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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Education / Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20 Welcome Guest
    Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20
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    Wed, Jan 29th - 5:34PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.  Then one person said to Him, Lord, are there few people that be saved?  And He said to them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say to you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able to.  Once the Master of the house has shut the door, and you begin to stand outside, and knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open up to us; and He shall answer and say to you, I do not know you and where you are.  Then shall you begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Your presence, and You have taught in our streets.  But He shall say, I tell you, I do not know from where you come; depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.  And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.  And, behold, there are those who are last which shall be first, and those who are first which shall be last (13:22-30)."  

     This is the stretch run for Jesus.  From this passage until chapter 17:10 we observe Him steadily traveling, teaching, and healing as He heads towards Jerusalem.  The crowds around Him ask who are the saved, will many be saved?  Christ's answers to their questions become challenges to every reader of the Word, so that each of us will make sure we are saved indeed.

    1.   The saved strive to enter the narrow gate.
    2.   The saved act soon enough: a person can move too late.
    3.   The saved are not necessarily the citizens of so-called Christian nations nor members of certain denominations or even fellowships.
    4.   The saved shall be separated from the lost and the lost shall see them enter God's Kingdom.
    5.   The saved will come from all nations and classes of society.  

       Christ's journey towards Jerusalem began earlier in Luke and this here is the second stage of His journey towards the cross of Calvary.  He did not ever forget His call and mission.  What we know from this passage is that someone asked Him if there were only a few that were saved.  This person was not asking how they might be saved, but if the saved would be many or few.  It was a question of curiosity.  But then, it could have been a legitimate question asking for sincere clarification.  The Jews taught that all would be saved just because they were Jews by physical birth and circumcision.  However, Jesus taught that nationality and ritual had nothing to do with salvation, and He was always stressing that many are called, but few are chosen.  Maybe this person was asking how to reconcile these two teachings.  

       So, many people are curious, but not so curious to really seek after the Lord for personal salvation.  They are ready and willing to discuss religious subjects, but unwilling to deny themselves and to diligently seek after God.

       So, birth and ritual are not enough to save a person, not even if the ritual is circumcision for the Jew or baptism for the Christian.  Baptism no more saves a person born within Christian families than circumcision saved a Jew born within Jewish families.

    1. The saved strive to enter in at the narrow gate.  Three significant facts to recognize here:
     a)   The entrance to salvation is a narrow gate.  This means the way to salvation is very, very, specific.  b)  The way to salvation is also the only way.  There are not all kinds of ways to be  saved,there is only one way.  c)  The way to salvation is strait.  This means that it is restricted on both sides, constrained, or a narrowed way.  It is not crooked in direction, purpose, or  morals.  
    2. A person has to strive to be saved.  The Greek word, agonizesthe, means to agonize, struggle, contend, exert to the fullest, labor fervently.  Whole-hearted dedication and effort are required.   But the idea is not that a person works for salvation, but that he/she diligently seeks God.  The person casts themselves totally upon the belief that God is, that God actually exists.  It is the  spirit, the attitude, the heart that sets itself upon God and refuses to be diverted or to be committed to anything else.  "And I say to you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall  find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.  For every person that asks receives; and they that seek find; and to them that knock it shall be opened (Luke 11:9-10).'  "But without faith it is  impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)."  "And you shall seek Me, and find Me,  when you shall search for Me with all of your heart (Jeremiah 29:13)."  "Seek you the LORD, all you meek of the earth, which have wrought His judgment; seek righteousness, seek  meekness: it may be you shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger (Zephaniah 2:3)."

    3. Many will seek to enter the door of salvation but shall not be able to.  The reason is that one must strive to enter and few are willing to pay that price of self-denial.  It costs them too much to  be asked to give up the world.  "And He said to them all, If any person will come after Me, let him/her deny themselves, and take up their cross daily, and follow Me.  For whosoever will save  their life shall lose it: but whosoever loses their life for My sake, the same shall save it (Luke 9:23-24)."  

     There is seen that the saved act soon enough; a person can move too late though.  The parable given by Christ is simple and clear.  The person who strives now can enter salvation.  The words in verse 24 are in the future tense; that is to say, it is in the future that many will seek to enter in and shall not be able to.  Right now all that strive to enter salvation can be saved.  We see in the parable that the Master shall rise up and shut the door to salvation.  There is a time limit on salvation, it is not to be available forever.  The door of opportunity will not always be open.  This door is shut at each person's death.  No person currently living has had the door shut on them but for some it shall be shut within the next minute, the next hour, or the next day.  It is shut when the Lord returns to the earth and the great day of judgment takes place.  The age of grace and the day of salvation will be closed for the entire world at that time.  Many people shall come and knock at the closed door and beg for it to be opened for them.  They shall be crying for mercy and salvation after it is too late.  Once a person dies it is too late.  Once Christ returns it will be too late.

    That is all for today, beloved.  Next time I shall finish up this passage.  Grace and peace be with you!

    ~Eric


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    Tue, Jan 28th - 8:10PM



    "Then He said, To what is the kingdom of God like?  and to what shall I compare it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a person took, and cast into their garden; and it grew, and became a great tree; and the birds of the air roosted in the branches of it.  And again He said, what shall I compare the kingdom of God to?  It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened (13:18-21)."

       Here we find the kingdom of God being illustrated for us.  In like fashion we too must illustrate the kingdom of God for the unchurched people living all around us.  We must reveal the fact that our God is capable of coming into their life and making the impossible, possible.  Jesus was still within the synagogue teaching.  He chose to stir the thinking of the people still gathered there to be about the kingdom of God by asking two questions.  "What is the kingdom of God like?"  and "To what shall the kingdom be compared?"  Christ proceeds to inform them that the kingdom is like a mustard seed sown in a garden.  It was planted there by God.  The man in the parable is God/Christ.  The term labon means having taken.  It is to deliberately take, to take with purpose and thought.  The "seed" was not planted by chance or mistake; it did not just happen.  God planted and nourished the seed(kingdom) with purpose and thought.  It started as a small seed, for mustard seeds are exceedingly small in size.  He planted it in His garden, which is the entire world, His Creation.  We learn that the mustard seed grew to be great in size.  This illustrated how the kingdom was to grow from a few persons into a huge movement.  Only a few people within that crowd in the synagogue really believed in Jesus.  They were caught between the religious rulers and the Romans with no visible route of escape.  They were trapped.  Now here was Jesus announcing an alternative reality for them, a means of changing their reality.  Most of those still gathered around Jesus did not believe in Him at all; they had begun to oppose Him. But He knew something that they did not know.  God was planting the kingdom on earth through Jesus; therefore the kingdom was destined to grow and succeed.

       We can also see that the mustard bush provided lodging for the birds of the air.  The birds flocking to the great bush is a picture of the peoples and nations of the earth seeking refuge in the kingdom of God.  Now some say that the birds represent those in the world who find their lodging in the kingdom; the church that had so small a start but is now growing into a stately movement all across the globe.  Many in this world, believers and non-believers alike, have found refuge and safety under its branches.  In many ways laws and institutions of mercy, justice, and honor have grown from out of this magnificent movement.  This interpretation leans heavily upon the picture painted for us in the Old Testament.  A great empire is said to be like a tree, and conquered nations are said to be like birds who lodge under its shadow (Ezekiel 17:22-24; 31:6; Daniel 4:14).  And then others say that the birds are the children of the evil one who see the lodging facilities and protective covering of the kingdom and seek lodging within it. 

       There are some facts that show just how small the beginning of the kingdom/Church really was.  1)  It began in the soul of a single person.  Jesus launched the movement all by Himself.  The idea, the dream, was in no one else's mind but His.  He moved out alone, in God's strength and blessing.  2)  It was born in the sould of a carpenter from an obscure village, Nazareth, and from an obscure and despised nation, Israel.  3)  It was carried forth by men with no position and no prestige.  There were no mighty, no noble, no famous persons among its early followers.  They were simply common folk, some from honorable professions such as the fishing industry, and some from despised professions such as tax collecting.  4)  It grew from just a few persons who had very little faith.  5)  It was formed as a church and numbered only one hundred and twenty in the very beginning.

       Next we are given the illustration of leaven.  The kingdom of God is likened to leaven working in bread dough.  So following the logical progression of the concept of leaven, the meal is the world and the leaven is the kingdom.  The leaven continues working within the bread dough until all of it is changed.  This is true of the kingdom as it will continue working within the world until the entire world is changed.  It is clearly seen that the kingdom is taken and placed into the world.  The kingdom and the gospel of God are not by chance, each was done with purpose and thought.  The purpose of the kingdom is to leaven, or change, the whole of an individual and of society itself. It seeks to change individuals by penetrating them with the gospel until the whole being is transformed into something new.  It seeks to change society as a whole, to penetrate society with the gospel until the whole of society is transformed into something new.  The kingdom has a changing, transforming, fulfilling, and satisfying power beyond the ability of mankind to produce.  It is important to recognize that the kingdom works until the whole world is transformed.

       Leaven changes and transforms bread from something that is hard, dry, not very palatable, into something very different.  Leaven makes bread soft, no longer hard.  The leaven of the gospel does the exact same thing: it penetrates the heart of individuals and softens the hardness of the heart.  Thus the person so affected becomes much softer toward the Lord and toward the needs of others.  That person becomes a more caring and giving person.

       Leaven makes bread porous and moist, no longer dry.  The leaven of the gospel does the same: it penetrates the dryness of a person's heart and life.  Thus the gospel penetrates, creates pores in the that person's life, and moistens the heart so that that person can grow into a moist or fruitful person.

       Leaven makes bread satisfying, no longer dissatisfying.  The leaven of the gospel does the same: for the person who lives a dissatisfied life with no purpose, meaning, or significance.  It transforms a person's heart and life giving purpose and joy and hope which are all of the satisfaction a person could ever desire..

       Leaven makes bread nourishing, no longer of little benefit.  The leaven of the gospel does the same for the person who seems to accomplish so little in life.  It not only gives purpose but it inspires, commissions, and causes a person to feed others.  A person transformed by the gospel is able to feed the truth to the world.  The gospel is able to explain the reasons for the emptiness and loneliness of the human heart and God's provisions for such.

       Some more items about leaven that are applicable.  Leaven works quietly and silently.  There is no fanfare or spectacle.  This is how the gospel should be presented to other people.  Leaven finishes its work.  Once it is inserted into the dough, nothing can stop it or ever remove it from the dough.  It will transform the dough.  From this we learn about security of the person who genuinely allows the gospel to penetrate his/her heart and life.  God has said that "He who has begun a good work in you will see it through to its completion."  Leaven works slowly and gradually, yet consistently.  It takes time for it to leaven the whole lump of dough.  The believer can learn that it will take time for him/her to personally grow in the gospel.  The person will grow spiritually if they receive proper nourishment.  Their growth will be consistent and sure.  It will take time for a person's witnessing and work to produce "bread."  Yet their service and ministry (leaven) will transform the people he handles and works with.  Leaven changes the quality, not the substance of the dough.  It remains dough, yet is is changed.  A person who receives the gospel message remains a person; but they are a changed person, a person of quality, a person of God and not of Satan.  Leaven changes the whole lump of bread.  It penetrates every pore of the dough's being.  So it is with people.  Once the gospel honestly penetrates, it permeates and affects all aspects of the person's life.

    So, brothers and sisters, there is the food for thought for this day that our Lord has made!  Have you and I allowed the gospel to honestly penetrate our hearts and lives?  Is it permeating every aspect of our lives?  Are we transformed, and being continually transformed?  If so, then we are part of the kingdom of God and part of His Church.  Are you and I satisfied with the gospel message?  Does it bring us great joy and assurance?  Are we feeding the truth to all of those that we possibly can?  Are we sold out to Christ and the task that He has placed before us?  I wish that I could personally say that I am as sold out to Christ as the apostles were.  I am working on that.  Grace and peace be with you all on this cold winter's night!

    ~Eric



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    Fri, Jan 24th - 9:48PM

    Study in Luke



    "And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.  And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could not lift herself up.  And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him, and said to her, Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.  And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.  And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day, and said to the people, There are six days in which men ought to work, in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.  The Lord then answered him, and said, You hypocrite, do not each one of you on the Sabbath loose hi sox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?  And shouldn't this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound, for these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?  And when He had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed; and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him (13:10-17)."

       One of the great tragedies of religion is that it is so often placed before people and their needs.  It was the Sabbath and Jesus taught in the synagogue.  Three points must be seen here.  This was the last time Jesus was ever in a synagogue as far as we can know.  From here on out He was such a controversial figure that no synagogue would allow Him to enter in.  This healing miracle took place on the Sabbath, and healing obviously was not allowed on that day.  It was considered to be work, unless it was a matter of life or death.   Both the woman and the ruler of the synagogue were worshippers of God.  Jesus was there worshipping on the Sabbath, doing exactly what He ought to have been doing.  We see that there is a difference between worshippers.  It is seen in the woman and the ruler.  She sought to draw near to God for deliverance, while the ruler only practiced his ceremony and ritual. 

       We need to notice several things about this woman.  She was worshipping.  She came on the Sabbath day.  It was her habit to worship God, to seek out the face of God.  She was where she was supposed to be on this particular day.  Because she was where she was supposed to be, she was about to receive a very special "touch" from God.  Why her?  She was afflicted and she was sincere in seeking God and His care.  The next thing to know is that she suffered from some kind of curvature of the spine.  It could have been a form of arthritis or even scoliosis.  Whatever it was, it had deformed her for eighteen long years.  Jesus identified her as being a daughter of Abraham whom Satan had bound with a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years.  This woman required spiritual healing as well as physical healing.  Despite her infirmity she was there worshipping God.  Bent over and unable to straighten herself up, she still came and worshipped God.  Another thing to know about her is that she was seen and called by Jesus Christ.  Her faithfulness in worshipping God attracted Christ.  He knew both her condition and the great sacrifice she made to simply come to worship Him.  She did not have to call out to Him, He called out to her.  We must remember that fact!  God does sometimes call out to us to come to Him!  She heard Him call out to her to come, and when she complied she got to receive His Word and His touch.  God called to her to come, and she had to respond, for He could not come to her.  She had to take the next step of going to Christ Jesus.  Through her obedience Jesus spoke the Word and reached out to touch her, making her straight immediately.  She stood upright.  She experienced both the power of Jesus' Word and touch.  But it was only due to the fact that she went when Jesus called, and she heard Him call only because she was worshipping God and seeking His grace and care. 

       People who are bent down or loaded down can be lifted up by Christ Jesus, no matter what it is that has caused them to be so burdened: humiliation and shame; accident; disease; sin; lack of education; appearance and looks; loss of everything; or personality.  Finally, this woman glorified God immediately.  "But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:57)" "For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's (I Corinthians 6:20)." "Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20)." "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (I Thessalonians 5:18)." Give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people (I Chronicles 16:8)." "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation (Psalm 68:19)."

       Then we come to the ruler of this synagogue.  He too was a worshipper of God.  He was a different kind of worshipper than the deformed woman.  The ruler sought God through form and ritual, ceremony and rules.  What a vast difference between these two people!  The woman came through her need and dependency asking God for favor and care.  God has clearly taught us that people must approach Him as a child, dependent and needy.  We can also see some faults of this "religionist."  1)  He got angry with people.  He became indignant.  How many believers today have hot tempers?  How many strike out when they face differing opinions from theirs?  How few of us control ourselves?  This man lost his temper in the very presence of Christ Jesus.  He was really upset with Jesus as well as with the woman and the other people there.  He dared not confront Christ directly, so he directed his diatribe towards the gathered people in an effort to regain their support.  This ruler misunderstood and had corrupted God's law.  In his mind, Jesus had committed a grievous crime.  This man also denied the Messiah, God's Son who actually stood right in front of him.  This ruler was also hypocritical.  He placed both animals and man-made religious rules above people.  He allowed traditions and ritual, ceremony and rules to be more important than meeting the basic needs of his fellow human beings.  How serious was this man's offense?  The woman was a daughter of Abraham, a professed believer of God; she had a spiritual need for she had been bound by Satan for eighteen years; she had endured pain and suffering.

       The alleged crime committed by Jesus was "breaking the Sabbath law", that is, working on that particular day.  It was a very serious matter to the orthodox Jew.  The seriousness can be seen in the strict demands governing the Sabbath.  Law after law was written to govern all activity on this day.  A person could not travel, fast, cook, buy, sell, draw water, walk beyond a certain distance, lift anything, fight in a war, or heal a person unless life was at stake.  They were to not even think about working.  The immense conditioned response to these restrictions can be seen in the response of the women who witnessed Jesus' crucifixion.  Even their great love for Him could not force them to walk to His tomb to prepare the body for burial until the Sabbath was officially over.  Any person who broke this law was condemned, and could be stoned to death if it was serious enough. 

       This seems extremely harsh to some people today.  But back in that day it must be remembered that it was the Jewish religion that kept the nation together through centuries and centuries of exile and persecution at the hands of Gentiles.  Their religion became the binding force that kept them together and maintained their distinctiveness as a people.  It protected them from alien beliefs and from being swallowed up by other cultures through intermarriage.  No matter where they were, they met together and associated together and held on to their beliefs.  This concept can be seen in Nehemiah 13:15-22; Jeremiah 17:19-27; Ezekiel 46:1-7.  All of this helps explain why the religionists opposed Jesus Christ with such hostility.  They had allowed religion and ritual, ceremony and rules, plus position, security, and status to become more important than the basic essentials of human life.  We  struggle with the exact same problems today in our churches.

       We also see that the religionist's had corrupted the Word of God.  This was done in two ways.  a)  By taking away from the words of God's scripture.  This is done by denying sections that people do not like or understand, by neglecting to live the whole counsel of God, and by interpreting some commandments too loosely.  b)  By adding to the words of God's scriptures.  A person does this by interpreting and living too strictly.  This exalts the flesh and is extreme discipline and self-control.  Both discipline and self-control are commendable and demanded by God, but they are not an end in themselves.  God's Word is practical and leads to an abundant life, to real living.  It is not cold, harsh, restrictive, monastic, unrealistic, or impractical.  God did not give His Word for a select group, He gave it for the common person.  The Sadducees were especially guilty of taking away from God's Word.  The Pharisees and Scribes were especially guilty of adding to God's Word. 

       What we see is that the religionist became very angry with Christ, but camouflaged it by attacking the crowd of people over the tradition established over Sabbath conduct.  The religionist had become more concerned about the plight of animals than that of people.  He was completely blind to his own personal problem.  The bottom line at the end of this passage is that Jesus' words humiliated those who opposed Him and caused rejoicing in those who recognized His claims to being their Messiah.  How about us today?  Are we rejoicing when we read His Word, or are humiliated and turn away from God?  Hard choices.  Hard questions.  If you and I truly desire an abundant life then we must align ourselves with God's Word and rejoice in the claims of Christ. 

    Grace and peace be with you!

    ~Eric



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    Tue, Jan 21st - 8:33PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "There were present at that season some that told Him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  And Jesus answering said to them, Do you suppose these Galilaeans were sinners, above all of the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?  I tell you, No, but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.  Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, do you think that they were sinners above all men that dwell in Jerusalem?  I tell you, No; but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.  He spoke also this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought from it, and found no figs.  Then he said to the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down, why allow it to take up valuable ground?  And the dresser responded to him, Lord, leave it alone this year also, till I shall dig all around it, and fertilize it: And if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that you shall cut it down (13:1-9)."  

       One of the problems unbelievers present to believers is this: Why do people have to suffer and die?  Some people will say that you suffer because you are a greater sinner than the one who suffers not at all.  It is very easy to become convinced that this is true when you are the one doing the suffering.  But to surrender to this thought invites all sorts of guilt and emotional problems.  They will come to believe that their suffering is due to something bad that they have done, said, or thought, and God is now punishing them for it.  Jesus dealt with this general belief in His own time on earth. People do not suffer because they are greater sinners.  People must bear fruit or else they will perish.  Jesus used two current events of His day to teach this lesson to His listeners.  

    1)  Some Galilaeans were in the Temple in the midst of worship, offering their sacrifices up to God, when Herod had them attacked and slaughtered by his soldiers (Luke 13:1-5).  The crowd was being harsh and making a very harsh judgment.  They were thinking that these Galilaeans were murdered because they were great sinners.  They were leaping to conclusions from what Jesus had earlier taught , that people must make peace with God before it is too late (Luke 12:58-59).  The claim was that God had swept down upon these Galilaeans in judgment.  But Jesus was clear in refuting their conclusions.  Their great suffering and death was not due to sin in their lives.  Christ declared that all of them in the crowd would perish the same way if they did not repent of their sins.  It is applicable to all for all are sinners before God.  All people must repent of their sin or else perish.

    2)  The subject here is so important and people need to learn this lesson so much that Christ included another recent local event.  This was the tragedy of a tower falling upon 18 construction workers.  Christ's point is that suffering is not necessarily due to sin or to degrees of sin.  If suffering was simply due to sin there would be no life on the planet because all people are so sinful that they are worthy of only the most horrible suffering:  death itself.  Jesus made His point here: all people must repent or else perish.

       We must not forget that Jesus did not say that sin never causes suffering.  Nor is suffering always caused by greater sin.  "Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the mote out of your eye; and , behold, a beam i sin your own eye (Matthew 7:4)!"  All people are guilty of great sin, great enough to perish (Romans 3:10-18; 3:23; Galatians 5:19-21).  All people are doomed to perish if they do absolutely nothing to alter the outcome (Romans 6:23; 8:6; Revelation 21:8; Ezekiel 18:20).  There is only one way to keep from perishing:  repent of your sin (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; 8:27;17:30).  

       Who were these Galilaeans?  They could have been followers of Judas of Galilee who opposed taxation imposed by the Romans (Acts 5:37).  Herod either knew some of Judas' followers were in the Temple or he mistook some group of Galilaeans to be the man's followers, and had them slaughtered.  It is known that Pilate set out to build a new water system for Jerusalem.  It was a huge construction project, financed by money taken from Temple finances.  This greatly angered the Jews for those monies were gifts to God and thus belonged to God.  The group of Galilaeans were caught off guard and were killed suddenly.  The construction workers were most likely a repair crew trying to fix one of the towers which served as part of the fortifications on the walls of Jerusalem.

       The parable reveals that God desires all people to bear fruit in their lives or else they will perish.  The man who was seeking fruit from the fig tree represents God.  The fig tree represents people.  The vineyard dresser represents Jesus Christ.  The vineyard represents the world, or Israel.  The fig tree was greatly privileged.  It was in the vineyard, which meant several things.  It was planted by the vineyard keeper (God or Christ) himself.  God causes every person to be born into this world.  He stands behind every person as that person's Creator and Lord.  It was planted in the vineyard itself, right where there were other trees bearing fruit.  It had the same soil, nourishment, rain, and sun from heaven as the other trees.  This is also true of all persons who are born in nations where the gospel is freely preached.  The fig tree's purpose was to bear fruit.  It had been planted in order that it bear fruit and it existed so that it could bear fruit.  It was by its very nature a fruit tree; therefore, it was supposed to bear fruit.  Thus it is with people.  We see in the parable that the day of reaping arrived.  Jesus said five things about the day of reaping.

    1.  The vineyard owner, God Himself, was the One who came looking for fruit.  The reaper was not someone else, it was God.  He planted the tree to get fruit, and He expected fruit.  

    2.  The vineyard owner found no fruit.  The tree was bare.  It was failing in its purpose.  The investment made in the tree was wasted.

    3.  The vineyard owner had waited a long time.  He had come time after time looking for fruit.  The tree had had enough time to flower and bear fruit.  The Owner's patience was very long.

    4.  The tree was wasting valuable space and nutrients.  All space was needed in the vineyard for producing fruit.  No space could afford to be wasted.  The tree was hurting the production of the vineyard as a whole.  False believers affect the whole vineyard, or church.  They cheapen the vineyard and cause others not to want to taste its fruit.  

    5.  The tree was to be cut down.  The Owner pronounced judgment upon it.  It was to perish for its failure to produce fruit.

       But then we are confronted with the mercy of God.  The vineyard dresser intercedes for the unfruitful tree.  He asks for another year, one last chance for the tree to do what it is supposed to do.  Thus God grants one more chance, one last opportunity.  But a day of reckoning would surely come in the very near future.  We see then that the judgment was based upon fruit.  "And now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is chopped down, and cast into the fire (Matthew 3:10)."  "If a person does not abide in Me, they are cast out as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned (John 15:6)."  "But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected, and is near to cursing: whose end is to be burned (Hebrews 6:8)."  

    That is all for tonight my friends!  The teaching here is that God expects each of us to bear good fruit.  If we fail to produce good fruit we will be cut down and destroyed.  This does not teach that we are to focus upon doing lots of good works for that will get us into heaven.  It does not say that at all.  It is pointing out that if we have been exposed to the teaching of God's Word and have been receiving consistent nourishment from godly teachers but fail to translate all of that into good works, then we are destined to be removed and destroyed.  Simply because we have failed to realize our purpose in life and have squandered the "space" and "nourishment" within the vineyard.  Those who have been privileged to hear and learn about Christ and His Gospel but do absolutely nothing with them stand in judgment by God.  

    I hope and pray for the safety of all who live along the Eastern seaboard of America tonight, and into the coming days.  Dress warmly, drive carefully, walk circumspectly!  May the Living God come and spend some time with you, imparting you with renewed faith, passion, and vision!  Reach out to others all around you, you probably do not understand the problems that they are laboring under.  Grace and peace of Christ our Lord and Savior be with you.


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    Sat, Jan 18th - 12:22PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



       In 12:54-57 we can find the second misconception, that the Messiah has not yet come.  People in Jesus' time did not believe that He was the Messiah, and people today still do not believe that He is the Messiah.  Jesus stated two truths to all believers.  1.   People discern the weather and physical matters of this world.  Man's natural senses can be very discerning and sharp.  We are skillful in studying and experimenting and in drawing conclusions from the natural world.  Weather is the example Christ used; but the subject could be finances, medicine, society, or any other earthly subject.  Jesus said people are very capable in discerning the material and physical matters of their world.  2.  People do not discern spiritual matters.  When it comes to the spiritual senses, man is dead and undiscrning.  He does not take time to observe nor to experience the spiritual world.  

       People had failed to discern the time, that is, the coming of the Messiah.  The signs that pointed to Jesus being the Messiah were visible.  A thoughtful and genuinely spiritual person could see the signs, and some people had seen them such as Simeon and Anna (Luke3:25).  Some of the signs were as follows:  The scepter, the lawgiver had actually come from Judah in the person of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:2).  The weeks and ages predicted by Daniel were closing out (Matthew 24:15).  The prophet Elijah, the forerunner of the Messiah, had come and proclaimed the Messiah to be Jesus (Matthew 3:1-12).  The baby Jesus had been born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1).  Many throughout the world were expecting the coming of some great person, some Messiah (Matthew 1:18).  Many godly Jews were looking for the coming of the Messiah, God's great Deliverer of Israel (Luke 2:25). The message and works of Jesus were great evidence, phenomenal miracles given by God tosubstantiate His claims (John 14:11).  

       Along with these what greater signs could God provide than the signs which change lives, radically change them?  Unbelief is without excuse.  The problem is that people want signs of their own choosing, not the signs which God has chosen to give.  People are always wanting God to deal with them through some sort of spectacular sign, brilliant sight, astounding truth, irrefutable argument, miraculous experience, or unbelievable deliverance.  But God's great concern has been, and always will be, meeting people in their lives, within their hearts, where they really need help.  People must discern the times if they are to live abundantly while on this earth and live eternally in the next world.  God wants to meet people in their sickness and sorrow and brokenness.  Meeting people in the areas of their need are irrefutable signs given to every generation that lives.  And then the people of Jesus' time failed to discern and judge what was right.  People fail to discern and judge what is right today as well.  Nothing has changed in the least bit.  This was one of the most honest, thought-provoking, and revealing questions ever asked of anyone.  It takes a person who is honestly open; a person who is and willing to have their heart exposed for what it really is; to answer the question: "Why do you not judge what is right?"  

       So, why don't people discern and judge what is right?  Why do people not discern that God is, that He does exist?  "In the beginning God...(Genesis 1:1)"  "You, even you, are LORD alone; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are within it, the seas, and all that is within it, and You preserve them all; and the host of heaven worsip YOu (Hehemiah 9:6)."  "The LORD He is God, there is none else beside Him (Deuteronomy 4:35)."  "The LORD our God is one LORD: and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)."  That people may know that You, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, are the Most High over all the earth (Psalm 83:18)."  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as yo are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:4-6)."  "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one (I John 5:7)."  Why do people not discern that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God?  "Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying, Of a truth You are the Son of God (Matthew 14:13)."  "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1)."  "And I (John the Baptist) saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God (John 1:34)."  "Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, Do you believe on the Son of God?  The man answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?  And Jesus replied, You have both seen Him, and it is He that talks with you (John 9:35-37)."  "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God (I John 4:15)."  Why do people not discern that righteousness is the way for people to live and the way for communities and the world to conduct their affairs?  "For I say to you, That except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no way whatsoever enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20)."  "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17)."  "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:12-13)."

     The third misconception is that people have no need to make peace with God.  Jesus used an earthly illustration to stress these following truths.  1.  People have a bad case before God, the Judge of all.  2.  When a person has a hopeless case with an adversary, the best thing to do is to quickly seek to settle out of court.  3.  If a person refuses to settle out of court, they will be taken to court and judged and have to pay every penny owed.  As it is with a human judge and court, so it is with God.  The hour is urgent, people need to make peace with God; they need to give all diligence to the effort immediately for they do not know how long they shall live.  If they fail to make peace, then they will have to pay the most severe penalty, to the very last mite.  "And you who do the exact same things as you judge in other people, do you think that you shall escape the judgment of God (Romans 2:3)?"  "How shall we escape, if we ignore so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that heard Him (Hebrews 2:3)."  "Though they dig into hell itself, there shall My hand take them; though they climb up to heaven itself, there will I bring them down (Amos 9:2)."  

       That is all for today, beloved!  I have provided many scriptures for you to consider.  People today remain without any excuse for not believing that God is real.  Our society today is a reflection of the playing out of the Enlightenment's movement several centuries ago.  Rationalization, scientific method, the choosing of the objective over the subjective in finding truth, seeking individual rights and freedoms, the separation of church and state, all are the children of the Enlightenment.  Our globalization and organizations all arise from this very old movement.  Our current feelings of isolation, lonesomeness, and apathy are outgrowths of the Enlightenment.  No one back then could possibly envision where the world would eventually end up once the journey down this path was begun.  Technology can be a very good thing, but it has also created an environment in which entire generations now are losing any sense of value in face-to-face interactions.  How will the church meet the changing needs of this generation?  Are we even capable of doing so, as we currently think of the world around us?  Grace and peace be yours today!

    ~Ericx


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    Wed, Jan 8th - 7:37PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it already be kindled?  But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I pressured till it be accomplished! Do you suppose that I am come to give peace on earth?  I tell you, No; but rather I come to bring division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.  The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  And He also said to the people, When you see a cloud rise out of the west, immediately you say, There comes a rain shower; and so it is.  And when you see the south wind blow, you say, There will be heat; and it comes to pass.  You hypocrites, you can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that you do not discern this time?  When you go with your adversary to the magistrate, as you are in the way, give diligence that you may be delivered from him; lest he call you to the judge, and judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer cast you into prison.  I tell you, you shall not leave there, until you have paid the very last bit of money (12:49-59)."

       Here are the three misconceptions.  #1: The Messiah was to bring peace on the earth.  #2: The Messiah has not yet come.   #3: Men have no need to make peace with God.  The first misconception is that the Messiah came to bring peace to mankind on earth.  People tend to think Christ as having brought the message of peace to the earth, and He did.  He brought peace with God to a person's heart and the peace of God to a person's life.  But there are three significant truths about what Jesus says in this point.

    1)  Christ brought not only peace, but fire on the earth, or judgment.  Fire is usually the symbol of judgment.  Christ spoke of how He wished the fire was already kindled.  He was speaking about the cross of Calgary.  He wished that that fire of judgment would already be over with.  The judgment as the sin-bearer of the entire world was almost too much for His human side to bear (Luke 22:39-46).  What brought the fire of judgment to our world?  It was Christ's death that brought that fire of judgment.  His death judged sin in the flesh. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3)."  "For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (I Peter 3:18)."  Christ's death judged the prince of this world.   "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Me (John 12:31-32)."  His death  caused people to judge themselves to be sinners, sinners who were spiritually dead to God.  "For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that He died for all, that the which live should not from this point on live to themselves, but to Him which died for them, and rose again (II Corinthians 5:14-15)."  His death caused people to judge themselves in the flesh, to judge their flesh as being weak and subject to sin.  Our flesh needs to be controlled and denied and brought into subjection to Christ Jesus.

    2)  Christ came to suffer and die to be baptized with the judgment of death and to be separated from God.  The term "a baptism to be baptized with" refers to Christ's death.  He was to be immersed, placed into a state of death, of separation from God for mankind.  His suffering in bearing the judgment of God was to be beyond imagination.  Note that he used the metaphor of both fire and baptism to describe His death.  He also was pressured toget the ordeal of the judgment over, to have the judgment accomplished and peoples' salvation completed.

    3)  Christ came to bring division to the earth.  More can be read about this in Matthew 10:34-37.  But it is Christ who sets a family member against his family.  It is very important to see this.  Christ calls a person out of the world: to be separate from the world and to go about correcting the sin and evil of the world.  If a family continues to live in sin and to walk ever onward toward the grave without turning back to God and a life of righteousness, two things usually happen:  a)  the believer struggles to witness to his loved ones, no matter the cost and opposition the believer may face.  b)  the family members often rebel against the righteousness and efforts of the believer.  The believer is called to a life of righteousness and to a warfare against sin and evil.  If a member of his family is engaged on the side of evil, there is a natural conflict between the believer and the family member.  This happens simply because the family member is still of the earth and living primarily to satisfy his/her earthly desires.  The thought of God is repressed and subdued so that he/she can pursue his/her physical and material desires unhindered by guilt.  The believer is of the earth, but also of heaven.  The believer is both physical and spiritual, and more importantly, is living primarily for God and His righteousness, to reach people with the glorious gospel of Christ.  These two natures differ drastically and are diametrically opposed to one another.  The person of the world primarily speaks about the world and lives for the pursuit of the world.  The person of the spirit makes God the primary force of their life: they talk about God and the things of righteousness, and pursue God and His righteousness.  A believer is to love their family, but is to love God first and foremost.  Our first loyalty is to God.  If we put our family first two things happen:  1)  Our families can't be what they should be without God at their center.  No family can reach its full potential without God.  There will be a lack of spiritual growth and strength, of conviction and commitment, of confidence and assurance, of purpose and meaning, of life and God---a lack of all---it will be for eternity.  There will be no sense, no assurance of anything beyond this life.  2)  Our families can't be looked after by God unless God is given His rightful place in the family.  If the family takes control over its own life, ignoring God and His control, then what happens to the family is in its hands.  God is put off to the side, excluded and shut out.  He has no say over the welfare of the family.  The family is left all to itself, and all kinds of trouble usually follows.  There is certainly a lack of spiritual strength to face the trials and crises that confront every family during life.  What these two facts teach is this:  we must love God supremely, putting Him before all else, even before our families.  When we do, our families are assured of being everything they should be and of being looked after and cared for by God.  A person's decision to follow Chris, no matter the sacrifice to their family, is a wise decision; in fact, it is the only reasonable decision.

       That is all for today, beloved.  I will finish this passage up next time I post.  Grace and peace of Christ our Lord and Savior be with you!

    ~Eric


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    Sun, Jan 5th - 10:58AM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "But and if that servant say in his/her heart, My lord delays his coming; and then shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come on a day when he/she does not look for him to return, and at an hour when he/she is unaware, and will cut him/her in sunder, and will appoint him/her the portion with the unbelievers.  And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and did not prepare himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  But he/she that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.  For to those much is given, of them shall much be required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more (12:45-48)."

       In looking at the parable of the steward, I see faithfulness versus unfaithfulness; dedication versus lack of commitment.  Peter really wanted to know if this message of watching and readiness was for the disciples only or did it apply to the entire world.  Jesus gave him this parable as a response to that question.  Here was a faithful and wise steward of whom Christ said four things about.  1)  He was a steward first of all.  A steward was a person who was made ruler over their lord's household.  In Peter's time a steward was a man.  He was the manager of the lord's estate, responsible for all of it (Matthew 25:14-15; Luke 19:13)."  2)  He was a slave (doulos), a bond-slave, a man under the lord's will completely.  He was possessed by the lord and his very life depended upon doing everything the lord said.  3)  He was found "doing" or serving faithfully when the lord returned.  The lord found him doing exactly what he should have been doing (I Corinthians 4:2).  He was overseeing the master's household.  He was feeding the master's family faithfully.  4)  He was to be rewarded, made ruler and promoted over all that the lord had.  The idea is that the faithful and wise believer will be placed as highly as he can be placed.  He will be given all that the Master and Lord has, that is, a complete estate to manage (Matthew 25:23; Luke 19:17; Luke 22:28-29; I Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 1:5-6).

       But I can also see that there was an unfaithful, an unwise steward.  And Christ said three things about this steward.  1)  This steward said that there was plenty of time.  Why?  Because the lord had delayed in returning, therefore, the steward thought the lord's return must still be a long way off.  He did not doubt his lord would return, he knew the lord was returning, but he did not think that it would be soon.  2)  He did his own will, his own thing.  He mistreated and abused others, both male and female, using misusing, deceiving and taking advantage as he willed.  And he lived a worldly life, indulging in the fleshly pleasures of partying and carousing, eating and drinking.  3)  He was to be judged with the unbelievers.  The Lord was very clear about this point.  The unfaithful servant shall be caught by the Lord, caught unawares, at a time and on a day when he shall not be looking.  The Lord will condemn the unfaithful steward, cut him off from among the living, exiled from eternal life.  Tragically, he shall e cut asunder, cut off from God's presence ever again.  Once he condemned to be with the unbelievers, the Lord will appoint his portion with them.  Why will the Lord act so harshly?  Because the steward was not genuine, he was a hypocrite. 

       So Jesus answered Peter's question in these two verses.  Christ spoke about both believers and unbelievers.  Who is to be watching and living in a state of readiness?  Who is to be served by Christ and greatly blessed?  Answer: the faithful steward, not the unfaithful steward. Who then is the unfaithful steward?  Two classes of people are named:  a)  Class I are the servants who know the Lord's will and do not prepare themselves, nor do they do the Lord's will.  These servant's judgment is tragic, for they know God's will, but deliberately reject it.  Therefore, they will be beaten with many stripes for they are due much more judgment and punishment.  b)  Class II are the people who do not know the Lord's will; therefore, they are not able to prepare themselves as they ought to, nor are they able to faithfully serve the Lord.  But,  I must note a critical point here.  Even the stewards committed things worthy of punishment.  Therefore, they will be judged and condemned as well, but not as severely (Romans 1:20; 2:11-16).  The principle of judgment is perfect justice: having many gifts and possessing much wealth means a person is to serve and give much.  A person is to use an give all that they are and have---holding nothing back.  We must not overlook the fact that Christ pointed out that there will be degrees of rewards and punishment to be handed out at the final reckoning. 

       That is all for today, beloved.  Next time I will look at the three gross misconceptions of man.  I hope that you will follow along for there are three truths to be learned for each of these misconceptions.  Travel safely today, praise and adore Christ where ever you might find yourself.  Thank Him for loving you unconditionally, for coming and paying your sin-debt so that you may one day receive your inheritance from Him.  Grace and peace be yours.

    ~Eric



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    Wed, Jan 1st - 2:11PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "Let you loins be girded about, and your lights burning.  And you yourselves, like men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding: that when he comes and knocks, they may open the door immediately for him.  Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he comes shall find watching: truly I say to you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meal, and will come out and serve them.  And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.  And this know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his home being ransacked.  Therefore you be ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not.  Then Peter said to Him, Lord, do You speak this parable to us, or to all people?  And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing.  Of a truth I say to you, that he will make him ruler over all that he has (12:35-44)."  

       This passage still reveals Jesus speaking about people who want things: wealth and riches and plenty.  He continued speaking to his disciples from previously, telling them that their minds were to be upon purity of life and service, not upon possessions and cares of this world.  We find Christ's warning to be prepared clothed in two charges: Be watching, be ready for the Lord's return and be a good steward or manager.

       All believers are commanded to be watching, be ready for Lord Jesus Christ's return.  Jesus shared an illustration of a lord who had gone off to attend a great marriage celebration.  His servants had been left behind to look after the household and to wait for his return.  The servants ought to be full of joy and rejoicing for their master's invitation to go and celebrate the marriage.  They may not be, but they should be, and they should be looking after everything with all diligence until he returns.  Jesus applied this picture to Himself and to His disciples.  We as believers are to be in a state of readiness.  We are to always be prepared, watching and waiting for our Lord's return.  We are to be fully dressed, even to the point of having our belts tightened up properly.  This speaks of personal preparation: purity of heart and life and keeping one's body ready to move and meet the Lord.  In the Middle East men wore robes that required a belt to tie them at the waist.  Without their belt tied properly, their robes prevented them from moving quickly and freely.  All of the Lord's servants are to have the lights burning, never allowing them to go out.  Keeping the lights burning refers to serving and laboring for the Lord.  We are to keep the lights of labor burning by faithfully serving and working for the Lord up until the very hour of his return.  These pictures both represent readiness: being prepared in body and labor, being pure and faithful.  Believers are not to be caught off guard or unprepared.  

       Jesus gave six reasons for living in a state of readiness, of purity and faithfulness.

    1)  The believer is to stay ready because the Lord is returning.  He is the Head of the house; He owns the property.  He did not desert the house and property.  He left to attend a marriage feast.  He will be returning to His home and His property.  We must not overlook the fact that the words "your" and "you yourselves" are in the emphatic.  No matter what others may do, the believer must be prepared.  We must be like owners who wait and stay awake and look and are prepared for their Lord.  We must be fully ready to open the door immediately when He knocks, for He is going to return and knock.  His return is an absolute certainty (John 14:2-3; Titus 2(12-13).  A message on salvation is contained here as well. A person must be ready to open the door of his heart immediately when Jesus comes and knocks.  That is His call to a person.  "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any person hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to them, and will dine with them, and them with Me (Revelation 3:20)."  

    2)  Believers are to stay ready because they will be served by Christ Himself.  This is a most precious and wonderful promise, a most unusual promise.  Can you imagine the Creator of the entire universe serving you at a banquet?  Yet it is the promise made by Christ Jesus!  Why would God make such a promise to His disciples?  God has only one Son, and God loves His only Son so much that He promises to take any person who honors His Son and to elevate that person to the highest of positions.  Any person who honors God's Son will be highly honored by God in the kingdom.  The person who honors God's son is adopted as a child of God's, and that person becomes a brother or sister to Christ and an heir of God (Galatians 4:4-7; Romans 8:15-18; John 14:2-3; I Corinthians 4:5).  Believers are to stay ready because the very thing for which they have been working is Christ's return.  When Christ gathers us all together, His heart will be so overflowing with love and joy that He will begin serving us immediately: conforming us to His image, explaining and discussing everything with us, assigning us our eternal duties.  

    3)  Believers  are to stay ready because we will be blessed.  The word "blessed" means to pronounce a person happy or blessed.  The idea is that Christ is going to make believers happy and blessed.  These two will become our state of being, the constant experience of believers.  But, blessedness is conditional.  Believers must be watching and ready for the Lord's return if they are to be blessed.  The Lord is not returning in the first watch.  His return is going to be in the second or even third watch.  The night back then was divided up into four watches by the Romans and into three watches by the Hebrews.  The point here is the importance of being ready; the hour of Christ's return is unknown, but He is returning.  Since no one knows the time, it is best to always remain prepared and ready if we wish to be blessed. 

    4)  Believers are to stay ready because Christ will come unexpectedly.  The parable is clear: the hour of the Lord's return is not known.  Do not waste valuable time trying to figure out when He is to return but simply be ready to meet Him.  We must not be careless: get tired of waiting up, get sleepy, be caught off guard, begin to disbelieve.  We must remain watchful, secure, stay awake, listen, look, take notice of all noises and sights.  The picture given is to be as focused as a homeowner must be to prevent burglars from breaking and entering one's house.  

    5)  Believers are to stay ready because Christ will come when least expected.  Jesus stated,"When you think not," that is when I will come back.  "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame (Revelation 16:15)."

    That is all for today, beloved.  Tomorrow I will finish up this passage.  I hope that your New Year's Day is fulfilling, joyful, and full of blessedness!  Grace and peace of Christ be with you all.

    ~Eric


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    Wed, Jan 1st - 2:11PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "Let you loins be girded about, and your lights burning.  And you yourselves, like men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding: that when he comes and knocks, they may open the door immediately for him.  Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he comes shall find watching: truly I say to you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meal, and will come out and serve them.  And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.  And this know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his home being ransacked.  Therefore you be ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not.  Then Peter said to Him, Lord, do You speak this parable to us, or to all people?  And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing.  Of a truth I say to you, that he will make him ruler over all that he has (12:35-44)."  

       This passage still reveals Jesus speaking about people who want things: wealth and riches and plenty.  He continued speaking to his disciples from previously, telling them that their minds were to be upon purity of life and service, not upon possessions and cares of this world.  We find Christ's warning to be prepared clothed in two charges: Be watching, be ready for the Lord's return and be a good steward or manager.

       All believers are commanded to be watching, be ready for Lord Jesus Christ's return.  Jesus shared an illustration of a lord who had gone off to attend a great marriage celebration.  His servants had been left behind to look after the household and to wait for his return.  The servants ought to be full of joy and rejoicing for their master's invitation to go and celebrate the marriage.  They may not be, but they should be, and they should be looking after everything with all diligence until he returns.  Jesus applied this picture to Himself and to His disciples.  We as believers are to be in a state of readiness.  We are to always be prepared, watching and waiting for our Lord's return.  We are to be fully dressed, even to the point of having our belts tightened up properly.  This speaks of personal preparation: purity of heart and life and keeping one's body ready to move and meet the Lord.  In the Middle East men wore robes that required a belt to tie them at the waist.  Without their belt tied properly, their robes prevented them from moving quickly and freely.  All of the Lord's servants are to have the lights burning, never allowing them to go out.  Keeping the lights burning refers to serving and laboring for the Lord.  We are to keep the lights of labor burning by faithfully serving and working for the Lord up until the very hour of his return.  These pictures both represent readiness: being prepared in body and labor, being pure and faithful.  Believers are not to be caught off guard or unprepared.  

       Jesus gave six reasons for living in a state of readiness, of purity and faithfulness.

    1)  The believer is to stay ready because the Lord is returning.  He is the Head of the house; He owns the property.  He did not desert the house and property.  He left to attend a marriage feast.  He will be returning to His home and His property.  We must not overlook the fact that the words "your" and "you yourselves" are in the emphatic.  No matter what others may do, the believer must be prepared.  We must be like owners who wait and stay awake and look and are prepared for their Lord.  We must be fully ready to open the door immediately when He knocks, for He is going to return and knock.  His return is an absolute certainty (John 14:2-3; Titus 2(12-13).  A message on salvation is contained here as well. A person must be ready to open the door of his heart immediately when Jesus comes and knocks.  That is His call to a person.  "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any person hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to them, and will dine with them, and them with Me (Revelation 3:20)."  

    2)  Believers are to stay ready because they will be served by Christ Himself.  This is a most precious and wonderful promise, a most unusual promise.  Can you imagine the Creator of the entire universe serving you at a banquet?  Yet it is the promise made by Christ Jesus!  Why would God make such a promise to His disciples?  God has only one Son, and God loves His only Son so much that He promises to take any person who honors His Son and to elevate that person to the highest of positions.  Any person who honors God's Son will be highly honored by God in the kingdom.  The person who honors God's son is adopted as a child of God's, and that person becomes a brother or sister to Christ and an heir of God (Galatians 4:4-7; Romans 8:15-18; John 14:2-3; I Corinthians 4:5).  Believers are to stay ready because the very thing for which they have been working is Christ's return.  When Christ gathers us all together, His heart will be so overflowing with love and joy that He will begin serving us immediately: conforming us to His image, explaining and discussing everything with us, assigning us our eternal duties.  

    3)  Believers  are to stay ready because we will be blessed.  The word "blessed" means to pronounce a person happy or blessed.  The idea is that Christ is going to make believers happy and blessed.  These two will become our state of being, the constant experience of believers.  But, blessedness is conditional.  Believers must be watching and ready for the Lord's return if they are to be blessed.  The Lord is not returning in the first watch.  His return is going to be in the second or even third watch.  The night back then was divided up into four watches by the Romans and into three watches by the Hebrews.  The point here is the importance of being ready; the hour of Christ's return is unknown, but He is returning.  Since no one knows the time, it is best to always remain prepared and ready if we wish to be blessed. 

    4)  Believers are to stay ready because Christ will come unexpectedly.  The parable is clear: the hour of the Lord's return is not known.  Do not waste valuable time trying to figure out when He is to return but simply be ready to meet Him.  We must not be careless: get tired of waiting up, get sleepy, be caught off guard, begin to disbelieve.  We must remain watchful, secure, stay awake, listen, look, take notice of all noises and sights.  The picture given is to be as focused as a homeowner must be to prevent burglars from breaking and entering one's house.  

    5)  Believers are to stay ready because Christ will come when least expected.  Jesus stated,"When you think not," that is when I will come back.  "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame (Revelation 16:15)."

    That is all for today, beloved.  Tomorrow I will finish up this passage.  I hope that your New Year's Day is fulfilling, joyful, and full of blessedness!  Grace and peace of Christ be with you all.

    ~Eric


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    About Me

    Name: Eric Rajaniemi
    ChristiansUnite ID: ejroyal
    Member Since: 2007-09-08
    Location: Bedford, Virginia, United States
    Denomination: Born-again, Church of the Brethren
    About Me: I refrain from any denomination as much as possible since my faith has to do with Jesus Christ and not denominations. My wife and I are charter members of Lake Side Church of the Brethren for they desire to follow the New Testament precepts. We hav... more

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