The Be Quietudes

September 20, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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Talking itself is not a sin. Christianity is a verbal religion, and the Gospel is communicated by words. “Faith cometh by hearing” (Romans 10:17). However, the Bible does emphasize that we should not talk sinfully.

The “Beatitudes” are found in the Sermon on the Mount.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Matthew 5:3-11

The beautides describe the conditions for expeiencing blessedness, and they prescribe what some of the blessings are. Those who are blessed, according to Jesus, experience God’s favor, and are marked by the types of attitudes and actions which are pleasing in God’s sight, and which bring contentment, peace, and happiness to one’s life.

For this lesson I have borrowed the name “beatitude” and applied it to the idea that there are times when it is more blessed to be quiet than to speak up: “The Bequietudes.”

1. Blessed are those who don’t gossip, for they will not make things worse.

Where no wood is, [there] the fire goeth out: so where [there is] no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

Proverbs 26:20

Gossip ends when nobody is willing to repeat it – the way a fire ends when there is no fuel left to burn.

2. Blessed are those who LISTEN, for they will gain understanding.

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

Proverbs 20:12

And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

Matthew 15:10

You can’t listen while you are talking. When people are talking all at once, it causes confusion. You learn more by listening than by talking. God gave you two ears and one mouth – take the hint, and try to listen at least twice as much as you speak.

3. Blessed are those who THINK, for they shall renew their minds.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

The Gospel is intended to engage your intellect as much as your emotions. Christianity is not mysticism. Serious thinking is hindered, not enhanced, by talking.

4. Blessed are those who READ, for they shall gain knowledge.

And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.

Isaiah 29:12

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane [and] vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

II Timothy 2:15-16

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 17:11

It’s difficult to talk while you’re reading (unless you’re reading aloud!) Read the Bible. Read books about the Bible. Read other books, too, but be careful what you read. Don’t read things that do not edify.

5. Blessed are they who CONTEMPLATE, for they shall be prepared.

Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:31-33

Your mind is a temple. A temple is where man meets with God. Serious decisions are made during periods of silent contemplation, not audible conversation.

6. Blessed are they who MEDITATE, for they shall be glad in the Lord.

My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

Pslam 104:34

Meditation is deep thinking; unlike contemplation, though, it is not always thinking about a pending decision. It is where you seriously and silently consider what you have learned about God in His word. Meditation is an acquired taste that tastes better the more seriously you take it.

7. Blessed are they who DON’T BUTT IN, for they shall not look foolish.

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

Proverbs 18:2

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it [is] folly and shame unto him.

Proverbs 18:13

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: [and] he that shutteth his lips [is esteemed] a man of understanding.

Proverbs 17:28

It is important to analyze a situation before getting involved. A person with a reputation for wisdom is more trustworthy than a person with a reputation for being a know-it-all or a busybody. People have less of a tendency to trust someone that is shooting his mouth off all the time.

7. Blessed are they whose words are few, for they shall give a better account.

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 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. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Matthew 12:34-36

One of the best evidences of what is in your heart is what comes out of your mouth, but, just because you are thinking something, you don’t have to say it. There needs to be a probationary holding pen (filter) before the words formed in your mind are deemed fit to come out of your mouth.

ability to not speak

(photo courtesy of: https://www.challies.com/a-la-carte/a-la-carte-august-28-3/)

Christian F.R.I.E.N.D.S.hip (Part 2)

November 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Posted in Biblical friendship, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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The is the second part of a lesson on Christian friendship. In Part 1 I wrote that Christian friends should be:

F.orgiving
R.esponsive
I.insighful

They should also be:

E.arnest

Being earnest means telling the truth – being honest – being real. This can be one of the hardest parts of friendship, because sometimes the truth hurts. “How do I look?” I ask my friend (with ketchup on my face, mustard on my tie, and my pants unzipped). “Oh, you look fine,” he replies (immediately calling into question whether he is really my friend after all). Friends don’t enjoy hurting each other’s feelings, but:

Faithful [are] the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy [are] deceitful.

Proverbs 27:6

A fake friend stabs you in the back; a true friend stabs you in the front. Remember the “F” of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.hip – forgiveness – when you are on the receiving end of “earnest” friendship.

N.ice

This is a funny verse:

He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.

Proverbs 27:14

One of the easiest things to forget about friendship, especially when you have a really, really good friend – someone to whom you can say anything – someone who knows all your secrets – someone with whom you’re comfortable joking around – is to be nice. In other words, it’s easy to become presumptuous. Christian friendship is about serving, not being served. You can joke around and be relaxed, and yet still be polite. The Bible says evil communication corrupts good manners. Don’t make the mistake of being a funny friend who turns into an obnoxious friend. People act like giving compliments and building up other people with words is corny, but don’t you be deceived. People still like and respond to kindness, so be as nice (or nicer) to your friends as you are to strangers.

D.ependable

How do you gain someone’s trust? By being trustworthy. By being loyal. A good friend is there through thick and thin.

Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man [is] a friend to him that giveth gifts.

Proverbs 19:6

Plenty of people will want to be your friend when you can do things for them, or give them things.

All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth [them with] words, [yet] they [are] wanting [to him].

Proverbs 19:7

But fake friends hit the road when you are having a hard time.

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

Adversity is when everything is going wrong – when you are not popular – when it’s not considered cool to be around you. That’s when you find out who your real friend is – the one who’s there for you at all times.

S.acrificing

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Proverbs 27:17

How does iron sharpen iron? By scraping against it – by friction. It costs the iron something to sharpen another piece of iron. Sacrifice is when you give up something for your friend, when you do what is hard, or what is costly to yourself, for the sake of your friend. It’s when you give up your own comfort and go the extra mile. The things that are valuable in this world are things that are costly. If you have a friend, ask yourself, “What is this friendship costing me?” If it’s costing you nothing, it may be because you’re not being the best friend you can be.

Ultimately, Jesus is by far the best friend you will ever have.

F.orgiving: Apart from the forgiveness of your sins you could have no part with God, no place in Heaven, no pardon from hell. Jesus arranged your forgiveness on the Cross.

R.esponsive: Jesus left Heaven and came to seek and to save the lost (you and me) in response to our greatest need – salvation – and He still responds to every prayer we pray.

I.nsightful: There is nothing about you that Jesus does not know, so there is nothing about which you cannot talk to Him. And there is nothing you need to know that is not written down in His Bible.

E.arnest: Jesus cannot lie. “Verily verily” was one of His favorite expressions. He said you can believe in Heaven because if it were not so, He would have told you. He tells the truth about Himself and the truth about us.

N.ice: Can you think of anything kinder, more loving, more giving than Jesus coming to our world to lay down His life for us? People can say many things about Jesus, but no one could ever say He wasn’t nice.

D.ependable: He will never leave you nor forsake you. When young people use the expression “BFF” (best friends forever) the “forever” is a youthful exaggeration. But not with Jesus. He keeps His promises completely.

S.acrificing: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:7-8

Be a Friend to Your S.P.O.U.S.E.

September 13, 2013 at 9:58 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Biblical Marriage | 6 Comments
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The very first human friendship in the history of the world also happens to have been the very first marriage.

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Genesis 2:18

We tend to think of “friendship” and “love” as being in two different, although overlapping, spheres, but friendship is one of the most important ingredients in “love.”

Listen to how the wife in Song of Solomon talks about her husband:

My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.

Song of Solomon 5:10

She says, “My husband is awesome – I would not want anybody else.”

His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.

Song of Solomon 5:11

My wife has a slight variation on this when she talks about me: “He is very handsome – his bald spot shines like a diamond.”

His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.

Song of Solomon 5:12

“He doesn’t have beady eyes.” (Always a plus!)

His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

Song of Solomon 5:13

“I like his aftershave and even his breath smells good!”

His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.

Song of Solomon 5:14

“He has strong hands and six-pack abs.”

His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

Song of Solomon 5:15

“He has nice legs and his profile is stunning.”

His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

Song of Solomon 5:16

She is really carried away with this dude’s looks, and she’s telling this to the other women, but she is referring to him as her beloved and her friend.

I have devised an acrostic from the word S.P.O.U.S.E. to remind us of the importance of friendship between husbands and wives.

S.olace

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

Be a friend to your spouse by loving her or him at all times – especially in adversity. That’s what solace is: comfort in times of distress.

P.roximity

Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

Proverbs 27:10

Friendship means staying close by – being there to help when a need arises. The relationship of marriage is less meaningful without the proximity of friendship.

O.penness

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

Proverbs 27:9

Be a friend to your spouse by communicating openly, honestly, and frankly. Your spouse needs to be the friend you confide in – and the one whose confidences you keep.

U.sefulness

Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.

Proverbs 19:6

Friends give each other gifts. It might just be time and attention or it might be material gifts, but being at your spouse’s disposal is the gift of usefulness. There are few things more discouraging than having a useless spouse.

S.upport and S.anctification

He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.

Proverbs 22:11

Kind words are supportive and helpful words are the marks of true friendship, but true love is always love in truth.

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Proverbs 27:17

Friends sometimes fight, but they fight to the glory of God, and they fight with a purpose. They fight in love, and God puts them together to make each other stronger – like iron.

E.ncouragment and E.xhortation

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Proverbs 27:6

A good spouse has to batter the other spouse occasionally (figuratively, not literally!), but then we have a duty to bandage the wound in love.

From What Were You Saved? (C)

August 6, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Posted in Salvation | 11 Comments
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In the first part of this lesson we looked at salvation through:

Christ’s A.gony
and
Christ’s B.ruising

Now we will see:

Christ’s C.onquest

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:6

We must disabuse ourselves of the notion that we deserve sympathy from God – as though Christ had to die for us because we were weak, uneducated, and ignorant, and that if we had just been a tad more obedient, God could have blessed us apart from the Atonement. No, friends, the “ungodly” in that verse are you and me, and it is a reference to our rebellion and the extreme nature of our iniquity.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

These “sinners” in Romans 5:8 are enemies of God – God-hating and God-mocking people. The term “sinners” should conjure up the image of a desperate, wicked gang of vile criminals trying to drag the Prince of Peace down from His throne and put Him to death. That is the category to which we belonged when God through Christ did what He did in Romans 5:9: “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

What we are saved from is not, strictly speaking, a “what” at all. It is a Who. We are saved from God and His wrath. When we hear Jesus on the Cross say, “It is finished,” He is saying that God is not unjust. He did not waffle regarding sin. He did not ignore the dilemma of a just God seeming to declare the wicked to be righteous, nor the just to be condemned (Proverbs 17:15). God Himself poured out the stored-up wrath for all believers’ sins for all time on His Own Son – on Himself – because only He could withstand it and only He would be acceptable to satisfy God’s justice and truth – God’s holiness and God’s love – God’s wrath and God’s forgiveness.

Why did God look away from Jesus on the Cross?

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 5:21

The Father didn’t look away from His Son out of weakness. There is no weakness in Him. He looked away from His Son because the Son had been made sin, and sin is detestable to the truly holy God.

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Ephesians 2:16

Enmity is hatred that includes the cause of hatred. Jesus slew the hatred between God and man that existed because of man’s sin.

The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

Psalm 11:5-6

In the Garden of Gethsemane, before His Crucifixion, Christ prayed about letting the cup pass from Him. That was the cup of God’s wrath, and it was filled with His wrath because of my sins. If you are truly a Christian, God’s wrath may never be poured out on you, because Jesus drank every drop! There is none left for God’s children.

Now I hope you know from what you need to be saved. What a tragic thought that God crushed His Son for you, but you haven’t received Him. What we deserve is the wrath of God, and that wrath would send us to the Lake of Fire to burn in torment for all eternity. My prayer today is that you would see what your sin has cost Him, and that you would cry out to Him to save you. Otherwise, you are rejecting Him, expressing hatred for Him, and making yourself His enemy. It’s one or the other. He made you and He alone has the right to judge you. Will you trust Him right now? This could very well be your last chance. Will you be saved before it’s too late?

From What Were You Saved? (A and B)

July 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Posted in Isaiah, Salvation | 12 Comments
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Lord, thank You for Your great plan of salvation – offered freely to us even though it cost You so much. When we look in Your Word we see that we are so unclean, and we have no excuse – we are undone. All our reasoning, all our speculation, all our schemes and imaginings apart from Your Word must be crucified. Lord, help us to recognize that You are now, have always been, and will always be worthy of all praise, honor, and glory, and to recognize that You alone can save and sanctify. In the holy name of Christ Jesus. Amen.

Have you been “saved?” If your answer is “yes,” and if you understand the term “saved” to be synonymous with “born again” or “regenerated,” then let me ask you this: From what were you saved?

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5 (emphasis added)

The “He” in that verse is Jesus. The “our” is you and me.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:6 (emphasis added)

“The LORD” is God the Father. The “Him” is Jesus. The “us all” is you and me.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 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, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah 53:7-10 (emphasis added)

“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him” means that it pleased God to bruise Jesus. Does that surprise you? Have you heard it before? Is your understanding of salvation limited to a Gospel tract containing the “ABC”s of salvation: “A.dmit (that you are sinner); B.elieve (that Christ died for you); C.onfess (with your mouth the Lord Jesus)?” To help us have a deeper understanding of what it means to be saved – and from what we need to be saved – I want to present to you a different set of “ABC”s.

Christ’s A.gony

Most people have either seen a film called The Passion of the Christ, or have been in a church service where someone has preached about some of the graphic and violent details of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. You have probably heard about the crown of thorns, and the beatings, and the Roman whips, and the spear piercing His side, and the blood pouring down (not the discreet trickle of blood that is depicted in popular Roman Catholic art, but a veritable blood bath). If so, you may have the idea that this type of physical suffering is what Christ endured in our place, and I certainly do not believe we should try to minimize the importance of the physical suffering of Christ on the Cross. But there was much more to it than that.

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:42-44

Before His arrest and subsequent crucifixion, Christ was in agony as He prayed in the Garden of Gesthemane, and it was more than the agony of knowing that He was going to endure a painful physical death. As He sweated out great drops of blood He was thinking about more than Roman whips and punches – about worse than thorns and spears and nails and thirsting and physical torture. As Christ looked forward from the garden to the Cross, He saw the moment when He must say, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me..?” We are talking about the perfect Son of God Who had never for a fraction of a moment been out of the loving graces of His Heavenly Father. He was a Son who had never grieved His Father – had done nothing but bless Him for all eternity. When Jesus accepted the Father’s will, and agreed to drink the cup instead of letting it pass from His lips, He suffered agony that went beyond the physical. If you have been “saved,” it is true that the physical “stripes” on the back of the Lord Jesus were endured in your place, but what you have been “saved” from is so much worse than sickness and physical pains and infirmities and ailments.

Christ’s B.ruising

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him…

Isaiah 53:10

We use the word “bruising” to mean a little discoloration of the skin due to a relatively minor injury. But the word being translated as “bruise” in Isaiah 53:10 means “to crush.” It contains the idea of the way grain was placed into a millstone to be ground into bits – crushed and utterly shattered. How could it please the Lord – God the Father – to bruise – to crush – His Son?

He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

Proverbs 17:15

If you are truly “saved,” then God has justified you, meaning that He has declared you to be righteous, even though, as a sinner, you are truly wicked. How is it that God can declare you righteous without being an abomination unto Himself? And how is it that He allowed Christ Jesus – the only truly “just” human being to ever walk the earth – to be unjustly condemned? The answer lies in understanding exactly what transpired on the Cross of Jesus Christ, which we will look at next time.

I’m Just Sayin’ 9

October 24, 2012 at 9:00 am | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 3 Comments
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Christians are not perfect, but, I’m just sayin’, it’s not always wise to advertise that fact. You know the type of person I’m talking about, right? They really love to publicize their shortcomings (often through social media outlets). “I know it’s wrong for me to hate people who accept welfare when they are really just lazy,” they say (or something similar), “but I always say what’s on my mind, and I just can’t help it! So go ahead and judge me if you think you’re perfect!”

What they’re hoping for here is for someone to dare to point out that Biblically it’s not okay for us Christians to hate people. Then they can throw out the Pharisee card, play the victim, and accuse someone of “judging” them.

Here’s the deal. As a Christian, of course you are “not perfect.” No one thinks you are! But I’m just sayin’, if you feel that gives you carte blanche to show off your sinfulness and demand that others ratify it, then you have a bad case of what the Puritan theologians used to call “false piety.” It’s sort of “reverse legalism.” So, the next time you feel the need to express how woefully short you’re coming in your sanctification, take a hint from the Bible and keep it to yourself.

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

Proverbs 17:28

An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

Proverbs 11:9

Perhaps you grew up feeling judged and mistreated by people with a “holier-than-thou” attitude. If so, forgive them and get over it. The Bible tells us to confess our faults one to another and to bear one another’s burdens, but that is far cry from bragging about our faults under the guise of a challenging demand to “accept me for me.” I’m just sayin’.

Regaining What Was Lost in Marriage

January 9, 2012 at 11:17 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 10 Comments
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Genesis Chapter 2 ends with a very strange cliffhanger:

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:25

In our previous lesson on marriage we saw that there was no shame in Adam and Eve concerning their bodies because they had not yet sinned. This, though, is still begging the question in a sense. If there was no reason for them to be ashamed, why does the Bible make a point of saying that they were not ashamed? The answer is: Because, even if their bodies were “perfect,” being naked is still dangerous unless there is sinlessness. Adam and Eve had the ability to use words. They had the ability to exercise trust. They had desires. We can say these same things about ourselves, but the difference is, for Adam and Eve before the Fall, all of these were based on their relationship to God, and specifically their covenant with God.

The covenant was God saying that He would give them everything good and that He would be with them. They were to enjoy and tend everything that He gave them except for that one tree: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam’s and Eve’s part of the covenant was to leave that tree alone. We know that they did not do that.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:5

This was Satan’s lie, but what made it an effective lie was that there was some partial truth in it. Adam and Eve really would “know” good and evil if they ate from the tree. What Satan intentionally left out was that Adam and Eve weren’t supposed to “know” good and evil. They were only supposed to know good. When they ate, they lost their innocence.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:6

The fruit of the forbidden tree did not make them “wise.” It gave them “knowledge.” Knowledge without wisdom is dangerous. In addition to losing their innocence, they lost their protection from temptation.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:7

They also lost their lack of shame and their freedom.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:8

They lost:

1. Their innocence
2. Their protection from temptation
3. Their lack of shame
4. Their freedom
5. Their minds! (Trying to hide from God?!)

In other words, they lost their covenant.

Nakedness refers to more than just the lack of material covering – the lack of clothes. It refers to the freedom to enjoy your spouse without the danger of what a sinful person can do to you when you trust. Eve now had the ability to use her words to demean. She had proven a desire to be independent from God. She had thought of herself first. When we break covenant with God, we are not trustworthy to be in a covenant with someone else. When we experience a broken covenant we no longer have the assurance that love will cover sin.

This is why agape love in a marriage is the only hope for recovering a semblance of the “naked and unashamed” condition which Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden. That is very important because the “naked and unashamed” condition glorified God.

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

I Peter 4:8 (emphasis added)

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Proverbs 10:12 (emphasis added)

He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

Proverbs 17:9 (emphasis added)

Love is the remedy for shame-producing sin. I will cover my spouse’s sin with my love if I truly love (agape) her. Additionally, though, I must remember that I myself am a fallen sinner.

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Proverbs 28:13

My response to my own sin must be to confess it, forsake it, and ask for mercy.

The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 2)

January 12, 2011 at 11:48 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical friendship, Biblical Violence | 9 Comments
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From Part 1:

Jonathan, Saul’s son, had:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face

One of those facts was realizing he was a soldier, so we began to look at three facts about soldiers.

A. Soldiers are supposed to live a simplistic life.

B. Soldiers are supposed to live a submissive life.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:4, emphasis added

Soldiers have to submit. They have to obey those over them. The very nature of authority in a battle requires both leadership and submission. An army where the soldiers do not submit to their leaders will fall into chaos and defeat.

C. Soldiers are supposed to live a selfless life.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:3-4, emphasis added

Soldiers in a war are not worried about the same things as the civilians back home. Soldiers are concerned with staying alive, keeping each other alive, and winning a battle. But they are not usually in the battle because they have been personally insulted by their enemy. They are fighting for the cause of their country. Most Christians are quick to take up a personal offense, but we need to remember that we are not fighting for our own cause. We are fighting our Commander’s cause. We are fighting for His Kingdom and His glory.

Jonathan had:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
and
III. A Friend Who Followed

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few. And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.

I Samuel 14:6-7

Jonathan’s armor-bearer carried the weapons. If Jonathan needed the sword, the armor-bearer held the spear. If Jonathan needed the spear, the armor-bearer held the sword. Friends are important in the battle of the Christian life. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two.

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Proverbs 27:6

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

Proverbs 27:9

If you start something for the Lord, He will often call someone to get into it with you. Have you prayed for God to bless you, so others could see God’s glory at work in your life? Lord, bless me to be a blessing. Many times God will give through me what He won’t give to me. On the other hand, I also need to be praying for God to bless my friends and let me carry their bags.

People are watching you, whether you know it or not. Someone is being influenced by you. You might be just one person in the world, but you might also be the world to one person.

Jonathan had:
I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend Who Followed
and
IV. The Faith to Finish

You can almost hear Jonathan breathlessly telling his armor-bearer, “Here’s what we’ll do – we’ll come out of hiding and show ourselves, and if they tell us to come up and fight them, then that’ll be the sign God has delivered them into our hands and given us the victory.” So they crawled down through the rocks. “Okay,” whispers Jonathan, “here goes nothing…”

The Philistines were probably drinking, partying, fooling around with slave girls, when suddenly one of them looks up and sees Jonathan and his armor-bearer. “Hey look what we have here,” the Philistines sneer. “It’s two little Hebrew boys! Two little mice come out of their holes. What – did you boys get tired of hiding in your cave?”

And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.

I Samuel 14:12

“We’ll show you a thing or two,” boast the Philistines, smacking their fists into the palms of their hands.

Jonathan and his armor-bearer waded in and they started knocking heads! As we used to say in elementary school, they came to kick butt and take names, and they forgot to bring a pad and a pencil for taking names!

Jonathan whacked them with the sword, and the armor-bearer finished them off with the spear – until, after a fierce melee’ – they looked back over half an acre and saw twenty dead Philistines! Then God really took over and sent an earthquake.

Two young soldiers started with a plan, and they had the faith to finish. Faith is not foolish frolicking, and it’s not reckless abandon. Jonathan had some promises from God’s Word.

How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?

Deuteronomy 32:30

When Samson had picked up a donkey’s jawbone and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, one took out a thousand. Depending on God’s promises despite circumstances – that’s faith!

Jonathan had:
I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend Who Followed
IV. The Faith to Finish
and
V. A Father to Fear

Jonathan feared God more than Saul. But notice his wording:

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

I Samuel 14:6, emphasis added

He could just as easily have said, “God may use us to do His work.” Jonathan didn’t foolishly tempt God. He had a plan – a Godly plan. God can honor our plans – as long as our plans honor Him. God is all-powerful. He is great, but He is also good. His throne is great and white. Remember what happens when someone gets to be powerful. Saul the king became corrupt – just like Samuel warned. He fought battles for his own glory, and not for God’s. He wanted credit for himself, and not for God. He sacrificed and offered offerings that only the priests were allowed to do. And he became corrupt. He ended up turning to witchcraft and committing suicide on the battlefield. Saul was big and good-looking. He looked like what the people thought a king should look like. But – unlike Jonathan – he didn’t have the faith to finish well. Absolute power corrupts absolutely when it comes to men. But not when it comes to God.

Can you imagine an all-powerful supreme being that is inclined to evil or makes compromises with evil men? This world would make Saddam Hussein’s Iraq look like Christmas morning at a rich kid’s house. It would make Nazi Germany look like Disneyland.

Jonathan had reasons to fear the Philistines. They had better weapons. They had more weapons. They had the high ground. They had the numbers.

Jonathan also had reason to fear Saul. He was the king. He had mood swings. He was Jonathan’s father.

But more than fear of the Philistines, and more than fear of his earthly father, Jonathan feared his Heavenly Father. There is safety, peace, protection, comfort, boldness, and victory in the fear of God. God’s power is a great dread to His enemies, but it is a great comfort to His children.

If you are a Christian you have:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend to Follow (or a friend who will follow)
IV. The Faith to Finish
V. A Father to Fear

Get out from under the pomegranate tree. Get in the battle. The Christian life is a battle, and it’s a battle worth fighting.

http://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/14-jonathan-and-armor-bearer.jpg

The Big Cover-Up

January 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Genesis | 5 Comments
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Noah was a preacher of righteousness. In obedience to God, he built the ark that, upon the waters of the world-wide flood, saved the human race from extinction. Noah, however, was human, and, like everyone who has ever walked the face of the earth – except for the Lord Jesus Christ – Noah did commit sins. Genesis Chapter 9 records the shameful account of Noah’s post-flood vineyard, his drunkenness, and his exposed condition in his tent.

Noah’s son, Ham, found him in this condition, and, instead of discreetly covering his father, he went to tell his brothers.

And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.

Genesis 9:22-23

Shem and Japheth did what Ham should have done. In love, they covered their father’s sin. The Bible teaches us that a sinner who covers his own sins shall not prosper (Proverbs 28:13). However, Christians, imitating the love of their Savior, should seek to cover the transgressions of their brothers and sisters, rather than seeking occasions to harvest grist for the rumor mill (Proverbs 17:9).

The Know-It-Alls that Don’t Know Much

September 1, 2009 at 7:22 am | Posted in Biblical Parenting | 15 Comments
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The Book of Proverbs is a good place to find wisdom in all areas of life, including the area of child-rearing. When parents want to know what the Bible says children should grow up to be, they should start by finding out what the Bible says children already are.

Children are simple (Proverbs 7:7), in the sense of being unwise, and – not to put too fine a point on it – simply foolish (Proverbs 8:5). The simple, foolish, and unwise are marked by a list of very fundamental things about which they are ignorant, or, in other words, things about which they do not know.

Children do not know about danger.

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Proverbs 27:12

Children do not know about discernment.

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.

Proverbs 15:17

Children do not know what is truly to be desired.

The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

Proverbs 21:25

Children do not know what is truly to be despised.

A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.

Proverbs 15:5

Children do not know what is truly to be denied.

Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

Proverbs 30:7-9

Children do not know what is truly to be devised.

He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.

Proverbs 24:8

Children do not know what is truly to be destroyed.

For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

Proverbs 1:32

Children do not know what truly brings disgrace.

He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.

Proverbs 19:26

Children do not know what truly brings despair.

A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.

Proverbs 17:25

Children do not know what causes true disrepair.

He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Proverbs 25:28

Children do not know what is truly disgusting.

A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.

Proverbs 13:5

Children do not know what is truly deadly.

Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.

Proverbs 15:10

Children do not know where to find direction.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:6

Children do not know from what to depart.

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

Proverbs 3:7

Foolishness comes naturally to children. It is bound up in their hearts. Parents face a tough task in trying to extricate, from the hearts of the little ones they love so much, ignorance of all these things: danger, discernment, desire, despicability, denial, devices, destruction, disgrace, despair, disrepair, disgust, death, direction, and departing. Thankfully, the Lord has given us clear instruction on one other thing that children do not know, but that will drive the foolishness from their hearts: discipline.

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 22:15

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