The Amazing Accomplishment of Fulfilled Righteousness

March 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Matthew, Uncategorized | 18 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

John the Baptist got his moniker because he was in the business of baptizing, but he was extremely leery of baptizing Jesus, the Lamb of God.

And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

John 1:36

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

Matthew 3:13-14

The reason Jesus gave to John for insisting that he baptize Him is very interesting.

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Matthew 3:15

Jesus wanted to be baptized because it was God’s will, but also because it served as a part of one of His greatest incarnate accomplishments: the fulfillment of all righteousness. You and I can hardly grasp this. As unredeemed sinners we were utterly incapable of any righteousness at all – and certainly unable to “fulfill” any righteous demands of God. Even as regenerate and redeemed children of God, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, we find it very difficult to truly initiate any righteous behavior because of the ongoing battle waged against us by our sinful flesh and the constant temptations of our enemy, Satan.

Christ the Lord, on the other hand, never knew the taint of sin, and yet consider to what extent He went to fulfill the righteousness spoken of in Matthew 3:15. Not only did He keep the Old Testament Law perfectly, in every jot and tittle, not only did He endure – and overcome – every temptation known to man and devil, not only did He bear the weight of our sins on cruel Golgotha’s hill, but He also fulfilled all righteousness by: going into the wilderness, in a state of physical starvation, to be tempted by the master tempter himself; healing multitudes of sick, blind, deaf, crippled, and otherwise afflicted folks; teaching the greatest truths ever taught; and other examples too numerous to be contained in all the books in all the world. Christ fulfilled all righteousness by ever-increasing acts of righteousness and obedience, even though He could never turn from His Own sin (because He didn’t have any) as an act of righteousness.

If you will believe the truth about Christ, and what He has accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection, you may receive not only the forgiveness of sins, but

[e]ven the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Romans 3:22

This imputed righteousness comes from a built-up account of righteousness earned and bought by the only One Who could have earned it. Such righteousness is as glorious to a fallen sinner as any treasure to be found in His riches in glory. (Ephesians 1:18)

Three Things to Bring to Sunday School

March 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Posted in Biblical Teaching, Matthew | 11 Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,

What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

Matthew 10:27

There are some challenges that come with being a Sunday School teacher, and, honestly, I’m not very good at it. However, I admit that I do like the perks that come with the responsibilities. For one, there is a built-in motivation to not only read a portion of Scripture each week, but to actually study it in depth and try to be prepared to teach and answer questions about it. As a teacher, I am sometimes thought of as a person that other people can talk with about the Bible – and I love talking about the Bible.

My favorite thing about being a Sunday School teacher, though, is probably the idea that I get to be “useful.” All Christians should want to be useful, and by “being useful” I mean being used by the Lord in His work. What Christian would not want to be used by God in helping other Christians to grow in the Lord?

One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that we don’t get to be useful on accident. We must be prepared to be useful.

Matthew 10:27 speaks of the Christian’s duty to tell people openly (in daylight) what the Lord has told him in private (in the night). It also tells us to tell people openly what the Lord tells us in our ear (in secret). Attending church is a super-important part of living the Christian life. But it is not enough. The Lord wants to speak to us corporately, but He also wants to speak to you one-on-one – and at places in between. Where will you get a Word from God when your child gets into trouble? Or when one of your co-workers or relatives comes to you with questions about his or her troubled marriage? When you attend a church service or a Sunday School class, and the Word of God is preached or taught, that is one of the ways that the Lord speaks to you. He speaks to you personally, but He also teaches you things that you will be able to use to help others.

As a Sunday School teacher, I like to stress three things that every student needs to bring to class:

1. Bring your Bible.

A sword can be somewhat of a handy weapon, I suppose, even if you are not especially skilled at using it, but you would never go to sword practice without your sword. Your teacher or your preacher (hopefully) can tell you what’s in the Bible, but if you’re going to tell others what’s in it, you must get used to having one in your hand.

2. Bring a friend.

Sunday School is supposed to be a time of fellowship, family, and unity. Inviting a friend to Sunday School is the very least you can do for the Lord. That person you’ve invited a thousand times but still hasn’t come may just say yes on the 1001st time – you never know!

3. Bring your offering.

I’m not talking about a money-offering – that’s usually done in the church service. I’m talking about some kind of non-monetary offering. It may just be an an offering of yourself – a willingness to serve. It might be a willingness to bring donuts or orange juice to class. It might be arriving early to set up the chairs. It might be something that God has shown you from His Word during the week that will be a blessing to someone else who is hurting. Whatever it is, if God has called you to be in a Sunday School class, He’s called you to do more than just attend. Sitting in class and soaking up knowledge is a good thing, but sitting and soaking can lead to souring. Don’t come to Sunday School empty-headed, empty-handed, or empty-hearted. Sunday School may be the place where God will show you exactly the area in which he wants you to commit more of your time to ministry.

God’s Plan for Hurricane Preparedness

March 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Selected Psalms | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

When we make it through what is known as “hurricane season” each year in South Louisiana without any big storms threatening us, we feel blessed. However, those of us who are faithful Christians know that, even when the Gulf of Mexico is exceedingly calm, we are never far from a “storm” of circumstances in our lives. Are there any family or relationship problems currently brewing on your spiritual radar screen?

https://i1.wp.com/images.christianpost.com/full/55007/tropical-storm-isaac-predicted-path-map-on-august-25-2012.jpg

Are ominous waves and high tides starting to boil up near the shores of your finances? Is there a stiff breeze of mental or physical illness beginning to blow as you face the future?

Take heart! God is in control of the climate and the weather, both in the outside environment, and on the inside of your life. If we will delight in His law, and make it the focus of our regular meditations (Psalm 1:2), we will not be like those who are constantly shivering and terrified as they huddle around their generators, extra batteries, bottled water, and hurricane tracking charts every year between July and November. Those who place their trust in anything other than God have reason to fear.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Psalm 1:4

But those of us who are like trees watered by God’s Word, with roots going down deep into the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, and who have been firmly planted in a group of caring believers in a local church assembly, shall stand and prosper, even when the storms come.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 1:3

Whitney Who-ston?

March 23, 2012 at 10:14 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , ,

Full disclosure: I was never a Whitney Houston fan, nor did I particularly dislike her. I have a vague recollection that one of her songs was the “theme song” played at my high school graduation. By all accounts she had an amazing singing voice. As a Christian, I would praise God for giving her the gift of being able to sing beautifully, and I would not even be opposed to recognizing that she may have worked hard training and cultivating that gift to its fuller potential.

When she passed away recently, I was not at all surprised to see an explosion of tributes to her. Apparently she was well-loved in the secular world. Most pop celebrities are. Here is what concerns me though: all the praise and honor given to her by the professing Christian community. I do not know if Ms. Houston was a Christian. I certainly hope she was. But it would have to be a pretty big stretch to say that the main thrust of her life was about magnifying Jesus Christ and His Gospel. I haven’t seen anything in the media to indicate that was what she was about.

So why all the adoration and praise from professing Christians? Why all the nostalgia and tributes to this “great” person who supposedly made such an impact on so many? It’s not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I seriously doubt that Whitney Houston was the only person who died on February 11, 2012. I wonder if any Christian missionaries, pastors, Sunday School teachers, parents, or grandparents passed away on that same day? I’m talking about people who devoted 20, 30, 50, 60 or more years of their lives to serving the Lord Jesus? People who left a legacy of Christian testimony and gave good evidence with the pattern of their lives of the saving power of our glorious Lord?

If so, it wasn’t on the evening news. There were no nation-wide televised memorial services planned. Again, I would not expect the secular world to honor true Christians, either during their lives or after. But if you are a Christian, be careful who you lift up as an example before your children and the folks over whom the Lord has blessed you to have an influence.

This is Whitney Houston:

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRxdq4rAaXonsfAGTlvN1MOJb_N9LiKArPZo96JL3sAgu_zGzUy3tGwUF8s

Did you post a tribute to her on your Facebook? Did you wax poetic about how her music was the “background” to so many great moments in your life? Were you able to list anything that she accomplished for the Kingdom of God or acknowledge the impact she made for the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

This is a lady named Melba Unruh:

https://i1.wp.com/emm-mexico.net/emm_dnn/Portals/0/staff_fotos/UnruhL,Melba2_150x182.jpg

She never had a hit record. She was never on the cover of People magazine. She never starred in a major motion picture. All she did was serve the Lord faithfully for 48 years. She helped to start a Bible school in Oaxaca, Mexico, even though evangelical missionaries were not welcome there at that time. She taught Christian music while living without running water and electricity, and while battling amoebic dysentery, malaria, and hepatitis. She continued ministering to and serving her husband, children, and grandchildren, even after suffering a major stroke. When someone like Mrs. Unruh goes home to be with the Lord, dear Christian, is it as big a deal to you as the death of a pop music icon?

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Psalm 116:15

Charles Spurgeon Liked to S.W.I.M. Poetically

March 21, 2012 at 10:09 am | Posted in Quotes | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

All my soul was dry and dead
Till I learned that Jesus bled;
Bled and suffered in my place,
Bearing sin in matchless grace.
Then a drop of heavenly love
Fell upon me from above,
And by secret, mystic art
Reached the center of my heart.
Glad the story I recount,
How that drop became a fount,
Bubbled up a living well,
Made my heart begin to swell.
All within my soul was praise,
Praise increasing all my days;
Praise which could not silent be:
Floods were struggling to be free.
More and more the waters grew,
Open wide the flood-gates flew,
Leaping forth in streams of song
Flowed my happy life along.
Lo! A river clear and sweet
Laved my glad, obedient feet!
Soon it rose up to my knees,
And I praised and prayed with ease.
Now my soul in praises swims,
Bathes in songs and psalms and hymns,
Plunges down into the deeps,
All her powers in worship steeps.
Hallelujah! O my Lord,
Torrents from my soul are poured.
I am carried clean away,
Praising, praising all the day.
In an ocean of delight,
Praising God with all my might,
Self is drowned. So let it be:
Only Christ remains to me.

Charles H. Spurgeon (believed to be the last poem he wrote before he died, based on Isaiah 41:18)

Contextual Wisdom

March 19, 2012 at 9:43 am | Posted in Ecclesiastes | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

As we study the book of Ecclesiastes, you’ll find that many of the principles put forth don’t seem to fit in with the joy we usually proclaim when we talk about the Bible. Many of these sayings, taken alone, with an earthly perspective, don’t seem to match up with the promise of Romans 8:28 – even though they’re clearly from God. However, the conclusion of Ecclesiastes teaches us that the principles of how God works, when combined together, make all things work together for good to those who are the “called” – the “ekklesia” – those who are separated out of this world unto God by faith.

That’s where the word “Ecclesiastes” comes from – the Greek Word for a “called out assembly.” In Hebrew the word is “qoheleth” (ko-HAY-leth), which means “preacher,” or one who presides over an assembly while speaking to them. The Greek word “ekklesia” is where we get the word “ecclesiastical,” which means “related to a church.”

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Ecclesiastes 1:1

The human instrument that the Holy Spirit used to write the Book of Ecclesiastes appears to have been King Solomon, and it was probably written near the end of his life. It is generally accepted that the Holy Spirit used Solomon to write Proverbs and Song of Solomon, as well.

King Solomon is known for two main things: wisdom and wealth. He was probably the richest human being in the Bible and possibly the entire world. He was even richer than Job. As Solomon began to look back, he spoke about the things he had done and all the experiences he had and all the tests he conducted to determine the meaning of life.

One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

Ecclesiastes 1:4-5

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9

We have to be careful about taking doctrine from books like Ecclesiastes and Job. One of the practices of the cults is to take isolated Bible verses out of context and build fanciful doctrines around them. Here are a couple of examples in Ecclesiastes Chapter 1 of statements which contain greats truths in their context but could seem contradictory of other passages of Scripture on their face:

That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

Ecclesiastes 1:15

For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:18

Ecclesiastes is full of these kinds of statements – when isolated they don’t seem to fit in with the doctrine of the rest of the Bible.

Here’s an example from Job:

As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.

Job 7:9

To get the correct understanding, we have to look at who’s speaking. It is true that someone said Job 7:9, but what he said is not always true.

LONGsuffering in Marriage

March 16, 2012 at 11:53 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage, I Corinthians | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

I Corinthians 13:3-4 (emphasis added)

Christian love in marriage must be a love that suffers long. Suffering means:

1. Taking injury with a resolve to absorb it without getting even for it.
2. Taking injury without it affecting your own inward peace.

Suffering includes:

1. Inward self-control
2. Outward testimony of peace within the marriage union

I Corinthians 13:4 not only says that true Christian love suffers – it says that it suffers long. Suffering long means:

1. Putting up with deep and frequent injuries
2. Putting up with injuries for a long time without defending ourselves

Longsuffering demonstrates God’s love to the world.

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

Exodus 34:6

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Romans 2:4

Forbearance and longsuffering are extremely hard for fallen sinners to practice, because the “common sense” view is that forbearance and longsuffering only lead to more abuse. But, according to the Bible, when God is at work, forbearance and longsuffering actually lead to repentance – a change for the better!

Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

I Timothy 1:16

Christian marriage should show a pattern of God’s love toward the world.

Longsuffering produces gratitude, reminding us how much God puts up with from us. It also reminds us to be humble.

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Ephesians 4:2

Furthermore, it helps us to see God’s hand in trials and circumstances.

And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man. Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.

II Samuel 16:5-13

We don’t like suffering, much less longsuffering, but longsuffering is a Godly habit. It is vital (paradoxical, but vital) to get into the true depths and richness of marital love.

Home Is Where Your Lord Is

March 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Hebrews | 7 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Abraham “kept the faith” by tent-and-altar living – staying on the move and following God – not sitting still and summoning God to come to him.

Abraham also kept the faith by remembering what kind of traveler he was.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Hebrews 11:8-10

Lot was happy with the city which had foundations built by men, but Abraham believed for something better – a different kind of city. In the meantime, he was content to live in tabernacles (tents) and be a sojourner. “Sojourn” means to reside temporarily. Most of the people who check into hotels do not intend to “live” there – at least not permanently. They intend to “sojourn” there for a little while. The idea of “sojourning” also has a connotation of having needs provided on a day by day basis. Each day the sojourner receives just enough to get by on (a “per diem“). True Christian sojourners have to stay focused on the Provider. The incident with Elijah and the lady at Zarephath is a good illustration of this principle.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Hebrews 11:13-16

Abraham was a sojourner, a stranger, and a pilgrim. He was not a vagabond. A sojourner is one who has a temporary home. A stranger is one who is away from home. A vagabond is one who does not have a home. But a pilgrim is one who is on his way home.

Abraham kept the faith by remembering what kind of traveler he was, and Abraham kept the faith by remembering where his home was.

Of whom the world was not worthy: they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Hebrews 11:38-40 (emphasis added)

As New Covenant Christians, what “better thing” has God provided for us? The privilege of living on this side of the Cross. Old Testament saints looked forward by faith to the coming of the promised Messiah and Redeemer, but we have the proof of the fulfillment!

I don’t consider “my” house to really be mine. It is actually the Lord’s house (and arguably the mortgage company’s too!) that He’s allowing me live in. And I do like living in a house. But it’s not my permanent home. My permanent home is with the Lord Jesus in Heaven. One day I’ll go there and be with Him for ever and ever. Christians ought to always be a little uncomfortable in our daily lives – like people who are ready to go home. That’s one of the reasons we should so look forward to going to church each week. We have a biological family, but we find special comfort with our “true” family – our spiritual family in the Lord. We don’t “live” at church, but, each time, before we go back out, we need to remember that we are tent-dwellers who are at the beck and call of our Lord. One day my earthly home will be tried by fire. That’s why my sojourning here ought to be in fear – not fear of the world, but fear of God.

And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

I Peter 1:17

If you are an observer of our political system, our court system, or our “pop” culture, you may wonder why the world acts so foolishly. I believe that it is partly due to a lack of fear of the Lord.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Proverbs 9:10

The primary responsibility of Christians is not political activism. Politicians respond out of fear of man.

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

I Peter 2:11

When Christians stop acting like strangers in this world, and start acting like citizens of this world, we begin to pick up the customs of this world. When we forget to be pilgrims, and make ourselves at home, our flesh goes to war against the Holy Spirit.

When comedians impersonate the famous actor, John Wayne, they almost always drawl the word “pilgrim” as part of their routine. It’s my understanding that he actually only used the term in a couple of his many films, but he had a way of speaking to people as though he was superior to them. In the few western films of his I’ve seen, the characters he played were portrayed as superior – but he also seemed envious in a way of the people he was speaking down to. The one I remember best was called “The Searchers,” and in that movie all the characters either had a home or were headed home – except for Wayne’s character. He is portrayed at the beginning of the film as looking into the doorway of the home of a family he intends to help, and at the end, he looks through the doorway again, turns, and walks away into the distance.

http://theseventhart.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/the-searchers.jpg

It’s like the other characters were all going to a home he could never go to. I doubt the filmmakers were intending to convey anything spiritual, but it is a reminder to me that it is foolish to invest too much into a home in this world – where it won’t last. I’m looking for a city in Heaven, and a home where the foundation can’t be cracked, the walls can’t be shaken down, and the roof can’t be burned up. It’s easy for us to fall into the trap of placing way too much emphasis on our material comfort. We pray for material or financial blessings, and God is saying, “No way, that’ll just make you comfortable, make you lazy.” When we feel like strangers and pilgrims, we don’t get too attached to this world, and we can devote ourselves totally to going where the Lord wants us to go, and to doing what the Lord wants us to do.

If Abraham had been given some type of institutional form to fill out with a section that said “Residency:,” I don’t think he would have checked the box that said “Ur of the Chaldees.” I think he would have written in: “My home is with the Lord.”

Abraham kept the faith by:
1. Staying on the move, following God
2. Remembering what kind of a traveler he was
3. Remembering where his home was

Being At-TENT-ive to God

March 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Posted in Bible Studies | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Lord, there is so much in the Bible that You want us to know, and there is so much we do not yet know. I pray that You would teach us something new each and every day, and that You would reinforce our faith through the revelation of Your Word. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Genesis 12:1

So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

Genesis 12:4

Abram was 75 years old when God called him. God can call you at any age. We must never try to take our spiritual phones off the hook. There’s no retiring from the service of God. Abram responded to the call of God in faith, but how did he “keep” his faith going?

Abram was extremely wealthy. He could have lived in a great home. But by faith he chose to live in a tent.

And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

Genesis 12:8

Abram was not your average tent-dweller.

And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.

Genesis 13:5

And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.

Genesis 13:8

Living among those who did not know the One True God, he wanted to have a good testimony. He reminded Lot that they were family, and families should not fight in front of strangers. If you are part of a local church assembly, there is something more important about your church than than the impressiveness of the facilities, the variety of the ministries, the skill of the musicians or singers, even the eloquence of the preaching. Do the people who make up your church know how to love people? Do the people who visit your church see you as family? If you can’t get along with each other, nobody is going to feel welcome coming into the midst. “For we be brethren,” Abram told Lot. The neighbors are watching.

Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.

Genesis 13:18 (emphasis added)

Lot got tired of living in tents. He decided to move to the city – and it was the start of his downfall. Abram stayed ready to move at the command of God.

And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

Genesis 18:1 (emphasis added)

And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.

Genesis 18:9 (emphasis added)

Abraham kept the faith by staying on the move for God. Next time, we will see two more ideas that helped him keep the faith.

When We Stink before God

March 9, 2012 at 10:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Have you ever noticed that some odors are so strong that it’s like you can actually taste the thing you are smelling?

https://i0.wp.com/static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Money/Pix/pictures/2010/4/26/1272282019943/bad-smell-man-clothes-peg-006.jpg

The word for this characteristic is “savour.” We enjoy the savour of a delicious food.

smelling good food

It smells good, and tastes even better. We do not, however, like the savour of rotting food.

https://i1.wp.com/www.everydayfamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/woman-smelling-bad-food.jpg

It has the hint of something that used to be pleasant, but has turned to rot, and the taste is nauseating.

In Genesis 8:21 and Ephesians 5:2 the word “savour” is used for the first and last times in the Bible. In the first instance, Noah and his family have exited the ark after the world-wide flood, and the Lord acknowledges the smell of Noah’s burnt offerings.

And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

Genesis 8:21

As the Lord recognizes man’s sinful condition, and tells us that our hearts are completely depraved through-and-through from the time of our infancy, He nevertheless makes a gracious covenant never to destroy the earth with water again. God can never enjoy the smell or taste of sin. He is holy and pure, and He loves righteousness. However, being longsuffering, God chose for several centuries to delight in the sweet aroma of His Own grace, and to set aside the foul wrath-inducing odor of man’s iniquity.

If God was pleased with the sacrificial smell of Noah’s burnt beasts and birds, we can not even begin to imagine the great satisfaction (Isaiah 53:11) and pleasure (Isaiah 53:10) He must have taken in the greatest, most potent, and sweetest-smelling Sacrifice of all eternity.

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Ephesians 5:2

Jesus Christ, our mighty Savior, loved us enough to cover the wicked stench of all His people’s sins with the savour of His Own divine life-giving blood. Will we refuse to walk in a love such as this?

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.