On Your Mark…

September 14, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Posted in Mark | 3 Comments
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I admit it: One of my many faults is that I’m a slow reader. It’s not that I usually have trouble understanding the words or comprehending the sense of what I’m reading. It’s just that I tend to fixate on sentence structure, word choices, and even ambiguous grammar and punctuation. So, while I do read “a lot,” it often takes me far longer than it should to do it.

This goes double for my Bible reading. Bible verses can be so packed with spiritual truth that, if you truly love God’s Word, there is a temptation to go over certain verses, clauses, or even words, multiple times before moving on. Recently I’ve been seeing articles advocating the practice of reading whole books of the Bible in one sitting. While I have done this before, it is a tremendous challenge for me, and I personally don’t recommend it as a proven study method. However, if I had to pick a book which seems most suitable to this practice, I would probably choose the Book of Mark. I’m not saying that I taught or wrote the lessons in this series after a rush-through nonstop reading of Mark, but there is something about the way the Holy Ghost inspired Mark to write about Jesus’s earthly ministry that seems to prompt a desire for “movement,” and “activity,” even “busyness.” Mark shows us Jesus “on the move,” the Divine, yet earthly, Servant Who for about three and a half years went “straightway” about His Father’s business, always on the verge of sprinting off toward the next miracle, teaching opportunity, event, or activity. My prayer is that these lessons will motivate us to stay active and energetic and enthusiastic in emulating His example, as we are motivated by His glorious Gospel:

1. Immediate Service (Mark 1:12-13)
2. A Major Breaking News Story (Mark 1:15)
3. The Ordo Salutis (Mark 1:15)
3. Casting FOR Fish, and Casting OUT Fiends (Mark 1:16-28)
4. Compassion for the Crowds (Mark 1:32-45)
5. Forgiveness, Fulfillment, and Freedom (Mark 2-3)
6. The Gross-Out Factor for Kids (Mark 2:16-17)
7. He Was Beside Himself (Mark 3:21)
8. Serving without Fear (Mark 4-5)
9. Are People Still Possessed by Demons? (Mark 5:1-17)
10. Beware the Furious Fiend (Mark 5:5)
11. Rising Faith (Mark 5:33-42)
12. Faith in Service (Mark 6:1-9)
13. The Direction of True Faith (Mark 6:20-46)
14. Disciples, Defilement, and Division (Mark 7)
15. Clean Hands and Pure Hearts  (Mark 7:1-13)
16. Biblical S.T.O.P. Signs (Mark 8)
17. Okay, Who Forgot to Bring the Food?! (Mark 8:12-18)
18. Doubting Disciples Duped by Demonic Distractions (Mark 8:27-36)
9. The One Question You MUST NOT Get Wrong (Mark 8:29) *
20. What Lack I Yet? (Mark 8:35-36)
22. Overcoming Shame (Mark 8:38)
22. His Glory and His Word (Mark 9)
23. Water, Water, Everywhere… (Mark 9:41)
24. Becoming Part of the Family (Mark 9:42)
25. A Pair of Paradoxes (Mark 10:2-16)
26. The POV of Marriage (Mark 10:2-9)
27. Defining “Impossible” (Mark 10:26-27)
28. A Second Pair of Paradoxes (Mark 10:28-45)
29. Role Reversal Ransom (Mark 10:45)
30. Blind Beggar Boldly Beats Bandwagoners (Mark 10:46-49)
31. The Servant King and Servant Judge (Mark 11)
32. Faith in God (Mark 11:22)
33. The Servant Prophet (Mark 12)
34. Especially the Family (Mark 12:28-31)
35. Living and Giving, Heeding and Proceeding (Mark 12-13)
36. Flipping the Script on the Passover (Mark 14)
37. Purple of Scarlet? (Mark 15:17)
38. Cross-Eyed (Mark 15:29-32)

*most-read post in category

The Stones of Complacency

March 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Posted in John, The Stones that Don't Cry Out | 7 Comments
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During Jesus’s earthly ministry He developed very close relationships with a number of His followers. He seems to have been especially fond of a family of three adult siblings: Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

John 11:5

The next verse seems a little illogical to our human, finite way of thinking.

When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

John 11:6

If I had a close friend or loved one who was dying, and I had the cure, I like to think I wouldn’t hang around two days before getting on the road. Of course, Jesus’s ways are always superior to our ways, His timing, unlike ours, is always perfect, and His power goes far beyond what we think of as a “cure.” His power goes all the way beyond the grave.

Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

John 11:32

Lazarus had been dead for several days by the time Jesus arrived. His body had been buried in a cave, and a stone sealed the entrance. You probably know what happened next. If you don’t, I encourage you to read John Chapter 11 in its entirety. Jesus called Lazarus forth from the grave, and Lazarus’s body came back to life. This was a miracle beyond any human or material agency. It was completely supernatural. No physician played a part, no medication was administered, no sleight of hand or optical illusions were employed.

However, here is one of the many truths which we may take from this true historical account of Jesus’s miraculous power: God needs no man to accomplish His will, but He does deign to work through human agency.

Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been [dead] four days.

John 11:39 (emphasis added)

Why didn’t the Son of God – who could call the dead back to life with a simple shout – also command the stone to roll itself away, or – Samson-style – pick it up and hurl it away Himself? I believe it He did it the way He did so that Martha – whom He loved – could have the joy of getting her own hands involved in the work of the Lord. In fact, Jesus is nothing if not generous when it comes to sharing the joy of His miraculous wonders.

And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

John 11:44 (emphasis added)

What is Jesus getting done through your hands-on agency in your life today? I am afraid that sometimes we recognize that only God can deliver a person from the darkness of damnation (or the anguish of addiction; or the perils of poverty; or the ignorance of ingratitude), and we use our theological assurance of God’s omnipotence as an excuse to sit complacently with our hands folded, waiting for God to show up and speak forth the solution. God’s gracious empowering of human mouths, hands, feet, brains, and even hearts is a great kindness. Let us not miss out on the opportunities which God grants us to be a part of what He could easily do on His Own. God is not only sovereign over the ends. He is sovereign over the means. This is motivation for action, not an excuse for complacency.

That Man Was Certifiable!

February 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Galatians, Micah | 8 Comments
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One good place to study the difference between real leaders and fake leaders is in the Book of Micah. Politicians think about the next election; statesmen think about the next generation. In Micah’s day, the real priests were shepherds who protected their flock; the fake priests were wolves who devoured the flock. The fake prophets gave good news to people who bribed them and bad news to people who shunned them; the real prophets just gave the people the truth, and could not be bought.

A good way to illustrate this point is to think about those big gaudy Mardi Gras beads.

https://i0.wp.com/cf.ltkcdn.net/party/images/slide/105627-600x402-MardiGrasBeads.jpg

Some of them are brightly colored and obviously not real jewelry, but some of the strands actually look, at first glance, like expensive pearls. There are a number of reasons, though, why these fake necklaces are not likely to really fool anyone:

1. They are tossed out casually, as if they are worthless.
2. In your hands, they feel like the cheap plastic they really are, not like weighty precious gems.
3. Here in South Louisiana we have experience with Mardi Gras beads, so we know that their real worth is extremely negligible once the parade is over and people start to sober up.

Finally, you can note that, unlike real jewelry from a real, reputable jewelry store, Mardi Gras beads do not come with a “certificate of authenticity.” In the Book of Galatians the Holy Spirit used a similar indicator in proving that the Gospel which the Apostle Paul preached was authentic, and that the false gospel of the Judaizers was not.

But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

Galatians 1:11

The Greek word translated as “certify” is “gnorizo,” and it comes from the same root word from which we get the English word “recognize.” The Holy Spirit is saying that, if you are familiar with the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself – the true Gospel – then you must recognize that Paul is preaching the exact same Gospel.

The message of Paul was given to Him directly by Jesus. It was “certified” by Paul’s mission, his ministry, his methods, and the contents of the message itself. If you listen to much modern theology you are likely to come across a statement like this one eventually: “Oh, I’m a Christian. I follow Jesus, but I don’t believe everything that Paul wrote.” Such a statement is pure foolishness. The famous British preacher, Charles Spurgeon, responded to such a statement with this quote:

It is not unusual to hear dubious persons profess to differ from the apostle, and they even dare to say, ‘There, I do not agree with Paul.’ I remember the first time that I heard this expression I looked at the individual with astonishment. I was amazed that such a pigmy as he should say this of the great apostle. Altogether apart from Paul’s inspiration, it seemed like a cheese-mite differing from a cherub, or a handful of chaff discussing the verdict of the fire. The individual was so utterly beneath observation that I could not but marvel that his conceit should have been so outspokenly shameless. Notwithstanding this objection, even when supported by learned critics, we still agree with the inspired servant of God. It is our firm conviction that, to differ from Paul’s epistles is to differ from the Holy Ghost, and to differ from the Lord Jesus Christ, whose mind Paul has fully expressed.

Charles H. Spurgeon

Do You Have Plans for Lunch?

November 18, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, John | 10 Comments
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If you were to take a drive out into the country, past forests and fields, pastures and ponds, and were to happen to see a turtle sitting on top of a fence post, you would not automatically be able to discern all the exact details about what you were seeing, but one thing you would know for certain: somebody put that turtle there.

http://truthpressure.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/turtle_post_sitter.jpg

Turtles don’t get on the tops of fence posts by themselves.

I’m thankful to be involved in Christian ministry. I’m thankful to know a few things about the Christian life. I’m thankful to be a Christian. One of the many reasons I’m thankful is that I didn’t get here by myself. Right before I became a Christian, somebody told me how to be saved. And, before that, there was a time when somebody told that person how to be saved. My little fence post is a very small, comparatively insignificant fence post, and I’m certainly not a very important turtle. But I know one thing for sure: I didn’t get up on this fence post all by myself.

The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

John 1:43-44

Philip was from Bethsaida – he knew the area.

When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.

John 6:5-6 (emphasis added)

Jesus wanted to test Philip’s faith. It just so happened that Andrew knew a lad.

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

John 6:8-9

The Disciple Andrew was a very interesting fellow. He didn’t write a book of the Bible, and, as far as we know, he never preached a well-known sermon. But what he excelled at was bringing people to Jesus. He brought his brother, Peter, to Jesus, and now he brings this lad to Jesus. If we are willing, we can all be “Andrews.” We can all bring people to Jesus. But we will have to do what Jesus did, too. We will have to “lift up our eyes” and see the need. Jesus looked on the multitudes and saw the need. The unsaved people you know don’t really need entertainment. They don’t really need more “fun.” They don’t need something to occupy their time. The common pious Christian response at this point is, “Yeah, I know, I know, what they need is to be loved.” And that is true. But, like with most things in our life, the Bible tells us specifically how we are supposed to love them. We love them the way Jesus loved the crowd that was hungry: by giving them food, yes, but even more so by feeding them the Gospel. The people you know need to hear the Truth about Jesus way more than they need to know about the latest metrosexual mormon vampire movie.

Jesus is and was God. He could have fed this crowd of hungry people simply by creating fish and bread out of thin air. But His plan was to use people. And that’s still His plan today. I won’t pretend to understand it. It seems like too important a job to trust to people like you and me. But I’m not God – He knows what’s best – and He’s chosen us to spread the Word – the plan of salvation – to the hungry masses.

What about the little boy that Andrew brought to Jesus? I don’t want to read too much into the account, but, being a typical little boy, it seems probable that his mother, or someone at home who loved him, packed his lunch for him that day. (Little boys rushing out of the house early in the morning, excited about a big day, aren’t exactly known for stopping to think about planning ahead!) If you are a Christian, God has used people in your past – your parents, grandparents, other family members, teachers, coaches, pastors, or church elders – to invest into your life. If you are “prepared” to be used by God – the way this boy was – then you owe a debt of gratitude to those people. Remember, like I said at the beginning of the post, we didn’t get up on our fence posts by ourselves. This lad had two things going for him:
1. He was prepared.
2. He was available.

If people have invested into your life, are you now intentionally making yourself available in places where you can bless others with that investment? Somebody has been used by God to “pack your lunch” for you. Now Jesus wants to use your lunch to feed others. Is your lunch wrapped up somewhere spoiling? Are you going to eat it all yourself? Or are you going to give it to Jesus?

Jesus took the lad’s lunch and He blessed it and broke it. If you give your “lunch” – your self – to Jesus, He may very well decide to break you. We don’t like to think of it that way, but Jesus knows me, and He knows my lunch can’t be used unless it’s broken. Can you convince yourself to rejoice over being broken?

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

II Corinthians 12:9-10 (emphasis added)

Don’t hold back your lunch from God. And don’t try to give Him the “leftovers” from your lunch. God is the only One you can truly trust with your “investment.” He will not waste it.

Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

C.T. Studd

How Tall Was Jesus?

October 21, 2011 at 10:20 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical Teaching, Luke, Q&A | 20 Comments
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When I first became the teacher of an adult Sunday School class my biggest worry was that somebody in class would ask a question for which I didn’t have an answer. So I would tend to “over-study” in preparation for class. Even if we were going to be covering something really simple (Does Jesus say you should love your neighbor?) I would be prepared to do a complete exegesis on the Olivet Discourse and to defend my position on infralapsarianism versus supralapsarianism – just in case. Well, after a few weeks, I stopped worrying about that. I came to realize that I had more pressing concerns than somebody asking a difficult question and putting me on the spot. My bigger concerns had to do with just trying to keep everybody awake for 35 minutes – or trying to make sure the people who preferred the chairs to be arranged in a circle didn’t physically attack the people who preferred to sit classroom-style. Instead of being afraid that someone would ask a difficult question, I actually began to hope that anyone would ask anything – which would at least indicate that someone was listening or had read the lesson. Finally, it happened.

A particular fellow stayed after class one Sunday morning and came up to me as I was shuffling my notes back into my folder. Oh boy, I thought, maybe he wants to know about modalism or the Sabellian controversy! But instead he said in a gruff voice, “Hey you’re one of them Christians – one of them ‘church people.’ How tall do you think Jesus was?”

Of course, I had no idea. And although I don’t think Jesus’s height bears a tremendous significance on the essentials of the Christian faith, I did promise to study the matter and get back to him.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Luke 2:52 (emphasis added)

From the time Jesus was 12 years old He “increased in stature.” Presumably, this means that He “grew up” physically. So, however tall He was at 12, we can assume He got taller as He got older. The last part of that verse, which says “with God and man,” appears to apply to the part about Him growing “in favor,” but I suppose it might also apply to “increased in stature.” If Jesus grew “in stature with other men,” that would not tell us definitively how tall He was, but it would lead us to suppose that He reached an “average” height – similar to other men.

And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

Matthew 27:35 (emphasis added)

The Roman soldiers cast lots (gambled) for Jesus’s clothing after He was stripped and crucified. They did this partly to fulfill Old Testament prophecy, but it is unlikely that the soldiers in their own minds even knew this prophecy, much less that they knew the Divine hand of God was causing them to fulfill it. It is also unlikely that they cast lots hoping to win a valuable souvenir or a Roman Catholic “relic.” More likely, they were hoping to obtain some free clothing. (Clothing was relatively expensive back in those days.) From this, we might infer that Jesus was physically around the same size as the average Roman soldier.

In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.

Matthew 26:55

When Jesus was arrested, He pointed out to His persecutors that He had been among them openly, and the fact that He referred to His teaching as the means by which they might have recognized Him and arrested Him sooner, rather than by His physical appearance, may mean that there was nothing especially noteworthy about the way He looked.

Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

John 8:59

It is possible that when Jesus escaped being stoned in the Temple He supernaturally camouflaged Himself, but it is also possible that, during the confusion, He simply blended in with the crowd and got away, which, if He was of average height and appearance, would not have been terribly difficult to do.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15

If Jesus, during His earthly life, was tempted in all the ways in which we are tempted, might not that have included the temptation that comes with being made fun of for how we look? This does not really tell us anything about His height, but it does tend to support the idea that Jesus was not especially physically attractive. We know from the Gospel records that He was not a wimp, but He was gentle. Great stature (height or size) is usually associated in the Bible – especially in the Old Testament – with sin or great wickedness. (See Genesis 6:4-5; Numbers 13:30-32; I Samuel 17:4.)

These are only clues at best, but it seems that there was nothing glaring or especially attractive about Jesus’s physical appearance.

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:2-3 (emphasis added)

Regardless of whether Jesus was tall or short according to the standards of His day, we know that God looks at men’s hearts more than their outward appearance. Jesus was a giant when it came to righteousness and love. He did not intimidate people with His physical size. He was “tall enough” to bear our sorrows, griefs, and sins and to nail them to His Cross.

While we don’t have a detailed description of the physical appearance of Jesus during His days on earth, we do have something of a description of how He will look when He returns to set things right once and for all:

His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

Revelation 1:14-15

By the way, that explanation did not satisfy my friend who stayed after class to ask me about it, and I suppose he went down the road to another church where the preacher got “a rhema word from God” and told him without a doubt that Jesus was five foot eleven and a half. Oh well, you can’t win ’em all.

Calling Witnesses (Part 3)

April 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Luke, Salvation | 9 Comments
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The witnesses who have testified so far against the unconverted sinner have been:
1. True Christians
2. Praying People
3. Godly Men and Women of the Bible

Now I call:

FOURTH WITNESSES: DEPARTED CHRISTIAN LOVED ONES

These witnesses are called to rebut the claims that are often made by those who are unconverted: “My best witness could not be here. I had a friend or a family member who knew the Lord, and this person would vouch for me and tell you that I’m not so bad as to need a savior. But this person has gone on into the afterlife.”

Therefore, I will call such a person to testify now. This person will not testify in your favor as you suppose. This person wants very badly for you to come to Jesus. Your departed Christian loved ones are in Heaven now, and though they may have shed many tears for your condition while they were alive, they can not cry for you now. Surely they prayed for you often and fervently while they were in this world, but they have other, far more pleasant, occupations now. They are engaged in full-time worship of their Lord – in-person worship – joy unspeakable. It is not completely clear from the Bible if these loved ones will be present when you are called before God on the day of judgment, but, if they are, and if they hear God’s sentence that you are condemned, and if they hear God’s command for you to depart from His presence for all eternity, their response will not be the response they would have had while still living in this earthly realm. No, their response before the judgment throne when you are cast out will be, “Amen, God is good and He has done what is right.” You see, no one, having experienced God’s love, His unveiled presence in Heaven, the full application of His free grace, will take sides against Him. All tongues will confess that He is just. These people pitied you while they viewed you through the lens of God’s common grace, but if you remain unconverted, God will lift the restraining grace which you experienced in your earthly life, and you will be revealed for the monstrous rebel against your Creator that you truly are. As one preacher said, all of creation will stand and applaud that God has rid the earth of such a thing as you.

FIFTH WITNESSES: THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN IN GENERAL

These witnesses are in glory now. One instant after their very first glimpse of the glory of their Lord, they realized how foolish it was for them to have wasted any time whatsoever bickering and squabbling over who may or may not have wronged them while they were here in this world. It no longer matters to them in the least whether someone took something that rightfully belonged to them, or whether someone said something hurtful about them that wasn’t true. Those common worldly occurrences do not hinder their joy one bit. All their tears and regrets have been wiped away. When they appear before God for judgment, His beloved Son steps into their place, and says, “Father, this one has trusted Me – His sin was put to My account, and I have paid it all.”

I know that you would probably like the opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses. “Aren’t you bored there,” you want to ask them, “just worshiping God for all eternity?”

How foolish your question seems to them! Their very first glimpse of God’s glory seemed to last an eternity of eternities and it was all pure bliss. And that first glance was just the start of the start. It only gets better and it never ends. There is no such thing as boredom in Heaven.

SIXTH WITNESSES: UNREDEEMED SINNERS IN HELL

These witnesses are the opposite of the previous witnesses. They have gone to the grave without trusting Jesus. Their pain and torment will make it difficult for them to testify.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

Luke 16:22-24

As an unconverted sinner, their testimony might shock you. Jesus used Gehenna to illustrate something of the nature of hell. Gehenna was the dump outside the city where the fire was not quenched and where the worms that lived on the garbage never died. It is not a place of relief for unconverted sinners – not a place where you will be able to say, “At least I don’t have to listen to preaching there – no more ‘holy rollers’ to invite me to church. No one trying to tell me about Jesus – none of those ‘religious hypocrites’ there.” That is not the testimony of these witnesses.

Instead, their testimony is “Oh! – how I wish I would have believed God’s Word! How I wish now my idiotic pride would not have kept me from admitting I was wrong and God was right! How I wish I hadn’t believed the evolutionists and the agnostics – they supported me and encouraged me when I was alive – but where are they now? Where are the people who told me, ‘Everybody gets to come to God in different ways?’ They told me that it was silly to think that Jesus of Nazareth was the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that nobody would come to God the Father if they didn’t come through Him. Now, I am separated from God, I am in darkness – I am trapped – I will never get out… and I am in torment.”

If you are an unconverted sinner, even those who sided with you to their end are now testifying against you.

SEVENTH WITNESSES: THE ANGELS

Next, I call to the stand the Heavenly host of ministering spirits that we call angels. They are servants of God. They are His messengers and His army. They also minister to living Christians. Now, however, they will testify against the unsaved.

These angels are not the red-faced little babies playing harps that you may have seen in greeting cards or curio cabinets. These creatures move among the spirit world. Whether they are on an errand for God, engaged in battle against Satan and his minions, or protecting one of God’s servants in his ministry at any given time, we do not know. However, we do know that they rejoice in Heaven when a sinner is saved. Their testimony is most likely going to be that there are times when they pass by an unsaved person who suddenly uses God’s name as part of a curse word, or who utters the precious name of Jesus Christ because he is exasperated or frustrated over something. In righteous outrage the angel lifts his fiery sword to take vengeance on behalf of the Almighty, and it is only the loving longsuffering grace of the Almighty that restrains him. These angels have not disobeyed the Lord since the rebellion of Lucifer caused the banishment and condemnation of one-third of their number. They must find it almost unthinkable and immeasurably horrible that you would rebel daily against your Creator, and even more so that you would then reject His Son Who bled and died for your soul!

You have heard the testimony of a number of witnesses. They are all against you, and yet they plead with you to turn to Christ. You might say, “I’m not in any kind of shape to come to Jesus… I don’t dress like a church person, I don’t talk like a church person, I don’t even think like a church person…” My friend, that is irrelevant. The issue is not what you look like – it’s Who you look to. God in His grace and mercy has allowed you to make it this far. Do not turn away from the testimony you have heard with the poison of unforgiven sin still in your system. Look to Jesus today: LOOK AND LIVE.

If you’ve already looked to Christ by faith – if you’ve already trusted and received Him as your Savior – what a world of good it will do you to look again – look often – look every chance you get! There’s nothing more encouraging for a Christian who’s on a long arduous journey home than to look upon the One Who saved him to begin with.

Bold Mouths, Beautiful Feet, and Blindfolded Eyes

April 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Biblical Eyesight, Romans | 16 Comments
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For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:10-11

We do not earn salvation merely by what we say. In fact, we do not earn salvation at all. It is a gift from God. But our mouths are what we are to use to confess the salvation we have received. Have you ever made a public profession of your faith?

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:13

In Joel 2:32 the prophet Joel had prophesied about the time when “whosoever” called on God as Lord would be saved. If you have been in church long enough, you have probably heard a preacher at one time or another exhort people who have not been saved to answer this question for themselves: “Are you a ‘whosoever?'”

The Holy Spirit in Romans 10 went on to use the Scriptures of the prophet Isaiah to explain how God views those who carry the Gospel to all the “whosoevers:”

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Romans 10:15

Beautiful feet are feet that bring the news of salvation. They are feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, but peace between whom? Peace between God and sinners. “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Sinners need to be reconciled to God because, before we were saved, we were at war with God.

In the Apostle Paul’s time this should not have been a new idea to the Israelites. The Holy Spirit cites Deuteronomy 32:21:

But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

Romans 10:19

That “foolish nation” was the gentiles. One of the reasons God sent the message of salvation to the gentiles was because the Jews had rejected it, but another reason was so that gentile Christians could provoke them to jealousy.

Romans Chapter 10 ends with a quote from Isaiah 65:

I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

Isaiah 65: 1-2

Romans Chapter 11 shows that, although the Jews are a gainsaying people, God’s patience has not run out with them. He has a future for them. His hand may have been turned against them, but His heart is not turned against them. God to the nation of Israel: I’m not finished with you yet. God could have called gentiles to be apostles, but he chose Jews. The manner in which the Apostle Paul was saved is a picture of the way that Israel will be converted to a Christian nation and a Christian people:

1. Paul saw Jesus.
2. He repented.
3. He received Him.

Romans 11 is a message to the Jewish believers that they are not alone. They may have been thinking like the prophet Elijah – he thought he was the last faithful man.

God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

Romans 11:2-4

The Bible word for those Jews who are set aside for God – who are still faithful and who still know the truth, even when the vast majority does not – is the “remnant.” The remnant is a special group, but it is still made up of people who are saved the same way anybody is saved: by grace through faith.

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

Romans 11:5-7

“Blinded” in Romans 11:7 is not referring to someone who will never see again. It is the term that we think of as “blindfolded” (temporarily blinded). Historically, the Jews had received great spiritual blessings, but they had often loved the blessings and forgotten the Blesser. Generally, we don’t like to work, but there is pleasure in the fruits of labor. The problem is focusing on the pleasure and thinking we are the producers of that pleasure, instead of remembering where our blessings really come from.


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