The Meaning, Majesty, Ministry, and Maintenance of the Mediator

February 3, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Posted in Hebrews | 7 Comments
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Jesus, the Great High Priest, ministers in a better sanctuary than the Levitical priests of the Old Testament.

Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

Hebrews 8:1

Jesus sits on the throne of God at the Father’s right hand, but He is not seated because He doesn’t care about us. He is seated because He is doing an everlasting job. He has been ordained to an everlasting ministry. He is also seated because of His majesty. He is the King, so He sits on a throne. He sits on a throne of truth and of grace.

His Heavenly tabernacle is better than the earthly Tabernacle known to the Hebrew believers. Jesus is a High Priest who is perfectly suited for us because we need something more than the blood of bulls or lambs. We need a better sacrifice.

For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

Hebrews 8:4-5

The Law showed a picture of the eternal reality in Heaven. Earthly priests were suited to that ministry. They gave gifts and made sacrifices for themselves. But our Great High Priest did not need to sacrifice for Himself, and He does not need to repeat the sacrifice each year for atonement.

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Hebrews 8:6

He is a better Priest, with a better ministry, ministering a better covenant, established upon better promises. His role as “Mediator” reminds us of the “daysman” longed for in Job 9:32-33. Our Mediator/Daysman brings us into eternal loving peace and familial relationship with God. Job had a desire to draw near to God – to “come together in judgment” – but he lived in the time of shadows – shadows of better things to come. He had the desire to draw near to God, but not the means.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Hebrews 8:7

Was the old covenant wrong? No. It’s “fault” was that it was temporary and it led to what was to fulfill it. If the Old Testament Israelites had obeyed it, they would have been blessed, but it didn’t have the power to transform – to create new hearts.

Does the Law have any ministry for believers today? Yes, the righteousness of the Law should be fulfilled in us as we yield to the Holy Spirit.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:1-4

But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

I Timothy 1:8-11

What better way to draw nigh unto God than by letting Him (His Holy Spirit) completely take over? If the Spirit glorifies Christ, and we let the Spirit have control, where will we be drawn?

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

Hebrews 8:10

This shows the fulfilling of the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:31-34. The laws of the Old Covenant are inside Christians (Zechariah 8:8) in righteousness and in truth, as the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts and to our minds and actually lives inside us.

Lord, thank You for Your saving grace. I praise You because You can not lie, and because You do not change Your plan of salvation. Lord Jesus, we are grateful to You for making intercession for us before the Father. As You do so, let us draw ever closer and closer to You. Make me more like You today than I was yesterday. Amen.

Through Whom God Works out His Plans

November 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Several years ago my wife and I were sitting across the table from another married couple, having a meal together at a Christian retreat. They were telling us about the first and only house they had purchased after getting married. The wife said that, after looking at many houses, they had a found a few possibilities but none seemed like the perfect choice. Finally, her husband drove them out to the country, down a winding path, to a little rundown home in a wooded area. The wife was adamantly opposed. The price was right, but the house needed a great deal of fixing up, and she did not want a renovation project to be the first task they tackled together as married couple. To put it bluntly, she hated it. She had a certain type of home in mind, and this was not it. Then, as she was telling us about it, the couple smiled at each other, and the wife said, “I had a plan, and…”

I remembering thinking, “I know what’s coming next. She’s going to say, ‘I had a plan, and God had a plan… and His plans are always better than our plans.'” Or something to that effect. But that’s not what she said. She said, “I had a plan… and my husband had a plan.”

The husband listened carefully and patiently to his wife’s input, but, even though they didn’t agree, he made the decision to purchase the house. She lovingly submitted, they fixed it up, they raised a family together there, they glorified God in that home, and, all those years later, they were still living in it and they loved it.

I still think about it that conversation sometimes. It sounded so unspiritual compared to what she could have said. However, the Bible says:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Ephesians 5:22

That’s not the most popular Bible verse these days. Our modern society doesn’t like the idea of “submission,” especially where gender roles are debated and used as cannon fodder in the culture wars. And, even within the confessing evangelical church, a whole bunch of ink has been spilled trying to “explain away” the plain meaning of such a simple principle.

Many times, we forget that God ordains and commands authority and submission and obedience – even in our fallen and sinful earthly realm – for good, using them as means to carry out His sovereign will. God is omniscient, so He is certainly able to foresee and determine the outcome, even of bad human decisions, but He still tells sinful children to submit to sinful parents, sinful church members to submit to sinful church leaders, sinful employees to submit to sinful employers, and even sinful wives to submit to sinful husbands. It’s not always easy to trust a another human being with a life-altering decision, but it should not be difficult at all for us to read the Bible, understand its basic concepts, and to trust the omniscient God of the universe.

Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?

Job 37:16

Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

Psalm 147:5

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

I John 3:20

For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

Psalm 139:4

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I Timothy 1:17

Yeah, but You Let Women Talk in Church!

September 10, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Posted in Social Media Shares and Mass Emails | 5 Comments
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Here’s one of the most common attempts to silence Christians who speak out against gay fake-marriage on the grounds that it is condemned in the Bible: “Oh, so you’re against gay marriage because the Bible says so? Doesn’t that book also say you can’t eat pork or wear clothes that have a blend of fabric. Doesn’t it say that women can’t braid their hair or wear gold or pearls or expensive clothes? Isn’t there something about not rounding off your beard? Doesn’t it say you can’t eat shellfish? And don’t you go to church with women? Are they allowed to speak? Why are you picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to follow?”

In response, let’s put aside for now the logical fallacy implied by the questions, because, obviously, if the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, and that homosexual marriage is a nonsense term describing a sinful relationship, then it is irrelevant how Christians are deciding to enforce or follow or obey selective parts of the Bible. If it really was sinful for my wife to braid her hair, but she did it anyway, that would not change God’s verdict on homosexuality one iota. Instead, though, let me deal with the false understanding of hermeneutics and Biblical application that underlies these “gotcha” questions so often posed by those who hate hearing that the Bible condemns homosexuality.

First of all, yes, my wife does speak in church, and quite often! What she doesn’t do is usurp the authority of the men who are ordained as Bible teachers and pastors in our church, which is what is being prohibited in the full-context reading of I Timothy Chapter 2. If you somehow think that the Bible condemns homosexuality in the same way it condemns eating crawfish or wearing poly-cotton blends, then you are making an error common in amateurish and disingenuous attempts to discredit the Bible. The Old Testament dietary, ceremonial, and many of the covenantal laws were for the Jewish people at a specific time and place. They are no longer binding on New Testament Christians, as the Bible itself makes clear (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23–25; Ephesians 2:15). God’s moral laws, however (such as the Ten Commandments), are different. They are for all people at all times and places.

If you actually looked up I Timothy Chapter 2 to read about how women, in certain circumstances, are commanded to be silent in church, then I wish you would back up one chapter and read I Timothy Chapter 1, especially verses 14-17. “Chief of sinners” was how the Apostle Paul described himself, but it is also a good description of me and of you and of everyone who reads this. Because of our sin – our lying, our pride, our hypocrisy, our thievery, our disobedience toward our parents, our blasphemy, our idolatry, our coveting, our adultery, our fornication, our failure to love the God Who gives us the air we breathe with our whole heart – because of those sins and many more – we need the one and only Savior there is: the Lord Jesus Christ – so that we can be forgiven. What a shame it would be to go through this life rejecting Him because of some hypocrites who brought shame to His name, or because He loved us enough to tell us the truth about our sin.

LONGsuffering in Marriage

March 16, 2012 at 11:53 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage, I Corinthians | 10 Comments
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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 offense with a resolve to absorb it without getting even for it.
2. Taking offense 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 offenses
2. Putting up with offenses 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 offenses. 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.

The Big Announcement

January 6, 2010 at 9:46 am | Posted in Luke, Salvation | 2 Comments
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I have an exciting announcement to make! This announcement is better than lower gas prices. It’s better than a new baby in the family. It’s better than a cure for cancer! In fact, it is an announcement that was made a long time ago.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Luke 2:10

If you understand the consequences of sin (despair, destruction, death, and damnation), then this announcement is the best tiding of greatest joy you could possibly hear. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (I Timothy 1:15)! You can, by believing the Truth of the Bible, and by placing your faith and trust in Him, be reconciled to God, and escape eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46)!


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