Suffering for Glory

November 21, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Posted in I Peter | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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 (emphasis added)

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:16-18

Would a lifetime of what we call “suffering” be worth it to see God’s glory? It’s not even close! Just a GLIMPSE would far outweigh all suffering.

Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

Galatians 3:4

It is not vain to suffer for the Gospel. It is not vain to suffer for God’s glory.

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

I Peter 4:13

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

I Peter 5:1

God is not so much in the replacement business as He is in the transformation business. We don’t get our suffering replaced with glory; our suffering is transformed into glory.

A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

Matthew 12:20

Christ can take the things that seem too broken to be useful, too painful to be joyous, too unpleasant to be productive, and and He can transform them into things too wonderful to be ignored. The discomfort of pregnancy, and the excruciating agony of labor and delivery are transformed into joy at the sight of a newborn baby.

Satan hates for God to be glorified in this world, and he hates the name of Christ. I don’t know that he hates the name of Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or any denomination, but if you tell somebody, “Jesus loves you. He wants you to repent of your sin, and He wants to save you,” that’s when Satan will cause somebody get offended.

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

I Peter 4:16 (emphasis added)

This is one of only three times the Word “Christian” is used in the Bible (Acts 11:26 and Acts 26:28 being the other two). The idea is that a Christian is a “little Christ” or someone “of the party of Christ.” It was first devised by pagans as a derogatory term, although true Christians would find it extremely complimentary. Over time the Devil has tried to dilute the meaning so that people think it means “somebody who goes to church” or “somebody who has a personal belief in a higher power” or “somebody with conservative political views” or “somebody who doesn’t curse or get drunk or behave promiscuously.”

There is a fiery trial coming. The trials today, for the most part, for Christians living in the comfort of 21st Century America, are just a little toasty – not raging infernos like what is coming. One day the fire will separate folks, and we’ll find out just how much people VALUE the name “Christian.” The thought of eternal fire might get folks a little motivated to “do right,” but even vipers flee from a fire (Acts 28:3).

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

I Peter 4:17-18

Fiery trials bring heat, but also light. They are good places for self-examination, and for asking, “What is causing my suffering?” Suffering for Christ is cause for rejoicing because it brings glory to God.

Worship in Faith

February 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Posted in Habakkuk | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

Habakkuk 2:4

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 1:17

The doctrine of faith as the doorway to salvation did not originate in the New Testament.

But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Galatians 3:11

However, the New Testament clearly refutes the false belief that keeping God’s law can save.

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Hebrews 10:38

So, what about after salvation? We are saved through faith, but how do we please God after He saves us?

Faith is the means of salvation because God has declared that by faith will man be justified. “The just” are those whom God, by His grace, has declared righteous, and who, therefore, have a perfect standing before Him in Christ Jesus. Does that scare you? It shouldn’t – it put Habakkuk right into a spirit of worship. How I wish that modern Christians didn’t have such a tendency to surrender their brains to their feelings in worship!

O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

Habakkuk 3:2

Dear Lord, the basis for our worship is Your Word. We fear You, Lord. Your Word has convicted us where we stand – and we admit it. We want a revival – not of wordly “success” – but Your work. Even if not right now, but in the midst of years – in Your time. We trust You – we even trust Your wrath. We call on You to remember mercy, not because we deserve it, but because of Who You are. Keep Your promises, O God. In the name of Christ Jesus I pray. Amen.

Our Part with God

June 10, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Posted in Galatians | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Galatians Chapter 3 contains some of the strongest writing in the whole Bible. It has the logic and language of a brilliant lawyer who is arguing for his own life. It combines the truth about what happened to Jesus and the readers’ own experiences with Old Testament Scripture, and then combines the two together in a masterful closing argument.

Experience

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

Galatians 3:1

The Greek word translated as “foolish” is the word for a barbaric fool, and it would be similar in our day to calling someone an illiterate blockhead. When Paul says “who has bewitched you?” he is asking them, “Who waved a shiny little trinket before your eyes, and led you over a cliff? Who led you into this ridiculous state by tricking you? The fact of Jesus’s crucifixion was placarded (“evidently set forth”) before your very eyes! Why do you think He had to die like that if there’s still something you can do to save yourself?”

This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Galatians 3:2

As we read this today, we need to ask ourselves the same question. In your own experience, how did you receive the Holy Spirit? Did you receive Him by being sprinkled with water? By paying money? By joining an organization? By keeping rules? By jerking or twitching or rolling on the floor or barking like a dog? No! It was by the hearing of faith! You heard the truth, and you believed the truth, and you received the Holy Spirit! What makes you think you are going to become more spiritual, or more “complete” by working? Or by keeping rules? Or by following the traditions of men? Foolish! The Apostle tells them that they’ve been suffering for nothing, if that’s what they were suffering for!

Scripture

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Galatians 3:6-7

The Gospel came from God; it came through the Jews; but it was intended for all men, or else God was lying.

Recap: The Galatians’ experience was that they were saved, and received the Spirit, through faith. The Scriptures – God Himself – said it was through faith. Therefore:

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Galatians 3:22

No one is righteous by birth, by nature, or by deed, but anyone can believe.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Romans 3:24

The purpose of the Old Testament Law was to teach people that they were lost. The purpose of the whole Bible is to point people to Jesus Christ. Not so we can start working for Him. Rather, so He can start working in us.

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:26

Apart from Christ, we have no part with God. We are utterly alienated – not related by birth or adoption. But in Christ, we have a part with God – and not a distant, academic part – we are His children! We are servants, yes, but more than just servants. We are friends, yes, but more than just friends. Children. Beloved. Sons and Daughters of the Most High God.

Children serve their parents, and that is right, but when children disobey, they are still children by birth of those same parents.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

Your nationality, social status, gender, or skin color do not matter a whit to God in the sense of your justification. If you are truly a Christian, you stand before God on the same level as Queen Esther, Billy Graham, and the Apostle Paul. God is a loving Father, and He has more than enough love for every one of His children.

Desire in Marriage

September 14, 2011 at 8:52 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Last time, I described the effects of the curse brought about by sin on the first marriage.

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Genesis 3:16 (emphasis added)

There is a common misconception among Bible teachers that sexual desire itself is part of the curse, but that is not true. For wives, the curse is finding pain in the one relationship that fulfills the roles God created you for as a woman. The “desire” that is part of the curse is not a desire for intimacy. It’s a desire for unlawful control. It’s a desire for coup d’etat. It’s a desire to stage a rebellion in your marriage, and to seize control for yourself, even though this desire often operates at an almost subconscious level.

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

That verse is about Cain and Abel, but it illustrates the early Bible concept of “desire.” The “desire” of women that is part of the sin curse is the same desire whereby one person desires to rule over another person.

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

I Timothy 2:12-15 (emphasis added)

The curse will not be done away with in this life. But its effects can be mitigated through the disciplines of Godly marriage.

So, why did God’s curse upon women tie them to the very thing they were ordained to do?

1. To show God’s redemptive glory in the picture of marriage; and
2. To sanctify husbands and wives through the marriage covenant and relationship.

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Galatians 3:13

The curse of our sin was tied to Christ, and bearing that curse was the very thing He was ordained to do.

Discipleship Lesson 2: Everlasting Security

October 29, 2010 at 9:25 am | Posted in Discipleship Lessons, Eternity, John | 16 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I. Will God or someone else take away the salvation He has given me?

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:12-13

We must never base our beliefs on this subject on our experience or the experience of another person. We must let the Bible speak for itself. Consider the testimony of Jesus Himself:

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

John 6:37 (Emphasis added.)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 10:27-29 (Emphasis added.)

II. Can I lose it on my own?

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

If we had to do anything to keep it, we would lose it easily.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Galatians 3:10

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

James 2:10

But we do not “keep” the salvation that God gives us. Christ keeps it.

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

II Timothy 1:12 (Emphasis added.)

If we could get it – or keep it – ourselves, then Christ died in vain.

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Galatians 2:21

III. Can some other power or condition take away from me the salvation given by the Lord?

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

According to John 1:12-13, when God saved you, He became your Father, and you became His child. Your biological father can never not be your biological father. Likewise, once you are made a child of God, your Heavenly Father can never not be your Father.

There is almost always a record made of physical birth, but there is always a record made of Spiritual birth.

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 5:11-13 (Emphasis added.)

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 1:13 (Emphasis added.)

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30 (Emphasis added.)

Ephesians 4:30 would have been a perfect place to say that if you grieve the Holy Spirit, He will leave you, but instead it says right there that He seals you unto the day of redemption.

We are not saved by feelings, and feelings do not affect the objective truth of the Word of God.

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

I John 3:20

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:2

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

I John 2:25

IV. Questions

A. Does I John 5:13 teach us that God wants us to be secure or insecure about salvation? Secure.

B. Does I John 3:20 teach that we can trust our own hearts and feelings about whether we are saved? No.

C. Find three Bible Verses that promise that God cannot lie.

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:2

That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

Hebrews 6:18

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Numbers 23:19

V. Memory Verses

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

I John 2:25

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 5:13

Next time: Discipleship Lesson Three – Baptism

Night Visions Part 2

March 18, 2010 at 11:32 am | Posted in Zechariah | 7 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In the previous lesson on Zechariah we started looking at the prophet’s visions which came in the night.

1. The first was a vision of a Man on a red horse, the Angel of the Lord (Christ) leading an army of men on brown and white horses.

2. The second vision was a vision of horns and carpenters – dealing with the Gentile nations who had chastened Judah.

3. The third vision was a vision of measuring and reclaiming ownership, and of the Lord preparing again to dwell with His people.

4. In the fourth vision, there was a courtroom trial.

And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

Zechariah 3:1

That vision concluded with a picture of the priestly ministry of Christ as the Branch – the Messiah Who would save His people, and be their One True High Priest. That vision also gave us a picture of Christ as the Stone.

5. The fifth vision was the vision of the candlestick and the olive trees. The candlestick, or lampstand, represented Christ (the Light of the World.)

Remember, Zechariah started off with a harsh message of repentance: Where are your fathers? Where are the prophets? Zechariah was having a rough night, but he was also getting to deliver some good messages of comfort… When suddenly everything screeches to a halt in Chapter 5!

Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.

Zechariah 5:1-3

The “flying roll” that Zechariah saw was not the kind of delicious bread that we used to call a “roll” in north Louisiana. And it was not the kind of “roll” you find at Lambert’s, “the Home of the Throwed Rolls,” although those rolls sure do fly! And even though “The Legend of the Flying Scroll” sounds more like a Kung Fu movie than a prophetic vision, that’s what this “roll” was: a scroll.

It was huge scroll, too: 20 cubits by 10 cubits. I believe these measurements were meant by the Holy Spirit to point us to the porch of Solomon’s temple and the holy place before the Holy of Holies, which, I think, was also 10 X 20 cubits.

When you read Deuteronomy Chapter 27 you see the people on Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, and they are “amen-ing” the terms of the covenant, and agreeing to keep the Law:

Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.

Deuteronomy 27:26

Zechariah 5:3 tells us that the roll has a curse “for every one that stealeth,” which is the 8th Commandment, and a curse for “every one that sweareth,” which is the 3rd Commandment. If Zechariah saw this scroll opened like a book, then the 3rd and 8th Commandments would be the “middle” of the first and second of each half of the 10 Commandments (five on each side). Therefore, I believe the flying scroll represents the Law of God, which had to be dealt with on the way to the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple, and which brought curses upon God’s people (in accordance with their own prior agreement) when broken.

I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.

Zechariah 5:4

When the people shouted all those “amens” in Deuteronomy 27 they really did themselves in, agreeing to keep the Law. However, the Law was not wicked. God had a purpose and a plan with the Law.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Galatians 3:10-13

If I open my Bible in the middle and lay the spine on my palm, face-up, it looks like the open flying scroll. Imagine a giant Bible flying through the air – a living Word – identifying and seeking those who have broken God’s law. Imagine it coming into your home – into the midst of your home – and remaining there. The roll of God’s law brings conviction. Conviction leads to a crisis (a crossroads). You don’t know which road to take, but you must choose one or the other. Christ is one Road: follow this Road, and you will be a new creature. Remaining under the curse is the other road: that road leads to condemnation. Christ became the curse for us, so that the flying roll would not have to enter our house and destroy it, and us with it.

The next post in the series – Night Visions Part 3 – finishes up in Zechariah Chapters 5 and 6.

From Cursing to Blessing

January 26, 2010 at 10:05 am | Posted in Galatians, Salvation | 13 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Have you perfectly kept all of God’s commandments your whole life? If not, you may be in serious trouble. In fact, you may be under a curse. The Bible says,

…Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Galatians 3:10b

By posting this, I am hoping to bless you, even though you are under a curse! Can such a thing be done? Only in Christ Jesus.

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Galatians 3:13

If you will repent, believe the Gospel, and trust Jesus Christ to save you, you can, by faith, go from being cursed to being blessed!

It All Depends on What Your Definition of “OF” Is

October 5, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Eternity, Galatians | 11 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The words “faith” and “faithful” are used in a combined 309 Bible verses. To say that, with God, faith is a “big deal,” would be an overwhelming understatement. In fact, one of the clearest passages in the Bible on God’s salvation of man is Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” It is clear that no one is going to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ without faith.

But what about those who had faith once, but whose lives, words, or deeds make it seem to mortal men as though they have lost their faith? Did they lose their salvation, too? Not according to the Scriptures. For it is not the faith of man that saves man; it is the faith of Christ Himself. I will highlight a very small, but very important, word in a few verses, to show just Whose faith we are talking about.

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 2:16

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Galatians 3:22

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Revelation 14:12

The word “of” lets us know exactly Whose faith we are dependent upon for salvation. Many people vainly seek strength in their own faith, and are discouraged when they are lacking. Others point to once-faithful Christians and pronounce them rejected of God due to a perceived lack of faithfulness in their lives. Jesus Christ is the only One Who is truly 100% faithful, and because of His unchanging, unwavering, unyielding faithfulness, those whom He graciously saves are kept eternally secure.

Chuck E. Church

August 3, 2009 at 9:13 am | Posted in Biblical Parenting | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Rollerblading for senior citizens? “Teen” night on the Weather Channel? A bouncy water slide for widows’ ministry? Needlepoint-and-prayer meeting for toddlers? Let’s face it, some activities are not for everyone. Some activities are limited by interest, physical ability, and even age. But is the main reason for church attendance – the hearing of the preaching of the Word of God – one of those activities?

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:… Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Ephesians 1:1; 6:1

Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.

Joel 2:16

It sure looks like, from the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, that all different types of people, children of all ages, and adults, all met together and heard the preaching of the Word of God together as a matter of regular practice. The wisdom of man says that a person’s need is to be rescued from boredom, for which specialized entertainment is the solution. The wisdom of God says that a person’s need is to be rescued from sin, for which instruction, training, and exhortation from the Word of God is the solution.

The Great Physician

April 23, 2009 at 10:22 am | Posted in Biblical Doctoring, Biblical Greats | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Acrostics, formed by taking the first letter of a series of words to make one word, can be helpful memory tools. For example, the acrostic, S.W.I.M., stands for looking in the Bible to “S.ee W.hat I.t M.eans.” If we don’t learn to S.W.I.M., we might S.I.N.K. (S.tep I.n N.ot K.nowing).

Over the past few weeks we have seen similarities and differences between earthly physicians and the Great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ. The following acrostic, using the word “D.O.C.T.O.R.,” may serve as a review of those lessons:

Dwell in Christ (John 15:10)
Offer yourself for regular examinations (Psalm 17:3)
Confess your sins (I John 1:9)
Take His instructions seriously (Matthew 5:18)
Operate in submission to the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:2)
Refer new patients (Ezekiel 3:11)

Next Page »


Entries and comments feeds.