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Divine Sugar Sticks for July 2001

Need a quick spiritual energy boost? Here's just what you need ... Divine Sugar Sticks. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

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Sunday, July 1, 2001

Is the Spiritual Life Necessary?

There are three things that will prevent us from being disciples of the Lord.

  1. Devotion to self.
  2. Ambition for self.
  3. Desire of possession of this world’s goods.

Our devotion, loyalty to Christ, must come ahead of devotion to our family. Our ambition for Christ must supercede ambition for self.

We should not lay up treasures for ourselves on Earth. Rather, let us lay up treasures for ourselves in Heaven. That is the sensible thing to do because we are going to spend more time in Heaven than we will be able to spend on Earth.

God said if we do not do these things we cannot be His disciples.

We cannot have the spiritual life and that is the cost.

Is the Spiritual Life Necessary?

Our Lord tells us in Luke 12:22-31, we are to take no thought, or not to be anxious, or worry, about our lives, that is, what we eat or put on our bodies, because He will provide all these things when we seek first the kingdom of God, or put Him first.

There is nothing wrong with money or possessions, but these possessions and money should be used to glorify the Lord. If we are using money to lay up treasures for ourselves, we are putting money first, and we cannot serve God and mammon – the God of abundance.

Paul instructing the Church tells us in Phil 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

So, our primary goal in life should be to seek things of Christ first, and if we do, God will supply our needs. This is not saying that we shouldn’t protect our loved ones if we can. Everyone who can should protect his loved ones. Of course, there are those who don’t. But the Lord tells us if we don’t provide for our loved ones, we are worse than infidels, unbelievers. We should provide for the necessities of life.

But accumulating abundance for ourselves and neglecting to use our money to glorify the Lord is wrong, We cannot have the spiritual life as long as we covet possessions for ourselves.

”In the latter days perilous times shall come. Men shall be lovers of pleasure, lovers of money, lovers of self, more than lovers of God.”

Is the Spiritual Life Necessary?

“So likewise, whomsoever be he of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.”

Here we find that we must be willing to forsake all that we have, speaking of possessing this world’s goods. If we put possession of this world’s goods first, we cannot be His disciples. We cannot walk the spiritual life, a life motivated by God the Holy Spirit, if we are selfish. We covet possessions for ourselves rather than desiring to help others.

Our Lord reveals very plainly our attitude toward the world’s goods in Matt 6:19-21, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon Earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.”

Verse 24, “No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” – meaning gods of abundance, a pagan god.

This is not criticizing abundance, It is just to point out that man’s life does not consist of the abundance of things which he possesses.

Is the Spiritual Life Necessary?

“And whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.”

Our ambition for self has to be second to our ambition for the Lord.

The phrase “bear his cross” has to do with ambition for self. As long as I am seeking to make a place for myself in this world, as long as I am seeking power for myself, I cannot be my Lord’s disciple. Because I am putting myself first, not the Lord.

Ambition for self must come second. I cannot walk the spiritual life, I cannot live the life motivated and energized by God the Holy Spirit as long as I am seeking a place of power and prominence in this world for myself.

My life is a life motivated by selfishness, by the flesh, instead of a life motivated by God the Holy Spirit. A lot of people fulfill the letter of the law, but remember we find that ”the letter of the law killeth” and “it is the Spirit that quickeneth.”

My devotion to Christ must come first, and my ambition must be taken off of self and placed on the Lord. Our drive must not be to seek a place of prominence or power for ourselves, but rather should desire to seek a place of prominence for the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Cost and the Value

When we ask ourselves the question, “Is spiritual life necessary?” we must be able to estimate the cost of spiritual life and the value of spiritual life.

Let us consider the true meaning of these words of our Lord. Luke 14:25-33. In the 26th verse we find that our devotion to the Lord must come first. ”If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”

If a man allows love for his loved ones, or love for his own life, to conflict with his loyalty to Christ, he cannot be our Lord’s disciple.

God doesn’t tell you not to love your family because he says just the opposite. This is not a contradiction. The word “hate” used here does not mean what we use the same word today to imply. It means to disregard as far as loyalty to Christ is concerned.

Our devotion to Christ must come first. If our love for loved ones supercedes our loyalty to Christ, we cannot be Christ’s disciple. We cannot have the spiritual life. To have a life dominated and influenced entirely by God the Holy Spirit is to lead the spiritual life.

There are many people today trying to obey God’s Word and live the spiritual life. They are trying to force themselves to be spiritual. But spiritual life must begin in the soul. It must begin with devotion to Christ. Man looks from without, but God looks within the soul of man. Decisions begin in the mentality of the soul and in the volition of the soul.

The spiritual life is the life that is energized by God the Holy Spirit, not the life motivated by what we think we should do or what we think other people expect of us.

“JEHOVAH NISSI” – The Lord is My Banner – July 4th Special – Part One

  1. Israel’s enemy. Who are the Amalekites?

    The Amalekites are the descendants of Amalek, a grandson of Esau. We are told it in Genesis 36:12. Then they were direct descendants of Isaac. Yet they became the persistent and hereditary enemies of Israel, “a thorn in the flesh,” and a constant menace to their spiritual and natural life.

    Balaam calls them the first of the nations, Num 24:20, that is to oppose Israel. They were a numerous and powerful people. It might have been expected that, as closely related to Israel as they were, they would have afforded help instead of opposition. Yet they opposed Israel in a most mean and cowardly way.

    Years later Moses called upon Israel to “Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way as ye came forth out of Egypt, how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindermost of thee, all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary, and he feared not God,” Deut 25:17-18.

    God had bidden him write in a book the words, “For I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under Heaven.” And “JEHOVAH hath sworn that Jehovah will have war with Amalek from generation to generation,” Exodus 17:14-16.

    For “the face of JEHOVAH is against them that do evil, to cut off their memory from the Earth.”

    “Jehovah Nissi” – The Lord is My Banner – The Amalekites – Part Two

  2. Centuries later the Samuel came to king Saul with a commission from JEHOVAH “to utterly destroy the Amalekities with all their possessions so that not a trace of them or theirs should be remain,” 1 Sam 15:3.

    The failure of king Saul to carry out to destroy the Amalekites, 1 Sam 15:2, 3, led to his own rejection and death, 1 Sam 15:26-28. When he lay mortally wounded on the battle field of Mount Gilboa, a young man, a stranger, came to him. Saul urgently requested this young man to put an end to him for he knew he could not live, and did not wish to fall into the hands of his conquerors while yet alive. 2 Sam 1:1-16. By the bitter irony of a just retribution, this young man was “an Amalekite.” The sinful thing which Saul had spared, now returned to slay him.

    Not until the days of king Hezekiah was the command finally carried out that “the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped were smitten,” 1 Chr 4:43. This is no doubt one reason why Hezekiah was favored by JEHOVAH.

    Yet it is highly probable that Haman, who a thousand years after Moses, almost accomplished the total destruction of all the Jews in Persia. As told in the book of Esther, “Haman the Agagite,” as he is called is a descendant of king Agag of the Amalekites, whom Ssaul in his foolish disobedience sought to spare alive.

    The Amalekites were at that time living with their flocks and herds in the vicinity of Rephidim. Moved by suspicion, jealousy, and fear, they resented the presence of such a multitude of strange people in the wilderness and were determined to prevent their passage through it. Thus they opposed the purpose and plan of God. They had first carried on a sort of harassing, guerilla campaign against Israel. Then apparently they came out against them in pitched battle.

    Next time: Israel’s triumph and JEHOVAH NISSI, the Lord is my Banner.

The Value of the Spiritual Life!

What will we gain?

First of all, we will have peace, and what a blessing that is! Remember the legacy our Lord left to His disciples, to you and to me, as He was leaving this world to be with His Father. ”Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” John 14:27.

There is the legacy our Lord left to His children, to you and to me. We will have that peace if we will live the spiritual life.

Second, we find the joy of answered prayer. Certainly we need that! “And in that day ye shall ask of Me nothing. Verily, verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full,” John 16:23-24.

Third, we find assurance. How we need that! God’s children today are in great need of assurance. Paul had assurance. “For the which cause I also suffer these things, nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against the day,” 2 Tim 1:12.

Paul didn’t worry about anything and the reason why Paul didn’t worry was that he had nothing to worry about because he knew Whom he believed.

The Value of the Spiritual Life!

Forth we have satisfaction. We will have a satisfied life, and what a blessing that is!

Psa 36:7-8, “How precious is Thy lovingkindness, O God, therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.”

There we find a satisfied life.

Is there anything else you need? Well, the Lord will supply that, too. “Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light,” Matt 11:28-29.

All of us need rest and we have it when we live the spiritual life.

Wise Men Still Seek Him!

From the eastern mountains
Pressing on they come,
Wise men in their wisdom
To His humble home.
Stirred by deep devotion
Hasting from afar,
Ever journeying onward
Guided by a star.
Light of light that shineth
Before the world began,
Draw thou near, and lighten
Every soul of man.

There their Lord and Saviour
Meek and lowly lay,
Wondrous light that led them
Onward on their way.
Ever now to lighten
Nations from afar,
As they journey homeward
By that guiding star.
Light of light that shineth
Before the world began,
Draw thou near, and lighten
Every soul of man.

Thou who in a manger
Once hast lowly lain,
Who dost now in glory
Over all kingdoms reign,
Gather in the heathen
Who in lands afar,
Never have seen the brightness
Of Thy guiding star.
Light of light that shineth
Before the world began,
Draw Thou near, and lighten
Every soul of man.

Gather in the outcasts
And whoever has gone astray,
Throw Thy radiance over them
Guide them on their way.
Those who never knew Thee
Those who have wandered far,
Lead them by the brightness
Of Thy guiding star.
Light of light that shineth
Before the world began,
Draw Thou near, and lighten
Every soul of man.

Onward through the darkness
Of the lonely night,
Shining still before them
With Thy kindly light.
Guide them Jew and Gentile
Homeward from afar,
Young and old together
By Thy guiding star.
Light of light that shineth
Before the world began,
Draw Thou near, and lighten
Every soul of man.

Until every nation
Whether bond or free,
Neath Thy starlight banner
Lord, follows Thee.
Over the distant mountains
To the heavenly home,
Where no sin or sorrow
Evermore shall come.
Light of light that shineth
Before the world began,
Draw Thou near, and lighten
Every soul of man.

Monday, July 2, 2001

“TETELESTAI” – “It is Finished,” John 19:30

”It is finished!” Christ hath known,
All the life of men wayfaring,
Human joys and sorrows sharing,
Making human needs His own.
Lord, to us Thy life renewing
Lead us where Thy feet have trod,
Till, the way of Truth pursuing,
Human souls find rest in God.

”It is finished!” Christ is slain,
On the altar of creation,
Offering for a world’s salvation,
Sacrifice of love and pain.
Lord, Thy love through pain revealing,
Purge our passions, scourge our vice,
Till upon the tree of healing,
Self is slain in sacrifice.

”It is finished!” Christ our King
Wins the victor’s crown of glory,
Sun and stars recite His story,
Floods and fields His triumph sing.
Lord, whose praise this world is telling,
Lord, to whom all power is given,
By Thy death, hell’s armies quelling,
Bring Thy saints to reign in Heaven.

“JEHOVAH NISSI” – The Lord is My Banner! – July 4th Special – Part Three

Israel’s triumph

Strange to say, there appears to be have been no fear or confusion among Israel in such a crisis. Perhaps the recent miracle of the water from the rock had overawed them and inspired them with confidence and trust. Perhaps it was easier to fight a tangible foe of flesh and blood after the terrors of the wilderness with its hunger and thirst and weariness. At any rate, no hint is given of alarm or confusion.

Moses calmly orders Joshua to chose men and go out and fight Amalek. These enemies of God’s people, the masters of this peninsula of Sinai, thought, no doubt, to prevail easily over this newly-freed slave rabble without supplies, without arms, without knowledge of the country. For Israel was indeed an ill-equipped, ill-disciplined, inexperienced mob going out against a well-armed and experienced foe. But Amalek little knew the secret source of the calm and courage of God’s people.

Two other factors, at least, must have contributed to this confidence. The first is the man Joshua, whom Moses chose to lead the expedition. A man of inflexible purpose, of indomitable courage, an able leader and soldier. His name had originally been Hoshea, a prince of the tribe of Ephraim, Num 13:8. Hoshea means to give deliverance or help. But in Num 13:16 we read that Moses changed his name from Hoshea to Joshua, which means JEHOVAH is help or salvation.

Whether this change was before or as a result of this event we do not know, but he must have been a man to inspire confidence and courage. We know he was a man of faith, for he with Caleb, were the only two of the 12 spies who brought back an encouraging report of the Promised Land they were sent to spy out.

The second factor was, of course, Moses himself, now vindicated and honored in the eyes of the people after smiting the rock with his rod to bring the waters gushing out of it. In order to encourage Joshua and his men, Moses promises to take his position upon a hill with his rod, the rod of God, in his hand. In the account we are told that as long as Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and when his hand was lowered, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were supported and Israel was finally victorious and the defeat of Amalek complete.

That is how the name JEHOVAH NISSI came into being. The Lord is my Banner!

“JEHOVAH NISSI” – The Lord is My Banner! – July 4th Special – Part Four

Israel’s triumph

Moses standing upon a hill with uplifted hands has generally been thought of as interceding with God for the vindication of God’s cause in the victory of His people. This factor of intercession suggested by upraised hands was no doubt present and important in Moses’ attitude. But there was something much more important than that.

For in Moses’ hand was the rod of God, the God-given rod, the wonder-working rod, the rod which brought the terrible plagues upon Egypt, which opened a path through the Red Sea for the deliverance of Israel, and brought the waters closing down in destruction upon God’s enemies.

It was the rod of God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm, the rod of “ELOHIM.” And how significant is this use of the Name denoting His creative glory, indicating His might, sovereignty. This is the general Name of God, the Name especially used in relationship to the nations, represented here by Amalek, as distinguished from “Jehovah” in relationship especially to Israel.

Then it is the “ELOHIM” here, with the definite article, the only ELOHIM, denoting whether Amalek acknowledged it or not, He was God.

”It is the rod, as the banner of God” which brought the victory. What then was the meaning of Amalek’s success when it was lowered and Israel’s success when it was raised?

It was to sharply emphasize and deeply impress upon Israel’s warring soldiers and her watching anxious host, “That upon God alone depended and to Him belonged the victory.” That under His raised banner victory was always assured. No matter what the odds then, for in Moses’ own words, “Five should chase a hundred and a hundred should chase ten thousand,” Lev 26:8. That rod was the symbol and pledge of His presence and power and working.

A banner in ancient times was not necessarily a flag such as we use nowadays. Often it was a bare pole with a bright shining ornament that glittered in the sun. The word here for “banner” means to glisten among other things. It is translated variously, pole, ensign, standard, and among the Jews it is also a word for miracle.

”As an ensign or standard, it was a signal to God’s people to rally to Him.” It stood for “His cause, His battle.” It was a sign of deliverance, of salvation, as we shall see by the use of the word for the pole on which the brazen serpent was raised in the wilderness.

It is the word used by the psalmist as “lift up” in the expression, “Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us,” Psa 4:6.

So, “Joshua,” that is, “Jehovah is salvation,” the rod of ELOHIM held aloft. In Moses’ upraised hand as God’s banner over them, and the light of His countenance upon them, these were Israel’s victory.

Next the welfare of the saints and JEHOVAH NISSI.

Christian Progress!

Phil 3:12-14, “Not as though I already attained, either were already made perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

  1. Wherein we make progress.
    A. In our views of the excellence of Christianity.
    B. In our love to God and Christ.
    C. In holiness.
    D. In heavenly mindedness.
  2. The necessity of this progress is seen.
    A. In the frequency with which the Christian life is compared to a warfare and a race.
    B. In the urgent commands of God.
    C. In the nature of Christianity to which progress is indispensable.
  3. The means.
    A. A firm belief that Divine influences may be obtained at all times, and to the full extent of our wants, by humble, earnest prayer.
    B. Constant application of the Word of God.
    C. A continual view of the Cross.
    D. A constant vision of the prize.
    E. A study of eminent examples.

“Not by Works of Righteousness Which We Have Done!”

Notice here the reality of salvation!

We find that salvation is totally unmerited!

All through the ages, man has shown his need and longing for a salvation and his earnest desire to be right with God. But, unfortunately, man ever sought to accomplish this end by his own unaided efforts. It was through the desire to be independent that man fell.

Almost ever since that day, man has tried with the same independence of God to get back to the Divine presence. That is, of course, impossible. We remember that sin affects every part of the moral man, therefore, we know if man is to be saved, it has to be done outside of his works.

All mankind is divided into two classes – those who try to win God’s favor by merit, or work, and those who are utterly distrustful of self and human merit, who say, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the Cross I cling.”

There are two classes that began right outside of the Garden of Eden with Cain and Abel.

“According to His Mercy He Saved Us”

We find also that salvation is Divinely merciful

Salvation, if it is to be effectual, must of necessity be Divine. It must be the work of God and no one else. This is the burden of Christianity.

”Salvation is of the Lord”

God our Saviour is one of the most remarkable titles of the Divine Being. It is of His mercy alone that salvation has been brought to man.

There is nothing in man to merit it or deserve it. But God, in His own mercy, came to our rescue and saved us in Christ with an everlasting salvation. That is a Truth that we must ever be conscious of. There is nothing in man to merit salvation. There is nothing in man that deserves salvation.

But God, in His own mercy, came to our rescue and saved us in Christ with an everlasting salvation. Man didn’t cry out to God to send His Son. Mankind was against God when He sent His Son.

It was the need of man that touched the heart of God. God in His Divine mercy sent His Son that we might have everlasting salvation.

“By the Washing of Regeneration and Renewing of the Holy Spirit”

Another thing we find in Titus 3:5 is that salvation is absolutely complete. He saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. In these words we are told very plainly of the perfection of God’s salvation.

It starts with regeneration, which is the gift of God’s new life, which accomplishes the washing and cleansing of forgiveness. We are a new creation. We are now “born of God.” We are of His household. The whole picture has changed.

”Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” That has to do with relationship.

We are now of the family of God.
We are in the household of God.
We are now children of God.
We are heirs of God.
We are joint-heirs with Christ.
We belong to Him. It is complete.

We are a new creation. We are no longer in the old creation. The old man that was born of earthly parents died with Christ. We become a new creation in Christ. We are an entirely new creation. Certainly we can see here that it is complete.

He saved us by the washing of regeneration.

July 4th – Independence Day!

Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ever within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned,
From wandering on a foreign stand?
If so there breathe, go, mark him well,
For him no minstrel raptures swell,
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim.
Despite those titles, power and pelf,
The wretched, concentrated all in self.
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprang
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.

Titus 3:6, “Which He Shed on us Abundantly Through Jesus Christ our Saviour.”

We find in this verse that salvation is gloriously “abundant.” How we need to be ever conscious of that blessed Truth.

God’s gifts are always in abundance. God’s salvation is poured on us in wealth and abundance to meet every need. Yet many of us, I am afraid, have lost sight of that blessed Truth. That His salvation for you and me meets abundantly ever need that might come into our lives.

”And we have received Grace upon Grace,” literally, “Grace heaped upon Grace.”

There is salvation from the ignorance of sin through the Divine knowledge.
There is salvation from the guilt of sin through the Divine righteousness.
There is salvation from the bondage of sin through Divine redemption.
There is salvation from the defilement of sin through Divine holiness.
There is salvation from the weakness of sin through Divine power.
There is salvation from the degradation of sin through the Divine glory.
There is salvation from the enmity of sin through Divine fellowship.

In the life to come, salvation from the very presence of sin is the crown and culmination of God’s marvelous provision.

Tuesday, July 3, 2001

Titus 3:7, “That Being Justified by Faith …”

Notice the experience of salvation. What does it do for us in our personal experience? That is important. We have seen that God is the Author of our salvation. Now notice what it does for us in our personal experience.

First it gives us a new position. – ”Being justified by faith.”

Justification means the restoring of the position that man lost through sin. It is the reinstatement of man to the position that man held before the fall. But even more than that, it implies the removal of the guilt of sin.

It implies the removal of the condemnation of sin. It is the Divine righteousness covering the sinner and the Divine Grace regarding that sinner as righteous in the eyes of God’s Holy Law.

God declares us righteous. When He declares us righteous, we know then that the guilt of sin has been removed, the condemnation of sin has been removed, separation caused by sin has been removed. We have been restored in right relationship with God. The new position is the position we stand before God, without sin or guilt, because God has declared us righteous.

It is wonderful to recognize the Truth that we can go straight into the presence of God without fear of condemnation because He has justified us by His Grace.

Yes, the guilt of sin has been removed.
The condemnation of sin has been removed.
The separation caused by sin has been removed.

And now we stand righteous in the eyes of God and in the eyes of God’s Holy Law.

“That Being Justified by His Grace, We Should be Made Heirs,” Titus 3:7

Secondly, salvation not only give us a new position, but it also gives us a new privilege.

What a glorious privilege is this to be heirs already enjoying in part the wealth of God’s Grace and the heritage of His mercy and faith.

Too few of us, I am afraid, recognize that Truth. Too many of God’s children today feel that it is only when they get to Heaven that they can enjoy the privilege of this position of being in the family of God. Consequently, they lose the sense of the value of their salvation today. They lose the blessedness that God wants them to have. We have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ. But how many of us recognize that Truth?

The privilege of prayer, the privilege of knowing that we are under His eye at all times, under His protection, the privilege of knowing that we are His sheep and He is our Good Shepherd ever watching to guide us and supply our needs. To watch over us, help us, guard us, and protect us are spiritual blessings we can enjoy now. Few are conscious of the blessedness of knowing He is our High Priest interceding for us.

We don’t have to die before we enjoy the privilege of our new position in Christ. We should enjoy it today. And the thing that makes it possible is faith.

Faith is essential to enjoy the salvation we have, just as faith is essential to mankind in this world today. Every human being has faith in something. If we are going to enjoy the Christian life as God wants us to, we must have faith.

”The just,” those that have been justified, “shall walk” and live “by faith.”

“That Being Justified by His Grace, We Should be Made Heirs According to the Hope of Eternal Life,” Titus 3:7

Salvation not only gives us a new position and a new privilege, but it also gives us a new possession. It is eternal life. Eternal life in connection with Christianity means the personal experience with God.

John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they might know Thee, the only True God and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent.”

The greatest possession of Divine life takes place not when we die, but now.

John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.”

We find the words is past from death unto life. We already have that new life.

So, you see the salvation of God, which is merciful, which is complete, which is abundant, gives us a new position which automatically gives us a new possession.

“Made Heirs According to the Hope of Eternal Life,” Titus 3:7

Here we find hope. It gives us a new prospect of life. It gives us hope. Here is one thing that a lot of us lose sight of. Hope in the New Testament is always associated with the Lord’s coming, “the Blessed Hope.”

That is one of the reasons I feel there are so many Christians today that do not have hope of eternal life. There has been removed from the teaching and preaching that they hear Sunday after Sunday, the coming of our Lord. Any one who truly has faith in the coming of the Lord has that hope.

So, as we look over these verses, we think of the Author of salvation. We see His Divine Grace, His Divine philanthropy, His Divine mercy. Then we can certainly place Him as the Foundation of our trust and the assurance of our faith.

When we recognize the reality of salvation, we realize it is entirely unmerited. It is Divinely merciful. It is abundantly complete and gloriously abundant.

When we meditate and realize it gives us a new position, which gives us a new privilege, which gives us a new possession, which results in a new prospect of life, we have the hope of eternal life.

And all of this is yours, if you will just believe.

“Let Everyone Purpose in His Own Mind What He Should Give”

Here we come with gladness
Gifts of love to bring,
Praising Him who loves us,
Christ our Saviour-King.

Small may be the offering,
But the Lord will use
Every gift we bring Him,
None will He refuse.

More and more for Christ
May we gladly give.
Giving, giving, giving,
Is the only way to live.

July 4th and Christian Soldiers!

Oft in danger, oft in woe,
Onward, Christian, onward go.
Bear the toil, maintain the strife,
Strengthened with the Bread of life.

Onward, Christian, onward go,
Join the army, and fight the foe.
Will ye flee in danger’s hour?
Know ye not your Captain’s power?

Let your drooping hearts be glad,
March in heavenly armor clad.
Fight, not think the battle long
Victory soon shall tune your song.

Let not sorrow dim your eye
Soon shall every tear be dry.
Let not fears your courage impede
Great your strength, if great your need.

Onward then in battle move,
More than conquerors ye shall prove.
Though opposed by many a foe,
Christian soldiers, onward go.

“They have taken away my Lord and I know not where they laid Him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?”

Her sorrow was so tremendous that it blinded her to her Lord. She was right with Him, looking at Him, yet her sorrow blinded her to the glory of God which was in our Lord.

And Jesus saith unto her, “Why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She supposed Him to be the gardener.”

She didn’t even recognize Him because her sorrow blinded her to the point, “She said unto Him, Sir, if Thou hast borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him and I will take Him away.”

Here is the answer! Jesus said unto her, “Mary.” What happened then? “She turned herself and said unto Him, Rabboni, which is to say 'Master'.”

She was so blinded by fear, by sorrow, because she loved the Lord that she didn’t even recognize her Lord when she saw Him face to face.

What had to happen? She had to hear the Lord speak to her personally, “Mary.”

We are the same. “Lazarus, come forth.”

Personal Relationship/Personal Study

When we study the Word of God, we must remember the Lord is speaking to us personally. Look at it personally. Don’t look at it in the abstract.

God is speaking to you. It is directed to you. These promises are written for you.

When you hear the Lord’s voice speaking to you personally, in His Word, you are going to find, like Mary, sorrow is going to leave. And you are going to see the glory of the Lord.

There is going to be an understanding, because He is the Light of this world. Your Bible is God’s Word to you. When you read it, do you hear His voice speaking to you? Instructing you? Giving you light of understanding?

”The entrance of Thy Word giveth light.”

Well, you should, for the entrance of His Word gives us light as we find in Psalm 119:130.

Psalm 112:4-8, “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: He is Gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man showth favour, and lendeth: He will guide his affairs with discretion (that is, with judgment). Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.”

There is one other thing we find Christians being blinded to, and unable to see the glory of the Lord. And that is self. Have you ever stopped to realize that an unselfish man, an unselfish Christian, is a Christian who always has understanding? Now what kind of man is that here spoken of in Psa 112:4?

That is the man, the upright man, in “whom there ariseth light in darkness.” An unselfish man is a man with understanding.

”The Lord God is a Sun and a Shield, and He gives Grace and glory, and there is no good thing He will withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

”Those that sat in darkness have seen a great Light.”

”I am the Light of the world.”

“I Am the Light of the World”

Christ came that we might have the abundant life, a life free from distress and anxiety. But to have that, we must have understanding. What is understanding?

Jesus Christ said, “I am the Light of the world.” We are the children of Light. The world, the darkness, rejected the Light. But we are children of Light. Therefore, we have the capacity to understand.

But there are three things that blind us to the Light of the glory of the Lord.

  1. First – fear. We see that in Peter, and the servant of Elisha.
  2. Second – sorrow. No one can question that Mary loved the Lord, but her sorrow in not finding the Lord blinded her to her Lord when she saw Him face to face. She had to hear the Lord speak to her directly. Peter had to see Him resurrected before he could believe.
  3. Third – selfishness will blind us to the glory of the Lord. We need to see our Lord risen, seated at the right hand of the Father and hear His voice in His Word speaking directly to us.

”Thy word is a Light unto my path.”

”Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.”

“Meditate in the Word Day and Night, Neither Turning to the Left or the Right, and Thou Shall Prosper Withersoever Thou Goest”

It is so important for you to read the Word of God and meditate on It, and hear God’s Word spoken to you by a Pastor-Teacher.

When you hear or read the Word of God, if you are a child of God, God’s sheep, you can hear and recognize the voice of our Lord in His spoken Word or when you read His Word. When the Word of God enters into your mind, it gives light and understanding. It dispels darkness.

So, the answer for today’s darkness is to hear the voice of our Lord in the Word of God and let the Word of God dwell in us richly, as we are told in Col 3:16, so it can dispel the darkness and give us understanding.

It is only through the entrance of God’s Word in our minds that we can have this Light for today’s darkness. The only way God’s Word to enter is for us to read and hear the Word of God.

We must recognize His voice in His Word, whether it is spoken to us, or we read it. When we do this, we will have Light for today’s darkness. Because the Light dispels the darkness, we won’t fear because the love of God will be perfected, or made perfect, in us because we believe and trust His Word. ”Perfect love casteth out fear.”

When we do these things, we will surely be able to face each day of the coming year saying, “Yes, it is wonderful to be a Christian.”

Wednesday, July 4, 2001

“Learn of Me and Ye Shall Find Rest for Your Souls”

The big question!

How can we find satisfaction with Christ and have this “perfect peace of mind in Christ?” Isa 26:3.

The answer is found in our Lord’s first invitation to the individual man which is found in Matt 11:28-29 where he says, “Learn of Me and ye shall find rest for your souls.”

Now everyone knows that you can’t completely trust someone whom you know nothing at all about. Consequently, the great need for the Christian is to learn more of the Lord Jesus Christ as He promised in the 11th chapter of Matthew.

It is through our learning of Christ in His present relationship with us who are born-again believers that we can have peace of mind and rest for our souls and to be perfectly satisfied with Him.

“Then Spake Jesus Again Unto Them, Saying, I Am the Light of the World. He That Followeth Me Shall Not Walk in Darkness, But Shall Have the Light of Life,” John 8:12

For the person who is really interested in knowing the Truth – what is the right thing? what is the right interpretation? Is there any way in which he can find out?

Is there any standard? Yes, there is and we find it in John 8:12. The word “Light” refers to that which reveals, that which gives understanding and knowledge. ”You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.” Light is that which reveals.

Darkness in Scripture refers to lack of understanding, confusion, and bewilderment.

”I am the Light of the world.”

There is a prophecy regarding our Lord in Isa 42:5, “Thus saith the Lord, He that created the heavens, and stretched them out; He that spread forth the Earth, and that which cometh out of it; He that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and Spirit to them that walk therein: I the Lord hath called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the Lord: that is My Name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images.”

That was prophesied that when the Lord would come, He would be that which would reveal to the Gentiles and all the nations. “I am the Light of the world.”

”He lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” “The entrance of Thy Word giveth light.”

Luke 2:25, “For Mine Eyes Have Seen Thy Salvation Which Thou Hast Prepared Before the Face of All People, a Light to Lighten the Gentiles and the Glory of Thy People Israel.”

So we find Simeon, a devout Jew, filled with the Holy Spirit, recognized when he saw this Child, Jesus Christ, that He was the One who would give understanding to the nations. Jesus Christ Himself said, “He said, I am the Light of the world.” John 8:12.

He said, “I Am” – absolute status quo.
The understanding that God gives to man if he is willing to follow the Lord.

Remember this – any interpretation of any Scripture that contradicts the life of the Lord Jesus Christ is false. The Holy Spirit does not contradict the life of the Son of God.

In other words, the Word of God never contradicts the life of the Son of God.

If any one has an interpretation, even though he may have an arrangement of words that seem to substantiate his opinion, if it contradicts the life of Christ, it is wrong.

Jesus Christ said, “I am the Light of the world. He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of life.” Or the Light of My life, the Light of eternal life.

”I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish; neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand,” John 10:28.

1 Peter 2:25, “For Ye Were Sheep Going Astray, But Are Now Returned Unto the Shepherd and Bishop of Your Souls.”

Heb 13:21, “Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, from the blood of the everlasting covenant.”

Notice, “that Great Shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now can’t you say with David, “The Lord is my Shepherd?” Won’t you make Him your Shepherd? He is and He wants to be. By authority He is your Shepherd. Why shouldn’t you?

Every thing a shepherd should be toward his own sheep, our Lord is to us, if we will let Him. He is kind. He is affectionate. He is concerned about you. He is interested in you.

He has the authority to help you, the ability to feed you, and to supply your needs. He can guide you. He is devoted to you. And He is gentle. Now why don’t you try it?

”All we like sheep have gone astray, and we have turned each one to our own way, and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

“I Am Come That They Have Life, and They May Have it More Abundantly”

You know you became a child of God through trusting the death of Christ on the Cross for your sins. And He gave you everlasting life then and there.

Christ didn’t just come to give you life without end. He came to give you abundant life. He tells us so Himself in John 10:10.

This abundant life is eternal life and it embodies so much more than just life after death. That is great and wonderful in itself, but God has so more for you and He has it for you right now while you are here on this Earth.

He has abundant life for you and He wants you to be enjoying it now. But you “must” apprehend this life abundant through believing, having faith in His blessed Word to you, just as you apprehend life after death through believing, having faith in the Promise He gave you in John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Remember, When You Were Born of God, You Became a Spiritual Being, Capable of Understanding the Spirit of the Word of God

Because you are indwelt with God the Holy Spirit, you must partake of God’s Word to grow and mature into a spiritually healthy child of God. You must feed on His Word by reading it, by meditating on it, believing it, trusting it, partaking of it by faith, and be exercised by it. The Word of God is God’s letter to you. It is God speaking to you. Obey it, be exercised by it.

Another thing you must do is to commune with God and that is pray. Talk to your heavenly Father. Just as God’s Word is food for your soul, so is prayer in the very atmosphere of the soul, the breath of the soul. So the child of God should live in prayer. Pray without ceasing, we are told.

You must partake of the spiritual food of God’s Word and breath the proper air.

Another thing that is most important to your spiritual health is fellowship with God’s people around the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. God tells His people, “Do not forsake the gathering together of yourselves like those without hope,” Heb 10:25.

This pertains to fellowship as well as worship. We need to have fellowship with other Christians around the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ if we are to have a healthy Christian life, the abundant life that Christ came to give us.

Matthew 4:4, “Man Cannot Live by Bread Alone, But by Every Word That Proceedeth Out of the Mouth of God”

Luke 4:4, “Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Heb 2:3, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation.”

We are instructed in the Word of God what the Lord wants us to do. If we neglect to do these things, we soon will become weak, sickly, anemic, and if we remain in that condition long, we will soon stop breathing (praying) and we will die spiritually. This doesn’t mean that you will be lost and go to hell, but your spiritual life will become such a low ebb that you will not enjoy your Christian life.

You will become completely self-centered. You will be inactive in your church life and all activities will be pushed aside. You will become like unto one dead spiritually, and you will start showing all the symptoms of one suffering from spiritual malnutrition. Some of the symptoms are self pity, fault finding, selfishness, complaining about your lot in life – a life completely void of spiritual vitality. You will have no radiance, no joy of salvation.

How pitiful it is to get into that state, and all because of the lack of feeding daily on the Word of God and communing with Him, not living a prayer life in constant communion with your heavenly Father, and fellowship with God’s people around the Person of our Savior who died for you.

”My people are destroyed because of the lack of knowledge.”

Colossians 3:16, “Let the Word of Christ Dwell in You Richly”

The cure or the answer for those who are suffering spiritual malnutrition is meeting daily with your heavenly Father in Heaven and reading His Word, feeding upon it, partaking of it so that it becomes the very essence of your life.

Let the Word work in your life. Let your life be exercised by it. His Word is life. It is real and it will change your life, change your attitude, change your outlook on life completely.

In short, it will make you become a spiritual, healthy, well-adjusted child of God, full of joy and peace, able to overcome the burdens and trials of life.

Because the Word of God is called “sound Doctrine,” literally, “healthy Doctrine.”

You will enjoy the abundant life that Christ came to give you. It is yours. Why not have it today? Partake of it by faith in the whole Word of God today. To do this you must read the Word of God, feed upon it, and fellowship in prayer with God.

Remember, “man shall not live by bread alone.” That means physical bread only, “But man shall live by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

The problem in our age is spelled out in Scripture, “In the latter days, men will not endure sound Doctrine.

So, there is a sickness in the land, the sickness of the lack of a healthy Christian life without the Word of God. “There is no balm in Gilead.”

“There is a famine in the land, a famine for the Word of God.”

“Study to Show Thyself Approved, a Workman That Needeth Not to be Ashamed, Rightly Dividing the Word of God.”

If you aren’t feeding your soul on God’s Word, and in communion, in prayer with Him, and fellowship with God’s people around the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, you aren’t exercising your Christian life.

You aren’t actually living a full Christian life. You are just existing in your Christian life. You are missing so much of the beauty and the wonder of the abundant life that Jesus Christ came to give you.

Why don’t you start, start today to really live the abundant life He wants you to have? Start feeding your soul on God’s precious Word and living a life of prayer.

We are told to pray without ceasing. This means to live our lives in a spirit of prayer or communion with our heavenly Father daily and when we feed upon God’s Word and live in communion with Him, we will be in fellowship with Him and also with others of God’s children who are spiritually like-minded as we are.

We will be serving our Lord with joy and gladness of soul instead of being sick from spiritual malnutrition. We will be happy, active, rejoicing people, serving and praising God and singing hymns and making melody in our minds to the Lord.

“Jealousy is as Cruel as the Grave”

Prov 6:34, “For jealousy is the rage of a man, therefore, he will not spare in the day of vengeance, he will not regard any ransom, neither will he rest content though thou givest many gifts.”

You cannot, it is unfortunate, but you cannot reason with a jealous man or woman. It doesn’t make any difference what you give them, they are jealous. Jealousy is “Christian cancer.” It starts out and eats and eats until it destroys a person’s whole joy of salvation.

Jealousy! God deliver us from jealous people!

After all, was that not the basis of the Pharisees antagonism against the Lord Jesus Christ? Did they not want to slay Him? Basically because of religious jealousy? ”For envy they sought to kill Him.” They saw the common people going after Him and therefore they took council together that they might slay Him.

It is hard today to make people understand that the acts of jealousy not only hurt others, but they destroy their own well-being.

If there is one thing we should fear as Christians, if there is one thing we should ask the Lord to deliver us from, it is the taint of jealousy because we know that a jealous person is unhappy.

Yes, Jesus Christ was the mark of those who were jealous of Him.

“Jealousy is as Cruel as the Grave”

Psa 109:4, “For my love they are my adversaries, but I gave myself unto prayer.”

Because of his love for the Lord, maybe David didn’t coincide, or was not in full agreement with the methods of worship that had been laid down by those before him.

He loved the Lord and because of his love for the Lord, then they were his adversaries. He had done nothing but good for them. There are people who have helped other people in trouble, but then they get jealous, and then they turn upon them. That happens to all of us one time or another. What you do is as David did here. You pray for them and you realize that they hurt themselves a lot more than they hurt you.

It was because of David’s love for the Lord. We find Christians, too, we find groups of Christians, and individuals who are continuously hurt and lied about and brought into embarrassing situations for one reason and that is because they love the Lord.

Others feel that they have embarked on a strange course because what they do, they do to the glory of the Lord, and therefore it is bringing conviction on the other soul. But you know the Lord recognized that and if you have been greatly hurt recently or perhaps not so recently, maybe a year ago, the hurt that you have is the hurt that our Lord had. It is a hurt that many of God’s children have had down through the ages. It is one thing that we can expect.

“JEHOVAH NISSI” – The Lord My Banner – July 4th Special – Part Three

The welfare of the saints!

A. Israel – our example.
Israel’s experience of battle is the analogy of our own spiritual warfare.

Amalek represents the forces of this world order which stand opposed to JEHOVAH in all ages, the rulers and the princes of this world who have lifted up their standard against the Lord and against His anointed.

Exodus 17:16, “JEHOVAH hath sworn that JEHOVAH will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” Literally, “For there is a hand upon or against the throne of JEHOVAH, JEHOVAH will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.”

”It represented the world which lieth in the wicked one,” 1 John 5:19.

Its characteristics are “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and pride the pattern of life,” 1 John 2:16.

Amalek was a grandson of Esau, who despised spiritual things and “preferred a mess of pottage” to a spiritual birthright. He was the first enemy to appear to a redeemed people. Israel had just been redeemed and baptized in the cloud and in the sea. They had partaken of that spiritual meat, represented by the manna, and drunk of that spiritual Rock, which was Christ as represented by the waters of Horeb.

The newly-born believer at once finds the old man of the flesh confronting him in sharp contrast and opposition to the new man of the Spirit within him. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other,” Gal 5:17.

The apostle Paul declared that in the flesh there is no good thing, Rom 7:18, and regarded it as a law in his members warring against his mind and seeking to bring him into captivity to itself, Rom 7:23.

It is this flesh and its lusts which are to be crucified in those who are Christ’s, His redeemed. Gal 5:24.

Thursday, July 5, 2001

“He That Liveth and Believeth on Me Shall Never Die”

Man’s greatest fear today is death.

The reason death is the greatest fear of man is that in the beginning “man was driven away from God.” Therefore, eternal life has been denied the man of this creation. After Adam and Eve had sinned we find, “So He drove out the man and he planted at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life,” Gen 3:21 ff.

God told Adam the day he ate of the tree he would surely die, here it is. God drove Adam and Eve from Him. He separated man from Himself. There is death. It means “separation from.” The Greek word is THANATOS.”

We find the Greek word “HAGIASMO,” which means sanctification, separated unto. But “THANATOS” means separated apart from, or away from.

So, in the beginning when man sinned, God drove man from Him and man died spiritually. Man comes into this world to die. The end of man is death. Man must die.

”It is appointed man once to die, and then the judgment,” Heb 9:27. Man is appointed once to die.

Now, in Rom 6:3-8 and in 1 Thess 4, we find that some men will die in Christ. Those who have accepted Christ as their personal Saviour have been created a new creation in Christ, and are in the body of Christ, the true Church, the bride of Christ.

Then there are those who reject Christ who will die in their sins. We find that in John 8:1 and 2.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “A New Creation in Christ”

When you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, you are then created a new creation in Jesus Christ. In 2 Cor 5:17 we find that being in Christ is being a new creation. We are now heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. We are of the household of God. We have been born of God.

Now you have eternal life, because you are “in Christ.” According to Romans 6, we have been partakers of His death, burial, and resurrection. When Christ died on the Cross, He was buried, then He rose again, the first of many brethren.

When you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, you become partaker of His death because He died for you. You become partaker of His death because you are buried with Him, Romans 6, and you have been raised with Him.

Now, because He died and was buried and rose again, He is the Resurrection and the Life. There is no separation from God for His children, to those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. There is no separation from God. There is no reason for it.

The barrier was the sin of man. But Christ died for that sin. He died for sin and He died unto sin. Then He was raised to live in unbroken relationship with God.

”Reckon yourselves also dead unto sin and alive unto God,” Rom 6. When our Lord died and was buried and rose again, He rose the first of many brethren. He rose the last Adam, the second man, in a new creation.

Now when we accept Christ as our personal Saviour, His death, burial, and resurrection are credited to us. We are then born a new creation in Christ. That new creation will never be separated from God.

When we close our eyes here, we go straight home to be with the Lord. “He that liveth and believeth on Me shall never be separated from Me.”

“Separation From God”

There is nothing that will separate a child of God from God. Lots of times we feel because we are going through troubles, difficulties, because we have been hurt, we have been weak and are going through a certain amount of chastisement, we feel we are not close to God. That God has forsaken us. No! No!

God has not forsaken us.

Rom 8:35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” “Shall tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword?” Verse 37, ”Nay, in all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”

Verses 38-39, ”For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There is your answer!

“I Am the Resurrection and the Life”

Don’t look for the day when your loved ones will be resurrected. He or she has already been resurrected.

In Eph 2 we find that our place is in Heaven. There is a day coming when our bodies will be resurrected, and changed, and fashioned like unto His glorious body. That is true.

But we ourselves are not separated from God, the real you, the soul. When our bodies wear out and are put in the grave, we go home to be with the Lord. When we close our eyes, we will open them up there. Why? Because Christ is the Resurrection and the Life.

My Lord died for me. He was buried for me. He was raised for me.

Because I am in Christ, I have been partaker of His death, burial, and resurrection because He is the Resurrection and the Life.

If we are in Him, we have been through the resurrection and we have eternal life. We shall never be separated from Him. Believers need to get this.

“I Am the Resurrection and the Life”

Our great need in times of sorrow, in times of bereavement, in times of that nature is to put our minds on Christ, recognizing that He is the Resurrection and the Life.

Don’t put your mind on what your loved one did or what he didn’t do. Is he a Christian? Has he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour? If he has, then that loved one is home with the Lord right now. When he or she closed their eyes here, they immediately went home to be with the Lord, “which is much better,” as Paul says.

Now, let us ask ourselves a question. You have recently lost a loved one. Would you want to call them back from Heaven down to this old sin-cursed Earth where there is sin, greed, and selfishness? Where the body wears out and becomes painful and hurt? Do you want to call them back from Heaven down here? Do you? Of course not.

Now, to sorrow is natural. You sorrow because you lost a loved one. But they haven’t lost anything. They have gained everything. “For me to die is gain.”

They are home with the Lord. Why? Because Jesus Christ said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that liveth and believeth on Me shall never be separated from Me.”

What a blessing that is. Aren’t you glad you are a Christian?

”We sorrow not as others which have no hope.”

“For if we believe that Christ died and rose again, then them that sleep in Christ will God bring with Him.”

“The Skillfulness of His Hands” – Pierced Hands

David was called a prince, or shepherd, of Israel. Notice one of the characteristics of a good shepherd.

Psa 78:70-72, “He chose David also His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes great with young He brought him to feed Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So He fed them according to the integrity of His mind, and guided them by the skillfulness of His hands.”

In other words, here we find the shepherd, “ROHI,” the one who is interested in you, loves you, and who has the authority to help you. He also feeds according to the integrity of His mind.

Our Lord is never unfaithful. He is never partial toward any. Please remember that His mind is right. Therefore, He will supply your needs, because the feeding was according to the integrity of His mind.

Secondly, “He guideth them by the skillfulness of His hands.” He guides us the right way. He is concerned about us. He is interested in us. He has the authority. And with that authority he has ability.

So, therefore, because His mind is right, He supplies our needs, and He guides us in paths of righteousness. He will guide us the right way.

How to Have Fellowship With God

“Lord who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?”

One of the most important Psalms in the Bible is this 15th Psalm, because the question is asked the Lord by David, “Who is it that can have fellowship with God?”

Of course, we all know that we cannot have fellowship with God unless we are born again. But we find here several statements that the Lord gave David. It would be good for all of us to meditate on them.

First, one is to have a right attitude toward God. ”He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the Truth in His mind.”

A man’s mind has to be right. “As a man thinketh in his mind, so is he.” The life of a man reveals the condition of his mind.

If you want to know whether or not a man is true in mind or whether he is dependable, look at his life. If his mind is right, then his life will be right. If his life is not right, his mind cannot be right.

”Guard your mind with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” If his life is not right, his mind cannot be right. You cannot divide the two. A man’s life is a true expression of the true condition of his mind. A man’s actions are motivated by his thoughts.

If we are going to have fellowship with the Lord, the first thing we find here that our minds have to be right with the Lord. If we are born again and make mistakes, which we all do, we should confess our sins to the Lord. He will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness and restore us to fellowship. This is what is meant by walking uprightly.

Confessing our sins from our mind shows that our minds are right and we are true. Confess is “HOMOLEGEO,” meaning having the same mind.

“JEHOVAH NISSI” – The Lord My Banner

A. Welfare of the saint.

The sphere of conflict is wider than that of the individual. Amalek may also be said to stand for the kingdoms of this world and their enmity to and attacks upon the people of God, against Israel of old and against the Church now. The world is enmity to God. “The kingdoms of the world have not become the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Rev 11:15.

There is a usurper upon the throne of these kingdoms, the same one who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, 1 Thes 2:4, who once tempted the rightful King with the offer of these kingdoms if He would fall down and worship him, Matt 4:8-9.

Amalek is simply the firstfruits of the heathen, the beginning of the Gentile power and hostility to the people of God, representing the kingdom of darkness as against the kingdom of Light, of evil against Good, of a lie against the Truth.

God is represented especially as “JEHOVAH of hosts,” “as lifting up a standard against the nations,” of which Amalek is a type.

”Lift up a banner upon the high mountain ... I have commanded My sanctified ones, even them that rejoice in My highness, the noise of the multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people, a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together, the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle ... I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity,” Isa 13:2-4, 11; Jer 51:12, 27.

But behind every outward manifestation, the conflict is essentially spiritual, for the gates of hell are ever assaulting the Church. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the ruler of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,” Eph 6:12.

It is interesting even in our day how may wars are attributed to “spiritual wickedness in high places,” i.e., the Mid-East, Ireland, etc.

John 15:17, “These Things I Command You, That Ye Love One Another”

Now love, of course, is evidence of a Divine life. When there is no love, there is no Divine life.

”The love of God is shed abroad in our minds by means of the Holy Spirit.” “The fruit of the Spirit is love.”

Christ said, “If the world hate you, you know that he hated me before it hated you.” “If you were of this world, the world would love its own, but because you are not of this world, therefore the world hateth you.”

Those are the ones who are unregenerate, and, of course, unfortunately, there are many religious people today who have never really put their trust in the Lord and been born again. There is a great deal of antagonism against others who have.

Christ said, “Remember the Words that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.”

Now why did they persecute the Lord Jesus Christ? For jealousy. That was all. They were afraid they were going to lose their power. They were afraid of this Man, Jesus Christ, because He was tearing down the structure in which they had built their sense of self-righteousness, self exaltation, and pride.

Friday, July 6, 2001

“Jealousy is as Cruel as the Grave”

“But this cometh to pass, that the Word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, they hated Me without cause,” John 15:25.

It is one thing to know about the Lord and it is another thing to know the Lord. There are a lot of people today who know a great deal about the Lord, but they do not know the Lord.

They can tell you that He died on Calvary’s Cross for the sins of the world. They can tell you that He was crucified, buried, and rose again. They can tell you that He ascended up into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and they can tell you that He is coming back to His Church, His bride, one of these days, and that He is coming back with them to reign on the Earth. They can tell you all that. They can tell you that He performed miracles while upon Earth because they know all the stories about the Lord, but they don’t know Him.

They can’t tell you what He is doing in their lives in bringing peace and comfort when they are in sorrow. They have no consciousness of a “living Christ.”

They know about Him, but they don’t know Him. A person who knows the Lord is never critical of anyone else. “But this cometh to pass that the Word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated Me without cause.” They were just jealous of Him.

Maybe your heart is heavy and your mind is confused. One of the most confusing things that will ever come into your life is when you find out that people in churches are jealous of other people in the church.

You can’t understand it and it racks your brain. Why should that be? After all, we are all sinners saved by Grace. Why should they be jealous of one another? Why should they talk about one another?

They were all sinners saved by Grace. You can’t understand it, and there are many today who feel just the same way.

“They Hated Him Without Cause”

Heb 13:12, “Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate.”

”Let us go forth, therefore, unto Him without the camp bearing His reproach.”

They hated Him without a cause. But He had to draw away. He was crucified outside the gate. He had to go outside the camp. The camp is the place that bears the name of Christ.

But something has come in between them and Christ. I wonder if there are not many today who have been unkindly discussed and hurt because they have gone without the camp, bearing the reproach of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?

”They hated Him without a cause.”

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy if ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye. For the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you. On their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.”

So, if you are going through trying times because of unfair criticism or misrepresentation of the facts, or deliberate lies about you, it is from those who are carnal, and the basis cause is because they are jealous.

”Jealousy is as cruel as the grave.” “They hated Him without a cause.”

Jealous, just jealous. That is all.

You have taken your stand for the Lord and you have exhibited love for others. You have helped others and those that don’t are confused, and they become jealous, and then persecution enters in.

Well, rejoice because the Spirit and glory of God rests upon you. They that are doing it are speaking evil of God, but on your part He is being glorified.

”They killed Him because of envy.”

“But Let None of You Suffer as a Murderer, or as a Thief, or as an Evildoer, or as a Busybody, in Other Man’s Matters.”

How we need to emphasize that today!

We don’t have to discuss much about the murderer or thief or evildoer, but there are many people who misunderstand their so-called persecution. They say, “It is my cross to bear.” All it is, is the result of sticking their noses into other people’s business. “Or as a busybody in other man’s matters.”

That is another thing you find today. People wanting to know everything about other Christians. It is none of their business. They like to pry into other peoples lives. Why do they do that? How much money do they make? How much do they give? That is none of their business. That is between them and the Lord.

”Don’t suffer as a busybody.” “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on his behalf.”

If you are going through a trying time, broken hearted because of unfairness on the part of others, don’t worry. What did David do? “I give myself unto prayer,” Psa 109. That is the answer. You don’t retaliate, pray. Don’t talk to others about it. Talk to the Lord about it.

If you have been lied about and if you have been hurt by others, don’t tell others about it. Tell it to the Lord and not to other people, because you are doing identically the same thing as they do.

You are only lowering yourself down, getting on their level. The more you meditate upon it, the more disturbed you get and the first thing you know, you find your whole day ruined.

Talk to someone about it and you have a heartache. Talk to the Lord about it and you will have peace.

”They hated Him without a cause.”

The Joy of Answered Prayer!

John 16:23, “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing, Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it to you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name. Ask and ye shall receive that your joy may be full.”

Through continued prayer we find we have joy – the joy of prayer, the joy of answered prayer.

What a contrast between the joys of answered prayer by talking to our heavenly Father about the things instead of a broken heart by talking to man about things.

Don’t talk to people, talk to the Lord. “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall guard your minds through Christ Jesus.”

Don’t be anxious about anything, but pray about it. Don’t be disturbed about anything, but pray about it.

If you pray about “everything,” you will not be anxious about “anything.”

So, if you talk to the Lord about it, you will not only have joy, but you will have peace.

Notice here the approach in prayer. You pray to your heavenly Father in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

”Our Father.”

“He Was Hated Without a Cause”

If you have been hurt, and this has been true in my own life and in thousands of others with whom I have talked in private consultation, when you are hurt by someone, don’t talk to anyone about it, talk to the Lord.

Pray more and the more you pray, the more joy you have. And the more you pray, the more peace you have.

So, the answer to the troubled soul of being persecuted by your friends is prayer.

David said, “But I gave myself to prayer.”

“My own friend has lifted up his heal against Me.” “He was hated without a cause.”

”So Christ went without the camp.”

“You Are His Own!”

John 6:41, “No man cometh to Me except the Father draweth him.”

In the Old Testament, God speaking of drawing men to Himself says in Jer 31:3, “With loving kindness have I drawn thee.” And again in Hosea 11:4, he says that “He draws men with bands of love.”

Now this study is for God’s people alone, those who have been drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing here for the unsaved.

If you have been drawn to Christ, as you read this study, please meditate on the blessedness of the work of God, remembering that if you have been drawn to Christ, it is not of yourself. If you have been drawn to Christ, it is by the loving kindness of God.

Psa 36:7, “How excellent is Thy loving kindness, O God, and because of Thy loving kindness, the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings.”

As believers, we have nothing to boast about, nothing to be self-righteous about. If we are saved, if we have come to Christ, it is because God the Father has drawn us to Him in His loving kindness.

We have nothing to boast about. We have nothing to become self-righteous about, but of how much we have to be thankful for and when we understand the state and condition we were in before God the Father, in His loving kindness, drew us to Christ, it should surely humble us to the point where we should be forever grateful and thanking God every day that He drew us to Christ. Now we have nothing to boast about.

The work of God to man is all of God’s Grace, His loving kindness.

”By Grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God …”

”Not of works, lest any man should boast,” Eph 2:8-9.

“For by Grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them,” Eph 2:8-10.

Did you know that before God the Father drew you to Christ, you were without hope, separated from God, dead in trespasses and sins and by nature children of wrath? Without hope of ever having anything better than an eternity spent separated from God in everlasting punishment?

Jeremiah had a clear vision of mankind’s state and God’s Grace and mercy to man when he said, “It is of the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed.”

How thankful we should always be and mindful that our salvation is not of ourselves, but by the Grace of God and that salvation is not of ourselves.

”But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness,” Rom 4:5.

”Abraham believed in God and it was counted unto him for righteousness,” Gen 15:6.

”He made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him,” 2 Cor 5:21.

“All That the Father Giveth to Me Shall Come to Me,” John 6:37

“No man can come to Me except the Father, which sent Me, draw him,” John 6:44.

”You are His own.”

We must be conscious of the fact that in our salvation we have nothing to boast of ourselves. If we are saved, we have been drawn to Christ by God the Father and we have been given to Christ by Him. ”God the Father gives the bride away.”

We can see if we have come to Christ it is because the Father drew us to Him and the Father gave us to Him.

”You are His. You are His very own.”

John 17 is the portion of Scripture that is known by all commentaries as the Holy of Holies of the New Testament because it is “the Lord’s prayer.” It is the prayer of our Lord as High Priest, our Mediator, our Representative before God.

This prayer came from the very depth of the soul of the Son of God. He prayed for you and He prayed for me. When you ask people to pray for you, do you know the Lord Jesus Christ prayed for you? How gracious is that!

Yes, Christ prayed for His own. He prayed for His own who have to live here in the world with the spirit of Satan, the evil one, exhibiting hate and wickedness all around them. He prayed for us and put us in the hands of God the Father for safekeeping.

He prayed that God the Father would keep us from evil. “He prayed for us before we were born,” the beauty and the depth of meaning, the preciousness of this wonderful prayer uttered by the lips of our Lord.

It contains volumes. It is the breadth, the width, the depth, and the height of this prayer that never has been completely taken in by the soul of man.

And it is impossible that this prayer of the Son of God could get unanswered by God the Father.

How unfortunate we call the prayer in Matthew “the Lord’s prayer,” when there the Lord is teaching the disciples how to pray.

“You Are His Own!”

Acts 20:28, “Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God.” The word “feed” is “shepherd.” “Which He hath purchased with His own blood.”

The Church – each as an individual in the true Church belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ, in a peculiar way, a peculiar way in that we belong to Him as His body.

All who believe down through the ages and all in the future ages to come belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. But not in the way the Church belongs to Him.

The Church is His body. The Church belongs to Him in a very precious and different way. The Church are those who came to Him during the Church Age and are His own body, His bride, His love gift from God the Father.

Yes, you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. He has purchased you with His own blood.

“You Are His Own”

Acts 20:28, “You have been bought with His own blood.”

You, as a believer, belong to Him, in a peculiar way, meaning a way that is different. You belong to Him. You are His bride. You will some day be joined or wedded to Him to ever be with Him, and how He loves you!

In John 17 is His prayer for you and for me. In this wonderful prayer, He commits you and me unto the Father’s hands for safekeeping while we must live here on this Earth as ambassadors for Him.

Our security rests upon the Father’s faithfulness to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. When we get this Truth into our minds by means of the Holy Spirit, how can we ever doubt our salvation or question our security?

We are safe in the hands of God our Father.

1 Pet 1:5, we are told that “we are kept by the power of God.”

We are kept because our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Who became our High Priest, and is now our High Priest on the right hand of God the Father, prayed for us and put us in the safekeeping of God, His Father, and Who is our heavenly Father also, and we are kept by His power.

The wonderful security of those who are His very own.

You are His very own. God gave you to Him. You are God the Father’s love gift to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are told in Titus 2:14, “He gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquities and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

We are not a queer people, but a peculiar people in that we belong to Him in a very different way. We are His body, His bride, and we are zealous of good works.

That it why it is wonderful to be a Christian. This Truth, you are His own, should make you love the Lord Jesus Christ more and more as you meditate on Him, and the great love He has for you.

You can say hallelujah now!

“Spiritual Infirmities!”

Isa 1:5, “Why should ye be stricken anymore? Ye will revolt more and move, the whole head is sick and the whole mind faint.”

Isa 1:6, “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it. But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores, they have not been closed up neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

“Spiritual Infirmities”

That, no heart transplant or kidney transplant can ever cure.

There are many of God’s children who have “spiritual infirmities” and there is a good understanding in the Word of God as to the cause, which also explains the remedy. People are being taught by many today that the great need of humanity is to learn to know yourselves better. Well, the better I know myself, the less faith I have in myself.

The great need now and always has been is to learn more about the Lord Jesus Christ. But not many people, not even God’s children, are occupied with learning of the Lord.

They try to learn more about themselves. They kid themselves, and they even get to the point where they feel superior or they feel that they are the masters of their destiny. How silly, how futile this is! Yes, even some Christians get to feeling this way. So they go to some “shrink” to learn more about themselves.

Yes, there are many of God’s children who, just like the heathen, do not know the Lord. They are suffering “spiritual infirmities” simply because they do not really know or rightfully understand the blessedness of their estate, their position as one of God’s children.

”Learn of Me and you will find rest for your souls.”

“Spiritual infirmities!”

1 Cor 11:30, “For this cause many are weak and sickly and many sleep.”

2 Chr 39:16, “But they mocked the messengers of God and despised His Word and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against the people till there was no remedy.”

Prov 29:1, “He, that often being rebuked, hardened his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

Eph 1:3, “Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”

Notice carefully the wording of this passage. It doesn’t mean He is going to bless us with all spiritual blessings. He says He hath blessed us, meaning He has already blessed us with all spiritual blessings.

It is good to notice also, that He doesn’t say with some spiritual blessings, but it says with all spiritual blessings. Now that is a wonderful Truth. We have all spiritual blessings at our disposal and we have them now. We don’t have to wait till we die to enjoy them.

Then why do Christians suffer spiritual infirmities? Spiritual malnutrition. The reason is simply that they have not partaken of the spiritual food God has prepared for them.

This is exactly why Christians are under nourished, sickly, immature, and not fully developed, because they do not partake of the food that contains the spiritual blessings that God has for them and wants them to have and enjoy to the fullest.

You know your physical body must be nourished. It needs nourishing food, and if you don’t partake of the proper food, you become under nourished. You suffer from physical malnutrition and a person in this condition never enjoys life to the fullest. If they continue on in this unhealthy, weak, sickly condition, they soon stop breathing.

They die physically for lack of proper nourishment and so it is with the child of God. They are God’s children through the new birth. They are Spirit-born children. They have been born into the family of God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, and they are spiritual beings, and they need spiritual food for their soul.

The Word of God is the food of the soul. They need to partake of the Word of God and obey it and be exercised by it. This then is a Biblical picture of an under-nourished child of God.

Most Christians are on a diet.

Saturday, July 7, 2001

“Spiritual Infirmities”

Deut 8:3, “Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

An Old Testament passage on the cause of spiritual infirmities. The reason Christians are sick in spirit is because they have not been partaking of spiritual food.

God, our heavenly Father, said in Deut 8:3, “Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God doth man live.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our Example, quoted this Scripture to Satan when Satan tried to tempt our Lord in the wilderness. He said in Matt 4:4 and Luke 4:4, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Christ, our Representative Man, lived by the Word of God and was exercised by it.

Christians, the Word of God is the only food for the soul of the people of God. Christians can partake of other food, but they will never become spiritual maturity or spiritually self-sustaining, healthy Christians, unless they partake of God’s Word.

Read it. Partake of it. That is, take it into your mind, your innermost being by faith, and be exercised by it. You need to read the Word of God, meditate on it, accept it by faith, and obey.

When you read the Word of God, feed your soul upon it by believing it and trusting the great promises in it, believing them, trusting them, being exercised by them. That is acting upon them, taking them into yourself by faith.

“Spiritual Infirmities”

“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

Remember, faith in God’s Word comes by hearing the voice of God in His Word. We read in Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

Remember, God cannot lie. He is the One who gives you these promises. They are for you, as a child of God. Apprehend them into your own mind through simple child-like faith. To do this, you must read God’s Word, hear His voice speaking to you personally.

”The entrance of God’s Word into our minds gives us light and understanding,” Psa 119:130. This means light and understanding for us to live by.

In God’s Word there is life and help for you. If you will only partake of it, you will be able to say with the psalmist, “My soul is satisfied and my mouth shall praise Him with joyful lips.”

”With the mind man believeth unto salvation and with the mouth confession is made thereunto.”

”Search the Scriptures, for in Them They speak of Me and in Them you have eternal life.”

“A Salvation Tract”

When I first became a believer, there were many “Heaven tracts” passed out which were instrumental in leading people to the Lord. But today I don’t see hardly any of them anymore.

That is why I use a free ticket to Heaven, which has been effective in my personal witness to the unbelievers.

There is a Heaven tract also in Scripture.

Dan 6:25, “Then the king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages that dwell in all the Earth, peace be multiplied unto you.”

Dan 6:26, “I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom, men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for He is a living God, and steadfast for ever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed and His dominion shall be even unto the end.”

Dan 6:27, “He delivereth and rescueth, and He worketh signs and wonders in Heaven and in Earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”

Do these verses remind you of a similar proclamation? Nebuchadnezzar was still an unbeliever when he passed legislation demanding loyalty to God. Dan 3:29, Darius just saved made the same mistake. Yet both these rulers had reached the same conclusion about the true and living God. Dan 4:34-37, cf Dan 6:26b, 27.

Daniel’s deliverance led to the removal of those people who had been not only anti-Semitic, but also negative to the Lord. In addition, his own testimony led to the conversion of Darius. After these events had transpired, the king “wrote” (peal, perfect of KETHAB) his brief declaration.

Nebuchadnezzar and Darius both addressed their message to their subjects throughout the confines of their vast empires, in all the Earth. The decree applied to all regardless of race, language, or geography.

More to follow on the Heaven tract!

“The Heaven Tract” – Part Two

The tract opened with the salutation “Peace.” As used here, “peace” is more than a greeting. It connotes the principle of “reconciliation” as it was then revealed in Isa 35:5, 11, and later set down in Eph 2:16.

Had Darius limited himself to a simple statement of the manifestation and greatness of God’s Grace in his own salvation and in Daniel’s deliverance, everyone in the kingdom would have benefited from this declaration of the Gospel. But like so many new believers who possess much zeal but little or no knowledge of the Word of God, Darius interfered with the convicting ministry of God the Holy Spirit, and tampered with the Grace structure of God’s plan of salvation.

The salutation is followed by the preamble. “I make a decree.” The word order in the Chaldean reads, “From before me is appointed a decree.” This new legislation had obviously been designed to rectify the errors of the old, yet both were equally bad, for they violated the concept of “individual volition and free will.”

Darius’ impetuous declaration was the result of subjective rather than objective thinking. Because he had accepted the Lord, he now attempted the forced conversion of his people. By his demand that “men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,” the king amalgamated religion and state in direct contradiction to the Word of God. Prov 24”:21, cf Matt 22:21.

It is true that some believers turn to the Lord when they are frightened half to death. But although it has been tried in various eras, forced conversion can never be accomplished through legislation.

More to follow ...

“Heaven Tract” – Part Three

Salvation is entirely the work of God from its inception to its execution – from the convicting ministry of God the Holy Spirit, John 16:7-11, to regeneration.

If evangelism is conducted according to God’s plan, it must be on the basis of a recognition of personal volition. In the presentation of the Gospel, volition must never be coerced. Every person must be free to accept or reject Christ as their personal Saviour. John 3:18, 36.

Furthermore, the king’s command that believers be afraid of their Lord was utterly ludicrous. Love and fear are mutually exclusive, 1 John 4:18. So, any way you look at it, this was another ill-contrived piece of legislation. Does that sound familiar?

In spite of the king’s ignorance of the Word of God at that time, the Lord Himself had become very real to Darius and he reiterated, “He is the living God.” This is quite a statement for someone who had once worshipped an entire pantheon. His testimony that “Christ is ever steadfast” was his recognition of the immutability and eternal reign of the King of kings.

”Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and for ever,” Heb 13:8.

Certainly Daniel had conveyed to Darius the lesson that the fearful image of Nebuchadnezar’s dream had taught. Whereas nations and empires come and go, the kingdom of God, which reaches beyond the boundaries of time and space, is never destroyed.

“A Heaven Tract” – Part Four

Dan 6:27, “He delivereth and rescueth and He worketh signs and wonders in Heaven and in Earth, Who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”

This verse affirms that Darius had personally accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. The king’s explicit vocabulary indicates that he distinguished between spiritual and physical deliverance.

”Delivereth” is the peil, participle of the Chaldean word, “SHEZAB,” and means to deliver, or to rescue. ”Rescueth” is the hiphil, participle of the Hebrew verb, “NATSAL,” which has the very same meaning, to deliver or to rescue.

It should be remembered that this portion of the Book of Daniel, which is Daniel 2:4 through Daniel chapter 7, was recorded in the Chaldean or eastern Aramaic language. Since this section deals primarily with Gentile nations, God the Holy Spirit saw fit to use a Gentile language. The latter part of the Book of Daniel specifically concerns the Jews, hence, the Hebrew language resumes in Daniel chapter 8.

The Holy Spirit makes no mistakes in His choice of words set down in the Scriptures, Prov 30:5, and we should be keenly aware of their importance. It is significant therefore, that amidst all this Chaldean, we find one Hebrew word, “NATSAL.”

The first word translated “delivereth” denotes the king’s cognizance of his spiritual deliverance, i.e., his salvation. Jesus Christ alone saves for all eternity. Acts 4:12, no other name.

The Hebrew word “rescueth” speaks of physical deliverance in time, so real to the king who had personally witnessed God’s deliverance of Daniel. By using both words, Darius in effect acknowledges his faith in the God of the Jews.

Before completion of the Canon, “signs and wonders” were the means God chose to warn of coming discipline, and to authenticate the declaration of the Gospel. Darius obviously took the miracle of Daniel’s deliverance from the lions’ den as the sign God used to bring about his own salvation.

Now this tract of Darius’ would be a good Bible story when you teach about Daniel in the lions’ den in Sunday School.

Sunday, July 8, 2001


The name “ADONAI” is translated in our Bibles by the word “Lord” in small letters only, the first of which is a capital, i.e., “Lord.”

Used as a name of God, “ADONAI” occurs probably some 300 times in the Old Testament. It is significant that it is almost always in the “plural” and “possessive,” meaning “my Lords.”

It confirms the idea of the Trinity as found also in “ELOHIM,” and this is still further confirmed by the fact that the same is used of men some 215 times and translated variously “master,” “sir,” and “lord,” but for the most part, “master” as throughout Gen 24, where Eliezer, the servant of Abraham speaks of “my master Abraham.” And over and over again says, “Blessed be JEHOVAH God of my master Abraham.”

It is important to notice, too, that the same word, “ADONAI,” is translated a number of times by the word “owner,” but used of men it is always in the singular form, “ADON.” Only when used of God is it in the plural.

The suggestion of the Trinity in this name is still more strikingly confirmed by its use in Psalm 110 in these words, “The Lord said unto My Lord,” or “JEHOVAH said unto ADONAI, sit Thou on My right hand till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.”

The Lord Jesus Christ in Matt 22:41-45, Peter in Acts 2:34, 35, and Heb 1:13, 10:12,13 refers this striking passage to Himself.

How significant that David speaking of but one Member of the Trinity should use here not only the plural, “ADONAI,” but the singular form, “ADONAI.” “JEHOVAH said unto my ADONAI,” that is to Christ the second Person of the Trinity.

The name “ADONAI,” while translated “Lord,” signifies ownership or mastership, and indicates the Truth that God is the Owner of each member of the human family and that He consequently claims the unrestricted obedience of all.

The expression “Lord of lords” in Deut 10:17 could be rendered “Master of masters,” an illustration of this name as a claim upon man’s obedience. And service is found in Malachi 1:6. “A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master. If I then be a Father, where is Mine honor? And if I be a Master, where is My fear? saith JEHOVAH of hosts.”

In Job 28:28 it is declared that the fear of “ADONAI,” the Lord, the Master, is wisdom.”

Next time, the use of this word in the Old Testament.


The use of the word in the Old Testament.

The use of this name “ADONAI” in the Old Testament plainly reveals the relationship which God sustains toward His creatures and what He expects of them.

The first occasion of its use is with the name “EL-SHADDAI,” is with Abraham in Gen 15:2. In the first verse of the chapter it is written “after these things” that is, after his rescue of Lot and his military achievement of the defeat of the four kings and their armies, where it is revealed that Abraham himself was “lord or master,” “ADON” of a large establishment.

”After these things the Word of JEHOVAH came unto Abram in a vision saying, Fear not, Abram, I am thy Shield, and thy exceeding great Reward.”

Abram then makes his reply addressing God as “ADONAI-JEHOVAH,” an acknowledgement that JEHOVAH is also Master. Certainly Abram knew what this relationship meant, perhaps better than we nowadays understand it, for those were days of slavery. Lordship meant complete possession on the one hand, and complete submission on the other.

Abraham himself sustained the relationship of master and lord over a very considerable number of souls. Therefore, in addressing “JEHOVAH” as “ADONAI” he acknowledged God’s complete possession of and perfect right to all that he was and had.

But even Abraham, thousands of years ago, understood by this more than mere ownership, more than the expression and imposition of an arbitrary or capricious will. Even in those days the relationship of master and slave was not altogether or necessarily an unmitigated evil.

The purchased slave stood in a much nearer relationship to his lord than the hired servant, who was a stranger and might not eat of the Passover or the holy things of the master’s house, but the purchased slave, as belonging to his master, and so a member of the family, possessed this privilege.
Ex 12:43-45, Lev 22:10-11.

The slave had the right of the master’s protection and help and direction. In the absence of seed, a slave, Eliezer, is heir to Abraham’s entire household. So the psalmist well puts it, ”Behold as the eyes of his servant look unto the hands of their master, and as the eyes of the maiden unto the hand of her mistress, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God,” Psa 123:2.

”The eyes of all wait upon Thee and Thou givest them their meat in due season,” Psa 145:15.

As “ADONAI” or master or lord, God says to Abraham, “Fear not, Abram, I am thy Shield and exceeding great Reward.” He can depend upon the faithfulness of his Master.

And, we are bondslaves of the Lord.

The Prosperity of a Grace Believer!

Dan 6:28, “So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

The aphel, perfect of “TSELACH” means, “to be caused to prosper.” By using the verb form, the Lord shows us a glimpse of the Grace blessings He alone provides for the spiritual believer in time.

The Lord more than amply supplied all the details of life for this believer who had consistently been faithful to His Word. Never again would Daniel suffer trials and tribulations as he did in the past. Although we do not know the exact age of Daniel at his death, we are told that he lived at least into the third year, 534 B.C. of the reign of Cyrus the great of Persia. Dan 10:1.

If we fix the probable date of Daniel’s birth as 620 B.C., we can estimate that he lived 87 years, and possibly longer. Not only were the remaining years of his life full to overflowing with God’s Grace blessings and riches, but Daniel’s desire to see his people, the Jews, restored to their own land came to fruition. Scripture records that in the first year of his reign, 536 B.C., Cyrus permitted the Jewish captives to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. 2 Chr 36:22, 23, Ezra 1:2, 3.

What a challenge to contemplate that every believer can reach the objective of spiritual maturity whereby Grace blessings are continually realized.

God provided Grace beyond measure for Daniel, and what He did for Daniel, He can do for you, for me, or for any other believer. The key that unlocks the door to Grace and the accomplishments of the Divine requirements is the Word of God resident in the soul. Moreover, the daily intake of the Word is your best preparation for every exigency of life.

Not once did Daniel compromise the Grace of God. So commendable was the production of his spiritual maturity that God the Holy Spirit included Daniel’s heroics in the New Testament roll of honor among the exploits of greatest believers of the past.

”Who, by means of the Word of God resident in the soul, conquered kingdoms, accomplished Grace righteousness, attained Divine promises, and shut the mouth of lions,” Heb 11:33.

The Divine citation for Daniel’s bravery in the line of duty makes the narrative of Daniel chapter six, far more than an epic, emblazoned between the lines is this testimony. The Word of God really works. May its effect become manifest in our lives.

What is Greatness?

Suppose a believer lives his life without confessing his sins for a long period of time. What happens if he does not operate on the principle of 1 John 1:9? What can he expect?

We have the principle of Divine discipline from Heb 12:6. The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 gives a New Testament example of sin, discipline, confession of sin, and restoration to fellowship. But what about the Old Testament believers? How did they handle sin?

”Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us. And let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Heb 12:1. ”The great cloud of witnesses” are the outstanding believers of the Old Testament, the hall of fame of Hebrews chapter eleven.

We are surrounded by great people of the past, and we should know something about them. They were not perfect. They were not “holier than thou.” They were not without sin. They were great on the basis of using God’s Grace, on the basis of using confession. They “bounced back” when they failed.

Just as we must “lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us” – our own area of weakness – so did they.

David said, “I acknowledge my sin to Thee.”

“Maybe Yes and Maybe No – The Third Class Condition

In 1 John 1:6-10 we have a series of third class conditions.

We should pause for a moment and review what is meant by “if” in the Greek. Every time you have “if” in the Greek, it introduces the conditional clause and represents one of four things:

  1. A first class condition – and it is true.
  2. A second class condition – and it is not true.
  3. A third class condition – maybe yes, maybe no.
  4. A fourth class condition – I wish it were true, but it isn’t.

Suppose a young man is about to pop the question to a sweet young thing – you can see how old I am! He says, “If you will marry me, I will buy you a brand new car.” Now that is simple in the English, but in the Greek it could mean one of four things.

If that sentence is in the first class condition what is their status? She had already agreed to marry him, so the car is forthcoming.

”If you will marry me” – second class condition – I will buy you a brand new car. This time she has already refused him. He is just dangling the car up there to rub it in a little bit, to make her feel bad that she missed something.

If the outcome is still in doubt, the third class condition would say “If you will marry me – maybe you will and maybe your won’t – I will buy you a brand new car.” Now the car is bait.

Finally, the fourth class condition. “If you will marry me – I wish you would but you won’t – I will buy you a brand new car.” Now he is bitter about it.

So, you see the Greeks expressed something different every time they used the word “if.”

”If we confess our sins (third class condition – maybe we will and maybe we won’t), He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9.

1 John 1:6, 1 John 1:7, and 1 John 1:8 are all also third class conditions.

“For That Which I Do, I Allow Not, For What I Would, That Do I Not, But What I Hate, That Do I,” Romans 7:15

Paul describes what it is like on the inside when the old sin nature controls the soul of the believer. If you have had a course in Shakespeare, this is probably very clear, but if you have not, this is possibly a little confusing to you.

The real problem is that we have the verb “do” three times.

  1. The first “do” is the word “KATERGAZOMAI” in the Greek, and it means “something on the inside working its way out.”
  2. The second time the word “do” occurs, it is the Greek word “PRASSO,” which means “to practice.”
  3. The third word for “do” is “POIEO” and this is the only word that means “to do.”

You can immediately see what a problem we have here. I have never figured out why the translators couldn’t come up with a better translation of this particular passage. We will go through verse 15 so that you can better understand what carnality really is.

”For that which keeps working out of me (sin), I do not understand.” The word “allow” means “to understand.”

Here I am, a Christian, and I have received the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. I am born again. God the Holy Spirit dwells inside of me, and I am a priest, I am an ambassador for Christ. I have all these wonderful blessings, including eternal life and sins forgiven and blotted out. ”As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us,” Psa 103:12.

Yet in spite of these marvelous assets of the Christian life, “Still I find working out of myself and I don’t understand it.”

Paul says, “For what I desire, that I do not practice.” Paul desires to honor the Lord, but this is not what he is practicing. ”But what I hate, namely sin, that I am doing.” That is carnality.

2 Samuel 12:13, “And David Said Unto Nathan, I Have Sinned Against the Lord”

And Nathan said unto David, “The Lord also hath put away thy sin. Thou shalt not die.”

David didn’t say as our modern Christians say, “I feel terribly sorry for what I have done.” “I regret every bit of it.” “Therefore, I am forgiven.”

Not on your life! Please notice how specific David was. “I have sinned against the Lord.”

From this point on David was judged through members of his family. The chastening principle of Heb 12:6 is presented in Psa 38:1-18.

Scourging is the fourfold payment which David made starting in 2 Sam 12, with the death of the child born of adultery. In chapter 13:1-14 his son, Amnon, raped David’s daughter, Tamar, with a result that another son, Absalom, murdered Amnon in chapter 13:22-29. Chapters 15 through 18 record the rebellion of Absalom, the son whom David loved so much. All of this discipline finally terminated in 2 Sam 18:33 when David heard of the death of Absalom. He said, “Oh my son, Absalom, my son, my son, Absalom. Would God I had died for thee. O Absalom, my son, my son.”

The first part of chapter 19 continues the account of the terrible agony and weeping of David. “He paid fourfold over a period of years. He came to the place where God’s discipline became unusually heavy, as heavy as it can be without taking him out of this life.

Remember all of this discipline came to David when he was back in fellowship. I don’t believe he could have taken it while out of fellowship. Confession of sin is the only thing that can turn cursing into blessing.

This will give you an idea about what God thinks of adultery.

Anthropopathisms Ascribe to God Human Characteristics

  1. For example – repentance. But God does not really change His mind. Gen 6:6.
  2. Hatred – an expression of Divine justice. Rom 9:13.
  3. Anger – But God’s judgments are never capricious or based on passion. Rom 1:18.
  4. Scorn. Psa 2:4.
  5. Benevolence. Rom 8:32.
  6. Compassion. Lam 3:22-32.
  7. Longsuffering. Num 14:18.
  8. Happiness – God is infinitely happy in Himself with absolute freedom from fear, anxiety, regret, foreboding, or annoyance.

God’s affections are the feeling aspect of His consciousness.

Monday, July 9, 2001

“He Made Him to be Sin for Us, Who Knew No Sin That We Might be Made the Righteousness of God in Him,” 2 Corinthians 5:21

You may have noticed that God did not take you to Heaven the moment you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. Why didn’t He?

You were just as saved in the first instance as you ever will be. You were fully qualified to go to Heaven. You possessed His righteousness and were pronounced justified.

So, why the delay? Why are we left in the devil’s world? Because God has a purpose for your life!

He imputed His righteousness to you with a particular goal in mind. The ultimate objective is God’s own pleasure and glory, but the immediate objective is your blessing.

You are alive to be blessed. Imputed righteousness is the believer’s first blessing from the justice of God, because it is the basis for all subsequent blessings. It is the foundation for superabundance, over-riches, and advantages beyond imagination. Matt 6:33.

When God pronounced you justified, He meant among other things, qualified for blessing. Thus in giving you His righteousness, He constructed a pipeline through which to bless you. Its origin is His justice, its terminus, “His righteousness” in you.

”And be found in Him, not having our own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith in Christ, “the righteousness of God, which is of God by faith,” Phil 3:9.

“The Lord Loves Righteousness"”

Even though we live in the devil’s world and have the old sin nature resident in us, the Grace pipeline runs through friendly territory all the way.

God’s justice does all the work and Divine righteousness has all the merit. You never earn or deserve anything that God pours through the Grace pipeline.

All Divine blessing is a matter of Grace. God does not need your help. You cannot lend Him a hand.

No human being, no angel, no system, no organization, can ever break through the Grace pipeline and take credit for what God does. The devil and all the forces of evil cannot penetrate, nor can the lusts and trends of your old sin nature.

God blesses you only because His perfect standards are met, that is, only because you produce Divine righteousness. He never blesses you for what you do.

He does not bless you because of your scintillating personality, your talent, or your human energy. He does not bless you because you tithe or memorize Scripture, or witness to ten people every day, or speak in tongues, or “give up for the Lord’s sake” something that you enjoy.

To do so, He would have to throw away His absolute integrity, lower Himself to the level of mankind, and stop being God.

For anyone to expect Divine blessing in consideration for such things would be humorous were it no so blasphemous.

When God blesses you, He has to do all the work. He, and not you, must be glorified in the angelic conflict. He built the Grace pipeline. He makes it work. When He blesses you, it is always for the same reason. You possess the principle of His integrity – Divine righteousness imputed.

Divine justice is then free to bless only Divine righteousness.

”The Lord loves righteousness.”

“For Which I Am an Ambassador in Bonds, That Therein I May Speak Boldly to Make Known the Mystery of the Gospel,” Eph 6:20, 2 Cor 5:20

Anything you might possibly do outside of the Grace pipeline always bounces off. Legalism certainly has no place in the plan of God. But even when you do what the Bible commands – prayer, witnessing, giving, Christian service, morality – your works are still outside the channel for blessing. Not even legitimate production can earn you an ounce of Divine blessing in time or eternity.

True production is itself a blessing. Bona fide Christian function simply consists of the opportunities that God gives us to fulfill our royal ambassadorship.

Eph 6:20, “For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

2 Cor 5:20, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God” – ambassadors for Christ.

Here we must “rightly divide the Word of Truth,” 2 Tim 2:15.

Every member of the royal family of God wears two hats: he is both royal priest and royal ambassador. He must know when to wear each hat.

Confusion on this element leads to a false modus operandi that makes spiritual advance impossible and blasphemy a way of life.

Three Orders of the Priesthood!

A priest is a member of the human race who represents the human race or some portion of it before God. He operates for man’s benefit. Since he functions in the sphere of spiritual phenomena, he must receive a spiritual appointment.

To even qualify for such an appointment he must partake of the nature of those whom he represents, or for those for whom he officiates.

Therefore, the Second Person of the Trinity had to become true humanity in order to become our High Priest and provide our salvation. Christ is our Royal Priest forever. Heb 5, 6, 10. He represented us to God when He offered Himself on the real altar, the Cross. Although He propitiated the Father on behalf of all men, all men do not belong to His priesthood. Heb 7:14, “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.”

There are three orders of priests.

  1. Previous dispensations were characterized by specialized priesthoods. Num 16:3, Lev 8:21, 22:1-16, so that most believers who lived in those periods were not priests at all. First in the age of the Gentiles, the patriarch of the family was also the family priest representing the members of his household.
  2. The family of Aaron, from the tribe of Levi, represented the nation of Israel. In the functions of the Levitical priesthood God illustrates, in shadow form, many wonderful lessons regarding the future work of the coming Messiah.
  3. The third priestly order is the royal priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ, not limited to a few individuals. Our priesthood is universal. Every member of the royal family of God is appointed at salvation to represent himself before God.

In Christ we are a kingdom of royal priests forever. 1 Pet 2:5, 9, Rev 1:6, 5:10, 20:6. Under the perfect High Priest, the priesthood of the Church Age is superior to the former specialized orders. Heb 7.

The Difference Between All Believers Being Priests and All Believers Being Ambassadors



Represents himself Represents Christ
Toward God Toward man
Private Public
Before God Before the world
Learns the Word of God Interacts with others
Spiritual advance Spiritual service
Receives blessing Gives blessing

“So Then Every One of Us Shall Give Account of Himself to God,” Romans 14:12

In this life we plug along, we plod, we become involved in routine, we take in the Word of God today, tomorrow, the next day, and the next, or we should. We meet all kinds of tests, distractions, and problems, but we keep going, keep on concentrating, keep on keeping on, one day at a time.

There is no flash in the pan, no special recognition, no fanfare. The years pass and suddenly life is over. Then comes the big question – What did we accomplish?

Just as salvation has an issue – “What do you think of Christ?” Matt 22:42, so life after salvation has an issue – “What do you think of the Word of God?”

What we think is what we are.

The plan of God has seen fit for us to share the thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ and to utilize His Divine orientation to reality in our walk through this life.

If the Lord Jesus Christ is important, then what He thinks is more important than anything else in life.

But what has been important to us? When we come the end of the road, we will see a switch signal from positive volition to negative volition as we have fluctuated in our attitude toward the Word of God. No human being with an old sin nature will have a perfect record. No one will have followed a straight path. But the question will be, what has predominated?

Have we been positive to the Word of God or consistently negative? How far has our positive volition carried us? Have we cracked the maturity barrier? Have we persisted in learning the Word of God one day at a time, day after day?

We cannot emphasize the gravity of this question. Because when we stop to think how easy it is for people to get away from the Word of God, and how difficult it is to be consistent in growing in Grace, the importance of this issue becomes emphatic.

”Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2001

“For Adam Was First Formed, Then Eve. And Adam Was Not Deceived, But the Woman Being Deceived Was in the Transgression,” 1 Tim 2:13-14

These verses come from a context describing authority. The statement that Adam was created first refers to his position of responsibility as the federal head of the human race.

But he is further responsible for our condemnation because when he sinned, he knew exactly what he was doing. The woman, taken in by the smooth line that Satan handed her, did not know what she was doing.

Of course, ignorance is no excuse before God. She was just as guilty and just as spiritually dead as Adam. But the only sin that can be imputed to mankind for condemnation is a sin of cognizance.

Therefore, even though Adam was not the first sinner in the human race, his sin, not the woman’s, is imputed unto us for condemnation.

These principles related to what is imputed, Adam’s sin, also hold true of the target, the old sin nature. Adam’s old sin nature, not the woman’s, becomes our old sin nature because he was the head of the human race and because he sinned in cognizance.

The old sin nature however is not imputed to us by imputation. It is transmitted genetically. Interesting when it comes to genes.

Why God Taps His Foot!

“And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be Gracious unto you, therefore will he be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment (justice): blessed are all they that wait on Him,” Isa 30:18.

Even though God cannot immediately give you special blessings, the righteousness of God in you still demands that you be blessed during the interim between salvation and maturity. Therefore, “The Lord is tapping His foot.” The Hebrew word for “wait” – waiting to bless you. He supports and sustains you with His Grace.

Some of this support simply keeps you alive in the devil’s world. You need air, food, shelter, clothing, and a guardian angel. But most important, you need what He provides for your spiritual advance. The completed Canon of Scripture, fellowship, the filling of the Holy Spirit, the prepared Pastor-Teacher, the local Church where the Word of God is taught, transportation to Bible class, maybe a tape recorder or a radio, or some other means of hearing the Word of God in the absence of a local pastor.

God supports different people in different ways. One believer might have stimulating and loyal friends. His transportation might be a Buick. His food, steak. Another might be alone, and he might ride a bicycle and occasionally splurge on a TV dinner. Whether you travel by Buick or bicycle God gave that transportation so that you can get to Bible class.

The Necessity for the Death of Jesus Christ

When Paul desires to explain the necessity of the death of Christ in order that the New Testament might become effective, he uses the illustration of a will not being effective “until the death of the life of the testator,” Heb 9:16-17.

When he tells us in Rom 8:17 that as of heirs of God we are also joint-heirs with Christ. He draws from the Roman law which made all children, including adopted ones, equal heirs. Think of it, equal heirs with Jesus Christ!

Should He wish to assure believers that they will receive their glorification, He uses the business term “earnest,” a down payment in kind, guaranteeing the full payment of the rest. Eph 1:14, the Holy Spirit is the Down Payment in kind, His indwelling being part of our salvation.

“The Light (Speaking of the Lord) Shineth in Darkness and the Darkness Comprehendeth It Not,” John 1:5

One thing we all must have is understanding. We need to see God as He really is. Remember this, the darkness of the world doesn’t like to the glory of God. That is John 1:5.

In other words, the darkness of the world doesn’t understand the brightness of the glory of the Lord. Also, John 3:19, “He that believeth on Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not on Him is condemned already because he hath not believed in Name of the only Begotten Son of God, and this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.”

The world not only doesn’t understand the Light, but the world doesn’t want the Light.

In Matt 27, when the world rejected Christ and crucified Him, immediately darkness came over the world. In other words, the world rejected the Light for the darkness.

Listen, we are children of Light, as we find in 1 Thes 5:14. We have the capacity to understand the Light. Then why don’t we? Why don’t we understand the brightness of the glory of God revealed to us?

Why don’t we understand, “I am the Light of the world”?

Wednesday, July 11, 2001

“God Bless America!”

This is a famous expression of politicians, and they gain applause and praise from those to whom they speak. But it is more than a gesture.

There are certain requirements in order for God to bless our nation. ”Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” ”And the people He hath chosen for His own inheritance,” Psa 33.

We find that happy, blessed, or happinesses, is the nation whose God is the Lord. When we look around and see the sorrow, confusion, and race being pitted against race, capital against labor, we wonder what this is all about.

We find this condition because we have forgotten God. The very foundation of our nation was built on prayer. When the little group on the Mayflower came to land, the first thing they did was to offer prayer unto God.

Down through this nation’s history we find great spiritual giants of prayer. Every time this nation was in a crisis, God had a remnant that cried out unto Him.

God’s Promises are sure. He has kept His promises until this nation has become the greatest in the world. When the Constitution was being written, Benjamin Franklin said, ”It is written in the Word of God that one cannot build a house without asking for help from God.” How can we expect to build a nation without His help??

And then they all knelt and prayed for Divine guidance, and we know the result. Now we find ourselves forgetting God. God is no longer the God of the nation. There are many other gods. There are gods many.

People are talking about the evils and the ills of our nation. People who should be praying are talking about the mistakes, they have lost the true vision. What can we do to bring this nation to God? God’s Word tells us very plainly what to do, but we have forgotten it.

”If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land,” 2 Chr 7:14.

“God Bless America”

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,” Psa 33.

God will answer prayer. The responsibility is for the Christian not to go out and condemn man, but it is our responsibility to first humble ourselves. Those who have the right to ask of God are the ones to blame, not those who know not God. Here is a Promise and God is forever the same.

First there must be a humility and then a prayer. 2 Chr 7:14. Prayer expresses helplessness and complete dependence upon the Lord. A man or woman who recognizes their dependence upon the Lord prays.

We are too concerned with our own righteousness, our own Church attendance, and the things we are apparently doing for the Lord. Consequently, we have lost the sense of need and we do not pray.

As we pray, we are to seek His face, then we are to turn from our wicked ways – the ways of self-righteousness, condemnation, and hypocrisy. Then God promises to hear from Heaven.

First comes forgiveness. Then He will heal our land. If we want our nation back with God, if we want prosperity and spiritual freedom where God is recognized, we must humble ourselves, cry unto Him, seek His face, turn from our wicked ways, and then God promises to hear our prayers and forgive us our sins.

Then we can say, Blessed is our nation because God is our Lord.

“Come Unto Me All Ye That Labor and Are Heavy Laden and I Will Give You Rest,” Matt 11:28

The first invitation that the Lord gave to the people after leaving, speaking to Israel is found in this verse. We find that the Lord said, “The just shall live by faith.” He also said, “The just shall not walk by sight, but by faith.”

If we are going to have a rest for our souls and it is a heritage that God intends for everyone of His children to have. We must “learn of Him” and then “walk by faith.”

When we say “walk by faith,” what do we mean? The first thing we find to have rest for our souls is to “learn of Him” and have faith in His faithfulness. Too many of us are influenced by our weak faith and we contribute to God this same feeling.

2 Tim 2:13, “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful. He cannot deny Himself.”

The very first thing we must have is faith in God’s faithfulness. The trouble with too many of us today is that so few people recognize the power of God because God’s children do not depend upon the faithfulness of God. Thereby preventing God from working with them.

The very first step for having rest in our soul is to have faith in God’s faithfulness, and you will find that if you will depend upon Him, ”He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” What He did for anyone He will do for you. He will deliver you out of the trouble you are in regardless of how helpless and hopeless you may feel.

Regardless of how dark tomorrow may seem to you, if you will depend upon Him, He cannot deny Himself. He abides faithful You must have faith in God’s faithfulness in order to have rest for your souls. If we do, God will perform miracles for us.

”Great is Thy faithfulness. His compassions are renewed every day.”

“No Man Can Serve Two Masters, For Either He Will Hate the One and Love the Other, or Else He Will Hold to the One, and Despise the Other. Ye Cannot Serve God and Mammon.”

The word “mammon” is a Syrian word which means “riches” – “the desire or appetite for riches.” There is a great contrast in those who want to serve the Lord and those who “serve the god of riches.”

In those who serve the Lord, there is humility. And for those who are a slave to their appetites for riches, there is pride.

Those who serve the Lord must “walk by faith.” Those who serve the god of riches “walk by sight.”

“Where our treasure is, there our heart is also.” The one thing you desire the most is your treasure.

”Lay not up for yourselves treasure upon Earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal.” Now it does not say lay not up treasures on Earth, it says we should not lay up treasures on Earth for ourselves.

In the first place, a man should care for and lay up in store for his family so that if anything happens to himself, the family will be taken care of. We find in the New Testament that he that does not do this is “worse than an infidel.”

”Lay not up for yourselves.” What does that mean? It means we should not live a life that is self-centered.

”But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven.” A person who is only concerned about obtaining things for himself is a person who is laying up treasures for himself on Earth. But those who are concerned with others and want to help others, are laying up treasures in Heaven. They are serving the Lord, not the god of riches.

”Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added unto you.”

“Some Trust in Chariots and Some in Horses, But We Will Remember the Name of the Lord Our God,” Psa 20:7

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses.” That means man-made instruments, and horses are man-controlled power.

Unfortunately today we find that there are many of God’s children that are trusting in man-made things rather the Lord. There are many who are not God’s children, who are trusting these also. But many of God’s children, because of wrong associations, are putting their trust in the things made by man and that is unfortunate.

The most unfortunate of all are those who have been blinded by men who put their faith and trust in the things that man controls. I wonder how many of you believe you are all right because you are a member of some Church. It is good to be in Churches. There is a place for the Church, but it is not the first place.

The thing we need to do is trust only in the Lord. So it says, “But we will remember the Name of the Lord our God.”

There are many taking great pride in the things made by man, and because they are associated with that particular man-made thing or power, they think they are all right.

We who say that the Lord saveth His anointed and that He will hear us, we will remember the Name of the Lord our God. We are only mindful of God’s Name … God’s Promises, God’s power.

It is then we will find that the ones who are putting their trust in man-made instruments are brought down and fallen. There are many of us in a time of weakness or trouble who are unable to have the joy of salvation or peace in their hearts because they trust in what man has made.

But we who remember the Word of the Lord can stand in the face of adversities because we know the Lord saveth His anointed and heareth us from His holy place.

When we trust in the Lord, we are helped. But when we trust in the things of man, we are disappointed.

“Rufus” – Paul You Know. Peter You Know. But What About Rufus?

“And they compelled one Simon, a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander, and Rufus, to bear His Cross,” Mark 15:21.

Mark mentions Simon’s two sons when he writes his account of the crucifixion 30 years later and by that time they had become quite well known. Rom 16:13, “Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.” Simon’s wife is also mentioned as being a great believer.

Here we have an amazing family which many do not know about. This is never taught in Sunday School or from our pulpits.

Simon was a Jew observing the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ as He hung upon the Cross. He came to one conclusion – that Jesus Christ was the Son of the Living God, “The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world,” John 1:29.

He understood that “the blood of Christ keeps on cleansing from all sin,” 1 John 1:7, and right then and there personally trusted in Him. After going back to his own home, he led his two sons and his wife to the Lord, all of whom became prominent in the early Church.

There were those observing the death of Christ that day who could look at Him objectively, who were qualified because they were not prejudiced and these came to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was truly God, the unique Person of the universe, the God-man, and therefore, the only Way of salvation.

Simon was the first of three individuals mentioned who received Jesus Christ as personal Saviour.

“And as They Came Out (the Procession to Golgotha), They Found a Man of Cyrene, Simon by Name, Him They Compelled to Bear His Cross,” Matt 27:32

Simon of Cyrene, like many other Jews, longed for the day when he could leave Libya and the city of Cyrene, and come to Jerusalem during the Holy Week. The festivities started with the Passover, and included the feasts of Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, followed by Pentecost, covering a period of over 50 days.

Simon’s desire was realized, for he was in Jerusalem during this time. He was standing on the street as the procession came by with the Lord Jesus Christ staggering under the weight of His Cross.

It was not because He was weak, but because He had been so badly tortured and beaten that He could no longer carry the heavy burden up the hill. As the Roman soldiers walked along in their column of fours, they saw this man standing there, undoubtedly in utter amazement at the spectacle.

They immediately grabbed the man, Simon, forcing him to carry the Cross. This was a most unusual sight. A dignified, prominent businessman from a Roman province in North Africa suddenly caught up in the midst of a procession following the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ as He staggered up the hill to Golgatha and forced him into becoming a part of the entourage. Simon observed every detail of what happened on the Cross. He marked well the uniqueness of this One whose place he had taken on the march to the crucifixion.

As a result of his observation, he became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and when he returned to Libya, to the city of Cyrene, he told his family about his Saviour.

”Look to Me and live.”

“The Wages of Sin is Death” – Spiritual Death, Romans 6:23

Physical death is not the penalty for sin. Adam died physically 930 years after he sinned. Therefore, the physical death of Christ was not the payment for sin. Physical death is a result of spiritual death.

When Christ hung upon the Cross, He suffered both deaths. As He bore the sins of the entire human race, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit forsook Him, Matt 27:46, The spiritual death of Christ was the payment for our sins, since the penalty of sin for the man is spiritual death, Christ must pay the penalty with His spiritual death.

Psa 22:2, 3, “O My God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest Me not, and in the night season and am not silent, but Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”

The intense suffering of His spiritual death on the Cross is amplified as Christ’s shrieking is followed by another cry, very likely one that others could not hear.

While Jesus Christ was bearing the sins of the world, even though He was the High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedek, His prayers could not be heard. Why?

Because He was taking your place and mine. He was providing salvation for you and for me. Separated from God by sin, the human race was under the condemnation of spiritual death. Jesus Christ was taking our place, the place of separation, that He might bring us to God.

Thought for the Day!

Christ thought more of us
than He did
to endure the shame of the Cross.

”For the joy that was before Him.”

Thursday, July 12, 2001

“But I Am a Worm, and No Man, a Reproach of Men, and Despised of All People,” Psa 22:6

The word for “worm” is a very rare Hebrew word used for a special kind of worm, which, with thousands of other of the same species, was placed into a huge vat, crushed to extract the blood, and used to make the most beautiful crimson dye in the ancient world. This is the color of royalty. The robes of the kings were dyed with this brilliant crimson.

When Jesus Christ said, “I am a worm,” it was to indicate that He was being crushed that you and I, when we trusted in Him might wear the robe of a King. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have the very righteousness of the Son of God credited to their account at the moment of salvation. This is the King’s robe.

2 Cor 5:21, “For He made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

“I Will Greatly Rejoice in the Lord, My Soul Shall be Joyful in My God, for He Hath Clothed Me With the Garments of Salvation, He Hath Covered Me With the Robe of Righteousness,” Isa 61:10.

Jesus on the Cross was a “reproach of men.”

Psa 22:6, “A reproach of men” “and despised of the people.” Here is a reference to the fact that “His visage was completely destroyed,” Isa 52:14.

Psa 22 continues to describe the terrible events of the Cross, relating much of the agony of that moment. We read of the vile epithets hurled at Him by the mob, of the merciless treatment He endured at their hands.

”Mine own friend has lifted up his heel against Me.”
”He endured the shame for the joy that was set before Him.”
”He humbled Himself even unto the death of the Cross.”

Jesus Christ Prayed for Our Forgiveness Before He Was Judged for Our Sins

“And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand and the other on the left, then He said, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do,” Luke 23:33-34.

Before He was judged for our sins, He prayed for our forgiveness.

Now these people had slapped Him, beaten Him, spit upon Him, lied about Him, ridiculed Him, and scourged Him. These were the ones who cried, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” They had pushed the Cross into an upright position, standing around to mock and to laugh and to ridicule.

Yet the first thing Jesus Christ uttered on the Cross was a prayer for His enemies.

He opened His public ministry with prayer, according to Luke 3:21, and He closed His public ministry with prayer.

After all, He is the “High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedek,” Psa 10:4, Heb 5:6, 10.

And God the Father answered the prayer of God the Son.

“Father Forgive Them for They Know Not What They Do,” Luke 23:34

At this point, Jesus Christ could no longer minister to the poor and needy and the sick and lame and the blind, for He was now confined to a Cross. But while He could not come down from the Cross, at the same time He provided for our salvation. He still had the power for service.

This should be a great encouragement to you as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as you meditate on these words. ”Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Now, if because of physical confinement you are not able to get out and proclaim Christ as you would like to, then this is a significant Truth for you. Because one of the greatest avenues of service and opportunity that any believer could ever have is through the avenue of prayer.

“Father Forgive Them for They Know Not What They Do,” Luke 23:34

When Jesus Christ cried, “Father forgive them,” He was praying for the lost, for those who were bound for hell.

His prayer was answered later. For when we compare Acts 2:36-41 with Acts 3:17 and Acts 4:4 we realize something of the meaning of this prayer. At least 8,000 people were saved when Peter preached, but it was an indirect result of Christ’s prayer on the Cross.

Many of the remarks that Jesus Christ made came from His hypostatic union, the two natures of Christ as the God-man. Some came from Deity only. When He said, “I and the Father are one” and “I have the power to forgive sins,” He was speaking from His Deity.

When He said, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest,” He was speaking from His hypostatic union, both natures at once.

There were other times when He was speaking from His humanity, as here on the Cross. In His humanity He is our Royal High Priest, for a priest must be a man.

Therefore, as the God-man and High Priest, He was praying for those that were lost. He set us a tremendous example, one we as royal priests should use every day. 2 Pet 2:9, Rev 1:6 – royal priests and kings.

“Forgive Them for They Know Not What They Do,” Luke 23:34

Christ’s prayer on the Cross brings out another very important factor – the blindness of the human heart (the mind).

”They know not what they do.” Those who crucified Him were ignorant of the Word of God and the plan of God. They did not recognize the God-man. They did not recognize the Saviour of the world. They did not realize that here was the One who was being judged for their sins, that He was taking their place, that He was providing their salvation.

Yet the Lord Jesus Christ had made it plain many times. “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that believeth on Me though he were dead, yet shall he live,” John 11:25.

”I am the Light of the world. He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of life, John 8:12.

There was no excuse for their ignorance. “The Light of the glorious Gospel” had shined unto them. Jesus Christ in His Grace, was not willing that any should perish and He prayed for them.

But the “human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked,” Jer 17:9, literally, incurably sick.

”If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the Light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God should shine unto them,” 2 Cor 4:3, 4.

“Forgive Them They Know Not What They Do,” Luke 23:34

Man’s greatest need is the need for the forgiveness and cleansing of sin.

”The penalty of sin is spiritual death.”

Rom 5:8, “But God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” Rom 5:8.

He took our place. He was judged for our sins. His prayer on the Cross is still being answered.

”He came unto His own, and His own received Him not, but as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to have eternal life.”

Three Crosses!

“And one of the malefactors which were hanged, railed on Him, saying, If Thou be the Christ, save Thyself and us,” Luke 23:39.

Matt 27:44 adds that both of the thieves turned against the Lord Jesus Christ. Both rejected Him. Both railed on Him and blasphemed against Him. ”The thieves also, which were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth.”

But one of the thieves became observant and “repented” (METANOEO), that is, he completely changed his attitude. He had a complete reversal of mental attitude, not in regard to sin, but in regard to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

”But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou are in the same condition? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today thou shalt be with Me in paradise,” Luke 23:40-43.

He recognized:

  1. First of all that Jesus Christ was a perfect Man.
  2. That Jesus Christ was sinless.
  3. He had done absolutely nothing wrong.
  4. He recognized His Deity, also.
  5. For he used the title for Deity, “Lord,” which is “KURIOS”
  6. There was nothing he could do for his salvation.
  7. He was nailed to the Cross.
  8. He could not join anyone’s church.
  9. He could not go through the ritual of baptism.
  10. He could not weep in front of an altar.
  11. He could not raise his hand.
  12. He could not walk down an aisle.

He was dying. He was helpless, but he turned to the Lord Jesus Christ for help, and he went exactly to the right Person. He also recognized even though Jesus Christ was hanging on a Cross, even though He too was dying, that Jesus Christ had a kingdom.

The Lord Jesus Christ responded to his statement of faith, by promising him a place in Paradise or Abraham’s bosom, the abode of all the Old Testament saints. Remember, the Lord Jesus Christ was born, lived, died, and was resurrected in the age of Israel.

These two thieves on the Cross picture the world today. One believed in Jesus Christ and was eternally saved. The other rejected Him and was eternally lost.

”He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him,” John 3:36.

The world is divided by its attitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

Your attitude towards Him determines your future.

Friday, July 13, 2001

Jesus Christ Never Called Mary “His Mother”

“Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciples standing by, whom He loved, He said unto His mother, Woman behold thy Son,” John 19:25-26.

We can imagine the anguish in a mother’s heart, watching her Son slowly and painfully die. She must have been torn with terrible grief.

But Jesus Christ never called her mother. He always addressed her as “woman,” “GUNE.” He sought to emphasize that she was the mother of His humanity. But she was not “the mother of God.”

Anticipating some of the great dangers that would come in the future to her place in the plan of God, He was always careful to avoid the title of mother. ”Then saith He to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own home,” John 19:27.

Here are the words of responsibility! Jesus Christ did a marvelous and wonderful thing, fulfilling the law which said, “Honour thy father and thy mother,” Ex 20:12.

While He was on Earth, Jesus Christ was very careful to obey the law in every point. He condemned the Pharisees who failed to do so. He condemned them on occasions for the “KORBAN” gimmick. Mark 7:10-12.

Even in His dying moment, when He was in the midst of terrible agony and pain, He took time to think of the one who was the mother of His humanity and to make provision for her.

We see here a beautiful picture, even in the end, of how Jesus Christ fulfilled the law in every detail.

How Jesus Christ Loved the Scriptures!

“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst,” John 19:28.

It is wonderful to realize how the Lord Jesus Christ loved the Scriptures as they existed and how His life in His humanity centered in them. Oh, that we might have the same attitude toward the Scriptures! That we might have the joy and the realization and the reverence, the absorption and the interest that the Lord Jesus Christ had in the Scriptures.

The first great lesson from this phrase is the importance of the Word of God.

All the information we have concerning the Son of God is found in the Word of God. 2 Cor 2:16. The thirst of Jesus Christ indicates His humanity, for Deity does not thirst.

Again, it focuses our attention on the importance of the humanity of Jesus Christ, for Deity alone could not suffer the penalty of sin.

These words remind us not only of His physical suffering, but also of the fact that He is a man as well as God.

“I Thirst,” John 19:28

This is a reminder of the fact that Jesus Christ is our Royal High Priest forever, for in order to qualify as a priest, He had to become a man. As Deity He cannot be in the priesthood, but as a man, He is the Royal High Priest and we as the children of God form a kingdom of royal priests, for every believer is a priest. 1 Pet 2:9, Rev 1:6.

You and I as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have the right to go before the throne of God and offer prayer, Heb 4:16.

You and I have the right to confess our sins directly to God the Father in order to get back in fellowship, 1 John 1:9, because we are royal priests forever in the same order, the order of Melchisedek, who was both a king and a priest.

“I Thirst,” John 19:28

The cry, “I thirst” is also a reminder that Jesus Christ is the only Mediator, 1 Tim 2:5.

Whoever is the Mediator between God and man must be equal with both parties in the mediation. As the God-man He is equal with the Father and with mankind. He draws the Father and humanity together.

The humanity testifies to the fact that God the Father keeps His Word. God the Father promised unconditionally to David that he would have a Son who would reign forever. This means that God the Son must take upon Himself true humanity, and that true humanity must be in the royal line of David. He was truly man, the Son of David, the fulfillment of that promise.

He will return to keep that promise in full. His humanity guarantees that we have a Saviour – a royal High Priest, a Mediator, and a King.

The King of kings and Lord of lords who will return to this Earth to reign forever and ever.

“When Jesus Had Received the Vinegar, He Said, It Is Finished, and He Bowed His Head and Gave up His Spirit,” John 19:30

When the Lord Jesus Christ uttered the words “It is finished,” He evidenced the fact that salvation was complete.

Nothing could be taken away from it, and above all, nothing could be added to it. It was purely a matter of Grace. No one has ever deserved this salvation. And there never will be any member of the human race who deserves something as wonderful and as marvelous and precious as the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Consequently, when He said, “It is finished,” He made it very clear that to add anything to the finished work of salvation is sheer blasphemy, and that is why the Scripture reiterates over and over again, ”He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.”

Faith is the absence of works. Faith is the absence of merit. Faith is dependence entirely on someone else for salvation. There is no advantage to human good activities such as believe and repent, believe and confess, believe and join a church, believe and walk down an aisle, believe and be baptized, believe and do, do, do.

None of these things make your salvation more real, for Jesus Christ said, “It is finished” – finished in the past with results that go on forever.

How dare anyone add anything to the Word of God!

“When Jesus Had Therefore Received the Vinegar, He said It is Finished and He Bowed His Head and Gave up His Spirit,” John 19:30

There is something here that is even more important as far as this phrase is concerned. The sin problem is solved. Sin is no longer the issue in the human race. Jesus Christ was judged for our sins. He bore every sin that has been or ever will be committed. We cannot say to someone today, “You must give up your sins in order to be saved.”

If sin is no longer the issue, what is the issue? What think ye of Christ? Will you receive Him as your personal Saviour? Will you trust in Him?

At the last judgment, the Great White Throne, no one will be judged for their sins. Rev 20:12-16.

The Scripture is clear to point out that all who stand there do so because they have rejected Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. They will be judged according to their works, never according to their sins.

The sin problem is once and for all solved, for sins cannot be judged again. If you reject Him, you must stand on your own merits.

As an unbeliever you have two appointments – one to die physically, and one to stand before the Great White Throne and be judged for your works which you chose in preference to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. At the judgment bar of God it will be demonstrated that no amount of works can measure up to perfect righteousness of Christ which a person must have in order to fellowship with Him in eternity.

The only responsibility of the human race, the only means of appropriation, is personal faith in Jesus Christ, the One who uttered those marvelous Words of Grace,

”It is finished.”

Saturday, July 14, 2001

Immediate Repercussions of the Cross!

“And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom,” Matt 27:51.

Immediately following Christ’s death several miracles took place.

The veil of the temple hung between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. This veil was an elaborately woven fabric of 72 twisted braids of 24 threads each. It was 60 feet long and 30 feet wide. It was impossible to tear it with human hands either from top to bottom or from bottom to top.

God Himself split the veil of the temple to indicate that the barrier between man and God was removed by the work of Christ on the Cross.

We know from a study of the tabernacle as well as from the Book of Hebrews that the veil represented His body, His humanity.

It was by the rending, the deaths, both spiritual and physical, of the Lord Jesus Christ that makes it possible for you and me to have fellowship with God in time and in eternity.

”Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh,” Heb 10:19-20.

That is why Jesus Christ said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no man cometh unto the Father but by Me,” John 14:6.

Another Repercussion Immediately Following the Cross

“And the Earth (Palestine) did shake and the rocks rent,” Matt 27:51. So great was the Earthquake that the rocks were literally split in two.

”And the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared unto many,” Matt 27:52-53. This miracle occurred after the resurrection but was a repercussion of the Cross.

Here is the transfer of the Old Testament saints from Paradise, Abraham’s Bosom, to the new Paradise in Heaven.
Eph 4:8, 2 Cor 12:1-4.

Certain saints received their bodies to function as witnesses after the resurrection of Christ, just as Lazarus had done before the resurrection. These believers functioned in the same manner as the two witnesses will do in the Tribulation, Rev 11:3-12.

This is resuscitation rather than resurrection.
For after their ministry of witnessing is completed, they will eventually die and their bodies will return to the grave, while their soul and spirit will enter into the presence of the Lord.

In the case of a genuine resurrection, it is not necessary to open the graves.

Another Repercussion Immediately Following the Cross!

“Now when the centurion and they that were with him, watching Jesus saw the earthquake and those things that were done, they feared greatly saying, Truly, this was the Son of God,” Matt 27:54. The salvation of the centurion.

The centurion was a soldier, an officer in the Roman army. Officers are trained to observe, to think logically, and to think logically under pressure.

It is interesting how many times the Bible records the incident of a military man who received Christ. For example, in Matt 8:13. “And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.”

In the Book of Acts, a Roman centurion was the first Gentile to have a Church in his home.

The religious crowd around the Cross would have nothing to do with the Son of God. But this centurion, who was in command of all the troops on the hill, put the religious crowd to shame. He observed that this was no ordinary crucifixion. The chief priests and the scribes and the Pharisees ridiculed, but here was a man who observed the uniqueness of Christ and received Him as his personal Saviour.

The centurion was the third person mentioned who was saved on that hill that day. Only one religious person, and religion was certainly represented, accepted Christ – Simon of Cyrene.

There were many immoral people there – people who enjoyed watching torture, who enjoyed watching someone suffer – yet only one immoral person was recorded to have accepted the Lord, and he was a gangster, one of the thieves.

The Glories of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ!

“Whom He hath appointed Heir of all things,” Heb 1:2.

”Appointed” is literally, once and for all appointed. “He” is God the Father.

The first glory of Christ actually refers back to eternity past, for it is in the aorist tense in the Greek meaning, “once and for all appointed.”

Billions and quadrillions of years ago, long before man or angels were created, Jesus Christ was made Heir of all things. This is a part of the Divine Decrees found in Psalm 2:7-8 when in the Plan of the Father, Jesus Christ was appointed Heir of all things that will survive in the eternal state.

Heirship comes through Sonship. Generally speaking, you cannot become an heir unless you are either adopted or the real son of someone.

Believers are by adoption, Gal 4:5, and regeneration, the sons of God. ”For ye are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus,” Gal 3:26.

”But as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name,” John 1:12.

We are not sons of God because we are born physically into this life. We are not sons of God because we have joined a Church. We are sons of God because we are born again and the only way to be born again is to receive Jesus Christ personally as your Saviour, John 3:3, 15.

“Heirs of God”

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together,” Rom 8:17.

”To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time,” 1 Pet 1:4-5.

If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, if you have trusted Him for your salvation, you are an heir of God. You are an heir of an inheritance which is incorruptible, which can never be changed, and which can never be taken away from you, no matter who tries.

You have an eternal inheritance all because of relationship with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the moment of salvation God the Holy Spirit puts us into union with Christ, 1 Cor 12:13, thus bringing us into relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and with the Father through Him. Union with Christ is the basis for this relationship.

Christ is the Heir of all things also reminds us that Christianity is not a religion. Religion is man seeking the approbation of God by man’s works. But Christianity is a relationship with God, apart from works.

Christianity is what God has done for sinful man, not what man can do for God. Everything necessary to bring sinful man into relationship with God has been provided through the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

If you have trusted in Jesus Christ, you are an heir of God, a spiritual millionaire. You have riches that cannot be removed or taken away from you and you can face life with true orientation and perspective. You have the assurance that your life now has a purpose no matter who you are, what you are, or where you are.

Psalm 90:10, “The Days of Our Years Are Threescore Years and Ten; and if by Reason of Strength They be Fourscore Years.”

Old age or growing older is nothing to be ashamed about. It is nothing to make you think or anyone else think that you no longer have a purpose for your life. There may be a little snow on the roof, but there is still fire in the furnace.

The longer you live the greater is the testimony. It is a testimony of the Grace and love and provision of our Lord. The length of years in which He has sustained us and provided for us and given us the strength to overcome many years of trials and heartaches and sufferings.

How long has the Lord provided for you? How long did the Lord provide for Methusaleh?

Threescore and ten and if by strength, His strength, fourscore.

The next time you see an old person, don’t laugh, but say to yourself, ‘If it wasn’t for the provision of the Lord and the strength of the Lord, that person would no longer be here.’

How many Christmases have you celebrated the birth of our Saviour?

Sunday, July 15, 2001

Blueprinter of the Ages!

“By Whom also He made the worlds,” Heb 1:2, literally, “ages.”

This is not referring to the universe and the galaxies about us, but to the dispensations or the ages designed by God for time. It is true that the Lord Jesus Christ created the universe as we find in Col 1:16 and Heb 1:10, but here the Lord Jesus Christ is the One who “blueprinted the ages.”

Paul talks about “ages past” in Eph 3:5, as well as in Col 1:26 and in Eph 2:7 he mentions, “ages to come.” From these we know that we live in “an age.”

Even though you may not be familiar with these dispensations, they do exist. A dispensation is a period or category of human history expressed in terms of Divine revelation.

Dispensations constitute “the Divine interpretation of history.” God is working out His will through these epochs of history, so regardless of whether we understand them or not, they do exist, and there is a Divine plan, even for time.

God the Father, the Author of the plan, designed the dispensations around the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Blueprinter of the Ages!

Heb 1:2, “By Whom also He made the ages.”

There is a purpose for everything that happens. There is a reason for our existence. There is a reason why today every believer is a royal priest, why every believer is indwelt by the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as God the Holy Spirit. There is a reason why every believer has been made an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is a complete study in itself, and all of it centers about the age in which we live. Each age demonstrates that the human race, through its own modus operandi, has the only solution to man’s problems in the Lord Jesus Christ.

He not only “blueprinted ages past and ages to come,” but He is Himself the Focal Point of every age.

There are many lessons to be learned from the various dispensations. One is that “perfect environment” is not the solution to man’s problems. How many times have you said and heard, “If we only had a perfect environment,” “if we only had this or that, then everything would be wonderful”?

As a matter of fact, this is often the approach of politicians today. Sooner or later they promise “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” gimmick. Or, more Social Security for the aged, more unemployment insurance for the unemployed, better conditions for everyone. Man continually today strives for so many things because he has been brainwashed by psychologists and others into believing that improved environment will make him happy.

This is untrue as anything can be. Perfect environment is not the answer to man’s problems. Regeneration is!

The Blueprinter of the Ages!

Heb 1:2, “By Whom also He made the ages.”

Even though this nation is on the decline today, we still have a wonderful environment and still the people are not happy. They are not satisfied. Suicides, drug addiction, and alcoholism are at all time highs.

The more material prosperity people gain, the less happiness they seem to have. The standard of living here is higher than in any other part of the world, and perhaps in any other time in history. Yet there is little real happiness.

Happiness comes in one way only, and that is by personal relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, and by claiming the Grace Promises that He has for us after salvation through the Word of God.

In the first part of the age of the Gentiles, the period of innocence, there was perfect environment, but it did not satisfy man. Perfect environment does not bring man closer to God.

Under the worst conditions the world will ever know, the extreme violence of the Tribulation, the most difficult and hazardous of all times, and under the best conditions the world will ever know, the Millennium, and the Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ over a world of perfect environment, men will still turn their backs on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Regardless of external conditions, man will always have the free will to accept or reject Jesus Christ, God’s solution to his internal desolation. In the Tribulation, the worst time in history, evangelism reaches an all time high.

The Essence of God!

“Who being (absolute existence) the brightness of His glory,” Heb 1:3.

We know from John 1:18, John 6:46, 1 Tim 6:16, and 1 John 4:12 that no one has ever seen God the Father. All we know about the Godhead, we know through the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the manifestation of the Godhead.

The word “brightness” means effulgence, or shining forth. Jesus Christ is “the shining forth” of God.

Actually this particular Greek word for “shining forth” is a technical term denoting radiation in the sense of light from an original source that increases as it moves into space. ”A flashing forth” might better describe the word.

In like manner, the more we know about the Lord Jesus Christ, the greater His glory becomes.
Glory refers to the Divine essence as in Rom 3:23, “We all come short of the glory of God.”

Christ is therefore, the “flashing forth of Divine essence.”

The Revealer of God!

Heb 1:3, “And the express image of His Person,” God’s essence. ”Express” in the Greek is “exact.” And because Christ is the exact image of God, He is the Revealer of God.

What we know about the Father we know from the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s love, God’s Grace, His judgment, can only be known through the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the visible Member of the Godhead.

”No man has seen God at any time, the Only Begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him,” John 1:18.

The words “Only Begotten Son” – the word for “Son” here is “THEOS,” which is literally, “the Only Begotten God.”

The Sustainer of the Universe!

“And upholding (sustaining) all things by the Word of His power,” Heb 1:3.

Here is an amazing thing. Not only is Christ the Revealer of God, but it the same verse it declares that He is the “Sustainer of the universe.”

This poses quite a problem. If you know much about the universe, you are aware that numerous galaxies, hundreds of thousands of solar bodies, the planets, and the stars exist. And if you realize that there are literally billions of them spaced millions of light years apart, all moving at rapid rates of speed, then you are cognizant of the tremendous traffic problem in space. What keeps them from colliding? What keeps this universe from utter chaos?

The more you know about outer space, the more you realize that Someone must have His finger on the traffic pattern. Someone must hold all of this together, and that Someone is the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is further discussed in, Col 1:17, “By Him all things consist (are held together).”

If it were not for the Lord Jesus Christ sustaining us through the law of gravity on this globe, we would not be able to stay on the ground. We would float around in space as the astronauts have demonstrated.

Yet more than just simply sustaining the universe, Jesus Christ redeemed the universe.

The Redeemer of Mankind!

“When He had by Himself purged our sins,” Heb 1:3.

This is the most astounding and marvelous of all glories. How is it that the One who created the universe, the One who is the Revealer of God, the One who is the Sustainer of the universe, the One who is omnipotent and omnipresent, this great God, the eternal King, the everlasting Sovereign, could come to this Earth and take upon Himself the form of inferior man?

Why did He become humanity? Why did He become incarnate?

There could be only one answer – because He loved you and me.

We will never comprehend the humanity involved in the Sovereign of the universe in becoming a man. But we do understand the reason for it. His love for us sent Him to the Cross.

He had to provide purging or cleansing of sin, for sin keeps us from God. Therefore, He by Himself paid for our sins. He solved the sin problem. The Lord Jesus Christ took our place, dying in our stead.

“But God Commendeth His Love Toward Us in That While We Were Yet Sinners, Christ Died for us. Much More Then, Being Now Justified by His Blood, We Shall be Saved From Wrath Through Him,” Romans 5:8-9.

Those who have accepted His substitutionary sacrifice have the positive assurance that there is no eternal judgment for them.

Relationship to God can never be lost
for, “There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, Rom 8:1.

Since Jesus Christ has done all the work necessary, all that is required of us to appropriate salvation is faith. Any other means would be an insult to the Son of God. To add anything to faith would be tantamount to saying that His work was not efficacious, that it was not sufficient.

The only thing that man does for salvation is believe. Accept what the Saviour has already done. And by doing so, Jesus Christ receives the glory.

”This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him.”

”He is the propitiation, the satisfaction, for our sins.”

The Glorified Humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ!

“He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Heb 13.

When Jesus Christ sat down, He was not sitting down as God. It is true that Jesus Christ is God. And as God, He is omnipresent. Therefore, always in the presence of the Father.

He has eternal fellowship with the Father and with the Holy Spirit, and is equal with Them.

There never was a time when the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in the essence of Their Deity, did not exist or did not have fellowship together. But the One who sat down at the right hand of the Father was different from the Father and from the Holy Spirit. He became man.

When He sat down in the throne room, He had just come from Earth where He had provided our salvation. In order to provide this salvation, there had to be some change in God the Second Person. These changes encompass what is called the hypostatic union.

Eternal God had to become true humanity. It was man who sinned. It must be a man who pays the penalty for sin. Who was qualified in all of humanity to pay for sin?

All of those in Adam’s race, and we are all in Adam’s race, are born spiritually dead, we are born with three strikes against us –

Imputed sin, the sin of Adam imputed to the human race, Rom 5:18.
The sin nature inherited from Adam, Rom 5:12.
And personal sin.

Therefore, none of us is qualified to purchase our own freedom from the slave market of sin or to cleanse anyone else from sin.

The Glorified Humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ

“He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Heb 1:3

The greatest and most magnanimous person who ever lived is not qualified to die for the sins of the world. None of the religious teachers, many of whom today are objects of worship throughout the world, are qualified to pay the penalty of sin.

Not one of them is qualified to bring us into the presence of God. Only Jesus Christ is qualified, for in His humanity, He was without sin, personal, imputed, and inherited.

Jesus Christ is perfect. He went to the Cross as a perfect man. He died there for you and for me as a sinless man.

”He made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him,” 2 Cor 5:21.

Yes, Jesus Christ is different. He is God and He is man in one Person for ever. He is different from all other members of the human race because of His Deity. And He is also different from the other Members of the Godhead because He is true humanity.

The greatest issue this world has ever known is: Did this Jesus who died on the Cross, rise from the dead? The salvation of the human race depends on that answer.

The Word of God settles it once and for all. Yes, He did, literally and physically. Luke 24:39. His work on the Cross was vindicated in the eyes of the Father by His resurrection.

But that was not the end of it. Essential as the Cross and Resurrection were, important as it was for Him to be seen after the resurrection, yet, even this was not sufficient, for until “a man” can stand in the presence of God, no member of the human race can stand in the presence of God.

Because one Man stands there, any man can stand there.

Monday, July 16, 2001

“And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward Heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel, which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into Heaven, so shall come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven,” Acts 1:9-11.

So the disciples were given that Word of consolation by angels. But in the meantime, Jesus Christ, in a resurrection body, was passing through the realm of Satan, “the prince of the power of the air,” Eph 2:2. As the God-man He was facing a very serious crisis, for on that occasion Satan undoubtedly put his entire demonic organization into the fight doing everything in his power to keep Christ from coming into the presence of the Father.

Today we live in an age when Christians do not understand the importance of the Word of God, but it is very clear that Satan understood, for there is little doubt that he exerted tremendous pressure to keep the Son of God from moving toward the Throne Room. We do not know how long it took. Perhaps just a second, or maybe longer, but Jesus Christ arrived victorious!

Heaven was opened wide. The Father ushered Jesus Christ into His presence and said “sit down.”

”But to which of the angels said He at any time, ‘Sit on My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool’?” Heb 1:13.

“The Lord Said Unto My Lord, Sit Thou at My Right Hand Until I Make Thine Enemies Thy Footstool,” Psalm 110:1

When the Father said “sit down” to Jesus Christ, He was not saying it to His undiminished Deity, but to His humanity. By virtue of the fact that Deity is omnipresent and neither sits nor stands, we know it was the humanity of Jesus Christ which was told to sit down.

This was the first time in the history of the universe that a man was ever told to “sit” in the presence of the Holy, Just, and Righteous God. Do you see the significance of this dramatic moment? Do you recognize how important it was that the Father said, ”Sit Thou at My right hand.”

This is complete acceptance. This is the conclusion of the Doctrine of propitiation. This is the Father saying, “I am satisfied with this Man!”

The acceptance of Jesus Christ as a Man meant the acceptance of His sacrifice, and therefore, the acceptance of all those who seek entrance into the presence of the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. “Accepted in the Beloved.”

”This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him.”

The Superiority of Jesus Christ!

“Being made (having become) so much better (more prominent) than the angels as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent Name than they,” Heb 1:4.

Having presented in one sentence the transcendent glory of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, Heb 1:3, this passage goes on to develop His superiority.

The angelic creation is used as a norm, for they are the highest of all created beings. God is superior to angels. Man was created vastly inferior, but becomes positionally higher than angels at the point of salvation through union with Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father, and experientially superior at the Rapture when the Church Age believers receive their resurrection bodies.

Although angels were created superior to the human race, in the realm of His humanity Jesus Christ became superior to angels by means of His ascension and session at the right hand of the Father. In His glorified body, He has obtained, or inherited, a better Name, a supremacy of character over angels, because the Father said to Jesus Christ, “Sit Thou at My right hand.”

We as believers who are joint-heirs with the Son, also inherit the supremacy of Christ. Heb 1:5-13 reveals seven ways in which Christ is superior to angels.

Superior in His Relationship!

“For unto which of the angels did He say at any time, 'Thou art My Son. This day have I begotten Thee',” Heb 1:5 – the day of the incarnation.

This is a quotation from Psa 2:7 and is a part of the Eternal Decrees, which were a declaration made by God the Father in eternity past.

”Son” is used in the New Testament only for Christ as a Member of the human race, and for those regenerate members of the human race in union with Him, who are the body of Christ. ”We are all the sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

Although angels are known collectively as “sons of God” in the plural, Gen 6:2, Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7, they are never individually or personally called “a son.”

”And again I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son,” Heb 1:5. The last half of this verse is a quotation from 2 Sam 7:14. We understand the words “Father” and “Son” form a part of the language of accommodation. They are words of relationship in the human race, and while they do not adequately express relationship between the First and Second Persons of the Trinity, they do give us some idea.

The First Person is the Father and the Second Person is the Son. In eternity past when salvation was prepared and the First Person made the Second Person the Heir of all things, this statement in Heb 1:5 is one of the things He said. It established the fact for us that there is a relationship between the First and Second Persons of the Trinity.

“And Again I Will Be to Him a Father and He Shall Be to Me a Son,” Hebrews 1:5

This means that we also can have a relationship with the First Person of the Trinity on the basis of relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

We were entered into union with the Son of God by faith in Him. And as the Father and the Son are one, so are we one with the Son and with the Father. John 17:20-24.

We have a relationship with God the Father, the First Person of the Trinity, because of our position in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,” 2 Cor 5:17.

”Wherein He hath made us acceptable in the Beloved, Eph 1:6. Time after time we are brought face to face with this phrase, and always it refers to our union with Christ, “in Christ.”

It further demonstrates to us that Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a relationship with a Person, the Son of God.

”Beloved now we are the sons of God,” 1 John 3:1.

Christ is Superior in His Second Advent!

“And again when He bringeth in the Firstborn into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him,” Heb 1:6.

”When He bringeth in” – the author of Hebrews is quoting Psa 97:7 which refers to the Second Advent. The Greek word indicates someone brought back into something, hence, Christ is brought back into the world by the Father. When Christ is brought back into the world at the Second Advent, believers will be brought back with Him. Heb 1:13.

The subjunctive mood with the aorist tense indicates an indefinite temporal clause in the Greek. This means an event in the future certain to come, but the time of the event is unknown.

There are three points connected with “the Firstbegotten” or the “Firstborn.”

  1. Rulership or sovereignty. Christ is the Ruler of the family of God.
  2. Priesthood. Christ is the Royal Priest forever after the order of Melchisedek.
  3. The double portion. Christ is the Heir of all things including two regenerate kingdoms – the kingdom of the Old Testament saints, the regenerate of Israel, and the Church.

”He saith,” God the Father commands that all the elect angels will worship Jesus Christ at the Second Advent, because Operation Footstool will be completed. The fallen angels will be removed from the Earth and Satan will be bound and the angelic conflict will be suspended.

Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Christ is Superior in His Ministry!

“And of the angels He saith, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire?” A quotation from Psalm 104:4. Angels are servants of God as indicated by the word “ministers.” As servants of God they are also used to administer judgment – “flame of fire.”

”But unto the Son He hath said, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever. A sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom,” Heb 1:7, 8, a quotation from Psalm 45:6.

”But,” verse 8, introduces a contrast between Christ as Sovereign and angels as servants.

Jesus Christ, by becoming the Servant of JEHOVAH, actually became superior to the servants in the angelic realm. Angels are servants, but Christ has a throne. As a man, Christ has the Davidic throne. At the right hand of the Father Christ is Ruler over the Church.

When God, the First Person, addressed God, the Second Person, He addressed Him as Deity. Jesus Christ is God! This was addressed to Jesus Christ after He became flesh and dwelt among us. He is called God!

Christ rules forever while elect angels serve forever. Just as Christ reigns forever, so every believer in Jesus Christ will reign with Him.

“A Sceptre of Righteousness is the Sceptre of Thy Kingdom,” Hebrews 1:8

In His humanity Christ was a “Sceptre of righteousness,” perfect righteousness, “a Righteous Branch.” This is the Doctrine of impeccability.

The perfect righteousness of Christ is contrasted to the unrighteousness of Satan, who attempts to rule the world. Satan’s world system includes human good as well as evil.

In fact, it is doubtful that the presence of manifest evil in the world is actually Satan’s intention, for he is an “angel of light.” Evil is rather the outward expression of the sin nature of man himself.

In his attempt to imitate God, Satan promotes religion and human good as a means of getting man to worship and honor him.

The evil which is so evident is more the result of Satan’s inability to execute his plan rather then his intention to promote evil.

Christ is Superior in His Appointment!

“Thou hast loved righteousness” – the Divine plan. ”And hated iniquity” – the plan of Satan – “therefore God (the Author of the Divine plan) even Thy God, hath anointed Thee (the incarnate Christ) with the oil of gladness (the sustaining ministry of God the Holy Spirit) above Thy fellows,” Heb 1:9.

While the Lord Jesus Christ was here on Earth in the flesh, He always chose the righteous plan of God the Father rather then the iniquitous plan of Satan, as revealed by the satanic temptation of Matthew 4.

The plan of Satan was to persuade the incarnate Christ to act independently of the Father’s plan. The Cross must come before the throne.

But because Jesus Christ “set His face like a flint,” Isa 50:7, and would not be moved from the plan of the Cross, God the Father gave Him a superior appointment above His fellows, mankind.

“Thy God Hath Anointed Thee With the Oil of Gladness,” Hebrews 1:9

During the ministry of Christ on Earth, God the Holy Spirit indwelt His humanity. Christ voluntarily restricted the use of His own Divine attributes. He depended completely upon the power of the Holy Spirit to perform miracles and to live in a manner as a man pleasing God.

”This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him.” He used His omniscience, but not to benefit Himself.

He was empowered “above His fellows.” That is, the Lord Jesus Christ was the first Person who was literally and completely controlled by God the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit was given to Him without measure.”

No one in all of time was ever indwelt and filled with the Holy Spirit as Jesus Christ. Having the Holy Spirit indwelling us, we can be empowered and controlled by “the oil of gladness.”

”The fruit of the Spirit is joy.”

Christ Superior as Creator!

“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hath laid the foundations of the Earth and the Heavens are the works of Thy hands,” Heb 1:10. This is a quotation from Psalm 102:25.

All that you can see, as well as all that you cannot see, came into existence by the Lord Jesus Christ. Isa 44:24, John 1:3, Col 1:16.

Furthermore, it says they came into existence “by His hands.” It was His hands that created the universe. It was His hands that moved and everything came into being.

Yet these same hands were nailed on Calvary’s Cross, that you and I might have life eternal. It cannot be explained. It is amazing Grace!

How could Jesus Christ do that for me? How could the Hand that created the universe be nailed to Calvary’s Cross? Jesus Christ Himself cried, “They have pierced My hands and My feet.”

He did it because He loved you and me!

Jesus Christ had an appointment with death so that you and I might have life. Every member of the human race has an appointment with death. Christ kept His appointment. Will you? “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after that the judgment,” Heb 9:27.

If you accept Jesus Christ’s judgment as a substitute for your own before you die, you will never have to keep that appointment to judgment after you die.

Christ is Supreme in His Character

“They shall perish, but Thou remainest, and they all shall wax old as doth a garment,” Heb 1:11. A quotation from Psa 102:26.

After the Millennial Reign of Christ, the Heavens in their present form will be destroyed. Matt 24:25, 2 Pet 3:10-12, Rev 20:11, 21:1.

But the Lord Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” Heb 13:8. As clothes wear out, so shall creation. But not the Lord Jesus Christ!

”From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God,” Psa 90:2.

”And as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed, but Thou are the same, and Thy years shall not fail,” Heb 1:12. A quotation from Psa 102:27.

A time is coming when the universe as we know it now will be destroyed. And the Lord Jesus Christ will bring a new one into existence. Nature is at the mercy of Christ. But He is never at the mercy of nature.

”For I am the Lord. I change not,” Malachi 3:6.

He is our better environment!

Christ is Superior in His Position!

“But to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool?” Heb 1:3. The answer is none!

Since He did not say this to any of the angels, here is a paradox. Man is an inferior creation to angels. But Jesus Christ the Man is superior to angels. We know this because the Father never said to any angel, “Sit on My right hand.”

He said it to a man, the Lord Jesus Christ. “Sit on My right hand” is the place of highest honor. Christ the man is placed above the angels.

The most dramatic moment in the history of the universe for the angelic conflict was won by Jesus Christ the man. 1 Pet 3:22.

He is to sit there until the Second Advent at which time “Operation Footstool” will be completed. His enemies, Satan and all fallen angels, will be removed from the Earth (Zech 13:2, Col 2:15, 1 Cor 15:24, 25), paving the way for the perfect environment of the Millennium.

Christ makes a better environment for your children.

“Are They All Not Ministering Spirits Sent Forth to Minister for Them Who Shall be Heirs of Salvation?” Hebrews 1:14

Angels who were created superior to us now minister to those who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ because of our position in Christ, in union with Him. Because we are heirs with Him, the angels who were once superior to us are now inferior. The angels serve us even as we serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

This introduces a most interesting subject – the Doctrine of the guardian angel.

This passage indicates that every believer has at least one guardian angel. I don’t know about you, but there are times when I would like to converse with my guardian angel. I am going to have a talk with him some day in Heaven. I would like to find out how many “close shaves” I have had that I was not even aware of. It should prove to be very interesting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2001

The Kingdom of God!

The superiority of Jesus Christ and its many ramifications are manifest throughout the entire Book of Hebrews. But there is a closely-related portion of Scripture in Col 1:12-21, which reveals the exaltation of Jesus Christ, the King of kings, the Preeminent Ruler over the kingdom of God.

”Giving thanks unto the Father, Which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” Col 1:12.

Union with Christ is the foundation for every spiritual blessing in the Christian life, and is the basis on which we become children of God the Father.
“Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus,” Gal 3:26. There is no such thing as the universal fatherhood of God or the universal brotherhood of man.

“Giving thanks unto the Father” is for believers only, and as believers we have much for which to be thankful.

Jesus Christ is the Heir of all things, Heb 1:2 and by virtue of our salvation, the Father qualifies us to be partners in His inheritance.

“Who Hath Delivered Us From the Power of Darkness, and Hath Transferred Us into the Kingdom of His Dear Son,” Colossians 1:13

In addition for qualifying us for a share in Christ’s inheritance, the Father is able to take people from one kingdom, the kingdom of darkness, spiritually dead, and transform them into another kingdom, the kingdom of Christ, spiritually alive and members of the family of God.

Russia, in a sense, has tried the same thing. They have taken people from one nationality and transplanted them in another place in an attempt to completely change individual characteristics begun at birth.

That is the point here. You cannot completely transform a person without birth. We are transferred to a new kingdom by a new birth.

We were born physically alive under the authority of darkness, insecurity, confusion, instability, uncertainty, and fear. There is no fellowship with God in the kingdom of darkness, only spiritual death, separation from God.

”All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Rom 3:23.

Sin is darkness and the penalty for sin is spiritual death. Jesus Christ paid the penalty at the Cross in order that we might be transferred out of the kingdom of darkness.

”God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

“Who Hath Delivered Us From the Power of Darkness and Hath Transferred Us into the Kingdom of His Dear Son,” Colossians 1:13

There is no happiness in the kingdom of darkness. Unbelievers are constantly seeking new ways for obtaining happiness. Many times I have seen people trying to build their happiness on the misery and sorrow of others.

How tragic it all is, for there is no way to find lasting happiness in the kingdom of darkness. And yet today, as always, millions of people are struggling for peace, or power, or for the approbation of men. All they seem to be doing is to grasp at straws, and they are miserable.

But when one trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ, he is immediately translated out of that miserable darkness into a new kingdom, and his whole outlook changes. You see where this is the basis for continual thanksgiving.

”Giving thanks unto the Father Which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” Col 1:12.

”Made us meet” – to be qualified ...

“Hath Translated Us into the Kingdom of His Dear Son,” Colossians 1:13

If you understand the aorist tense of “hath translated” as well as the true meaning of this verse in the Greek, you can understand eternal security without even going to another passage.

We are translated once and for all, which means that we cannot be transferred back again.

The Greek word also conveys the idea of removing people from their native land and putting them in a colony which is in a better location – not Siberia.

So we have been transferred once and for all out of our native state of sin and place of no fellowship with God into a perfect place, a perfect kingdom

where we have the righteousness of God credited to our account,
where we possess eternal life,
where our sins past, present, and future, have been blotted out, removed by the Son of God on the Cross,
where we are sure of a resurrection body,
where we are certain of living in the presence and reigning with the King of kings forever and ever,
where we can be sure of peace and power and stability and security in this life as well.

We have been transferred out of a situation that is hopeless and desperate to a status that is wonderful and secure.

It is called literally, “The Kingdom of the Son of His love.”

“Hath Once and For All Translated Us into the Kingdom of the Son of His Love,” Colossians 1:13

As long as there has ever been anything in existence, there has always been God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The First Person of the Trinity has loved the Second Person. God the Father has loved the Son eternally. He has always been the focal point of His love. The infinite love of the Father has always been poured out upon His Son.

This kingdom into which we have been translated is a kingdom of regenerate creatures in union with the Lord Jesus Christ. Being in union with Christ means that we are the recipients of the same Divine love that has always existed on the part of the Father for His Son. This kingdom is position in Christ, or union with Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ has said, “I in you and ye in Me,” John 14:20. We are “in Christ” and this is the “new kingdom.” This is Christianity. This is the Church.

Here it is called kingdom. It is called “the kingdom of the Son of His love” because the primary factor in that kingdom, the primary basis of assurance, the basis of every promise, the basis of every marvelous thing we have from the Lord, is the fact that we are the objects of the same love that has always existed, the eternal love of the Father for the Son, and that is the kind of love that is directed toward us.

Since that kind of love is directed toward us from the Father, even if we did not have the thousands of Promises in the Word, even if we did not have the Doctrine which we do have, we would still know that our life has a purpose, and that our future is secure, and that nothing can ever change it.

“The King of Kings”

We might very well wonder how it is possible for the Father to translate us into such a marvelous kingdom. The answer is found in the nature of the King of kings.

Beginning with Col 1:14, we have several facts concerning the incomparable, preeminent Person of the King of kings. Col 1:14, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”

The Redeemer

To be the Redeemer, Jesus Christ had to come to this Earth. He had to become the Last Adam. He came as a perfect man through the virgin birth.

The sin nature, or “old man,” Col 3:9, originated with Adam and is passed down through the man. Therefore, to be born without the sin nature, one must be virgin-born. The virgin-born Son of God is the only Person who ever lived upon the face of this Earth since Adam sinned, who was a perfect, sinless man. And therefore under the Doctrine of redemption, a “free man.”

He was the only Person who was not born in the slave market of sin. And therefore, the only Person qualified to purchase the freedom of slaves on the inside.

”Standfast in the freedom where Christ has set thee free.”

“Ye Were Not Redeemed (Purchased From the Slave Market of Sin) with Corruptible Things as Silver and Gold, But with the Precious Blood of Christ as a Lamb Without Blemish and Without Spot,” 1 Peter 1:18, 19

Only a free man can free a slave, and the only “Free Man” is Jesus Christ. He came as a free man.

He went to the Cross as a free man, and as a sinless man, bore our sins. He paid in full for every sin we could ever commit.

Those who accept His ransom can now be in a new kingdom because He purchased their freedom. We are free from the bondage of sin. We have been transferred as those who are free men because Jesus Christ paid for our freedom.

We are therefore in a new kingdom because the King of kings is our Redeemer.

”There is one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus.”

The Visible Image of God

“Who is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature,” Col 1:15.

Here is the remarkable character of the Lord Jesus Christ – Deity and humanity in one Person. The first phrase asserts His Deity, while the second is an expression of His humanity.

He is said to be “the exact image of the invisible God.” The absence of the definite article calls attention to and emphasizes the character of the Person. Thus, it declares emphatically and unequivocally that Jesus Christ is eternal God.

He is coequal with the Father, and coequal with the Holy Spirit. He is exactly the same in essence. Only God could be the image of God. Therefore, Jesus Christ is eternal God.

Thursday, July 19, 2001

”The Firstborn of Every Creature,” Colossians 1:15

“Firstborn” indicates rank. It does not imply that Christ was created. This word is not related to creation or birth, but it is a title for rank.

It was a designation for the sovereign or head of a family, Heb 1:5. The brothers of a firstborn in a family were always to take their orders from him. Christ is the “Firstborn” or “Sovereign,” not of the new creation, but the Greek says literally, “with reference to the new creation.”

Jesus Christ is the Sovereign of the new creation of regenerate people, believers.

The Creator of the Universe!

“For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven and that are in Earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers, all things were created by Him and for Him,” Col 1:16.

Jesus Christ is omnipotent and omniscient, the One responsible for creating the original universe. His fingers moved and everything came into existence. ”When I consider the Heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained,” Psa 8:3.

He created everything from the individual atoms to galaxies of stars with the snap of His fingers. The aorist tense tells us that it was accomplished in a moment of time – less than a second.

But when it came to providing our salvation, the Scriptures declare that this was “arm work.” Isa 59:16. The creation of the universe was as nothing in comparison.

Isa 53:1, “Who hath believed our report?” “And to whom is the Arm of the Lord revealed?” “The Arm of the Lord” is a Messianic title in connection with our salvation.

It was arm work to go to the Cross and die for us. If He had the power to create the universe by snapping His fingers, and if He were able to accomplish the even greater work of salvation, then certainly He has the power to provide a new creation, a kingdom of born-again believers, and to continue that kingdom for ever and ever.

“For by Him Were All Things Created, That Are in Heaven and That Are in the Earth, Visible and Invisible, Whether They be Thrones or Dominions or Principalities or Powers, All Things Were Created by Him and for Him,” Colossians 1:16

Heaven refers to space. Earth refers to the physical universe.
Visible and invisible – material and spiritual realms.
Dominions – humanity. Powers – angels.

In the second occurrence of the word “created” in this verse, the tense changes to the perfect tense from the aorist tense, which means “created in the past with results that go on forever.” Actually in this tense, the universe becomes an exhibit, or, the evidence of the power and the might of the King of kings.

It was “created for Him” to glorify Him.

The Sustainer of the Universe!

“And He is before all things and by Him all things consist,” Col 1:17.

Jesus Christ sustains the universe. When you understand this tremendous principle, you can see that the scientific laws cannot be true laws because science has no way of enforcing them, or even guaranteeing that they will continue to operate.

Science is merely an observation of the consistency of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But Scripture affirms that the universe with its matter, energy, and laws will not always exist. 2 Pet 3:10-12, Rev 20:11. What will the politicians do when energy no longer exists?

Known scientific laws depend entirely on the omnipotence and immutability of God.

Every text on the pattern of the universe and the “laws of science” are a treatise of the faithfulness of Christ “Who holds all things together” ”by the Word of His power,” Heb 1:3.

We have to look to the Source of all energy.

“And by Him All Things Consist,” Colossians 1:17

His reason for holding all the galaxies in their place, for keeping the traffic of the universe on its course, is so that He might bring many sons into glory, Heb 2:10, so that Grace may run its full course. Jesus Christ is keeping the universe together. The laws of the universe define God’s faithfulness in time. They can be changed, overruled, or absolutely removed, and have been.

Only the Promises of the Word of God are absolutely unchangeable. God has not promised to maintain the universe in its present state. But the believer in Jesus Christ under the Promises of God will survive the destruction of the universe.

Thus, scientific laws are simply the faithfulness of Jesus Christ holding back eternity so that the human race will have the opportunity to appropriate the Grace of God at the point of the Cross. The completion of the plan of God will bring glory to God forever.

Did you ever stop to think that while the humanity of Jesus Christ was bearing our sins on the Cross, the Deity of Christ was still controlling the universe? Otherwise, the billions of stars and planets would have simply disintegrated. Tremendous isn’t it?

Do you begin to see something of the One to whom you and I are related? It makes us realize how great and wonderful our Redeemer really is.

Nothing is too great for Him. “With Him nothing shall be impossible,” Luke 1:37.

”Great is Thy faithfulness.”

Friday, July 20, 2001

The Ruler of the Church!

“And He is the Head of the body, the Church, Who is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that is in all things He might have the preeminence,” Col 1:18.

This verse presents the Lord Jesus Christ as the sovereign Ruler of the Church. And it sets forth a three-fold description of His rulership.

  1. The Head of the body.
  2. The Origin of the Church.
  3. The Firstborn from the dead.

“The Head of the Body, the Church,” Colossians 1:16

“The Church” is referring here to the universal Church, Rom 12:5, 1 Cor 12:12-13, Eph 1:22-23, Eph 5:23, made up of all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is often referred to as a body because the body has function and action.

The human body also produces power, and in carrying out the analogy, the body of Christ, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, has power and impact for the Lord Jesus Christ.

The head is the area where the brain is located, and while the body has function and motion, coordination and power, each of these depends upon certain parts of the brain. The motor parts of the brain.

In like manner, Jesus Christ as the Ruler of the Church, sets up the policy and provides the power whereby the body functions to the glory of God.

“And He is the Head of the Body, the Church, Who is the Beginning, the Firstborn From the Dead,” Colossians 1:16.

The Origin of the Church

Jesus Christ is called literally, “the Beginning Who is the Beginning.”

The word for “beginning” here means “origin.” Christ is the Origin of the Church through His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and session. These formed the foundation for the Church.

“The Firstborn from the dead”

”Firstborn” denotes three responsibilities and privilege of leadership – sovereignty, priesthood, and heirship, or the double portion.

By resurrection, the humanity of Jesus Christ became the Sovereign Ruler of the Church, emphasizing His ministry of intercession for the saints.

And He became the Heir of the new creation, the Church, in the sense of providing for the existence of the Church as a regenerate kingdom which will always exist.

The King of Kings Preeminent!

Col 1:18 concludes with a purpose clause, “That in all things He might have the preeminence.”

In the plan of God it is the purpose of the Father for the Lord Jesus Christ to have the place of preeminence. “Preeminence” is translated as a noun. But it is actually a present, active, participle meaning, “the One who holds first place.”

It was used to describe athletes who had won the various events at the Olympic, Pythian, Isthmian, or Nemean games, which were the great athletic events of the ancient world. The winners were those who “held first place.”

It was also used occasionally to describe the mayor of a city or the ruler of a country.

It is used here for the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who constantly holds first place.

Something of which some communicators should be aware.

“That He Might Have the Preeminence,” Colossians 1:18

The Scripture declares that Jesus Christ is to be preeminent. But whether or not He is preeminent in the life of the individual believer depends upon the technique called “occupation with Christ.”

The believer who is not occupied with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ is a very miserable person, no matter what he is or what he has.

If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and you have your eyes on yourself, you are guaranteed misery. A close companion of “eyes on self” is “eyes on other people.” These two usually coordinate and run together. If you have your eyes on yourself, you also have a tendency to get your eyes on other people, for you interpret people in the light of your sensitivity.

Too many believers are ultra-sensitive to what other people think and consequently are utterly and totally miserable. You will never have strength, power, or blessing until you come to the place of occupation with Christ, “Looking unto Jesus,” until He is truly the One who holds first place in your life.

Furthermore, the moment you get your eyes on self and begin to feel sorry for yourself or to magnify self, the moment you get your eyes on people and get upset whenever someone crosses you, the moment you get your eyes on things, then you have become vulnerable for satanic attack.

Capital Punishment!

What type of capital punishment would you suggest for the prevalent abuse, rape, and murder of children in our country today, ending up in dumpsters?

Lethal injection?
Electric chair?
Burn at the stake?
Stoned to death?

Let’s look at what type of capital punishment the Lord suggests for such abuse of children. ”Suffer little children to come unto Me.”

”Whosoever shall offend these little ones, it would be better for them that a millstone be hanged around upon his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

This sounds like the early mafia treatment of “cement shoes.”

That is the type of capital punishment that Jesus Christ demands.

The Possessor of Divine Attributes!

“For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell,” Col 1:19.

Here is where the preeminence of Christ begins – the Father is pleased that “all fullness” should dwell in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

”Fullness,” PLEROMA, is the sum total of all divine power and attributes of God residing in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our happiness begins with the fact that God the Father is pleased with One Member of the human race. And since the believer is “in Him,” this word means potential happiness for every Christian.

”This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

We as believers are “accepted in the Beloved,” Eph 1:6.

“It Pleased the Father That in Him Should Dwell all Fullness,” Colossians 1:19

All believers have the potential to possess happiness. There is no excuse why every believer should not have perfect orientation, peace, and happiness under every circumstance of life, whether it be success or failure, difficulty or blessing.

The joy or happiness which belongs to Christ is available, but it depends our understanding and use of the Word of God.

Positionally this happiness belongs to you and to me, but experientially it depends upon the techniques of the filling of the Holy Spirit and occupation with Christ through the Word of God, which results in edification and maturity.

Can you look back over the past week and say in every set of circumstances Christ has been preeminent?

If you cannot, it is time to get back into fellowship and the filling of the Holy Spirit followed by occupation with Christ, only then can he be preeminent, only then can he be glorified.

Christ cannot be glorified before the unbeliever until He is glorified in your life, 2 Cor 3:3.


A Personal Challenge

”And having made peace through the blood of the Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, I say, whether they be things in Earth or things in Heaven, and you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled,” Col 1:2.

”Alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works.” Alienated from God and in a continuous state of estrangement since the time of Adam’s sin, all mankind is under the condemnation and wrath of God, and therefore, separated from fellowship with Him.

This verse goes even a step further to indict the thoughts of mankind as enmity with God.

The area of the unbeliever’s hostility is in the mind. Human viewpoint is hostile to God, which produces wicked works.

”As a man thinketh in his mind, so is he.” “Guard your mind with all diligence, for out of it come the issues of life.”

Further, no work of the unbeliever is acceptable to God. All human good is relegated to the category of wicked works.

”We are all as an unclean thing and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,” Isa 64:6.

There are six strikes against every person born into the world which constitute an impassable barrier between God and man.

“Alienated and Enemies of God by Wicked Works,” Colossians 1:20-21

“Not of works lest and may should boast,” Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:5.

There are six strikes against every person born into the world which constitute an impassable barrier between God and man.

  1. The barrier between God and man consists of sin, the sin which was imputed to the human race through the sin of Adam, the sin nature inherited from Adam, and personal sins, Isa 59:2, Jer 17:9, Rom 3:23
  2. The penalty of sin, which is spiritual death, Rom 5:12, 6:23.
  3. Physical birth, all are born spiritually dead, Eph 2:1.
  4. Relative righteousness, human good which does not and cannot measure up to the righteousness of God. Rom 3:23, Isa 64:4, Prov 14:12.
  5. The character of God. God is a just, righteous, and holy God who cannot have fellowship with sin or sinful man. Psa 24:3. His perfect justice demands that a penalty be paid for sin. Rom 6:23.
  6. Position in Adam. By reason of Adam’s willful disobedience, his spiritual death, and limited physical existence have placed an insurmountable obstacle between man and his Creator, physical life. 1 Cor 15:22, Eph 4:18.

“There is One Mediator Between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus”

Although the barrier has been raised between God and man since the time of Adam, Christ has made peace. He has established harmony between the two parties at enmity with one another – God and man. Man is reconciled to God on the basis of the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, Eph 2:16-17. Christ made the way for man to be compatible with Himself.

Reconciliation is the removal of the barrier between God and man. It is the work of Christ through the death of Christ by which sinful man is brought into spiritual fellowship and moral harmony with God. The agency by which reconciliation took place was through the blood of the Cross.

The total concept of salvation encompasses six Doctrines by which the barrier was removed – one for each of the six strikes against man – redemption, expiation, regeneration, imputation and justification, propitiation, and position in Christ.

An explanation of each follows.

The Barrier Which is Removed Between God and Man is the Concept of Reconciliation, Which Includes the Following Six Doctrines

  1. Redemption.
    Removal of the barrier of bondage to sin and slavery to the old sin nature, the price being the valuable work of Christ. 1 Pet 1:18-19, Gal 3:13, Eph 1:7.
  2. Expiation.
    The payment demanded for sin was paid by the death of Christ, “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us.” Col 2:14.
  3. Regeneration.
    The new birth quickens or gives life to those who “were dead in trespasses and sins,” enabling them to be born into the family of God.
  4. Imputation and justification.
    The solution to the problem of relative righteousness. The perfect righteousness of Christ is credited to the account of the believer. Rom 3:22, 2 Cor 5:21. On the basis of imputation, God is free to justify the believer because he has the righteousness of God. Rom 4:24, 5:1, Gal 2:16.
  5. Propitiation.
    The death of Christ satisfied the righteousness and justice of God, making it possible for God to be just in justifying the sinner and allowing Him to be righteously free to act for those whom He loves. Rom 3:23-25, 1 John 2:1, 2, 4:10.
  6. Position in Christ.
    The death of Christ enables man to be placed in a new position “in Christ,” severing his old relationship to Adam. Eph 1:3-6, 1 Cor 15:22. Thus the last barrier is removed and man is reconciled.

“The Blood of Christ” is the Sum Total of All These Doctrines and Adds up to Reconcilation

The work is done. Peace is made. Reconciliation has been provided. The Cross of Christ has removed the barrier and satisfied every just cause which God has against us so that every member of the human race can be saved.

In place of the barrier, Jesus Christ now stands between God and man as the Way to eternal life. The One who removed the barrier through the blood of His Cross becomes the Door through Whom all may enter into eternal relationship with God.

Jesus Christ said, “I am the Door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,” John 10:9. The way has been opened for all to enter, and we enter by personal faith in the Son of God.

Justification, redemption, expiation, regeneration, propitiation, and eternal life become our personal possession when we “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” Acts 16:31.

”But of Him (by faith in Him) are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is become unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,” 1 Cor 1:30.

”But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness,” Rom 4:5.

”Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life,” John 6:47.

”Jesus Christ, Who is the Faithful Witness and the First Begotten of the Dead and the Prince of the kings of the Earth, unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Rev 1:5, 6.

Divine Institution Number Four – “Nationalism”

“I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, Who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession,” 1 Tim 6:13.

Under the fourth Divine Institution – nationalism, not internationalism – the national entity is the function of human government. This function includes the concept of a courtroom and a policeman on the beat.

We as Christians are not in any way derogatory toward law and order, but we are in recognition of the importance of law enforcement and the proper prosecution of the law in the courtroom.

There came a time in human history, however, when this very important function broke down completely, and of all things, with the only Person Who is absolutely perfect in His humanity.

There were six trials for the Lord Jesus Christ. Not one, but six. And with the exception of one short interrogation, these six trials were unfair, fallacious, and unjust in every way.

Who was on trial? The unique Person of the universe. Undiminished Deity and true humanity combined in one Person forever – the Lord Jesus Christ.

In His humanity He had no old sin nature, nor did He ever commit one act of personal sin. Furthermore, the sin of Adam was not imputed to Him. He never did anything but that which was absolute good. And He was indwelt and filled by God the Holy Spirit.

He was placed on six unfair trials. Are we as a country facing the same unfairness when it comes to our courts?

Law and Order in the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ

When Jesus Christ was put on trial, there were many who could have come into the courtroom and testified on His behalf.

”I was lame and now I walk.”
”I was deaf and now I hear.”
”I was dumb and now I speak.”
”I was dead and now I am alive.”

Notice this in context. Please it may open your eyes!

Yet one of the greatest systems of jurisprudence was used to condemn this One Who was not only innocent, but who in His humanity was absolutely perfect.

Disgraceful as this was, it is important to realize that in the plan of God, “all things work together for good,” Rom 8:28. And out of this travesty of justice came our so great salvation, Heb 2:3.

On the six trials recorded throughout the Gospels, two were held before Pontius Pilate, where Scripture declares that Jesus Christ witnessed a good confession. 1 Tim 6:13.

All four Gospels record the fourth and six trials, but when we study these two trials and examine them from John’s Gospel, because John wrote from the viewpoint of the Deity of Jesus Christ and emphasized certain things which the others did not.

Sunday, July 22, 2001

When Jesus Christ Was Put on Trial for the First Time!

“Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound Him, And led Him away to Annas first; for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people,” John 18:12-14.

Two military groups, actually a sort of United Nations, were involved in the apprehension and capture of the Lord Jesus Christ. First of all, there were Jewish soldiers, “officers of the law,” part of the temple guard. And secondly, Roman soldiers, “the band and the captain.”

The two garrisons descended upon the Lord Jesus Christ after His betrayal. Since Annas was not a judge, this was an illegal trial. A former high priest, Annas, was now the political boss of Jerusalem.

He was engaged in gangster activities connected with every system of graft in Jerusalem, as well as with the band of robbers in the Negev who owed their protection to him.

You should notice, at the very outset that the people who brought the Lord Jesus Christ to trial in the first cases were all religious people – the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees.

We see that phrase again and again. And as a matter of fact, it was the Sanhedrin, a religious organization, in which all Judaism centered.

Remember religion is the worst thing that ever hit this world. I said religion, not Christianity. There is a difference.

Religion is salvation by works. Religion is man seeking the approbation of God by his own merits. Religion is the devil’s ace trump. Nothing Satan has ever devised has been so successful as religion is to the blinding of men’s minds to the Truth.

The overwhelming pride of the self righteous religious person who thinks God is impressed with his offerings of human works.
The egotist who looks down his nose at others while giving the impression that he is a perfect plaster saint.

The world is filled with people who are proud of their flimsy works of baptism, Church membership, sincerity, keeping the Ten Commandments, living by the Golden Rule, and a host of other works by which they expect to enter the Pearly Gates with great pomp and circumstance.

“And They Led Him Away to Annas First,” John 18:12-14

Because Annas was no longer the high priest, he was not a judge. But as the political boss, all matters had to be cleared by him before going to court. Therefore, Annas, the most religious of them all, approved the case, and followed the counsel of Caiaphas. He said in effect, “Take Him and railroad Him through,” John 18:14.

This first trial is developed further in John 18:15-24. It is staggering to realize how great a percentage of evil deeds in history have been executed by these people in the name of religion. But none equals the infamous trials of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Covered by their sanctimonious veneer of piety, these religious people unabashedly and efficiently plotted and secured the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. These people would put you to shame when it comes to prayer activity, temple attendance, and almsgiving. At least three times a day, every day, they prayed in the temple and seven times a day at home.

Yes, they were very religious, and also very lost. Even though the Lord Jesus Christ had given one of their representatives the Gospel, “Ye must be born again,” John 3:7, addressed to a religious man.

The Second Trial of the Lord Jesus Christ!

“And they that had laid hold on Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled,” Matt 26:57.

Now we encounter the first trial that was supposed to be legal. This was after the preliminary hearing with Annas. Caiaphas was the one who said, “Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one should die for the people and that the whole nation perish not,” John 11:50.

Caiaphas was not a prophet, but he inadvertently prophesied the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, John 11:51-52. He was merely a practical man who recognized the need of finding a scapegoat for the anti-Roman activities that were in the mill in Israel. He knew that Rome would demand that the lawlessness in Palestine be rectified by the death of the culprit. Thus the Romans must be made to think that the Jews were cleaning house without Roman help or interference.

In his policy of expediency, he contended that it was better for one to die than they all lose their power and wealth. The Sanhedrin would, therefore, try to palm off the Lord Jesus Christ as the culprit.

Here is satanic modus operandi exposed. The perfect matchless Son of God is to be presented as a master criminal by the criminals themselves.

The Second Trial of the Lord Jesus Christ! Matthew 26:57

In this second trial, the Lord Jesus Christ was already considered guilty. For Annas had given Him “thumbs down” and from now on we have to watch the wheels of injustice grind – not too unfamiliar in our day.

Notice the assemblage of religious people. “Caiaphas the high priest, and the scribes, and the elders.” These pompous, self-righteous people who could do no wrong, the self-styled plaster saints who had “canonized” themselves by their various good deeds, those people who thought they could work their way into Heaven by their own human good. They are still among us today!

”Now the chief priests and elders and all the council sought false witnesses against Jesus to put Him to death,” Matt 26:59.

Religion kills!

“They Sought False Witness Against Jesus to Put Him to Death,” Matthew 26:59

How many witnesses are necessary according to the law? Deut 19:15. All they need to draw an indictment is two people who will agree to their lies.

We do not know exactly how many there were, but there must have been at least 20 or 30 people who got up and lied about the Lord Jesus Christ.

The One who had never done anything wrong.
The One who was sinless.
The One who had done so much Divine good.
The One who had helped so many people.
The One who gave eternal life to all that believe in Him.

The liars were gathered together. This was the greatest of all liar’s clubs that has ever existed. But they embellished their lies in such a way no two of them were able to agree.

”But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days,” Matt 26:60-61.

Notice the Break Down of Jurisprudence Here!

Notice some of the illegal points of this trial.

  1. First of all, it was held at night, which was contrary to Jewish jurisprudence.
  2. But they were in a hurry, for the next day was the Passover.
  3. They had to get their dirty work out of the way so they could partake of the Passover with clean hands.
  4. The fact that the Passover spoke of the Lord Jesus Christ dying for their sins was a point, which, had they understood it, would have mattered little in their evil calculations.
  5. They were anxious to bring about the destruction of the One had not only upset their religious apple cart, but who was the perfect patsy for their nefarious activities.
  6. Therefore, it had to be held at night.
  7. Further, there was no defense attorney, which was illegal.
  8. The court sought false witnesses, obviously illegal.
  9. The court was prejudiced.
  10. And there was violence in the court.

Not one aspect of this trial conformed to Jewish law.

Monday, July 23, 2001

“But Found None, Yea, Though Many False Witnesses Came, Yet Found They None,” Matthew 26:60-61

One after another, various witnesses stood and told their lies about the Lord Jesus Christ. And though the court tried desperately to get two of them to agree, it was impossible. Finally, two agreed in one area, and out of them they tried to find an indictment.

”At the last came two false witnesses, and said, This Fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days,” Matt 2:60-61.

You will remember when Jesus Christ discussed the temple, John had interpreted “but He spoke of the temple of His body,” John 2:21.

As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ had the power to destroy the temple and rebuild it much more quickly than three days. But He had not been talking about the actual temple building. He referred literally to His death and resurrection. He was actually prophesying how they would succeed in bringing about His death.

But that their triumph would be short lived, for on the third day He would arise from the dead.

When the two false witnesses finally agreed and made this statement, immediately the high priest, who had been waiting perhaps for hours for this collaboration, rose up and said, “And the high priest arose and said unto them, Answereth thou nothing what is it which these witness against Thee?” Matt 26:62.

”Answereth Thou nothing?”

”He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a Lamb to the slaughter and as a Sheep before His shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth,” Isa 53:7.

Jesus Christ did not answer back, not even one word – a marvelous manifestation of the fact that He did not possess an old sin nature.

“Answereth Thou Nothing?” Matthew 26:62

“As a Lamb before his shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth,” which is a manifestation of the fact that Jesus Christ did not have an old sin nature. He did not say one word when He was accused.

If Jesus Christ had present in Him an old sin nature, which is resident in every other member of the human race, He would have reacted.

After hearing so many lies about Himself, He would have done something about it in one way or another. He would have used withering sarcasm, or violence, or He might have stood up and said, “That is a lie.”

But Jesus Christ did not say a word, as lie after lie was spoken against Him. The uniqueness of Christ should have been apparent to all who watched the flagrant injustice.

God the Holy Spirit controlled His life. There is a time to speak and there is time to be quiet, Ecc 3:7.

”When He was reviled, He reviled not again, but committed unto the Father Who is the Judge of all men.”

The only way you or any believer will ever discover this principle is by the filling of the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18, and knowledge of the Word of God. Then we know when to speak and we know when to keep quiet. That is one of the most amazing of all the attributes of the human race, to know when to use the tongue and when not to use it.

Here is One, Who is filled with the Spirit, as He proclaimed the Cross and taught the Word of God for three years. And at this point said not a word.

“He Openeth Not His Mouth”

What a marvelous lesson we as believers can learn. The Lord Jesus Christ put the whole matter in the Father’s hands, revealing His perfect orientation to Grace and to the Plan of God.

Remember “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the Lord,” Rom 12:19.

Gossiping and maligning, returning evil for evil, whether it is the truth or not, are among the worst sins believers can commit. When someone maligns you and runs you down, leave it in the Lord’s hands. He is qualified to discipline. Many Christians who think they can do a better job to try trot some other person into the woodshed, only to find out that the Lord is waiting for both. Woe to them that abuse or misuse this responsibility before the Lord.

So we learn the lesson of our Lord’s silence here. He left all this in the hands of His Father. Every moment the Lord Jesus Christ lived, He lived in the moment by moment Sabbath, resting in the Word and Plan of God. He continually cast His cares upon His Father and He left them there. He was not upset. He was not disturbed. He quietly rested in the Father’s promises.

“He Openeth Not His Mouth,” “Answereth Thou Nothing?” Matthew 26:62

While these religious people could not see the uniqueness and the power of Christ’s life, a brilliant roman governor, Pontius Pilate, would soon perceive the Truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

Many of these men were scribes, who daily studied the Old Testament, where hundreds and hundreds of passages that point to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ that say:

He is the Messiah. The Kingdom of the Earth rests on His shoulders.
He is the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God.
Yet they did not see. They were blinded by religion.
Religion is blind, and these people were blind to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Satan is the father of religion. And Satan blinds the mind lest you see the glorious Gospel in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The blind leading the blind.

“Answereth Thou Nothing?” Matthew 26:62

How could the high priest, Caiaphas, watch the Lord Jesus Christ, the Royal High Priest, while people lied about Him and not get up and say, “This is the Son of God”?
Why must we wait for Pontius Pilate to say, “He is a just man.”
Why must we wait until a Roman centurion looks up at the Cross and says, “Truly this is the Son of God,” Matt 27:54.
What is the matter with this high priest? Here in his court is the Eternal High Priest after the order of Melchisedek, Heb 5:5-10.
What is the matter with this supposed “servant of God”?

He is so loaded with religion he cannot see the Grace of God.

What a tremendous thing is Grace! Although God has provided everything for man, we can latch on to the Grace of God only in one way – by faith. That is why the Scripture says, “Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16 – what does it say? “Whosoever believeth.” Because Jesus Christ provided our salvation in toto, without the Ten Commandments, without the Sermon on the Mount, without any other system of ethics, without anything that man can do.

”But Jesus held His peace, and the High Priest answered and said unto Him, I adjure Thee by the living God that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God.”

”Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said. Nevertheless I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of Heaven,” Matt 26:63-64.

“But Jesus Held His Peace, and the High Priest Answered and Said Unto Him, I Adjure Thee by the Living God, That Thou Tell us Whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of the Living God”

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘Thou hast said’,” Matt 27:63-64.

The Living God was standing right in His presence! The high priest was commanding the Living God to speak up. Finally, Jesus Christ answered, “Thou hast said.”

Now that does not mean much in our English translation, and it is actually a poor translation. The Greek says, and it is the strongest of all affirmatives, emphatically yes! This was all He said concerning His Person.

But He added, and this was Grace, the next few items on the agenda. “Nevertheless I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of Heaven,” Matt 26:63-64.

He added the resurrection, ascension, session, and the Second Advent. He gave them a short course on the Doctrine of Cchristology right there in the courtroom.

”Coming in the clouds of Heaven.” Isn’t this interesting! Jesus Christ said “coming.” Yet today many people who profess to know something about the Word of God rationalize the Second Advent. These, of course, have a theological ascription “amillennialists.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

“Then the High Priest Rent His Clothes Saying, He Hath Spoken Blasphemy. What Further Need Have We of Witnesses? Behold, Now Ye Have Heard His Blasphemy,” Matthew 26:65

Then the high priest said, “Thou art the Son of God, I believe in Thee and fell down and worshipped Him.” Is that what you read? No, by this time he had blown his cork.

Imagine a judge sitting on the bench suddenly beginning to tear off his clothes. He was really steamed up. He was in utter rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is the attitude of religion!

The judge certainly should have known that before he could have an indictment written up, there must be two witnesses who agree on the accusation. Jewish jurisprudence. Yet he brazenly declared, “We don’t need witnesses.”

Something else in Jewish jurisprudence – no one can condemn himself by his own statements, apart from a confession of guilt. Actually, if Jesus Christ’s own statements, which would condemn Him, were not true, they would be ruled out. Jesus Christ did not speak blasphemy. He did not make a confession of guilt, but a clear statement of fact.

Caiaphas took a clear statement of fact, which in reality did not condemn the Lord Jesus Christ, and said it was a confession, which it was not.

“What Think Ye? They Answered and Said, He is Guilty of Death,” Matthew 26:66

The penalty of blasphemy was death. Remember, this was a courtroom under one of the best systems of court procedure that has ever been set up, procedures which God Himself set up in the Mosaic Law.

”Then did they spit in His face, and buffeted Him, and others smote Him with the palms of their hands,” Matt 26:67.

Now the violence begins. They spit in the face of the Son of God. They were spitting in the face of the One who would hang on Calvary’s Cross and be judged for every sin that had ever been or will ever be committed, every sin that ever was committed, including spitting in His face.

Did you ever have anyone spit in your face? Old sin natures do not appreciate anyone spitting in their face.

But that is not all. They spit upon Him and buffeted Him. The word “buffet” is an Old English word of 1611, which today would be translated “to punch.” They punched Him. In fact, the Greek verb is linear aktionsart, which indicates that they constantly and repeatedly punched Him.

Now, is this not a little unusual for a trial? The results of it were shocking!

Isa 59:14, “As many were astonied at Thee, His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” When they were through with Christ’s second trial, the Lord Jesus Christ no longer looked human. They kept punching Him till His face was destroyed. They closed his eyes. His face was swollen! Yet still He stood there. If you know anything about boxing, you know that no one just stands still while someone makes a punching bag out of you, and survives.

The ordinary man would suffer anything from a cerebral hemorrhage to a quick knockout.

But here is a Person who stood unmoved, as one man after another stepped forward without interference from anyone, and struck the Son of God and He did not roll with the punches. He just stood there while they came up and reigned blow after blow upon Him. Apparently none of the artists have ever painted Jesus Christ on the Cross have ever understood what the Bible describes of His cruel treatment.

They have depicted an emaciated figure with the protruding, scrawny shoulders, and bony frame, producing the general effect of a weak, half-starved person. In reality, the Lord Jesus Christ was the most powerful man who ever lived. To receive these severe blows Jesus Christ had to be very strong.

To be accurate, an artist painting the Lord Jesus Christ as He hung upon the Cross should depict a powerful body and neck beneath a faceless mass of saliva and blood, His features completely mangled.

“But He Was Wounded for Our Transgressions. He Was Bruised for Our Iniquities; The Chastisement of Our Peace was Upon Him, and by His Bruise, Literally, We Are Reconciled,” Isaiah 53:5

“Who His own Self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness, by Whose bruise we are reconciled,” 1 Pet 2:24.

As Isaiah looked down the corridor of time he saw Jesus Christ on the Cross as one massive bruise. Isa 52:14. Peter said the same thing. Why? When Peter saw the Lord Jesus Christ after the second trial, he saw one massive bruise.

How did the Lord Jesus Christ stay on His feet? How did the Lord Jesus Christ live through such punishment? Because He had you in mind! He was thinking of you and me! Because He had to get to the Cross! He must pay the penalty of sin which is spiritual death! He must be made sin for us. He must “bear our sins in His own body on the tree.”

The fact that Jesus Christ died physically was not the primary factor in salvation. His physical death signified that His work was finished and formed the basis for resurrection. He must suffer spiritual death in order to pay for your sins and mine. He must be judged for our sins and be separated from God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, Jesus Christ stood on His feet, and stayed alive. The Father saw to this. You and I will never be able to comprehend the terrible punishment Jesus Christ took.

And this was only the second trial. To me the greatest thing of all was that He didn’t fight back. What a Saviour we have! How glorious is the Person of Jesus Christ. All He would have to do is snap His fingers, and 10,000 legion of angels would have cleaned up this court in a hurry.

But His restraint was very significant. For if He had lost His temper, there would be no salvation.

He remained sinless in spite of the most intense temptations.

“Prophesy Unto Us, Thou Christ, Who is He Who Smote Thee,” Matthew 26:68

They did not miss a thing. His majesty, the devil, was present that day.

So we have in this second trial everything from unparalleled violence to utmost sarcasm. If you have an old sin nature, and you have, enough slapping and insults can make your lose your temper.

But, if Jesus Christ had lost His temper, we could just as well close up all the churches. Because there could be no salvation had Jesus Christ committed one single sin. But He did not lose His temper even once. What a man He is!

The God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ, how great!
He took all of the punching.
He took all of the spitting.
He took all of the slapping and stayed alive.

But that did not satisfy them. They had to add insult to injury. “Prophesy unto us, Thou Christ, who is he that smote Thee.” They did not miss a thing.

”But for the joy that was set before Him, He despised not the shame.”

He had you in mind, and me, too.

The Third Trial of the Lord Jesus Christ!

“And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led Him into their council, saying, Art Thou Christ? tell us. And He said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer Me, nor let Me go. Hereafter ye shall see the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they, Art Thou the Son of God? And He said unto them, Ye say that I am. And they said, What need we of any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of His own mouth,” Luke 22:66-71.

This trial was held early the next morning, by the Jews. The religious leaders, the council, suddenly realized that the trial at night was illegal. They gathered together and decided to make it a legal trial.

At this trial the Lord Jesus Christ gave them the supreme sign of His Messiahship.

Realizing that it was a feast period, the Passover, and unleavened bread, and they could not sentence anyone on a holy day according to their law, they said, “Let’s pass Him off to the Romans.”

The Fourth Trial!

“Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas (His second trip before Caiaphas that morning) unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went out into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover,” John 18:28.

This trial is covered in all four of the Gospels. But there are certain things in John 18 that emphasize its importance.

This was the day the memorial supper would be eaten. They wanted to keep their religious hands “clean” in order to eat the Passover that night – the Passover which spoke of the death of Christ on the Cross.

Eating the lamb was a picture of believing in Christ, yet they had rejected Him. Ritual without reality is meaningless.

The Jews took Jesus Christ to the Roman governor in an attempt to circumvent Jewish law concerning the holy days.

”Pilate then went out unto them and said, What accusation bring ye against this Man?” John 18:29?

“Pilate Went Out Unto Them and Said, What Accusation Bring ye Against This Man?” John 18:29

Pilate had to go out because the Jews could not come inside a Gentile dwelling on a holy day. The entire procedure is most interesting. Pilate was keeping his cool. He wanted to know what the indictment was. He undoubtedly observed the majestic Person of the Lord Jesus Christ amid all the hubbub and shouting, and scrambling, and fuss. So he asked “What is the accusation?”

The Jews were upset by Pilate’s question because they had been unable to frame an indictment. There was no evidence to establish a charge against the Lord Jesus Christ. They wanted to condemn the Lord Jesus Christ without a trial.

With characteristic hypocrisy, they assumed an injured air. They posed as righteous men who would never think of arresting an innocent man.

”They answered and said unto him, If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up to thee,” John 18:30.

“If He Were Not a Malefactor, We Would Not Have Delivered Him up to Thee,” John 18:30

“Accusation? they screamed. Why the very fact that we are so persistent should indicate something. Just string Him up! Don’t waste any time on words. We would not bring you anything but the scum of the Earth. And we have brought Him to you.”

Malefactor is the word “KAKOS,” an evildoer. And “if” is in the first class condition, meaning to them it is true.

We have delivered unto you an evil man! Sinless = evil?

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

“And They Began to Accuse Him, Saying, We Find This Fellow Perverting the Nation, and Forbidding to Give Tribute to Caesar, and We Have Brought Him,” Luke 23:2

They do not mention blasphemy! Notice how smart these Jews were. Why do you suppose they did not mention blasphemy? This is a theological problem that would never hold up before a Roman governor. The Romans had only one type of worship – Caesar worship!

”Christ is KURIOS” (God).

Had blasphemy been included in the accusation, the first thing Pilate would have said would have been, “You mean to tell me that you people do not accept Caesar as god?” That would have put them on the spot, and Pilate could have hauled them off into court.

Needing to get around that possibility, they invent lies. Nothing was said about tribute to Caesar in the first trials, but now they say, “He is forbidding to give tribute to Caesar,” which is, of course, a deliberate lie. We know this because of what Jesus Christ said when these same religious people brought Him a gold coin. ”Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s (pay your tribute tax) and unto God the things that are God’s,” Matt 22:21.

“We Find This Fellow Perverting the Nation, and Forbidding to Give Tribute to Caesar, Saying That He Himself is Christ a King,” Luke 23:2

We know from history that the high priests and the other religious leaders were the ones who were trying to get around paying their income tax to Rome. They were professional tax evaders.

And so they added what they hoped would be the clincher, “Saying that He Himself is Christ a King.”

In other words, they were implying that He was in reality setting Himself up as a King and trying to lead in a revolt against Rome. To refuse to pay tribute to Caesar was tantamount to insurrection. Does that sound familiar?

You can see the picture they painted before Pilate. Here was a rival to Caesar and a dangerous revolutionary. You can understand that after so many agreed to this collection of fabrications, a man in Pilate’s shoes might become pretty upset. Pilate could have rationalized, “I have a revolt on my hands. I had better take this Revolutionary and draw and quarter Him, stretch Him on the rack before this breaks wide open.”

But notice what a great man Pilate was in his own right. He did not lose his head. He remained calm and completely in control of himself to the very end. This is a very important point. And the full import is brought out in 1 Tim 6:13 ... “Jesus Christ, Who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession.”

God the Holy Spirit only mentions the trial before Pontius Pilate because Pilate was the only person who gave the Lord Jesus Christ an honest, objective, cross-examination.

”Cross examination?” Examine the Cross!

“Then Said Pilate Unto Them, Take Ye Him, and Judge Him According to Your Law. The Jews Therefore Said Unto Him, It is Not Lawful for Us to Put Any Man to Death,” John 18:31

Pilate tried to evade the responsibility. Here was the weakness in his armor. Pilate thought more of expediency than principle. Does that sound familiar today?

It was no accident that a just but weak man was the governor of Judea at this time. Pilate had the discernment to observe the innocence of the Lord Jesus Christ, but not the character to free Him.

Now the Jews used the Law, but they did not execute the Law. There are people today who even use, and abuse, the Word of God. This is exactly what happened here.

”It is not lawful for us,” therefore you will have to handle this case. The reply of the Jews was an admission that they did not desire a fair trial for the Lord Jesus Christ, only His death.

“That the Saying of Jesus Might be Fulfilled, Which He Spake Signifying What Death He Should Die,” John 18:32

Here was the King of the Jews about to die, about to be subjected to the lowest form of Gentile punishment. How would the Jews have put Him to death? They would have stoned Him. Crucifixion was not Jewish punishment.

”Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto Him, Art Thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of Me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered Thee unto me: what hast Thou done?” John 18:33-35.

The first question implied both ignorance and exasperation. Pilate through ignorance expressed his frustration in coming to grips with the real issue. He further denied any personal interest or association with the situation.

His second question was one searching for information. This is the question which received an answer. We have only a part of what Jesus Christ said, but it is very important.

”My kingdom is not of this world,” “if” is a second class (and it is not), “if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight. That I should not be delivered to the Jews. But now is My kingdom not from hence,” Matt 18:36.

“My Kingdom is Not of This World,” Matt 18:36

At this time Satan is the ruler of this world. It would be impossible for Jesus Christ to have a kingdom of this world until Satan’s defeat at the Cross. This does not mean that Christ will not have an earthly kingdom, but it would not be established on Earth at that time.

The kingdom of Christ on Earth awaits the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the meantime, He has a kingdom of regenerate people, known as the body of Christ.

At present, the rulership of Christ is invisible and spiritual. Jesus Christ did not say, “My kingdom is not in this world,” for Jesus Christ does have a kingdom in this world. During the Church Age believers are “in this world, but not of this world,” John 17:16.

The kingdom fights with the sword of the Spirit rather than the sword of men. “The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword.”

Thursday, July 26, 2001

“Pilate Therefore Said Unto Him, Art Thou a King Then? Jesus Answered, Thou Sayest I Am a King (and I Am), to This End Was I Born (in the Past With the Result of My Birth Going on Forever – the Perfect Tense in the Greek)

“And for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the Truth. Every one that is of the Truth heareth My voice,” John 18:17.

He evidently went on to explain that He was the God-man, born of a virgin, without an old sin nature, without imputed sin, and without personal sin. And that He was going to die for the sins of the world. This is the Truth of salvation.

”I am the Way and the Truth and the Life, and no one cometh unto the Father but by Me,” John 14:6.
”Thus He witnessed a good confession before Pilate.”

Those who are the recipients of the Truth of salvation, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, hear the voice of the Son of God.

”My sheep hear My voice.”

Today the voice of the Lord is the Bible, the Word of God.

”The Truth shall make you free.”

“Pilate Said Unto Him, What is Truth? And When He Had Said This, He Went Out Again Unto the Jews, and Saith Unto Them, I Find no Fault in Him at All,” John 18:38

When Pilate asked about Truth, Jesus Christ had no doubt explained that He Himself is Truth. John 14:6.

This famous Sneee or Pilatei indicates the state of the natural man – spiritual blindness and lack of a human spirit make spiritual phenomena impossible to absorb. 1 Cor 2:14. Only the convicting ministry of God the Holy Spirit can change this.

The Holy Spirit makes the Gospel understandable in the mind of the unbeliever. But here is a case of negative volition. Pilate did not desire an answer to the question he had asked, and so indicated it by leaving immediately, before an answer could be given. He didn’t wait around for an answer.

What was Pilate’s verdict? Here is the importance of the fourth trial.

”I find in Him, Jesus Christ, no fault.”

Here was the first unbiased, unprejudiced examination. Here was the only impartial judge. And what was the conclusion? Completely innocent!

“And They Were the More Fierce, Saying, He Stirreth up the People, Teaching Throughout All Jewry, Beginning From Galilee to This Place,” Luke 23:5

The Jews then began to put the heat on Pilate – heat the Pilate. Finally the pressure became too great for Pilate. Learning that Jesus Christ was a Galilean, Luke 23:6, he said, “Herod is the pontiff of Galilee and is in Jerusalem at this time,” Luke 23:7. “I will just send Him over there, and let King Herod worry about Him.” In this manner Pilate sought to avoid the pressure from the religious crowd to kill an innocent Man.

Thus, under Herod’s jurisdiction, Jesus Christ underwent His next trial.

Next time, the fifth trial.

Christ’s Fifth Trial!

“And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see Him of a long season, because he had heard many things of Him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned with Him in many words; but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and the scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. And Herod with his men of war set Him at nought, and mocked Him, and arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him again to Pilate. And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves,” Luke 23:8-12.

Herod was excited at seeing Jesus Christ, for he had heard of His reputation for performing miracles. Hoping for entertainment, he tempted Jesus Christ to perform one of His miracles. When Jesus Christ refused, Herod angrily ordered Him tortured.

Herod’s “men of war,” his bodyguards, not only tortured the Lord Jesus Christ, but they threw a magnificent robe around Him and mocked Him.

In times past, Herod and Pilate had been at enmity with one another. But this mutual crisis had made them friends – strange bedfellows. Religion and the roman military are now friends for a common cause.

And Jesus Christ was sent back to Pilate.

Refusing to perform a miracle would not sit too well with many who are looking for miracles today, when miracles won’t save you, but miracles are designed to bring attention to the Word of God.

The Sixth Trial of the Lord Jesus Christ!

“But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the Passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?” John 18:39.

Before Pilate again, Jesus Christ was subject to one more trial. Remember and remember to emphasize this fact, Pilate had not said once but several times that Jesus Christ was innocent.

We pick up the trial where Pilate is examining the Lord Jesus Christ again. Pilate called Him the King of the Jews. Jesus Christ had convinced Pilate of His birth, His status, and the facts concerning Himself.

Now Pilate made an ingenious attempt to gain the release of Jesus Christ on the basis of the custom of the Passover, realizing that Jesus Christ was innocent. Pilate would make it possible to release an innocent person and get himself off the hook and help the religious leaders safe face.

But these Jewish leaders, under the control of Satan, “Satan is your father,” would not let up until Jesus Christ was removed from the scene.

“Then Cried They All Again, Saying, Not This Man, But Barabbas. Now Barabbas Was a Robber,” John 18:40

What have they said? Don’t release unto us the most wonderful Person who has ever lived. Release unto us public enemy number one – Barabbas!

Now this appears very tame in the English. It gives you the modern idea that this guy might have been a “second story” man. Perhaps he had broken into a few homes and opened a few drawers, and sneaked out the back door. But the original Greek language indicates that he was a habitual, professional criminal, possibly the number one man of the crime syndicate in that area. He was vile all the way through.

Yet the religious crowd was asking for his release.

There has always been in history and in our history also a strange affinity between religion and the crime syndicate. Religion has always provided a haven for criminals.

Religion became the champion of a despicable criminal rather than the perfect, matchless Son of God.

In the Aramaic, “Barabbas” means “son of the father.” The Jews chose the criminal son of a father in place of the Eternal Son of God the Father.

They chose a robber ... And they have been robbed ever since!

Friday, July 27, 2001

“My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?” Psa 22:1

We generally think that Jesus Christ alone provided our so great salvation. But the entire Trinity were involved. Both the Father and God the Holy Spirit had to forsake Him while He was identified with our sins.

But the Father had, as it were, the most nightmarish job of all. He had to deliberately pour out the full wrath of His justice upon the One He loved so perfectly. “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

For infinite eons before man was formed out of the dust, long before even the dust existed, the Father had loved Christ, and He continually loved Him while judicially imputing our sins to Him and executing judgment upon Him.

”He made Him to be sin, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him,” 2 Cor 5:21.

The closest the Father could come to expressing His love was to blanket the hill in a darkness so total that neither man nor angel could watch our Lord’s ordeal. The way in which God treated His Son on the Cross demonstrates conclusively that when God deals with us, Divine justice has higher priority than Divine love.

When He deals with Himself or other members of the Godhead, His justice is not challenged, but our imperfection sounds an alarm in the essence of God. If God had to design a coat of arms to represent Himself before fallen man, the motto would read, “Justice before love.”

”Whom the Lord loves He chastens.”

“Jesus Christ, the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever,” Hebrews 13:8

God’s character is perfect. He is never better or worse. He is immutable – never has He varied in the least since eternity past, and never will He throughout all eternity future.

In Romans 1:16 Paul injected a theme which he pursues throughout the book of Romans, especially in chapters nine through ten. “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

”To the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The Jew is mentioned first because Israel is God’s chosen people, having been given special responsibilities and accompanying privileges related to the custodianship and dissemination of the Word of God.

The principle is however, that both Jews and non-Jews, that is, all people, have access to the same opportunities and blessings in this dispensation. No race or culture has greater privilege than another in the royal family of God. Nor is any race or culture excluded, no individual is treated with special favor and no one is ignored.

Race, culture, personal traits – none of these is an issue in the plan of God. The issue is, either you adjust to the justice of God resulting in blessing, or the justice of God will adjust to you, resulting in cursing and discipline.

The impartiality of Divine justice is a concept you must understand before you can even get a good start in the Christian life.

Rom 2:11, “For there is never partiality before God.”

Romans 2:11, “For There is Never Partiality Before God”

The verb in Rom 2:11 is a present, active, indicative of “EIMI.” Present tense, active voice, and indicative mood, which is translated in your English Bible “there is.”

The customary present tense, with the negative “OU” means that there will never be a time when God makes exceptions for anyone.

God is totally wise, totally fair, totally unchanging. He wrote the rules for His own creation. And His rules are always in force in every case. There is no slack anywhere. He treats us in Grace, but Grace is a policy of His justice. Grace is not a sloppy program of sentimentality. God is not some huge mass of love. He is a Person of incorruptible, awe-inspiring justice, and His Grace is an efficient, well-run plan.

The word for “partiality” is the noun “PROSOPOLEMPSIA” from the word “PROSOPOS,” literally “face,” and “LAMBANO,” which means “to receive.” ”Being partial or receiving face,” connotes bias, an inclination to favor one person over another, a predilection or fondness toward a certain person.

Divine justice is completely free of it, but human relations abound in it.

“If We Confess Our Sins, God is Faithful and Just to Forgive Us of Our Sins and Cleanse Us From All Unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9

The old sin nature remains an active part of us as long as we live, 1 John 1:8.

Secondly, throughout our lives we will continue to use our free will to commit personal sins, 1 John 1:10.

All of our sins have already been judged. 1 John 1:7. They are no longer an issue in the eternal relationship with God.

But our volition is always an issue in the angelic conflict. We cannot make wrong decisions with impunity. The negative volition that yields to temptation and places us under the old sin nature cut us off from “temporal fellowship” with God.

After we sin, we exercise positive volition again by citing that sin to God as one which His justice has already handled. We are identifying that sin with the Cross. In effect, we are citing the court case in which that sin was brought to trial, imputed to Jesus Christ in our place, and judged.

Although the justice of God has dealt with our sins once and for all on the Cross, we too must deal with them via our own free will as we commit them in time.

”If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged,” 1 Cor 11:31.

“God Works All Things Together for Good,” Romans 8:28

Foreknowledge – God thought about me in eternity past.
Predestination – God has a plan for me since eternity past.
Election – God chose me for the privileged part of His plan.
Justification – God can bless me now.
Glorification – God will bless me in Heaven.

“If God be for us, who can be against us?”
”If God delivered up His own Son on behalf of us all, How shall He not with Him give us all things?”

You need to know this system and be prepared to use it in a moment’s notice.

Imagine the worst situation, the one that seems most awful to you – rape, Communist torture, someone’s death, whatever – and apply this technique to it. Even in your imagination there is no need to dangle on the fear-panic ploy.

If God can handle the worst, He can handle anything else.

“Remember the former things long past:
”For I am God, and there is no other.
”For I am God, and there is none like Me,
”Declaring the end from the beginning.
”And from ancient times things that have not been done,
”Saying, My decrees will be established,
”And I will accomplish My good pleasure,” Isaiah 46:9-10

The predetermined plan of God calls for us to gain our motivation and spiritual momentum from the Word of God. This motivation and momentum is designed to function under all conditions, disasters included.

As the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ remembers this, his concentration begins to pick up speed.

Despite negative volition or opposition from men or angels, despite all the disasters of life in the devil’s domain, God is so wise, just, and powerful that He makes everything work together to accomplish His good pleasure.

”To be conformed to the image of His Son.” This is the view of God’s good pleasure.

Saturday, July 28, 2001


God is life. Jeremiah 10:10, John 1:4, John 14:6, 1 Thes 1:19.

God lives. He does not possess life as we do – life that began at some point and has a terminus down the line.

There never was a time when God did not exist. He always existed. His life is called “eternal life.” Eternal life has no beginning and no ending. In contrast to the life of the believer, technically called “everlasting life,” which has no end, but began at the moment of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

All life is from God.

Eternal Life!

The eternal life of God is imparted to all who believe in Christ.
John 3:16, 18, 36; 10:10; 14:6; 20:31; 1 John 5:11-12.

“Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” John 14:6.

He is life. Never was there a time when He, in His Deity, did not exist. Eternal life has always resided in Him.
”This is the record, that God has given unto us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son has not life,” 1 John 5:11-12.

Furthermore, as the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Source of life, not from the standpoint of creation, but as the One who breathes the spark of life into the fetus when it emerges from the womb at birth.

Moreover, God the Holy Spirit is the Source of life as the Agent of regeneration and as One who places each Church Age believer into union with Christ at the moment of faith in the Gospel.

By the baptism of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor 12:13, at the moment of salvation the eternal life of Jesus Christ becomes our eternal life. Thus the Members of the Trinity are related to life in specific, different ways that never clash and are totally compatible with the operation of the Godhead.


Psa 25:5, “Lead me in Thy Truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.”

John 17:17, “Sanctify them through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth.”

1 John 5:6, “This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is Truth.”

Not merely true to other beings, but God is true to Himself. The fact that God is veracity toward others is secondary. The primary fact is that billions and billions of years ago before any creature existed, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit was each to Himself. They also possessed perfect integrity based on Truth.

Man says, “I am telling the Truth.” God says “I am the Truth,” John 14:6.

Man often finds it easy to adjust to others by lies and deceit. But God has never made such an adjustment. Jesus Christ is a totally true Person.

God doesn’t hold the Truth as something He acquired. He is the Truth from eternity past. The Truth has never been diminished or compromised in Him. God is the source of Truth. Therefore, God is the Source of the Word of God. From the Truth that God is comes the Truth we have in writing. Every form of knowledge, every Truth dwells in God in absoluteness, thus the dogmatism of the Word of God.

The Divine attribute of Truth guarantees that Divine revelation in any form, spoken, pre-Canon, or written, or Canon, is accurate, perfect, and absolute.

Deut 32:4, “He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of Truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.”

1 John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”

John 6:32, “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from Heaven; but My Father giveth you the true Bread from Heaven.”

Heb 8:2, “A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”


1 John 4:7, 16, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

As with all the attributes of God, especially His absolute attributes, love belongs to the being of God. God’s love cannot be disassociated from His eternal being, 1 John 4:8, and never is His love diminished or improved.

Thus God is love whether He has something or someone to love. His nature is to bestow Himself, to give of Himself, and His nature remains the same whether or not there is an object for love, whether or not there is an occasion for love.

In other words, billions of years before the creation of the universe, God’s love was not less because there were no objects, and it is not increased after creation. The explanation for this is that the only object that is ever worthy of God’s love is God’s own eternal, unchangeable character.

His love is revealed in His perfect righteousness and He never compromises what He loves. God’s love is different from human love, which God does not possess. Even if we understand human love that is no guarantee that we understand God’s love.

God’s love in its totality is beyond our comprehension. His love needs no support. Ours does.

There is no deception in God’s love, only the inviolable demand of perfect Truth, while our love is often blind.

Whereas God’s love needs no object, our love is not love unless we have an object. God’s love is part of His immutable being in spite of objects and opportunities.

”God is love.”

God Does Not Love Us Because of What We Are or Are Not

He loves us because of Who and What He is. “God is love.”

Specially He loves His own righteousness with an infinite love. And since we possess His righteousness, as of the moment we believed in Christ, He loves us. Gen 15:6, Rom 5:3.

God’s love is always related to His character. Thus, He is very particular about whom He loves and admits into Heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only One worthy and only through His merits are we acceptable. Eph 1:6.

This is Grace. There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn the love of God or the right to live with Him forever. We are qualified only by non-meritorious faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

”We love because He first loved us.”

Sunday, July 29, 2001

“As a Man Thinketh in His Mind, So is He,” Proverbs 23:7

What we think is what we are!

The Plan of God has seen fit for us share the thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ and to utilize His Divine orientation in our walk through life. If the Lord Jesus Christ is important, then what He thinks is more important than anything in life.

But what has been important to us?

When we come to the end of our road and look back, we will see a switchback, from positive to negative to positive, as we have fluctuated in our attitude about the word of God. No human being with an old sin nature will have a perfect record. No one will have followed a straight path. But the question will be, “What has been predominate?”

Have you been positive toward the Word of God or consistently negative? How far has our positive volition carried us? Have we cracked the “maturity barrier?” Have we persisted in learning the Word of God one day at a time? And day after day?

We have been given the Word of God, the Grace apparatus for perception, and we have been given sufficient time to grow up spiritually. How have we handled these assets?

When you think of how easy it is for people to get away from the Word of God and how difficult it is to grow in Grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the importance of this issue becomes emphatic.

”Guard your mind with all diligence for out it come the issues in life.”

The Bible is Called “the Mind of Christ”

Therefore, God’s Plan is simple. The issues and objectives are clear cut.

But life can become very difficult when we manufacture our own problems, and when our friends manufacture problems for us. And when life itself adds problems and distractions of its own. For example, many Christians have spotted on the horizon our fast-approaching historical crisis, and they are scared to death. These believers have been distracted from the most important thing in life by a situation that is also very critical, but far less so.

The Word of God, the Mind of Christ, must be given first priority. With the Word of God in your soul, you know Who controls history. And you know your place in it.
The Word of God keeps every historical disaster in perspective. And it enables you to think instead of panic under pressure. Believers live in “panic palace.”

Whatever may occur in the future, you must assign politics and warfare, and world affairs, as well as your own ambitions, your family, your life, your social life, your business life, all to lower priorities than you give to the Word of God.

As legitimate and important as these other things may be, the Word of God is the eternal issue and the Word of God must be transferred from the page into your soul.

The Judgment Seat of Christ!

At the judgment seat of Christ you will be on your own facing the Lord Jesus Christ. Rom 14:12, “Every one” means that Christ will handle each case separately. Christianity is personal and you must answer for yourself.

In life, you may have evaded the responsibility for your own decisions. You may have found others to blame or to lean on. You may have developed a prodigious ability to make excuses. But in front of the omniscient King of kings, you will not be able to evade, to compensate, to laugh off, to find any excuse.

He has all the facts. The evidence is all in the mind of Christ. He knows your every thought during your every moment on Earth. And if the Word of God resides in your soul, He will recognize His own thoughts in you. He knows your true attitude about the Word of God.

The invalidity of every excuse you ever made for declining to learn the Word of God is no secret to Him. You are standing in the front of the Person who provided the means of overcoming even legitimate excuses. More than ever before, when you face Him, you can say, “No excuse, Sir.”

Perhaps for the first time you will accept full responsibility for your own decisions.

The Judgment Seat of Christ!

Does it make you uncomfortable when you think of the judgment seat of Christ? Be sure to understand that the judgment seat of Christ is not talking about your sins. They were judged on the Cross and will never be mentioned again. The thoughts, the decisions, and actions for which you must give an account have nothing directly to do with sin.

Sin is not the issue. The issue is your attitude about the word of God. You will render a report for all the time you wasted in human good, in social action, in an attempt to compensate for a guilt complex. Your sincerity will cut no ice with God. You will have been sincerely wrong. Ignorance will be no excuse. It will be the problem.

”My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

The Son of God will add together all the facts and will come up with a final efficiency report. By the time you reach the judgment seat of Christ, in fact, as soon as you depart, it will be too late to do anything about your evaluation. There is no way to sway this Judge. There is no way to obscure the facts.

Your efficiency report will cover the period of time between your salvation and your departure from the Earth. The issue is, learn the Word of God now. At the judgment seat of Christ only believers receive an imputation.

”For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be rewarded for the things he has done by means of the body (that is, during his life on Earth), face-to-face with what he has accomplished, whether good or worthless,” 2 Cor 5:10.

“Rewarded for the Good or for the Worthless”

If you did not grow up spiritually, and thus did not permit God to bless you in time, your evaluation will be very simple – worthless.

The zero imputed to Divine righteousness in time will be parlayed into a zero imputed to your resurrection body in eternity. The only other possible efficiency report is good. This is the fulfillment of God’s Plan for your life.

According to this report, the blessings that were imputed to God’s righteousness in time reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ forever. The criterion for eternal rewards will not be what you produced, but your attitude about the Word of God.

You will be judged according to your function under growing in Grace while a believer on Earth.

”But the one having looked into the perfect law of freedom, and having persisted, that one having become not a hearer, but a doer of the Word, that one shall be happy in so doing,” James 1:25.

Monday, July 30, 2001

“If anyone’s work which he hath built remains, he shall receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he shall suffer loss (no reward at the judgment seat of Christ): but he himself shall be saved; yet as through fire,” 1 Cor 3:14-15.

The justice of God is the source of Divine blessing, all of which comes through the Grace of God.

Any attempt to earn, deserve, or work for blessing from God is human good, which fails to penetrate the Grace of God in time, but is totally destroyed in eternity.

Loss of reward, however, does not imply loss of salvation. Paul emphasizes this point by quoting from a popular hymn in the early Church called, “Faithful is the Word,” 1 Tim 1:15, Titus 3:8.

”Faithful is the Word, for you see if we died with Christ (and we have), at the same time we shall live with Him. If we endure suffering, we shall rule with Him. If we repudiate the Lord, the same One will also refuse us (no reward at the judgment seat of Christ). If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful (our salvation is secure), for you see, He cannot deny Himself,” 2 Tim 2:11-13.


Most Christians are aware today that crowns are mentioned in the Bible. “Will there be any stars in my crown?” is a line from a hymn – long on enthusiasm and short on accuracy.

A king’s crown, called a “diadem,” might be embellished with a star or two. But our eternal rewards are depicted as the “STEPHANOS,” the “wreath” worn on the heads of Roman heroes.

The several grades of wreaths were the supreme military decorations. They were worn uppermost on the body. They signified the highest personal valor and symbolized the highest glory of SPQR. Lesser awards were worn lower – medallions suspended from the neck, brass or silver bands around the arm, medal sewn to a leather sash across the chest.

In chronicling the Punic wars, the historian Livy gives us the name of one of the most highly-decorated heroes in Roman history, Spurius Lingustinus. He was a professional officer, four times the senior centurion of his legion.

In 22 years of service he actually won 34 decorations including six civic crowns. His uniform was magnificent, but even more magnificent was the combined stipend attached to his rewards. He probably drew a quarter of million dollar salary annually as long as he lived, along with extra rations and the proceeds from the large tracts of land awarded to him.

Some of the wealthiest citizens of SPQR earned their wealth on the battlefield. Knowing this and imbued with the honor of the legion, soldiers were inspired to train hard and to perform feats of unusual valor in battle.

This will give you an idea of the background on which Paul used the word “STEPHANOS.”


“Hope” is the Greek word “ELPIS,” which means a certain joyful anticipation of something guaranteed to happen in the future. ”In the hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal,” Titus 1:2.

God authorized hope in eternity past, in the Divine Decrees.

One hope which is in view here, Titus 1:2, is that God has promised “salvation before times eternal.” This is why, as unbelievers, we were able to have total confidence in the Gospel. Only an unbeliever can have a hope of eternal life. Everyone else has eternal life.

Remember the definition of hope in Rom 8:24, “Now when a hope is seen, it is not a hope, so who hopes for what he sees?”

The Word of God in the soul is more certain than what we might see through the eyes. 2 Pet 1:15-21. We “see” through the Word that we already have eternal life. Hence the confident anticipation or receiving eternal life can only belong to one who does not yet possess it.

God is the Author of hope. But God is also the Author of hope and hope.

”The Blessed Hope” – the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Christ in You, the Hope of Glory”

Not only is God the Father identified as the Author and Originator of hope, but so is the Lord Jesus Christ. ”Christ in you” is the indwelling of Christ that belongs exclusively to the royal family of God. Christ indwells in those in the Church Age who have passed the point of salvation and are pressing on toward subsequent objectives in the Plan of God.

Thus the hope in view in Col 1:27, includes also hope.

Our objective is to develop the capacity that frees God to bless us. It is the imputation of blessings that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.

Many believers quote, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” without knowing what it means. It simply identifies the origin of glory after salvation. Christ is the Origin of glory. He is the One who is glorified. He is our Hope, our Confidence, His personal residence in us intensifies our confidence.

His Person and His saving work on the Cross form the object of hope. And after salvation, He is the basis for our hope of blessings, both now, and forever. Hope.

We develop capacity through learning the mind of Christ. Our first blessing is occupation with Christ. And the very Christ who indwells us will place on our heads the wreaths of the tactical victory.

God is the Author of hope, but the Word of God is the Source of hope. God does not provide hope in any other way.

“Now Faith is the Substance of Things Hoped For, the Evidence of Things Not Seen,” Hebrews 11:1

Here is another well-known, but poorly understood verse explaining the relationship between the Word of God and hope. In its English translation, this verse is commonly mistaken for a definition of faith. But the word for “faith” is “PISTIS,” and it is used in its objective sense, which means, what is believed, the object of faith, the Word of God.

The Word of God reveals the Plan of God. Under His Plan, He glorifies Himself by blessing us. He can only bless us because of a series of imputations. These imputations, especially the imputation of Divine righteousness, create a potential for blessing.

But our potential remains unknown to us apart from learning the Word of God, if unknown, unfulfilled.

If we are ever to use our God-given volition to adjust our thinking, our actions, our lives to the Plan of God, our ignorance must become cognizant; our uncertainty, our confidence; our potential, hope.

Heb 11:1 is actually a definition of hope. Having a hope is based on having a potential. True hope is based on reality. Where there is a hope in Scripture, there is a potential.

Each hope, when realized, is replaced by a new hope. Each potential, when fulfilled, is replaced by a new potential. We never run out of room in which to grow. When one potential is fulfilled, we acquire an even greater potential whose fulfillment than becomes our next objective in life.

“In Adam All Die”

We are born with our first potential. God has a plan for the entire human race. He demonstrates that fact, first of all, by imputing His life to each of us at birth. Secondly, by simultaneously imputing to us Adam’s sin, for the purpose of our immediate, total condemnation. Condemnation must precede salvation. And He condemns us as fast as we can be condemned. And the justice of God is shown immediately to be our point of reference.

That is how strong our first potential is. All the work has been accomplished at our birth and on the Cross. God in His perfect character desires that all of us be saved, 2 Pet 3:9, and we need only to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our second potential is acquired at the moment of salvation. The justice of God imputes the righteousness of God to us. Since God’s righteousness is in us, it is the receiving end of the Grace of God. We are eligible for blessing in time.

Finally, our third potential – the potential for blessing in eternity is established when we possess blessings in time, imputed at maturity, and thereafter.

One category of blessing guarantees the next.

God can’t bless you. He blesses you, the plural of the word bless.

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