Covered and Forgiven

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” Psalm 32:1-5

Wisdom, Vision and Happiness

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

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

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

Look at the verses above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Truth Has Fallen in the Street

“Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before Thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; in transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.” Isaiah 59:9-15

There is a problem with being a prophet of God. One is that what ever he prophesies is what he will endure, receive and go through as well as the people he warns. Whether it is a prophecy for good; or a prophecy for judgment he will endure it as well.

The above verses are a confessional prayer/statement to the LORD, and to the nation. Note that Isaiah includes himself in the confession “Judgment [Justice] is far from us”, “but we walk in darkness”, and “we grope”, “we had no eyes”, “we stumble”. You get my point I am sure.

Even though the prophet had probably not committed these atrocities, these sins he includes himself in the array, because this was his nation, his people, and God had been offended by the sins of the people; the kings, princes, nobles and all.

Where we have sinned let us confess it and forsake it. Let us turn our backs on sin; not on God. Let us forsake evil and sin, not our God. Let us stand for truth, though it may be fallen in the street. Though we turn our backs on evil and sin; though we may become a prey because we do so. Let us do so.

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

The cleansing means that we turn our backs on sin, to not live it in repetition.

When We Pray God Hears: When We Sin God Chastises

“The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war. And they made war with the Hagarites, with Jetur, and Nephish, and Nodab. And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and He was intreated of them; because they put their trust in Him…” 1 Chronicles 5:18-20
“…And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them.” 1 Chronicles 5:25 (KJV)

These tribes had their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan River. They had to fight to keep it. It is believed that these Hagarites were a desert people, that were growing restless due to the numbers of Israelites dwelling in the land.

They attack, and by the prayers of God’s people have God’s help in the victory over the Hagarites. “They cried to God in the battle…” He heard them, gave them the victory, because they trusted Him.

The people of God are warned to trust only in Him; remember the first commandment – “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Then these 2 and one half tribes transgress the law.

Because of the transgression God sent Tilgathpilneser to judge and discipline them to bring them back to Himself.

“And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.” (v. 26)

God does not leave His people without discipline, without correction, without judgment. Peter says, “Judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). One thing we must remember; and that is that “God loves us the way we are when we are coming to Him, but He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.” He will accomplish His work in us. He will be glorified.

Cause of Prayer – Understanding the Prophecy of Seventy Weeks

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.” Daniel 9:24 (KJV)

In the seventh thing we see the angel giving DANIEL THE PURPOSE OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS (v. 24). This is the thing Daniel read from Jeremiah concerning Israel (Daniel 9:2). In the prophecy each seven day week represents seven years, thus the seventy weeks would represent a total of 490 years. What was the purpose of these years – one week of which or seven years, has not yet come to pass.

“For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:10-11

The purpose of the seventy weeks has a six fold purpose; 1) “To finish the transgression” ie., to bring an end to Israel’s transgression – their sin and rebellion against God in worshipping idols; 2) “To make an end of sins”; 3) “To make reconciliation for iniquity”, ie., that is to reconcile the nation to God; 4) To bring in everlasting righteousness; 5) To seal up the vision of the prophecy; and 6) To anoint the most Holy.

The power of God in prayer will be revealed to those who love the Lord, and love His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

Mercy or Justice???

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1 (KJV)

This Psalm are the words of David to the LORD following the confrontation of his sin with Bathsheba.  David is guilty of sin; adultery, and murder of Uzziah the husband of Bathsheba.  David deserves to die.  That would be justice.

Because of David’s repentant heart God gives David mercy, and preserves his life.

In 2015 I have heard many call out for “Justice”, and yes sometimes that seems in short supply.  There is justice for many unborn children, but no mercy.  There is much mercy shown to those who do not deserve mercy, because they have shown no mercy.  Wait a minute.  Who deserves mercy?

Let me define what these words mean; at least as I see them.  First “Justice”  equals getting what is rightly deserved – death, judgment.  “Mercy” equals not receiving what we justly deserve – but instead receive forgiveness, life, love, liberty.

The Psalmist asked for mercy.  I believe he received it.  He received forgiveness, cleansing, and his sins blotted out.  Hear the word of the LORD;

“I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isaiah 43:25

My prayer is that we ask for mercy from God for our transgressions, our sins; and that we also ask for mercy for those who sin against us.  I need mercy.  What about you?

Servant of the LORD

“The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.” Psalm 36:1 (KJV)

In a day where no one likes to be anyone’s servant, even slave, we do not like the term “Servant of the LORD”.  That may just be where the “Transgression” begins.  It is where the transgression begins.

The title of the Psalm, “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD.” has a reference to “David the servant of the LORD”  Do you; do I have a problem with being the servant of the LORD?

It is transgression if we are not.  In fact if we do not yield to the LORD we have no fear of God, and we are estranged from Him.

If we are servants of the LORD, then there is allegiance to Him, devotion to Him, love to Him, and of doing His Word; loving Him with all our hearts, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength.  We obey God, even by obeying the laws of men, as long as they do not violate the law of God.  To do so is a transgression against God, and there is “…No fear of God before his eyes.”

GOD calls us to Himself through His Son Jesus.  Yield to the One who died on the cross, was buried, and rose again.  He is coming again. Live for Him.

Happy in Forgiveness

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Psalm 32:1 (KJV)

Another Psalm of David with a “Blessed”.  The word means Happy.  However in a world where everyone wants happiness we must understand that the happiness men and women, boys and girls are wanting and for the most part having; is sadly lacking in merit and quality.

The happiness which the Psalmist is writing of is from God; it is not fleeting.

There are people today who say something like this, “God wants me to be happy” so they set about seeking happiness in anything that they believe will make them so.  A man who is unhappy with his wife knows a woman he works with, they talk, they share secrets, they encourage and comfort one another; he believes he can be happy with her.  That is not the Happiness which God gives.

Notice in the verse above the four other words which are given; two of which are essential for “Happiness”.  “Forgiven” and “Covered”.  “Transgression” is rebellion against God.  “Sin” is transgression.  The word “Forgiven” carries the meaning of being carried by another.  The word “Covered” has the meaning of concealing never to be revealed again.

There can only be true, God given happiness when our transgressions are forgiven and our sins are covered.  That has been given all who will believe and receive it through God’s gift of His Son Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins – our transgressions – being buried carrying our sins away, and His bodily resurrection from the dead.  Believe Him and receive His free gift of grace.  That is “Happiness” beyond human understanding.

Thus saith the Lord GOD 013014

“And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.’ And the Spirit entered into me when He spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard Him that spake unto me. And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against Me: they and their fathers have transgressed against Me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.'”  Ezekiel 2:1-5

…Thus Saith the LORD… 012214

“Up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, ‘There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.’  In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man. And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.”  Joshua 7:13-15

Words for Christian Living – Why We Live

“Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”  1 Corinthians 15:12-19 (KJV)

There are those who do not believe that life comes from death.  Think about this…  A farmer plants an old dried seed in the ground, and a few weeks, or months later a stalk comes forth out of the ground, and produces a harvest of corn or wheat or barley…  Life does come from death.

So how is it we can have such a hard time believing that God could raise His own dead, buried Son from death?  We live because the holy, Righteous, Son of God shed His blood on the cross of Calvary, was buried, and arose bodily from the grave.  He is alive forevermore.

God created human beings eternal beings.  The death of the body is a result of sin; transgression of God’s laws.  Yet, though the body dies the eternal being lives on, somewhere.  Hell’s fire is what we deserve.  However, God in His Holy, Righteous, Justice and Love sent His Son to die for our sins; taking the wrath that was mine and yours to bear; and bore it for us on His cross.  The bodily resurrection of Jesus is evidence of the truth of the words Jesus spoke while He lived and dwelt among us.  Trusting Jesus and His finished work on the cross is the only means of salvation.

Believe Him and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words for Christian Living – Know When to Go

“Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, ‘How long wilt thou speak these things, and the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? Doth God pervert judgment? Or doth the Almighty pervert justice? If thy children have sinned against Him, and He have cast them away for their transgression; if thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; if thou wert pure and upright; surely now He would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.”  Job 8:1-7 (KJV)

Job had three friends.  Friends are an important part of living and life.  Job had, and was suffering from loss of children to death, destruction, and loss of all his possessions.  Even his wife had failed to stand with him in faith.  His friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar came thinking they would encourage their friend.  They sat with him for seven days (2:13) without saying a word.  That was good for Job.  Their presence meant more than any words they could speak.

Job spoke, and was just speaking from his pain and grief; and words of faith.  Even though there is a questioning of God’s motives for this from Job’s lips you can still see his faith, believing God.  Why is it that well intentioned people do not know when to be silent.

Bildad, above is basically calling Job a “Windbag”.  “How long wilt thou speak these things, and the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?”  All I mean to say here is listen when someone is suffering.  Know when to go.  After seven days of silence.  That was enough.  This was so for all three of them.

Know when to go.

Tim A. Blankenship

The Pleasure of the LORD

Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”  Ezekiel 18:23
‘Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ saith the Lord GOD. ‘Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth,’ saith the Lord GOD: ‘wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.'”  Ezekiel 18:30-32 (KJV)

-T.A.

The One Who Delights in Mercy

Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy.  He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”  Micah 7:18-20 (KJV)

The God of the Bible; Old and New Testament is now, has always been, and forever shall be the merciful GOD.  “He delights in mercy” are part of the words written above.

Every living being on earth in the past, present and future have experienced His mercy.  We have no right to His mercy.  We do not deserve His mercy.  We cannot earn it.  He gives it without us even taking note of it.

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

Someone has said, “Mercy is not receiving what we actually deserve.  Wrath.  Grace is receiving from God what we do not deserve.  Love, forgiveness of sin.”  That is pretty close anyway.  God loves His creation, and has sent His only beloved Son to die for our sins, and to raise Him to life again that we all might be made just in the eyes of God.  All who will believe on Him.

-T.A.

The Time for Wise Actions

For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.  Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.  Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.  Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.  Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; ‘Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, ‘Alas! alas!’ and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing.  And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD.”  Amos 5:12-17 (KJV)

If you will note the way of things as the prophet Amos declares them.  Bribery, the poor cannot get a fair deal.  His word is to “Seek good, not evil” and to “Hate the evil,…Love the good, establish judgment in the gate…”  We live in an era of decay; moral decay and depravity, injustice in the courts, through wrong and at times idiotic rulings by corrupt judges.

“Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.”  It could be that the prudent or wise, need rather than speaking, just need to act on doing the right things.  Something to think about.  There is of course a time to do both.

-T.A.

 

Day 54 – Judged by Sin

I find it very sad that so many have tried to change the definition of Biblical sin.  According to God’s Word – the Bible – sin is a transgression of God’s law.  Sin is failure to measure up to God’s glory; His requirements of the law.  Nowadays, we hear things like, “Sin is whatever keeps me from achieving my personal goals”; or “Sin is when somebody else does me wrong”.  So there is a wrong?  Who determines what is wrong or right?  You?  There is one absolute gauge for what is right and wrong; and that is God and His Word.

If God says it was a sin in the Old Testament; it is still a sin in the New Testament; and today.  When I say that I am not speaking of Old Testament rituals, sacrifices, and offerings; but the moral issues having to do with the way we live our lives.

My reading this morning was finishing the prophet Isaiah 63 – 66 and Jeremiah 1 – 10.

Isaiah ends the messages of his prophetic writings with wonderful words of a great and glorious future for Israel, and the world; for those who will trust and believe in the LORD.  Jeremiah begins his prophecy telling about his calling as a young man, his short debate with God about his inability to speak, and God’s promise to hasten to perform His word (1:12).  Jeremiah is told by God,

“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.” Jeremiah 1:17 (KJV)

The prophet of God, or the preacher of God cannot afford to preach to appease the people, for fear of retribution from them.  He must preach what God declares unto him.  The prophecy of Jeremiah, like Isaiah is not all “doom and gloom”; there is also much promise and hope.  The first hope is that God is giving the people a chance to repent and change their ways; but they will not.  They are in love with their sins, and thus Jeremiah tells them,

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee,’ saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” 2:19

The children of Israel/Judah have chosen their own way and will go into captivity because of it.  They have forsaken the LORD God and turned to the idols of foreign nations. They have even gone so far as to think that because the Temple is in Jerusalem then they are safe from destruction and captivity, but the prophet says to them –

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,  ‘Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.  ‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.  Trust ye not in lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.'” 7:1-4

It could justly and rightly be said that what the children of Israel were practicing was plain ole hypocrisy.  Sure to “worship” the LORD on the sabbath day, but practicing the behaviors of foreign gods the other six days.  God created the heavens and the earth. He does not need a defiled place to worship Him.

Our hearts today should be like that of Jeremiah weeping for the people; why he is often called “The weeping prophet” –

“Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” 9:1

We must be sure that our own sins are gone, cleansed, forgiven, and that we are walking with GOD daily.  Every moment of each day we need to be dependent upon the LORD God.  He is our Creator, our Strength, our Hope, and without Him we are nothing.  Weep for our own sins, and for the sins of those who perish; and pray for their redemption through the cross and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Spirit Of The Family

Galations 6:1

OUTLINE –

I.  BRETHREN ACCORDING TO THE FAITH.

II.  OUR RESPONSIBILITY TOWARD BRETHREN CAUGHT IN TRANSGRESSION.

III.  THE TRANSGRESSION IS AN ACT AGAINST GOD AND HIS LAW.

IV.  A WORD FOR THE SPIRITUALLY MATURE.

V.  RESTORATION IS THE GOAL OF CORRECTION.

VI.  SPIRIT OF MEEKNESS AT THE HEART OF CORRECTION/RESTORATION.

VII.  LOOKING ATTENTIVELY AT ONE’S SELF IN CORRECTING/RESTORING A FALLEN BROTHER.

VIII.  BEWARE, LEST YOU ALSO BE TEMPTED.

I refer to the family of God.  Those who are in the faith of Jesus Christ.

Families have problems.  Marriages of Biblical as well as non-biblical couples have problems, yet many times work things out or learn to live with each other in love.  The same is also true within the church – the Body of Christ.  Sadly some cannot, or don’t want to work things out.

The Christian family cannot do anything except love one another, as we have been given commandment; by our Lord Himself (John 13:34-35).

The Spirit of God’s family is His Spirit.  His Spirit gives live, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness (Keep an eye on this word), temperance…  How God’s family treats one another goes a long way in the way we deal with our neighbor, work associates, or ones we might consider “enemy”.  We have no enemy but Satan, and he is the enemy of every human being.

BRETHREN ACCORDING TO THE FAITH.  There are three ways in which humanity can be called brethren.  The first is by being a part of creation some have a tendency of calling us all brethren because we are of the human race; but if that were the case, then we not be “brethren” with all created things.  That would be okay with the pantheists I guess.  Secondly, we are brethren with those who are born into our physical family.  Thirdly we are brethren when we are born again in faith through Jesus Christ.  Now there are probably other ways to be called “brethren”, but I will not consider any of those.

As brethren/family through Christ we have been born again.  Raised from death in sin to life in the crucified, buried, and risen Christ.  Called to be the brethren of Jesus Christ Himself.  He being our Elder Brother (Hebrews 2:11-13).

OUR RESPONSIBILITY TOWARD BRETHREN CAUGHT IN TRANSGRESSION.  Every Christian has died to sin and its power; but none are sinless in this world.  The seed of Christ in us never sins (1 John 3:9-10).  The flesh in which we labor to overcome sins, must be forgiven and cleansed, changed through the sanctification of God’s Spirit.  We experience sin through the “lust of the flesh’, ‘lust of the eyes’, and ‘ the pride of life” (1 John 2:16).

This must be dealing with sin which has trapped, and holds the brethren, as he lingers within it.  A follower of Jesus Christ can become blinded by rationalizing.  It is often because we get away from daily prayer, daily Bible study and reading, church attendance/worship and living in the disobedience of it all; stuck in the mud pits of sin.

We must all be aware of sins entrapment.  It can grab, and hold you by a lingering, overbearing doubt, fear, lust.  It can bite or sting you through a simple luxury.  It can be as subtle as a slithering serpent.

THE TRANSGRESSION IS AN ACT AGAINST GOD.  Sin is transgression of God’s Law (1 John 3:4).  The law is a “schoolmaster” to bring us to Christ (3:24).  By the law we learn we transgress God’s law – we are incapable of obedience to it for the glorifying of God – thus “falling short of the glory of God”.

All mankind has transgressed the law of God making us sinners – transgressors.  Unworthy of God’s love, mercy and grace.

It is sad to say, but sometimes, even the Christian willfully transgresses the law of God, and by their sin offend others.  This is probably the “fault” or transgression of which Paul refers.  O, God be merciful to the child which willfully disobeys and send a loving member of the family for correction and restoration.

A WORD FOR THE SPIRITUALLY MATURE.  Shows there are levels of Christian growth.  The apostle speaks to this when he says to the Corinthian church, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1).  The apostle Peter even addresses this when he states, “…As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).

We cannot and should not expect new born Christians to suddenly become mature.  Growing is a process, and is a good and godly thing.  It will require prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and witness.  It will also involve trials, suffering, testing – and none that are really pleasant to prove their faith.

RESTORATION IS THE GOAL OF CORRECTION.  How a piece of wood furniture is restored.  First of all it is taken apart piece by piece; then each part is sanded and prepared for finishing; then if needed new bolts, screws, biscuits replace the old; and last new varnish, laquer, or other finish is brushed or rolled onto the wood restoring and renewing the surface.

Sometimes a fallen brother or sister needs the loving, mentoring/discipling of another brother or sister to guide them back into fellowship with the church.  It is tough love that corrects and restores one loved.  It is not love at all to let a brother or sister continue in sin without correction; anymore than it would be for a parent to allow a child to continue doing something that would hurt them.

SPIRIT OF MEEKNESS AT THE HEART OF CORRECTION/RESTORATION.  Jesus spoke of meekness, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).  Meekness is not weakness – it is strength or power, authority under control.  Two of the meekest men who ever lived are Jesus and Moses (Matthew 11:29;  Numbers 12:3).

As one who knows and is aware of the weakness of the flesh; meekness serves as a means of godly wisdom with understanding of one’s own redemption story.  One’s knowing from whence he/she came.  Pulled, snatched from the burning, the cesspools, pits of fear, despair, doubt, destruction, sin and condemnation.

Meekness can be seen in Presidents, kings, potentates, teachers, pastors, preachers, or leaders from most walks of life; as they take off their “garments” of leadership, and put on a tool belt: for more than political promoting picture ops.  Simply remembering our “roots”.  Putting ourselves on equal/level ground with the “overtaken” brethren.

LOOKING ATTENTIVELY AT ONE’S SELF IN CORRECTING/RESTORING A FALLEN BROTHER.  Knowing your own weakness to sin will help you to mercifully deal with brethren.  The Christian who says, “This would never happen to me”, is in for a big disappointment somewhere down the road of their lives.

Correcting is showing/teaching the errors or wrong as well as teaching the right, and without further condemnation.  Usually, the fallen brethren are feeling guilt, shame, and don’t quite know how to deal with what they have done, or are still doing.  A loving example, “considering yourself”, in their presence could be all that is necessary to bring them back.

BEWARE, LEST YOU ALSO BE TEMPTED.  Jesus was tempted, but not unto sin.  Temptation is not sin.  James writes, “…Every man[everyone] is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15).  We are drawn away by our lust, our ungodly desire.  Temptation only becomes sin if it is not quickly dealt with and terminated.

Temptation can be so subtle, quiet, and deceptive.  “I am not happy in my current marriage” says a wife and mother to her friend, “so, I am leaving my husband for Joe who I am happy being around”.  “God wants me to be happy”.  Temptation comes in the form of obtaining happiness, wealth, things, even health outside God’s law, grace and provisions.

It helps each of us to know and confess our own weaknesses.  It could be a proclivity toward lying.  It could also be love for the luxurious.  It could be an almost overbearing desire for wealth; or the sin of greed.  What about gossip, talebearing, or a froward (trouble making) attitude and lifestyle.  There are so many; far too many, but each individual must deal with them accurately and adequately.

All sins were dealt with by Jesus and the Father on His cross.  The Spirit of the Family is the Spirit of God given to all who believe that Jesus is the Christ Son of the Living God.  Believing that Jesus is God [Immanuel] come in flesh.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Please note:  This message will be preached in Carr Lane Baptist Church in two parts – Sunday morning and Sunday evening.