Overlooking the Kingdom

January 27, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Luke | Leave a comment
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And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Luke 17:20-21

Jesus answered the Pharisees’ question, but He reserved the details for the Disciples. People were especially expectant for a deliverer around the time of Passover. Moses was the deliverer at the first Passover. John the Baptist showed some promise but he had ultimately not panned out as the deliverer. Jesus seemed like a strong possibility, and He was headed to Jerusalem! The Pharisees had been listening to Jesus for about three years and they wanted to know when the Kingdom of God would appear! How sad that they were so opposed or obtuse concerning Who Jesus was. They were like patrons walking into a serve-yourself buffet restaurant, hungry, but just sitting down and waiting for a waiter to bring food.

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Luke 17:20 (emphasis added)

The Pharisees’ “observation” amounted to hiding and looking, following secretly, and faithless testing. They acted like James Bond, when any run-of-the-mill investigator could have told them Who Jesus was in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Luke 17:21

The Kingdom was “within” their midst, but it did not penetrate the hearts of the Pharisees. The Deliverer was not some obscure person hiding in a monastery somewhere. He was the one Who had been healing blind people, raising the dead, curing lepers, saying, “I’m the One.

Christians should study future prophecy, but do not let the study of prophecy overshadow ACTIVITY. Expect the coming of the Lord Jesus not by waiting and watching idly, but by staying busy until He comes back.

Foresight

January 13, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, Luke | Leave a comment
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And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Luk 17:30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

Luke 17:22-33

It is easy to get caught up in the affairs of everyday life – as in the days of Noah. We pass our time in a series of events, parties, weddings, celebrations, work, school, church activities… which are all good – but which tend to distract us from thinking about the future, when we know a day of judgment is coming. Foresight doesn’t ignore the present, and it doesn’t only look AHEAD to the future. Mainly, it looks UP to the God who will bring to pass His Word in the future.

It is also easy to get caught up in the past – like Lot’s wife. When things are not going all that great you may remember your pre-Christian days in a false light. You may remember them as days of carefree partying when you were not burdened with concern about weighty, eternal matters like the judgment of God – but that is a false memory. Your life wasn’t given to you to keep. It was given to you to be GIVEN BACK to God. The way – the ONLY REAL WAY – to control your life is to keep giving it to God. The second my life displeases God, He is well within His rights to take it from me. Enjoy life now, but live with the future and eternity in mind.

Finality, Forgiveness, Faithfulness, and Forgetfulness

January 2, 2020 at 11:36 am | Posted in Luke | 3 Comments
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And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

Luke 16:20

The account of the rich man and the beggar, Lazarus, is often described as a parable, although it is entirely possible – and even likely, given the details – that it is a true story.

And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

Luke 16:21

These were two very diffent people: one on top of the world, and one at the bottom.

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;

Luke 16:22

Lazarus, upon his death, went to be in the joyful presence of the Lord.

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Luke 16:23

The rich man was not yet in the lake of fire, but was still in a terrible hopeless place reserved for those who die without trusting Christ.

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 16:24

This shows the reality of eternal conscious torment.

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

Luke 16:25

Hell is a place of remembering.

And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Luke 16:26

This is no purgatory. Once a person is sent to hell, there is no escape.

Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Luke 16:27-31

The fact that the physical resurrection from the dead of a fellow human being will not convince those who have rejected the Biblical truth about Jesus would be demonstrated when another Lazaurus was in fact raised from the dead.

Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

John 12:9-11

There seems to be a lot of yelling going on in Luke 17 (vv. 1, 13, 15, 21), but this is the point when Jesus began teaching the Disciples privately, rather than the multitudes openly, and He stressed the importance of communicating His message accurately.

Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Luke 17:1-2

Forgiving those who who have offended us can be difficult, but we need to remember to be like Jesus.

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

Luke 17:3-4

Gullibility is not the goal, but restoration is.

But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Luke 17:7-10

We do not impress God with works. That is one reason that faith is so important in our relationship with God. Even if we did everything “right,” we would still be unprofitable because we would not be adding anything TO God. We would not be making Him better. This does not mean that we should not attempt anything great for God. It means to, by faith, attempt all sorts of great things in the name of God and have faith that He will accomplish them Himself.

And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

Luke 17:11-14

By law the lepers were required to present themselves to the priests. Their acting upon faith is when Jesus chose to heal them.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Luke 17:15-19

Do not forget to be thankful. Do not forget to glorify God.

The Why behind the What and the How

May 2, 2014 at 9:56 am | Posted in Exodus | 2 Comments
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Exodus Chapter 13 gives the ordinances for observing the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread.

That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S.

Exodus 13:12

The firstborn would belong to the Lord – both men and beasts – as a reminder of the stewardship principle of returning to the Lord our first and best, as well as the final judgment/plague that delivered them from Egypt.

And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.

Exodus 13:13

Donkeys were unclean and therefore unacceptable to God. The work of unclean donkeys is unacceptable to God, but it is still owed to God. This is a reminder to us that, as unclean sinners, our work “for God” is unacceptable in the sense of meriting His favor, but it is still owed to Him, and it is our obligation to perform it.

But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Luke 17:7-10

Under the Law, unclean donkeys could be redeemed by a substitute, but unredeemed donkeys had to die. In the same way, apart from a Redeemer to take our place, as unclean, unacceptable, and unredeemed sinners, we would have to “die” spiritually and eternally.

And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:

Exodus 13:14

The looking-forward to a sinless sacrifice should have been a constant thought among all the Jews, so that they should have been able to recognize the Messiah as the fulfillment of these types. The idea was to teach their children not just what to do and how to do it, but what it meant. Parents must teach their children the “whys” of Christianity, and the idea of the faith behind it. They must understand that we do the things we do because we believe the Word of God.

And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt.

Exodus 13:16

Later on the rabbis probably went too far in taking these “phylacteries” literally.

My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

Proverbs 6:20-21

But there are good reasons for keeping God’s laws and commandments always before our eyes, and we may imitate the principle if not the practice. We keep them “upon our hands” in the sense that we need to be open and obvious about our faith. We keep them “between our eyes” in the sense that we stay focused on God’s Word. We keep them “around our necks” in the sense that we remember them to keep us from swiveling our head at every worldly attraction that passes by. Christians aren’t free from service. We are free to serve in truth. The Israelites had served Pharaoh, and they were still serving. Only now, they were serving the right God.


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