Moving toward the Immovable

July 19, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

We use the word “move” not only to describe a physical action involving going from one area to another, but also to describe something that stirs an emotional reaction in us. “That song was beautiful. It really moved me.” Or, “I was moved to tears at the sight of my newborn daughter.” In the Bible, however, the word “moved” is sometimes combined with a negative prefix to describe something which can not be shaken loose, or something that is unassailable or someone that is unchangeable in his convictions or determination. The Kingdom of God is an especially pertinent example.

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Hebrews 12:28

No kingdom will ever supplant or replace the Kingdom of God. He shall reign and rule forever. Those of us who – in Christ alone – are subjects and heirs of this Kingdom have access to the grace of God, and, therefore, the power to likewise be unmovable in our service to God.

However, we must remember that a King Who rules a Kingdom which can not be moved is a mighty and awe-inspiringly powerful King, so our service to Him must never be cavalier or casual. He is worthy to be loved, yes, but He is also infinitely worthy to be reverenced and feared.

For our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:29

Moses moved toward the bush which burned with fire but was NOT consumed. We have the amazing opportunity to move toward the fire which WILL consume all those who would pass it by in indifference or unfaithfulness. Even as we are moved with terror at His blazing majesty, we are invited to move nearer and nearer. This is a King in Whom safety is found not by fleeing away, but by drawing closer and closer in the grace of His Holy Prince, Jesus.

Kingdom Teaching for Children

February 14, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

God’s kingdom will never merge with this world’s kingdom. God’s kingdom is already far greater than any kingdom of this world, and God’s kingdom will one day overcome this world in a very visible way. As Christian parents we want our children to start, from as young an age as possible, thinking more about God’s kingdom than this world’s kingdom.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Deuteronomy 6:7

“In thine house” means during casual times of conversation, including play and relaxation, but also during formal times of family worship. “By the way” means outdoors, but also in social settings and commercial transactions. “When thou liest down” means a review of the day’s activities, events, and lessons, including the expressing of gratitude and confession of sins. “When thou risest up” means prioritizing God (demonstrating our conviction of His supremacy), in addition to consciously consecrating our bodies and that day’s planned activities to Him.

Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

Psalm 78:1-4 (emphasis on Verse 4)

We should glean spiritual truths from redemptive history and use them as teaching tools for our children.

Furthermore, we need to be training our children to grow mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially.

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

Luke 2:52

Notice the order: God and then man. Here are some areas and activities where we can talk to our chldren, and teach them about the importance of that order:

I. Look for examples in nature and daily life

II. Talk about what happened in church
A. Preaching
B. Baptisms
C. Lord’s Supper
D. Singing
E. Offering
F. Prayers
G. Fellowship

III. Rehearse history lessons with them
A. The history recorded in the Bible (redemptive history)
B. Church history
C. Personal history
1. Your ancestors’ personal histories
2. Your own personal history
3. Their personal history

Hearing What the King Says

September 3, 2015 at 11:06 am | Posted in Matthew | 7 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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

Matthew 12:20

The nation of Israel rejected Jesus during His earthly ministry, but, by making themselves His enemies, they were breaking and burning themselves out without realizing it.

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Isaiah 42:1-4

Jesus did not destroy His enemies, the Pharisees, although He had the power to do it easily. He did however, as their true King, address the evil in their hearts.

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

Matthew 12:31

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

Matthew 12:35

Words can be evidence of evil in the heart. In this case, Jesus warned of unregenerate evil. There was an ongoing rejection of Him by the people of Israel in Jesus’s time. First they rejected John the Baptist, which was also a rejection of God the Father, since His prophets were His means of revealing truth under the Old Covenant. Second, their rejection of Jesus was a rejection of God the Son. Third, their rejection of the Holy Spirit would be the rejection of the final witness. Today, life-long rejection of Christ (which is the blasphemy of His Spirit) is the only unpardonable sin.

By the time we get to Matthew Chapter 13 we have seen the King’s arrival announced, His background confirmed, His Kingdom described and explained, and His power displayed.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian
Lift up Your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!

Alfred Ackley, “I Serve a Risen Savior”

Now He began to give some secret information to His closest followers. The words “hear” or “heareth” or “heard” or “hearing” are used 21 or 22 times in Matthew 13, as Jesus taught in parables, giving ordinary examples to help us understand an extraordinary Kingdom.

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Matthew 13:9

Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

Matthew 13:13-16

Jesus compared the Word of God to seed that is sown. He compared the human heart to the soil in which it is sown. He compared the heat of persecution to the light that shines down upon the sprouting seed. Sometimes the seed lands in soil that is too shallow. Other times it lands in soil that is too crowded. Other times it does not even land in the soil – it just falls by the wayside. However, sometimes it does land in good soil.

When Satan can’t steal the seed that lands in good soil, he plants imitations of what the seed will become next to the real plants. This changes the symbolism. Now the field is not a picture of the heart. It is a picture of the world. Satan has false professors (tares), a false church (the mustard seed tree), and false doctrine (leaven). He has fake Christians who believe a fake gospel. He promotes a false righteousness. In the Tribulation he will introduce a false christ.

The Rules of War

June 17, 2015 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Matthew | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In Matthew Chapter 10 we can see the King giving power to His workers.

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Matthew 10:2-4

They are listed in pairs because Jesus sent them out two by two. They would go forth and confront people, some of whom would become upset.

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 10:32-33

Open proclamation of Christ is a key element of being a Christian.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28

The Bible does not teach that God throws believers in hell if they don’t witness often enough, but it does remind us that He is able to throw people into hell, and He will throw unbelievers who have rejected Christ into hell, and, therefore, we should not fear anyone or anything more than we fear Him.

Before salvation we were at war with God. There was enmity between us. We hated Him and He was mad at us. When we surrendered, we switched sides. Now we are still in a war, but we are on the winning side. God can’t lose.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Matthew 10:34-39

In a war, even the winning combatants suffer, but it is a privilege to suffer for the winning side – for Christ. All the troops will be honored, but the wounded or the prisoners will be even more honored. There is no middle ground with God. We’re either on His side or rebelling against Him – fighting for or fighting against.

The Relief of being Blessed

February 4, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Posted in Matthew | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Sermon on the Mount contains the Beatitudes. It is deeply theological, but the deeper you go, the more practical it gets. It is the manifesto of the King. It teaches us to live like kings, not “one day,” but now. “Blessed are” “Ye are the salt of the earth…

The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 4:16-17

Jesus taught that the Kingdom is “at hand.” It is here right now. The Sermon on the Mount teaches us that we are kings, and kings have what serving under them? Servants. Are your servants serving you? Or are you serving your servants? God gave us appetites, but we must rule over them. Hunger, thirst, and physical desire must be made to serve, and not allowed to rule. What about material possessions and money? God made things to use, and people to love. Too many people start loving things, and the result when you love things is that you start to use people.

It is helpful to remember the Beatitudes as the Be-Attitudes. God is interested not only in what you do, but in who you are. “Blessed” is usually translated as “happy,” but the people of Jesus’s time used the concept of beatus to describe a condition like death – an end of problems. It’s an indictment to us that we think of Heaven primarily in terms of what we get, and not the trouble we will be missing out on. “Blessed” is seeing God – even the God of wrath – turn toward you. He pauses, looks at you, and says, “I am well pleased.” That’s “blessed.”

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

Revelation 19:11-12

Oh, Do Remember Me…

January 7, 2010 at 11:03 am | Posted in Biblical Remembering | 10 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

As human beings get older, one of the inevitabilities of life is that the memory starts to fade. However, the Lord God, although He is ageless, infinite, and eternal, without beginning or end, has no trouble remembering.

We would do well to keep this in mind when we pray. There are two people in Scripture who had very little in common aside from the fact that they both called upon the Lord to remember them in their time of trouble. These are: (1) Hannah, the eventual mother of the prophet Samuel; and (2) one of the thieves who was crucified next to Christ Jesus.

This was Hannah’s prayer:

And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

I Samuel 1:11 (emphasis added)

This was the dying thief’s prayer:

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

Luke 23:42 (emphasis added)

Both of these prayers acknowledged the power of God to deliver. They both acknowledged the supplicant’s submission, and God’s deity, calling Him Lord. They both were made in desperate circumstances. Both called upon the Lord to remember. And both prayers were answered.

It is easier for some to remember the Lord in times of great distress, for then they are forced to see Him as their only hope. It is easier for others to remember the Lord when things are going well, and to rely on their own faculties when things turn dire. The former situation is a problem of ingratitude, and the latter is a problem of faithlessness. Thankfully, His remembrance of His children is not as variable as our remembrance of Him. Perhaps the solution is to resolve to emulate Hannah, and repay the Lord’s remembrance of us by dedicating to His service the gifts He gives us, and to imitate the thief on the cross by setting our sights on God’s kingdom, and not our own.

The King Who Will Return

November 6, 2009 at 9:23 am | Posted in parables | 9 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

As Jesus and His followers approached Jerusalem at the time of Passover, rumors began to spread of a rebellion against Rome. People were worked up and excited over the idea that Jesus would establish the throne of David, and rule His people. However, instead of inciting violence, Jesus told a parable.

And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.

Luke 19:11

This parable serves as a warning to the people of God even today. It is a warning to stay busy until the Ruler of the Kingdom returns.

And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

Luke 19:13

What will believers on the Lord Jesus Christ do with the treasure of the Gospel message as we await the return of our King? Will we fail to guard it, and allow it to be taken from us and corrupted? Or will we, in seeking to protect it, hoard it up, and fail to put it to maximum use?

When the ruler in the parable returned to obtain an accounting of the treasure he had given the servants, he found that he could trust and reward those who had worked diligently with what they had been given.

And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

Luke 19:17

Today is the day for believers to get busy, and stay busy, using the great gift of the Gospel message to do the work of our Ruler, anticipating His soon return!

Why Parables?

October 26, 2009 at 11:30 am | Posted in Matthew, parables | 10 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

By reading the true historical and inspired accounts of the life of Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), you will notice how frequently the Lord taught in parables.

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

Matthew 13:10

The word “parable” comes from two ancient words: para, meaning “alongside;” and bole, meaning “to throw.” Literally, a “parable” is two different topics thrown alongside each other so they can be compared or contrasted for the purpose of greater enlightenment. In the 21st Century we are guilty of laziness, and our more common forms of the parable are the simile and the metaphor. We may say, “Kay was as mad as a hornet,” or, “Bob is just a couch potato.” These forms of speech sketch a picture, but they pale in comparison to the richness of Bible parables, which not only sketch the outside of a lesson, but vividly paint it in living words.

Christ’s parables are, in a sense, like the keys to a mansion. Mansions look interesting from the outside, but the keys allow us to go inside, spend time, explore, and closely investigate. Jesus invited those whose spiritual sight and hearing were growing dim and dull to become interested and excited, and to examine the things they knew about the world while those things are “thrown alongside” the principles of the Kingdom of God.


Entries and comments feeds.