What Jesus thinks of Idols... click on the picture for the story.
1 John 5:21 "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen"
Job 36:32 "He covers His hands with lightning, and commands it to strike."
As It Was In The Days Of Noah
Luke 17:26-30 "And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. "
Noah preached for 120 years before the flood and had not one convert outside of his own family. At least one of his sons, Ham, did not believe and was cursed. Still he preached and was faithful to the call of God to build the ark. Noah is listed as one of the three most godly men in the OT. Ezekiel 14:14 "Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness," says the Lord God. " We are called to teach the whole counsel of God, this means election and reprobation. When Jesus was in the temple for his dedication this prophecy was made about Him: Luke 2:34-35 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Jesus Himself confirmed this over and over again in His ministry. John 10:25-33 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one."
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?"
The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God."
If you are one of His sheep you will listen and follow, if not you are not one of Jesus' sheep.
Eternal Bliss or Eternal Torment?
"At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever."
We live in a time of unprecedented turmoil and godlessness and yet multitudes of people refuse to look to God for deliverance. His attributes and majesty are clearly seen in creation both here on earth and in the heavens and yet the truth is suppressed in unrighteousness like the Holy Spirit spoke through the apostle Paul in the epistle to the Romans. People have put hope in money... it is going, going, gone. In government, and they put us and our children and grandchildren further into debt to give money to men and companies who have squandered what they already had time and again. In celebrities and those who hope to be one and they let them down and are never able to satisfy. They are immoral and lawless and love adversity and these vices are worn by most as a badge of honor in a dark and dying world... the Spirit of God speaks through Paul to declare:
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Jesus unlike money, people talented or not, is just the opposite. He is faithful and true, He is the Shepherd of His sheep, He came to save the lowly, and He makes them to be like Himself while still in this present world. In Him dwells all of the fullness of the Godhead bodily, He is the Prince of peace, His name is wonderful, He is holy and makes those who come to Him holy as well. He came to His own, and at His first coming, the Jews rejected Him, however we see from the books of Daniel, Romans and Revelation that that will not always be the case. He came meek and lowly the first time to sacrifice Himself for His own, the next time He will come with wrath and justice to rule the nations and fulfill His promises to the patriarchs and His church. In the book of Hebrews He is found to be the final word from God and the fulfiller of the law and shadows of the Old Covenant. We are told in the book of Acts that God now commands everyone to repent and believe in the Son or be as the fool in the Psalms that says there is no God and at the end of time begs the rocks to fall on him rather than to humble himself and repent. Will your end be in eternal bliss or eternal torment?
I am pre-millenial and pre-tribulational, I do not consider myself a "dispensationalist. God keeps His covenants based on His promises, not our faithfulness. There is a remnant of Abraham's physical descendants that are being saved and will be saved. It is because of God's election not their faithfulness. I have no respect for the Left Behind series and other fictional media that tries to fill in the blanks. Read Romans 9-11 over and over and Revelation 20 over and over w/o any other commentaries and there is no other position to hold to. I intend to expand upon this at a later date.
Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
What is the first commandment given in the Great Commission to the apostles? It is to make disciples. How are these disciples to show themselves to be a disciple? By being baptized. When the Lord opened my eyes to the doctrines of grace when I was a senior in high school it was through reading the Bible from cover to cover again to prove to a high school Bible teacher that he was wrong in teaching the doctrine of election. It was not because I read Calvin, Sproul, Luther, etc. although I did later on. My teacher was a "4 pointer" and the Bible taught me to be a "5 pointer". After reading many of the reformers I decided I needed to read through the Bible again to determine what it taught about baptism and eschatology as well. I wanted to be a Presbyterian, if that is what the Bible taught. I came out being pre-millenial, like many Presbyterians, but could never find "infant baptism" even in the fine print or by reading between the lines. Later I would become a member in both the PCA and OPC and be recruited to become an elder in both. Again, I could never find the doctrine in scripture and every time it was defended it was from a different perspective or passage. I couldn't find it quite simply because it ISN"T THERE. For the last several years there has been a controversy brewing over "Lordship Salvation". The essence of it is this: Can you be a believer without obedience to Christ. John MacArthur and a lot of Presbyterians are on the so-called "Lordship" side. Isn't it interesting that all of these Presbyterians claim to believe in "Lordship" salvation but won't obey His first command? MacArthur misses this point as well. Furthermore they misinterpret our Lord's hard sayings which are given to show that "there is none righteous, no not one" into demands that not one of the eleven elect disciples could obey. When Jesus said that no one who put their hand to the plow and looked back was fit for the kingdom of heaven he disqualified all of them because after His death they had went back to fishing on the Sea of Galilee. His point is that we all need to humble ourselves like Paul and admit that "without Him we can do nothing". Jesus came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
?'s & biblical answers contrary to what you will hear in most "churches"
1) Who is building the church and is it always successful?
"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. "
"He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
Does the church you attend teach this?
2) Is doctrine important?
"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers."
"But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. "
"Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
"that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,"
1 Timothy 4:1-3
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth."
1 Timothy 4:13-16
"Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you."
2 Timothy 3:16-17
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
"holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict."
2 John 10-11
"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds."
"For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears."
Does your "church" teach the whole counsel of God? This includes the doctrine of unconditional election.
4) Do a pastor, deacon, elder, evangelist, etc. need a seminary education and does it qualify a person to fill these offices?
"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. "
"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."
1 Peter 4:10-11
"As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
1 Corinthians 12:11
"But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills."
5) What does the bible says about infant baptism, Sunday School, choirs, pastors conferences, dividing people in the church by age, married or single, etc., pledges, AWANA...?
6) Is believer's baptism the only way your church accepts members to fellowship? It is in the NT.
More to come.
He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
OH, that these happy times were come! At present the nations are heavily armed and are inventing weapons more and more terrible, as if the chief end of man could only be answered by destroying myriads of his fellows. Yet peace will prevail one day; yes, and so prevail that the instruments of destruction shall be beaten into other shapes and used for better purposes.
How will this come about? By trade? By civilization? By arbitration? We do not believe it. Past experience forbids our trusting to means so feeble. Peace will be established only by the reign of the Prince of Peace. He must teach the people by His Spirit, renew their hearts by His grace, and reign over them by His supreme power; and then will they cease to wound and kill. Man is a monster when once his blood is up, and only the Lord Jesus can turn this lion into a lamb. By changing man’s heart, his blood-thirsty passions are removed. Let every reader of this book of promises offer special prayer today to the Lord and Giver of Peace, that He would speedily put an end to war and establish concord over the whole world.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
"In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory."
Make no mistake, storms, wars, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, train crashes, etc... are all the work of Him who works all things after the counsel of His will. He sets up kings and kingdoms and tears them down. He shows great restraint in not destroying this whole world yet and He has left a plethora of evidence that the world ignores to its own demise. Everyday you hear of "innocent" people being killed whether it was 9-11-01 or what has happened this week around the world. On 9-11 the terrible things that happened were executed on defenseless people, but none of us are innocent.
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
As it is written:
"There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one." "Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "the poison of asps is under their lips"; "whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known."
"There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Salvation comes only by grace through faith to those God has chosen to redeem according to His good pleasure. Not one human has ever sought Him on their own.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Soon Jesus Christ will take His elect bride to heaven while He brings the time of Jacob's Trouble upon the world, especially upon the physical descendants of Abraham. Notice that the Jesus does NOT come as a thief in the night to His own. He has fulfilled all of the spring Jewish feasts on their actual day of the Jewish Calendar. The fall feasts are next to be fulfilled by Him.
The Feasts of the Lord – God’s Prophetic Calendar
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the
children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you
shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.’"
1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
1 John 2:18-22 "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son."
Watch TV these days and you will see many of these antichrists taking the Lord's name in vain. Men like Todd Bentley, Benny Hinn, and the other TBN types. Read the gospels, did Jesus ever say "Bam" and heal people? Jesus and the apostles went around healing, they were never in one location where they could manipulate people. They healed local people in the place where they were, they didn't use vain repetitions, and make a mockery of God and His power. Jesus came to preach the good news and do the will of the Father. Healing was one of the signs of His Deity and the apostles authority. Read the scriptures and don't waste the time God has given you following these men and allowing others to interpret it for you. Of course there are a myriad of other false teachers that will lead people astray, the pope, and most of the other media teachers, people follow them, quote them, buy their books, send them tons of money, etc. The New Testament tells us that before Jesus' return to sit on the throne of David there will be a great falling away, in which many professors show that the Lord indeed never knew them.
1 John 2:26-27 "These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him."
There is one answer to all of the problems that plague this world: repentance & faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Creator and Sustainer of this world, He is the only one to show us what God the Father is like and the entire ministry of God the Holy Spirit is to magnify Him. The only reason the is world still endures is because of His longsuffering toward His elect.
2 Peter 3:1-9 "Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. "
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. "
One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father. World society since the garden of Eden has sought to shift personal blame to others, but God commands all men everywhere to repent. Every man, woman and child from every tongue, tribe and nation will give account to Him one day for their own sinful behavior and will be no one else to blame but themselves if they continue to reject Him. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit says "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Romans 3:19-20
Here is God's solution to the problem of our guilt:
Romans 3:21-31 "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law."
Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord,
because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness. Then she who is my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, "Where is the Lord your God?" My eyes will see her;
now she will be trampled down like mud in the streets.
Sunday, May 11th 2008 we will begin meeting at our home. All ages will be worshipping together, but there will be teaching and interaction appropriate for all ages. We will be celebrating the Lord's Supper weekly and baptisms will be conducted at Watts Bar Lake.
Dear reader, this little book was mainly intended for the edification of believers, but if you are yet unsaved, our heart yearns over you: and we would fain say a word which may be blessed to you. Open your Bible, and read the story of the lepers, and mark their position, which was much the same as yours. If you remain where you are you must perish; if you go to Jesus you can but die. “Nothing venture, nothing win,” is the old proverb, and in your case the venture is no great one. If you sit still in sullen despair, no one can pity you when your ruin comes; but if you die with mercy sought, if such a thing were possible, you would be the object of universal sympathy. None escape who refuse to look to Jesus; but you know that, at any rate, some are saved who believe in him, for certain of your own acquaintances have received mercy: then why not you? The Ninevites said, “Who can tell?” Act upon the same hope, and try the Lord’s mercy. To perish is so awful, that if there were but a straw to catch at, the instinct of self-preservation should lead you to stretch out your hand. We have thus been talking to you on your own unbelieving ground, we would now assure you, as from the Lord, that if you seek him he will be found of you. Jesus casts out none who come unto him. You shall not perish if you trust him; on the contrary, you shall find treasure far richer than the poor lepers gathered in Syria’s deserted camp. May the Holy Spirit embolden you to go at once, and you shall not believe in vain. When you are saved yourself, publish the good news to others. Hold not your peace; tell the King’s household first, and unite with them in fellowship; let the porter of the city, the minister, be informed of your discovery, and then proclaim the good news in every place. The Lord save thee ere the sun goes down this day.
Guardian of the Fatherless
Hosea 14:3 Assyria shall not save us, we will not ride on horses, nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods.’ For in You the fatherless finds mercy."
THIS is an excellent reason for casting away all other confidences and relying upon the Lord alone. When a child is left without its natural protector, our God steps in and becomes his guardian: so also when a man has lost every object of dependence, he may cast himself upon the living God and find in Him all that he needs. Orphans are cast upon the fatherhood of God, and He provides for them. The writer of these pages knows what it is to hang on the bare arm of God, and he bears his willing witness that no trust is so well warranted by facts, or so sure to be rewarded by results, as trust in the invisible but ever living God.
Some children who have fathers are not much the better off because of them, but the fatherless with God are rich. Better have God and no other friend than all the patrons on the earth and no God. To be bereaved of the creature is painful, but so long as the Lord remains the fountain of mercy to us, we are not truly orphaned. Let fatherless children plead the gracious word for this morning, and let all who have been bereaved of visible support do the same. Lord, let me find mercy in thee! The more needy and helpless I am, the more confidently do I appeal to thy loving heart.
1 Corinthians 1:26-2:5
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord."
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
When a person is dear, everything connected with him becomes dear for his sake. Thus, so precious is the person of the Lord Jesus in the estimation of all true believers, that everything about him they consider to be inestimable beyond all price. “All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia,” said David, as if the very vestments of the Saviour were so sweetened by his person that he could not but love them. Certain it is, that there is not a spot where that hallowed foot hath trodden—there is not a word which those blessed lips have uttered—nor a thought which his loving Word has revealed—which is not to us precious beyond all price. And this is true of the names of Christ—they are all sweet in the believer’s ear. Whether he be called the Husband of the Church, her Bridegroom, her Friend; whether he be styled the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world—the King, the Prophet, or the Priest—every title of our Master—Shiloh, Emmanuel, Wonderful, the Mighty Counselor—every name is like the honeycomb dropping with honey, and luscious are the drops that distil from it. But if there be one name sweeter than another in the believer’s ear, it is the name of Jesus. Jesus! it is the name which moves the harps of heaven to melody. Jesus! the life of all our joys. If there be one name more charming, more precious than another, it is this name. It is woven into the very warp and woof of our psalmody. Many of our hymns begin with it, and scarcely any, that are good for anything, end without it. It is the sum total of all delights. It is the music with which the bells of heaven ring; a song in a word; an ocean for comprehension, although a drop for brevity; a matchless oratorio in two syllables; a gathering up of the hallelujahs of eternity in five letters.
“Jesus, I love thy charming name,
’Tis music to mine ear.”
He whom we viewed last evening as opening Scripture, we here perceive opening the understanding. In the first work he has many fellow-labourers, but in the second he stands alone; many can bring the Scriptures to the mind, but the Lord alone can prepare the mind to receive the Scriptures. Our Lord Jesus differs from all other teachers; they reach the ear, but he instructs the heart; they deal with the outward letter, but he imparts an inward taste for the truth, by which we perceive its savour and spirit. The most unlearned of men become ripe scholars in the school of grace when the Lord Jesus by his Holy Spirit unfolds the mysteries of the kingdom to them, and grants the divine anointing by which they are enabled to behold the invisible. Happy are we if we have had our understandings cleared and strengthened by the Master! How many men of profound learning are ignorant of eternal things! They know the killing letter of revelation, but its killing spirit they cannot discern; they have a veil upon their hearts which the eyes of carnal reason cannot penetrate. Such was our case a little time ago; we who now see were once utterly blind; truth was to us as beauty in the dark, a thing unnoticed and neglected. Had it not been for the love of Jesus we should have remained to this moment in utter ignorance, for without his gracious opening of our understanding, we could no more have attained to spiritual knowledge than an infant can climb the Pyramids, or an ostrich fly up to the stars. Jesus’ College is the only one in which God’s truth can be really learned; other schools may teach us what is to be believed, but Christ’s alone can show us how to believe it. Let us sit at the feet of Jesus, and by earnest prayer call in his blessed aid that our dull wits may grow brighter, and our feeble understandings may receive heavenly things.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Then Moses sang at the Red Sea, it was his joy to know that all Israel were safe. Not a drop of spray fell from that solid wall until the last of God’s Israel had safely planted his foot on the other side the flood. That done, immediately the floods dissolved into their proper place again, but not till then. Part of that song was, “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed.” In the last time, when the elect shall sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and of the Lamb, it shall be the boast of Jesus, “Of all whom thou hast given me, I have lost none.” In heaven there shall not be a vacant throne.
“For all the chosen race
Shall meet around the throne,
Shall bless the conduct of his grace,
And make his glories known.”
As many as God hath chosen, as many as Christ hath redeemed, as many as the Spirit hath called, as many as believe in Jesus, shall safely cross the dividing sea. We are not all safely landed yet:
“Part of the host have crossed the flood,
And part are crossing now.”
The vanguard of the army has already reached the shore. We are marching through the depths; we are at this day following hard after our Leader into the heart of the sea. Let us be of good cheer: the rear-guard shall soon be where the vanguard already is; the last of the chosen ones shall soon have crossed the sea, and then shall be heard the song of triumph, when all are secure. But oh! if one were absent—oh! if one of his chosen family should be cast away—it would make an everlasting discord in the song of the redeemed, and cut the strings of the harps of paradise, so that music could never be extorted from them.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Even the Faintest Call
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.”—Joel 2:32
WHY do I not call on His name? Why do I run to this neighbor and that, when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I sit down, and devise schemes, and invent plans? Why not at once roll myself and my burden upon the Lord? Straight-forward is the best runner—why do I not run at once to the living God? In vain shall I look for deliverance anywhere else; but with God I shall find it; for here I have His royal shall to make it sure.
I need not ask whether I may call on Him or not, for that word “whosoever” is a very wide and comprehensive one. Whosoever means me, for it means anybody and everybody who calls upon God. I will therefore follow the leading of the text, and at once call upon the glorious Lord who has made so large a promise.
My case is urgent, and I do not see how I am to be delivered; but this is no business of mine. He who makes the promise will find out ways and means of keeping it. It is mine to obey His commands; it is not mine to direct His counsels. I am His servant, not His solicitor. I call upon Him, and He will deliver me.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Omnipotence may build a thousand worlds and fill them with bounties. Omnipotence may powder mountains into dust and burn the sea and consume the sky, but Omnipotence cannot do an unloving thing toward a believer. Oh, rest quite sure, Christian, a hard thing, an unloving thing, from God toward one of His own people is quite impossible. He is as kind to you when He casts you into prison as when He takes you into a palace; He is as good when He sends famine into your house as when He fills your barns with plenty. The only question is, Are you His child? If so, He has rebuked you in affection, and there is love in His chastisement.
His Kindness and Covenant
“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”—Isaiah 54:10
ONE of the most delightful qualities of divine love is its abiding character. The pillars of the earth may be moved out of their places, but the kindness and the covenant of our merciful Jehovah never depart from His people. How happy my soul feels in a firm belief of this inspired declaration! The year is almost over, and the years of my life are growing few, but time does not change my Lord. New lamps are taking the place of the old; perpetual change is on all things, but our Lord is the same. Force overturns the hills, but no conceivable power can affect the eternal God. Nothing in the past, the present, or the future can cause Jehovah to be unkind to me.
My soul, rest in the eternal kindness of the Lord, who treats thee as one near of kin. Remember also the everlasting covenant. God is ever mindful of it: see that thou art mindful of it too. In Christ Jesus the glorious God has pledged Himself to thee to be thy God, and to hold thee as one of His people. Kindness and covenant—dwell on these words as sure and lasting things which eternity itself shall not take from thee.
When Jesus' Gracious Hand
"And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious."
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. "
1) When Jesus’ gracious hand has touched our eyes and
1pine intransitive verb
[Middle English, from Old English pinian to suffer, from (assumed) Old English pin punishment, from Latin poena — more at pain]
1 : to lose vigor, health, or flesh (as through grief) : languish
2 : to yearn intensely and persistently especially for something unattainable 〈they still pined for their lost wealth〉
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN SANCTIFICATION
“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.”
“Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
What I am saying.
The Lord saved me when I was a small child. Hearing the law proclaimed and knowing that I had already violated it and was deserving of a home in hell I cried out to the One who has overcome death & hell by virtue of His life, death & resurrection. I would have never have done so except for the fact that He had always loved me and ordained that I would come and bear fruit and that it would remain. The God who elects, regenerates & glorifies also sanctifies His people. We see this work in the life of Manasseh, Rahab, David, Peter, Isaiah, in fact everyone that is called by God. They grow in grace and the knowledge of God. They stumble, God picks them up, they sin, God disciplines & they repent. Scripture alone must guide our thoughts on this topic as all others. What I write now I trust will serve as the beginning of a discussion on this topic, not the end of it.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you 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 who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”
Your people shall be volunteers
In the day of Your power;
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning,
You have the dew of Your youth.
“Remember this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors.
Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’ Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it; I will also do it.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
1 Peter 2:9-10
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.
What I am not saying.
I am not saying that we are perfect or that we are to be passive. God’s elect are shown to be so not by their perfection, but by their growth and the evidence of God’s work & perseverance in & with them. God set us apart for a purpose, to show the world seen & unseen His mercy & grace in Jesus Christ. We are to admonish each other, rebuke when necessary, pray for one another, encourage one another… do we always do this, no we do not, but the God who is faithful will spur us on to return to Him. Too many times we look to ourselves and point people to look to themselves rather than to look to Jesus as we are told to again and again. Jesus is the Author & Finisher of our faith, if God leaves anything up to me I know I would be in deep, deep trouble. I am thankful that He does not. Please consider the scriptures below as my conclusion for now.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Through, Not Engulfed
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”—Isaiah 43:2
BRIDGE there is none: we must go through the waters, and feel the rush of the rivers. The presence of God in the flood is better than a ferry boat. Tried we must be, but triumphant we shall be; for Jehovah Himself, who is mightier than many waters, shall be with us. Whenever else He may be away from His people, the Lord will surely be with them in difficulties and dangers. The sorrows of life may rise to an extraordinary height, but the Lord is equal to every occasion.
The enemies of God can put in our way dangers of their own making—namely, persecutions and cruel mockings, which are like a burning fiery furnace. What then? We shall walk through the fires. God being with us, we shall not be burned; nay, not even the smell of fire shall remain upon us.
Oh, the wonderful security of the heaven-born and heaven-bound pilgrim! Floods cannot drown him, nor fires burn him. Thy presence, O Lord, is the protection of thy saints from the varied perils of the road. Behold, in faith I commit myself unto thee, and my spirit enters into rest.
Our Holiest Example
“I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”—Psalm 16:8
THIS is the way to live. With God always before us, we shall have the noblest companionship, the holiest example, the sweetest consolation, and the mightiest influence. This must be a resolute act of the mind. “I have set,” and it must be maintained as a set and settled thing. Always to have an eye to the Lord’s eye, and an ear for the Lord’s voice—this is the right state for the godly man. His God is near him, filling the horizon of his vision, leading the way of his life, and furnishing the theme of his meditation. What vanities we should avoid, what sins we should overcome, what virtues we should exhibit, what joys we should experience if we did indeed set the Lord always before us! Why not?
This is the way to be safe. The Lord being ever in our minds, we come to feel safety and certainty because of His being so near. He is at our right hand to guide and aid us, and hence we are not moved by fear, nor force, nor fraud, nor fickleness. When God stands at a man’s right hand, that man is himself sure to stand. Come on, then ye foes of the truth! Rush against me like a furious tempest, if ye will. God upholds me. God abides with me. Whom shall I fear?
Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when His people are earnest in a matter which concerns His glory. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation. Reader, do not fall into the sin of unbelief, but continue in prayer and watching. Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it will be with you according to your desire.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
William Mason (1719-1791)
Behold, I have erred exceedingly. – 1 Sam. 26:21
In this chapter we have an account of an heroic act of David's faith in the Lord, his invincible courage, and his tenderness towards Saul, his enraged enemy, by which he melted his heart and overcame his cruel wrath. Let us view his conduct, and pray for grace to get good from it.
View his faith. Here was Saul, with three thousand chosen men, in pursuit of David, thirsting for his blood; they were at a very small distance from him. Behold, David proposes to go to Saul's camp in the dead of the night, and asks," Who will go down with me?" Does not this seem to the eye of natural reason to be a most rash and dangerous attempt? Though it were at midnight, though they might be fallen into a dead sleep, yet, out of such a number of men, one or more might awake and seize on David. Surely, it was going into the very jaws of death; but David's faith surmounted his fears; his trust in his God prevailed. O precious gift of precious faith! Lord, increase it in our souls. Abishai consents to go with him; they pass the king's life-guards; enter Saul's camp: for behold, they were all like dead men. David and Abishai converse together: not a man hears or stirs. Why was this? How can we account for it? Why? Because a deep sleep from the Lord was fallen upon them." O, my soul, learn courage from hence. When Giant Despair attempted to pursue the pilgrims he was seized with his fits. All thy enemies are under thy Lord's power; he can cast all into a deep sleep, or into the long sleep of death; and he will, sooner than thou shalt perish by them. Up faith–down sense–away with all carnal reasonings:
"March on, nor fear to win the day,
"Though death and hell obstruct the way."
Now see how David's faith wrought by his works. When they got safe into the camp Saul lay sleeping, and his spear stuck into the ground at his head. Now for a strong temptation. Abishai said to David, "God hath delivered thine enemy into thy hand this day; let me smite him, I pray thee, with this spear to the earth at once, I will not smite him a second time." See this specious reasoning. He begins with God, who had delivered Saul into David's hands. Here was a fair opportunity to revenge himself of his cruel enemy and put an end to his troubles. And he promises to do it effectually, at a stroke. Now, who but a man after God's own heart could have withstood this? But David had a better way to kill his rage and save his life. Here see an heroic act of faith working by love and producing an unshaken obedience to God: he durst not stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed. See how conspicuous the grace of God shines in the Old Testament saint O blush, ye who regard David's faith as nothing compared to the faith of a christian!
See the effects of David's conduct: he carried away Saul's spear and cruse from under his head, and upbraids the captain of his host for not watching over his royal master. Saul hears of the affair and cries out, "Is this thy voice, my son David?" Struck with David's fine reasoning; melted down at his noble, generous conduct; and doubtless recollecting that his life had been once before in David's hands, when he cut off the skirts of his robe in a cave, 1 Sam. 24:4, Saul replies, "Behold I have played the fool, and erred exceedingly." Thus faith works by love and patience: this will overcome, when wrath and resentment only add fuel to an enemy's rage.
I get up for work between 3:30 & 4:30 EST 5-6 days a week and I often wake up earlier than that. We have a large window next to my side of the bed from which I look out and see Spring City across the lake and up to the sky the same stars that we along with Abraham are told to ponder. I have seen shooting stars, the full moon shining across the lake, but far better than what I see with my eyes are the scriptures that God brings to my mind at times like these and on my 1/2 hour drive to work. He reminds me that His lovingkindness is better than life, that He grants sleep to those He loves, and I sleep well. When I feel weak & overwhelmed He reminds me that His mercies are new every morning and that His strength is made perfect in weakness. He reminds me to keep on praying and not give up because Elijah was a man just like us, & this morning "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." Matthew 11:11.
Before His first advent, His elect were drawn to look for Him and some were even given special insight, through His word, that His coming was near. This morning when I awoke an hour before my alarm was to go off the last statement from Daniel came to my mind so I got up & read the last chapter. Notes I have added are in Blue.
"At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.
"But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."
Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank. And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?"
Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.
Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?"
And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand." And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.
"But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.
Before the first coming of Jesus, many were looking for it. It had been revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he had seen His first advent.
Luke 2:25-38 "And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel."
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. "
How did the Holy Spirit reveal this to Simeon? The timing is in the book of Daniel and the fact that he would live to see it was a direct revelation.
And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:
"Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
"And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate."
Seventy weeks from … Until. These are weeks of years, whereas weeks of days are described in a different way (10:2,3). The time spans from the Persian Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem, ca. 445 b.c. (Neh. 2:1–8), to the Messiah’s kingdom. This panorama includes: 1) 7 weeks or 49 years, possibly closing Nehemiah’s career in the rebuilding of the “street and wall,” as well as the end of the ministry of Malachi and the close of the OT; 2) 62 weeks or 434 more years for a total of 483 years to the first advent of Messiah. This was fulfilled at the triumphal entry on 9 Nisan, a.d. 30. The Messiah will be “cut off,” (a common reference to death); and 3) the final 7 years or 70th week of the time of Antichrist (cf. v. 27). Roman people, from whom the Antichrist will come, will “destroy the city” of Jerusalem and its temple in a.d. 70.
Now we are to look for the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, when He returns for His bride, just as Simeon and the elect of his day looked forward to the First Advent.
Titus 2:11-15 "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you."
1 Corinthians 1:4-9 "I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."
Colossians 3:1-4 "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. "
2 Peter 3:1-13 "Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. "
We are to be looking for His return, I know that I love Him because He loved me first and I am looking forward to seeing Him more than anything. He will keeps His promises to all of His elect whether it be the elect physical seed of Israel or the elect spiritual seed of Abraham. I close for now with a quote from Dr. Barnhouse on Romans 11.
Mercy for Israel
Is such mercy for us alone? Paul answers emphatically, “No!” The same God who has been merciful to the Gentiles, will be merciful to the Jews. The mercy which God has extended to us is but an evidence of the mercy which He will manifest in Israel’s restoration. “Even so, have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy” (Rom. 11:31)? We must be careful not to misinterpret this verse in terms of personal salvation for individual Jews. We must keep in mind that God is dealing with Jews and Gentiles as ethnic groups here, not as individual men. The verse before us speaks of Israel’s national restoration. This is confirmed by Paul’s previous testimony. “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Rom. 11:15). God in sovereign electing grace will restore a nation in a day, even as in this age of grace He brings life out of death to each individual believer. He will do this out of sheer grace because of the greatness of His love in the extension of His mercy. What God is doing for us individually, He will do for Israel nationally.
Israel can never merit this mercy, for she is in rebellious unbelief. In the Greek, the word “unbelief” is a very strong word; it really translates into “disobedience.” This disobedience does not spring from mere indifference. The verb form of the word indicates a rebellion, a refusal to be persuaded or to be convinced. It adds up to the spirit of outright stubbornness and open resistance. This kind of disobedience is not born of ignorance; it is born of insolence. Isaiah sets forth the spirit of this rebellion. “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground. He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not” (Isa. 53:1–3).
It is in this fifty-third chapter of Isaiah that Messiah’s great work as the Paschal Lamb is set forth. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:4, 5). In the beginning of the gospel, at the announcement of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, God tells us that Jesus came to be Israel’s Savior Messiah: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Paul confirms this by presenting Christ as the new passover: “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7).
Isaiah points out that Israel’s disobedience was not a matter of ignorance but of insolence. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). This verse should call forth God’s wrath; instead, it calls forth His mercy. The iniquities of Israel as well the iniquities of the Gentiles, have been laid on Jesus Christ.
Mercy for All
Someone may raise the question: If God is going to convert Israel as a nation, why should we be interested in witnessing to them now? The answer is quite simple. God is not dealing with nations now; He is dealing with individual men and women. The Lord Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. God is dealing with neither Gentiles nor Jews. He is not dealing with the color of a person’s skin, nor their academic or financial status. In this present hour, God is only interested in the souls of men. Through the gospel He tells them they are lost in sin, but that they can be saved through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross. Today, we witness to the Jews primarily, as men and women who need to know the Savior. Paul sounds this note. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). While we rejoice in the glorious hope of Israel’s ultimate restoration as a nation, we must not shirk our responsibility to present the gospel of salvation to them now. The Gentile believer who has carefully studied this portion of Paul’s epistle to the Romans will not find witnessing to the Jews a dreary obligation, but a privilege. The unbelief which we experience in witnessing to individual Jews will be but a testimony to the mercy of God toward us, and will call forth our gratitude toward Him.
Paul now comes to the final summation of his argument that both Jews and Gentiles have to be objects of God’s mercy and love. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” Our English word “concluded” is a translation of a very picturesque Greek word. Paul actually says that God has “hemmed us in,” “imprisoned us,” or “shut us up in the place of disobedience.” One should think that this would merit His wrath and His total abandonment of us. Paul points out, however, that God concludes us all under sin in order that He might show mercy to us. From our study of this portion of the epistle, we can well understand why we should be on our way to hell, whether we be Jews or Gentiles. What we shall never understand is why we should be on our way to heaven. Who can explain the reason for His love? Who can hope to fathom the depths of His mercy? Who is really worthy of His grace?
No one is worthy, declares the Apostle Paul. Gentiles are no better than Jews, and Jews are no better than Gentiles. “What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise, For we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one, there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:9–12). Since the Scripture concludes us all under sin, the promise by faith in Jesus Christ is extended to all men that they might believe.
One who understands this passage and has really experienced the redeeming love of God the Father through Jesus Christ the Lord will never be guilty of slandering God with the accusation that He delights in sending people to Hell. There is not a line in the Bible to substantiate this blasphemous canard. Let us not forget that in the garden it was God who sought Adam after the fall. Adam never sought God; he fled from Him. In writing to young Timothy, Paul explains the heart of God. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Tim. 2:3–6).
God is the God of mercy. He expressed this mercy in times past when He cared for His ancient people Israel, bringing them from the bondage of Egypt into the land of promise. God is the God of mercy in this present time, having provided the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ by which we may come to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Him. God will be the God of mercy in the future as He restores His ancient people, who are now in disobedient unbelief, to a position of glory and fellowship with Him.
Barnhouse, D. G. (1963). God's Covenants : Romans 9:1-11:36 (160). Grand Rapids, MI.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
LXI THE NARROW WAY (from the Olney Hymns)
What thousands never knew the road!
What thousands hate it when ‘tis known!
None but the chosen tribes of God
Will seek or choose it for their own.
A thousand ways in ruin end,
One, only, leads to joys on high;
By that my willing steps ascend,
Pleased with a journey to the sky.
No more I ask, or hope to find,
Delight or happiness below;
Sorrow may well possess the mind
That feeds where thorns and thistles grow.
The joy that fades is not for me,
I seek immortal joys above;
There glory without end shall be
The bright reward of faith and love.
Cleave to the world, ye sordid worms,
Contented lick your native dust,
But God shall fight with all His storms
Against the idol of your trust.
"Perfect love casts out fear"
We live in an age of worldwide fear. Fear of the economy, terrorism, cancer, illness, you name it, the world thrives on it. Watch the news, listen to the radio, read the paper, listen to the conversation where you work. However, the One who should be feared is scorned, said to be absent at best, dead or having never existed at worst. As the psalmist said, "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God." His evidence is ignored and repressed at your own peril, there is a day coming when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father, and this includes yours. It will not be brought about by armies, kings
or rulers, but by God alone at the time He has already appointed. Those who He redeems are granted His perfect love that casts aside all the fears of this world for the fear of the One true God and only in the awe, respect & rightful fear of Him can perfect love be found. There is no condemnation to those who believe. Jesus Himself is our security. As sure as He sits at the right hand of God even now, so shall myself and all those who love Him. We love Him because He first loved us. He suffered in our place so that we may be found
in Him, not having a righteousness of our own, but having been graciously given His righteousness.
Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us."
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: "Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion."
"I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ "
Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
The truth of Scripture never changes. All the governments of this world would do well to heed this Psalm. Jesus alone is the rightful ruler of this world. Not one government official is in place today whether in a democracy, kingdom, socialist or islamic state except by the appointment of the One who has been given power over all by His resurrection from the dead. Pseudo-Science denies Him as the Creator, who spoke and made this world out of nothing. They deny His beauty & majesty in this work and attribute it to blind chance. Similarity & the harmony of all living systems do not prove evolution, but point to the design of the Tri-une God. He is also the one focal point of redemption. He fulfilled the Law of God and alone has the power to deliver from the law, sin and death.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
More on this later...
Garment-rending and other outward signs of religious emotion, are easily manifested and are frequently hypocritical; but to feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will attend to the most multiplied and minute ceremonial regulations—for such things are pleasing to the flesh—but true religion is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of the carnal men; they prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly. Outward observances are temporarily comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and self-righteousness is puffed up: but they are ultimately delusive, for in the article of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven.
Heart-rending is divinely wrought and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief which is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a matter to be merely talked of and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating, and completely sin-purging; but then it is sweetly preparative for those gracious consolations which proud unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them alone.
The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally hard as marble: how, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: a dying Saviour’s voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation.
Scarcely could we rejoice at the thought of losing the glorious old ocean: the new heavens and the new earth are none the fairer to our imagination, if, indeed, literally there is to be no great and wide sea, with its gleaming waves and shelly shores. Is not the text to be read as a metaphor, tinged with the prejudice with which the Oriental mind universally regarded the sea in the olden times? A real physical world without a sea it is mournful to imagine, it would be an iron ring without the sapphire which made it precious. There must be a spiritual meaning here. In the new dispensation there will be no division—the sea separates nations and sunders peoples from each other. To John in Patmos the deep waters were like prison walls, shutting him out from his brethren and his work: there shall be no such barriers in the world to come. Leagues of rolling billows lie between us and many a kinsman whom to-night we prayerfully remember, but in the bright world to which we go there shall be unbroken fellowship for all the redeemed family. In this sense there shall be no more sea. The sea is the emblem of change; with its ebbs and flows, its glassy smoothness and its mountainous billows, its gentle murmurs and its tumultuous roarings, it is never long the same. Slave of the fickle winds and the changeful moon, its instability is proverbial. In this mortal state we have too much of this; earth is constant only in her inconstancy, but in the heavenly state all mournful change shall be unknown, and with it all fear of storm to wreck our hopes and drown our joys. The sea of glass glows with a glory unbroken by a wave. No tempest howls along the peaceful shores of paradise. Soon shall we reach that happy land where partings, and changes, and storms shall be ended! Jesus will waft us there. Are we in him or not? This is the grand question.
Spurgeon, C. H.
This is in response to Charles Robinson’s September 19th article as well as the regular advertisements of Stephen Brown. We all agree that Jesus said, “He who endures to the end will be saved”. But what is the means of this endurance? Is it to be found in God’s people or their God? I encourage you all to carefully read the whole counsel of God in this matter. The gospel of Christ is under attack, as it has been since the Fall of mankind and will be, until Jesus Himself ascends the throne to put an end to all unrighteousness. In what I write below you will read little of what I have to say and much of what God has already spoken. Space does not permit me to cover all the passages that have crossed my mind. But I encourage you to read these passages in their context. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. All quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.
First of all, the teaching that “God’s covenants… are
conditional” is a violation of 3rd commandment.
Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. “
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, (this includes ourselves) shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Do you trust Jesus promise of deliverance alone, or add your so-called “good works to it?”
I do not know what Stephen believes on the second issue, but Charles has made it clear that he believes God has turned His back on the physical, covenant descendants of Israel, but look at what Jeremiah and Paul say:
Finally, I know, like the apostle
Paul details in
City on a Hill Sovereign Grace Baptist Chapel
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. – Ephesians 6:13
Paul was an experienced veteran in the camp of Christ; he had fought many battles under the Captain of his salvation, against his combined enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil; he warns his fellow-soldiers of their foes and dangers, by exhorting them to take and put on nothing less than "the whole armor of God." The very same armor in which he himself fought is provided for us also. Blessed be God, that as sure as Paul fought his way through, and got safe to glory, so shall we also in this armor of God. O christian, consider, this is not an armor of flesh and blood, not what is natural to man, or is in the power of man to provide for himself; but the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of the whole earth, hath provided it for all Christ's good soldiers.
What is this armor of God? It is the Son of his love, the Lord Jesus himself; he is the christian's whole and complete armor: in Christ alone he stands his ground, fights and conquers every enemy: without Christ we can do nothing but faint and fly. Take this whole armor: put it on, saith Paul: Christ is yours; he is the gift of God to you; "put on the Lord Jesus." Rom. 13:14. Just as one puts on armor for defence, so take, put on, arm your minds with the whole person of Christ, his love, righteousness, and atonement, all his offices, yea, the whole salvation of Christ: this, and nothing but this, what Christ is to us and hath done for us, is proof against every enemy in the evil day of battle. That ye may be able to stand: O soldier, Christ is your strength; your standing is by his power: against all the wiles of the devil.
Is Satan very cunning and very powerful, full of force and fraud? Is he too much for you to resist and conquer? Remember, Christ is your whole armor. Wisdom lies in the head; Christ is your head; he is to you made wisdom. Courage comes from the heart; Christ dwells there by faith. Eph. 3:17. Thus armed, you are proof against Satan's devices; you never can fall while fighting in his armor, for you shall be strengthened, by the Spirit's' might, in the inner man." Satan must first wound Christ before he can reach you ;'first conquer Christ before he can conquer you. O then, christian, look at your armor, not at your weak, defenceless self: be strong: be of good courage: shout your victory, "more than conquerors, through Christ, who loved us." Romans 8:37.
Many people believe that God loves everyone equally and is desperate to save as many people as possible. They have made him into a cosmic beggar at the worst and a schizophrenic at best (if that is really a better option). Sentences taken out of context like the one in 1 Peter are ripped out of their context. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." Notice that the Lord is longsuffering toward us not everyone. The question is who is contained in the limiting pronoun "us". "To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: " They are also called "beloved" at least twice in the epistle before this. "To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:" is how they are addressed in Peter's first epistle. Jesus has always loved we who were given to Him by His Father. His very name means "He shall save His people from their sins." He said "I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." If he left any part of His plan alone to us it would fail. He is the Alpha and Omega, The first and the last, the beginning and the end. I am thankful He chose me and ordained that I would bear fruit that would remain. Don't believe the lies of anyone who says otherwise, they are promoting a false, godless christ, not the Lord of Glory who NEVER fails.
Reformation Day 2005
We choose to observe Reformation Day in remembrance of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses on the church door at Wittenberg, Germany on October 31st, 1517, rather than observing the pagan holiday of Halloween. See: http://www.luther.de/en/95thesen.html
Paul told the Philippians this: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
At this time of year many people try to compete with “Haunted Houses” and the like by scaring people to faith. But this is contrary to what we see in scripture. “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
Jesus has a people to redeem and we see the fulfillment of this promise in the revelation of Jesus Christ: “And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain,
and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”
While I certainly do not agree with all of Luther’s doctrine, I would much rather remember God’s work in him and others on this day and not the morbidity that Halloween produces. We will be meeting at 6:00pm October 31st, 2005 to read scripture, sing some of Luther’s and others great psalms and hymns, pray and to celebrate the Lord’s Supper as we look forward to His triumphant return. Here is the Lord of Glory’s own invitation:
“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
If you are interested in joining us, you are welcome.
October 12th, 2005
Samuel Davies (1724-1761) was known for many things. He was Jonathan Edwards’s successor as President of Princeton University, at that time known as the College of New Jersey, and helped to raise needed funds in England establish the new school.
He is also known as the founder of southern Presbyterianism. He persuaded the King of England to grant religious toleration to the colonies.
He was a model of social action, educating slaves and allowing them to be members at his church in Virginia and supporting many other social causes including the evangelization of native Americans. More than anything he was a superb pastor, preacher and hymnwriter.
Sadly his sermons were out of print for almost 150 years until Soli Deo Gloria Publications reprinted them in 1995. His collected poems were re-printed in 1968 by Scholars Facsimiles and Reprints. The following is a fine example of his hymns:
Great God of Wonders
Are matchless, godlike and divine,
But the fair Glories of Thy Grace
More godlike and unrivalled shine:
Who’s a pard’ning God like Thee?
Or who has Grace so rich and free?
2. Crimes of such Horror to forgive,
Such guilty daring Worms to spare
This is Thy grand Prerogative
And none shall in the Honour share!
Who’s a pard’ning God like Thee?
Or who has Grace so rich and free?
3. Angels and Men, resign your Claim
To Pity, Mercy, Love, and Grace,
These Glories crown Jehovah’s Name
With an incomparable Blaze.
Who’s a pard’ning God like Thee?
Or who has Grace so rich and free?
4. In Wonder lost, with trembling Joy,
We take the Pardon of our God:
Pardon for Crimes of deepest Dye,
A Pardon bought with Jesus’ Blood.
Who’s a pard’ning God like Thee?
Or who has Grace so rich and free?
5. O may this strange, this matchless Grace,
This godlike Miracle of Love,
Fill the wide Earth with grateful Praise,
And all th’ Angelic Hosts above!
Who’s a pard’ning God like Thee?
Or who has Grace so rich and free?
October 2nd, 2005
Last night or this morning a 7th Day Adventist left a booklet on my van window at home... of course anonymously. I grew up next to Adventists in Lincoln, NE and am quite aware of their false teachings. Jesus instituted meeting on the first day of the week in light of the New Covenant which was introduced in time by His resurrection. Follow this link and compare it to the Bible to see what God really teaches about the "Sabbath": http://www.pbministries.org/books/gill/Practical_Divinity/Book_3/book3_08.htm
I am quite happy to meet with anyone who disagrees with what I believe and is willing to discuss it in light of the Bible not the teachings of Ellen G. White or anyone else for that matter. Over the years I have discussed my faith with Mormons, Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, SDA's, Armininians and others in bondage to false doctrine and the author of lies. The Holy Spirit through apostle John says that, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one." Through the apostle Paul He says, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others."
I have seen God save some of them and in glory I will see the full fruit of Christ's work in and through me and all of His people.
"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
The castle of the human heart
Strong in its native sin;
Is guarded well, in every part,
By him who dwells within.
For Satan there, in arms, resides,
And calls the place his own;
With care against assaults provides,
And rules, as on a throne.
Each traitor thought on him, as chief,
In blind obedience waits;
And pride, self-will, and unbelief,
Are posted at the gates.
Thus Satan for a season reigns,
And keeps his goods in peace;
The soul is pleased to wear his chains,
Nor wishes a release.
But Jesus, stronger far than he,
In his appointed hour
Appears, to set his people free
From the usurper's pow'r.
"This heart I bought with blood, he says,
And now it shall be mine;"
His voice the strong one armed dismays,
He knows he must resign.
In spite of unbelief and pride,
And self, and Satan's art;
The gates of brass fly open wide,
And Jesus wins the heart.
The rebel soul that once withstood
The Savior's kindest call;
Rejoices now, by grace subdued,
To serve him with her all.
John Newton - author of "Amazing Grace"
"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters."
Anyone I read or recommend others to read ought to be compared with the Bible, the only rule of life for God's elect.
Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."
1 Corinthians 16:2
On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.
When I am weak, then am I strong…
The apostle Paul had learned an important lesson. Buffeted by “a thorn in the flesh” which was “a messenger of Satan” he had three times implored the Lord Jesus to relieve him of the burden. He believed the answer to his difficulty was in the deliverance of the burden.
He did what God
Himself commanded him to do in response. He obeyed the admonishment of
The very Son of God in the garden of Gethsemane had prayed in a like manner. “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me”, but the answer of His Father was not to take away the burden but to allow the crushing weight of all the dearly loved, forever chosen wretches sins fall upon His very brow and crush Him until all of the just wrath of God against us was extinguished by His suffering.
These were the sins of the likes of you & I, Paul, Manasseh, David, Mary Magdelene, the Samaritan woman, Jonah, the mariners and the City of Ninevah for one generation, and those described in the city of Corinth. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Yet unlike us, the Father turned His back on His Son so that only He would cry out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” Because of His suffering in our stead, we will never be able to truly utter like words.
Because of the suffering of Jesus, Paul heard the following words of comfort from his crucifed Lord. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul, responded as we ought, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
The Lord Jesus alone fulfilled the law, suffered for His dearly beloved, thus imputing His righteousness to them in the place of our law-breaking. His resurrection is proof of that He satisfied God’s justice and now we eagerly await His return to complete the process.
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”
“Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
Wait for Him, proclaim Him and trust that the work that He began He will indeed complete. This is both our confidence in approaching Him for ourselves and proclaiming to others the truth that “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Follow Paul as he followed the Lord Jesus, so that you can honestly say, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer’s never-ceasing intercession for us. When we pray, He pleads for us, and when we are not praying, He is advocating our cause and, by His supplications, shielding us from unseen dangers. We little know what we owe to our Savior’s prayers. When we reach the hilltops of heaven and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God has led us, how we will praise Him who, before the eternal throne, has pleaded our cause against our unseen enemies. “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:32). - Spurgeon
MY GOD, MY SOUL IS CAST DOWN WITHIN ME"
O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,
and from the heights of Hermon, from the Hill Mizar.
In times of dejection and distress, the thought of a dear friend, who has comforted us in times past, tends to alleviate the mind. If we are assured of his love to us, we question not his readiness to assist us. So, under the affecting loss of a dear brother, Martha addresses the Saviour, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." John 11:21.
Inexpressible blessedness to live in a holy familiarity with the God of love! How simple are David's words how freely doth he pour out his complaints, and tell God of his sorrows! though his soul was bowed down within him, heaviness of mind beset him, the sweet sunshine of joy was overcast by the dark cloud of sorrow, yet faith's piercing eye looks through all. Regardless of his own frames and feelings, he has direct course to God.
O my God! how sweet, how animating are appropriating views of thee to the soul! Though cast down, though dejected in self, and all within heightens the gloom, yet all above is hopeful and encouraging. Though no confidence about us, yet Jesus is before the throne for us. "I will not, I cannot, I dare not forget this. Rejoice not over me, O mine enemy; I will still remember my God; my thoughts shall be yet towards him; my hope is in him; my expectations from him. Though it is now dark, I will remember past times of light and love. Though now bowed down, yet my God has been the lifter-up of my head. The light of his reconciled face, in Jesus, hath shined upon me. Clouds may intercept my joyful views of this, but not prevent his sight of me, nor turn away his love from me. My case is before him. My soul lies open to his view. The times of refreshing shall come from his presence. He rests in his love." Such are the reasonings of faith. The experience of departed saints should encourage the confidence of living saints. Down-east, mourning souls, when they enjoy not God's comforts, should meditate on his loving purposes, rich promises, and free grace in Christ; holding fast the word of his truth. Of what singular and blessed use is the memory to retain divine truths, and bring back a fresh and lively sense of God's past dealings with us! "Remember this, and show yourselves men." "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." I Cor. 1:9.
"Amidst temptations sharp and
"My soul to this dear Refuge flies:
"Hope is my anchor, firm and strong,
"While tempests blow and billows rise.
"The Gospel bears my spirit up:
"A faithful and unchanging God
"Lays the foundation for my hope,
"In oaths, and promises, and blood."
"I AM THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR"
"I am the bright and morning Star."–Rev. xxii. 16.
How oft, in some dark wintry morning, like the present, have I bebeld the morning star shining with loveliness, when all the other lights of heaven were put out! But how little did I think of thee, thou precious light and life of men! Thou art indeed the bright and morning Star in the firmament of thy church, in thy word, and in the souls of thy redeemed. Henceforth, dearest Jesus, let the morning visit of this sweet planet to our darkened earth remind me of thee, amidst all the gross darkness by which in nature we are surrounded. Sure pledge of day as this beneficial star is, yet not more sure than thou in the day-dawn and day-star of prophecy, which ministered to thy coming; and in the twilight of grace upon the soul, the forerunner of a glorious day. Be thou my morning song, my noontide joy, my evening meditation, and midnight light. Through all the wintry seasons of my pilgrimage, shine forth, sweet Jesus, upon my soul. Oh! ye sons of sloth, ye children of darkness, and of night, rouse from your beds of drowsiness, before the sleep of death seal up your eyes in everlasting darkness. Jesus, the Morning Star, now shines; and are long, Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, will appear, no more to go down, and all the sons of God will sbout for joy.
From the POOR MAN'S MORNING AND EVENING PORTIONS.
1-6-2005 The Gospel is always successful whether people believe or reject it:
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
2 Corinthians 2:14-17 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.
Romans 9:14-24 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
1-5-2005 I found several job opportunities today but I would be required to work at least 45 hours a week. I am praying for the Lord's will to be done. Thursday I am to take a tour of one assembly plant in Dayton, TN. I'm praying to find something that is more flexible.
1-1-2005 It was 65 degrees here today, so I took Jonathon, Andrew & Sarah to the park today. While we were playing Andrew tripped on some steps on the playground, fell, and landed flat on his chin. I was only a few steps away and before he could get up I was there. As he opened his mouth I saw pieces of one of his teeth on his tongue. He handled it quite well... I hope and think it was a baby tooth. He skinned his chin up pretty good but he quickly quit crying. When I got home we showed it to Marsha and I noticed that she was crying. After Andrew went back to play I asked her why. She replied that yesterday was when our dental insurance ended and this is one of the reasons she is looking for a new job. Monday I plan on turning in my application at a temp agency as well. We took her to work this evening and after I put the children to bed I got my guitar out and began singing songs. After about an hour I came upon a hymn I have not tried playing or singing yet, but upon reading it it prompted me to come and write down my thoughts. Here is the hymn:
Our little ones are dear to Thee;
Gathered with Thine arms and carried
In Thy bosom may they be
Sweetly, gently, safely tended,
From all want and danger free.
From Thy fold to go astray;
By Thy look of love directed,
May they walk the narrow way;
Thus direct them, and protect them
Lest they fall an easy prey.
Fill their minds with heav’nly light;
Let Thy love and grace constrain them
To approve what e’er is right,
Take Thine easy yoke and wear it,
And to prove Thy burden light.
In the stream Thy love supplied;
Mingled streams of blood and water
Flowing from Thy wounded side:
And to heav’nly pastures lead them,
Where Thine own still waters glide.
I am glad that our concerns for ourselves, our families and our children in particular are but dim reflections of our God's love for His own. How can we doubt the God that sacrificed His only begotten to purchase us while we were yet sinners. I am once again reminded that He is putting our tears in a bottle and doesn't forget our agonies although they be tainted with our sin and imperfect. He even bids us to come boldly to the throne of grace for help in our time of need. He truly is our gracious Savior and gentle Shepherd.
12-25-2005 Over the last two years since I quit my job at Billy Graham I have been thinking, speaking, reading and praying about faith. Every job I ever wanted I have either gotten or else the Lord brought along something better than I could think of. When I quit BGEA I wondered what the Lord had in store next, I had many ideas but nothing was clear for a week or two. As we prayed about it Cedine came to mind and we immediately agreed that we should pursue coming here. When we called we received a positive response from the Mission and since we have not looked back.
We have made mistakes, we have stumbled at times but the Lord has kept us and caused us to grow. Aren't you glad He is faithful? He called us and He will also do it. Thursday night I awoke and my heart was filled with thanksgiving for all the Lord has done so far... but since then, it has been filled with anticipation about what He will yet do in and through us. I believe it will be substantial. Not one iota because of us but because of Him.
In our regular family devotions we are going through the book of Hebrews and these two passages came to my mind. If you have heard me speak you have probably heard me say that the Bible wasn't written in chapters and verses it was written in paragraphs just like we write today. The following sections have really hit home with me today and after you read them I will add some more thoughts on what they mean to us as well as to all of you who have been loved and called of God in Christ. My faith has GROWN... although our expenses have grown, our opportunities for ministry have grown and as of right now we seem to be at the shore of the Red Sea with all of our resources gone and nothing short of a miracle to take us to the next step that God has promised to take us to. We are, like Moses, standing at the "Red Sea" God has divinely put before us and by faith alone (which He has given to us as you will see below) are waiting to see what He will do. We now have greater opportunity at Cedine, in our community and, in the providence of God, in Ghana than ever before. We are trusting Him to provide and part our "Sea". The sin that so easily ensnares all of us is unbelief, the remedy is Christ Himself, and He is the Author and Finisher of our faith, He began the work in us and He will finish it.
Hebrews 11:1-2 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony."
Hebrews 12-13:25 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.
Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say:
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”
Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly.
Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.
Grace be with you all. Amen.
In James it says that Elijah was a man just like us and yet he prayed and the rain stopped, he prayed again and the rain returned. Sometimes we are tempted to think the people in Scripture had some abilities and gifts that set them apart on a pedestal above us, not so. We have the gifts and the Holy Spirit and the elect in scripture are divine examples to us to follow in their steps, not in writing scripture or of being able to do miracles, although God still works such as He sees fit, but to follow like Isaiah, who seeing the holiness of the Lord Jesus Himself in all of His pre-incarnate glory said "Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell among a people of unclean lips"... but when cleansed by Christ's purifying coal from the altar responded in faith to the call to go and speak for Him. At times we may be like Jeremiah as well:
O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded;
You are stronger than I, and have prevailed.
I am in derision daily;
Everyone mocks me.
For when I spoke, I cried out;
I shouted, “Violence and plunder!”
Because the word of the Lord was made to me
A reproach and a derision daily.
Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him,
Nor speak anymore in His name.”
But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back,
And I could not.
For I heard many mocking:
“Fear on every side!”
“Report,” they say, “and we will report it!”
All my acquaintances watched for my stumbling, saying,
“Perhaps he can be induced;
Then we will prevail against him,
And we will take our revenge on him.”
But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One.
Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail.
They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper.
Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten.
But, O Lord of hosts,
You who test the righteous,
And see the mind and heart,
Let me see Your vengeance on them;
For I have pleaded my cause before You.
Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord!
For He has delivered the life of the poor
From the hand of evildoers.
I want to encourage all of you to look to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith as all our "elders" (see Hebrews 11:2) did. If our Lord used David, Lot, Samson, Paul, Peter, Manasseh, Jonah, Judah, Rahab the Harlot, and the like. He will certainly use all of us, in His time and in His way to accomplish His will. He said He would build His church and the gate of Hell would not prevail against it. His name means "You shall call His name Jesus, for He SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE from THEIR SINS. He is the Alpha & Omega, the Beginning & the End, the Author and Finisher of our Faith and the only True Promise Keeper. This is why we point to Him alone, the Gospel itself is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, He fulfilled the Law, He endured to the end, He suffered in our stead on the cross enduring the wrath that we deserved from the Father, He died and was buried, He rose again three days later, He ascended into heaven 40 days after His resurrection. He sent the Holy Spirit. His sole task now is interceding for His sheep. He is building His church in spite of all of us and He will save every lost one before He returns to personally set up His Kingdom and fulfill all His covenant promises from Adam to Abraham to David to us.
Point only to Him, pray to Him, trust Him, don't care when people try to get you to look at yourself or your circumstances like Peter did and began to sink in the sea... but even if you do Jesus Himself will pick you up and cause you to endures for His name's sake. Pray for us as we pray for you all and look forward to the Day when He will bring fruition to our Father's will that none of His sheep should perish.
Some of you may not think much of me, you have known me for some time and know how I have failed in the past, you may think that I certainly am no better than you and probably a lot worse off, you are most certainly correct. But Jesus Christ loves me and for this I am eternally grateful. In and of myself, I am a failure and am now happy to admit it. The two passages I finish with will show my confidence and it is NOT in myself. I trust that God has and yet will reveal the same to many of you.
1 Corinthians 1:17-31
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
Do not rejoice over me, my enemy;
When I fall, I will arise;
When I sit in darkness,
The Lord will be a light to me.
I will bear the indignation of the Lord,
Because I have sinned against Him,
Until He pleads my case
And executes justice for me.
He will bring me forth to the light;
I will see His righteousness.
Then she who is my enemy will see,
And shame will cover her who said to me,
“Where is the Lord your God?”
My eyes will see her;
Now she will be trampled down
Like mud in the streets.
12-09-2004 I want to thank all of you for praying for us. I have prayed for years that we would have regular, daily family devotions. The Lord has seen fit to grant us that desire the last few weeks. We have been reading Hebrews, William Mason, Richard Hawker, kids devotionals and having regular family prayer. I have been sleeping well at night so I am not tired in the morning before Jonathon goes to school so I can get up and get going early. We read Psalm 138 this week as well and we have also been reading Daniel stories a lot recently. I had never seen a link between the two until this week. Read them both, Daniel applied the truth of this psalm in his episode with the Lions. Christ, the Living Word, revealing Himself through the written word never ceases to amaze me.
11-23-2004 Marsha has been feeling much better. Andrew's improvement in school is a dramatic answer to prayer. We are all pleased. I just found the following hymn.
O Blessed God, How Kind
John Kent (1766-1843)
O blessed God! How kind are all Thy ways to me,
Whose dark benighted mind was enmity with Thee.
Yet now, subdues by sov'reign grace,
My spirit longs for Thy embrace.
How precious are Thy thought that o'er my spirit roll!
They swell beyond my faults, and captivate my soul:
How great the sum, how high they rise,
Can ne'er be known beneath the skies.
Preserved by Jesus, when my feet made haste to hell!
And there should I have gone, but Thou dost all things well:
Thy love was great, Thy mercy free,
Which from the pit delivered me.
A monument of grace, a sinner saved by Blood,
The streams of love I trace up to the fountain, God,
And in His sov'reign counsels see
Eternal tho'ts of love to me!
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