Eternity

November 19, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Posted in Eternity | Leave a comment
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The idea of eternity can be difficult for finite minds to grasp. Unlike our amazing Creator, we (His creatures) are constantly changing. Since “time” is method devised for measuring change, we can scarcely fathom a realm (or a God) that exists “outside” of time. Christians talk of “spending” eternity with God and describe our Heavenly home as a place that will “last” forever, but we truly lack the language to adequately explain what it will be like to live “forever” with our magnificent Savior and His eternal, unending, infinite majesties, glories, and perfections.

Some of the earliest posts on this blog dealt with the theme of everlasting security, so, along with those and some other posts that examine Bible verses which talk about eternal life and God’s infinitude and immutability, I came up with the category called “Eternity.” Here are the links to its posts:

1. The Eternal Glory of God (II Timothy 2:10)
2. There Are Some Absolutes (Psalm 25)
3. Temporary Wealth Vs. Eternal Wealth (II Timothy 6:17-18)
4. Right Where You’re Supposed to Be (Ecclesiastes 3:11-12)
5. R.S.V.P. Before You R.I.P. (Ezekiel 12:27-28)
6. It’s Just Faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 4:5)
7. When Time Shall Be No More (Matthew 13:51-52)
8. The Bridegroom Cleans His Bride’s Wedding Gown (Revelation 19:7-9)
  a. Delivery and Birth (I Corinthians 5:1-5)
  b. The Deposit on Your Soul (II Corinthians 5:5)
  c. It All Depends on What Your Definition of “OF” Is (Galatians 2:16-20)
  d. All in the Past (Ephesians 4:30-32)
  e. Who “KEEPS” Me Saved? (Philippians 3:9)
  f. Perfect Unbreakable Love (Colossians 3:13-14)
  g. Learning to Like Eternal Life (I Thessalonians 4:7-8)
  h. Eternal Destruction (II Thessalonians 1:7-9, 2:16)
  i. Temporarily Saved Is Not Really Saved at All (I Timothy 2:3-4)
  j. Get Over Yourself, because You Can’t Get Over on God (II Timothy 2:13)
  k. Eternally Paid in Full (Philemon vv. 18-19)
  l. The Author of the Story that Never Ends (Hebrews 12:2, 7:5; Titus 1:2)
  m. Eternal Security Does Not Have an Expiration Date (I Peter 1:5, 2:24, 4:17)
  n. The Legend of the Unsaved Christian (II Peter 2:20-22)
  o. The Everlasting Anointing (I John 2:27)
  p. The Things that Will Last (II John v. 8)
  q. Eternal Infamy vs. Eternal Honor (III John vv. 9-10)
9. Do You Want to Live Forever? (I Timothy 2:5)
10. Discipleship Lesson 2: Everlasting Security
11. Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 1) (John 14:16-17)
12. Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 2) (Ezekiel 3:20; John 1:12-3)
13. Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 3)
14. Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 4) (Luke 8:13; Deuteronomy 30:17-20; Matthew 5:13)
15. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket (Job 39:13-17; Matthew 23:37; I John 5:13; Deuteronomy 33:27) *
16. Do Birds Sing about Eternity? (Ecclesiastes 3:11-14)
17. Partakers Overtake Undertakers (Hebrews 6:4-6)
18. The Assurance of the Blood (Hebrews 13:20-21; Jeremiah 32:40; Luke 22:20)
19. The Testator as Intercessor (Hebrews 7)

* most-viewed post in category

Marriage Should Not be Somber

November 14, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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In previous lessons in this series on Isaiah 62:1-4, I said that marriage should not be secret, static, or spurious. Now will see that marriage should not be somber.

Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

Isaiah 62:4

God’s people had been called Forsaken – forgotten or abandoned by their God – but the parallel contrast is that He would remove the name “Forsaken” and replace it with “Hephzibah” which translates as “My delight is in her.” Normally, I’m a proponent of being somber over being silly. That’s kind of my personality, and, as Christians, although we are not opposed to fun, we don’t want to be primarily identified as frivolous. In our marriages, we don’t want either spouse to be – or even feel, for that matter – “forsaken,” nor do we want people to get that impression. We want our marriages to show off the joy of the Lord. In fact, that joy follows closely on the heels of the idea of exercising dominion and kingship in this world, and, according to the Bible, it is a source of our strength:

The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.

Psalm 21:1-3

We hear much about having a “happy marriage” these days, but, for Christians, the idea of joy in marriage is not that we have settled into a complacent peace that is dependent on everything going smoothly in our circumstances. The idea is that we are abounding in joy, and that our joy is contagious because we have been “saved” from the curse of sin. We have been given our “heart’s desire.” We have been crowned, not with a withering grass laurel, but with a crown of “pure gold.”

Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

Proverbs 5:18

Not only will this delight us because of God’s promise of blessing, but the Lord Himself will “Hephzibah” – delight! – in us and our marriages.

In the next lesson we will see that marriage must not be sterile.

Cooler than the Other Side of the Pillar

November 12, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Posted in Q&A | 1 Comment
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Question: The children of Israel were led by a pillar of cloud/fire as they left Egypt. When they got to the Red Sea, did the pillar go over or across the sea so they would know they were supposed to go across, too?

Answer: If you look at Exodus 14:19-22 it appears that the pillar moved from in front of the Israelites to behind them in order to act as a shield between them and the Egyptians. After they crossed the Red Sea, it must have returned to the forefront in order to keep leading them. What’s really interesting is that Verse 19 connects the pillar with “the Angel of God,” which many Bible scholars take as a Christophany (a preincarnate appearance of Christ in the Old Testament). I Corinthians 10:1-4 also seems to support this idea.

The But Chapter: Immaturity and Independence

November 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Luke | Leave a comment
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In the last lesson we looked at Luke Chapter 9 and considered the “buts” of incomprehension, indecision, and ignorance. Now we will see:

4. The But of Immaturity

But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying. Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

Luke 9:46

Rather than marveling at the greatness of their Master’s mission, the Disciples were asking what a distressing number of us often find ourselves asking: What’s in it for me? Instead of looking back at what God has done, and looking forward to what He will do, or looking up to Him, we’re looking around – and not to find a need to serve – but to compare ourselves to those around us. “Why can’t I have what he has?” “How do I measure up to her?” “I attend Sunday School AND I have family devotions – the Lord MUST like me more than so-and-so…”

Jesus responded by calling a child into their midst.

And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,

Luke 9:47

Notice that the children were right there with the grown-ups when Jesus was teaching. He didn’t have to send someone to fetch a child from children’s church. The point of summoning this child was not to illustrate CHILDISHNESS. That was the Disciples’ problem: they wanted to follow Jesus, BUT they were exhibiting the “But of Immaturity.” “I’m greater than you.” “No, Jesus likes me more than you.” The child that Jesus took from the crowd wasn’t CHILDISH – He was CHILD-LIKE.

And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

Luke 9:48

This child was child-like in the sense of being un-self-conscious. One of the paradoxes of the Kingdom of Christ is that child-likeness is a sign of maturity – because it seeks to please others, not self. Childishness is a sign of immaturity because it looks out for number one.

5. The But of Independence

And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

Luke 9:57

Note the play on the word “certain.” Here it means that a particular man is being referenced, but we also use the word “certain” to describe someone who is absolutely sure about something. This man was certainly gung ho about following Jesus. He didn’t just say, “I’ll go where You go.” He said “WHITHERSOEVER thou goest.” That’s the kind of followers Jesus wants, right? Hold on a second.

And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Luke 9:58

Just did not respond with, “Ha! I gotcha now – you made a commitment and that’s all we’re looking for. You’re on the right team now – just do what you can. Serve when you feel like it, and get your bucket ready. My Father’s going to pour out blessings so that you won’t be able to receive them all.” No, instead, Jesus told Him to count the cost – to make a sober assessment of his commitment to follow Christ. Following Jesus means following in discomfort as well as comfort. Jesus never preached a gimmicky gospel. He would have never raised enough funds to keep His TBN show on the air. He never promised a bed of roses as much as a crown of thorns.

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Luke 9:59 (emphasis added)

Notice the command: “Follow Me.” This man wanted to go, but he still wanted some independence. He wanted to go in HIS time.

Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:60

Christians preach to dead people – spiritually dead, not physically dead, people.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:1-5

Christians are not “independent.” We were and are completely dependent upon God for everything good we’ve ever known.

And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

Luke 9:61 (emphasis added)

The But of Independence puts conditions on our service to Christ. We think that we will decide what’s important for ourselves, then serve within that framework, but Jesus says:

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:62

The Lord can’t use you if you’re always looking back at your “but.” Jesus sets the priorities and the agenda. We depend upon Him to let us know where to work, what to wear, what our schedule is, who our friends are. You can’t play follow the leader if you’re looking back, and you can’t keep up if your “but” is too big.

I’m Just Sayin’ 12

November 7, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | Leave a comment
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My daughter’s soccer career is over, but, I’m just sayin’, I’m not the least bit upset about it. Her career amounted to one season (her senior year) playing on her school’s co-ed team. I think they won one game (maybe two). After encouraging her to play tee-ball when she was small, fast-pitch softball as she grew older, and finally four years of high school volleyball (at which she excelled as the team MVP – #pleasednotproud), I felt like I owed it to her to let her try soccer, after she was persistent in asking me.

I have never had a very high opinion of soccer. Growing up, we played baseball, football, and basketball. The rich kids played tennis or went to swim meets. Soccer seemed like some weird game invented by foreigners who, for some reason, didn’t enjoy throwing and catching. I am aware, though, that times have changed. Public parks are now filled with little kids running around in shin guards and bouncing balls off their heads on purpose. Plenty of high schools and most major colleges have soccer teams.

I’m just sayin’, I never played soccer myself until very recently. Our church has a big open field next to it that would be ideal for baseball, softball, or football (real football, I mean, the American kind, where people can physically throw each other to the ground without getting one of those yellow or red “cards”), but instead it became the location for Saturday afternoon soccer scrimmages or “friendlies” or whatever they’re called. So, not wanting to be left out, I started playing, too. And, yes, you guessed it, I am horrible. Competing against people who have played their whole lives, I appear totally uncoordinated with my feet. Little kids race around me, “dribbling” in a weaving pattern, bouncing the ball off their heads, hips, and knees, making it somehow curve in the air so that it sails just out of my… I was going say “out of my reach,” but that’s a big part of the problem. You’re not allowed to “reach” in soccer. Good grief! I’m just sayin’.

Here is a short list of the things I don’t like about soccer (other than the fact that I stink at it):

1. You can’t use your hands. Seriously! A game which prohibits the use of your most dexterous body parts – parts that were clearly designed by God, our Creator, to be used in throwing, catching, and batting down balls – may not technically be sinful, but it certainly seems unnatural. How can we glorify God with our bodies when we shirk the use of His gifts in that way? I’m just sayin’!

2. It’s boring. A “high-scoring game” is something like 3-2. Are your kidding me? Many games end in a 0-0 tie! I’m sure I could look up the origins of the game on the internet if I cared to, but, I’m just sayin’, for now I’m sticking to my personal opinion that the game was invented, or at least popularized, by alcoholics, so that the spectators could get together and drink copious amounts of beer without having to worry about missing any of the scoring while standing in line at the concession booths or going to the restroom.

3. Offsides. In real football, when a receiver gets past his defender, and is streaking open downfield, with nothing between him and the goal line but open space, the quarterback heaves it as far as he can, and, if the receiver can catch it – yes, CATCH. IT. USING. HIS. HANDS. the way God intended – then he’s home free for a touchdown. In basketball, a steal can easily turn into a long pass down the court to a teammate who has slipped back beyond the defense and is waiting by himself for a slam dunk. Very exciting. In baseball, a long fly ball can sail right over the centerfielder’s head, and the batter keeps running until the ball is retrieved and thrown back in, or until he crosses home plate for a score. It’s the outfielder’s fault for not playing deep enough. But in soccer? Oh, no – not so fast, Pele’! You find yourself all alone near the opposing team’s goal, having slipped past the defenders unnoticed, and a teammate manages to send a long kick down to you. You are “open,” but this is not an automatic score, because you still have to get it past the goalie or goal keeper or whatever he’s called – the only player who CAN use his hands! But, no, what’s that whistle you hear as you are about to “equalize” a one-point deficit in the final minute? Yes, offsides! Ridiculous! As if this game wasn’t absurd enough! I’m just sayin’.

Imaginations of the Heart

November 5, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Jeremiah | Leave a comment
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In Jeremiah Chapter 9 the prophet continued his lament, specifically related to the treacherous dealings among the people. They believed they had left God at the Temple and were free to live according to their own Godless standards. They became duplicitous – experts at being two-faced for gain.

Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.

Jeremiah 9:1-2

Jeremiah was experiencing the kind of weeping – almost a complete emotional breakdown – that made him want to just get away from it all. You can probably relate, but that was never an option for him.

Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.

Jeremiah 9:4

How sad for a preacher to have to warn his people not to trust anyone or believe anyone!

And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.

Jeremiah 9:5

It’s not that they were lazy and wouldn’t work hard, but, rather, that all their energy was given over to lying and deceit and evil schemes, as though those were good things to pursue and upon which to expend energy.

Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.

Jeremiah 9:8 (emphasis added)

Do not get the impression that lies are harmless things. Here, they are compared to weapons – deadly arrows – and notice how they reveal that the evil heart is the source of lying. The arrows come from the heart, because a trap has been concocted in the heart. You and I might release a lie or some gossip, and find, like an arrow, it can not be called back once it has been shot.

And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them:

Jeremiah 9:13-14

God did not here blame the pagans for introducing idols to His people. He blamed the people themselves, whose hearts, rather than surrendering to the Covenant laws, “imagined” their own plans and followed after the idols that their idol-producing hearts had manufactured.

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.

Jeremiah 9:15

Because of their gullibility, God would make their punishment fit their crime. They were so quick spew forth lies that now they would be just as quick to drink the poison that God would offer them.

There is a break in the narrative of this oracle, where God had Jeremiah give one of his most important teachings, helping us to understand something of the nature of God and men.

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

Jeremiah 9:23

What do we have that has not been given to us? Wisdom? No. Might? No. Wealth? No. Our intelligence, our strength, and all our material possessions and blessings come from God. Therefore, it makes no sense to “glory” – to boast or be proud – in any of these things. Pride is perhaps the most dangerous sin because it makes us think more highly of ourselves than of God and of others. There is something in us that wants to glory – to make a big deal out of something – and here God tells us where that desire MUST find its outlet if we are to please Him

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

Jeremiah 9:24

We must try to understand God with our mind and know Him with our heart. Intimate fellowship and relationship with God can only come through Christ. We will be neither truly loving, nor truly kind, compared to God – or apart from God. We will not make the right decisions about our own lives, nor will we be able to help anyone else the way that God could help them. This is why the kindest and most effective thing we can do for people is to try to get them to God. On our own we will not live rightly because our so-called “righteousness” apart from Him is really filthy rags. Our only hope is to put on God’s righteousness, having been declared righteous by Him in Christ.

Sobering Up, Sobering Down, Sobering All Around

October 31, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Posted in I Peter | Leave a comment
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As Christians our attitude as we are being prepared for glory (especially in suffering) should be an attitude of expectancy. But how do we maintain this attitude? We can’t just go around looking up at the sky, hoping that Jesus will come back any second, and ignoring everything around us. We can’t be lazy, but we can’t be overly fanatical either (although, for those of us who have seen much apathy on the part of those who ought to be serving Christ zealously, it would seem something of a relief to have to cool down a hot-headed fanatic rather than trying to warm up a bunch of corpses).

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

I Peter 4:7 (emphasis added)

“Be ye therefore sober” in that verse means to keep your mind steady and clear – to “stay cool,” to “chill out.” The opposite of “sober-minded” is “mania” or “frenzy.” At least 12 times in the Bible, the exhortation or option is given to be “sober” (II Corinthians 5:13; I Thessalonians 5:6,8; I Timothy 3:2, 11; Titus 1:8, 2:2,4,6; I Peter 1:13, 4:7, 5:8).

Revelation Chapter 12 is a great chapter to study and apply, but do not base your entire Christian life on Revelation Chapter 12. Some people are so excited about proving their interpretation of end-times prophecy that it’s like they think they’re on the planning committee. We need to move from the planning committee to the welcoming committee. When is Christ coming back? When He’s good and ready (and He’s already good).

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

I Peter 4:7 (emphasis added)

And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him.

Mark 14:37-40

This may give us some insight into why the Holy Ghost used Peter to write I Peter 4:7. Like all of us, at one time he needed to learn the importance of being sober and praying.

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

I Peter 4:8

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Proverbs 10:12

Love covers sins, the way that Japheth and Shem covered Noah’s sin, although Ham wanted to turn it into a spectacle.

Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

I Peter 4:9

It is important for Christians to share the homes that God allows them to manage.

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

I Peter 4:10

Identify and use your spiritual gift(s), or, more practically, USE and identify your spiritual gift(s).

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

I Peter 4:11

Marriage Should Not be Spurious

October 29, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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In previous lessons in this series on Isaiah 62:1-4, I said that marriage should not be secret or static. Now will see that marriage should not be spurious.

Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.

Isaiah 62:3

Crowns and diadems are terms of royalty, sovereignty, ruling and reigning, kingship, but what do they have to do with marriage?

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:26 (emphasis added)

Men and women are made in the image of God. We are to be accurate representatives of Him in His earth, and we are to exercise authority over every aspect of life in a way that shows Who He really is and what He is really like.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:27-28

This is so-called “dominion mandate.” We are to subdue the earth and make it fruitful and productive and a place where every nook and cranny of it glorifies the Creator.

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Genesis 2:18

Eve was a helper that was perfectly suited to Adam, but to help him do what? To help him accurately express God’s image in God’s world by exercising dominion and being fruitful. God made sure Adam understood this.

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

Genesis 2:19-22

This was the first wedding and the first marriage. This was before sin entered into the world, so this is our ideal for Christian marriage.

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Genesis 2:23-24

Marriage gives us joy, it gives us companionship, it gives us pleasure, it gives us friendship. It is good for problem-solving. It produces new human beings so that Jesus will get new disciples. But it is very much about symbolizing the crown of God’s royal authority in this world, and the diadem in His hand whereby He issues forth His Word. Married couples play a key role in bringing God’s will to pass and enforcing it in the world, so we must not be spurious image-bearers. We must not be out of order, with the wife leading when she should be following, and the husband following when he should be leading. We must not be at odds with each, any more than the Persons of the Trinity are at odds with each other, and we must not drop out of the world out of fear or laziness, and let it run to ruin. We are ambassadors of an invisible King, so we must make His presence known with our marriages, in order to bear His image accurately and genuinely (which is the opposite of spuriously).

In the next lesson we will see that marriage must not be somber.

Motivated by Fear?

October 26, 2018 at 9:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Question: When I get tempted to sin, sometimes I overcome temptation out of fear of going to hell. Is this a sinful motivation?

Answer: There are two separate issues to address here. First, someone who has truly been born again is never in danger of going to hell. Christians are tempted to sin all the time, but someone who has truly been born again will be helped by the Lord, rather than condemned, when he or she faces temptation. If anyone reading this has any doubt whatsoever as to whether he or she has truly been born again, please click here, read the referenced Bible verses, believe them, and call upon Christ to save you this very moment.

Second, fear of the Lord is not a bad motivation for overcoming temptation and avoiding sin, as long as it accompanied by the motivation of remembering that Christ died and rose again to set you free from, not just the penalty for sin, but also the POWER of sin, and then to remember that all temptations faced by true Christians come to us pre-allowed by God Himself with built-in escape routes.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

I Corinthians 10:13

The But Chapter: Incomprehension, Indecision, and Ignorance

October 24, 2018 at 11:12 am | Posted in Luke | 1 Comment
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There are 16 buts in Luke 9. “But” can be a cop-out word that often simply nullifies whatever we say before it. “Honey, I think you look beautiful today, BUT…” “I promise I am going to clean up the house, BUT…” However, the “buts” in Luke 9 are very instructive.

1. The But of Incomprehension

Jesus gave the disciples their instructions, and then:

And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;

Luke 9:6-7

Herod was baffled and confused. He didn’t seem to comprehend the ministry of Jesus and His disciples. Herod had ordered the beheading of John the Baptist, and it may be that he knew it was wrong, and that his conscience was bothering him.

And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

Luke 9:8-9 (emphasis added)

Some people were speculating that Jesus might actually be Elijah or another one of the Old Testament prophets resurrected, but Herod did not comprehend who Jesus was. Is that YOUR problem, too? You can’t really be a Christian without knowing Jesus, but a DISCIPLE needs to not only KNOW Him personally (although that is of paramount importance), but also to keep knowing more and more about Him. Disciples need to know His attributes and principles and precepts. Perhaps you aren’t following Jesus like you should, and it’s a little similar to what Herod was experiencing. Something is bothering you. You know that you need to be serving Jesus in different ways and with more passion, but have you really comprehended WHO HE IS? You are wondering: Will He leave me or forsake me? Will He forget to repay my costs and my hurts? Just how trustworthy is He? What does He think about people like me? What does He think about the people around me? Jesus does not have to be incomprehensible to us. Herod desired to SEE Him. If you desire to see Him, you can.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Hebrews 2:9 (emphasis added)

First, see Him on the Cross – a Man suffering and dying for you. You will comprehend that He loves you. Then see Him seated in glory at the Father’s right hand. You will comprehend that He is victorious.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

Hebrews 2:10-11

This promise will demolish any “but” of incomprehension that stands in your way. Jesus has suffered what you have suffered – and MORE than you have suffered – yet He is not ashamed to call you “brother” or “sister.”

2. The But of Indecision

It doesn’t always work out this way when you compare the Gospel accounts, but you can look in Luke 9 and Mark 9 and see the same incident.

And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him. And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child. And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him. And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not.

Luke 9:37-40

Here was a child possessed by a violent demonic spirit, yet Jesus’s disciples could not cast the demon out. Mark gives a parallel account of the incident:

When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

Mark 9:25-29 (emphasis added)

Now you can see why the disciples could not deal with this demonic spirit. They believed they had authority, BUT they were undecided about what was wrong. They had not prepared. How in the world are we going to know what to do when we face an unexpected spiritual battle if we haven’t been preparing by prayer and intense serious devotion to God? If I don’t meditate on His Word – in prayer, too – then I’m going to wind up on my “butt” when the first tough ministry opportunity knocks me right down.

And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither. And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father. And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. BUT while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,

Luke 9:41-44

Don’t get caught “wondering” in the “but of indecision” while it’s time to act. Be prepared.

3. The But of Ignorance

Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.

Luke 9:44

Jesus’s disciples knew by this time that He was referring to Himself when He used the prophetic title “Son of Man.” They also knew that “delivered into the hands of men” meant taken captive by His enemies – most likely through betrayal – for punishment, torture, and death. Why didn’t this have a bigger impact on them?

BUT they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.

Luke 9:45 (emphasis added)

They were ignorant of what Jesus came to do. Is that the “but” of your problem when it’s time to serve Jesus? Are you really ignorant of exactly what Jesus came to do? Was He a good role model? Yes, but you are ignorant if you think that’s the message of Jesus’s Gospel. Was He a good example – willing to serve others even to the point of laying down His life as the ultimate example? Yes, but you are ignorant if that’s what you think His real message was and is. Was He on the right track, but He just got overcome by the evil in this world, so we honor Him for “a good try?” That’s romantic and heroic, but you are ignorant if you think that’s what the Gospel of Jesus is about.

But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.

Luke 9:45 (emphasis added)

We can’t be afraid of facing what Jesus really came to do. We can’t be afraid to tell people that He suffered and died, and that it was a bloody gruesome death, and that God forsook Him on the Cross and emptied the cup of wrath on His head. We’re afraid to talk about that because of its implications. Why was the death of the Son of God so awful – so horrible – so atrociously bloody? Because you and I were so wicked, so vile, so perverse, so at enmity with God, so undeserving of the love wherewith He loved us. We can’t remain ignorant of those facts, and we can’t let others “but” their way around that Truth. We needed an awesome Savior because we were awful sinners.

Next time we will look at the “buts” of immaturity and independence.

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