Resurrection and the Ire It Causes

The reactions of people are wide a varied. When Lazarus had died, and was buried four days Jesus came and spoke to the dead man, and Lazarus got up, and came out.

There were many Jews who saw this and believed in Jesus. Some, not only sought to kill Jesus, but also Lazarus. Religious envy often raises the Ire, the anger, of some religious leaders; and this was one of those cases.

“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that He was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom He had raised from the dead.
But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.” John 12:9-11 (KJB)

You would think that seeing Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead would have opened the eyes of all the Jewish people. Why did it not? Because of their hard heart of unbelief. They trusted a religious system; not God. They loved the attention of the crowds; not God. They loved to have power over the people; not surrendering themselves to the power of God.

Do we not know, that every time a soul comes to Jesus in faith, that is a resurrection from the dead.  That is the greatest miracle of all. That a man, a woman, boy, or girl who calls on the name of Jesus Christ in faith is doing so because they have heard Jesus say “Come”, and because He has made the spirit of that individual hear, just as dead Lazarus did.

Redemption is given us by the grace of God through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is God the Son.

 

Messiah and His Words

To let the readers of Broken Pieces know… I have been doing mostly a reading and study of the gospels for the year of 2019. I read through and studied Matthew through John January through March, then I read and studied them again April through June, then the Acts through Jude; following that I  read the Prophets Isaiah through Malachi.

For the month of December I am reading and doing a study in the gospels once again, but dealing mostly with the gospel of Luke from December 1 – 24. Here is what I did.  I would read chapter 1 and 2 in Matthew on December 1, and chapter 1 of the gospel of Luke.

Now we are a day past Christmas, and my posts will be on the gospel of John, so I share with you all today the following…

“Then said some of them of Jerusalem, ‘Is not this He, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, He speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?’ ” John 7:25-26 (KJB)
He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47

The question was being asked by some of the people, “Do the rulers know indeed that this Jesus is the very Messiah?” I wonder that as well.  Did they know? Were they just fearful of the change He would or could bring if He was indeed the Christ  – the Messiah?

I pray everyone reading this today realizes that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, and the only Savior and Lord God of the world, and of all the created order.

If they knew they were stubbornly being stiffnecked, hard headed people indeed.  That was much like those who refused to hear the words of Moses and the Prophets of old.

Jesus makes it clear in John 8:47 that those who hear – meaning those who hear the word and take His words into their hearts and minds, doing them they are of God. Those who do not hear and do them (James 1:22) these are not of God; they are in fact enemies of God and have no hope.

Where do you fit in this word of the Messiah?

The Satisfaction of Imperfection

Satisfaction Of Imperfection

Colossians 3:5-11

Why the title, “THE SATISFACTION OF IMPERFECTION”? It just seems that people who profess themselves to be Christian, are more and more giving excuse for their rude, and sometimes lewd behavior, as “Well! Nobody’s perfect”. That is an acclamation of THE SATISFACTION OF IMPERFECTION.

To excuse our sins as just being normal for being human, rather than seeing them as an offense to God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; and harm to our fellowship with them is wrapped in hardcore unbelief, or pure ignorance. Paul has told these things are dead with Christ on the cross, however, in our present text we are told to put them to death.

The Gnostics had a problem with the flesh and the Spirit of God being together, so they basically just said, “Live how you want in the body. You will be okay”, but Paul tells us to put these evil practices to death. “Mortify” means to put to death. This requires “The Set Mind” which we looked at in verses 1 – 4. Paul believed we were able, by the power of the Holy Spirit within to put these evils to death; put them out of our lives.

It is true that we are not perfect people, and as humans, yes, we will and do sin. That is no excuse for offending the holiness of God which is within us. As has been stated before, “We do not have to sin”. If we have been saved by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and His resurrection, then we do not have to sin. We have been made free. That is the greatest independence that has ever been given to mankind, if we would only receive it, and its blessings.

OUTLINE –

I. PUT TO DEATH THOSE THINGS WHICH SO EASILY DRAG US INTO SIN (v. 5a).
II. A LIST OF SINS CONCERNING PERVERTED LOVE THAT LEADS TO EVIL MOTIVES (v. 5b).
III. THESE ARE SINS OF THE CHILDREN OF UNBELIEF AND WILL COME UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD; WE USE TO LIVE THERE, BUT ARE DELIVERED (vv. 6-7).
IV. A LIST OF HATE SINS WHICH LEAD TO AN EVIL ACT (v. 8).
V. EACH ONE PUTS ON THE ‘NEW MAN’ AND PROCEEDS TO HOLINESS AND A SATISFACTION FOR HOLINESS (vv. 9-11).

I. PUT TO DEATH THOSE THINGS WHICH SO EASILY DRAG US INTO SIN (v. 5a).

A. We, as Christians, have been given a gift; the gift to say no to sin, and not let sin reign in our lives.

“ Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” Rom. 6:12-14
B. It is up to the Christian to live with the Set Mind to overcome sin, and not let it have dominion.

1. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ has freed us from sins death and bondage, but the mind of the Christian must work out the victory in living it.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” Philp. 2:12-13.

II. A LIST OF SINS CONCERNING PERVERTED LOVE THAT LEADS TO EVIL MOTIVES (v. 5b).

A. All of these sins are acts related to sexual immorality.

1. Fornication – The Greek word for this is ‘porneia’ from which we have the word pornography, and has to do with harlotry, idolatry, adultery and incest.
2. Uncleanness – physically or morally impure.

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:  All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” Jesus (Mark 7:21-23).
3. Inordinate affection – unregulated, disorderly passion and lust.

“That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;   Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God” 1 Thes. 4:4-5.
4. Evil concupiscence – depraved, forbidden, injurious desire or lust.
5. Covetousness – Greediness, avarice = excessive desire for wealth; REMEMBER THE TENTH COMMANDMENT, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s” Ex. 20:17.

B. All of these things are connected to covetousness which is “Idolatry”.

1. Whatever consumes your mind, and your time is your god; that is what you worship.
2. Our lives are God’s – Let’s worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

III. THESE ARE SINS OF THE CHILDREN OF UNBELIEF AND WILL COME UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD; WE USE TO LIVE THERE, BUT ARE DELIVERED (vv. 6-7).

A. The afore mentioned sins are sins of the children of the devil.
B. The “Wrath of God” will come on all those who are living in them.
C. In the past we were also ‘children of the devil’ walking like them, but no longer are ‘in them’

IV. A LIST OF HATE SINS WHICH LEAD TO AN EVIL ACT (v. 8).

A. Hate in the mind leads to hateful actions which lead to all kinds of deeds, and their consequences.

1.. Anger – is desire with a violent passion.

a. Anger is an emotion that is given us by God, but what we do with it and how we use it is another thing.

b. In this verse it has meaning of negative actions; uncontrolled, destructive actions.

2. Wrath – fierce passion and indignation.
3. Malice – to actively seek the harm of another whether by words or by actions.
4. Blasphemy – evil speaking, railing against God – ‘Railing’ is to mock, babble, joke; to complain angrily.
5. Filthy communication – cursing, swearing, filthy joking, taking the name of the Lord in vain, etc..

B. The Christian is to “Put off” these things.

1. These things should be like clothing that smells terribly bad, or on fire; we get them off really quick.
2. Since we are told to do this we must believe that we can do it.

V. EACH ONE PUTS ON THE ‘NEW MAN’ AND PROCEEDS TO HOLINESS AND A SATISFACTION FOR HOLINESS (vv. 9-11).

A. Having ‘put off’ the “Old man” and “Put on the new man” we are to practice holiness and have the satisfaction of perfection.
B. We are renewed daily as we read, study and apply the Word of God to our lives, and daily living

1. We are renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created us.
2. We progressively become more like Jesus – there is growth; though much of the time we may not be able to see it ourselves.

C. The ethnic background does not matter; we are equal before God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Much Needed Repentance

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read for today Judges 9 – 10…

“And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, ‘We have sinned: do Thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto Thee; deliver us only, we pray Thee, this day.'” Judges 10:15  (KJB)

Since the death of Gideon the tribes of Israel had grossly strayed from the path the LORD had laid out for them, and had turned to the worship of foreign gods, which means they had turned their backs on the LORD.  The LORD God was the One who had delivered them from Egypt, gave them deliverance through crossing the Red Sea, provided water from the Rock, given them manna for bread in the wilderness, and protected them from many enemies in their journey.  Yet they had gone astray in the land of Promise.

Reading chapters 9 – 10 of Judges we find departure, defeat, and chaos.  They are distressed by…

View original post 180 more words

Christmas Day Two Hundred Fifty and Four

Christmas day is always a special day, and over the years the celebration of Christmas has grown to last for over a month, with people deciding to be more loving, more gracious to others, giving to charitable organizations even more than usual.  When I started doing this Christmas day everyday, up until Christmas day of 2016 I wanted to present the idea of living each day as though it was Christmas, honoring the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

So What do I want for Christmas?

I want every day to be a day of giving; giving the word of God to others that they might hear, and leave it up to you to either receive and believe, or reject and perish in your unbelief; giving you hope for tomorrow; hope that only comes through the love of God shown in the cross of Jesus Christ, His burial and bodily resurrection.

I realize there are other ways of giving; and that is probably what most think of; but giving involves so much more than things; He is  the Giver of all things.

“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:35-36 (KJV)

Scripture and Ever Present GOD

Some men have questioned Jesus on the teaching of the resurrection. These questions come from men who do not believe in the spiritual things. They do not believe in angels, or a resurrection; so Jesus knows that they are trying to deceive and trick Him into an answer that will trap Himself.

These were the Sadducees. A religious sect of the time which is believed to be made up of the Hebrew priesthood; and rejected many of the traditions of the elders, according to NELSON’S NEW ILLUSTRATED BIBLE DICTIONARY. They hated the Pharisees, and Jesus; yet both sects tried to trap Jesus, and eventually were together in His crucifixion.

Seven brothers for one bride (Matthew 22:23-28). A matter of Levirite marriage where if a man has a brother and he marrys a woman, and then he dies the next brother is to take his wife. The question is a ludicrous one; at least in my thinking. Hear the words of Jesus to them:

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.” Matthew 22:29-33 (KJV)

They were in error because they did not know the Scriptures; yet they prided themselves in knowing Scripture. The problem was – they did not believe it.

Jesus confronted them of their ignorance, and unbelief. Really it comes down to the point of questioning, if they even believed in God. Jesus put the men in their proper place.

In the resurrection things will be different from earth. Jesus says that there will not be any marriage in the resurrection, nor will any be given in marriage, but we will be as the angels. For Jesus to say that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; is to show that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are in fact still very much alive.

“I am the God of Abraham, … Isaac, … and Jacob” shows that God is a very present God. A “NOW” God. He did not say “I was…”. He did not say “I will be…” He said, “I am”.

Do you know Him through His Son Jesus Christ? Do you know Him NOW?

God’s Word Will Stand

Prisoners from Judah have been taken to Babylon. Jeremiah and a remnant of people have been left in Jerusalem and have been told by God through Jeremiah that they are to stay in the land and till, and tend it, and that God will bless them, protecting them, and keeping them from further harm from Babylon.

The people have asked Jeremiah to go to the LORD, and seek His direction as to what they are to do. They seem to mean by that: “Do we stay in Jerusalem, or shall we go down into Egypt?” God has told them to stay in Judah and trust Him. They have flat out rejected the word of the LORD, and said, “We are going to Egypt.” See Jeremiah 43:1-7.

“Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by My great name, saith the LORD, that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth. Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them. Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, Mine, or theirs. And this shall be a sign unto you, saith the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that My words shall surely stand against you for evil: Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.” Jeremiah 44:26-30 (KJV)

After the people have arrived in Egypt God gives them a sign to show that it is His word that will stand; not theirs. That sign is that Babylon is going to come against Egypt, and the very thing that they feared will come to pass. All that refused to hear the word of the LORD, and obey will face famine, death, and pestilence.

Yet, there is a promise in these verses, “Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah…, and they shall know whose words shall stand, Mine or theirs”. That has part of the phrase that is mentioned throughout the Old Testament “They shall know…” mentioned so many times in Ezekiel’s prophecy.

Why is it so important for God’s people to know, to hear, and to do the word of God? So that we can better know Him, and live under His blessings and not His chastening, disciplining hand.

Jesus Christ is God’s living Word. When you hear Him, and follow Him you are cleansed, you are forgiven, you have eternal life through His death, burial and resurrection. His Word shall stand.

God’s Truth, and Preachers of Lies

“Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie: therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for My people, saith the LORD; because he hath taught rebellion against the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:30-32 (KJV)

Through the prophet Jeremiah God had spoken to the false prophet Hananiah (chapter 28), and he had died just as Jeremiah had said. Now there is another; one named Shemaiah who was one of the captives in Babylon writing from Babylon telling the people not to listen to Jeremiah. In telling them that, he was telling them “Do not listen to the word of the LORD”.

Now, I can somewhat understand why some of these people did not want to believe Jeremiah as prophet of God. They were bound to the temple, they were patriotic toward their nation. They had a hard time believing that the temple was going to fall, and that the nation was going into captivity. I can get that. Yet, who are they to love, and adore? Who is the One to whom they owe allegiance, and obedience? There is only one answer to those questions; and that is the LORD God.

Shemaiah was probably one of those who were adulterers, and dreamers of lies. He was for sure one that would not accept the prophecy of the 70 years in Babylon. Probably like Hananiah said, it would only be two years.

How was an individual supposed to discern the truth between the two, the true and the false? Which ever prophecy came to pass just as it had been spoken; that was the word of God, and was the truth. Jeremiah’s words were proven true. Hananiah died that same year; as foretold. Shemaiah missed out on the blessings of God for His people.

O my friend do not deny the power of the word of God. Believe Him through His Living Word; the Lord Jesus Christ who fulfilled all the word of God; and was obedient to the Father all the way to the cross, dying for our sins, being buried, and bodily arose from the grave. One day He is returning for His people, and will make things right in this world. Believe Him today, and live eternally with Him. Otherwise you are perishing.

Hearing God: Repentance

“Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath He covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.” Isaiah 29:9-12 (KJV)

At the time of Isaiah’s prophecy there was much religion, but little actual faith. There was a faithfulness to ritual religion, but no real faith. There was much repentance, but it was false repentance; because there was not real turning around.

The prophet says, “Stay yourselves” or “Stop” or “Pause” and “wonder” or “be amazed”. They talked of God, of the way of God, of their religion, and faith; but they only lived it on the Sabbath day.

Some of the more modern translations of where we read “cry ye out, and cry” read “Blind yourselves and be blind”. That is what happens when people hear the word of God and refuse to submit themselves to God and what He says. The crying out reminds me of what is said of Esau in the New Testament (Hebrews 12:17).

We can all be like the little boy who was caught taking the cookie from the cookie jar after his mother had made them, and clearly told him, “No cookies till after supper”. When he was caught with the cookies he says to his mother, “I am sorry momma”. She says “That is okay son. Just put the cookies back in the jar; and all will be fine.” “But momma”, the boy says, “I want to keep the cookies”.

The boy was not sorry for taking the cookies. He was only sorry he got caught. That is how the unrepentant are with God and sin. Too many times we are not sorry for our sin; we are only sorry we got caught. Too many times in our culture, and with society today there are many, even professing Christians who do not even acknowledge sin.

Christian; when God speaks, calling for repentance we best hear Him. When we refuse to hear Him we will receive discipline if we are His (Hebrews 12:7-8). When we are disciplined, then we need to know to repent; turn away from our sins; and believe the LORD. When we cease hearing God He can be silent to us as well.

If you have not heard from God for awhile; maybe you need to check your life, and judge it.

Able to Overcome

Able to Overcome

Numbers 13:30

1. Look at the background story (vv. 1-3; Deut. 1:19-23).
2. They searched the Promised Land to find it just as God had said; “A land flowing with milk and honey” (vv. 26-29).
3. They looked at the problem, rather than the Promise (vv. 31-33).

I. GOD HAD GIVEN THE PROMISE OF THE LAND; WHY DOUBT IT.

II. THOUGH IT MAY SEEM PRACTICAL TO SEARCH OUT THE LAND; WE WILL ONLY FIND IT AS GOD HAS SAID.

III. LET OUR FAITH BE LIKE THAT OF CALEB; “LET US GO UP AT ONCE” – WITHOUT DELAY.

Words for Christian Living 061713

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”  James 1:5-8 (KJV)

Doubting God, and unbelief are a hazard to prayer.  Double-minded people are unstable.  Seek God’s strength.  Believe God’s Word.  Trust Him to the end.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Time is NOW

Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, ‘The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.’  Therefore say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘There shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done,’ saith the Lord GOD.'” Ezekiel 12:26-28 (KJV)

There is never any time such as the present to hear the Word of God and believe what He has said, and is saying.

-T.A.

Pigs in the Pigpen

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

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

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

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

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

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

-T.A.

Resurrection – Unbelief and Hardness of Heart; Mark 16:9-14

“Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils. 10 And she went and told them that had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And they, when they had heard that He was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 12 After that He appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
14 Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen.”  Mark 16:9-14 (KJV)

By the testimony of verse 9 the resurrected Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene.  Who is this Mary?  She is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke,

“And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils” (Luke 8:2).

This Mary had been terribly bound, and was probably involved in great evil.  The Lord Jesus had freed her and cast the demons from her.  By His great glory He appeared to her first and gave her  the privilege of telling the sceptical disciples of the resurrection.  When she came to the disciples and told them they did not believe her report.

According to verse 10 the disciples were in mourning and were weeping.  They were quite sorrowful over the death of Jesus.  Why, O why, would they not believe Mary?  Would not her countenance be aglow with joy?  Would not her words have been filled with excitement?  Saying,  “Our Lord’s grave is empty, He is alive.  I have seen Him.  He has spoken to me.”  I think I would have at least been curious.  This would have, of course, been after Mary has been to the tomb, found it empty, went to Peter and John, they run to see it empty, and then return, as John writes,

” Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.”  (John 20:10).

They were not even curious enough to begin a search, they “…went away again to themselves”.

After appearing to Mary Magdalene Jesus appears to two who are walking together.  Luke tells us is was to Emmaeus.  Luke gives us more details of this appearance by Jesus.  These two did not recognize Him.  He shared with them the words of the Prophets concerning Himself, and only when He had broken bread at their table did they recognize Him.   When He first appeared to Mary, she did not recognize Him.  She thought Him to be the gardner.  Maybe due to the sadness, mourning, and tears His identity was covered to them, and maybe due to spiritual influence from Him.  They had been blind to the words Jesus had spoken concerning His rising from the dead, and now they were blind to its reality.  Only by the power of God did they know Him.  Only by the “Drawing” of the Father, and His will can anyone know Him.  These two told the disciples that Jesus was risen, and still they do not believe.  By this time Peter and John had probably already seen Jesus alive due to the words of Luke in chapter 24 verse 34,

“Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.”

When they came to those who had not yet seen Jesus alive the remainder would not believe.  We sometimes jump all over Thomas because he would not believe unless he witnessed the resurrected Jesus personally, but all of the disciples had the same attitude.  Blessed are those who have believed though they have not seen.

Why did Jesus rebuke them for their unbelief?  He had spoken to them many times of His death and resurrection, but they had not heard.  They had had a wrong attitude toward Him.  He was their source of deliverance from captivity of Rome.  He was their hope for amounting to something in “His kingdom”.  Judas was not the only one following Him for the wrong reason(s).  They found it hard to believe that their “Messiah” would even die.  If He was not going to die there was no need for a resurrection.  So in their mind all the problems of the Hebrews were over; then He died.

Jesus rebuked them, because they had not believed His Word.  “Destroy this temple, and in three day I will raise it again”.  You can imagine that now that He has appeared to all of the disciples, they now believe.  Would I have been any different?  Knowing what I know of myself, and having grown up in Missouri [the Show-Me State], I doubt it.  Knowing what I now know, by the testimony of so many witnesses and the testimony of God’s Word, Yes I believe He is risen.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Error Of Balaam

Numbers 31:16

There are some in the work of the ministry for the ministry of keeping, or getting into others wallets, billfolds, and purses.  Maybe it should be called the taking of others wallets, billfolds, and purses.  This is not a new thing.  The man who is called by God to proclaim the message of God’s word can find himself in many temptations.  One of the strongest is that of obtaining all the wealth of this world he can.

That tends to be the problem with Balaam.

The Bible says;

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude 1:11 (KJV)

There are two other men named in this verse; Cain of Genesis 4, and Korah [Core] from Numbers 16.  Cain killed his brother; Korah verbally attacked and led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron.  What is the “error of Balaam”?  Greed for reward.  And that is not only gold, silver, precious stones; but it can be power, prestige, position, performance, and/or profit.

Let’s look at Balaam, and his life, his acts – both good and bad, and his demise.

I.  KNOWN TO BE A PROPHET; HE IS REQUESTED TO CURSE THOSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (Numbers 22:6-14).

II.  SEEN TO BE AN ANXIOUS PROPHET TO CURSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (vv. 15-21).

III.  GOES TO BALAK, BECAUSE HE CANNOT SEE (vv. 22-35).

IV.  BALAAM EVIDENTLY HAS THE RIGHT WORDS; BUT NOT THE RIGHT HEART (23:7-12, 18-24).

V.  BALAAM’S EYES ARE OPENED TO THE TRUTH OF ISRAEL (24:2-9, 15).

VI.  BALAAM PROPHESIES OF ISRAEL AND THEIR FUTURE BLESSING (vv. 15-24).

VII.  BALAK BRINGS A CURSE UPON THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (chapter 25).

VIII.  WHAT BALAAM DID TO AID IN THE CURSE UPON THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL (Numbers 31:16)

NO ONE CAN CURSE THOSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (Numbers 22:6-14).  God has previously told, and promised, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you” (Genesis 12:3).  What Balak was requesting was a curse on himself, but then, they were already cursed by their own fear, hatred, and rejection of God’s people.

Balaam seems to be a sorcerer that was well known among the people of the land of Moab.  His sorcery is spoken of,

“And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.” (Numbers 24:1)

He dealt with “enchantments”, “ritual”, or “performance”, and this is probably the very first time God has intervened in his greedy pursuits; and because it was going to relate to His people.  It can only be but by the mercy and grace of God that He intervened.  This could have been nothing more than God showing them, ie., Balaam, Balak, and the Moabites the power of the One True God of Israel.

The thought of Balaam’s face being set toward the wilderness is that he may find a way to curse them.  He at least desires that he may find a cause for God to judge them.  In other words he is not interested in doing the will of YHWH; he is interested in lining his pockets from the wealth of Moab, and their king.

TOO ANXIOUS, FROM GREED FOR WEALTH, LEADS TO THE ATTEMPTED CURSING OF WHAT GOD HAS BLESSED (22:15-21).  Remember Esau, and Jacobs stew (Genesis 25:29-34)?  Esau had gone to hunt or something; may have been gone for a day and without any game on returning.  He is hungry, tired, and the scent of Jacob’s stew makes his mouth water.  At what price will Esau feed his stomach?  At what price will Balaam feed his greed?  At what price will a pastor sell out his calling, ministry, family, or church?  At what price will the Christian man sell his faith and home for that woman at work who pays him more attention than his wife at home?  At what price will that Christian woman sell her faith, her children, her husband, for that more lavish lifestyle?

Is our faith something we can sell?  Some seem to think they can.  When Balaam set out on the journey which was fanned by the flames of greed and fear; the voice he heard louder than any other was the jingle of the gold and silver coins in their purses, the position, power, prestige and profit he could receive if he would just “curse” these people wandering in the wilderness.

He did the right thing in turning down Balak the first time.  He heard the word of the LORD there.  Then, the servants of Balak returned with a better offer, and if he would have been the man of God he should have been; his answer would have been an immediate, NO!

When God has given a clear answer in the negative; especially in this type of situation; there is no need to seek God’s advice again.  He is simply wanting God’s approval to go with the men (Numbers 22:1-21).  God in his patience with Balaam gives him a clear message which he disobeys (vv. 20-21).  Balaam is one of those who merely use God for his own means.  He is a sorcerer (he uses enchantments (24:1)), and he is also known for using all other kinds of sorcery, thus seeking the guidance of the devil as well.  He is a man, a prophet, with a divided heart, and no loyalty to God, holiness, righteousness, or justice.

What price did Esau pay?  He paid the sum of his birthright.  What price will Balaam pay?  That will become apparent by the end of the message.

WHEN THE DUMB CAN SEE AND SPEAK THE LORD MAY COME AND OPEN BLIND EYES THAT THEY MIGHT SEE (vv. 22-35).  Balaam, being anxious to sin against the will of God, and to get him his wealth arises early the next morning saddles his donkey, and gets himself ready to go.  Did Balaam not hear what God had said?  Hear God’s words to Balaam:

“If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.” 22:20 (KJV)

The text tells us nothing of the men coming to him;  he just rises up and gets ready to go.  His mind, his heart is not on God but wealth.

Why is it that we can get out of the will of God, then blame God for not working in our lives?  “I can’t see God doing anything anymore”; someone might say.  “What have you done to shun God or His Word?” would be my first question.  Have you gone your own way?  It could be that God may have some “donkey” to speak to you so as to spare your life.  And He might for me when I am in a similar situation.

Here are some signs of the blindness of Balaam:

1. It is quite clear that the first approach was from enemies of God’s people;
2. Their payment method of divination, shows us that he was viewed by the haters of Israel as connected with sorcery;
3. He listened to them and their payment a second time without reservation;
4. When God tried to stop him, or at least to get his attention, he could not see it.

When it got right down to the truth it was his lowly donkey who saw the “angel of the LORD” standing in the way, which would have killed him had it not been for the donkey.  Balaam could not see the hand of the Lord ready to slay him; he only thought it to be his donkey.

THOSE WHO SAY THE RIGHT THINGS; BUT DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT HEART (vv. 23:7-12, 18-24).  Can a  prophet or preacher say the right words without being in right relationship with God?  Is it possible for the preacher or prophet to know the Gospel of  Jesus Christ without knowing the Jesus Christ of the Gospel?  It is certain that Balaam knew the right words to say, and evidently God was giving him those words to say.  So the answer to those questions must be; YES!

That can go for the Sunday School Teacher, the Deacon, the Elder, the church Treasurer, or the pastor to the man and woman in the pew.  There are many professors in our churches who are not possessors of the person of Jesus Christ, ie.,  His Spirit within.  They know the right words to say in a personal word testimony, but their life bears no fruit.

Balaam’s life bore no fruit of righteousness.  Even John the apostle writing to the church of Pergamum,

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” Revelation 2:14 (KJV)

This plot between Moab, and the Midianites prove too that it doesn’t matter who is in your family line.  Moab is the eldest of the incestual sons of Lot [Nephew of Abraham] (Genesis 19:36-38).  The Midianites come from Abraham as well; through the wife named Keturah (Genesis 25:1-5); whom Abraham married following Sarah’s death.  Moab gets the Midianites to join them in trying to overthrow Israel.  It is not the bloodline that counts; it is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses all our sin.

WITH EYES WIDE OPEN; YET CONTINUE TO DENY THE TRUTH FOR SAKE OF LUST (vv. 24:2-9, 15).  It is the confession of Balaam himself that says his eyes were opened.  It is the LORD who opened his eyes (v. 4) to see Israel for who they were.  Yet, this man, who divines, who deceives, who has the revelation from the only true and wise God of the identity, work, and uniqueness of this nation, still hungers, craves, lusts for power, prestige, position, and profit.

Jesus said;

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

and the “things” He speaks of is not wealth, riches, power, prestige, position or profit.

There are many who say they know Christ, but have a greater heart for making wealth than they care to know the One who makes wealth.  All things are in His hands, and no one can take them away from Him.  We are, as Christians, “seated with Christ in heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:20; 2:6).  The thing is the soul that is with Jesus does not have their hearts on the things of the earth.  Those who do fit into the same category with the “earth dwellers” of the Revelation.

Many of these know the truth of the Gospel, may profess to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; but they bear no fruit for Christ, thus are eternally lost.  These fit into the same type relationship with Balaam.

THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL, AND THEIR BLESSINGS (vv. 24:15-24). God has opened the eyes of Balaam.  Remember he couldn’t even see the “angel of the LORD” that would have killed him, but his donkey saved his life; thus the LORD was merciful to this false prophet.

His eyes have been opened to the blessing of God upon the nation of people called Israel.  This term [“eyes open”] is used by the prophet himself in a parable he speaks; and uses it at least three times (vv. 4 third parable, 15, and 16 fourth parable).

In this “parable” is a prophecy of the Lord Jesus; “there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel…” (v. 17).  Moab and Edom had been sources of conflict with Israel; even though related; and the coming King would and will deal with them according to His power and might.

The prophecies of Balaam are promises of Israel, and Balaam never fully realizes the truth of what he has spoken.  The mere mention of his name throughout Scriptures seem to indicate that he was false in his life, and that is one of the keys to the recognition of the man of God.

1. The man of God is true to God;
2. The man of God is faithful to God and His Word;
3. The man of God lines his life with the Word of God;
4. The man of God speaks and the Word of God comes to pass.

There are two examples of these in the five books of Moses (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20-22).  Both of these examples speak of turning the hearts of God’s people to other gods (which are not gods at all), and the worship of demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-20).

The God of Israel is the Holy One; He is the only One;  He is the righteous One; beside Him there is no other.  He is known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; working in the flesh of His Son.  One day all of Israel will turn from their unbelief; and see their God through their Messiah.  The King of kings is coming to rule on His throne in Jerusalem.

AN EVIL THAT CAN BRING GOD’S CHASTISEMENT UPON HIS CHILDREN AND THE ANSWER (Chapter 25).  When God’s people sin it causes grief in the heart of God.  Yet, as the loving, forgiving God and Father that He is He desires to bring them back to Himself.  I have said it many times, and believe it to be a quote from Charles H. Spurgeon, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”.  His children, His people are those who believe Him and His Son Jesus Christ; and live their lives for Him and His glory.

Since Balaam could not curse the people of Israel; he did one of the worse things that a pretender, hypocrite can do; cause evil to come into the heart of God’s people.  There are those in 2009 who believe that just because they are descendants of Abraham they are God’s children; even John the Baptist and Jesus has something to say about that:

“And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Matthew 3:9 (KJV) [words of John Baptist.]

“I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.” John 8:38-40 (KJV)

Notice those words of Jesus; “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galations 3:6; James 2:23).

The only righteousness of God available is that righteousness which comes through the shed blood of Jesus on Calvary’s cross.

Though the death of Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins we still sin; but as a child of God we have the power, and ability through Jesus Christ not to sin.  When we sin God is not pleased, but He does want us to know that we have and Advocate with the Father (1 John 1:9 – 2:1).

The deception of Balaam brought evil into Israel, and a plague destroyed many of the people, and Phineas acted jealously for God, and stopped the plague.  Some of the people of Israel had fell to the lust of other gods which involved prostitution, and it is the worship of demons.  In this plague 24,000 people died.  God will not, and does not allow His children to sin successfully.  There may be times that it seems; at least in our eyes; that He is letting some things slip by.  If you profess to be a child of God and can sin without guilt, shame, or fear of God’s judgment; you are not His child.

We are not to live in fear, but in peace and love and contentment with God.  You cannot have that if there is sin in your life.  Deal with it.  Paul said, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Deal with sin quickly.  “Keep short accounts”.

THE HEART OF BALAAM WHICH WORKS RUIN (Numbers 31:16).  Now, we come to the opening Scripture verse.

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.”

We see the trespass which Moses mentions in chapter 25, the wrath and judgment of God; the plague upon Israel taking the lives of 24,000 people; and some dying due to God’s commandment to slay all the guilty.

Though the heart of Balaam was with the Moabites and the Midianites; and for the wealth and perks that went along with it; there is in the midst of this immorality, and debauchery; many people who are grieved by the sins taking place in the camp of God.  These are found at the “…door of the tabernacle of the congregation”, and weeping because of this great sin against God and the people of God.

As the people of God we are to seek to bring good and blessing into people’s lives; not ruin, and harm.  We are to be springs of living water – cool and fresh; refreshing the weary soul.  We are to be hotsprings for healing, renewing and strength.  We are to be especially so to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

If we do things to cause a brother to sin; or to stumble and fall; then we fall into the category of the error of Balaam.  If we do or say something that causes us to look good while harming another; then that is the error of Balaam.  You may think, “I am not doing or saying it for pay?”  Oh!  You’re not?  You have taken away something that belonged to another.  You are in the “Error of Balaam”.  The heart of Balaam was to work ruin in the people of Israel.

Let’s always to seek to lift up our Lord Jesus Christ, glorify His name; and we will not be tearing others down to build up ourselves.  Nor, will we be leading others into sin.  Balaam died at the hands of Israel, along with the kings of Midian (Numbers 31:8).  Though the child of God cannot sin successfully; neither will God overlook those who treat His children poorly.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Peril Of Unbelief

“But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” Jude 5 (NKJV).

There is not much said, either in written form, or speech from the pulpits of our churches (those who still have pulpits), anything concerning apostates or apostasy. It is almost like they do not exist. It seems to have been the thinking in Jude’s day as well, because they need to be reminded of those who never made it to the Promised Land following their deliverance from Egypt.

There were many who murmured and complained all along the journey. They would murmur about having no water, they would complain about having nothing to eat. They mumbled and groaned about the leadership of Moses. God dealt with each of these situations in His power and glory. In one instance, the one which kept them in the wilderness for 38 extra years, they came to a place called Kadesh Barnea, twelve surveyors (spies) were sent into Canaan to search the land, its people, and any problems they might encounter (Numbers 13). When the men returned ten of them said, “The land is just as was spoken, but there are giants in the land, and in their eyes we are as grasshoppers.” Isn’t it amazing what that little three letter word can do to faith, ie., “but”. There were two men who said, “God has given us the land, Let us go up at once, and possess it…” (Numbers 13:30). The people rebelled, said no, and because of their unbelief they did not enter. No one over the age of twenty at this rebellion, except for Joshua and Caleb, would enter the Promised Land. “They entered not in because of unbelief”. Read Hebrews chapters three and four.

How could we describe or define “Unbelief”? The unbelief spoken of concerning apostates, and apostasy is just an out and out denial, refusing to believe what God has said. Refusing to act on the promises of God, and not trusting in Him alone. What has been seen previously in Jude – the turning of the grace of God into lewdness [lasciviousness], denying the cross and work of Jesus – turning the things of God into reasons for pleasure, and unruliness. God is not pleased with the lewd behavior, and those who practice such are living in unbelief, and have no part with God. The Peril of Unbelief is destruction, and eternal damnation.

Beware of those who can teach and lead you away from the God of mercy, grace, love, and holiness, righteousness, and justice.

-Tim A. Blankenship

By Faith, or By Flesh

Faith or Flesh

“Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.” Genesis 16:1-3 (KJV)

There are so many times that we make decisions by what looks like the right thing, and goes against what God has said, then later we pay consequences for doing so. Abram was no different. He experienced famine in the land of promise (chapter 12), then left that promise for greener pastures in Egypt. The act of proceeding down to Egypt was an act of unbelief, and in their unbelief they had taken to themselves a servant girl who would later become a source of temptation to further unbelief.

Abram needs not be put on a pedestal for us to admire, receive encouragement from, and seen as an example of faith. He was, and Sarai was; they were simple people capable, and quite able of making mistakes. We all can easily indentify with them. We have been there. We have had our faith tested, and tested again. If you haven’t; you will. You may even leave your place of promise, but God will bring you back to it, just as He did Abram and Sarai.

As far as Sarai was concerned things looked hopeless. They had no children, and it did not look as though God was going to do anything about it. Abram was now eighty five years of age – they had “dwelt ten years in the land…”. Sarai was seventy five; how could they have a son and fulfill the promise of God?

Waiting, waiting, waiting… It is such a grueling task. If you have not noticed recently, though; the Bible mentions, “Wait on the Lord…” so many times it should cause us to “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him.” (Psalm 37:7). Far too many times I want to rush in, to solve the issue, the problem, and far too many times the flesh is involved, and receives fleshly results. Isaiah 40:31 says, “They that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength…”

In our churches and evangelical groups we have people rushing around trying to accomplish the mission of God in our society. They use every imaginable thing they can think of to draw crowds. Some have used strong men, breaking and bending objects, to the cheers of the crowd. Some have used motor cycle races, and jumping. All of this in the name of Jesus to “Win souls”. Did Jesus ever call us to draw a crowd? I admire the attempt to win souls. We long for the salvation of the lost soul, but it cannot be done by fanfare. Each believer is commanded to be a witness. As we wait patiently on the Lord, He will bring people into our lives in which He intends us to be witnesses. Yes, send missionaries to the foreign fields, and our home fields, to establish churches for training ministers, ministers of reconciliation. We are witnesses in our life, our work place, our play place, our driving, our children, our worship life, on vacation, etc.. If every Christian would live the life of Christ which we are supposed to live, God would bring more people into our lives, and we would have better ears for listening to people and their problems, and better eyes for seeing troubled hearts and lives, and be waiting “patiently on the LORD” in life. Thus, more people coming to faith in Jesus.

We have a zeal for reaching the lost, but not a trust in the Lord to give the increase; so we do our own increasing. In doing that we have people who profess Christ, but do not live Christ like lives. We have young, and a few older preachers who have no backbone to stand against evil, but would and will rather compromise to win a crowd of people.

The time is short, yet we must “Wait on the Lord” to give the increase. Just like Abram and Sarai should have and could have “waited on God”, yet ended up in a lack of faith; so too, do we in rushing headlong in the flesh to accomplish spiritual goals, which only God can do.

God could not have been pleased with what Abram and Sarai did. In fact due to their short sighted act, they brought terror into the world. From them we should learn that acts of the flesh never achieve the purposes of God, but God in His sovereignty works all things out for and in His glory.

Now, do not get the idea that “Waiting on the LORD” means sitting idly by watching the leaves fall or the grass grow, and doing nothing. Hopefully, and believing it to be so; in all these years together Abram and Sarai were trying to have a son, in the way children are conceived, and born; and it was entirely in God’s plan and timing to give that son, as He had promised. Waiting on the Lord is simply going about your life as God directs and leads, trusting Him and Him alone to fulfill His promises. You keep yourself busy doing the work you are called to do, and doing it unto the Lord, with all your heart, glorifying His name.