even born?”

I.  JOB’S CONCLUSION IS THAT DEBATING WITH GOD IS FUTILE (v. 3).

II.  THE GOD OF CREATION IS UNAPPROACHABLE BY MAN ALONE (vv.  4-15).

III.  BEFORE GOD EVERY MOUTH WILL BE STOPPED/EVERY MAN CONDEMNED AS A LIAR (vv. 16-21; Romans 3:4).

IV.  WITHOUT A REDEEMER WE ALL STAND GUILTY BEFORE GOD (vv. 22-31).

V.  JOB AND ALL MANKIND NEEDS A MEDIATOR BETWEEN OURSELVES AND GOD (vv. 32-35).

Application –

i.  Mankind in his pride, religion, moral goodness cannot stand before the just, righteous and holy GOD;
ii.  As far as we are concerned He is unapproachable, because of His purity; and our impurity;
iii.  All the accusations of mankind will be stopped and we shall be accounted as liars;
iv.  However, there is a redeemer; He too is just, righteous, and holy;  He is GOD; our “daysman” – Mediator;  His name is Jesus.

-TA.

This sermon was preached in the Sunday morning worship 07/24/11

Searching in the Fire

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” 1 Peter 1:10-12

The prophets of the Old Testament had spoken and written of this great salvation. Isaiah the eighth century B.C. prophet foretold both the first coming of Jesus in the fifty third chapter of his writings (Isaiah 7:14; 53), and the second coming of Jesus in glory (Isaiah 11). That salvation which was previously mentioned (v. 9) is the salvation which Jesus is working in us, and will complete at His appearing.

By inspiration of the Holy Spirit we see that the prophets inquired and searched diligently into the matter of this glorious salvation. The salvation that was paid for with the blood from the body of God who had become human, that He might die. Did the prophet Isaiah realize he was writing of the death of God become flesh as he penned down Isaiah 53? I have a strange notion that he had a suspicion of it, and this is one of the areas which the prophets searched and inquired.

Some more questions I can think of concerning the search of the apostles: Did they see the types, the shadows, the pictures of their Messiah in the writings of Moses? Did they see Him in the sacrifice God made to clothe Adam and Eve? Did they see Him in the fire that guarded the gate to Eden after the fall? Did they see Him in the genealogy of Seth? What about in the Ark? What about as Abraham went to Moriah to offer Isaac as a burnt offering to God? In the sacrifices of the law of Moses? The sabbaths, and/or the Sabbath? I personally believe many of them did, especially since we are told that they “searched diligently”. A diligent search of Scripture will show us these things.

It seems by looking at verse eleven that they were wondering when these events were going to take place and whom they would be for. We know the answer to this today. He came at the appointed time, to His own people, but was rejected by His own. The person who came was the Messiah/Savior/Lord/God/King to sit on the throne of David for ever and ever.

The prophets wrote of His coming, His suffering and His glory. It is because He came and suffered for us that we have the strength, and power to stand strong and suffer for His name’s sake when we have opportuntity. That is right ‘Opportunity’ is the word I used. If the early church people counted it a joy to suffer for His name (Acts 5:41). The suffering Jesus suffered for us is what He came to do. It was His very purpose in coming. To make it clearer; God sent His Son Jesus to become a man, in order to take on Himself all the sins of mankind, lay His life down as a sacrifice for our sins, be judged by the Father Himself, and the Father pouring all His wrath out on His Son, thus judging sin and putting the judgment away forever, never to be done again; the burial of Jesus takes that sin away never to be seen again, and the bodily resurrection is the seal of approval of the putting away of sin, and God’s seal of approval for the work of His Son. By the resurrection of Jesus we have the assurance of eternal life with Him, when we trust the work He accomplished on the cross.

Now, why shouldn’t we count it an opportunity to suffer for the name of Jesus? Not that I am going to go out looking for someone to kick me around, or boot me out a door. The suffering will be there when the time calls for it. When we do suffer for the name of Jesus we will rejoice that we were counted worthy to do so.

We see a second group that is mentioned in this text. That of “Angels”. It must surprise them that God could love us so much; but then again, maybe it doesn’t surprise them, but amazes them. You know “Amazing Grace”. I am not going to get into a long thing concerning angels, but I will say that they do exist. I mean the Bible says so. Angels came and ministered to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane when He had prayed. He mentions that He could call legions of angels to aid Him, yet, He doesn’t.

The prophets realized that Jesus was not coming in their time, but for another time, and that their writings was going to be used to minister to others. The disciples, apostles, the early church, you and me; and all who know Christ Jesus.

The prophets were successful in their search. The Holy Spirit gave them assurance of the completion of it. How else could Isaiah have peace when he is told that the people he is going to preach to will hear but not obey? The Spirit of God confirmed the message. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of Jesus’s coming (Ephesians 1:13-14). He is the power of wisdom. He is the means of knowledge and understanding. He is the means to a holy lifestyle. He is the one who points us to Christ.

Let us; like the prophets of old continue to give diligent search to know this man named Jesus who is the Christ of God, the Son of God, and who died to save us from sin, and to clothe us in the righteousness of God. Because of Jesus God has declared us Just, by his own righteousness.

-T.A.

Preserved Through the Fire

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

There is certainly assurance in these words of God’s ability to keep us for Himself and His own glory. That assurance has been called “Blessed assurance”. It truly is a blessed assurance when you know that Jesus died for your sins, that He was buried – carrying all our sins away; and that He arose from death. Not only was sin conquered, and carried away, but it was defeated. It can no longer condemn the redeemed.

By the mercy of God He has given us a new birth, and that birth is by a heavenly see. His mercy is an abundant mercy which is based on His everlasting love. The love of Jesus Christ is seen for us, in that he allowed vile, evil and wicked men to beat, whip, mutilate, and nail Him to a wooden cross for our sins. It is by grace through faith in Jesus that we are “Born again” to spiritual renewal and life.

It is a “Lively hope” or ‘living hope’ given by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I was once asked the question, “If Jesus’ life was a gift given on the cross for death; how can that continue to be a gift if He rose bodily from the grave?” My answer to that is – He gave His life as an atonement for sin; He died and in His death He took sin with Him; in rising again, bodily, from the grave He shows that sin is done (sin’s bondage, condemnation, death is done), but life continues through Him. I do not know it that is clear enough, and it most likely involves much, much more; but I think that gives us a good message. Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave there is absolutely no hope for anyone – as Paul the apostle said, “We are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19). It is because of Jesus’s resurrection that we are assured of eternal life; and eternal life begins with faith in His finished work – by His grace.

This resurrection life in Christ has an eternal inheritance. The inheritance is massive. It is this – what ever Jesus has is ours. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” Romans 8:16-17 (KJV). You will notice that in these verses of Romans that we inherit His suffering and that is the only thing mentioned with the exception of, “Also glorified together”. Suffering with Him and His glory are very closely related.

We often think of “Inheritance” as great wealth, riches, comfort, etc., but that is not the case when it comes to Jesus. The so called “Word of Faith” people would have us believe we are to inherit it all right here and almost right now. The Word of God tells us suffering is part of our inheritance, then glorification with Him. The inheritance we have in Jesus is “incorruptible” meaning that it will not rust, rot, mildew, or decay; and it is forever. We are also told that it is “undefiled” – it is clean, holy, pure – nothing can defile it. Also it “fadeth not away” – this inheritance is never wasted, spent up, or bankrupt. It is reserved in heaven for all who belong to Jesus. It is reserved in your name, by God, and that makes it the most sure thing you or I have going for us. It is more sure than your next breath of air.

Those who follow Jesus are “kept by the power of God” for the salvation we have to be revealed in that latter day. By the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit we are moving closer to the completion of our/His salvation. That work of His on the cross is complete, there can no more be done for our atonement, but the sanctifying of the Spirit is at work, right now, fitting us for His Kingdom, and His presence. Even when we sin and our fellowship with Him is broken He still holds on to us, and by His Spirit and His Word He moves us back into His will. By the sanctifying work and the power of the Spirit of God we are PRESERVED THORUGH THE FIRE.

-T.A.