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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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    Thu, Oct 27th - 7:45PM

    STUDY IN MATTHEW



    36: But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
    37: Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is truly plenteous, but the laborers are few;
    38: Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send out laborers into His harvest (9:36-38).  

    God's ideal kings and rulers have been shepherds.  Moses and David were shepherds before becoming king.  We must pray that God, when sending out laborers, will send those who have the heart of a shepherd.  They must have compassion for those missing from Jesus's table.  

    We have now reached the point in time immediately prior to Jesus commissioning the twelve disciples.  Jesus told His disciples that they pray that God send laborers out to bring in the missing souls, and then turned around and sent them out!  Perhaps the message being sent to us today is to be fully prepared to go out and do what we have been praying to God about.  

    Chapter ten continues the general movement seen thus far in the gospel of Matthew.  Jesus demonstrated the power to support the ethic through the twelve miracles recorded in the book.  Now He commissions the twelve future apostles to go to the nation of Israel and preach to them the gospel of the kingdom.

    These disciples are no longer forerunners but are after-runners.  Christ gave them the power to work miracles and this became their credential.  John the Baptist never performed miracles for that was not his credential.  The disciples (learners/students) had their titles changed to apostles (delegates/sent ones).  

    Many cults point to this chapter for their authority in some peculiar ministry or doctrine.  Instructions for Christians are not to be found in this chapter.  The instructions found here are to be considered in light of the circumstances and conditions under which they were given, and we ought to be able to interpret them accurately.

     1: And when He had called to Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease (10:1).

    These twelve men were given power and authority by God to go out to Israel and heal everyone whom they came into contact with.  The prophets of the Old Testament had prophesied that this would be the credentials of the Messiah.  Having been given this power they then became apostles.  They were being sent out.

     2: Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
     3: Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus;
     4: Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him (10:2-4).  

    We are given a list of the twelve.  And we are reminded that Judas was numbered among this group even though he eventually would betray Jesus to the authorities.

     5: These twelve Jesus sent out, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans.
     6: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (10:5-6).  

    The apostles at this point in time were given a very targeted group of people to preach the gospel to.  They were not to speak the gospel to any non-Jewish peoples as it was not the appointed time for this to occur.

     7: And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand (10:7).  

    The kingdom of heaven was at hand in the person of the King, the Messiah was standing in their midst.  During the turn of the last century and the conclusion of the Victorian era, there was a pervasive feeling throughout the Christian world.  All of the major denominations at that time took upon themselves the immense task of "building the kingdom of heaven" and not waiting for God to bring it into being.  Each group felt that it had a contract from God Himself to accomplish this purpose.  But the church has never been contracted to build the kingdom.  We have been called to preach, and announce, the coming of the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus Christ Himself will establish the kingdom when He returns to earth.  The Church is simply a called out body of believers from among the world, meant to manifest Christ and to preach His gospel throughout the nations of our world.  Choosing to kingdom build usurps God's position and constitutes sin which needs to be repented of.

    The kingdom of heaven actually is within each believer at this point in time.  As we have the Spirit of Christ within us upon receiving Christ in our hearts we then have the kingdom within us as well.  The kingdom will not spread across the planet until Christ returns the second time and reigns over the entire world from Jerusalem.

    That is all for tonight beloved.  Next time I will write about their credentials and what payment they are to accept from those they help.  Grace and peace be yours today!

    ~Eric


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    Wed, Oct 26th - 7:02AM

    STUDY IN MATTHEW



    32: As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a dumb man possessed with a devil.
    33: And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spoke: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never seen in Israel.
    34: But the Pharisees said, He casts out devils through the prince of the devils (9:32-34).

    Here is the eleventh miracle, another demon-possessed man is healed of his affliction.  This is the third incident of demon possession recorded in chapters 8-9 of Matthew.  Of importance to note here is the reaction of the religious leaders to this miracle.  They did not deny the fact that Jesus Christ had caused the dumb man to speak, the blind to see, and the crippled to walk.  Those things were undeniable.  What they chose to accuse Christ of was that He did these things by the power of Satan and not of God Almighty.  It is of interest to us for in our world today people choose to accuse God of being the evil one, and not Satan.  They choose to accuse God of painting Satan as being the "bad guy" or as being a victim of a murderous and sadistic God.  They ignore facts and they also choose to ignore their spiritual nature and only perceive the world through the physical and the psychological aspects of themselves.  

    35: And Jesus went about to all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people (9:35).

    "The gospel of the kingdom" is not the gospel of the grace of God.  This in no way is to say that there are two gospels.  There is only one gospel with several facets to it.  The gospel of the kingdom was the announcement that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.  It proclaimed that now was the time to become ready for the King.  It required a heart condition that would be willing to accept and follow the King who was first going to the cross on Calvary, and then returning to rule over all of Creation for eternity.  

    We also see in this verse that Christ's healing was not hit or miss in nature.  Every sickness and disease was healed in this entire region where He visited in person.  Thousands of people were being healed and were witnessing others being healed.  This is why those people who chose to not believe that Christ was God never questioned the fact that He performed miracles.  Too many people already knew better, it was obvious that it was happening on a large scale.

    Today we hear about people who claim to faith heal and there arises an uproar over them.  It becomes a media circus.  I have a difficult time believing that anyone today has this gift of healing any and all diseases and illnesses.  If it was of God, why would they accept, or charge, a monetary fee?  Why wouldn't they go to the hospitals and heal everyone there?  Or go to the nursing homes and assisted living establishments to heal all of those people?  If it were truly of Christ, that is exactly where faith healers would be called to go.  

    More than one person has offered up a reward to anyone who can prove that they have been healed by a faith healer.  To date none have been able to prove that it has actually happened.  In contrast to this, there were thousands upon thousands of people who either had been healed, or had seen others healed, by Jesus Christ.  If this were happening today, why would the person who is able to perform such a miracle not help as many people as possible?  I say it is because it is not of God.  

    Jesus Christ was able to heal people in the day when He physically walked this earth and He can heal anyone today as well.  Does this mean that I shouldn't waste my time by going to a medical facility for help?  No, it does not.  We should always seek out the best medical help which is available to us, but we always need to realize that doctors are finite beings just like us and they do make mistakes.  But Christ Jesus is unlimited in what He can do.  He will deal with us according to His perfect will and we simply need to give Him credit for whatever happens.

    That is all for today my friends.  I will finish up this ninth chapter of Matthew when we meet here next.  Until then, grace and peace be yours.

    ~Eric


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    Sun, Oct 23rd - 12:57PM

    STUDY IN MATTHEW



    23: And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,
    24: He said to them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleeps.  And they laughed scornfully at Him (9:23-24).  

    People were already weeping, mourning, and carrying on when Jesus reached the home.  He informed them all that she was not dead.  They openly scorned Him and ridiculed Him, just as people would do today.  But all of these people were moved from within the house.  

    25: But when the people were put outside, He went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.
    26: And the fame of this went abroad into all of that land (9:25-26). 

    Here is the first instance of the dead being raised back to life as recorded in the Gospels.  Three notable incidents of raising the dead are recorded, but again, Luke provides us with much more detail than Matthew.  Jesus' method of raising the dead appears to be identical each time: speaking directly to the person.  We also note that Jesus' reputation spread by word of mouth rather quickly across this entire region upon these miracles being witnessed by sizable crowds.

    27: And when Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying, and saying, You Son of David, have mercy on us.
    28: And when He was come into the house, the blind men came to Him: and Jesus said to them, Do you believe that I am able to do this?  They said to Him, Yes, Lord.
    29: Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith will it be to you.
    30: And their eyes were opened; and Jesus strictly charged them, saying, See that no man knows of it.
    31: But they, when they were departed, spread abroad His fame in all of that country (9:27-31).  
    These two blind men correctly identified Jesus as being descended from King David.  This lineage came down to Him through his human father, Joseph.  Initially Jesus did not even acknowledge the presence of these two blind men, did He?  When we come to God and ask certain things of Him it will often appear as if He does not even know we are speaking.  But, we are to continue pursuing our request of God just as did these two blind men.  They followed along behind Jesus, and when He arrived at His destination they were still there in His presence.  Persistence is rewarded by God.  If we remain faithful and persist in specifically requesting something of God then God will touch us and grant us our request according to our faith in Him.  

    Many people read verses 30-31 and openly wonder at why Jesus did not want them to tell people about being healed from their blindness.  It was a rather practical reason, for Jesus knew full well that as His reputation for healing people spread it would attract ever larger crowds of curious miracle seekers.  These burgeoning crowds would actually restrict His movements and slow down His work among the people.

    But these two men reacted rather predictably.  Their joy at having their eyesight restored simply could not be constrained and they had to tell people who had healed them.  I imagine God knew the outcome would be thus, but still told them to tell no one.  Now, today when we become saved by Jesus and are made whole once more why is it that we fail to tell everyone that we meet about who made us whole again?  Jesus has not told any of us that we must keep our mouths shut about who saved us, now has He?  And yet we do not chat up Jesus.  We ought to whistling while we go about our jobs, our hobbies, our fellowshipping, and our home chores.  

    That is all for today beloved.  Next time I shall continue on, hopefully at a quicker pace than I have been of late.  Grace and peace by yours on this fine autumn day!

    ~Eric


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    Thu, Oct 13th - 7:56PM

    STUDY IN MATTHEW



    10: And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.

    11: And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, Why does your Master eat with publicans and sinners?

    12: But when Jesus heard them, He said to them, They that be whole do not need a physician, but those that are sick do (9:10-12). 

    It is blatantly evident that the Pharisees did not believe in sitting down and eating with publicans nor with sinners.  Many supposed saints of Christ still have that very same idea today.  How else are we to expose ourselves to unbelievers if we never invite them to come eat with us, or we never go to eat with them?  They are the ones who need to be reached for Christ, they are the ones missing from around Christ's table.  So we need to have some contact with sinners, it is inevitable being a vibrant Christian. 

    But Jesus overheard this conversation and corrected their miscomprehension.  Jesus is the Great Physician and came to heal mankind of their basic problem.  Jesus came to heal those who are spiritually "sick."  We need to be getting ourselves invited to sinners' homes for meals and friendship.  We then are able to bring Jesus to them in a warm and inviting setting. 

    13: But you go and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (9:13).

    Jesus quoted Hosea 6:6 from the Old Testament.  The Pharisees did not understand that they were being included in this statement along with everyone else.  All of us were included in Jesus' declaration of why He came to earth.

    14: Then came to Him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast (9:14)?

    People had obviously been observing Jesus and His followers.  They wanted to know how come they were not fasting at all anymore.  Some of the disciples of Jesus had been with John the Baptist and now they did not fast.  Questions were arising over this issue.  John the Baptist was an "Old Testament" type of prophet.  He came walking from out of the desert to announce the coming of the Messiah and the kingdom of heaven.  Malachi had predicted that a messenger would come ahead of the Messiah to prepare the way for the Christ.  Now Jesus is going to explain a great priniciple and reveal the fact that the dispensation was about to be changed.

    15: And Jesus said to them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shal be taken from them, and then shall they fast (9:15). 

    Today believers need to fast upon occasion, but we have no commandment to do so.  Fasting should be done with the intent that we prostrate ourselves before God because we are in need of His mercy, His help, and His grace.  As long as Jesus was with His disciples they had no need to mourn and fast.  He had not gone away.  Now we need to hear His explanation of the change in dispensations from Old Testament to New Testament.

    16: No man puts a piece of new cloth onto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up takes from the garment, and the rent is made worse.

    17: Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runs out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved (9:16-17). 

    Jesus Christ was telling them through an illustration that the old covenant with the Mosaic Law was ending, and He had not come to defend it nor to continue it.  He had come to provide a new garment, and that new garment was the robe of righteousness which He gives to those who do nothing except trust Him.

    The "bottles" were the wineskins used in that day to store wine in.  The wineskins would stretch out as they were filled with wine.  But to try and refill an emptied out wineskin would cause them to burst open. 

    Jesus was telling them that He had come to present to them a new garment and a new wineskin.  Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). 

    18: While He spoke these thing to them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped Him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay Your hand upon her, and she shall live (9:18).

    Here we come to the eighth an ninth miracles are, in some ways, linked together.  Both are miracles of healing.  Here we have a ruler who comes to Jesus and worships Him and requests that his daughter be brought back to life. 

    19: And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did His disciples.

    20: And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind Him, and touching the hem of His garment.

    21: For she said within herself, If I can but touch His garment, I shall become whole.

    22: But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her, He said, Daughter, be of good comfort; your faith has made you whole.  And the woman became cured in that hour (9:19-22). 

    Now I do not believe that this "certain ruler" is the same as is spoken of in Luke 8.  Jairus came to ask for his daughter to be healed and while asking for that from Jesus his servant arrived and informed him of his daughter's death.  This ruler in Matthew 9 already knew his daughter was dead before he ever spoke to Jesus. 

    Jesus and His disciples got up and went with this ruler, but an ill woman came from behind and dared to touch Jesus' garment.  For twelve years she had had been afflicted with a bleeding disorder.  I can't imagine how she had survived back then.  But she believed Jesus could heal her.  All that she did was touch His clothing, and He felt it!  He stopped, turned around and looked directly into her eyes.  He told her exactly what she had been thinking silently to herself.  Jesus did not even reach out and physically touch her and still she was completely healed of her disease.  Sometimes beloved, sinners simply need to reach out and "touch" Jesus. 

    Now Jesus, His disciples, and the ruler, continue on to the ruler's house.  This miracle will have to wait until next time my friends.  Be at peace with all around you each and every day, if at all possible.  Pray for your adversaries, those who slander you, those who scheme to get your job, those who covet your wife, and those who plot to murder you.  Be like Jesus.

    ~Eric



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    Sun, Oct 9th - 10:23AM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



    15: So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men.
    16: And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented Him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now your hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
    17: And David spoke unto the LORD when he saw the angel that struck the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let Your hand, I pray You, be against me, and against my father's house.
    18: And Gad came that day to David, and said to him, Go up, erect an altar to the LORD in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite (24:15-18).  

    Beloved, those whom God loves, He disciplines, lovingly.  There will be blessings involved with the discipline, but God will correct your behavior and your thinking if He determines that it is necessary.  God alone can bind up the brokenhearted and heal the wounds that are in the deepest regions of your heart.  A physician can sew you up when you have been in a physical accident, but with emotional accidents only God can heal your wounds and make you whole once again.

    We discover here that David was able to discern the approach of the angel who had been sent by God to pass judgment upon Israel for its spiritual sins.  It led him to call out to God for mercy upon the people, not to David falling down and worshipping the angel.  God heard David's cry for mercy upon his people and He gave instructions to Gad.  God could have spoken directly to David but by communicating in this fashion both men could be blessed by the experience.  Gad came and instructed David on what he must do to demonstrate his faith.  

    19: And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded.
    20: And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground.
    21: And Araunah said, Why is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor from you, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people (24:19-21).  

    Araunah was not an Israelite, he was a Jebusite.  But the important thing to keep in mind throughout this passage is that David recognized his sin and pleaded on the behalf of his people for God to withhold judgment upon them for his sins.  David's submission and acknowledgment of his trespasses against God gained him reconciliation with God.  

    God’s encouraging us to offer to Him spiritual sacrifices is a comfortable evidence of His reconciling us to Himself.  We learn that peace is made between God and sinners by sacrifice, and not otherwise, even by Christ the great propitiation, of whom all the legal sacrifices were types.  When God’s judgments are graciously withheld we ought to acknowledge it with thankfulness to His praise. This altar was to be for thank-offerings. See Isaiah 12:1.  The purchase which David made of the ground in order to erect an altar was a necessity. It seems the owner was a Jebusite, Araunah by name, converted no doubt to the Jewish religion, though by birth a Gentile, and therefore allowed, not only to dwell among the Israelites, but to have a possession of his own in a city, Leviticus 25:29, 30. The piece of ground was a threshing-floor, a mean place, yet thus dignified—a place of labor, therefore thus dignified.  

    David went in person to the owner, to reason with him. See his justice, that he would not so much as use this place in the present demand, though the proprietor was an alien, though he himself was a king, and though he had express orders from God to raise an altar there, until he had bought it and paid for it. God hates robbery for burnt-offering. See his humility, how far he was from taking state; though a king, he was now a penitent, and therefore, in token of his self-abasement, he neither sent for Araunah to come to him nor sent another to deal with him, but went himself (v. 19), and, though it looked like a poor reflection of himself, he lost no honor by it. Araunah, when he saw him, went and bowed himself to the ground before him v. 20. Great men will never be the less respected for their humility, but the more. 

    22: And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.
    23: All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD Your God accept you.
    24: And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it from you at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which does cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
    25: And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel (24:22-25).
     
     Araunah, when he understood his King's business (v. 21), generously offered him, not only the ground to build his altar on, but oxen for sacrifices, and other things that might be of use to him in the service (v. 22), and all this gratis, and a good prayer into the bargain: The Lord Your God accept you!  This he did, (1.) Because he had a generous spirit with a great estate. He gave as a king (v. 23); though an ordinary subject, he had the spirit of a prince. In the Hebrew it is, He gave, even the king to the king, whence it is supposed that Araunah had been king of the Jebusites in that place, or was descended from their royal family, though now a tributary to David.  (2.) Because he highly esteemed David, though his conqueror, upon the score of his personal merits, and never thought he could do too much to oblige him. (3.) Because he had an affection for Israel, and earnestly desired that the plague might be stayed; and the honor of its being stayed at his threshing-floor, he would account a valuable consideration for all he now tendered to David.  

    David resolved to pay the full value of it, and did so, v. 24. Here were two generous souls well met. Araunah is very willing to give; but David is determined to buy, and for a good reason: he will not offer that to God which costs him nothing. He would not take advantage of the pious Jebusite’s generosity. He thanked him, no doubt, for his kind offer, but paid him fifty shekels of silver for the floor and the oxen for the present service, and afterwards 600 shekels of gold for the ground adjoining, to build the temple on. Note, people do not know what religion is whose chief care it is to make it cheap and easy to themselves, and who are best pleased with that which costs them least pains or money. What have we our substance for but to honor God with it? and how can it be better bestowed?  

    The building of the altar, and the offering of the proper sacrifices upon it (v. 25), burnt-offerings to the glory of God’s justice in the execution that had been done, and peace-offerings to the glory of His mercy in the seasonable staying of the process. Here God showed (it is supposed by fire from heaven consuming the sacrifices) that He was entreated for the land, and that it was in mercy that the plague was removed and in token of God’s being reconciled both to prince and people. Christ is our altar, our sacrifice; in Him alone we may expect to find favor with God, to escape His wrath, and the sword, the flaming sword, of the cherubim who keep the way of the tree of life.  

    May God have mercy on all those people today who are taking a spiritual free ride.  Friends, pay your way, and God will honor and bless you because of your sacrifices.  David's actions here were the result of heart-searching:  Are we also attempting to give to God that which costs us nothing?  God forgive us for being stingy with Him.  May we all give as David gave---a man after God's own heart.

    ~Eric


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    Fri, Oct 7th - 7:16PM

    STUDY IN MATTHEW



    Previously in our study of the Book of Matthew we found six miracles in chapter eight which demonstrated that the King has the dynamic, the power, to enforce the ethic He has pronounced, and this next chapter will continue this same train of thought.

     1: And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city.

     2: And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick with the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said to the man sick with palsy: Son, be of good cheer; your sins be forgiven you (9:1-2).

    In Capernaum Jesus heals a man afflicted with the palsy.  We are not given very many details in this account, but in the Book of Mark we receive many more details of what happened.  We have here an instance of physical healing partnered with forgiveness of sins. 

     3: And, behold, certain of the scribes said to themselves, This man blasphemes.

     4: And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Why do you think evil in your hearts (9:3-4)? 

    These scribes obviously were of the opinion that Christ could not enable this sick man to walk.  But Jesus knew their thoughts and the wickedness in their hearts, He asked them that question in verse four.  We are about to see that none of them answered His question, but if they had they would have had to say, "Well, for us, one is as great as the other."  Both were equally impossible for man to accomplish whereas for God it was a simple matter.

     5: For whether it is easier, to say, Your sins be forgiven you; or to say, Arise, and walk?

     6: But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins, (then He said to the sick with the palsy,) Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.

     7: And he arose, and departed to his house (9:5-7). 

    The point was plainly made to the scribes.  When the palsied man arose, picked up his bed, and walked away it meant that the One who could make him walk was the One who could forgive his sins.

    You and I can't forgive sins, only God can do that.  And here Jesus forgave sins, meaning that He is God.  Since we can't forgive sins we have a very hard time making a man able to walk when he can't.  Because Satan is the deceiver, we must investigate faith healings to make sure that they are of God. 

     8: But when the multitude saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

     9: And as Jesus passed out from there, He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of customs:  and He said to him, Follow me.  And the man arose, and followed Him (9:8-9). 

    Here we discover the author of this Book being called to Christ.  Matthew was a friend of the publicans, but here he modestly passes over his own calling.  In Luke 5:27-29 we are given more details of this dinner which is upcoming, and evidently the incident which follows here in this account in Matthew took place at this dinner.  Matthew invited many of his friends because he wanted then to be impressed that Jesus Christ was known personally by him.  Do we ever attempt to impress others that way today?  Whenever we begin doing that we are guilty of status seeking.

    Next time we are going to find out about what happened at that dinner at Matthew's home.  I will hopefully cover the parable that follows, the one about the old garment and old bottles.  See you back here!  Grace and peace of Christ our Lord be with you.

    ~Eric 



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    Thu, Oct 6th - 10:00PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



     1: And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
     2: For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, God now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number the people, that I may know the number of the people (24:1-2).  

    Was this an actual sin on David’s part?  Or was it God moving David so that He could judge Israel and Judah?  Clearly, in the beginning God instructed David to number the people.  I believe it was so that David would be encouraged and strengthened.

     3: And Joab said unto the king, Now the LORD your God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why does my lord the king delight in this thing?
     4: Notwithstanding the king's word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel.
     5: And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that lies in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer:
     6: Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtimhodshi; and they came to Danjaan, and about to Zidon,
     7: And came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beersheba (24:3-7).

    We have the general path of the census takers given to us here.  This was to be a thorough census.

     8: So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
     9: And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men (24:8-9).

    Almost an entire year was used to count all of the able bodied men.  But David was able to know that he had over one million men at his disposal.  Beloved, faith is not a leap in the dark.  It is not a gamble.  Faith is not a “hope so.”  It is a sure thing.  God never asks you to believe in something that is not true.  Faith rests upon a rock, a sure foundation.  The Lord Jesus Christ is that foundation.  

    But there is a time in your life when you need to live and move by faith and to recognize that you can’t live by your own efforts or by numbers.  Unfortunately, the church today has not learned to trust God.  As a result, at the congregational meetings the spiritual victories are rarely, if ever, mentioned.  We mention how much we have in our treasury, how many we baptized this past year, how much we expanded our building, and how many members we added to membership.  We tend to believe that numbers that look pretty good affirm great spiritual victories.  Many times “good numbers” may have been the absolute worst thing that could have happened in a church. 

    It can be argued that David sinned by numbering the people.  Why?  He is an older man who knows that God has put a firm foundation beneath his feet, and he knows he can overcome his enemies through faith in God.  Tracking the numbers can cause us to stop trusting in God and to stop doing spiritual works.  It can cause us to become focused solely upon the physical world and to lose sight of the need to teach believers about God and His plan for their lives.

    10: And David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people.  And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech You, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant; for I have done very foolishly.
    11: For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 
    12: Go and say to David, Thus says the LORD, I offer you three things; choose one of them, that I may do it for you.
    13: So Gad came to David, and told him, and said to him, Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land?  Or will you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you?  Or that there be three days’ pestilence in your land?  Now advise, and see what answer I shall return to Him that sent me (24:10-13). 

    God understood why David felt this way.  So He provided David with three choices to pay for this sin of his.  David was told to choose one of them, and he refused to!  Instead he asked for something else.

    14: And David said to Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for His mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man (24:14).  

    David knew he could trust God, so he requested to fall into the hand of God.  He did not want to be subject to any man.  Oh, that more pastors today were not beholden to other men and were completely trusting in God.  Then they might be free to preach boldly from the pulpit.

    Grace and peace be with you this day.

    ~Eric



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    Sat, Oct 1st - 10:18PM

    II SAMUEL STUDY



     9: And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:
    10: He arose, and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil (23:9-10).  

    These were outstanding men in many ways and did remarkable things.  They were able to do remarkable things through faith in Jehovah.  They believed in God.  

    11: And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.
    12: But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.
    13: And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.
    14: And David was then in a hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
    15: And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate (23:11-15)!

    Defending lentils doesn't sound very heroic, but Israel obviously needed that source of food.  The Philistines had been waiting until the Israeli crops were ready to be harvested then came to ravage, plunder, and rob.  In this recorded instance all of the civilians who worked the fields fled in fear, except for Shammah.  This mighty man stopped, drew his sword, and defended the field of lentils.  It says that the LORD wrought a great victory, not Shammah.  We then read of how three of the thirty chief military men went down to Bethlehem to see David.  They hear their king longing for a drink of water from the well in Bethlehem which is controlled by the Philistines at this point in time.  What will these men do?

    16: And the three mighty men broke through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.
    17: And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men (23:16-17). 

    These three men decided to go and get some of the water from that well and bring it back so that their king could drink from it!  David never gave the command for anyone to go and do this for him, he simply expressed his longing.  They were loyal, experienced, and dedicated to serving their king.  Are we?  Think about the command that Jesus Christ gave in Matthew 28:19-20 to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  Think about all of the mighty men and women who have broken through the enemy lines and taken the gospel to those who needed to hear the truth.

    18: And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.
    19: Was he not most honorable of three? therefore he was their captain: however he attained not unto the first three.
    20: And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:
    21: And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear.
    22: These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.
    23: He was more honorable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard (23:18-23).

    We have already read about Abishai and some of his exploits.  He had become the captain of the thirty mighty men due to his honor.  Then we find out a bit more about Benaiah.  Through his exploits he became set in charge of the king's guard.

    24: Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
    25: Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,
    26: Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,
    27: Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,
    28: Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,
    29: Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin,
    30: Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash,
    31: Abialbon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,
    32: Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,
    33: Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite,
    34: Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,
    35: Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,
    36: Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,
    37: Zelek the Ammonite, Nahari the Beerothite, armorbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah,
    38: Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite,
    39: Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.

    Here we are given the list of the thirty chief military men in David's army.  There are also seven extra men named here for their bravery and accomplishments on the battlefield.  Ironically, we find listed here the man that David sent to the front lines for the express purpose to kill him:  Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba's husband.  

    That completes chapter 23 and leads us into the final chapter of II Samuel and the final 25 verses of this particular book of the Bible.  The final chapter records another sin which was committed by David.  It also gives an account of how God responded to this sin and dealt with it.  Some rather important historical events and geographical points are revealed in these final verses so we must cover them.

    May God's grace reside with you, may His peace enfold you in its embrace.

    ~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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