Wed, Aug 31st - 6:55AM
STUDY IN MATTHEW
17: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saing, Himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses (8:17).
This is quoted from Isaiah 53:4. Perhaps "faith healers" use this verse more than any other verse to demonstrate why they do what they do. Their claim is that physical healing is in the Atonement, and that believers therefore ought to be able to physically heal other people. Is this true?
Looking back at all that Isaiah wrote about in the Old Testament, it becomes evident that sanction has not been given to the modern day "healing movement." "Surely He has born our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did not esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our initquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5)." Of what are we healed? This passage clearly and plainly states that we are healed of our transgressions and our iniquities. It is corroborated in the New Testament by Peter who said, "Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed (I Peter 2:24)." Of what are we healed? Of our sins, not of physical diseases and illnesses. The Atonement heals us of our sins and redeems us from bondage to those sins, thereby reuniting us with God.
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we all have turned and gone our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6)." Whose iniquity was laid upon Jesus Christ? Yours and mine. Isaiah was writing about the fact that Christ, the Messiah, would come and resolve the single greatest fundamental problem of mankind: sin. Healing is in the Atonement and a glorified body too, but we do not receive these things yet. There is to be a new earth and a new heaven also, but we have not received either of these things yet. As long as sin and Satan continue to rule our universe, there is no release from physical sickness as an imperative of the Atonement. Why did Paul urge Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach? Why not simply urge him to go and get healing for it from the Atonement? Why didn't Paul go to the Atonement to find relief from his "thorn in the flesh?"
"And should I be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, to keep me from being exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord three times, that it might depart from me. And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (II Corinthians 12:7-9)." It is not always God's will to physically heal. Sometimes it is His will to heal, but why go to a sideshow in order to obtain it from God? Why not go directly to the Great Physician, Jesus Christ? God has already shown that He does not have to physically be right next to you in order to heal you of your afflictions. But, He has demonstrated clearly that you must ask Him from the heart for healing. Without asking through prayer, none of us will ever discover whether healing of our physical illnesses is in God's plan for our lives. See, I believe in the divine healer but not divine healers. Why not be like the leper? "If You will, You can make me clean." In this way God gets the glory, not man.
Today's healer movement normally accepts compensation for what it does. They are more than happy to accept your money. Did Jesus ever accept money for what He did? Did any of the apostles accept, or demand, money for healing people? The answer is no, they did not. Another thing which intrigues me about the modern faith healers is that they never ever simply go to hospitals and just heal people. Why not? Jesus would have. Something then is not right with faith healing for it does not agree with the way Jesus has done things in the past.
Well, I am running out of time this morning beloved. I hope that this posting has allowed you to reconsider whether or not to believe in today's faith healing movement as being of God. We must always keep in mind that Satan is alive and well on planet earth and that he is fully capable of appearing to us as a shining angel of light. Deception is his forte, telling of lies is his inheritance. Until next time, grace and peace be with you all.
Tue, Aug 30th - 10:05PM
II SAMUEL STUDY
27: With the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the froward You will show Yourself unsavoury.
28: And the afflicted people You will save: but Your eyes are upon the haughty, that You may bring them down.
29: For You are my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness (22:27-29).
David continues his song of thanksgiving, offering it up to heaven for God to hear. Here we find elements which ought to be found in our own prayers. God's eyes are continually upon the arrogant people of this world and He does bring them back down despite their best efforts otherwise. Verse 29 expresses the concept which we all need each and every day of our lives, that God is the light which allows us to see where we are going in life and to show us the path upon which we ought to be walking. I believe that David was also acknowledging that Jesus Christ was his "light" and would ultimately lift the darkness from his life.
30: For by You I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.
31: As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all them that trust in Him.
32: For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
33: God is my strength and power: And He makes my way perfect.
34: He makes my feet like hinds' feet: and sets me upon my high places.
35: He teaches my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
36: You have also given me the shield of Your salvation: and Your gentleness has made me great (22:30-36).
David was always a rough and rugged man in his youth, but his love for and association with God caused him to be quieted in spirit as he grew older. It created a graciousness in David. This points out the need for you and I to associate more with God and less with the world.
This entire song opens up the heart, opens up the mind, and opens up the life. It allows the reader to live. People desire to "live" and are searching for the means to do so. Here it is. We surely have a multitude of comforts and gadgets to amuse us. More and more youth grow up in homes of increasing affluence where they have every comfort. Teenagers walk around in school with iPhones, Smartphones, iPads, Blackberries, notebooks, notepads, eBooks, and more, and yet are not actually living. They are merely being distracted, redirected from engaging in personal interaction to participating in what is amusing. Then, when they become young adults many leave all of these creature comforts and choose to live as vagrants because they wish to "live." Things do not enable us to live. But running away, throwing away all of the chains with which God has bound us will not enable us to live either. Only through coming into a right relationship with God do we become enabled to really live.
This twenty second chapter of II Samuel is in all practicality a psalm. It is a psalm that David wrote late in his life, looking back over his entire lifetime. When we go and read the 23rd Psalm we now can understand that it was written by David when he was an elderly man, not when he was a teenager on the run, nor when he was a young king going about fighting the Philistines. David wrote these words when he was much older and could trace the hand of God moving throughout his life of service to Him.
There was nothing that the world could offer of which David had not tasted. He had become a wealthy ruler in Jerusalem, ruling a vast area of land. David still believed God was his shepherd.
37: You have enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.
38: I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.
39: And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet (22:37-39).
David attributes his increased lands, victories, and reputation on the efforts of God. He is acknowleding that his success came through none of his physical efforts upon the battlefield, that it is all because of God shining His favor upon David and Israel. This something which America ought to recognize and correct in this day and age. It ought to be thanking God for all that He has done to increase American's coasts, to increase their status, to increase their impact upon the entire world. Instead, America continues to generally decline because of a failure to maintain moral and ethical integrity. This failure has arisen since the choice was made to kick God out of public schoolrooms. Denial can be made, but facts are facts nonetheless. Since prayer was banned from classrooms, and since God could not be openly spoken of in public schools, American school achievement has declined steadily. My old highschool was number six in the entire state of Massachusetts back in 1972. Twenty years later it had backslidden down into mediocrity from which it still has not recovered, and may never recover from. Standards of conduct, morality, and ethics were all compromised simply for the sake of "building students into well-rounded individuals full of self esteem." Learning and understanding were thrown under the proverbial bus just to achieve self esteem. And what is so sad is that they never did achieve the desired ends through the poorly chosen means. Public education in America continues to flounder without a solid anchor, searching for ever more modern methods of instructing students. Nothing was ever wrong with the older methods found in schools back in the early to late sixties.
Enough of that "rant." Next time I shall try to finish up this chapter of II Samuel. I hope that tomorrow morning I will be able to post something new to the study in Matthew. Hope to see you there!
Fri, Aug 26th - 6:56PM
STUDY IN MATTHEW
11: And I say to you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
12: But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (8:11-12).
The kingdom of heaven is not a place where only redeemed people will dwell. It will be here on earth, ruled over by Jesus Christ Himself. There will be redeemed and unredeemed people living all mixed together. It is why the kingdom is likened to growing wheat and still having tares, or weeds, growing in amongst the wheat plants. All shall be harvested and then the weeds shall be separated from the wheat and thrown into the fire to be consumed. It is pointing into the future when the Great White Throne judgment finally arrives and everyone is finally judged and those who have not repented of their sins shall be sentenced to eternity in the lake of fire. We also see here an aspect of being condemned to the lake of fire: gnashing of teeth and weeping. It signifies the fact that there will not be any sort of instant death with absolutely no suffering involved. The consequences of refusing to believe in the truth are eternal damnation, torment, and suffering in the lake of fire.
13: And Jesus said to the centurion, Go your way; and as you have believed, so be it done to you. And his servant was healed in the very same hour (8:13).
The servant was not in the presence of Christ but that had no effect upon him receiving healing from God. God can heal from anywhere in the universe, no need to be in His immediate presence in heaven. This means that God can reach out and heal you no matter where you might happen to be. The centurion's faith in the authority of Christ achieved the aim of healing his servant. Request granted. First Jesus had touched a leper and healed him and now He heals someone from a long distance away.
Now we come to the third miracle of healing:
14: And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, He saw his wife's mother laid, and sick with a fever.
15: And He touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered to them (8:14-15).
Peter's mother-in-law had been gravely ill with a fever, couldn't even get out of bed. Jesus simply touches her hand and she is healed completely at once. So much the better is she that she begins to serve them. God can instantly heal you of what you are suffering from, it simply takes faith and trust in Him, and for it to be in His plans for you.
So, let's review briefly these three types of illnesses. One disease is leprosy which is quite incurable. Another is palsy, or paralysis. The third is a fever so high that the woman was unable to even sit up in her bed. All were different but still accomplished the same thing in that the people afflicted could not live normal or productive lives. They were incapacitated.
16: When the evening was come, they brought to Him many people that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick (8:16).
"Devils" ought to be translated "demons." There are many demons but only one Devil. Jesus is able to cast out demons who attempt to possess people and make them do things which they do not want to do. They completely disrupt the person's life, causing them to become outcasts in society,living on the fringes like shadow people. Christ did not need to thump people in the forehead, or trace figures in the air with His hands, all that He did was speak. It demonstrates the utter power and authority of Christ's spoken words. It is that power and authority which we need in our lives each day.
We are also informed here that "many" were brought to Him to be healed, not just a handful. Word had to spread all around simply because so many people were either healed of their afflictions or they witnessed firsthand someone else being healed. This is why Jesus was hated by the religious leaders, they could not heal anyone of anything. They could not perform any sort of miracles.
That is all for today. Grace and peace be with all, especially those who reside along the United States eastern seaboard. Act wisely, stay safe.
Wed, Aug 24th - 7:37PM
II SAMUEL STUDY
18: He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were
too strong for me.
19: They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.
20: He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because He
delighted in me.
21: The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness
of my hands has He recompensed me.
22: For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my
Am I being tormented by someone who is much stronger than I? Are there those people who openly hate me? Are they antagonistic towards me on a daily basis? I am not to fear for God will deliver me from their wicked designs upon me. Even if people stand opposed to me and seemingly are fully able to prevent me from serving the Lord, I am not to be afraid nor am I to doubt, for God Himself is with me. I am to remain faithful to Christ for He shall bring me through the trials and tribulations to a safe place, because He does indeed delight in me. According to the amount of my righteousness will God reward me. To the degree that my hands have remained clean will God "pay" me.
The bottom line to being assured that God remains by my side at all times is found in verse 22. As long as I keep the ways of God and do not depart from Christ I shall confidently know that God is my fortress, my mighty tower. In Him I may always seek refuge and never be refused. As long as I am seeking His face and walking after Him in all of my ways then God shall reward me openly exactly as I pray.
23: For all His judgments were before me: and as for His statutes, I did not depart
24: I was also upright before Him, and have kept myself from my iniquity.
25: Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness; according
to my cleanness in His eye sight.
26: With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful, and with the upright man You
will show Yourself upright (22:23-26).
Today we can easily know that we have all of God's statutes and that all of His judgments are before us. We can't claim ignorance. Now it is up to us as believers in Christ to not depart from following them each day. By consistently following God's precepts through surrendering myself over to the Holy Spirit I am able to keep myself from iniquity and present myself to God uprightly.
Because of doing these things, I am then repaid by God according to my righteousness. My righteousness is to be found in Christ Jesus through His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Through the redeeming blood of Christ God sees me to be spiritually clean. I also see in verse 26 that as I am merciful to others so too will God be merciful to me. If I refuse mercy to others, then God shall withhold mercy from me as well. This lesson is driven home forcefully by Christ as He hung upon that wooden cross. "Forgive them Father, for they do not know what they do!" Men acted in ignorance, pride, arrogance, and defensiveness, as they nailed the only begotten Son of God upon that cross. They unknowingly did the will of Satan.
That is all for today my friends. May God's grace and peace be found in your life today.
Tue, Aug 23rd - 6:42PM
II SAMUEL STUDY
Shall resume our study of II Samuel 22?
8: Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because He was angry.
9: There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
10: He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under His feet.
11: And He rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and He was seen upon the wings of the wind.
12: And He made darkness pavilions round about Him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
13: Through the brightness before Him were coals of fire kindled.
14: The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered His voice.
15: And He sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.
16: And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of His nostrils.
17: He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters (22:8-17);
We find in these verses all sorts of metaphors in regards to God when He came down from heaven to help various members of Israel in the past. Thunder and lightnings, hail, and the heavens themselves were employed by God in times past even though David was not the recipient of such aids. David here sets before us the amount of displeasure God felt towards His enemies and the enemies of Israel itself.
We find here reference to Moses' time when the Red Sea was parted so that the children of Israel might pass unimpeded upon dry ground. David speaks of how God has overseen the protection of His people Israel when they have been surrounded by their many enemies. We are to take assurance from these past incidents, they are provided to us as the means to find trust in the Lord. God is our mighty fortress in the evil day, when Satan comes against us in fury and in rage because we refuse to bend to his will. In times past God came down from heaven but hid Himself in clouds of darkness or columns of fire, but all of that changed forever when He came manifested in human flesh as Jesus Christ. Men were able to see, touch, and hear God speaking right before their very eyes. Jesus plans on physically returning just as He left this world of ours. He will be here in bodily form fully prepared and able to rule this world. He will usher in the kingdom of God and enforce His will upon all. His will be done here on earth just as it is done in heaven.
That is all for today, beloved. I shall continue this study tomorrow with the next several verses which shall reveal for us why God will defend us from our enemies, and why He will not. Hope you come on back.
Grace and peace be with you all.
Mon, Aug 22nd - 6:45AM
STUDY IN MATTHEW
5: And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came to Him a centurion, beseeching Him.
6: And saying, Lord, my servant lies at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented (8:5-6).
Jesus has gone to Capernaum where there lives a centurion who has heard about the leper's miraculous healing. This man is a Gentile, a captain of sixty companies of 100 men, in the Roman legion. He has come to make a request of Jesus, to ask Him for help in healing his ill servant whom he obviously respects a great deal.
7: And Jesus said to him, I will come and heal him.
8: The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof: but only speak the word, and my servant shall be healed.
9: For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it.
10: When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, Truly I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel (8:7-10).
This centurion was in a position in which he readily recognized authority. In the Roman legion he was a man who could order any soldier to do something and knew that it would instantly be done. Why? Because he had power, authority. This centurion looked at Jesus and understood that He had the exact same authority over physical illnesses.
Only two recorded instances are found in the Bible where Jesus is said to have marveled, this is one of them. The other was at the unbelief of Israel.
This account highlights for all believers what our recognition ought to be concerning Jesus Christ. We too ought to understand that Jesus has all power and authority at His command. What He orders to be done will be done and it will be done no later than He has intended. God is never late, it is only we who become impatient.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you this day.
Tue, Aug 16th - 7:06PM
STUDY IN MATTHEW
I continue this discussion of how I am to attain the high ethical standard of the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew now presents to us a series of miracles which demonstrate that Jesus Christ has the ability to accomplish this attainment in us. Christ plainly taught us that "...without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5)." I wish that we all could remember that valuable fact. None of us can produce anything which is acceptable to God. Our good works are to arise from out of the Holy Spirit working within us to do the will of God in our lives.
Matthew therefore does not try to give us a biographical record about Jesus, nor does he try to relate this series of events in chronological order. Instead, he is trying to relate to us a movement within the ministry of Christ Jesus. Christ went up onto the mount to vocalize His "manifesto." Then He came down and performed what He had spoken of. These miracles demonstrate that when He comes to rule on earth that He will have the power to enforce the laws of His kingdom here on earth. "Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven."
In these next two chapters Matthew will tell us of twelve miracles. He gives these to us in an organized, logical order. Let me list the six that are found in chapter eight:
1. Healing the leper, Christ touches him. Human disease at its worst.
2. Healing the centurion's servant from a distance---no physical contact necessary.
3. Healing Peter's wife's mother, Christ touches her.
4. Casting out demons, Christ moves into the supernatural realm of spiritual beings.
5. Stilling the winds and the sea is in the realm of nature and demonstrates His power over natural forces of all kinds.
6. Casting out demons from the two Gergesenes---a very difficult case in the realm of the spiritual world.
1: When He was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.
2: And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if You will, You can make me clean (8:1-2).
All sorts of people followed after Jesus, it was a significant crowd. All of them wished to be shown how to live this great new ethic spoken of up on the mountain. The first person to request something from Him turned out to be a leper. Leprosy, symbolic of sin in the Bible, was considered back then to be incurable; it was the most loathesome disease. It separated the suffer of it from all other human contact. This leprous man did not come and reach out to touch Jesus, he knew what the cultural taboos were in his day. Instead he came and voiced his new found faith: If You, God, want to, You can make me free of this leprosy. He recognized the deity and lordship of Christ Jesus. The leper points out that it must be God's will and not his own personal will, he clearly comprehends the difference and the importance in this particular matter.
How different is the attitude of the vast majority of people today who request things of Christ. They make demands on God, they presume to think that they can force God to do their will. Instead, we ought to be asking God to do these things, if they are part of His will for our lives. God's will be done and not our will.
3: And Jesus put forth His hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed (8:3).
If you or I had touched that leper we might very well have contracted the disease ourselves. But Jesus cured him with His touch. This man was not only suffering from the devastating effects of leprosy but also from immense psychological trauma that comes along with the disease. One day he was probably a productive member of society, socializing with people as he went about his daily activities. The next day he probably noticed a lesion on his hand or foot and eventually went to his priest for spiritual cleansing and was isolated for two weeks. At the end of this period of time the lesions had begun to spread and he was declared to be suffering from leprosy. There would have been no goodbyes to his wife or children. No goodbye hugs and kisses. He was most likely informed of the requirement to cry out, "Unclean, unclean!" whenever anyone came too close to him in the streets. He watched his children grow up into adulthood from a safe distance, not allowed to participate. They might leave food for him at certain places so that he would not starve to death. But there was absolutely no physical touching in his life anymore. Isolation was his life now. Until Jesus came into his life. And Jesus touched him as no one else could. This man was not only cleansed of leprosy, he was reinstated into the family of mankind with its privilege of physical touching between members.
4: And Jesus said to him, See you tell no man; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them (8:4).
In Mark's record of these events we find that this man was so full of joy, can you blame him, that he went out and told everybody that he ran into. Consequently, the crowds of people increased even more in size and forced Christ to remove Himself from the city and remain out in the desert regions.
Next time I will cover the centurion's miracle and what it reveals about God's power. May grace and peace be with you all!
Mon, Aug 15th - 9:52PM
STUDY IN MATTHEW
The carry over question from my last blog post was "How is man to live?" Quite obviously, man can't live by his own efforts because he just can't make it. If man wishes to live beyond the effective control of any law/s, then he must turn to Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, self-control: against such there is no law." No law can produce all of these things. It is not naturally in us to have real concern for others and a real love for God. We think automatically for ourselves, what is best for us. Ever here of the song titled, "Doing What Comes Naturally?" Well, when mankind does what comes naturally he ends up with the kind of civilization we find ourselves living in today. It is as lawless and violent as can be. Up to 27 million people live in slavery today, that is more than at any other time in history! So much for being "enlightened." So much for the value of being educated. So much for the value of throwing off the yoke of belief in God. How can America survive what it is faced with today? It can't, not apart from a restoration of control upon the carnal nature of man.
Can normal, unbelieving people produce these wonderful fruits of love, gentleness, meekness, etc.? Perhaps for short periods of time they can, but there will not be any sustained, long-term, continuous production of these valuable characteristics. I can't produce them under my own power and efforts. I have tried. I can be gentle for long stretches, but then I get angry and gentleness seems to evaporate, to get placed high up on a shelf far from reach. Communism is man's effort to create Utopia here on earth. They wish the workers to inherit the earth. Well, they have been failing miserably for decades because they continuously forget about the carnal nature of mankind. The meek shall inherit the earth, not the Communists, and not the workers of the world. Ask the Muslims if they feel that they are inheriting the world. Only if they are meek. Or the Socialists of the world. Or the terrorists. Or any of the dictators. None of them shall inherit the world, unless they can become meek. The meek shall inherit the earth but not until Christ returns, not until the King of kings comes to assume the throne in Jerusalem. He who was so meek when He came the first time, He shall come in great power and glory to put down all unrighteousness here on earth. When He establishes His kingdom here on earth the Sermon on the Mount will become the law of the kingdom. But how are we to live today while we wait upon His return? We are to live by the power of the Holy Spirit; He is the One who produces these wonderful fruits in our lives. Do you desire to have peace in your heart? God's Holy Spirit can give that to you. How about peace with God? Or joy, do you wish to experience real joy of the Lord? Or meekness? Or humbleness? Longsuffering? I can't be any of these things on my own, but with the help and power of God's Spirit dwelling within me I can obtain all of them. They can all become characteristic of my life, become part of my daily conduct.
My friends, this is a new way of living that most of us have never even imagined could be real! It is not living by the Mosaic Law, it is not the Sermon on the Mount, it is not a bunch of do's and don'ts, it is living by grace and it is new! God has given us grace and now we are to walk through this world in meekness, lowliness of mind and heart, by the awesome power of the Spirit of God.
Today, you and I are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, which will enable us to live for God. The Spirit will produce fruit in our lives and enable us to serve God. This is the plane of existence to which we have been called. We have been called out of the world's system and separated to the service of God. We have been made His ambassadors to all unbelievers. We are to preach the salvation of Christ Jesus as prophesied in the Scriptures. We are to also preach of His return to establish His kingdom of heaven here on earth. It will not make us popular, loved, or wealthy, within the world's system.
We must be ready to come on down from the mount where Jesus spoke the ethic, and see that He has the power to enforce this law when He comes again to rule upon this earth. We must become duplicates of the early disciples and apostles: teach and preach exactly what the Bible says and nothing more, or less. Add nothing and remove nothing. Pray for the Holy Spirit to use your words to reach peoples' hearts when you teach or preach God's Word. Ask for these things with all of your heart, fervently and earnestly seeking the face of God. We must find what is truly important to us, what is it that we are here for. Am I an ambassador for Christ, or am I here simply to have as much fun as I can possibly have? Which will it be?
That is all for tonight. Next time I shall finally begin chapter eight of Matthew in which we find that Jesus demonstrates that He has the "dynamic" to enforce the ethic of the Sermon on the Mount. It ought to be interesting to study. See you then! Grace and peace be yours.
Fri, Aug 12th - 8:51PM
II SAMUEL STUDY
In chapter 22 we find the song David sings after God delivered him from his enemies. It is the same as Psalm 18.
1: And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul (22:1).
Towards the end of his life David composed this song glorifying God's hand moving throughout his life. Perhaps he also composed Psalm 23 around the same time for he could definitely say with confidence that God was his Shepherd. David had reached a point in his life where he would have agreed with Paul's words found in Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ."
2: And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
3: The God of my rock; in Him will I trust: He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; You save me from violence (22:2-3).
A rock is a place upon which to stop and rest, to catch one's breath. Christ Jesus is the rock of our salvation; He is the foundation upon which to build our whole lives. We are to rest upon Christ, give Him our burdens to carry for us. Christ is our fortress. That means that He is our protection in this life, and beyond. He is our deliverer. He delivers us from sin, from temptation, and from danger. Christ is the God of our rock. He is not only our rock, but He is the God of our rock. Christ is our faith and the object of our faith. Who am I to trust? Christ Jesus, who is my shield when Satan attacks me. Christ is whom I rest in for my salvation and none other. He is my "high tower," for I can see many more things when I rest in Him. It means that He gives me vision to be an effective watchman. He is my refuge in times of danger, when violence is threatened against me.
We live in a world of great uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and danger. Our world is literally changing before our eyes. Western civilizations are teetering upon the edge of financial ruin because of massive debt and speculation on the open stock markets. Commodity prices react to almost anything, driving prices up and down in wide swings. Fear rules the stock and futures markets of the world.
But in conjunction with these forces let loose in our world we also discover that we have a lack of genius in most areas of human endeavor. There are no great writers, no great scientists, no great innovators who will radically change the face of society. There is generally a lack of vision for everything is dependent upon computers. Fewer and fewer programs are broadcast live, preference given to previously taping shows in order to edit out anything considered controversial or unacceptable in the new "politically correct" jargon. Fewer and fewer original movies, television programs, novels, or screenplays. Monotony is setting in. God has been left out, and now creativity is stagnating in humanity. In contrast to this picture we have here David who recognized God in all of the experiences of his life and expressed them in poetic gratitude.
4: I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
5: When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;
6: The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;
7: In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and He did hear my voice out of His temple, and my cry did enter into His ears (22:4-7).
We find a means to connect with God containded within these verses. If I call upon God He will hear me if I have forgiven those who have offended me, abused me, abandoned me, humilated me. In my forgiveness of others I shall find forgiveness for myself and salvation. If I find myself surrounded by those who oppose me, pressed by those who attack me, I simply need to cry out to Christ Jesus and ask Him to help me. He will hear my cry and respond.
These words of David show me how I need to approach God, how I need to call out to Him from the bottom of my heart and express my desire for His help in my times of need. These verses dovetail directly into my study on the necessity of prayer in my blog "Koinonia." David prayed to God earnestly, fervently, persistently, and received specific answers to his prayers. I can hope that I too will be able to pray in such fashion, to gain the ear of God in heaven so that my heart's desires may be fulfilled according to God's will.
May the grace and peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, be with you all.
Fri, Aug 12th - 7:05AM
STUDY IN MATTHEW
As we have found out, we can have a religion that requires the washing of hands and body, and we can go through any kinds of convoluted rituals and liturgies, but the heart is where the issue lies. Mankind has a severe case of heart trouble and "jogging" won't help alleviate it. Mankind needs Christ Jesus for He alone can change the condition of the heart through the miracle known as regeneration. It is what He told Nicodemas of the Pharisees one night, that he must be born again.
Beloved, you and I must be regenerated for we have this old, carnal, nature. Our hearts devise all sorts of wicked and evil things that are self-serving, that stroke our egos at the expense of other people. Our hearts must be born again, regenerated through the sacrifice made by Christ Jesus.
Read what the apostle Paul wrote about this: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleannes, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like...(Galatians 5:19-21)." To be certain that we all understand what is being spoken about here, let's define these words. Adultery: voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than their spouse. Fornication: consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other, to have sex with prostitutes. Lasciviousness: being wanton, lewd, lustful; unusual or intense sexual desire, an intense longing or craving, to have an intense need for sex. Variance: inconstant, dissimilar in nature or form, differing from. Emulations: to strive to equal or excel, to imitate by means of an emulator, to equal or approach equality with. Seditions: incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority.
Now we can know exactly what the works of our flesh are. Without Christ we are left to the whims of our sin nature and will surrender to having sex with others before we become married, to having sex after marriage with someone other than our spouse, to attempting to satisfy an intense need for sex. We will become dissimilar in nature to God and will be unable to maintain a constancy about what we are. We will continually seek to become like God, or to exceed God, even though we deny He exists. We will end up openly resisting God and His chosen people by inciting others to not believe in the Bible or God Himself. In essence we will have joined the cause for insurrection or open rebellion against God and His kingdom. This does not paint a pretty picture of mankind. But it is a very, very, accurate picture of who we are. Small wonder that so many people refuse to accept it as a reflection of who they truly are without Christ in their hearts.
So today we live in a world of situation ethics. This is a day of gross immorality, lewdness, lasciviousness, adultery, and sedition. In order for their personal ship to sail ever faster, people have opted to throw overboard the so-called Judeo-Christian ethic simply because they feel that it has been holding them back, weighing them down. Today the prevailing belief is this: If it makes you feel good then it is right. This is an invitation to do anything that you please, even murder. It condones everything and condemns nothing. It is a capitulation to sin due to weakness of character.
God gave us the Ten Commandments to control our old nature. But this did not work for the nation to whom God gave them departed from following Him in all of their ways. Man was not able to measure up to the Law and this is something which the apostle Paul states repeatedly in his letters.
So how is man to live? We will review that next time my friends. I have run out of time this morning, but I will finish this up tomorrow. May grace and peace be a constant in your life!
Mon, Aug 8th - 6:15PM
II SAMUEL STUDY
8: But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:
9: And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.
10: And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.
11: And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.
12: And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:
13: And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged.
14: And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was entreated for the land (21:8-14).
King David does what is necessary to give closure for the Gibeonites. He also gives the widows and bereaved mothers of Saul's household some honor and comfort by having all of these dead men's bones buried in the tomb of Kish, Saul's father. It was giving homage to the family of Kish, a man of mighty deeds, and hopefully putting to rest this most distasteful episode in the history of the nation.
15: Moreover the Philistines were at war with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint.
16: And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David.
17: But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succored him, and struck the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David swore unto him, saying, You shall not go out with us anymore into battle, that you quench not the light of Israel (21:15-17).
David was a great leader, a brave man, and his loyal men know that there is also no one to take his place if he were to die in battle. David is much older than when he went out to lead battles before. He does not have the stamina and endurance that he once had as a younger man. So the leaders of Israel's army frankly tell their king that he must not jeopardize the throne by going out into the actual battles, he must allow them to prosecute the war.
18: And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant.
19: And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.
20: And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.
21: And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimeah the brother of David slew him.
22: These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants (21:18-22).
So we see that there must have been a span of time where an uneasy ceasefire was in place and then war erupted once again. The Philistines were being led by the relatives of the giant Goliath, who was slain by David so many years earlier. Goliath had had four sons who desired revenge upon the man who had slain their father. Luckily for David, Abishai came to his rescue in the nick of time. As we see here, David's soldiers killed five giants. One of them was the brother of Goliath.
This must have been an epic war for there were four separate battles that happened one after the other. There is an interesting study for some to make concerning the giants of Gath, but I shall not diverge onto that path at this time. All that I will say is that they all were taller than normal humans, stronger than normal humans, and all had six fingers and toes. Something was going on in their genetics!
Got any "giants" in your life today? Are there people who seem bigger than life to you? Do you feel as if there is nothing which you can muster up against them, that they just are a force of nature, no one can withstand them? Or, is there someone in your life who strikes fear into your heart, who mocks God and challenges you to dare defend your faith face to face with them? If so, take heart from David and his men. Get God firmly on your side and allow God to work through you to gain the victory over the "giant" in your life.
That brings us to the end of David's career as a warrior-king. God delivered David from all of his enemies. This last chapter showed us that God will be right at our sides through the heaviest battles in our lives and will enable us to be victorious, even when it appears that we are reaching the limits of our strength and endurance.
Grace and peace be with you all.
Sun, Aug 7th - 9:16PM
STUDY IN MATTHEW
24: Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock (7:24-25).
I Corinthians 3:11 partners with these two verses and gives the believer the proper foundation upon which to believe. When I rest upon Christ Jesus I can then build my life upon that solid, unchanging, foundation. The Holy Spirit can assist me in building a life which God likens to gold, silver, and precious stones. Building our lives around Jesus Christ allows us to stand amidst the storms of life which will come and seek to sweep us away. Jesus Christ must be our spiritual anchor so that we are able to withstand the storm, to become victorious against Satan’s attacks.
26: And every one that hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, shall be likened to a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (7:26-27).
What does the sand represent, if the rock represents Jesus Christ? The sand is human goodness and human efforts. It is the reliance upon the weakness of our flesh. It is the reliance upon the heart of man, and the heart is desperately wicked and no man can know the depths of it. I must therefore depend upon something much better than my own flesh’s imaginations.
28: And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine:
29: For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes (7:28-29).
The people listening to Jesus teach, and preach, did not understand that He was God. They couldn’t comprehend how He could teach with such authority. It was a new experience for them all. Jesus was not simply parroting things that He had read, He was explaining them to the people.
Today, you and I must realize that we do not have anything of importance to say, nothing worthwhile to say, unless it is with the authority of the Word of God and we believe it is the Word of God. Without conviction our words carry no weight, they carry no power to move people. We have a gospel to give, a message of salvation. We know that it works for it has already worked in our case. We have seen it work in our life and in the lives of others who have come to know Christ Jesus.
This Sermon on the Mount is a glorious passage of Scripture. It ought not to be passed over or bypassed. Reading it correctly will bring a person directly to Jesus Christ and to none other. Yes, it will show you how you fail to measure up to its precepts, how you are weak and guilty, and make you cry out for mercy. But it will also bring to the Person of Jesus Christ as your Savior. Accepting His free gift of salvation means that He gives you His Holy Spirit who will enable you to live up to this high standard of living.
So, let me summarize the Sermon on the Mount. Taking a step back to gain some perspective, we look at the Bible as a whole, and see that God has given three great systems by which He is to govern and rule mankind.
First, there is the Mosaic system, the Law. Genesis 7 contains the record that God had to destroy the entire human race except for one man and his family because of the continual wickedness of humanity. Humanity had departed from serving God, and He had to judge it. So from this one surviving family God began a movement towards drawing out from the population a man who would become the father of a people who would be witness for Him. God was going to give them a land, He was going to make them a great nation, and He was going to make them a blessing to the entire world. God, through this people, was to reach the whole world of mankind. God gave them through Moses the Law, and it was a great sacrificial system. The Book of Exodus give us the details of this system and reveals that the very heart of it was the burnt altar where sacrifices were offered up. That entire sacrificial system and the altar speaks of the cross of Jesus Christ, and God never forgave a sin without a blood sacrifice for the Law never saved a person: it revealed to people they were sinners. Thus the Mosaic system became a system of condemnation and not one for salvation. Throughout the Old Testament the burnt offerings pointed constantly to the coming of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus came and offered Himself as the King in order to fulfill all of the prophecies concerning salvation. But His chosen people in general rejected Him.
The Gospel of Matthew presents Jesus as King. Everything which we read in this Gospel ought to be considered in light of this. He was born a king, He lived a king, He died a king, and He comes again to this earth to rule as a King.
One of the things that Jesus did while here on earth was to present a law that was different from the Mosaic Law. It was this Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7 with portions found in the other gospels. It elevates the Law to the “nth” degree. We can’t live our lives according to the Sermon on the Mount. With the Holy Spirit’s help we are able to attain some measure of meeting its requirements. But with the knowledge that our bodies remain plagued with sin-corrupted flesh and that our sin nature continually wages war against our new spiritual nature, we ought to understand that achieving the standard of the Sermon on the Mount, and the Law, will be impossible before Christ returns to rule during the Millennium. Once the kingdom of heaven arrives here on earth and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, then people shall be able to live according to the Law and the Sermon on the Mount.
See, after you have been born again, God has a new way for you to live, and that way is not the Mosaic Law, not the Ten Commandments. It is not possible to keep all of the commandments for we are not perfect, yet. So the Law is not a way of life; it is not the Christian way of life. This does not mean that we are free to break it. It means that we have a new way of life which is even higher than the Law of the Old Testament. But this new way of life is not the Sermon on the Mount either because none of us can achieve it at this time.
Attempting to live our lives according to the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount merely provides us with a nice veneer of religion without changing anything about ourselves on the inside. The heart must be changed.
As a result of this approach to religion, liberalism is not only something which infects politics, but it is found in theology as well. Today we find ever increasing numbers of people who talk about God being the father of all mankind. That is inaccurate theology beloved. John 8:44 must not be forgotten, there are people whose father is Satan and not God. Universal fatherhood did not apply during the time of Jesus and it still does not apply today. Since WWII America has tried to deal with the world in a spirit of brotherly love. As a result, we are hated by many of the nations of our world and are envied by probably the rest of them. We spend literally billions of dollars to purchase peace (foreign aid) and yet we still do not have any peace in the world today. Why? Because people’s hearts have not been changed by the grace of God. Politicians have tried to put the principles of the Sermon to work, and have failed miserably. Not because the principles are false. Failure comes from dealing with hearts which remain unchanged.
The Ten Commandments reveal to us the mind of God, His will. So does the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus told us what the problem in the world is, “But those things which come out of the mouth come out from the heart; and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man (Matthew 15:18-20).” This has always been the bottom line concerning mankind: the condition of it’s heart.
That is all for now. Next time I will try to finish up this summary about the Sermon on the Mount and begin chapter eight of Matthew. Hope you come on back! Grace and peace be with you.
Thu, Aug 4th - 8:50PM
STUDY IN MATTHEW
15: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's cothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16: You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles (7:15-16)?
Israel was warned against false prophets, and the church of Christ is warned against false prophets, teachers, leaders, for they all come camoflaged. They look good on the outside but in their hearts resides their true intent. II Peter 2:1 warns us about what they shall try to teach to the saints. We are not to leap to encouraging new people to become leaders or teachers until we can determine the extent of their maturity in Christ. Are they being truthful with us, or are they trying to con us into believing that they are saved when, in fact, they do not believe at all in what we do.
17: Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.
18: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19: Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20: Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.
21: Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven (7:17-21).
Christ illustrated saved people versus unsaved people as fruit trees. Good fruit trees represented righteous, saved, people. Those trees which do not produce good fruit shall be cut down and thrown into the fire to be burned up. The plain teaching of these verses is that people who are spiritually corrupt can't create good fruit, it will always turn out to be bad. These are people who try, and try, and try, but no matter what they do it seems that their lives turn into absolute chaos in the end. If in a relationship they end up losing a love interest. Or they end up in compromising situations which ruin their reputation. Their marriage may unravel completely into an ugly divorce.
I can run around and talk all about living by the Golden Rule, but am I doing the will of God in heaven? If I am doing His will, I'll come to Christ recognizing that I need a Savior. I'll recognize that I must decrease in drawing attention to my efforts and allow the focus to increase upon what Christ is doing through my life of service to Him.
22: Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? and in Your name have cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful works?
23: And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity (7:22-23)!
These two verses apply to those people today who claim to be Christians and yet deny the deity of Jesus Christ. These are the people who believe that Christ is an angel, that He never resurrected to have a glorified body, that salvation means faith plus works, or they believe that salvation is not a requirement. They do all sorts of wonderful charity work but they shall not enter into heaven for they have chosen to not go in through the "narrow gate." They will be the ones left knocking outside the door to the marriage feast and will be told to go away. They are Christians in name only and not in born again salvation.
Faith healers, evangelists, mega-church leaders, and other prominent teachers today must be scrutinized closely before declaring that God obviously is with them in their ministries. Simply using the Bible and the name of Christ is insufficient evidence of being born again. Requiring people to tithe ten percent of their paychecks is not evidence of a church group being born again believers. Outward profession is not the key but the inward relationship to a crucified but living Savior is what is important.
That is all for tonight my friends. Next time we shall read a semi-parable about the two types of foundation for building upon. Hope to find you back at that time! Grace and peace abound in your life!
Thu, Aug 4th - 7:05AM
II SAMUEL STUDY
1: Then there was a famine in the days of David lasting three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites (21:1).
You may have first thought that this famine was part of David's judgment. But it was not. It was a consequence of all of the blood shed by King Saul and his family. Strange that God would bring forth the consequences of that so long after the man's death. Could there be a lesson in this for us today?
2: And the king called the Gibeonites, and said to them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn to them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.)
3: Therefore David said to the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and how shall I make the atonement, that you may bless the inheritance of the Lord?
4: And the Gibeonites said to him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shall you kill any man in Israel. And he said, What you shall ask, that will I do for you.
5: And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel,
6: Let seven men of his sons be delivered to us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord did choose. And the king said, I will give them.
7: But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the Lord's oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul (21:2-7).
To understand this passage we must recall what went on in the days of Joshua when the Gibeonites deceived him and yet he made a treaty with them (Joshua 9). Israel had been told by God not to make a treaty with anyone.
A treaty back in that day was considered inviolate, unbreakable. It was a matter of honor. Today we find that treaties do not hold the same sort of honorable place among mankind. They are made to gain advantage and then may be broken at will by either party. A man's word no longer is his bond in very many places around our world. But when a nation is obeying God, its word is as good as its bond. Joshua made a treaty with the Gibeonites; but Saul came along and chose to break it. David attempted to make amends for Saul's actions, let's see if he was successful.
God did not forget that Saul had broken this treaty with the Gibeonites. Saul did so while being the representative of Israel as its king. The Israelites therefore weren't going to get by with it either. Three years worth of famine struck the entire nation as a result. How may this be applied to us today? Today it can't be said that any nation is a Christian nation or a nation living in obedience to God. But God still deals with nations; He does judge nations. He holds nations responsible no matter what nations they may happen to be. God judged Egypt in the past, Babylon, Assyria, Greece, Rome, England, and God will judge America. I would say that we in America are experiencing the beginning of God's judgment of America.
Since World War II we have sought to be a peacemaking nation and yet continue to live in sin. We also could not stop fighting. It has been almost nonstop with our troops having to fight somewhere in the world. Korea, Vietnam, South America, Europe, Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan. We talk about peace today as never before; yet do we have a clear view of when peace will exist? No. Isaiah 57:21 says that there is no peace for the wicked.
In America today there are no great statesmen. Many in Washington DC believe that they are quite clever, it is not restricted to either political party. It would seem that they all feel that they can solve the problems of our world. None of them are great leaders, such a pity for our nation. Look again to Isaiah 3:12 where the prophet said that the nation would be lead by children and by women who would cause the nation's people to err and destroy the ways of their paths. It means leaders who do not remain faithful to what makes America strong by adhering to God's laws, to defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It means leaders only wish to pander to their own agendas and not seek out and do what is in the best interests of all of the people of the nation. America is lessened by this lack of great leadership, it has become rudderless in the face of turning away from God and is being blown about by the winds of change. Something basic must change.
In Southern California the entire region seemingly has become the center of pornography over the decades. But with the advent of the internet pornography has now exploded all around the world. Child prostitution also is an ever growing problem around the world what with the mobility of travel and transport that now exists. Abortion, drug addiction, X-rated movies, divorce, adultery, premarital sex, and the list goes on and on. All of these things have negatively impacted our nation over the past several decades with people naively believing what we have been told: It is simply a matter of personal choice, it harms no one. Well, it harms all of us for it offends Almighty God. God will judge us all as a nation as well as individuals. America is guilty of lawlessness and gross immorality, and God judges nations for these sorts of sins. Just because that judgment does not appear immediately does not imply that it will never come.
That is all for this morning my friends. Next time I will go over the next few verses which lead up to another war with the Philistines. Until then, grace and peace be with you all.
Tue, Aug 2nd - 6:40AM
STUDY IN MATTHEW
13: Enter in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in through it:
14: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it (7:13-14).
There is no choice being offered between these two ways of approaching life. It is here that we are told that few people will find, and then choose to enter the narrow gate that leads to eternal life. The narrow way isn't dark, uninviting, and threatening while the broad way is light-filled, gay, party-filled, and all enbracing of everyone. What we are seeing revealed for us is a picture of reality. Entering in at the broad gate is like that of a funnel. The outer edge of the funnel is very wide but as you progress down into the funnel it becomes ever smaller and smaller, narrowing down until the only thing facing you is death, destruction, and eternal separation from God. Meanwhile, entering in at the narrow gate means entering the funnel at the opposite end. That is where Jesus Christ meets you, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The longer that you walk with Him, the wider the way becomes as you travel the funnel out towards its outer edges. Recall that in Ezekiel's prophecy (chapter 47) there was a a river flowing out from the throne of God which began as a little stream and widened out until it became a great river. That pictures the life of the child of God; it gets better every day.
Many believe that there are many ways to enter into heaven, but these two verses plainly state that Jesus was teaching only one way into heaven---through Himself. All other avenues of attempted entrance into heaven result in deadends. So we are informed that rather than there being millions upon millions of people getting to heaven there will a much smaller number who actually will find the way through Christ. Jesus is the door, He is the narrow gate into the kingdom of heaven.
That is all for today beloved. I hope that you have a frutiful day of serving God. Until perhaps this evening when I may post in a different study, grace and peace be with you.
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