Tags: Biblical evangelism, Biblical farming, Ephesians 6, evangelism, farming, Jesus Christ, Luke 12, night watchmen, parable of the wise steward, watchfulness
Usually when we see the word “watching” in the Bible it refers to something more than just idly looking at something. It typically has the connotation that we think of in connection with a night “watchman,” someone who is actively trying to stay alert, awake, and on guard, keeping a lookout for some sign that could mean either trouble or glad tidings.
Because the Bible sometimes uses the metaphor of farming in connection with Biblical evangelism, we have already noted that good farmers are concerned with planting, watering, and weeding. It would be nearly unthinkable to imagine a farmer, whose livelihood depended on a successful harvest, planting with care, watering diligently, pulling up weeds with zealous regularity, but failing to keep an eye on his crop, being oblivious to harmful insects, marauders, bad weather on the horizon, or sundry other forms of trouble that might befall his fields of produce. Therefore, we might apply the same principle to evangelism.
Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Luke 12:35-40 (emphasis added)
No one likes to get caught loafing. Because, the Lord has given us a serious responsibility, and because we know the time to accomplish it is limited, and because we know that the day of accounting could come unexpectedly, we need to be serving Him faithfully, diligently, actively, obediently, and warily.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Ephesians 6:18 (emphasis added)
We do well to pray, but our custom of praying with our eyes closed must not be a hindrance to our engagement in the reality of spiritual warfare. Faithful farmers hope that God sends rain, protection, and favorable conditions, but they also know that He expects them to be on guard, prepared to spring into action at the first signs of infestation, unexpected trouble, or the ripeness that means it’s time to harvest.
Tags: Biblical faith, Biblical servants, commentary on Mark, Jesus Christ, Jesus the Servant, Mark 6, Sunday School lessons on Mark, true faith, Word of Faith
And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
Jesus returned to “His own country,” meaning Nazareth. It had one been one year since He had been there.
And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
Jesus, returning to His home synagogue, was now famous. The people must have known about His miracles through word of mouth, since He had not done them in Nazareth.
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
So, here we find the Servant encountering unbelief – a lack of faith. People “stumbled over Him” – they were scandalized by Him. They knew Him, so they should not have feared Him, but they could not explain Him, so they did fear Him. He didn’t fit into their framework. Sometimes we say that people fear the unknown, but what people really fear is the inexplicable.
In this episode from Mark 6 we also see the difference between today’s fictional version of faith as a mystical force which activates God and somehow “enables” Him to work – to do what WE want Him to do, such as heal us or give us money or get us out of trouble – and real faith.
Remember, in the Book of Mark, we are studying Jesus in the role of Servant. We would expect a servant to serve (and He does), but we would also expect a servant to bring us what we want (and He does not always do this). Jesus is a better Servant – the greatest Servant of all time. So, as He serves us, He brings us what we really NEED – what is BEST for us. Since He is the greatest Servant, He brings the greatest service: forgiveness, freedom, and fulfillment.
Faith is not believing for what we want. Faith is believing that Jesus will bring us what we really need, and it is shown by active belief – acting in accord with Him supplying our needs, not our wants.
And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
Tags: commentary on Mark, Jesus Christ, Mark 4, Mark 5, miracles of Jesus, parable of the seeds, parable of the soils, parable of the sower, Sunday School lessons on Mark
Jesus taught in parables, and, though some of the crowds that heard Him would have tried to judge the parables, the truth is that the parables judged the crowds.
And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
Some people who hear the Word of God have hard hearts. Many people and ideas and attachments have trod on these hearts before, and have hardened them the way the earth will become packed and hardened on heavily used walkways. Some people who hear the Word of God have shallow hearts, where it appears to take root briefly, but in reality it is not really “received” on a level where it takes deep roots, and it shrivels and dies under the heat of persecution. Some people who hear the Word of God have crowded hearts. They are full of the vain things of this world, and there is no room for the seed to be truly received. However, some people (praise God!) who hear the Word of God have hearts that have been plowed and prepared and broken up by the Holy Spirit. Here the Word of God takes hold and begins to produce fruit and multiply.
In Mark Chapters 4 and 5 Jesus the Servant showed through four miracles how we are to be good servants in times of danger.
First, He calmed a storm. Good servants should not be afraid of storms because Jesus has promised us victory.
And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
Good servants should not be afraid of storms because Jesus is with us in the storms.
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
Good servants should not be afraid of storms because Jesus Himself fears no storms.
Second, Jesus cast demons out of a man and into a herd of pigs. Good servants need not fear Satan because he and the demons are under the control of our Master. We can seek to serve the demon-possessed or -influenced or -oppressed because our Lord is stronger.
Third, Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood. Good servants need not fear disease for all the reasons having to do with storms and Satan, AND for the reason that we do not lose our Lord even if we lose our health for His sake. We know that there is great opportunity for sick people to exercise faith, even if they have imperfect faith.
Fourth, Jesus raised Jairus’s daughter from the dead. Good servants need not fear death because, for the one with faith in Jesus, death is not eternal.
And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.
Tags: 25th anniversary, anniversary, Biblical marriage, Christian marriage, Jesus Christ, marriage, wedding anniversaries
Tomorrow (Deo volente) my beautiful, intelligent, loving wife and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Well, I’ll be celebrating, anyway. Due to financial constraints it may not be all that much of a celebration for her, but we’ll see. 25 years is one of those “big” anniversary markers, but I’m not really sure why. I suppose it’s because of the association of the number 25 with the idea that 25 is a quarter of a century. This makes sense in a larger historical perspective, but has anyone since the days of Noah and Moses lived long enough to be married for 100 years? Not likely. The truth is, my wife deserves to be honored, cherished, and celebrated for every single year she has had to put up with me, and, realistically, for every single day that made up those years. I could not, in my most focused and vivid analytical planning or my wildest dreams, have come up with a wife so wonderful. Only God could have created her.
I am always thankful when God answers my prayers, but He did not answer my prayers concerning what kind of a wife or marriage I thought I would like to have. No, He has done way better than that. Whether we are talking about her faithfulness, her godliness, her dedication, her kindness, her sense of humor, her beauty, her intelligence, or her skills and talents as a mother, what I asked God for fell way short of what He has done. In a striking paradox, not only is she reassuringly consistent, but she manages to surprise me each and every day.
I praise the Lord for the wonderful gift of my wife, my marriage, and the myriad and untold ways in which He has blessed it by His grace. May we, as spouses, friends, parents, and covenant-partners, draw closer to Him and glorify Him with our marriage, in the name of, and for the sake of, Jesus Christ.
Tags: 2 Corinthians 6, Ephesians 2, Jesus Christ, John 1, John 3, Luke 4, Romans 10, Romans 4, Romans 5, Romans 8, Titus 3
I. When you think of God’s holiness and your own sinfulness, do you ever wonder how God could love you?
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
It is simply in His marvelous nature to show forth His great love by His wonderful grace.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
I John 4:8
It is understandable that you might wonder HOW God could love you, but, if you have been born again into the family of God, justified through faith alone, and adopted as His Own child, then you ought never to question IF God loves you.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
II. When you understand that God’s holiness and justice require your absolute moral perfection and obedience, do you doubt that you have you worked hard enough to earn God’s approval, favor, or blessing?
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
You can stop asking that question. There is no doubt that you can never do enough good things to make God your debtor. HOWEVER:
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
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.
You could never work your way to Heaven, but if you have trusted Christ unto salvation, then your disobedience, sin, and lack of good works have been washed away by the mercy of God in the blood of Jesus.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
III. Do you hope that one day God will forgive you, or decide to be kindly disposed toward you in spite of your rebellion and shame? Are you longing for a day when you will find yourself forgiven and accepted?
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
II Corinthians 6:2
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
The sovereign Lord and Ruler of this universe, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the all-powerful, majestic and holy King above all kings, will answer your call this very moment.
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:
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
If you have repented and believed His Gospel, He loves you with an everlasting love, and nothing in this world or beyond will ever separate you from it.
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.
Tags: 1 Corinthians 3, carnal Christians, childishness, Christian maturity, church, commentary on 1 Corinthians, factions, Jesus Christ, Sunday School lessons on 1 Corinthians
The Knows sometimes behave like Know-Nots. This was another one of the chief problems in the church of Corinth. In I Corinthians Chapter 2 Paul had defended his method of preaching and the message he preached. In Chapter 3 he once again takes up the problem of factions and fighting among the church members. He ties the ideas together by addressing the accusation that his message (the Gospel) and his method (simple preaching) were too simple.
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ.
I Corinthians 3:1
Paul said that he had spoken to them very simply with a very elementary version of the message because they were obviously babies. You may have heard the term “carnal Christians” or maybe not. It was very much in vogue for a while, but in more recent times it has come under attack. On one side are those who say every professing Christian who lives carnally must still be considered a true Christian because of his profession. On the other side are those who say that the profession of those who live carnally must be false. I Corinthians Chapter 3 has nothing kind to say about carnal Christians, but it certainly proves that there is such a thing (“brethren” who are “carnal”).
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able [to bear it], neither yet now are ye able.
I Corinthians 3:2
Milk is good for babies, but, whether good or not, it is necessary because it is all babies can handle. Basic Christian doctrine can be both milk (for baby Christians) and meat (for mature Christians), but there is also a sense in which it can be seen as needing to be controlled by the givers of the milk rather than offered freely and received according to maturity level by the receivers of milk. The Roman Catholic church grew apostate partly over this doctrine, known as the Disciplina Arcani, the doctrine of the “hidden essence.” Lay people shouldn’t be trusted, they say, with the unadulterated Word of God. God says otherwise.
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
I Corinthians 3:3
Verse 3 sounds as if was written as a scolding – albeit a scolding-in-love. “Divisions” especially speaks of a spirit of “side-choosing” – factions or “parties.” Such divisions are not only troublesome among the church, and not only irritating and time-consuming for the leadership and those caught in the middle, but they ruin the testimony of the Church of Christ. Why would an outsider seeking an earthly representation of the Kingdom of Christ want to join your local church assembly if the members “walked like men,” meaning they lived just like every other worldly, non-Christian person? The distinction here is not a literal distinction between immature children and mature adults, but between regenerated spiritual believers who should be united around sound doctrine, and ungodly pagans who squabble childishly over personal recognition and preferences.
For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I [am] of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
I Corinthians 3:4
Can you hear the sing-song connotation of childishness in Verse 4 as each petty party-member calls out his or her favorite church leader by name? Paul tries to put a stop to it in Verse 5.
Who then is Paul, and who [is] Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
I Corinthians 3:5
Paul, who, among all his virtues, really stands out for his humility, is not being falsely modest when he denigrates his own personality as being completely unworthy of any party allegiance, and he illustrates this with a familiar Bible example: a vineyard or a farmer’s field.
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
I Corinthians 3:6-7
Planting and watering are menial tasks compared with the power of God, Who actually gives the increase. Charles Hodge, in his commentary on I Corinthians, wrote that the Holy Spirit’s point here is, “Ministers are nothing.”
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
I Corinthians 3:8
Not only is the work of Christian ministers remedial and replaceable from God’s perspective, but their personalities are in a sense consumed corporately into the same goal: the fulfillment of the Owner’s plans and desires.
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s building.
I Corinthians 3:9
We are both the tools and the building. We are what God uses, and we are supposed to be the habitation in which He is pleased to dwell and show His glory. Remember, the Knows have only received their “know-how” purely as a gift.
Growth requires different types of workers (diversity), but diversity requires unity (working toward the same goal). Unity requires humility.
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
I Corinthians 3:10
We can be “wise masterbuilders,” but we must build on the foundation already laid, and we have to “take heed” to be careful how we build. We can put our “wisdom” to use in building relationships or even just gaining an audience, but we can’t deviate from the foundation of Christ or the foundation of His Person and work in the Gospel any more than a door framer can frame the door 30 feet from the slab, or than the cabinetry workers can build cabinets in mid-air above the slab.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 3:11
The beauty of God’s building is a byproduct of its strength. Its foundation is Christ and the Truth about Himself. This is the “rock” upon which He builds His church.
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The building must have the right foundation, and only the right doctrine (precious jewels and materials) must be used to build it.
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
I Corinthians 3:12
Gold, silver, and precious stones like granite and marble were used in temples, but wood for the doors and posts, hay for the walls, and stubble or straw for the roof were used in common houses.
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
I Corinthians 3:13
The day of the Lord will be revealed by Jesus appearing in fire. It will be a time of harsh testing, and then the wood, hay, and stubble will burn, and the gold and silver and precious stones will be purified. False teaching will be revealed. False doctrine will be exposed. There will be no disputing or confusion in that day of fiery judgment.
I. Knowers (I Corinthians 3:1-4)
A. New believers feed on Bible facts.
B. Mature believers feed on Bible doctrine.
II. Growers (I Corinthians 3:5-9)
A. Growth requires diversity.
B. Diversity requires unity.
C. Unity requires humility.
III. Showers (I Corinthians 3:10-13)
A. The beauty of God’s building is a by-product of its strength.
B. It must have the right foundation, and it must be built with the right materials.
C. False teaching will be revealed and false doctrine will be exposed in a future judgment.
Tags: 2 Corinthians 5, burial of Christ, esteeming Christ, Isaiah 53, Jesus Christ, satisfaction, the Gospel, the Suffering Servant, treasure
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, [how can a dead man with no children have descendants? he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
The Lord Jesus bore our sin to the Cross, but it is not the weight of that sin that crushed (“bruised”) Him; it was the weight of God’s wrath. Jesus was childless in the biological sense, and, furthermore, the prophecy describes a dead man “seeing his seed.” How could this be? It was fulfilled in Jesus’s Resurrection and the spiritual children He would regenerate and adopt.
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
God the Father was not “satisfied” in the sense of taking delight in Jesus’s suffering, but His righteousness, law, holiness, and justice were satisfied by payment in full for the entire sin debt of His people.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
II Corinthians 5:17
Let us esteem Jesus Christ better today than men did when He came to die for us. Let us look at what they esteemed instead of Him, and ask ourselves if we esteem those things more than Him today. He was poor. Do we esteem wealth? He was an outcast among the religious establishment. Do we esteem popularity and acceptance? People lied about Him and said vile things. Do we fight for our good reputation with plans and schemes to get even, and with our own get-back-at-you gossip? Which do we care about more – that we look good to men, or that God looks great to men? He came to serve and to die. Do we dare to try to get ourselves in the position of being served by someone else? He suffered hardship and discomfort and a life of hard work. Will we dare to pamper ourselves?
Jesus is rejected so much today, for so many of the same reasons He was rejected back then – He represents everything that carnal men hate. He is worthy, and that’s an thing easy to sing, but do our activities and attitudes and awe prove that He’s our Treasure?
Tags: commentary on Matthew, discipleship, Exodus 10, Isaiah 53, Jesus Christ, Matthew 26, Matthew 27, Matthew 28, Psalm 22, Sunday School lessons on Matthew
There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
The Disciples accused the woman with the alabaster box of wastefulness, but Jesus defended her. The one who was really guilty of “wastefulness” was Judas Iscariot, whom Jesus called the “son of perdition.” Judas wasted his opportunities, and betrayed his Master. He was not a martyr or an innocent tool of providence. He thought that he could “use” his place in the earthly ministry of Jesus for profit. Remember, things are to be “used;” people are to be “saved.” Things “used up” for the glory of Christ are not “wasted.” The King will be loyal to those who truly worship Him.
In Matthew Chapter 27 the King was placed on trial. The charges were: misleading the nation; forbidding the paying of taxes; and claiming to be king, as shown in Matthew 27:11-26. This third charge is the one that Pilate dealt with because it could have been a threat to the Roman Empire.
Pilate found no fault, because he understood that Jesus was claiming to be King of a Kingdom “not of this world.” However, Pilate chose to yield to the people and not to the true King.
At this point, King Jesus demonstrated His meekness and submission and strength. For His willingness to submit and for the strength that allowed Him to endure this tremendous, indescribable humiliation, we who know Him as Savior shall be eternally giving thanks.
He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
It was ironic for the people to claim that they would like to have a king who would save himself and not others. That’s how warped their idea of kingship had become.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
Jesus was crucified at what we would consider to be 9:00 a.m. He was on the Cross for three hours until noon. At noon darkness covered the land – not an accidental eclipse or a sandstorm, but a supernaturally produced darkness. Then it was dark for three hours. To the extent such a thing can be said to have occurred in “time,” this is believed to have been the time when Christ was “made sin.”
And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
The King’s victory was yet another proof of His Kingship. In earthly governments, such as the Roman Empire of that time, it is common to see the principles of “realpolitk” and “might makes right,” but with God His might and His right flow from His Divine nature, so that He can never be overcome by, or with, wickedness.
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
The angel sat upon the rock, bearing witness to the King’s Resurrection, but we bear witness today by standing upon the Rock and speaking forth the truth of Scripture.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The King commands us to be active, making not just converts, but also making disciples: making learners and doers. We are not called to be, or to make, mere spectators.
Tags: Amos, Amos 6, commentary on Amos, cracks, fissures, homebuilding, Jesus Christ, leaks, Sunday School lessons on Amos, wrath of God
The prophet Amos was concerned that the people would ignore his warnings concerning God’s impending wrath. They did not seem to be taking their sin – or God’s holiness and righteousness – seriously at all.
That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David; That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
They weren’t interested in repentance and forgiveness. They were too preoccupied with rest, recreation, entertainment, amusement, eating, and drinking. They believed their houses were safe, and they forgot the Word of the Lord and the reality of their abject dependence upon Him for their safety and survival.
It had become necessary for the Lord to smite them.
For, behold, the Lord commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.
The affluent men, who lived in “great houses” would find “breaches.” The Hebrew word translated as “breaches” has a connotation of small cracks or leaks – places where the elements would begin to seep in unnoticed and weaken the structural integrity of their homes. By the time they were stirred from their slumber or jarred from their amusements, it would be too late to escape the collapse of the buildings on which they relied for safety.
The lesser or poorer citizens, who perhaps thought their wickedness would go unnoticed due to their lack of influence or notoriety, would also meet a rude awakening. Those in the “little houses” would have their homes smitten by “clefts.” The Hebrew word translated as “clefts” has a connotation of a large and glaring fissure or division. These little houses would be struck suddenly with God’s wrath.
When God’s patience wears thin and His time of pleading and/or warning to turn from wickedness has ended, neither the “great” nor the “little” will find refuge from His destructive power. Let us make sure today that the foundations of our homes are stable – that our “spiritual houses” are built upon the rock of Jesus Christ. Let us make sure that our walls and ceilings are not concealing from the world the sin and hypocrisy which can never be concealed from God the Omniscient.
Tags: Christians leadership, commentary on Hebrews, Hebrews 13, immutability of God, Jesus Christ, pastors, spiritual leaders, Standing of the Promises, Sunday School lessons on Hebrews
Hebrews Chapter 13 is a very practical chapter of God’s Word. It contains doctrine that can be applied to everyday life. In fact, throughout the whole Bible, duty is never divorced from doctrine.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
This verse is often cited as a proof-text to try to convince people that God always works the same way, and that He does not operate differently in His relationship to creation during different dispensations or historical periods. That is not a correct use of the verse, but it is true that God’s character does not change. His qualities of love, mercy, grace, holiness, righteousness, and power are everlasting. He has been Father, Son, and Holy Ghost forever, and He will be forever. He cannot lie. That’s a comforting thing to know, a nice thing to know, and an important thing to know, but, in addition to providing comfort and assurance about the trustworthiness of God, it also has very practical outworkings in the daily lives of Christians.
Take, for example, the responsibility of the believer toward his or her spiritual leaders.
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
Though leaders change from one to another, and though they might change in the sense of moral failure or being undependable, we must remember that our ultimate responsibility is to follow and serve God, and that He is always the same when it comes to trustworthiness and dependability. We chiefly put our faith in God’s Word and His promises.
Standing on the promises I cannot fall;
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call;
Trusting in the Savior as my ALL in ALL;
Standing on the promises of God
Standing on the promises that cannot fail;
When the howling storms of fear and doubt assail;
By the living Word of God I shall prevail;
Standing on the promises of God
R. Kelso Carter