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

High and Mighty

January 31, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Isaiah | 13 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6, emphasis added

Here are three points to consider as we rejoice that this Child Who was born and this Son Who was given shall be called the Mighty God:

1. The proclamation of His might

2. The promise of His might

3. The preeminence of His might

His name shall be called The mighty God. Isaiah 9:6 is not saying that one day Jesus will be The mighty God. He has always been The mighty God. Jesus was not a created being. He and the Father and the Holy Ghost have always been one God in three Persons. No one can fully explain this, but it is true. Isaiah 9:6 is saying that He will be called The mighty God.

1. The proclamation of Jesus as The mighty God.

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Titus 2:13

The King James Version is about the only version that has it right: “The mighty God.” At His glorious appearing, His people will see the fulfillment of their Savior Jesus Christ – and THE great God – that they are One.

2. The promise of His might

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Romans 14:11-12

This Child, this Son of the Most High, is The mighty God. His might reaches over everything in this world and beyond. He places His hand on a table of stone and no man can pry it up. He raises His arm – in judgment or in love – and no man can pull it down. He rules and reigns in Heaven and in Earth and in hell. He will do with you as He pleases and one day You will stand before Him in judgment or to give an account. He is, He always has been, He always will be, and HE SHALL BE CALLED: The mighty God.

3. The preeminence of His might

This word “might” in the Hebrew is gibbowr. It has a connotation of reckless bravery – like a hunter or a soldier or a hero who runs into a dangerous situation with no thought for his own safety because he is invincible. It is used in the Bible of a few men, but not in the same way it is used by God to describe His own might.

Alexander the Great is one illustration. Daniel 11:3 describes him as a mighty king, but Jeremiah 9:23 says that the worldly wise should not glory in their wisdom; the worldly rich should not glory in their riches; and the worldly mighty should not glory in their might. Alexander was 33, a young man, when reportedly he wept because he had no worlds left to conquer. Then a tiny virus entered his body – and he died of a fever. The “mightiest” man of all time turned out to be nothing more than animated dust compared to the One who is truly The mighty God.

Do you hold some human being in high regard? Are you trusting your own “might?” Your health, your wealth, your wisdom? Or is your trust in the The mighty God?

He shall be called wonderful – but He shall be called wonderful by the power of His might. He shall be called Counsellor – with a capital C – because His might is such that He needed to take counsel of no man. He shall be called The everlasting Father – because His might will never diminish or be overcome. This is a great comfort to His children and a great dread to His enemies – because there is no changing of the guard. We can depend on His promises. He is mighty enough to carry them out and enforce them. Revelation Chapters 12 and 19 state that He will rule the nations with a rod of iron.

The mighty God is mighty to rule – and mighty to save. If He is your Savior you should find comfort and motivation to serve Him.

The Bridegroom Cleans His Bride’s Wedding Gown

March 22, 2010 at 10:25 am | Posted in Eternity | 16 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The custom of modern weddings is for the bride to wear white. White symbolizes her purity. This is a good and fitting tradition. But it is not always completely accurate. These days few and far between are brides who have kept themselves totally pure up until their wedding day.

The bride of Christ is His church – the body of believers to whom He has granted eternal life. Christ is a pure and holy Bridegroom. He is coming to claim a pure and holy bride.

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Ephesians 5:27

In fact, there will one day be a great feast or “marriage supper” for Christ and His bride.

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

Revelation 19:7

Just as there are few brides who have remained completely pure until their wedding day, there are few (maybe none) Christians who have been completely sinless since the day of their salvation. Yet, we see that Christ’s bride will indeed wear white:

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Revelation 19:8-9

It has not fully been revealed to us exactly how the impure members of Christ’s church will be transformed into His holy, unblemished bride. It may well be that our impurities will be purged away before the judgment seat of Christ. But, it is certain that the fine white linen of righteousness we will wear will be our Lord’s imputed righteousness, and not our own self-generated good works (Titus 3:5).

Eternal life is neither earned, nor kept, nor enhanced by our own power or goodness. The invitation to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is an invitation to come receive a free gift.

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:17

We sometimes use the word “freely” to mean “having the quality of unlimited access.” If someone invites us to freely enjoy the buffet, we go back for seconds and thirds and fourths until we are stuffed. There is a connotation of easy access to God’s great riches in this verse, but the primary import of the Greek word dorean is something that is given without cost, something received even though it is undeserved. God will make His bride pure; that is His gift. He has not left it up to us to purify ourselves or keep ourselves pure in our own power.

In this site’s category called “Eternity” the past several postings have focused on the doctrine of eternal security. Starting with I Corinthians, I have taken at least one verse from every subsequent book of the Bible, except Jude, and shown that, when God grants you eternal life, He makes you His child. You receive a new ontological “heart.” You are a new creation. You are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and God will not take His salvation away. You can not “lose” it, and you can not “reject” it. No man will make God a liar by causing Him to break His promises.

This is not an excuse to presume upon God’s grace and willingly or carelessly practice sin. If you find that you love sin more than Jesus Christ, regardless of what religious experience you may have had, or what you have been told, you need to make sure you have actually trusted in Jesus Christ personally unto salvation, and not merely your own “decision” or a special unscriptural formula.

Here are the previous lessons on eternal security:

Delivery and Birth (I Corinthians)
The Deposit on Your Soul (II Corinthians)
It All Depends on What Your Definition of “OF” Is (Galatians)
All in the Past (Ephesians)
Who “KEEPS” Me Saved? (Philippians)
Perfect Unbreakable Love (Colossians)
Learning to Like Eternal Life (I Thessalonians)
Eternal Destruction (II Thessalonians)
Temporarily Saved Is Not Really Saved at All (I Timothy)
Get Over Yourself, because You Can’t Get Over on God (II Timothy)
Eternally Paid in Full (Philemon)

The Author of the Story that Never Ends (Titus, Hebrews)
Eternal Security Does Not Have an Expiration Date (I Peter)
The Legend of the Unsaved Christian (II Peter)
The Everlasting Anointing (I John)
The Things that Will Last (II John)
Eternal Infamy vs. Eternal Honor (III John)

Where to Find Yourself

September 22, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Posted in Genesis | 7 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Genesis” means “beginning.” The Book of Genesis is the beginning of the Bible, but not the beginning of God. He had no beginning and He will have no end.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

The first verse of the Bible presupposes the prior existence of God. God did not create the heavens and the earth and all the things and living creatures because He was lonely or bored. The triune God is eternally self-sufficient in glory. And He has enjoyed the fellowship of Perfect Father, Perfect Son, and Perfect Holy Spirit throughout all eternity. To be perfect means to be complete, to need or lack nothing.

In Genesis we can see some very basic things about God’s existence, and some of the basics of His plan concerning His creation.

We should not get frustrated that we can not understand more about God. The fullness of His glory is not comprehensible, but the glory of God is not discouraging or “hopelessly confusing.” Actually, it’s hopeFULLY confusing. If we are not motivated to service and worship by God’s glory and utter “otherness,” then there is a serious problem with our doctrine.

God is called by the Hebrew name Elohim 32 times in Genesis before the first appearance of “YHWH” – Jehovah.

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

Genesis 2:4

Jehovah is “the mighty God.” Elohim is plural – God in three Persons. Also, in Hebrew, there is a great reverence of God’s name. The plural form Elohim is used because plural forms are used to give greater emphasis and magnitude to that which is being described. For example, some have argued that we shouldn’t speak of the majesty, beauty, and perfection of God. Rather we should speak of His majesties, beauties, and perfections. The glories of God – all His attributes – are overwhelming and unending.

So, we see that Genesis is a book of basics – a book of fundamentals. When you really want to learn as much as you can about something, you start at the fundamentals. This is true of academic, athletic, and practical endeavors. When I coached tee-ball, we didn’t start off by learning how to turn a double play, or hit the cut-off man. We started by learning what a ball is, what a bat is, and the order in which to run the bases. Sometimes – even in Bible study – you have to start at the basics.

Passages from Genesis are found quoted over 200 times in the New Testament. In Genesis we find the blueprint for God’s whole plan of redemption.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Revelation 21:1, referencing Genesis 1:1

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Revelation 22:2, 14, referencing Genesis 2:8-9, 3:24

In Genesis the tree of life is forbidden and guarded. In Revelation it is open and available.

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Revelation 19:7-9, referencing Genesis 2:24

Genesis has the first marriage. Revelation has the last.

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Revelation 20:10, referencing Genesis 3:1

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelation 21:4, referencing Genesis 2:17

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

Revelation 18:21, referencing Genesis 11:9

In Genesis Babylon is built. In Revelation it is destroyed.

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 11:15, referencing Genesis 3:15

In Genesis the Redeemer is promised. In Revelation the Redeemer reigns.

In Genesis the first Adam disobeyed in a garden. In the Gospels the last Adam accomplished the ultimate obedience in a garden. (Luke 22:41-42)

Genesis tells us a great deal about ourselves. It tells us where we came from, why we are here, and what God expects us to do.

In Genesis we learn about God, ourselves, and our world. When you first meet Christ, you learn about God. Then you learn about yourself. Then you learn about the world.

There is a heresy which says that Biblical Christianity is “all about me.” But there is also a heresy that says, “It’s not about me at all.” No psychologist, self-help program, chemical, or worldly experience will help you “find yourself.” However, if you look, you will find yourself in the Bible.


Entries and comments feeds.