A Diet of Distinction (Part Two)

July 27, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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In Part One we saw that the Old Testament dietary laws are no longer binding on New Testament Christians (Acts 10:9-16). They were perfectly kept, and, in a sense, fulfilled in Christ (Colossians 2:16- 22). Only the Old Testament moral laws, reiterated as the Law of Christ, are considered binding under the New Covenant.

One of the purposes of the Old Covenant dietary laws was that God wanted His people to be “holy.” The Hebrew word translated as “holy” in the Bible has a connotation of “cutting” (setting apart from other people) and “culling” (setting apart unto a dedicated purpose). God’s people are supposed to be “cut off” from sin, and “cut out of” this world’s system. God has always wanted His people to be distinct and different.

For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Leviticus 11:44

The Jewish people were commanded to be unmingled with the world – not trapped in the sins associated with unbelievers. They were to be associated with the Lord’s name, not in name only, but in behavior and in every area of life. This was important partly in order to prevent His people from being influenced into moral sin, and partly to maintain the purity of the bloodline of the coming Messiah. The promised redeemer would have to be a descendant of Abraham in order to fulfill God’s promises.

New Testament Christians know that the Messiah has already come, but the principle concerning the danger of sinful influences still applies:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

II Corinthians 6:14-18

An Old Testament Israelite could not eat with or stay in the home of a Canaanite because of the unclean foods and other unclean practices, so it would be very difficult to form relationships that would lead to intermarriages and procreation.

It would affect the witness and testimony of God’s people if they became intertwined in the lifestyle of pagan people groups.

A. God’s people should be distinct in their calling and conduct.

Our calling is to glorify God. Therefore our conduct – the way we behave – must bring glory to Him.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

I Corinthians 10:31

God’s Old Testament people were supposed to conduct themselves in a way that let people know they truly believed that their God was real. We must do the same, but we can’t do that without being different from unbelievers, and without speaking His name and being identified openly with Him.

B. God’s people should be distinct in their conscience.

We need to have an awareness of God watching us in the smallest details of our lives.

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Psalm 139:7-12

We must also have an awareness of God loving us and being willing and able to help us please in Him in every detail of our lives.

C. God’s people should be distinct their creeds.

We need to be able to articulate what we believe, and why we believe it. We need to be ready to cite Scripture to back it up.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

D. God’s people should be distinct in their communication.

We should not use unclean language.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Colossians 3:8

We should not jest about sin.

Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

Proverbs 14:9

We should not use God’s name in vain, and we should not use imprecise language which undermines sound theology, such as saying we are “proud” or “lucky.”

Next time, in Part Three, we will see how God’s dietary laws teach us to have a clean consistency.

A Kite that Soars

July 25, 2016 at 11:06 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Although David lived many centuries before the historical period known as the “Renaissance,” he was in many ways a quintessential “Renaissance man.” A valiant warrior, a wise king, a diplomat, statesman, and visionary, he was also a skilled musician, worship leader, and poet.

The Holy Spirit inspired the Biblical writers to faithfully record the historical narrative of much of David’s life in I and II Samuel, while at the same time inspiring David himself to pen beautiful poetry describing the person and work of the Lord God. Sometimes these literary genres intersected in wonderful ways, making the Holy Scriptures come alive for readers centuries later.

II Samuel 22 is a good example:

And David spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.

II Samuel 22:1-11

I find myself in an ever-shrinking minority in continuing to use, endorse, and recommend to others the King James Version of the Bible, but, in my opinion, it truly excels the other versions, especially in these poetic passages of Scripture. There are certain parts of the Bible which should make the reader’s heart soar like a kite in a high wind. To me, other versions may fit the definition of a kite, but they are like kites being dragged, bumping, along the ground. The King James Version, with it’s Shakespearean-era turns of phrases and memorable rhythms, is a kite that soars.

The King’s Trial, Execution, and Victory

July 22, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Posted in Matthew | Leave a comment
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There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.

Matthew 26:7-9

The Disciples accused the woman with the alabaster box of wastefulness, but Jesus defended her. The one who was really guilty of “wastefulness” was Judas Iscariot, whom Jesus called the “son of perdition.” Judas wasted his opportunities, and betrayed his Master. He was not a martyr or an innocent tool of providence. He thought that he could “use” his place in the earthly ministry of Jesus for profit. Remember, things are to be “used;” people are to be “saved.” Things “used up” for the glory of Christ are not “wasted.” The King will be loyal to those who truly worship Him.

In Matthew Chapter 27 the King was placed on trial. The charges were: misleading the nation; forbidding the paying of taxes; and claiming to be king, as shown in Matthew 27:11-26. This third charge is the one that Pilate dealt with because it could have been a threat to the Roman Empire.

Pilate found no fault, because he understood that Jesus was claiming to be King of a Kingdom “not of this world.” However, Pilate chose to yield to the people and not to the true King.

At this point, King Jesus demonstrated His meekness and submission and strength. For His willingness to submit and for the strength that allowed Him to endure this tremendous, indescribable humiliation, we who know Him as Savior shall be eternally giving thanks.

He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

Matthew 27:42

It was ironic for the people to claim that they would like to have a king who would save himself and not others. That’s how warped their idea of kingship had become.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

27:45-50

Jesus was crucified at what we would consider to be 9:00 a.m. He was on the Cross for three hours until noon. At noon darkness covered the land – not an accidental eclipse or a sandstorm, but a supernaturally produced darkness. Then it was dark for three hours. To the extent such a thing can be said to have occurred in “time,” this is believed to have been the time when Christ was “made sin.”

And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:

Exodus 10:21-22

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

Psalm 22:1-2

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah 53:10

The King’s victory was yet another proof of His Kingship. In earthly governments, such as the Roman Empire of that time, it is common to see the principles of “realpolitk” and “might makes right,” but with God His might and His right flow from His Divine nature, so that He can never be overcome by, or with, wickedness.

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Matthew 28:1-6

The angel sat upon the rock, bearing witness to the King’s Resurrection, but we bear witness today by standing upon the Rock and speaking forth the truth of Scripture.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 28:19-20

The King commands us to be active, making not just converts, but also making disciples: making learners and doers. We are not called to be, or to make, mere spectators.

Hebrews: Drawing Near to God

July 20, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Posted in Hebrews | Leave a comment
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The Book of Hebrews offers five admonitions for living a confident and victorious Christian life:
1. Don’t slip when it comes to faithfully exercising your spiritual disciplines. Don’t stop praying, studying your Bible, attending church.
2. Don’t be suspicious of God’s trustworthiness.
3. Don’t be stunted in your spiritual growth. Eat God’s nourishing Word, rest on His promises, and exercise yourself in walking with Him.
4. Don’t slander God’s Word by acting like it’s not true.
5. Don’t spurn God’s Word by disbelieving or thinking it doesn’t apply to your special circumstances.

There are several themes in the Book of Hebrews: the supremacy of Christ over all His Old Testament types; finding a confident and sure “rest” by “entering in” to the promises of God; Christ’s role as our Great High Priest; and others. But the theme that really stood out to me the first time I studied through Hebrews was the theme of drawing nearer and nearer to God. I believe the two key verses to unlocking the book are:

For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Hebrews 7:19

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10;22

We can draw nigh with confidence into the Holiest to truly consider the glory of God in the person and work of Christ. We can draw near by growing in holiness, by faith, by consistently seeking to be in His presence, by considering, provoking, and assembling with, each other, by preparation for worship, and by a willingness to go forth. Draw near to God in Christ and you will enter into your rest!

Here are links to the lessons on Hebrews:

1. Winning the Argument that Christ Is Better (Hebrews 1)
2. Two Thrones (Hebrews 1:8)
3. The Certainty of Christ’s Deity (Hebrews 1:10-13)
4. Don’t Let ’em Give You the Slip (Hebrews 1-2)
5. John Piper’s S.W.I.M. Prayer (Hebrews 2:1)
6. Don’t Let Go of the Rope (Hebrews 2:1)
7. He’s No Angel (Hebrews 2, 4:15)
8. Flesh and Blood (Hebrews 2:14)
9. Close Enough to Whisper in God’s Ear (Hebrews 3-4)
10. Restless Unbelief (Hebrews 3)
11. The Labor of Rest (Hebrews 3-4)
12. Rest / Repentance (Hebrews 3-4)
13. The Invitation to Come Closer (Hebrews 4)
14. A Timely Word (Hebrews 4:12) *
15. Beware the Feeling of Formidability (Hebrews 5)
16. Don’t Stunt Your Growth (Hebrews 5)
17. When the Foundation Ceases to be Cute (Hebrews 6)
18. The Hard Work of Encouragement (Hebrews 6)
19. Partakers Overtake Undertakers (Hebrews 6:4-6)
20. Anchored Upward (Hebrews 6)
21. The Certain Hope (Hebrews 6:18-19)
22. A Unique and Superior Priesthood (Hebrews 7)
23. The Testator as Intercessor (Hebrews 7)
24. The Meaning, Majesty, Ministry, and Maintenance of the Mediator (Hebrews 8)
25. The Old Covenant Sanctuary and the New Covenant Sanctuary (Hebrews 9)
26. The Greatest Sacrifice (Hebrews 10)
27. The Danger of Slandering God (Hebrews 10)
28. Catechism Question 19 (Hebrews 10:12)
29. Faith Illustrated (Hebrews 11)
30. Home Is Where Your Lord Is (Hebrews 11)
31. Abraham and Isaac Receiving Christ in a Figure (Hebrews 11:17-19)
32. How God Prepares Leaders (Hebrews 11:23-29)
33. A Closer Race with Thee (Hebrews 12)
34. Racing Tips (Hebrews 12:1)
35. The Author of the Story that Never Ends (Hebrews 12:2, 7:25, 6:18)
36. This Is Going to Hurt Me More than It’s Going to Hurt You (Hebrews 12)
37. Immutability for Today (Hebrews 13)
38. Why Is Marriage So Honorable? (Hebrews 13:1-8)
39. The Assurance of the Blood (Hebrews 13:20-21)

* most-viewed post in category

The Tabernacle Completed, Inspected, and Turned over to the Owner

July 18, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Posted in Exodus | Leave a comment
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And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.

Exodus 40:1-2

The Tabernacle was set up for the first time on the first day of the new year (which would be sometime around March-April on our modern calendar).

Thus did Moses: according to all that the LORD commanded him, so did he. And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.
Exodus 40:16-17

This would have been about 11 months after the people reached Mt. Sinai.

One of the themes of Exodus Chapter 40 is “just as the LORD commanded him.”

And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.

Exodus 40:33

Moses wasn’t the designer or the builder or even the general contractor – but he was the quality control supervisor.

Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

Exodus 40:34-38

Imagine or recall the feeling of seeing your baby for the first time or a house you were having built finally finished or your wedding day finally arrives or your child gets married or graduates – but Moses could not go in while the Lord’s presence filled it. A builder is no longer allowed to go into a home he as been hired to build once he hands over the keys to the owner, unless he has the owner’s permission.

God’s Demolition Methods

July 15, 2016 at 10:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The prophet Amos was concerned that the people would ignore his warnings concerning God’s impending wrath. They did not seem to be taking their sin – or God’s holiness and righteousness – seriously at all.

That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David; That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

Amos 6:4-6

They weren’t interested in repentance and forgiveness. They were too preoccupied with rest, recreation, entertainment, amusement, eating, and drinking. They believed their houses were safe, and they forgot the Word of the Lord and the reality of their abject dependence upon Him for their safety and survival.

It had become necessary for the Lord to smite them.

For, behold, the Lord commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.

Amos 6:11

The affluent men, who lived in “great houses” would find “breaches.” The Hebrew word translated as “breaches” has a connotation of small cracks or leaks – places where the elements would begin to seep in unnoticed and weaken the structural integrity of their homes. By the time they were stirred from their slumber or jarred from their amusements, it would be too late to escape the collapse of the buildings on which they relied for safety.

The lesser or poorer citizens, who perhaps thought their wickedness would go unnoticed due to their lack of influence or notoriety, would also meet a rude awakening. Those in the “little houses” would have their homes smitten by “clefts.” The Hebrew word translated as “clefts” has a connotation of a large and glaring fissure or division. These little houses would be struck suddenly with God’s wrath.

When God’s patience wears thin and His time of pleading and/or warning to turn from wickedness has ended, neither the “great” nor the “little” will find refuge from His destructive power. Let us make sure today that the foundations of our homes are stable – that our “spiritual houses” are built upon the rock of Jesus Christ. Let us make sure that our walls and ceilings are not concealing from the world the sin and hypocrisy which can never be concealed from God the Omniscient.

A Diet of Distinction (Part One)

July 13, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.

Leviticus 11:1-8

Although the Old Testament law is in the Bible, and although it was given by God, not all of the Old Testament law is binding upon Christians today. A misunderstanding of the relevance, context, and application of Old Testament law breeds common claims of inconsistency among Bible skeptics, but we understand that there were different categories of law under the Mosaic Covenant.

Some of the laws were moral laws, such as the Ten Commandments. These laws are written upon the conscience of every human being, and they have applied at all times in all places for all people.

Some of the laws were ceremonial laws. These dealt with the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood and Tabernacle (later Temple) worship.

Some of the laws were civil laws. These were casuistic, or case law principles and precepts for governing relationships between people. They were “if, then” type laws.

Some of the laws were dietary laws. They promoted cleanliness and practical holiness, but they are no longer binding under the New Covenant.

On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

Acts 10:9-16

The ceremonial and sacrificial and dietary laws of the Old Covenant pointed to Christ and were fulfilled in Him.

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Colossians 2:16-22

Only the moral laws are considered binding under the New Covenant. The law of Christ is the law of love. True love never encourages, condones, or tolerates immorality, much less celebrates it.

However, the dietary laws, and the reasons for them, have much to teach us even to this day. These laws protected God’s people from uncleanness. They commanded purity. To some extent they were laws promoting good health and hygiene, but, more importantly, with so many laws stressing what not to eat, what not to touch, where not to go, what not to wear, God’s people would have a constant awareness of the ubiquity of sin.

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Genesis 4:7

In a fallen world, we need to be reminded of sin’s constant presence. In fact, as New Testament Christians, it would be good if we were even more conscious of, and afraid of, sin than the Old Testament Israelites were.

Furthermore, regardless of the “science” or the “common sense” behind the Old Testament dietary and hygiene laws, they were to be obeyed because “God said so,” and, for the Jewish people before the time when Christ fulfilled and did away with the ceremonial and dietary laws, it was sin for the people to break them.

In Part Two we will look at the role that the Israelites’ special diet played in God’s required for them to be “holy.”

The Ultimate Confession

July 5, 2016 at 9:58 am | Posted in Matthew | Leave a comment
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Matthew Chapter 24 explains end-times prophecy concerning Israel. It is talking about Christ’s return after the Tribulation – for Israel – not His return for His Church. At the end of Chapter 24, and on into Chapter 25, the Lord’s discourse changes from Israel to the Church.

There will be loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We have a treasure, which is the Gospel, and we should defend it. However, in defending it, we must not fail to put it to use. Our lights must be kept burning, but they must also be used to shine light.

But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

Matthew 25:18

We live in the period of time between this verse and the next one.

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

Matthew 25:19

The faithful servants entered into joy, and their joy was not retirement. It was more service. The unfaithful servant didn’t know who his lord was.

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

Matthew 25:24

In his mind he made a lord he wanted to follow and be like. The deceitful leaders of the false charismatic prosperity movement are leading those who want to be deceived. They serve their preachers, not the Lord. They want to be like their preachers and not like the Lord.

We don’t use our talents because the talents are worthy. We use them because the Lord is worthy. He is worthy to be served. He will judge the nations – by judging the individuals who make up the nations. He will judge both the saved and the lost – but in different ways. The saved will yield willingly in acknowledgment of His power. The lost will yield unwillingly when their knees are broken by a rod of iron. The cup of wrath will open their mouths and they will confess Him as Lord. The most pagan ungodly devilish unbeliever knows deep down inside that Jesus Christ is the true King, but he is restraining that truth with all his might. The drinking of the cup of wrath will let the truth out. This confession will not be like a bully twisting a kid’s arm on the playground and making him say “uncle.” The victim is not really the bully’s nephew. The ungodly will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and it will be 100% true.

Immutability for Today

June 30, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Posted in Hebrews | 1 Comment
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Hebrews Chapter 13 is a very practical chapter of God’s Word. It contains doctrine that can be applied to everyday life. In fact, throughout the whole Bible, duty is never divorced from doctrine.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Hebrews 13:8

This verse is often cited as a proof-text to try to convince people that God always works the same way, and that He does not operate differently in His relationship to creation during different dispensations or historical periods. That is not a correct use of the verse, but it is true that God’s character does not change. His qualities of love, mercy, grace, holiness, righteousness, and power are everlasting. He has been Father, Son, and Holy Ghost forever, and He will be forever. He cannot lie. That’s a comforting thing to know, a nice thing to know, and an important thing to know, but, in addition to providing comfort and assurance about the trustworthiness of God, it also has very practical outworkings in the daily lives of Christians.

Take, for example, the responsibility of the believer toward his or her spiritual leaders.

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Hebrews 13:7

Though leaders change from one to another, and though they might change in the sense of moral failure or being undependable, we must remember that our ultimate responsibility is to follow and serve God, and that He is always the same when it comes to trustworthiness and dependability. We chiefly put our faith in God’s Word and His promises.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall;
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call;
Trusting in the Savior as my ALL in ALL;
Standing on the promises of God

Standing on the promises that cannot fail;
When the howling storms of fear and doubt assail;
By the living Word of God I shall prevail;
Standing on the promises of God

R. Kelso Carter

Command-Fulfillment Pattern

June 28, 2016 at 11:04 am | Posted in Exodus | 1 Comment
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The repetition in Exodus 35-38 is an example of the “command-fulfillment” pattern. The Holy Spirit could have inspired Moses to write, “They did everything the LORD told them to do” or “and so it was done,” but, instead, He restates the instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle. This command-fulfillment pattern was also used in the description by God to Moses of what would happen in Egypt with the plagues, and then the recitation of the fulfillment of it exactly as He said.

One reason for the use of the command-fulfillment pattern was to illustrate externally what was happening internally. The commandment against coveting, for example, is difficult to document and verify, but the command to sew a scarlet and blue and gold curtain was not. Therefore, the pattern demonstrates a verification of the people’s obedience.

Another reason was that this would be a teaching tool for the priests to use later in instructing future generations of priests and people in how to worship Yahweh. It is intended for learning by repetition.

A third reason is that it would remind people that worship of God is supposed to be sacrificial, not “easy” – especially with them going into a land where an idol would be hanging from every tree and standing in every field. It would serve as a safeguard against lazy idolatry by reminding the people that the real God deserves attention and sacrifice.

A fourth reason was that preparing to worship is itself worship. This would be a good reminder that everything is an act of worship.

A fifth reason was that God graciously allows willing participation. The structure of the commands told them they needed to “think” and “act” in obedience. This would teach the people to obey God in what He has specifically said, but to also use their brains and their backs to honor Him with the freedom He allows. Free obedience seems contradictory, but it is really a beautiful paradox found only in true worship of the true God.

Sixth, spotting minor changes between the commands and the fulfillment reminds us not to “skim” – not to take for granted any passages of Scripture. Every jot and tittle is important to God. It also teaches us the importance of how, as children of God, we are to exercise precision in how we speak. For example, Christians shouldn’t say that they are “proud” of their kids. They shouldn’t “thank their lucky stars.”

All the gold that was occupied for the work in all the work of the holy place, even the gold of the offering, was twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary.

Exodus 38:24

That’s between 2000 and 2200 pounds of gold.

And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men.

Exodus 38:25-26

That’s about 7545 pounds of silver.

After they finished all the furnishings and the priests’ garments, they brought everything to Moses to inspect:

Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they. And they brought the tabernacle unto Moses, the tent, and all his furniture, his taches, his boards, his bars, and his pillars, and his sockets,

Exodus 39:32-33

And he did inspect it thoroughly:

According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work. And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.

Exodus 39:42-43

The idea is not that Moses gave a cursory look-see. Remember, he had seen these things in a vision in the glory cloud on Mt. Sinai. He knew how God wanted them to look and function, and he did a very careful and thorough inspection. It is noteworthy that such a project was accomplished, but it is truly remarkable that it was done “as the LORD had commanded.”

Now it needed to be set up.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.

Exodus 40:1-2

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