12 11 2012

Exodus 2:22: And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for [Moses] said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

1 Peter 2:11: Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

“I am a stranger here below, And what I am ’tis hard to know; I am so vile, so prone to sin, I fear that I’m not born again.

When I experience call to mind, My understanding is so blind; All feeling sense seems to be gone, Which makes me think that I am wrong.

I find myself out of the way, My tho’ts are often gone astray; Like one alone I seem to be, Oh is there anyone like me?

‘Tis seldom I can ever see Myself as I would wish to be; What I desire I can’t attain, From what I hate I can’t refrain.

So far from God I seem to lie, Which makes me weep and cry; I fear at last that I shall fall, For if a saint, the least of all.

I seldom find a heart to pray, So many things get in the way Thus filled with doubts, I ask to know, Come tell me is it thus with you?

So by experience I know There’s nothing good I can do; I cannot satisfy the law, Nor hope , nor comfort from it draw.

My nature is so prone to sin, Which makes my duty so unclean; Then when I count up all the cost, If not free grace, then I am lost.


The End of Disappointment

8 11 2012

“We’re used to rulers disappointing us. Think of Barack Obama storming to the American Presidency in 2008. To millions, he was the one who was going to change things. He was going to turn it all around. He was going to deliver. He was going to give the American people the life they wanted, the life they dreamed of. Hope soon became tinged with disappointment; of course it did! How could one man change so much, do so much, achieve so much? He couldn’t. He’d been asked to do too much (I experienced the same disappointment after the 94 midterm election).

“God’s angel said to some very ordinary people ‘He’s here.’ The Christ, God’s promised King, who could actually deliver on his promises, had arrived. That was great news for those shepherds then, and it’s great news for us today.” Carl Laferton

The Inauguration

7 11 2012

Genesis 49:10: The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

1. A king from the tribe of Judah will be installed-“The scepter” and “a lawgiver.” “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David”
(Luke 1:32).

2. The king’s jurisdiction will extend to all peoples of the earth-“gathering of the people.” “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (Ephesians 1:10).

“The sovereignty remained with Judah. It continued to be the royal tribe till the prophetic epoch. When other tribes lost their peculiar position and their positive distinctiveness, Judah still remained—and it survives in the common appellation of the Hebrew people to this day. The Israelites are more commonly called Jews than by any other name. Jesus, the tribe of Judah, is the King of the Jews, even though they reject Him. Over His head upon the Cross was written the indelible Truth in letters of Hebrew, Greek and Latin, ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’ Yes, He is King of all faithful Jews and of all believing Gentiles at this hour—with a sovereignty wider than that of emperors—yes, as wide as the dwelling places of all mankind! He is ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords.’” C. H. Spurgeon

On This Election Day

6 11 2012

The Importance of Freedom

1 Timothy 2:1, 2: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” It often appears that Christianity in the USA desires America to be blessed with civil leaders that protect our liberty and freedom so that we can continue to pursue the “American Dream.” We pray for our security that we might have bigger houses, newer automobiles, and the most up-to-date gadgets. However, we should desire a government that guarantees our liberty in order that we might pursue godliness and honesty (1 Timothy 2:1, 2). Imagine a statesman standing before a rally and informing the people: “Elect me as your next President and I will use my authority to ensure your freedom so you can live a life of godliness and honesty.”


God is Sovereign over Government

Exodus 9:16: And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up [Pharaoh], for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

Proverbs 21:1: The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Daniel 2:21: And [God] changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

Acts 4:26-28: The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

John 19:10, 11: Then saith Pilate unto [Jesus], Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.


Confirmation, Continuation, and an Entrance

5 11 2012

The teaching/preaching ministry of Paul and Barnabas to the churches included “confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

There is a spiritual progression in the teaching of Paul and Barnabas: 1) confirming (strengthening) disciples 2) exhorting disciples to continue in the faith 3) disciples enter God’s kingdom through much tribulation.

First, what message begets strength? Certainly it is not a man-centered message that extols man’s innate virtues and spiritual prowess. Rather, the message that gives strength or confirms a soul is that through Christ Jesus’s gift of righteousness God also provides everything the believer needs for life and godliness (Romans 8:32). The message that will confirm a soul is the gospel message; the good news of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ which secures for us all good things.

Second, we need strength fueled by the gospel because continuance in the faith is difficult because of our inclination is to drift from God. Too, Satan seeks to deceive us and the world draws us into its sphere to participate in a system lived outside of the Lordship of Jesus Christ: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.”

Third, the pathway to God’s kingdom includes passing through many troubles along the way. There are many sorrows and trials that Christians experience on the celestial highway: “Many arrows pierce my soul from without, within.” The Bible is very blunt and to the point. It does not promise “health, wealth, and prosperity” but honestly reveals that following Christ can be difficult and dangerous. But the Bible also makes rich promises to believers to give grace and glory in Jesus Christ.

Gospel confirmation-continuance-entrance: “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11).

The Protoevangelium or First Gospel.

31 10 2012

Genesis 3:15: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Romans 16:20: And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Immediately after “the fall” into sin by Adam and Eve God proclaims that He will defeat the serpent (Satan Revelation 12:9; 20:2) with a crushing blow-“bruise thy head.” Christ, “the seed of the woman,” will suffer in the defeat by having his own heel bruised. This promise of God has been called by theologians the protoevangelium or first gospel.
The New Testament gives greater clarity by detailing Christ’s victory by suffering for our sins and rising from the dead for our justification (Romans 4:25).  In Romans, Paul alludes to the first promise of Genesis 3:15. But Paul not only focuses on the past victory but the future consummation of that victory when Satan is permanently destroyed. As the Roman Christians contemplated Christ’s victory for them the truth was a vehicle or a means by which God’s grace was with them-“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

Today, we also are to view the truth of the gospel and experience grace that strengthens, sanctifies, emboldens, and assures us. The means of grace for discipleship is not through “spiritual osmosis” but rather through the enriching study and meditation of Christ’s victory over sin, Satan, and death for us.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Jacob, Thomas, and Unbelief: Belief or Unbelief

30 10 2012

I. Testimony is not believed

John 20:24, 25: But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

Genesis 45:25, 26: And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not.

II. Evidence produces belief

John 20:26-28: And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

Genesis 45:27, 28: And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived:And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.

III. What is your response in light of the evidence that Jesus was raised from the dead?

John 20:29-31: Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

One Sunday the grave could conceal Him no longer

That day when the stone rolled away from the door

That’s when Jesus arose over death He had conquered

Now He’s ascended, He’s our Lord forever more