Don’t Stunt Your Growth

September 23, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Posted in Hebrews | 6 Comments
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So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Hebrews 5:5-6

The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

Psalm 110:4

Christ’s priesthood is better than Aaron’s priesthood in numerous ways, including the fact that Christ’s priesthood is forever. It is from a different order of Old Testament priests – the order of Melchizedek.

And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Genesis 14:16-20

As a foreshadowing type of Christ, Melchizedek was a priest and a king.

Old Testament priests had to offer sacrifices for themselves before sacrificing for the people, but Christ was the Priest and the Sacrifice. Jesus shared in the suffering, but not in the sin. His shared suffering showed that He would be compassionate.

Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

Hebrews 5:2-3

Even as we touch on the issue of Christ being a Priest after the order of Melchizedek, we must also pause for another admonition – the third one in the Book of Hebrews. Remember, an admonition is not simply a threat: “If you don’t eat your green beans, I’m gonna knock your block off.” No, it’s encouragement, but with a loving warning: “Look, I noticed you have a tendency not to eat your green beans, and I want you to eat them because you won’t be healthy if you don’t eat them, but, if you don’t – because I love you – I’m going to have to discipline you.” The first admonition was: Don’t slip. The second admonition was: Don’t be suspicious. The third admonition is: Don’t be stunted.

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

Hebrews 5:11

The problem is not that the message of God is too difficult; it’s that the ears of the hearers are unfocused and have become dulled. There are symptoms of being stunted spiritually. They mirror the symptoms of failing to grow physically.

1. Immature children don’t like to share.

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God…

Hebrews 5:12

2. Immature children can only have milk.

… and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

Hebrews 5:12-13

3. Immature children have no discernment. (They’ll put anything in their mouths.)

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Hebrews 5:14

One of the goals of the Christian life is to become more mature. It’s not enough just to escape from Egypt – to wander in the wilderness. We must cross over into Canaan.

Immature children are often too immature to know that they are immature. Here are some ways to know if this admonition is for you:

1. Do you find the Word of God boring?
2. Is Bible study dull?
3. Are you uninterested in hearing Biblical preaching?
4. Does prayer seem like merely a chore?

If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then the solution is not to find something more entertaining, but to “grow up.” You play a part in your own growth. Be intentional about “eating” (hearing the Word). Get some “exercise” (get involved in ministry in your local church).

Thank You, Lord, for providing most of us with a safe and comfortable place to meet and study and fellowship together. Cause us to be truly led by the Holy Ghost, and use us in magnifying and lifting up and glorifying our crucified and risen Savior. In His name I pray. Amen.

“Aman” of Faith

March 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Posted in Genesis | 10 Comments
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Abram had brought his nephew along on the pilgrimage to which God had called him. Sodom being a Biblical picture of the “world,” events transpired in such a way that Abram ended up “putting a Lot into the world.” Now he was trying to “get a Lot out of the world.

And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

Genesis 14:15-16

After the battle:

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

Genesis 14:18

The existence of Melchizedek, a Godly priest, who had continued to please God even before God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees, is one of the reasons why I believe there remained a Godly remnant (a continuation of the “sons of God” from the line of Seth referred to in Genesis 6). There has always been a Godly remnant opposed to the “daughters of men” who followed the “way of Cain” – even between the time of the flood of Noah and God’s covenant with Abraham.

And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Genesis 14:19-20

Note that Abram gave to Melchizedek in gratitude to God after the battle, not in order to bribe God before the battle.

And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:

Genesis 14:21-23

Abram didn’t want to take even a shoelace from the “world” because that might “trip him up” in his “walk with God.

Genesis is the Book of “firsts.”

After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Genesis 15:1

This is the first “fear not” in the Bible, followed by the first specific mention of salvation by grace through faith.

And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Genesis 15:6

This is the first time Abram “leaned his whole weight upon God.” The Hebrew word for Abram’s belief in God is aman. Understanding the intensity of Abram’s faith helps us understand how Abraham could later offer his son as a sacrifice to God.

Even so, in Genesis Chapter 16 Abram fails another test of faith.

Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.

Genesis 16:1-5

Could anybody be surprised that Sarai treated Hagar badly after this?

Abram was 85 years old. He had been walking with the Lord for 10 years. Abram had not been perfect. He was still learning about faith, but he was in an unbreakable covenant with God.

Getting a Lot Out of the World

February 15, 2010 at 10:55 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Genesis | 12 Comments
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In Genesis Chapter 12 God calls Abram.

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

God tells Abram, “Vaya con Dios,” go with God. When you “go” with God, you leave behind the world. Attempts to bring a part of the world along with you will cause trouble. I have heard stories about missionaries who bring someone not called by God to go along on a mission trip, and they say it does not work out well.

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, emphasis added

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, emphasis added

I wonder if Abram considered Lot’s coming with him as a training opportunity. If so, he learned the danger of disobedience even if your motives are right. Lot was Abram’s nephew, but consider what Jesus said about family.

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:26-27

Abraham is considered to be the father of faith, but he did not pass every test of faith. When there was a famine in the land, Abraham went down into Egypt.

And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

Genesis 12:10, emphasis added

In Scripture, Egypt is a picture of the world – what we call “culture” or “society” – but which is really a system which operates apart from the will and the Word of God. When you go into the world, you are going “down” spiritually. We might say, in a sense, that this was when Abraham “put a Lot into the world.” Abraham had problems in Egypt, because, the Bible tells us, he was a friend of God. Egypt is where Lot learned to be a friend of the world. Abraham had trouble in the world because he was friend of God. Lot had trouble following God because he was a friend of the world. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:4

Lot came out of Egypt physically, but his heart never came out. He never forgot the lessons he learned there: the coveting of the pleasures and the material things of the world. Abraham – at least for brief period – was able to “get a Lot out of the world,” but he was not able to get the world out of Lot. Be careful about letting the world get into you. Be careful about leading your friends, your brothers and sisters, your children, into the world. Remember, if you’re trying to get a brother out of the world – only Christ can get the world out of him.

The worldly heart attitude of Lot revealed itself in his actions. He desired the world in his heart, so he began to behave like a worldly person.

And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

Genesis 13:7

Still, Abraham, striving to “get a Lot out of the world” – out of his worldly ways – showed love to Lot.

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

Abraham knew that the neighbors were watching. The Canaanites and the Perizzites who live around your local church are watching. When “brethren” fight it gives them a bad opinion of God. There are some things that even brethren have to divide over. When it comes to your family, Dad – when it comes to your wife, husband – these things aren’t up for compromise. You are answerable to God alone for their provision and their protection. But in issues that are not matters of Bible doctrine or of spiritual significance we should try to have the attitude of Abraham toward Lot: Let’s don’t fight; we be brethren; you choose first; in love preferring one another.

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Romans 12:10

But when Abram let Lot choose, we see the proof that he never got the world out of his heart.

Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

Genesis 13:11

East was away from “Bethel” (house of God), and toward “Hai” (ruins). Should Lot have pitched his tent toward Sodom? The plain was well-watered over there – it made sense from a worldly viewpoint. But what about from a Heavenly viewpoint? We can see that Lot’s worldly way of thinking may have given him an excuse, but look at what God says about the people of Sodom:

But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

Genesis 13:13

We say that, before a holy God, sin is sin, but there was something about the sin of the men of Sodom that made them not just “sinners,” but “wicked.” And not just wicked sinners, but sinners “exceedingly.” This was no place for a man who is following God, but it was a very attractive place to a man like Lot – a man overtaken by worldly desires.

You are probably familiar with what happened to Lot. He wound up going from lifting up his eyes and looking toward Sodom – to lifting up his feet and moving toward Sodom – to lifting his family right inside the city walls, making a name for himself and living right in the gates of the city with the other worldly big-shots. But God – maybe out of love for Abraham – maybe out of mercy on Lot – maybe both – wanted Lot out of the world. So He allowed a war to happen, and many of the people of Sodom were captured, and Lot was with them, and he was taken away prisoner.

Abraham, the friend of God, loving his brother, Lot, and wanting to “get a Lot out of the world,” went into action. There are a couple of interesting things to note in Abraham’s rescue of Lot, because some of us have “put a Lot into the world.” More of us “know a Lot in the world.” These people are our brothers – and we want to get them out of the world.

And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

Genesis 14:14, emphasis added

First, Abram’s servants, called out on a moment’s notice, had already been trained for battle. Do you have trusted friends in Christ that have been trained in battle? Our weapons are not carnal (fleshly). They are spiritual, but they are still weapons and we are still in a battle. Are you training anyone for battle? Have you yourself been trained for battle?

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

II Corinthians 10:3-6

Verse 4 presupposes that you know how to use a weapon – that you have been trained. The “readiness” in Verse 6 means a preparedness, a time of training.

Every believer ought to participate in discipleship training. This means sacrifice, not just a time of fellowship. There needs to be memorization. There needs to be straight talk about a new level of commitment to God’s Word. And there needs to be training.

And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

Genesis 14:14, emphasis added

First, they were trained. Second, they were born in his own house. When you want to “get a Lot out of the world” – you are going to be tempted to use worldly programs – or earthly family members – but your first call should be to someone who has been born (“born again”) into the family of God.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

I John 5:4


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