Prayer for the Leadership

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.”  Proverbs 19:5
“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”  Mark 10:15

Our Father in heaven all glorious above. You have given us Your Son not just to be an example for leadership, holiness, righteousness and justice; but also and probably foremost to be our Redeemer the atonement for the sins of the world.

Lord, there are many false witnesses in government, in churches, and in homes who are always telling things on others that are not true, and Your word says that they shall not be unpunished. Liars will not escape Your wrath and judgment.

Open the eyes of leaders everywhere that they may realize that leadership is a place of humble service, serving You, and serving the people who put them in their respective places. May they see that they are not lords and masters, but servants to the people. May they also see that their places of service is not for their gaining of wealth and prosperity, but a place for giving; not the people’s money but their own.

Open their eyes, Lord, to realize that there is a greater kingdom; the kingdom of God; to which they must yield, and that the only way to be a part of His kingdom is to come to Him with the faith of a child, fully submitting to His Lordship, and living for Him.

Save, Lord, to the uttermost all those who are perishing. Amen.

A Study from 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

From July 3, 2006

This will be the beginning of a study through the Thessalonian letters by Paul. The series is titled LIVING AS CHRISTIANS IN OUR MODERN WORLD. I pray these articles will help and encourage you in your walk with the Lord.

I will try to keep them fairly short. If they seem to get a little long I will split them into two parts.

CHANGE, BY THE POWER OF GOD

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

As the second coming of Jesus is drawing near, we as Christians must know how we are to live in the world. “In the world, but not of the world”.
In looking at the first Thessalonian letter it appears that some of the people in the church were being led to believe the return of Jesus being near, they should leave their jobs, sell their homes and lands, and just “Live by faith”. The Scripture, no where, encourages God’s people to be foolish, but wise concerning the times.
The two letters to the Thessalonians teach a complete opposite of the above practice. Jesus’s coming is definitely near. We are to keep on yielding our lives to Him, and going about the daily Christian life as though He might not come for another million years. We are to keep on trusting and believing that He is returning soon.
First Thessalonians mentions the second coming of Jesus at the end, or near the end of each chapter. Chapter four gives us an indepth look at the “Catching away” of the Saints which is commonly referred to as the ‘Rapture of the Church’.
In Thessalonica there was much heathen, pagan worship. The church was greatly persecuted because they were living their faith. They would probably be called radical by even many professing christians of this day.
We live in a society that is quite similar to theirs. People do not mind what god you worship, or if you worship anything, as long as you keep it to yourself. “Keep it in the church building. Don’t take it to your job. Don’t take it on vacation. Don’t take it to your friends”, because if you do you will be tagged as a trouble maker, a rabble rouser, and you will be shunned by your peers.
Our world, society is certainly unfamiliar with God and godliness, and godly things. As Christians we need to be what Christ called us to be, and that is the salt and light of our world.Looking at these first ten verses we see the church of Thessolonica commended for their faith, and the hope that is in their heart. They are challenged, as are we, to live exemplary lives to show forth the change that God has wrought in their [our] lives.
The study actually begins in Acts 17:1-10 which tells of Paul’s short ministry there. It was only about three weeks in duration, but three weeks there was an established church – a body of believers worshipping, praying, studying the Scriptures, and breaking bread together. The believers fearing for Paul’s and Silas’s safety sent them away (Acts 17:10).
Paul is man of God greatly concerned about this young church. He sends Timothy to them and Timothy sends word back to Paul of their growth and stedfastness of faith. Paul is thrilled, and fully knows that it is the work of God’s Spirit. He sends them a letter to assure them of his prayers, to encourage them, and to exhort them to continue strong in the Word and faith, no matter what comes their way.

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” v. 1

In looking at verse one Paul begins the letter in pretty much his normal way. Only he adds Silvanus [Silar] and Timothy. These are men the people at Thessalonica were familiar with. He also acknowledges that they are a church in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what counts. It really does no matter if a board of men or a government recognizes a church; as long as it is in God and the Lord Jesus, it is a church.
Paul sends them a familiar greeting “Grace and peace”. True grace and peace can only come through God and His Son.

“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;” vv. 2-3

There is thanksgiving in Paul’s heart for this church, and their faithfulness. He also assures them of his prayers for them.
Their faith that works; the love they show to others ministering to others and one another; their patience in God – knowing He always knows best in every situation; these were all known by Paul as their spiritual leader and he remembered them.

“Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” v. 4

Paul knows these people as the “Elect of God” – chosen by God to be His representatives to others, and to live an exemplary life holy and pure. That is the life every child of God is to live. We have been chosen by God. We are the “Elect” of God. You have been chosen, and from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). That is one of the blessed things of the gifts of God, ie. knowing that God has chosen us, elected us as His own. As the “Elect of God” we are called to live lives which are holy and pure.

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” v. 5

The gospel, when it is to be effective, is to be not only words, but there is also power [signs of change], and it is in the Holy Spirit – He who convicts of sin is also the One who comforts in Christ.
These messengers of the gospel lived exemplary lives. Paul, Silas, and Timothy kept themselves in the power of the Lord.
People who are messengers of God in the world today should live lives to glorify our Lord as well. There is no excuse for sin, and it should be especially so in the lives of the people of God, and the spiritual leaders whom God calls out. As Paul, Silas and Timothy were living lives that honored Christ and brought no shame on others who were serving Christ Jesus, so too should all God’s people in our modern world.

“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.” vv. 6-7

Everyone needs an example to follow. Everyone [Believers in particular] needs to be an example to others. As Paul, Silas and Timothy were following the Lord, so was the people of the Thessalonian church. Even in the midst of affliction [persecution], they were living int he joy of God’s Spirit, and it had reached Paul that these people were having an impact on others lives.
Many in our modern world like to follow others. The sad thing about that is, many of these people are not people to follow for righteousness and holy living. There are sports figures who many follow, taking drugs, steroids, and indulging in immoral behaviors that would cause shame to the child of God who is right with God.
We as God’s people need to be sure we do not exalt figures in sports, or movies, etc., or even the pulpits of the world who are not living exemplary lives which do not glorify Jesus Christ.

“For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.” v. 8

When people have a real faith in God it not only is spoken, but is acted on by others and themselves.
There was no rebuke needed here. Their faith had been heard about, even in other lands.
What have “other lands” heard of the faith of the Christians of the United States of America? It is my fear, that what others are hearing is not good. In looking it appears to me that there is a lack of dedication to Christ Jesus in living and more dedication to gaining the worlds things. There is a great lack of prayer in God’s people of the USA. There is a lack of burden for calling the condemned people of our nation to faith in Christ Jesus. There is more of a push for pleasure, leisure, for entertainment, than there is for the glory of the Lord.
O God, give us a heart for Jesus like those who are suffering for the cause of Christ in other parts of the world.

“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” vv. 9-10

Jesus had so impacted their lives, that the idols they had previously worshipped had been destroyed. They repented [turned from idols, and turned to God], and decided to worship the living God. The One wo could, would, has and does answer prayer. The One who has promised to deliver from “The wrath to come”.
To wait is to continue living the life until He returns with great expectancy. This “Living God” raised His Son from the dead, and has promised He will return.
Being ready means living by the power of the Spirit of the Lord which is in you who know Jesus as Savior. We must always be ready. We do not know the day or the hour when our Lord will come in the clouds and call us away.
BE READY!!!!

Let’s look at a comparison of verses 3 and 10 –
In verse three Paul refers to “Your work of faith”. Verse 10 says, “You turned to God from idols”
Verse three, “Your labor of love”. Verse 10 “To serve the living and true God”.
Verse three, “And patience of hope”. Verse 10 “To wait for His Son from Heaven”.

The Day I Am In Trouble

“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto Thee.
Hide not Thy face from me in the day I am in trouble; incline Thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.
My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.
Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me. For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, because of Thine indignation and Thy wrath: for Thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.
My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass. But Thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and Thy remembrance unto all generations.”  Psalm 102:1-12  (KJB)

Mercy and Truth; Righteousness and Peace

“LORD, Thou hast been favourable unto Thy land: Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of Thy people, Thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.
Thou hast taken away all Thy wrath: Thou hast turned from the fierceness of Thine anger.
Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause Thine anger toward us to cease.
Wilt Thou be angry with us for ever? Wilt Thou draw out Thine anger to all generations? Wilt Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?
Shew us Thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us Thy salvation.
I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him; that glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
Yea, the LORD shall give good; and our land shall yield her increase.
Righteousness shall go before Him; and shall set us in the way of His steps.”  Psalm 85:1-13  (KJB)

Remember Not Our Former Iniquities

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

But God…

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (KJB)

There are several “But God” statements throughout the New Testament, and the apostle Paul was quite good at using them.

“But God…” even while we were still His enemies sent His Son to die for us. How unhuman that is; how so much GOD it is.

Jesus said,

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

“But God” in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ, went to the cross and died even for those who condemned Him to die; He died for those who falsely accused Him; for those who beat Him so cruelly; for those who drove the nails in His hands and feet; for the one who thrust the spear into His side. Some of them believed, and were redeemed.

How much greater love is that.

“But God” while we were yet sinners poured out His wrath in its fullness upon His only begotten Son, who had became our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), and gives to all who will believe His holiness, His righteousness, and declares us Just.

“But God…” has clearly demonstrated His hatred for our sin; and His love for us by way of the cross of Jesus Christ. He died, was buried, and was raised to life. He is the only way, the only truth, and the only life; the only way to the Father.

The Lions of Nineveh

“Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feedingplace of the young lions, where the lion, the old lion, walked, and the lion’s whelp, and none made them afraid?” Nahum 2:11 (KJB)

Nineveh was the city to which God called Jonah to go about 100 years previous to Nahum’s prophecy. God sending Jonah, though a reluctant prophet, was God in His grace and mercy reaching out to a lost and condemned people.

Nineveh was a fierce people. At the time of Jonah God numbers the city with 120 thousand souls too young to know their left from their right hand (Jonah 4:11). That would be young children, babies. Yet, the whole city from the least to the greatest of the people repented and turned to the LORD due to Jonah’s preaching (Jonah 3:5).

Now a hundred years later they have returned to their old ways, against the LORD, and against the people of GOD.

Who are these “Lions of Nineveh?”  The lion is a feared creature of the field, and the jungle. The roar of the old male is a fearful thing to hear to its prey, yet we have these “lions” in fear. Why? Because the LORD is about to show up in His wrath against the whole city. The lions are the king, the other rulers, and the young ones coming up in leadership.

The most fearful thing that people of all places, countries, cities, and provinces is that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31). It is by God’s grace we can fall into the hands of the loving Creator, God, Savior, and King Jesus Christ. He took the curse that was ours, dying on the cross, was buried, and He rose again; and He forever lives and reigns.

Call on His name, and He will deliver you from the bondage of sin and shame.

Temple Thrown Down

“And as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples saith unto Him, ‘Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings!’And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘Seest thou these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’ And as He sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, ‘Tell us, when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?'” Mark 13:1-4  (KJB)

From the past…

This was the last time that Jesus would be in the temple.  He had just applauded the widow as she gave all she possessed, and chided the religious leaders because they had only given according to their riches.  What matters to God is the attitude of one’s heart not the amount one gives or their prestige, or position.

There was nothing in all the world like this temple in its grandeur.  It had beautiful marble stones with gold ornamentation which reached a height of 100 feet, there were colonaded walkways, courtyards, and stairways that filled 20 acres of the most prominent landscape in Jerusalem.  From our human perspective it is no wonder the disciples made such a statement.

“These buildings”  were those of the temple and probably surrounding area which were marvelous architectural wonders.  They would not be able to endure the “wrath” that would come showing God’s disapproval of the Hebrew’s rejection of their Messiah.  When the temple would fall their sacrifices would cease, and they [the Hebrews] would be scattered to the “ends of the earth”.

When looking at this time and the situation they were in we must ask ourselves, “What is important in life?”  Is it buildings and lands?  Is it money and finances?  Maybe it is science and technology?  Wilfred Hahn a global portfolio manager has dubbed these as MOFI and SCITE.  There is a third one called GLOBO, which is a growing desire for global unity and tying of all nations to one another in the above things.  To explain these names are an acronyn for MOFI = Money/Finance; SCITE = Science/Technology; GLOBO = Global orgainization and unity.

The Jewish leaders; religious and otherwise; would learn in the years to come that what they held so dear would not stand.  What about us?  Can we learn from their foolishness?  I pray so.

The Coming and Fulfillment of Righteousness

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, ‘O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 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. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?’ And Jesus answering said unto him, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered Him. And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a Voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” Matthew 3:7-17  (KJB)

When People Get Right With God

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE GET RIGHT WITH GOD
Romans 5:1-11

OUTLINE –

I. THEY HAVE PEACE WITH GOD (v. 1).

II. THEY HAVE ACCESS TO GOD (v. 2a).

III. THEY HAVE A GLORIOUS HOPE (v. 2b).

IV. THEY HAVE A DEVELOPING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (vv. 3-4).

V. THEY HAVE GOD’S LOVE WITHIN (vv. 5-8).

VI. THEY HAVE DELIVERANCE FROM FUTURE WRATH (vv. 9-10).

VII. THEY HAVE ‘ATONEMENT’ WITH GOD (v. 11).

Warren W Wiersbe’s Bible Exposition Commentary is mostly responsible for the above outline.

Many legalist of Paul’s day may have asked the question, “If justification/salvation is by grace through faith alone, then, how can they remain saved without keeping the law?” Is it not flabbergasting how people do not understand that the law condemns? It offers us no hope at all. Yet, there are those, even professing Christians, who believe that the keeping of our salvation is by the works of the law.

Now we must understand that the person who is justified by grace through faith is now free to obey and keep the law to the honor of Jesus Christ. Where once we were bound by sin, we knew nothing else, now in Christ we can freely choose to obey and follow Jesus.

Did you know that sinful, unredeemed people are at war with God? Early in the Romans letter Paul shows us the war all sinful people have declared against the all powerful, all knowing, and all present God (Rom. 1:18-32). Continuing in that state of war brings utter disaster and destruction. It does not need to end that way.

In these first eleven verses of chapter five we will see some of the fruit of justification or “What Happens When People Get Right With God”.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD (v. 1).

These people are precious in God’s eyes and He is glorious in their eyes. They are no longer at war with God. They are at peace with Him.

The person who is right with God desires to please God. They are no longer seeking to rule and reign their own lives, and the lives of others, bur are rather seeking God’s rule and reign in all things.

The person who is at peace with God also seeks peace with his brothers and sisters in Christ. He does not sow seeds of discord, and if he sins he asks God’s forgiveness, and the forgiveness of those he/she has wronged. No individual who is at peace with God can hate others – especially a brother or sister in the family of Jesus.

The people who are right with God no longer kick, bite, scream, and fuss against the direction of God or the Word of God. They recognize God has placed a man as the leader of the local church, and that he is the one who leads them to follow God’s direction. The justified individual follows God’s leadership He has called to their church. The fight against God’s leadership is sure evidence that there is no ‘peace with God’.

Those who are in this peace relationship with God love Him. They adore, admire, worship, praise, and live for Him from that love. They want others to know Him and have this peace relationship also.

Can justified people, can Christians lose this peace? YES!!! Can they lose the justification? NO!!! Christians, because of worldly influences, lack of prayer, lack of Bible study, and lack of spending personal time with God can again be at war with Him. God will not, however, let it continue without discipline and correction. If you can fight against God, and not experience His chastisement you are not His child (Heb. 12:8).

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO GOD (v. 2a).

In the Old Testament there are many pictures of Jesus and God’s glorious salvation. There are also pictures of man’s way to God being blocked. One of those pictures is the veil of the tabernacle and the Temple. The veil being between the holy place and the most holy place where the Ark of the Covenant was placed which was a picture of the abiding presence of God.

The priests were at work daily in the holy place. They placed the ‘shewbread’ on the table, and would eat it at the required time; they kept the menorah lit for light, they offered up prayers for the people at the altar of incense. They could not enter the most holy place; through the curtain, but once a year on the ‘Day of Atonement’; and then, only the high priest could do so, but not without blood.

The veil was thick and heavy. I have heard that it was as much as six inches to one foot thick. It speaks of man’s inability to approach a holy God.

On the day Jesus died on the cross, that veil was torn from the very top to the bottom by the hand of God; showing that by way of His Son Jesus we can have access to God (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). How important do you think this access is to God? It was important enough to God that the only means to open the way was for Him to sacrifice His only Son. How important is this access to you? Is it important enough to give up the condemnation of sin? Is it important enough for you to give your whole self to Him? Is it important enough to consider your life, but only a garbage heap without Jesus?

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE A GLORIOUS HOPE (v. 2b).

Those who have peace with God are also people who have a hope that is established upon the promises of God. This hope is not ‘Wishful thinking’. It is substantial, and the evidence is the fulfillment of promises God has made and kept. He does not break His promises.

This is a glorious hope. God promises glory – His glory – to all those who will trust in Him, and to those who trust in Him.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE A DEVELOPING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (vv. 3-4).

For the person who has peace with God they are also at peace with their circumstances. When we rest in God we can ‘Glory in tribulations’. That does not mean that we enjoy our troubles and sorrows, but that we, by faith, are trusting God to do what is best for our lives.

How can a Christian be unthankful, and be at peace with God? That is why Paul wrote,

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thes. 5:18).

Only the person who is right with God can be at peace with God, even during times of sorrow and tribulation.

“Tribulation” is the mans God uses to build a patient Christian. One Christian lady who saw her son dying, in anger cried out, “God you do not know what it is like to lose a son”, but she had no sooner finished the statement when she clasped her hands over her mouth realizing it was God who saw His perfect, sinless Son die.

Jone Eareckson Tada in her book co-authored by Steven Estes wrote,

“The greatest good suffering can do for me is to increase my capacity for God” From the book “WHEN GOD WEEPS” pg. 137.

If you are a Christian we need to realize that the words of John MacArthur, “God will do whatever it takes to make us holy” is true. You can yield yourself to God and be at peace in every trial, or you can continue the warfare with God and lose.

Patience is a characteristic we all need. God is certainly patient. He is patient to let sin run its course (Gen. 15:16; 2 Peter 3:9; Rom. 11:25). The Scriptures of the last sentence show two examples of God’s patience and the other words of His patience. Jesus was patient as He walked among us on earth. It was a quality, a characteristic of His Father. It must be a character trait of those who believe Him also.

The character we have shows our experiences and how we have responded to them. If during trials and tribulations you grow cold hard, and bitter; you will be cold, hard and bitter toward those who are joyful; especially toward those who are trusting and serving the Lord. If, on the other hand, you yielded to God, and was thankful during those troubled times you will be patient and kind to others, and will love those who are trusting and serving the Lord.

There is a vast difference between the former and latter person in the above paragraph. The former has no hope, but is resting in his own strength, doomed to failure. The latter has every hope in God, His Word, and is certain of eternity with God.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE GOD’S LOVE WITHIN (vv. 5-8).

With our hope in God there is no reason to be ashamed. Having peace with God we are unashamed to tell others of His grace. We are unashamed to let others see the love of God in us.

The love of God is seen as sacrificial. God was willing to give the very best in order to redeem us. If we have that type of love we too will do, and give our very best to see others justified by faith. Only the love of God could send His Son to die for His enemies.

God does not desire man to remain His enemy. He demonstrated His love by sending His Son to die. “While we were yet sinners [God’s enemies], Christ died for us.”

The person who is at peace with God will express that love toward others in the likeness of Christ.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE DELIVERANCE FROM FUTURE WRATH (vv. 9-10).

The justified person who is in right fellowship with God need not fear the wrath of God. If a justified person is not in a right fellowship with God they probably will fear the future wrath. That ought to be a warning signal to them of their broken fellowship.

The future wrath of God is withheld from all who believe as in the example of Abraham. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for our justification. In God’s eyes, because of faith in Christ, He sees only the righteousness of His Son.

The wrath of God awaits all who are unbelieving; all those who reject God’s grace and trust their own morality, goodness and sense of decency. The enemy of God is one who aserts his own efforts over the goodness of God and thumbs his/her nose and says, “If God cannot accept me on my terms then, phooey on Him.” There is no bargaining with God. The unbeliever comes out the loser.

Unredeemed people hate God, or they would believe Him.

God, in His love, reconciles us to Himself. It is the “Goodness of God” that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4b). We are reconciled to God by the death of Jesus on the cross. Our sins kept us from the presence of God. We were deserving of eternal judgment. God must judge sin. He judged sin while Jesus was dying on that cruel, old wooden cross. Because sin is judged God can now accept us on the merit of the work of Jesus Christ.

If we are reconciled by the death of Jesus, then, certainly we are kept through all eternity because Jesus lives. He lives never to die again. If Jesus cannot keep us, then, His death and living is powerless and vain.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE ATONEMENT WITH GOD (v. 11).

Christians should be the most joyous people on earth. We have reason to rejoice. That reason is Jesus died to save us. That salvation means we have been brought to a place where we can know God personally.

“Atonement” is also reconciliation. To reconcile is to bring two opposing parties together. God did this for us, because He is the only One who was able to do so. He was the offended party, and He is the One who opens the way for reconciliation.

That ‘atonement’ was not without price. Because God is holy, righteous, and just He could not simply declare us righteous, and be righteous Himself. Sin’s debt had to be paid, and be paid in full. The only wages for sin is death (Rom. 6:23). In order to pay that debt in full and defeat the power of sin was for a sinless person to die. That sinless man was Jesus. He died as our sin, received our judgment, was buried, and rose again, thus defeating sin’s power to hold anyone again.

The only way of salvation is God’s way. Agree with God and eternity will agree with you.

AT – ONE – MENT = By the grace of God we are at peace with God through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. The peace of God is peace with God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Law Fulfilled

The Fulfilling Of The Law

Romans 3:21-31

OUTLINE –

I. ALL WHO BELIEVE DECLARED RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH (vv. 21-26).

II. THERE IS NO BOASTING WHEN ONE IS JUSTIFIED BY FAITH (vv. 27-28).

III. THERE IS ONE GOD WHO JUSTIFIES ALL (vv. 29-30).

IV. THE LAW IS HONORED THROUGH FAITH (v. 31)

There are a few words in these eleven verses that are very important Biblical terms. Righteousness, faith, justified, redemption, grace, propitiation, remission. They are all favorable toward the sinner.

These are more than just words. They are a description of God and His love for humankind. Righteousness describes God and His requirements of pure worship. Faith is the only thing a person can do to be declared righteous by God; and God gives the faith too (Eph 2:8-9). Justification [justified] is God’s declaration to the repentant believing sinner that he is righteous. God declares the believer righteous because of faith: he believes God. Justification; the word justified may be easily remembered as God making me “Just-as-if-I’d” never sinned. Redemption is a term related to slave auctions where the purchaser pays the agreed price to set the slave free. The only adequate price to be paid for the slave of sin was/is the death of Jesus on the cross; because the law commands death for sin. Grace of course is God’s unmerited favor toward sinners. Sinners are undeserving of grace. God in His love grants it to all who believe. Propitiation is a word sometimes hared to pronounce, but it is a beautiful word. It describes the work [sacrifice] of Jesus on the cross. It describes the hatred of God for sin, yet the depths He is willing to reach to redeem fallen man. Jesus was our propitiate. He lovingly, and willingly went to the cross to be the sacrifice for our sin. Not only was Jesus the sacrifice, but He was “Made…to be sin for us…” (2 Cor. 5:21). All God’s hatred for sin was poured out upon the sinless Son of God who was now ‘made to be sin for us’.

“In this case Christ’s violent death satisfied the offended holiness and wrath of God against those for whom Christ died.” MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE note on 2:25; page 1698.

In pagan worship it is the worshipper who must appease the wrath of their offended deity. The only way sinful man can appease the wrath of God is by spending eternity in Hell. The final word is Remission which means forgiveness. God accepted, for the forgiveness of sin; the sacrifices of blood that were offered in faith until the true sacrifice for sin would die for sin. The sacrifice for all sin is paid in full. There is no more sacrifice for sin. God’s forgiveness is available for all who will repent and believe in Jesus.

ALL WHO BELIEVE ARE DECLARED BY GOD TO BE RIGHTEOUS (vv. 21-26).

The ‘righteousness’ unobtainable by the law is revealed by the faith in Jesus Christ. This same righteousness of God is witnessed to by the written revelation of God in the law and the messages of the prophets.

This righteousness is for all who will believe and trust only Jesus for it. The previous verses of chapter 1:18 – 3:20 plainly tell us who is righteous. NONE!!! Now we see that God’s righteousness is available for all – that is the pagan, the moral pagan, the immoral pagan, the moral religious, the immoral religious, the religious; the Jew, moral and immoral. All are included in God’s invitation to His righteousness.

“There is no difference” in the Gentile and the Jew – “For all have sinned and come short” – miss the mark – “of the glory of God”. The glory of God is the place where God desires for us to be . A man just as well try to pick up an automobile and throw it to China from the east coast of the United States of America, as to try to gain God’s favor by keeping the law. We fall short; we miss God’s ‘bull’s eye’.

“Being justified” means being declared righteous by God. It is far superior to be declared righteous by God Himself, than for me to declare myself righteous. God’s declaration is true. Mine only a vain attempt. We might make note of the word “freely”. This wonderful justification is free to us. But that is because God already paid the price. His ‘grace’ – the undeserved favor of God – is the reason it is free. The ‘redemption’ price for our freedom from sin, and its penalty and bondage was paid by God’s Son, Jesus Christ as He willingly laid His life down for our sins.

In truth Jesus became the very object of God’s wrath. On the cross Jesus became sin; my sin and yours. We could not endure God’s wrath because we would only die and spend eternity in Hell. The law commands death for sin. Jesus had no sin, but took the wrath that was ours. Since He had no sin, but bore our sins God struck Him (“…stricken, smitten of God…” Isaiah 53:4), He died – sin was condemned (Rom 8:3), by the flesh of a sinless. The law did require death for sin – He died. YES! He died, but rose again conquering the power of sin and as evidence of who He is (Rom 1:4).

Through the sacrifice [propitiation] of Jesus God declares us righteous; He forgives our sin; and justifies all who believe in Jesus.

THERE IS NO BOASTING WHEN SINNERS ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH (vv. 27-28).

Human beings love to boast of their accomplishments and things which they achieve.

There are many things in which the human ego can be boosted. There is one area however in which there is no room to boast. That is our worship. We fall far short. We have everyone, turned from the true way to our own way (Isaiah 53:6). When we try to worship God in our own way it is evident we have turned from God.

Since true righteousness is a gift from God we have nothing in which to boast; except in the grace of God. We ought to boast loudly and clearly of the goodness, mercy and grace of God who loved His enemies so much He would sacrifice His holy Son to reconcile us to Himself. That is someone in whom to boast.

If anyone could obey the law he would have much to boast about, and would deserve the praise of God; but only God deserves the praise of God (Ps. 110:1), thus God became flesh – “the Word became flesh”. By faith in the work of Jesus Christ – the Word (John 1:1-5, 14) – on the cross we are saved (delivered from the penalty of the demands of God’s law). There is therefore no room for boasting because someone else paid our debt of sin. That Person has the praise of God – He kept; He fulfilled the whole law – and gives to all who believe eternal life.

Reading the book of Romans was the thing that pointed Martin Luther to Christ. He was a catholic priest in Germany, and felt something was missing in his religion. The liturgies, rosary, indulgences, confession, etc.; the whole ritual scheme left him empty. While reading Romans he read 1:17, “The just shall live by faith”. He read 3:28, “We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law”. In his translation he wrote, “by faith alone…” which is a proper interpretation. To add anything to faith is to nullify faith.

Remember ‘justification’ is the act of God by which He declares the believing sinner righteous. It is the act and declaration of God; not of any man. It is received by faith and God alone is the giver of faith.

THERE IS ONE GOD WHO JUSTIFIES ALL (vv. 29-30).

Just as all mankind is condemned in the law by sin, so too, all who are justified (declared righteous by God) are so by faith.

Te color of one’s skin, their culture, their morality (Moral or immoral), their religion, etc. does not negate the fact of one God who justifies all who believe.

God is not only the God of the Jews, but the God of all – believing and unbelieving – people. He is the God of the Jew and the Gentile whether He is recognized by them or not.

Faith in Jesus Christ and His death for the atoning of sin; His burial for the carrying away of sins dominion; the resurrection of His body from the grave as the evidence of the conquering of sins power, and proof of His deity and Son-ship; and His return [a promise of God yet to be] to totally redeem all who have believed Him and to put an end to sin, and to reign in the hearts and lives of men on earth for all eternity: is the only way of salvation for all mankind. Any who add anything to faith or take away from faith teach a false gospel.

THE LAW IS HONORED THROUGH FAITH (v. 31).

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

When GOD Gives Up

What Happens When God Gives Up?

This is the first part of this section of Romans 1:18-32. This part will deal with verses 18-23.

It is my belief that abhorrent behavior, such as this passage of Scripture speaks of, is not the cause of God’s wrath, but rather, the result of His wrath, and the followers of Christ are to see this wrath as a warning to return to God. There is a sure judgment coming.

Let me give a point of clarity for these first three chapters of Romans: in verses 18-32 Paul is writing of pagan Gentiles; Chapter 2:1 – chapter 3:8 he is writing of the Jewish/Hebrew – religious/moral people; In chapter 3:9 – verse 20 Paul referrs to us all.

When God “Gives Up” it means He is letting sin have its way until it reaches a pinnacle (Gen. 15:16), then, He will involve Himself in the judgment to follow. The phrase, “God gave them up’ or ‘God gave them over” is used three times in the remainder of chapter one (vv. 24, 26, 28).

It is a sad day when God pulls back and says, “Okay, it is yours; do it your way”.

Man’s science says man evolved from a glob and is getting better and better – God says man is depraved and devolved and is getting worse and worse as he rejects God and His way.

To answer the question of the title; in verses 18-23 we see THE TRUTH IS REPRESSED BY UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.

The truth is revealed in nature. The unrighteous cannot see God. All creation shouts that it has a Creator; “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” (Ps. 19:1). The order of the universe – the revolution of the planets around the sun in order. Each created being does what it was designed to do – except humankind, and the rest of creation has been corrupted by man.

The truth of God is revealed in the conscience of man. Everyone is born with an inborn consciousness of a supreme being. The need to worship something. The need to be fulfilled – even if that means worshipping self.

Because of natural revelation every one is without excuse (v. 20).

The truth is suppressed by idolatry. Anything that may seem to fill the void of one’s life. Changing their glory (representation) into what they worship. Men become like what they worship (PS. 115:4-8; 135:15-18). The beast of the field, birds of the air only act by their instincts. Man, created in God’s image, is to reason, think, and act accordingly; not according to unholy desire and lust.

As long as people continue to try and make God in their image there will be sin and chaos in the world. There will be wars, sickness, disease, killing, robbing, maiming, etc.. When men and women realize they are made by God, in His image through faith in Christ Jesus, there will be a change of character, integrity, and all of life for good, to the glory of the Lord.

God involved Himself in the judgment of sin at the cross, as He laid on His Son Jesus all our sin. God Judged our sin on Jesus, took His life, as the payment for our sin debt, and because of this grace you and I now have access to the very throne of God. Call on His name. He will save you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Blessing In Judgment

Today we continue the study of the seven vials [bowls], and within these judgments, we find a blessing in verse 15.  It is a word of hope for the Church, the believer, the follower of Jesus Christ throughout all ages. Let us continue…

And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give Him glory.
And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great. Revelation 16:8-21 (KJV)

4. (VV. 8-9) With the fourth trumpet the sun was darkened (8:12-13), but here the heat of the sun is intensified and is destructive (see Isaiah 30:26);
5. (VV. 10-11) This vial is poured out upon the throne of the “Beast”; even with this great wrath these wicked men refuse to repent;
6. (VV. 12-16) With this vial two important events take place; 1) the drying of the Euphrates River, and 2) the gathering of the armies of the world.

Within this, note the Beatitude (v. 16). It is God’s reminder to us of His provision for those who prepare by receiving His grace.

“Behold I come as a thief”. The Church can be assured that Jesus will come as a thief for His bride and take her out of the world. Who will He take out of this world before the Tribulation? 1) Those who are watching and alert; 2) Those who are living lives that please the Lord. “Blessed” or “Happy” will be those who are with Jesus during this horrible time of God’s wrath.

Also, see “THE HAPPY WATCHER”.

Verse 16 clearly shows the very sovereignty of God. When the world peace is not working and the armies of the world gather for battle against one another – remember it is God who brought them to this battle. While they are battling with one another the King of kings will descend from Heaven, and the armies of the earth will join forces against Heaven’s army and do battle. All He must do is speak a word, and it is over. What a mighty God we serve.

The final wrath of God is poured out. Sin is totally put away and evil destroyed. “It is done”, the voice from the temple says. It almost sounds like Jesus as He hung on the cross and cried out, “It is finished”. The work Jesus came to do was finished on the cross. The work God began in mankind with Adam will be finished when He completely destroys sin. PRAISE THE LORD!!!

What happens with the final or seventh vial being poured out?

  1. Voices, thunderings, and lightnings;
  2. Great earthquake – unlike any known by man;
  3. The destruction of Babylon – the political, economical, and ecclesiastical rule of man will crumble, probably recognized through a city;
  4. Because of the earthquake the face of the earth is changed (v. 20);
  5. Hailstones about the weight of 100 pounds will fall;
  6. Rather than repenting men still living will blaspheme God.

It is great to know we are still in a day of salvation. If people harden their hearts to God, it is certain to be that God will harden their hearts toward Him, and if that happens – there is no hope.

Repent when God calls (2 Corinthians 6:2). When God calls do not harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7-8). You may not have another day (Proverbs 27:1). Do not wait to experience the glory of His wrath. Experience His glory in His grace through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Because GOD Has Judged

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With the vials:

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

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

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

 

Full Force of Wrath

“And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.”  Revelation 10:5-7

These verses are further evidence that this angel is not the Lord Jesus.

The first thing that tells me it is not, is, that he “Sware to Him that liveth for ever and ever”. The risen glorified Jesus would have no need to do that. He is the “Fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). He is the One who lives “For ever and ever”.

The second reason is that, if it is Jesus He could sware by Himself (Heb. 6:13).

This is simply an angelic messenger of God’s ownership upon His creation. Afterall, all things are under His feet. He can send an angelic messenger if He so chooses.

The fact that the angel is standing on the sea and the earth seem to imply that time is up. This last phrase of verse six is indicative of that. “There will be no more delay” (NIV). “There shall be delay no longer” (NAS). “There should be delay no longer” (NKJV). The verse does not imply no more time (seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, etc.); unless it could be applied to repentance; and read, “No more time for man to repent”. The clear implication is that time is up. The full force of God’s wrath is come. Evil will be eternally put away.

Verse seven is a strong affirmation of the above. John speaks of the seventh trump. At the sound of the seventh trump, “The mystery of God should be finished”. What is this mystery? There is much said in the Bible about mystery. Some of these God reveals to His prophets and has revealed them.

1. The mystery of the Church (Eph. 5:32);
2. The mystery of iniquity (2 Thes. 2:7).

The above are only a sample of mysteries of the Bible. These two probably fit with what John is writing. With the sounding of the seventh trump; the final martyrs will be slain, the gospel ceases and judgment falls on the whole earth. The seventh trump also begins the “seven vials of wrath”. If you will remember the seven seals judgments only affected one fourth, then, the seven trumpets affect one third, but when we get to the seven vials it seems to affect the whole earth because there is no mention of the amount of earth or population affected.

The work of those who are His on earth is finished. The bondage of and control of sin on earth is finished as well. Only wrath remains. Mankind has no more time for repentance at the seventh trumpet. Because mankind has rejected God’s atonement for sin through faith in Jesus Christ, the iniquity of mankind and its judgment will be put on the God-haters. God provides the way through the cross of Jesus for man to come to Him and be saved. If we reject that way there is no other, and judgment is imminent.

God warns people through His servants He calls prophets or preachers. God reveals judgment to certain ones and as God’s servants, they warn people of judgment. This shows God’s abundant mercy (Amos 3:7). He owes man nothing, yet His mercy is astounding. One day, though, His mercy will cease. Woe be to those who heed not His warnings.

Christmas Day Fifty and Five

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to let Christians around the world know that Jesus Christ is Lord, and He has all the problems of your life and this world in His hands, and that there is no need to fear or dread; He is still God, He is sovereign and He loves you; and I want those who do not know Him to know that He died on a cross for your sins, was buried, and He arose and came out of the grave alive, and is today alive waiting to come and set up His righteous kingdom on earth.

“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 (KJV)

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day 130

“Then He said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke Me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.” Ezekiel 8:17-18 (KJV)

The anger of God concerning the sins of humanity is not a popular topic.  We are more aspiring toward the “Love of God”.  The love of God is awesome; however, without the anger and wrath of God toward sin His love would be a moot issue.

Ezekiel the prophet of the above verses had been taken, by vision, to Jerusalem to witness the atrocities of the temple previously to their captivity.  They were atrocious sins against God and the temple.  Now, though I do believe the prophet already had some understanding of their captivity, Ezekiel had a fuller understanding.  The priests and the prophets and the people had “Thumbed their nose” at God, His Word, and the prophets who spoke God’s truths.

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to never have contempt  in my heart, mind or being for God, His Word, His preachers who declare the Word of the LORD, or His people;  I want to always declare the truth of God’s Word even when it is not popular to do so; I want to preach and teach the Word of God so that God is glorified, and the cross of Jesus – His death, burial and resurrection is declared, and people know the price God has paid to redeem fallen humans from our sins.

The Word of Jesus Christ – Christmas Day Two Hundred and Thirteen

What do I want for Christmas?

When I wrote yesterday of the Exclusiveness of Christ; I noted that the numbers of readings and likes from the day before was considerably less.  I pray that was because the readers did not come rather than they did not like the teaching.

I want today for you to realize that if the exclusiveness of Christ is not so, then the words of Jesus in John 14:6 – 7 are not true, that Jesus would be a liar, and could not be trusted; then, He would not be a good teacher, a good man, but a deceiver; and no one would then have any hope.

I want you to know today, that Jesus is everything He claimed to be.  He is the Son of God, and God the Son.  Every word He has spoken and speaks is Truth.

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 3:36 (KJV)

“Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him— the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” John 12:44-50 (NKJV)

Day Three Hundred Thirty and Two

What do I want for Christmas?

If there is to be any boasting which comes from my mouth let it be of the power, wrath, love, grace, mercy, peace, awe, beauty, the cross, burial, resurrection power, etc. of the Almighty, Living God.

My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear of it and be glad.” Psalm 34:2 (NKJV)

“In God we boast all day long, And praise Your name forever.” Psalm 44:8

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galations 6:14

Dependence On the LORD

“Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of Him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake Him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and He was intreated of us.” Ezra 8:21-23 (KJV)

For Ezra it was a matter of faith in God to journey to Jerusalem, and rebuild the temple. He could not and would not cast doubt in the mind of the king; nor would he allow the human government to take credit for what God was doing, and was about to do.

Follower/Disciple of Jesus Christ our faith is solely in the Lord our God. We cannot depend on the arm of flesh; our own or the government – no matter what that government is.

We speak clearly, boldly, confidently of the wonders of our Lord; now let us not show weakness of faith by crying out to the government for help. Let us call on the name of the LORD our God. He will hear us, and He will prevail.

Those who truly know the Lord Jesus Christ trust only upon Him.

Enquire of the LORD

“Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.” 2 Kings 22:13 (KJV)

The words of God’s book is the word of God. The most important book ever penned down by the hands of men; and sadly it is the most rejected book. Though it was written down by the hands of men the word of God is the verbally inspired, inerrant, and infallible word.

Josiah, the youngest king of Judah to begin ruling, saw the importance of the word of God. It is said of Josiah that “he did right in the sight of the LORD”; and that was due to his reverence, trust, and faith in God and His word.

Upon hearing the word of God Josiah took action. It would have first been upon his own heart and life. The first place of action for us today is to hear the word of God; then to act upon it.

We are sinners according to the word of God (Romans 3:23), and we need a Saviour if we are to be in fellowship with God, and that is Jesus Christ Son of God, and God the Son.

Turn to God, to His word, and to His Son.

Over Our Soul

“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say; If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.” Psalm 124:1-5 (KJV)

The LORD that is Jehovah is on our side when we are overwhelmed; when it seems that life is too much to bear.

When it seems that the world has turned against me, then, I know that the LORD is by me, with me, and in me.  The thing is; I am also on His side.  I cannot defend God; nor does He need or depend on any defense I might have for Him.

Prideful and haughty people may rise against us; the storms and horrible events of life may be kindled against us; the flooding events may overwhelm us; “If it had not been the LORD who was [and is] on our side…”