Daily Devotion

A Word From the LORD

October 15

Genesis 15:1 ~ After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

The first Word that any person hears from God is that of a call to repentance. Whether it was the preaching in a church service or someone sitting down and sharing the Gospel with you, it was the Lord who was speaking to your heart and calling you to come unto Him. In Revelation 3:20 the Lord Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock (That is the door of your heart; He cannot and will not force His way in. You must open your heart’s door and invite Him in [Rom 10:13].): if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” It is that still small voice that says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mat. 11:28). It is He who will give you rest from weariness, wandering, and the bondage of sin. It is He who will call you to rest from your on works, which are fruitless, and to rest upon His works which will afford you the gift of eternal life (Rom 6:23). It is a Word from the LORD that will change your life forever.

But we still need a Word from God every day. Though Abram was just one man among millions upon the earth, yet the LORD had a special word and a special purpose just for him. In the grand design of God’s plan, Abram was of great importance. You today need a word from God. You have the blessing of having the Word of God in print that gives you His complete, perfect, and divine revelation. Though you are just one among billions, God loves you and He has a specific divine purpose for you in the grand design of His plan. You are not insignificant to God, you are of great importance to Him and He has a word for you about your fear, your future, and your faith.

After his great military victory and his refusal to align himself with the king of Sodom by accepting reward for accomplishments, Abram stands alone. He had slaughtered Chedorlaomer and those kings that were with him. Now Abram probably thought that those nations of the four kings might raise an army to come after him. Maybe their kinsman would come to seek vengeance against him. Abram stood alone because he stood upon his faith in God. He depended upon God to care for him rather than align himself with the world.

God came to him, calling him by name and saying, “fear not.” This is the first use of these words in the Bible, but it certainly is not the last. Men are always crying out for peace and telling us not to fear, but their words hold no power for they are often empty and vain. But when the LORD our God comes along and speaks peace to your heart the fear is gone. There is a peace that comes from knowing and having a personal daily walk with the Lord your God. Consider the disciples in the storm upon the sea and how the Lord came to them saying, “It is I; be not afraid” (Jn 6:15-21). There is a peace that comes from having a word from the Lord and having His presence with you wherever you go. It is a peace that surpasses all understanding because it quenches all fear, even in the worst storms of life.

We were in south Mississippi the day that Hurricane Katrina came on shore. We were staying in our home church building because there were a couple of families who were not going to be able to leave town. We felt it would be safer for them to stay there than it was for them to stay in their homes. We were on ground level when the water started coming in and we immediately took everyone to the second floor. The water kept rising to the top of the second step from the top, less than a foot from the second floor, and one of the ladies looked at me and asked, “What are we going to do if the water keeps coming up?” I looked at her, and I asked the Lord for the right thing to say, and that still small voice within gave me the assurance that the water would come no further. I told her that the water was not going to reach us and that calmed her fear.

Through all that day, watching the destruction of that entire neighborhood, watching both mine and my wife’s vehicles go under water, there was never a fear in my heart. God had given me a peace and had assured me that we would all be just fine. I even lay down and took a nap in the afternoon because of the peace that God spoke to my heart.

When you have the peace of God the fear will subside and be gone. Fear is bondage. It will hold you back and it will keep you down. Fear will keep you from making wise decisions and it will keep you from reaching your full potential. You need a word from the LORD every day that you live. Open His Word daily and search the Scriptures for that special word from Him to you. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

 

 

WEEK 41

October 14

Faith and Integrity in Wealth

Genesis 14:21-24 ~ And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

As we have already stated, Abram could have had anything that he wanted. He took back the spoils of all of the towns that had been defeated by Chedorlaomer and those who were with him. A worldly conqueror would have no doubt wanted a very substantial bounty for himself, but not this man of faith. His faith and integrity held to the One who created all the wealth and it was His provision only that he desired.

It was offered to him by the new king of Sodom when he came out to meet Abram. He told him to keep all the goods and return only the people to their rightful place. But Abram would have none of that. He wanted none of the spoils for himself. Today we see too many who are swayed by money and will compromise for the sake of gain.

There are some who will “blow a gasket” if someone shortchanged them somewhere. Yet when the shoe is on the other foot and they are overpaid, they will be as quiet as a church mouse. When Abraham Lincoln was working as a clerk in a store in New Salem, he once took 6 1/4 cents too much from a customer. That night when the store closed, he walked three miles to return the woman's money. That is the conduct and the character of a Christian with faith and integrity, especially when it comes to money.

Abram’s response is to refuse all that the king offered him personally. This king may have been trying to win the favor of a man who just defeated four kings and their armies with 318 trained men. Maybe he did not want to get on the wrong side of Abram. That would be very understandable. But maybe he was trying to get on Abram’s good side so that he could get his hooks into him. He could have wanted to “butter up” Abram so that he could call upon him later for whatever he might need. But Abram held to his faith in God and his integrity remained intact. He was not going to allow himself to become indebted to this man of the world for any amount of wealth. Hold to your faith and integrity when it comes to wealth.

There are those who will cut church for the sake of earning an extra dollar or two. I understand that there are occupations where some may have to work a weekend or two. I am talking about essential occupations such as first responders and the medical field (I am sure there are others). If you work at the convenience store and must work on Sundays, maybe you need to find a better job where you can get off for church. But even that is becoming hard today as we see so many who are foregoing the standards that once made our nation an exceptional nation. It may be hard, but it is not impossible. No matter how good it may sound to put work and earning more money ahead of the Lord’s stuff, it will never pay off. We must be good stewards of what God has given us. Hold to your faith and integrity when it comes to wealth.

If we will hold to our faith and our integrity when we are handling our fiscal affairs, we can rest in the promise that God will supply our every need. I hear people say that they have financial problems and just cannot get ahead. My wife and I have never been ahead. There will always be utility and grocery bills to pay until the day we leave this world. Every vehicle we own will need gas if we are going to use them. But a lot of times the financial difficulties of believers can be traced back to a stewardship problem. Many times is has to do with paying their tithes. God will do with 90% exceedingly abundantly more than you can do with 100%. Hold to your faith and integrity when it comes to wealth. God will provide!

The church at Philippi had supported the Apostle Paul in his missionary journeys (Php 4:14-19). In their giving to missions they were given the precious promise that God would supply all their need according to HIS riches. When you step out in faith and integrity and support the spread of the Gospel around the world through missions God will supply what you pay. It is He that has said He would supply the need. He supplied the need of salvation when He sent His only begotten Son to pay for our sin on Calvary. And He has supplied the need by calling people into His service to take the Gospel to a lost and dying world. He will supply the need to support those who forsake all and follow Him through the giving of His people. You cannot out give God. Hold to your faith and integrity when it comes to wealth. He will measure it back in exceeding abundance (Lk. 6:38). – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 40

October 7

What Are We Teaching Our Children?

Genesis 13:10-12 ~ And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.  Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.  Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 

There is strife between the herdsmen of Lot and Abram, and even though they are brethren, they could not dwell together. Abram being the man of faith, the man who believes God, and the man who trusts in His promises, was gracious, loving, and kind to his nephew. The life of faith and blessing is keeping your spiritual eye upon Christ and turning away from the world’s dainties and pleasures. The Christian life is not dull, boring, and dead. It is a life of endless peace, joy, and excitement. It is a life that is energized by the power and blessings of God. It is a life of wonder and amazement as opposed to a life of stress and drama. A day in the courts of God is better than a thousand days in the worldly pleasures of life. “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psa. 84:10). Are we teaching our children to live by faith?

We live by faith or we live by sight. Abram lived by his faith in God while Lot was a man who looked and lived by sight. He lifted his eyes and beheld the well-watered plains of Jordan. He claimed the best for himself without asking God for anything. He saw convenience, ease, and comfort as well as his own benefit. He looked (lust of the eyes), he desired (lust of the flesh), and he took (the pride of life, 1 Jn 2:16). Those who live by sight are many times selfish. Those who allow the flesh to rule are those who look out more for self than for anyone else. God is not the Preeminent Authority in their life. When we set out to chart our own course in life we cease to walk by faith. Are we teaching our children to live by faith or to live by sight?

Success is not always success. If the saved go out and succeed in their life’s pursuits without God, they have failed. It would have been better for them if they had failed in their pursuits. In failure they can learn that they have left God out of the picture and that they need to remember where they were, repent, and return. But when they succeed without God, they just get farther and farther away from God and His true purpose for their life.

We make our plans, we set our goals, and we try to build a life in this wicked old world. We have a goal in mind and work years to accomplish it. But without God, those goals and plans are meaningless. They are temporal pursuits which are here for a time and then they are gone. But when we live according to God’s purpose and will for our life we will lay up in store things that will exist for all of eternity. It is far better to live for the eternal goals and rewards than to live for the temporal. What are we teaching our children when we leave God out of our plans?

The Bible teaches us that Lot was a “righteous man” that dwelled among sinners. But Lot left the spiritual life, the life of faith and blessing, the life of a pilgrim and a sojourner, and chose a life among the sinners of this world where he “vexed his righteous soul … with their unlawful deeds” (2 Pt 2:8). He chose to live by sight rather than live the life of faith and blessing. He pitched his tent towards Sodom where he began to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Then it became easy to live among them and buy a house in the middle of Sodom where he stood in the way of sinners. It was nothing from there to become a leader among them and to sit in the seat of the scornful (Psa 1:1). He became entrenched in the world which is no way for a believer to live. What are we teaching our children?

But we cannot put all the blame on Lot. Abram raised him and was teaching him the ways of the LORD as he grew up. But when Abram failed and went into Egypt, he taught Lot some things that I believe stayed with him. Abram turned to the world in the time of testing. Lot saw that and he saw the things that Egypt had to offer. That is probably where his lustful desires of the flesh began to take root in his heart. What we do in moderation our children tend to do in exaggeration. Parents who are not faithful to their church at all times are teaching their children that church is not as important as they make it out to be in their life. You cannot tell your children that the Bible is the most important guide in life, and never read it yourself. You cannot tell your children to live by faith and pursue your own course in life. What they see is what they will be. We can tell our children, “Do as I say, not as I do.” But our children are going to DO as they see us DO. What are we teaching our children?

Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom while Abram built an alter and turned his eyes to the LORD. Abram lived a life of faith and blessing looking for the eternal rewards while Lot lived his life in pursuit of this world’s goods. Too many people today have tasted what Egypt has to offer and they like it. They are afraid to make a commitment to God and to dedicate themselves to Him for fear that God would ask them to give up some of the creature comforts of this world. What they do not realize is that it would be the best life they could have in this world.

God loves you as an individual. If he does ask you to give up something, He will replace it with that which is far greater and of infinite value. He will give you things that have eternal value as opposed to the world’s stuff that has no value. What are you living for and how are you pursuing it? Are you following the purposes and will of God for your life? Are you setting spiritual goals and seeking to be in the center of God’s perfect will for your life? Are you teaching your children to live by faith or to live by sight? – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 8

Faith and Integrity In Battles Pt 1

Genesis 14:14-16 ~ And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.  And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.  And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

Integrity is doing things with honor and uprightness. It is the possession of principles and consistently adhering to those very principles. It is a moral standard (a code of conduct) that is always followed, regardless of whether someone is present or not. Integrity is always doing the right thing the right way, even when nobody is looking. This is the behavior that God would have all his children to exhibit. The greatest thing that anyone could possibly say about your life is that you are a person of integrity.

In this chapter of Genesis, we see Abram’s conduct and an exhibition of his integrity and faith in battle. There has been an invading retaliation of a confederation of kings. As we read in verses 1-11, we see that the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and of Bela or Zoar, were held in tributary to King Chedorlaomer (ked-or/-la-o/-mer). In the thirteenth year of their tribute they revolted and refused to pay their tribute to this king.

King Chedorlaomer then gathered three other kings with him to retaliate against their rebellion (v. 1). During what would have been the fourteenth year of tributary, King Chedorlaomer and his confederacy invaded the land and began kill, destroy, and to plunder the lands of these rebelling kings. These two sets of kings and their armies came against each other in the valley of Siddim. It is here that the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah both died, and the rest of the kings that were with them fled to the mountain. The confederation of kings sacked Sodom and Gomorrah and took all that they had, including Abram’s nephew Lot.

When a Christian leaves the Lord as Lot did when he “pitched his tent toward Sodom”, there will always be someone or something that will want to put you into bondage. When you leave the guidance and direction of the Word of God and the Spirit of God you will begin to form bad habits that will entangle you in a snare. You will begin to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, to stand in the way of sinners, and to sit in the seat of the scornful. Nothing good can come from such a board of counselors.

Remember that Lot did not get into the wrong place overnight. He looked at the city, he lusted over the things that he could have in that place, and eventually he leaped right into the gates and became a part of their wicked and immoral culture. Lot did not flee the temptation. Though he himself may not have been a part of the immoral lifestyle, he condoned it by living among them and gaining worldly prosperity.

Lot did not have the integrity of Abram. When he faced a spiritual battle (temptation), he failed because he was not prepared. Preparation comes through practice and exercise. You must practice and exercise faith and integrity every day. You must immerse yourself in the Word of God and put it to work in your life every day. You must spend time with the Lord in prayer daily so that He can help you, train you, and strengthen you for the battles to come. You must be devoted, faithful, and dependable to your church family so that you can encourage, train, support, and strengthen one another. This is the preparation that is needed to have faith and integrity that will stand to the challenges and the temptations that you will face every day of your life.  

The hardest thing for a person to do who has become tributary to the world and its ways is to take the first step back to God (remember, repent, and return; 1 Jn 1:9). Once that is done, the rest of the steps will fall into place. If you find yourself in a place you did not intend to be, a place that is not closer to the Lord but farther from Him, then you must confess and forsake that place. Even if it cost you something, you must turn and go back to God. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 9

Faith and Integrity In Battles Pt 2

Genesis 14:14-16 ~ And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.  And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.  And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

Lot did not have the integrity that he needed to keep his family safe from the onslaughts of Satan and the progressive liberals of the world. He and his family have fallen prey to the devil and his snares and have fallen prey to the world and its ways. He had become tributary to the king of Sodom and tributary to the ways of the world. He and all the people of Sodom have now been captured by a group of kings who have come to steal, kill, and destroy. This is the danger that you face when you get away from God and the protections of His commandments and His doctrines. You are open game for the devil to come along and to devour your life and all that you are.

Abram, a man of faith and integrity, had a valid reason to go against these kings in battle. They had taken someone who meant a great deal to him. He was minding his own business as a man of peace and then the news of this abduction came to him. There was a need for him to take up arms and to go to battle and that is exactly what he did. You also have a valid reason to take up arms against one who wishes to make all people his tributary. However, we do not war in the flesh. The weapons of our warfare are spiritual weapons that are given to us by God (2 Cor 10:3-5). It is a spiritual battle that we are in today against the world, our own flesh, and the devil (Eph 6:12).

Abram was successful in his war against these kings because he went in the wisdom and the power of God. He had trained and prepared his men for this day. They were ready when the time came because they had been prepared. As Christians in a spiritual war we must always be ready to go to battle when the need arises. That means that we need to be armed and we need to be prepared.

The devil uses the pleasures of the world to appeal to our fleshly desires to bring us into bondage and tributary to him. We use the weapons of our warfare to withstand his attacks and to be victorious. However, we cannot be partially armed or slightly prepared if we wish to have the victory. The Bible says we are to put on the WHOLE armor of God (Eph 6:10-18). The armor of God is for our defense against all that Satan will throw at us. The only weapon of offense that we are to carry is the Sword of the Spirit for it is the Word of God. When you are backed up by the Word of God you are backed up with the greatest power on the earth (Heb 11:3)! Read it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it, and heed it by putting it into practice. This is preparation for the battle when it comes, and the battle will come.

 Abram took the battle to the enemy. He pursued him and he defeated him. There will be times that we will need to go after the enemy if we are to defeat him. To take the battle to the enemy we must stand and allow our voice to be heard about what the Bible says is right and wrong. Evil in our nation is trampling on our liberties every day because too many are afraid to stand and be heard. We need to go against the enemy to defend one another. We need to pursue the enemy to restore a fallen brother or sister. The greatest warfare that a Christian can wage against the enemy is to go after sinners and to tell them how to be saved. That takes the battle right up against the gates of hell! (Mt 16:13-18 [vs. 16 & 18]; Jude 23)

You can go to war and still retain your faith and integrity. You must do so by facing the enemy with faith that God will give you the wisdom and the power to defeat the enemy. You must do so by always being on the side of truth and right. The side of truth and right will always agree with the Word of God. You must do so by never backing away from the battle because of fear. You must do so by standing when others run away. Let us fight the good fight of faith and hold to our integrity (2 Tim 4:7).                   – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 10

Faith and Integrity In Worship Pt 1

Genesis 14:18-20 ~ And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.  And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:  And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abram] gave him [Melchizedek] tithes of all.

Abram won the victory and returns as the mighty champion of Almighty God. He maintains his faith and integrity when offered the spoils of war and refused them so that he might have the blessings of God.

As he returns from the battle he is met by Melchizedek, the king of Salem. Melchizedek means “king of right or righteousness.” This man is a mystery in the Bible for there is not a lot that is known about him. He is picture and a type of the priestly work of the Lord Jesus Christ in resurrection. He is a king that apparently has great influence, wealth, and power. He is called the King of Salem. The word “Salem” means “peace.” Salem is also the ancient name for the city of Jerusalem.

When he meets Abram, he comes as the priest of the Most High God. He brings bread and wine to refresh Abram after the battle. These are the memorials of sacrifice which again represents the priestly work of Christ in resurrection. It is a picture of the work of Christ as the sacrifice for our sin. His body was broken open and His blood was spilled to take away our sin. The bread is a type of Christ’s body while the wine is a picture of His blood; “… without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). He comes as the priest to show God’s approval of Abram, to pray for him, and to pronounce God’s blessing upon him.

Those who live the life of faith will have to go into battle on the behalf of others as well as for self. But the Lord Jesus Christ, the priest of compassion, consolation, and encouragement will come to your aid to relieve, to refresh, and to replenish you in the battle and after the battle. The Lord Jesus said that if we would go forth in His name that He would be with us. The “go” in Matthew 28:19 brings us the “lo” in verse 20. He will bless us in every deed and endeavor as long as we are doing what He has instructed us to do.

Melchizedek was a picture of the Lord Jesus (Heb. 7:1-17). But who was this man of God? Some say he was Job and some say he was Enoch returned to earth. Others say that this was an angel while others say it was Christ Himself. He was not an angel for we are told that he was a man (Heb. 7:4). Based on Hebrews 7:3 and 15 he was not the incarnate Christ. Whoever he was, he was a man of God who knew and walked very closely with the Lord.

There is no lineage, no record of birth, nor of death. He truly typifies the Lord Jesus as our Great High Priest in that he has the royal authority and the unending duration of priesthood. He is the King of Righteousness and of Peace (Isa. 11:4-9; Heb. 7:2). Melchizedek also typifies Christ as one who has no beginning and no end. Though Christ was born as the Son of God in the flesh, yet He has always existed with God as God (John 1:1-3). The Aaronic priesthood typifies Christ but was often interrupted by death. Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek.

When you are devoted to your worship of the Lord you will find the blessings of God tend to increase in your life. You are blessed so that you may bless others. When you use that blessing to bless others you are blessed all the more. It becomes a revolving door of blessing. It goes without saying that our motive is love for God and compassion for those whom we help. This is a form of worship in our life; taking what God has given us and using it for the benefit and blessing of others. Your whole life – social, intellectual, recreational, spiritual, mental, physical, working, playing, loving, etc. – should reflect your worship of God. If God is preeminent in your life then all that you think, say, and do is done in worship because you keep Him at the forefront of everything. This is what it is to have faith and integrity in worship.                         – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 11

Faith and Integrity In Worship Pt 2

Genesis 14:18-20 ~ And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.  And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:  And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abram] gave him [Melchizedek] tithes of all.

Melchizedek comes to Abram who is known by his relationship to the LORD for he was called “Abram of the most high God.” He was known as a man of faith and that faith was in the LORD God of Heaven and earth. Abram was obedient in his worship and he honored God. Abram was blessed because God was preeminent in his life.

We too should be known by our relationship to the Lord. I have had to work outside the church to support my family at times. When I did the people that I worked with knew that I was a Christian. I did not go and tell people, “I am a Christian.” They knew that I was a Christian by the way that I conducted myself. I was concerned with where they were going to spend eternity and whether they had a personal relationship with Christ. I shared Christ with them as much and as often as I could without being negligent to my duties at work.

I have worked with people that would come up to me and tell me that they were Christian, but it was not evident in their life. Many have the profession without the possession. Many have Christ as first priority, but they have not made Him preeminent and priorities can change. But I have found that those who truly have the possession want to share it with others. When we are obedient in our worship God is honored and we are blessed. A part of our worship of God is to tell others about Him. When we do, we let our light shine - the light and the love of Christ - and God gives His blessing.

As we look into these verses we see the facilitator of Abram’s worship, Melchizedek. We see the fruit of Abram’s worship as he received God’s approval and blessing. Remember, God is only pleased when we are doing what He says, the way He says, with full trust and confidence in Him. But we see also his faithfulness in his worship. Abram gave his tithe back to the LORD. This is done before the law and the covenant of circumcision. The tithe is the way we honor the Lord our God for His blessings upon our life. Tithing is an expression of worship (2 Cor 9:7), a test of obedience, (1 Cor 16:2, Mal 3:8-9), and an opportunity for the Lord to bless your life further (Lk 6:38, Mal 3:10, 2 Cor 9:6). It is a part of your worship practice.

Abram kept his faith and integrity in battles. Abram kept his faith and integrity in worship. The level of your faith and integrity has a lot to say about the condition of your heart and life. Those who genuinely love the Lord will honor him with their faith and integrity by giving themselves in worship with their time, their tithe, with their talents, and with their treasures.

You must give yourself to the Lord. Devote your heart to Him in love. Devote your time and resources to Him in trust. Devote and entrust all of your future to Him. This is putting the Lord in a place of preeminence in your life; devoting everything that you are, everything that you possess, everything that you will ever be or will ever have to Him for the cause of Christ and the glory of God. This is preeminence; this is building your life around God and all that He is. This is a life of faith and integrity in worship.

Do you genuinely love the Lord? Do you show that love by your worship of God? Worship is not just what you do in the church building; it is what you do with your life. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 39

 October 1

Turning From Truth: Heresy & Apostasy

2 Timothy 4:3-4 ~ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Let us start by defining a couple of words. “Apostasy” is an abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one's faith or religion. “Heresy” is a fundamental error in religion, or an error of opinion respecting some fundamental doctrine of religion. Heresy, in law, is an offense against Christianity, consisting in a denial of some of its essential doctrines, publicly avowed and obstinately maintained. Heresy leads to apostasy. When we have an error being taught in the church it is only a matter of time before the devil will be able to pull people into apostasy. My firm belief is that America, and particularly Baptist churches, have become heretical in their teachings and have caused a great many churches to fall by the wayside and become apostate. (Please understand that I am not bashing by calling people out by name. We are just pointing out truth so that others may see the truth and escape the corruption of heresy and apostasy.)

The Southern Baptists wonder why they do not have the number of conversions and baptisms that they once had. But the SBC seminaries have become Calvanistic in their teachings and their doctrine. Calvanism at its very core is anti-evangelical and therefore anti-Christ and anti-missionary. Our Lord Jesus taught confrontational evangelism; He went out into places where the sinners were at and confronted them in love with the Gospel. Paul carried the Gospel into Asia and Europe where it eventually went into Germany and then crossed the Atlantic Ocean into America. But Calvanism teaches that there is no need to go because people are predestined by God to go to Heaven or hell and we cannot do anything about it.

This apostate stand started with heresy. They taught that Old Testament stories were not literal stories and that there was no need to take them as literal. They teach that God did not part the Red Sea; they simply went around the end of the sea where the water was only three or four inches deep. Even if that were true it would still be a great miracle because God drowned one of the greatest armies in that day in four inches of water! Their departure continued when they began to teach that Jesus was not the Son of God in the flesh until He was anointed by the Holy Spirit at His baptism in the Jordan River. Here we see that heresy, which is erroneous doctrine and departure from the truth, leads to apostasy, a departure from the fundamental doctrines of the faith.

It is my observation that these heretical departures from the faith began with the changing of the Word of God. When in the 1870’s men began to determine that there were many and grievous errors in the Authorized King James Bible the devil deceived them into revising and rewriting God’s Holy Word. At that point in time many of the great revivals began to cease and are now non-existent. The manuscripts they used were corrupt and tainted. The men who secretly had a hand in providing portions of manuscripts were corrupt, and from all of their writings there is not found one single profession of faith in Christ as their Lord and Saviour. There are a great many evidences in their writings of darkness and corruption in their minds as to spiritual beliefs, and some that are not so godly. 

In 2 Timothy 4:3-4 we are warned that these things will come to pass. There are those who are turning away from the fundamental Bible preaching churches today. Those who were once sound in doctrine the best of the world and the best of Christianity. They want to hear things that do not condemn and convict them for indulging in the things of the world. They have become rebellious in the eyes of God: “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:  Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isa. 30:9, 10).

Therefore, we need real preachers, men who are not afraid of losing their position in a church but love the Lord and live their lives to please Him, not the people. But even in this, the man of God must love the people and preach with fire and fervency as well as with love, kindness, and compassion. If God’s man loves the people as he should, with the love of Christ in his heart, he can preach like John the Baptist at times, like John the Beloved at others, and the people will stay the course and God will bless the church with fruitfulness. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 2

Turning To Fables

2 Timothy 4:3-4 ~ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

There are apostate leaders who are leading their churches down a wrong path. They want numbers, dollars, fortune, and fame, and they believe the only way they can have it is to go along with what the world is doing. NOTE: Anytime we do something to keep up with the world‘s way of doing things, we are going along with the devil himself who has blinded the minds of the lost world! God has said of these leaders, “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;  The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof” (Jer. 5:30, 31)? That word “wonderful” means “amazement or horror that confounds the faculties” and the word “horrible” means “something fearful.” God is saying that an “amazing horror that confounds the faculties and a fearful thing is committed in the land.”

That is exactly what is happening in churches throughout America as the preachers become “teaching pastors” who will teach fables and speak smooth things that will not convict people in their lust for worldliness. Once they get on the path of heretical and erroneous teaching it leads to “preaching” a false doctrine. This, in turn, allows the world into the church and allows the church to dabble in the world without any condemnation or conviction.

But the most amazing thing is the statement in verse 31, “and my people love to have it so.” The people are the ones who choose their leaders and “heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And … turn away their ears from the truth.” They love to have their ears scratched and tickled with things that are pleasing and agreeable to carnal minds. They want to hear things that will tell them they are pure in their human nature with the power of free will and that they are justified in their righteousness and their good works (this is religion, not salvation and sanctification by grace).

God’s Word gives us this parable in Matthew 13:33: “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” Many believe that this is referring to the effect of the Gospel in the world. But if we take the whole counsel of the whole Word of God, we will find that this is referring to the corrupt doctrine that is brought into the church through heresy and apostasy. First, we must consider that the meal is a representation of the church as it is a homogenized mix of meal, or fine flour, made from the corn of wheat from which Christ is compared in John 12:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Secondly, we must understand that everywhere in the Bible leaven is used in a bad sense and represents sin: immorality, malice, wickedness, or false doctrine such as that of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Thirdly, a woman, in a bad ethical sense, always symbolizes in religion that something is out of place. In Revelation 2:20 it was a woman teaching in the church: “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

The heresy multiplied when the “Bible Revision Committees” began watering down the Word of God to make it “easier to understand.” “The old King’s English is archaic, antiquated, and outdated,” they said. It was just good reasoning that they should want to make it easier to understand so that they could get more people to read the Bible. But as they began to change it, they used human reasoning and philosophy which is skewed by their ideology. Our philosophy should come from our Theology and our Theology must be Biblical Theology which comes from The Word of God. Their philosophy came from their ideology not from Biblical Theology. They were going by human reasoning rather than by faith in God’s Word.

The Bible has now been revised so many times that it has been made to fit man’s worldly life rather than using God’s Holy Word to make our life fit to God’s pattern. God’s pattern is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the living Word of God. By the way, when something is revised it is because the original is full of mistakes. If the King James Bible is full of mistakes, then that means that God did not have the power to preserve the inspiration in preservation. If that is true, then we do not serve an all-powerful God and our faith is in vain. Our Lord plainly warned us all through Scripture to beware of the leaven that would creep into the church and begin to grow until the whole church would be leavened. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 3

Changing & Misusing Truth

2 Timothy 4:3-4 ~ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

The first Fundamental Doctrine of the Faith is this: We believe that the Bible, the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments, inspired in the Masoretic text (Old Testament) and the Textus Receptus (New Testament), and that inspiration preserved for us in the Authorized 1611 King James Bible, is the infallible, inerrant, inspired and altogether authentic, accurate and authoritative Word of God, therefore the supreme and final authority in all things and our sole guide in faith and practice. (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pt 1:21; Rev 22:18-19). When we begin to change this precious Book, this Love Letter from our Father, we change every other Fundamental Doctrine in some way because they all come from the Word of God. That is why we have to so often make mention of these very facts and hold to what Jude 3 commands us to do; “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 

The old devil is a wise and cunning adversary. He has been at his job for six thousand years and knows that if he can mix a little truth in with a lie, he can deceive people everywhere. That is just exactly what he has done, and it has worked to allow so many over the past 130 years to accept the leaven that has been creeping into the church through a tainted word. The difference between the church and the world thirty years ago was a stark contrast as that between black and white. Now with so many turning unto these new books that are a man’s word (proven by the fact that they are copyrighted, 2 Tim 2:9) there is this vast ocean of grey between what used to be black and white. When we go into the church today we see that there is no difference in music, dress, language, attitudes, or morals. We pray every day for those who hold to the Old Book and the Old Paths.

Our Lord Jesus made this statement in Luke 18:8: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?That word “faith” comes from the Greek word “pistis” which means a belief in truth or the truthfulness of God; it is a belief in Christ for salvation and the system of truth (doctrine) that accompanies salvation. Will he find the faith once delivered unto the saints? We have determined to hold to the faith by the power and the Grace of Almighty God. We have determined to stand for the Old Book, that precious Word of God, and to hold to the Old Paths doing God’s work, God’s way, according to God’s divine will. Where do you stand? Have you allowed leaven into your life? Do you read from the right Book? Are you determined to walk with and stand with the Lord every day? If so, then earnestly pray for those who earnestly contend for the faith and strive to stay on the straight and narrow. Pray for those who are building a 1st Century Church in the 21st Century. 

Not all who use a King James Bible and claim to be King James only are true to the faith. Many churches today teach heresy for doctrine straight out of the King James Bible. Some of these groups thrive on hate and controversy. In their minds they are the only ones who know the truth and they know what is right. They are always claiming that every bad tragedy that comes on America is the judgment of God. Every person alive who does not agree with their way of thinking is going to hell and is responsible for the so-called judgment of God in tragedy. They are mean spirited hate mongers whose sole agenda is to sow the seeds of hatred and ill will in the name of our loving, merciful, gracious, ever-forgiving Saviour. All we can do is mark them and ignore them for who they are.

There are others who are not so hateful and yet they still preach heresy for doctrine that leads to apostasy within their ranks. Some would have you to believe that a child is not a living soul until that child is born into the world and takes its first breath. That is apostasy because God knew Jeremiah before ever he was conceived and says this in Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” We are also told in Psalm 139:15-16, “ My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Here lies that danger where heresy becomes apostate: If a child were not a living soul until it left the womb then that would mean that our Lord Jesus was not the Son of God because he was not a living soul until He came out of the womb. He became the Christ when He was baptized and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. This is what is taught in many Baptist seminaries today. But that apostasy is refuted because we know by Old and New Testament Scripture that He stepped down from Heaven on high, and was placed by the Spirit of God in the innocent, untainted womb of a virgin, in the “…lowest parts of the earth” (Psa 139:15 & Eph 4:9). John the Baptist leaped for joy in His mother’s womb when Mary, pregnant with the Saviour, came into the room. Remember that anything that attacks the deity of Christ is anti-Christ and that is of the devil. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 4

Discord Leads Away From Truth

2 Timothy 4:3-4 ~ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

We as Christians must beware of apostates who would come into the church and very subtly imbed themselves among the believers. They are those who come in and would call certain people off in a corner and try to undermine the teaching and the preaching. They would disagree with doctrine and try to refute it with Scripture that is taken out of context. They are very wily in getting with those who are not mature and grown enough to be rooted and grounded in the fundamental doctrines of the faith. They are tares among the wheat, and if that is true then they are sent there, whether knowingly or unknowingly, by the prince of darkness (Mat 13:24-30 & 36-43). These are people whose sole purpose is to cause division among the brethren and thereby gain some control for themselves. They gain a platform, so to speak, where they can launch into spreading their heretical teachings.

God says that there are seven things that He hates and one of those things is the sowing of discord among the brethren (Pro 6:16-19). Those who sow the seeds of heresy and apostasy are sowing discord among the brethren. They are dividing people along the boundaries of Biblical doctrine. Romans 16:17-18 tells us, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." When we see someone who is trying to disagree, or even refute, the sound teaching and the doctrines of the church, we are to mark them and to avoid them. We are to follow those who follow the Cross of Christ (Php 3:17-19).

To mark them does not mean to go around telling everyone what they are doing nor does it mean to put a bull's-eye on their back. It means to be aware of them in your own mind and to avoid the things they are trying to push on others. If we go around telling others that they are doing wrong we put our self in the same category of dividing the brethren (trying to pull up the tares will pull up some wheat also) and we become talebearers who are those that are prone to gossip. The only way to deal with this in the church is through love and church discipline and that is done only under the authority and the guidance of the pastor of the church with the deacons. If we see someone in the church who disagrees with the teachings of the church and are trying to win converts to their own personal agenda, it needs to be brought to the pastor's attention and left alone. All we can do is leave it to God and His way of dealing with it. His way is clearly defined in Scripture.

If you are in a fundamentally sound and a loving church, then the teaching and the preaching of the Word of God will fix and alleviate these heretics many times. In my own personal experience of having to deal with these kinds of things creeping into the church we have only had to go all the way with the Lord's plan in church discipline once. Many times, when confronted the first time, they will either get right, or if knowingly guilty, they will choose to leave. And as we have stated before, church discipline is not for the mean spirited purpose of showing who is right and who has the might, it is about trying to restore wayward people back into the fellowship of our Lord Jesus and doing that in the love of God. To Him be the glory, Amen.

Whoever reads this today, if you have a true Scriptural pastor that loves you and preaches the truth of the whole counsel of the whole Word of God, pray for him, stand for him, stand by him, and when he is tired, come along side of him and strengthen him in the work (Exo. 17:12). Let him know that you love and support him so that he may take courage and stay the course till our Saviour calls us home.

Fighting back against the evil forces is a part of the Christian's spiritual warfare. So how do we fight back? How can we change our society and the culture of the day? We can only change society by changing the hearts of the people. That takes the power of the Holy Spirit within. That takes bringing people to Christ and helping them to come to a place of repentance and belief on Christ. That will take confronting people with the Gospel which is the same thing that Christ did; he confronted people with the truth so they could make an intelligent and informed decision about Him. The more Christians that will stand for the truth the stronger we will be in battle and the more power we will have to stem the tide of deception and corruption. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 38

 

September 16

The Heart Of Christ Pt 2

Hebrews 13:4-6 ~ Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.  

The heart of Christ is important in the home. Christ loved the church and gave His life for it. It is His bride and His body. He nourishes and cherishes the church. The husband is to love and cherish His wife which means there are no others that will come before her outside of the Lord. The wife is to love the husband and reverence Him as the head of the home. He is the spiritual leader of the home and should be respected as such. There should be nobody before him save the Lord Himself.

In marriage the physical relationship is pure and undefiled. It is a sweet reward to the husband and wife who are true to each other. But any physical relationship outside of the bonds of marriage is corrupt and defiled. It does not have the approval of God and abides under the condemnation and the judgment of God. The marriage is to be a picture of Christ and His bride. When it is impure and unholy as it is with fornicators, whoremongers, harlots, adulterers, and adulteresses it dishonors the picture. God said he would judge His children if they continue in this ungodly act of having physical relationships outside of the bond of marriage. It does not exemplify the heart of Christ in the home.

We should not have an insatiable desire to acquire wealth, fame, or any of the world’s things to consume upon our own lustful desires. It is just a temporary pleasure that will burn to ash one day. We should focus on the eternal things of God for those are the things that will last forever. There is nothing in this world that you can take into eternity with you. To hoard out of covetousness and greed here will waste the precious little time that we have in this world to do good for God and to do good for others. That is what will earn us eternal rewards for Heaven (Mat. 6:21).

We need to be content with what we have. God has said that He would supply our needs, not our greed. He has given power to some to gain wealth for the purpose of using that wealth for His glory and to be a blessing to others. Those who give away what God gives them seem to have more than they could ever need and yet they are always giving it away. You can never out give the Lord. No one has ever become poor by taking what God gives them and giving it away.

Rather than spend all our time chasing after the things of the world we should spend more time walking and talking with the Lord. The greatest thing that we can have on this earth is a close personal relationship with Him. He has promised that He would never leave us alone. He is always with us, even when we ignore Him and do not spend time with Him. Too many times I think we may treat the Lord like that annoying little brother or sister who always wants to be with us and do what we are doing. We should learn to take more time with Him because He is always faithful to be there when we need Him. He loves us even when we are unlovable.

When we spend our time doing what pleases the Lord - walking and talking with Him and doing good to others for Him - we have a holy boldness to announce to the world that He is our Lord and King. We can give an answer to every person that asks us why we can have such high hope in a dark and evil day that if so full of uncertainty. God is our helper. When all else fails in this world God will always be there for us. He will make sure that we are delivered from the wrath to come. He will make sure that we always have sufficiency in the things that pertain to life. God will take care of you through every day and all the way to the end. You need not worry, and you need not fear, because God will take care of you.

Man may threaten you and try to get you to recant your faith, but God is with you. The three Hebrews knew that God would deliver them from the hand of the ungodly king. They knew it would either be by miracle or by death. They stood their ground on their faith that God was with them and that He would supply their need in that hour. They knew that He would supply them with the help they needed to stand up for their faith by giving them the courage and strength they needed. They had no fear as they stood against the earthly king for they knew the High King of the Universe had their backs.

God delivered them and He has promised to deliver you. No matter what, have the heart of Christ and be bold in your outspoken faith. Do not let the world stop you from being the spokesperson that you ought to be. Have the heart of Christ in your home, in your family, in your relationships, and in your endeavors. Realize that He is with you and that you can have His compassion and love towards others by using what God has given you to be a blessing to those around you. Do not allow worry and fear to stand in the way of what you can accomplish with the life that God has given you. Make the most of it and live life to the full. - Preacher

 

September 17

A Word About Remembering

Hebrews 13:7 ~ Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. 

When the Lord Jesus ascended back to Heaven to take up His place as our Great High Priest, we are told in Ephesians Chapter Four that He gave “gifts” to the church. In Ephesians 4:11 we are told, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” He gave these “gifts” “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). One of the gifts that He gave was the pastor of the church. His office is the office of authority over the church.

Now it goes without saying that these men must be men who meet the qualifications that are outlined in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. They need to be reputable and honorable men. They must be honest and sincere in the calling which God Himself has placed upon their life. They must be the example for others to follow as they follow the Lord Jesus Christ. They should be an example of the living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1, 2) that lives the crucified life (Gal. 2:20).

Here in these verses in Hebrews 13 we find a Word About Remembering. When we talk of remembering we are speaking of “being mindful of; to think of and feel for a person; to make mention of.” Those whom God has placed in the office of the pastor are a gift from Christ to His Church. We are here told to remember them.

Remembering speaks of consideration. We are to be mindful of the man of God. We must be thoughtful of the things in his life because his life is given to the congregation of people that God has placed under his watch care. He is the under shepherd of the Great Shepherd and he has rule over you as a servant of God and a servant of the people. He has been put in this position of authority, not as a dictator, but as a servant to minister to the needs of the people. Therefore, we must consider his needs as we consider the needs of our church family.

Consider that the man of God who is placed in the office of the pastor has a 24 / 7 / 365 job. That means that he is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is never a time when the man of God is not a part of his congregation and there is never a time when he is off of work (even if he gets to take a vacation, he is still responsible for his flock 24 / 7 / 365). His time is important and it is delicate. He must tend to his family (wife and children and personal family) while tending to the flock. He must give copious amounts of time to praying because as the one who is over the flock, he needs to receive from God the things that are necessary to care for the flock and his personal family. There are also great amounts of time that must be given to diligent study of the Word of God.

Remembering speaks of compassion. There is a great need of compassion for the man of God in all of the burden of responsibility that he bears. He bears the load of every family within his congregation and then some. He needs kindness from those whom he diligently serves and ministers to. Let us show him the golden rule found in Matthew 7:12: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” This is the kindness that we ought to show the man of God for he is a gift to us from the Lord Jesus Christ. Be kind to him and to his family. His family also must make great sacrifices as he must delicately schedule his time with the needs of the people and the needs of his personal family.

Remembering speaks of conversation. We must make mention of the pastor as we go to the Lord in prayer. Pray for him and his family. Pray for their time together and for their needs. Pray for their health and their wellbeing. Pray for wisdom to use his time wisely as he ministers to the church family and their families. Stand for him in the work of the Lord and do not make the man of God go it alone. He needs your help in the ministry as the church tries to fulfill the Great Commission. He needs volunteer workers and laborers to do the physical lifting as well as the spiritual work. Stand for the man of God and support him for he needs you as much as you need him (Exo. 17:8-16). - Preacher

 

September 18

Word About Ruling

Hebrews 13:7 & 17 ~ Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.  17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

When we are talking about the office of the pastor, we are talking about one of the gifts that Christ gave to His Church before He returned to Heaven. In verse seven we see that there is a Word About Remembering. This remembering speaks of consideration, it speaks of compassion, and it speaks of conversation, both verbal conversation and lifestyle conversation.

Now we see in both verses before us that there is a Word About Ruling. To rule means leadership and authority. This is a position that has been created for the New Testament Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His gift to the Church. The man of God is called to and placed there by God. Therefore, the authority of the office of the pastor is placed there by God. That authority is not meant to be dictatorial, but servant leadership as we find in 1 Peter 5:2 & 3: “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;  Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

This is a personal choice of the man who is submissive to the call and the will of God for his life. He is the one who is to speak unto us the Word of God. God gives His vision to the man of God and the man of God must bring that vision to the congregation. These are the marching orders of the body of Christ. Without a vision the people perish (Pro 29:18). That vision must be backed up by the Word of God for it is our sole guide in faith and practice.

Ruling speaks of rank. There is an order in the church because without order there is chaos and confusion. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Cor 14:33). All things within the church are to be done decently and in order 1I Cor 14:40). That order is a God-given order. The one head in the church is the Lord Jesus Himself (Eph 5:23). He is the Shepherd and the pastor is the under shepherd. That means that the pastor is the leader in the church. It is not the board of deacons as in many churches. However, a wise pastor will have a board of deacons that will give sound and honest wisdom to him for the decisions that he is to make. When the order of God is out of order then everything in the church will be out of order.

There was a church where the men’s group got together and decided that they wanted to be the leaders in the church. They were able to convince the church to put together a committee that consisted of these men and two ladies. The women wanted to have a woman’s influence because they had had enough with men doing all the business of the church. From there it all fell apart and “Ichabod” was written over that church (1 Sam 4:21). Ruling speaks of rank which means that there must be order.

Ruling speaks of relationship (1 Ths 5:12-13). We should respect the office of the pastor in love and support of the work that God has placed upon Him. A true pastor will always try to be there when there is a spiritual need. He is one who is a friend indeed. He is not just the man in the pulpit, he is the man that is in the home when one is sick. He is the one who is in the hospital at all hours of the night without any regard to himself. When you let him, he will be the spiritual leader in all aspects of your life. Realize the relationship that he has with your family because he watches over your souls 24 / 7 / 365. When he stands before God, he will give an account of your life, with joy if you live right and with grief for those who do not live right.

Ruling speaks of reality. The man of God is your pastor, your friend, and your family, but he is the man of God. He must preach the Word of God when it is pleasant and when it is not (2 Tim 4:2). He must bring the truth when it is well received and when it is not. He must be the man of God to hold forth the Word of life when it steps all over our toes and when it rejoices our hearts. But, the pastor, the man of God in that office, will stand alone most of the time. When you look at the real men of God in the Bible you will find that most of them had very few that would stand beside them. It is not by his choice for he would love to have people involved in all aspects of his ministry, from praying, to canvassing neighborhoods and inviting folks to church, to visitation and soul winning, and going into the hospitals and nursing homes. - Preacher

 

September 19

Word About Responsibility

Hebrews 13:7 & 17 ~ Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

When we are talking about the office of the pastor we are talking about one of the gifts that Christ gave to His Church before He returned to Heaven. In verse seven we see that there is a Word About Remembering which speaks of consideration, of compassion, and of conversation. In verse 17 we see a Word About Ruling which speaks of rank, relationship, and reality.

When we study this out there is also a Word About Responding. Those who stand in the pulpit and deliver unto us the Word of God should live by that same Word that they preach. We are told to follow the faith of those whom God has put in the office of the pastor. You should be able to look at his life and see in him that faith which he preaches. A pastor cannot live a closed book life. His life must be an open book; there must be transparency if we are to follow him.

Responding speaks of examination. If we are to follow the leader we must be able to look at his life and see those things which he believes. We can see the depth of his convictions. His convictions and his faith should govern his life and his decisions. When he loves the Lord as he should there will be an evidence of deep-rooted convictions in his life. It will be seen in the reality of his walk. When he is away from the church, does he still hold to his convictions? When he is on vacation, does he still hold to his convictions?

A man who is committed to the Lord and to His Word is a man in whom will be seen the evidence of that commitment. You can believe the Bible and never practice the Bible. You can try to teach and preach the Bible and never practice the Bible. A true man of God will not only try to teach and preach the Bible that he loves and believes, but he will practice what he preaches. A man cannot stand in the pulpit and preach that it is a sin to go to movies that are filled with filthy language, nudity, and debauchery if he himself does that very thing. He is not practicing what he preaches. You cannot follow his faith because it is weak at best.

A pastor must be a man who loves the Lord and loves the Word above all else in this world. He must be willing to put God ahead of self, friends, and even family. His vacation time is not his, it is the Lord’s. His life belongs to God because God called him to a work. God has placed him over a group of people to love, cherish, nurture, encourage, comfort, challenge, teach, admonish, reprove, rebuke, with all longsuffering, compassion, and with doctrine (2 Tim 4:2). Is this what you see in your pastor? Do you see the love of God and of Christ in the man behind the pulpit? When he is preaching the Word and there is conviction of the Spirit, do you sense his love for you as he preaches truth?

Responding speaks of emulation. The pastor is to live a life of dedication, commitment, surrender, service, obedience to the commands of God, with a joyful heart and with the love of Christ. We are to follow his faith as He follows Christ. Paul told the people to follow him: “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1 Cor 4:16), “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1), and again, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Php 3:17). This must be true of the pastor and our response to his leadership is to emulate his faith in our lives. We are to follow the pastor AS he follows God and His Word. Does he fight the good fight, the fight of God’s choosing, does he keep the faith, and will he finish his course? Then he is worthy of following and respecting.

If this is your pastor, then here are some things that you can do to stand behind your pastor. Protect his time. Pray for him continually. Pay attention while he preaches. Provide for his needs and the needs of his family. Please the Lord through your ministry to the pastor by being his Aaron and his Hur (Exo 17:12). Respect him, follow him, and help him. Remember that he is the one who watches for the souls of your family. - Preacher

 

September 20

Becoming A Disciplined Disciple

Luke 14:26-27 ~ 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. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Our Lord Jesus is saying that if we do not love Him so much that it makes our love for our family look like hate, we cannot be His true disciples. A disciple of Christ will forsake all for the glory of God and for the furtherance of the Gospel. True disciples are willing to leave all to follow Christ if He so desires for us to do so. But a true disciple of Christ must be a disciplined student of the Scriptures. When we forsake something, we are turning to something. When we separate from the world we are to be separated unto the Gospel (Rom. 1:1).

Let us not misunderstand the text. God is the God of love for He is love. We love our family members and we put them in the Lord’s hands for His protection and His provision in their life. The Lord Jesus stands to represent them before the throne of Grace. We do not forsake them in the sense that we abandon them to the world. We bring them to the Lord and there place them on the altar before Him. This allows us to bring our feelings into submission to Christ so that we may give our life to Him.  Our love and service to Him must come first, even in the matters of the heart with family and friends.  

Matthew 19:29 ~ And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

The prosperity gospel preachers would preach that “God will give you back a hundred times more than you give up for Him.” They preach an earthly prosperity that does not line up with the whole counsel of the whole Word of God. God will and does reward with earthly blessings, but not for the consumption of the lusts of the flesh. Do not think that God will give us anything that we intend to consume upon our lustful desires as those erroneous, so-called preaches tell you (Jam 4:3).

If we leave our family and our homeland to go and work for the Lord, it must be at the direction of His will for our life. When we give up material possessions to be in the ministry, we should be doing it so that we may devote all of our time and resources to serving the Lord and serving others. If we do it for any other reason, then we need to examine our hearts, ask God to search our hearts, and see if there is anything wrong within (Psa 139:23-24). We would do better to do this examination, asking God to reveal any wrong thought or thought processes within, so that we may judge our own selves (1 Cor 11:31-32).

To be a true disciple of Christ we must put Him first before all others. To love Him should make our love for family seem like hate. To forsake them is to turn them over to God for salvation, which includes, but is not limited to, protection, provision, and power to live a godly life. We must get into His Word and allow His Word to get into us. We must grow to not only be a student of the Scriptures but a teacher as well. We must deny the world and the devil any place in our heart and life. We must mortify the deeds of the flesh (Gal 5:19-21). We must daily examine our hearts and our motives for serving the Lord. We must ask the Lord to daily examine our hearts and our minds to be sure that we are clean before Him.  

Being a disciple of Christ is a life of daily self-discipline under submission to the Holy Spirit and under subjection to the Word of God. It is a life that is far from being boring, dull, dry, or lifeless. It is a life that is exhilarating, vibrant, joyful, energizing, exciting, fresh, and full of living. It is a journey through a strange world that leads to a place where these things are compounded beyond the imagination and expectation. Determine today to become a disciple of Christ and find the fulfillment and satisfaction that life truly offers to all who will accept it. - Preacher

 

 

WEEK 37

 

September 9

A Life of Faith; Leaning On The Saviour

Hebrews 12:1-2 ~ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The word “wherefore” in verse one ties this chapter back to the previous chapter which is the great Biblical chapter on faith. Chapter 11 is a role call on faith. It says that we have such a great crowd of witnesses ahead of us. Those witnesses are giving their testimony that they lived their lives by faith. In some of the most horrific circumstances those people have lived out their faith, even under great suffering and trial of affliction. Some of them had to live their faith in patience awaiting the promises of God. Some had to fight and contend for their faith as they fought, bled, and some even died, for their freedom to worship.

What this great roll call of faith tells us is that we have a group who have come and gone before us who were able to keep and hold to their faith. Even as the great Apostle Paul, they were able to fight the good fight of faith and stay the course of their life unto death keeping their faith in God and His Word. Now they are our witnesses to the fact that it can be done. They are also our spectators who are there to cheer us on in our conquests for Christ. As you look into the grandstands of life, they are the ones who are telling us, “Keep on keeping’ on for Christ!” They also witness to us by the life of faith they lived. If we are to contend for and keep our faith all the way to the end there are some things we must do.

We must learn to lean on the Saviour. When you first trusted Christ you began to lean on Him. To believe means “to trust, to depend on, to rely on.” To lean means “to rely upon, to depend on.” To trust Christ for salvation means that you were leaning upon Him to save you because you could not save yourself. Now we must learn to lean upon Him daily for the power to live our life by faith.

We must lay aside every weight that hinders us from running the race set before us. We must cut ties to anything that would prevent us from living a life of faith. Sometimes that means that we must lean on Jesus as we have to say goodbye to old friends and maybe even family. We do not give up on them as we are now a light in the darkness to them. But we may have to distance ourselves from them if they are a negative influence on our Christian life. When family or friends influence you to do things that are sinful you must distance yourself from them as you love them from a distance, praying for them to come to the saving knowledge of Christ, and trying to lead them to Christ through your witness and testimony.

We must cut ties to anything that the Word of God says is sin. When you learn from the Scriptures that something in your life is sin you must lay it aside and walk away from it. Bad habits die hard, but God gives power to those who truly are willing to lay them down so they may be closer to Him (John 1:12). But there is also laying aside the vacancies that we may have in our life as well. If the Bible says we are to be doing certain things in our life of faith that we are not doing, we are in sin. James 4:17 tells us, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Therefore, we are to lay aside hindrances that keep us from living in faith and pick up things that will strengthen us in our life of faith.

Sometimes it may be hard to “keep on keeping’ on for Christ” and live the life of faith, but we can do it with patience. Patience is enduring in the hard times. It is keeping your faith and leaning upon the Saviour when it would be so much easier to do things differently. I have found that when in trials and hardships we should be all the more earnest in our Christian life. We must purpose in our heart to live by faith and lean on the Saviour.

When you are having a bad day go out and do something for the Lord. Go give out Gospel tracts, talk to someone about their salvation, visit someone who has been missing church or someone who is sick. When we in troubles will determine to live by our faith and not by our circumstances, we find ourselves leaning on the Saviour. When you lean on the Saviour your faith is increased, the Lord is pleased with you, and you become a witness to the life of faith just as the heroes of old. - Preacher

 

September 10

A Life of Faith; Looking Unto The Saviour

Hebrews 12:2-3 ~ Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

If we are to contend for and keep our faith all the way to the end there are some things we must do. The first thing is to learn to lean on the Saviour. To lean on Him is to sever ties to things that will hinder our walk of faith. These things will bind us down in bondage and weaken our faith. We are to do the things that the Word of God tells us to do so that our faith will be increased and strengthened. We are to lay aside hindrances that hinder our faith and we are to pick up things that will strengthen us in our life of faith.

We must learn to look to the Saviour. He is the One who originated our faith. He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith and He is the greatest Hero of the faith. He is the reason that we are saved and on our way to Heaven. He is the benchmark or the standard that is required to miss hell and get into Heaven. He is the One who could pay the required payment for our sin so that we could receive pardon and forgiveness. Sin must be paid for and Jesus paid it all.

He is the One who endured the shame and reproach that was ours to bear. He endured the guilt for which He was not guilty and suffered the punishment for that guilt. He did so because He knew what the outcome would be; it would mean that we could have a relationship with the Father and receive the gift of eternal life. His love for the Father and the sinner led Him to become the propitiation for our sin. He saw that it would mean our reconciliation to God. He saw that it would be a win-win situation for all.

1 Peter 1:3-5 says,  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  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.”  Look to the Saviour for the living hope that saves. It comes from God, through His mercy, and it brings new life. But it comes because of the Saviour. Look to Him for the living hope that gives us assurance in our salvation, our sanctification, and our eternity. Look to Him for that living hope in the trials of the world, the trials of Christianity, and the trials of life in general. This is that living hope that is centered upon Christ and gives us an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that does not fade away.

Because He lives our faith is secure. We can endure the trials of our faith because He endured. He endured the suffering and punishment for the wrongs that we committed against God. But we can endure because of the good that He has done for us with the Father. His power and His strength reside within us in the power of His Spirit. We do not have to faint or fall by the wayside because His power will get us through all troubles.

Our faith is secure in the Saviour. We must look unto Him for salvation, for assurance, for eternity, and for our inheritance. The Jews were to look unto the brass serpent on the pole in the wilderness when they were snake bit if they wanted to live. We are “snake bit” by sinful flesh and so we need to look unto the Saviour if we want to live. He saves us and He keeps us.

Without looking to Him our faith is vain. But we must learn to lean upon and to look to the Saviour every day so that we can live a life of faith. Remember that without faith we cannot please God. Therefore, we must look to the Saviour because He is the Author of our faith written in the Word of God. When we look into the Word we are looking unto Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Remember that “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Php. 1:6). So look unto the Saviour and live a life of faith that is abundant in blessing from the moment of salvation throughout all eternity. - Preacher

 

September 11

A Life of Faith; Listening To The Saviour

Hebrews 12:5-7 ~ And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:   For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.   If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

We must lean on and look to the Saviour if we are going to live a proper life of faith. But we also must listen to the Saviour. We have already talked about His chastening, but here we see that chastening is productive in the life of the one being chastened. It is instructive in that it teaches us that there are a right and a wrong. The word “chastening” in verse 5 means “tutorage; that is education or training through disciplinary correction.” In verse 7 it carries the idea of “training up a child by the way of educating through discipline; by punishment if necessary.” The Lord has given us His Word and His Spirit. The Spirit is our teacher of the precepts and principles of daily living from the Word of God.

God will chasten us and we must endure that chastening as the child of God that we are. It is fruitful in the life of a believer only if they are willing to receive the instruction that comes from it. If we make a wrong choice or decision about something and the Lord convicts and chastens us, we must hear Him and learn from His correction. We must not decide to throw in the towel and quit just because we did something wrong. The Lord loves us and that is why He takes the time to chasten us. Just as a parent would chasten a child whom He loves dearly, so our Father in Heaven will chasten us because He wants what is best for us; to keep us close to Him, to keep us from harm, and to help us have a life of abundance.

We must expect that because He loves us, He will correct us when we get out of line or begin to stray out of the path of righteousness. When someone makes a profession of salvation and they continue in willful and deliberate sin, there is something wrong. They may have profession of faith in Christ but there is no evidence of their salvation. Seeing God’s chastening in their life, His loving correction of wrongdoing, would be evidence of true salvation. Seeing them listen to and respond in obedience to that correction would be evidence of true salvation. If there is no conviction of their sin and there is no evidence of the hand of God’s chastening, then they more than likely do not have possession of salvation. God will chasten and scourge His own children because He loves them.

They have profession without possession; this is a very dangerous place for anybody. It means they have convinced themselves that they are saved and going to Heaven when they are really lost and on their way to hell. They have not the chastening of the Father because they claim to be His child when they are not. They are what are known as illegitimate children; they do not really belong to Him because they were not birthed into the family of God through that second spiritual birth. They have not the Spirit of God to give them understanding of the Word of God so that there can be conviction of sin. They are wells without water, and they are not the children of God. They are without chastisement.

When the Lord chastens it is to prune us to be better Christians and a better people. Jesus is the vine, God our Father is the husbandman, and we are the branches of the vine. Those who belong to Him will bear fruit and He will purge the branch so that it may bring forth more fruit. In purging us He works from the inside out to take away those things that would ruin and wreck our testimony, our walk with Him, and our very lives. He will purge out old desires and habits that are sin in the life of a Christian. We become more productive in the Lord’s work so that we may bear much fruit by abiding in Christ (Jn 15:1-5).

Now the Lord not only chastens us and scourges us to be fruitful for our own benefit, but also that we may be a benefit in the lives of others. We are to help those of our own family, but especially those who are members of our eternal family. We are to help those who are not a part of the eternal family to see their need for the Saviour. They need to learn to lean upon Him for salvation and become a member of the family of God. God loves them and wants them to be saved and He wants us to go out and compel them to come in so that His house in Heaven may be full (Jn 15:16; Lk 14:16-24; Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15, 16; Php 2:15, 16; Mt 5:13-16) Lean on, look to, and listen to the Saviour. - Preacher

 

September 12

A Life of Faith; Learning Of The Saviour

Hebrews 12:14, 15 ~ Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:         … Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

We must lean on, look to, and listen to the Saviour. All this a Christian must do because we must learn of the Saviour. When we say that we are to learn of Him we mean that as Christians we must be moldable. We must be the clay in the Potters hands. Every day that we live we must become more like Christ. Our success as a Christian is not measured in how victorious we are, or how much abundance we have, it is measured in our likeness to Christ. It is a non-conformance to the world and a transformation into the very image of Jesus Christ.

When people are rejected or wounded by others, they become angry. But the Bible teaches us that we are to seek harmony in life. To have harmony we must follow peace. We are taught that if we are going to have peace we must seek peace and ensue it (1 Pt 3:11); we are to search it out as if we were searching for hidden or buried treasure. We must press toward it without giving up.

We are taught, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Rom. 12:18, 19). On our part we must do all that we can to have harmony with people in this world. There are those who will reject any kind of peaceful or harmonious relationship with us simply because we are Christian. But we are not to allow that to affect our attitude of peace. We cannot allow the circumstances to dictate our course of action. Our actions must be dictated by the Scriptures and they must be submissive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in the will of God just like Christ (Lk. 22:42).

We cannot take vengeful actions against others when they reject our offer of peace. When wrath rises up against us we must give place to it; this is many times easier said than done. You must determine ahead of time that you will walk worthy of the Lord and be an obedient child to the Word of your Father (Eph 4:1-3). He says that vengeance is His and we must leave it there. To take matters into your own hands and return wrath for wrath is to put yourself in the position of God Himself; that was Satan’s desire when He said he would ascend above the throne of God (Isa 14:12-15). We are to do everything in our power - remember that you have the power of God within you - to live peaceably and follow peace with all men, if it be at all possible.

As Christians we are to also follow holiness which means “to purify.” We are to purify ourselves daily by living the Christian life and walking closely with the Lord. It is going after Christ to exercise more faith upon Him in our sanctification. As we walk daily by the Saviour’s side we will find that we will become more like Him. We will perfect our attitude and our graces to align with the life of Christ. It is being emptied of self and allowing the Spirit more access to all of us (Spirit filled living). It is setting our self apart from the world unto the Lord to live according to His specific divine purpose for our life. We cannot be partakers of the heavenly calling of the spiritual abundance and victorious living that comes through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus and our Father until we learn to follow His holiness in our life.

As we separate unto the Lord in following peace and holiness, we are to forsake bitterness. Bitterness is a root of poison that will kill peace and holiness in the soul. It is deadly to any spiritual life we may have in Christ. It will allow other things that are detrimental to our relationship with the Lord to grow in our heart. It grieves the Holy Spirit of God within us as it breeds wrath and anger within (Eph 4:30-32). These will infect our thought processes and thus affect our words and eventually our actions. It is a poison that must be cast out as soon as it is recognized. Anything that does not cultivate peace within and without is a root of bitterness. Forsake it for it grows like a kudzu vine; it expands and takes over everything overnight!

We must learn of Christ and in order to do that we must determine that we will have a closer daily walk with Him. We must allow His Word to abide within so that we can be transformed into His image. If you are going to live peaceable and holy without bitterness, anger, and wrath you must have a loving and forgiving heart like Christ. - Preacher

 

September 13

The Heart Of Christ Pt 1

Hebrews 13:1-3 ~  Let brotherly love continue.  Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. 

Here we are encouraged in our Christian social life to continue in godly love towards all people. First, we are encouraged to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to look out for one another above all others. This is our eternal family that we will spend all of eternity with. Therefore you are to “be … kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you” (Eph 4:32). These are church of the firstborn, the children of God, the heirs and joint heirs of Christ, so our love for others must begin in the house of God and extend out from there.

One of the landmarks that gives us evidence and assurance of our salvation is that we love the brethren (1 Jn 3:14). We should be more willing to lay down our life for those of faith than anyone else we know. Remember that love is not a feeling but an action. We do not love in words but in deed and in truth. If we do not love our brethren in Christ, we cannot love God (1 Jn 4:20).

When I hear someone say that they do not need to go to church to be saved, I have alarm bells going off in my head. They do not see the need to gather together with their eternal family and worship, to have that support network of truth and love, to have the social fellowship with those who will strengthen and encourage us on our way, to be a help, comfort, encouragement, and a blessing to others. There is something missing in their salvation if they are even saved at all. Jesus said, “… love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (Jn 13:34-35). It goes without saying that we are told in Hebrews 10:24-25 that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (church) but to gather together to love and exhort one another even more as we see the day of Christ approaching. If ever that was true, it is true today!

Then we are told to entertain strangers because we never know if that person who is in need may be an angel. Many have offered food to people who are in need not realizing that they may have been taking care of some angel. Why would angels be in need? Maybe they were testing us to help us see our true character of love towards others. “To entertain strangers” is being hospitable towards those whom we do not know. It is offering a friendly smile to every person that we pass. It is performing a friendly gesture such as helping to change a flat tire, open a door, or help to lift something heavy. It is being a friend to those whom we do not know. And if they refuse us, we move on to the next person and show them the same kindness. If they are rude to our offer of help, we smile, wish them well, and continue with the joy of knowing that we are sharing the love of God through Christ likeness. But it could be receiving the help of a stranger just as well. We should never be rude to those who are offering a helping hand.

We are to have the heart of Christ as we go through this life and interact with other people. That means that we have compassion and empathy for those who are bound through adversity; whether it be some sickness, life threatening disease, or any other trial, trouble, affliction, or persecution that they may be in. Our heart should go out to them and our love should compel us to do something for them. Prayer is the first and most obvious thing we can do, but there must be more. Love is proven out in our actions, not in our words. In Romans 12:15 we are told to, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” “Being yourselves also in the body” is to feel what they feel, whether it be joy or whether it be sorrow. Christ cried at the tomb of Lazarus. Does not your heart break when someone you truly love is hurting? That is how we should feel towards all men when we have the heart of Christ.

Love as Christ has loved. Love the brethren, be hospitable and kind to strangers, and have the heart of Christ towards all people. Whether rejoicing or weeping, have the compassion of the Saviour. - Preacher

 

 

 WEEK 36

 

September 2

The New Covenant Is The Better Covenant Pt 1

Hebrews 8:6~ But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

In Chapter Eight everything up to this point is being summed up. Everything that we now have in Christ Jesus is better. Those who come to Christ out of other religions want to cling to some of their old ways. That is what the Jews were being tempted to do and so there must be a positive argument presented that will show the futility of going back to the old ways. Why would you want to go back to that which is inferior when you can have that which is superior to all?

In Hebrews we see that in Christ we have a better Person. Because He out speaks the prophets, He outranks the angels, and He will outlast the universe. Because we have a better Person, we also have a better Provision. His sacrifice at Calvary is superior to anything ever offered before because it has an eternal and effectual power that will last forever.

Now we see that He is the one who offers a better covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two parties. There is a covenant where both parties set in place and agree to the terms and conditions of the covenant. There is another covenant where only one party sets the terms and conditions, but both parties agree to them. This is what is normally known as a will or testament. The New Covenant is a covenant of God. Man has nothing to do with setting the terms and the conditions of this covenant. This is God’s will and testament. God has set the terms and man can either accept it or reject it. However, the only way that man can receive and enjoy the inheritance is to accept the terms of the covenant exactly as they are laid out.

This New Covenant is founded by a perfect Mediator. A mediator is someone who stands between two parties to bring them together in agreement. He is the negotiator, or the middleman, an arbitrator. When Moses brought the first covenant to the people of Israel at Mt. Sinai, they abandoned grace for the law. Under the law Moses became the mediator between God and man. If he had not become the mediator, the history of Israel would have ceased at Mt. Sinai (Exo. 32:1-14). 

There is a great difference between Christ Jesus and human mediators. Christ is the Perfect Mediator. He is the One chosen by God to stand between God and man. He is the Perfect Mediator because there can only be one and God has chosen that Christ is to be that ONE. He is the Perfect Mediator because He paid the price that it takes to bring God and man together. Without His payment for sin, man could not approach God and God could not approach man with the offer of forgiveness and eternal life (9:15). He is the Perfect Mediator because He has risen from the dead and now stands at the right hand of God, in that holiest of all places, where He intercedes for those things which are best for us (9:24).

This New Covenant is not based upon the law. It is based upon the mercy and grace of God. God’s mercy withholds that which we in our enmity against God deserve; that is an eternity in the Lake of Fire suffering and paying for our transgressions against Him. God’s grace exceedingly and abundantly gives us those things of which we are so undeserving because we are human and fail God daily. But greater still is the fact that His mercy and His grace are wrapped up in His love for us. For God so loved us with such a great love that He has quickened us and has brought us into a better covenant (Jn 3:16 & Eph. 2:4, 5). Knowing that in the weakness of our sinful flesh we could not keep the first covenant, He has provided us with a better and more perfect covenant that does not depend on our weakness but depends upon the power and mediation of our living Saviour.

The New Covenant is the better covenant because it makes provision for your weakness; not to use as an excuse, but for your genuine weakness of the flesh. Under the first you would be ostracized, banished, stoned to death, or hung on a tree. Under the New Covenant the blood of Christ covers you every day and allows you to come boldly before the Throne of Grace where you can confess your sins, find the forgiveness that is needed, and walk away cleansed from all unrighteousness by that living blood (I Jn. 1:9). The New Covenant is founded by a Perfect Mediator who is Christ Jesus our Lord and our Saviour. What a great debt of gratitude you owe Him and your Father every day that you live and breathe. Every breath ought to be filled with thanksgiving and praise for Him. - Preacher

 

September 3

The New Covenant Is The Better Covenant Pt 2

Hebrews 8:6-13 (v. 6) ~ But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

The Old Covenant is the Law which told men that God was holy, and that God expected men to live holy lives. The law was holy and by keeping the law men were living holy. The problem was that the law did not give the inner power needed to obey the law. On our own we could not keep the law because of the weakness of our flesh. The law made provisions for man to be acceptable to God but it did not provide the power to inherit eternal life. It showed man that God was Sovereign, the Great Law Giver, but it said nothing about having personal fellowship with God. It was strict, stern, and it was holy, but it said nothing about God’s love, mercy, or forgiveness.

The New Covenant eliminates the weakness of the first covenant. There was a weakness with the first covenant that would require it to be replaced with a better covenant. In verses 7-9 we hear God speaking as He did in Isaiah 61:8 and in Jeremiah 31:31-34. He is saying that if the first covenant had been faultless, there would be no need for the new covenant. Man could not keep the first covenant because it did not give the power needed to keep the commandments. Therefore, God had to do something or man would be forever lost; this is where the Gospel comes in; “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom. 8:28).

The New Covenant is established upon better promises. These are better promises because they can do what could not be done under the law. We have the promise of inner power to live the holy life (v. 10). We have the promise of personal acceptance through relationship, fellowship, and eternal life given to us by a holy God (vs. 10, 11). In 7:19 we are told, “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” The law was imperfect but under the New Covenant we have the promise of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness (v. 12).

Under the New Covenant we have received the spiritual power to live and keep the commandments of God. There is the power of the new mind and the new heart. This is salvation (Rom. 8:6 & 12:2). We now have the power to have a personal relationship and personal fellowship with God. He is the One who said that we would have these things under His New Covenant. We have open access to the Throne of Grace to come before God and cry unto Him saying, “Abba, Father.” We now have His provision in our life daily and we now have His protection over our life. We have the blessed power of deliverance from those things that would hinder our fellowship with the Father and with His Son.

The power given us under the New Covenant is far reaching and we can never exhaust its power. It is the power to know God personally and this is a relationship that is open to everyone. The New Covenant has the power of forgiveness of sins. This forgiveness is the basis of all other promises. Forgiveness is based upon the mercy and the grace of God. I thank God that forgiveness is not based upon what I have done, but it is based upon what Christ has already done on the Cross. When God forgives He will never remember that sin again; we may remember, but He never will (Isa. 43:25 & )!

The New Covenant makes the first covenant “old.” The Old Covenant has been set aside in Christ Jesus. We no longer must live by the Jewish Law; the ceremonies, the sacrifices, or the rituals. The New is bound up in Christ because He did not destroy the law, He fulfilled the law.

The law is good, and the law is holy (Rom. 7:12). It gives us a blueprint upon which to build our relationship with God and it is a roadmap which points us in the right direction as we travel through this world on our way to Heaven. It is a lamp unto our feet in a dark world and light to shine on our path. It shows us the right way and reveals which is the wrong way. Therefore, it offers to us the choice of how we shall go and how we shall live. The power of God within, the Holy Spirit, gives us the wisdom, the knowledge, and the power to make the right decisions and to stay on the right paths. This we have because of the New Covenant which is the Better Covenant. - Preacher

 

September 4

If We Sin Willfully … A Fearful Thing

Hebrews 10:26-31 (26, 31) ~ For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  … It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

If we continue to sin willfully after we are saved we leave ourselves open to the punishment and judgment of God. He commands us to train up our children and to bring them up under His nurture and admonition. He also tells us that we are to correct and punish them when they disobey. What kind of Father would God be if He did not correct and chasten His own children?  

These verses, regardless of what others may say, are written to born again believers. The word “we” in verse 26 is referring to the writer and other believers who are saved and born again. The phrase “after that we have received the knowledge of the truth” is referring to a definite act; it is receiving Christ as Saviour; it is being saved. In verse 29 “wherewith he was sanctified” means to be set apart, and again it is referring to those who have been saved and sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (Eph 1:13-14).

Deliberate sin in the Christian life is disturbing. When our Lord gave Himself on Calvary He paid the price for our sin debt in full. When we are saved that debt and the condemnation that comes with it (death & hell) is taken care of forever. But we still must appropriate the power of the sacrifice of Christ for our daily sins. When we sin willfully we neglect the power of the sacrificial work of Christ; “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” It is His sacrifice and shed blood that brings forgiveness of sins (1Jn 1:7-9).

We are given a new nature at the moment of our salvation. That new nature gives us a new set of “want to’s” or a new set of desires, influenced by the Spirit of God and the Word of God. We still have the choice of whether to obey and be blessed or to continue in sin and find ourselves under the judgment of God. God never forces us to do what is right because He wants us to choose out of a heart of love. When we love Him as we should we will desire to be right with Him and to please Him with our life.

The disturbing thing about continuing in willful sin is that we can expect the judgment of God. We are no longer under the guilt and penalty of sin once we are saved, but we can still be judged and punished for our sins. In 1 Corinthians 11:28-31 we are told that we are to examine and judge ourselves. If we do not, we are going to be judged by God. In Hebrews 12 we are told that as His children we will be chastened and scourged by Him if we disobey. God will not judge and punish unbelievers in their daily life because they are not His children. But Christians will be punished in their daily life when they continue in willful sin. He says here that “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Deliberate sin in the life of a Christian is damaging to the cause of Christ. Under the Law God dealt out severe punishments, even death, for sin. He did it so that people would know that He is a holy God who hates sin. Under the New Testament God says that we are treading under foot the Son of God when we continue in sin. Continuing in willful disobedience tramples the sacrifice of Christ, the blood of Christ, and the name of Christ while putting Him to an open shame. It also insults the Holy Spirit of God and grieves Him openly. 

We tell the world that we believe that these things are important for salvation, but by continuing in open sin we contradict what we say with our actions. If our life is no different from theirs, how will they find a need for the Saviour? How will they come to trust Him when we are treading Him under foot with the life we live? How can the Holy Spirit work through us to tell others of the importance of coming to Christ to be saved before it is eternally too late when we are grieving Him and breaking His heart with our sinful life? We damage the cause of Christ to reach the lost when we do not live in the new life that Christ gave us when He saved us.

Deliberate sin in the life of a Christian is disturbing, damaging, and it is distressing. We know that God will deal with our sinfulness in one of two ways. He will discipline us as we have already stated, or He may choose to take us out of the world (1Jn 5:16). I have seen many suffer greatly in their life before leaving this world because they continued in willful sin. Do not let yourself be found in the hands of the living God for judgment. - Preacher

 

September 5

The Substance & Evidence of Faith

Hebrews 11: 1, 6 ~ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 

There are two ways in which we may come to God. The first is by our works. If we can present to Him perfection in our works, then we may come to God that way. However, nobody has ever been able to present perfect works; not Adam, not Abraham, not Moses, or David, or even Daniel. Therefore, our works are not a satisfactory way to approach God, and yet, many people today are trudging along the path of works. It is a futile effort at best.

The only other way to come to God is by our faith. We can approach God by faith, but we are not saved by faith. Faith is the channel through which salvation comes to us, but it is Christ that saves us. We are saved by the grace of God because He accepts Christ’s works in place of ours when we accept Christ’s works in place of ours.

It is Christ’s blood and merit that saves the hell-bound sinner, and that only through faith in Him. To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to accept that we are sinners who are deserving of death and headed for an eternal hell. We believe that Christ Jesus paid for our sin when He shed His blood and died on the Cross, that He was buried, and rose again the third day. When we accept this work for salvation, we receive Him as our personal Saviour, and we accept the more abundant spiritual life that He has for us. We turn from our former life and turn to His life. That is salvation. That is received by the grace of God through our faith in Christ. Faith brings salvation to us, but we are saved by Christ’s blood and works.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It is our confident expectation of those things which we believe to be true. Those things for which we hope have no present reality to us. But our faith allows us to live as if we had already attained those things. They gain practical reality in our faith as we embrace them in the present. Our faith gives us present enjoyment of the things which are coming to us. By this we can have peace that surpasses the world’s understanding and joy unspeakable.

Faith is the evidence of our salvation; it is the proof of things that cannot be seen. It is our faith in the Word of God. In evidence it is what satisfies our mind and inspires us to live a life of Christian conduct. It is not necessarily saving faith that is the evidence, but the body of belief that influences us in all of life and conduct. Therefore, faith is the belief or confidence in God and His Word and the principle of a life that is lived and governed by that belief.

Without that faith we cannot please God. If we are going to be pleasing to God, we must come to Him believing that He is who He says He is. Why would we try to approach Him if we did not believe? Many call upon Him out of mere superstition with a seemingly random hope that He might be real and grant their request. The blessings and the rewards that we receive of God can only be appropriated by our faith in Him. Many lived by faith and received great and mighty blessings and rewards. Because we have a living Saviour who is in Heaven rooting for us we can expect to receive great rewards for living a Christian life. What an incentive to strive for the mastery of living by faith in the Word of God and keeping all of His precepts and commandments.

Just a note here: Salvation is not a reward; it is a free gift given to us by God. Rewards are earned by work while salvation comes by faith. The life or the walk of a Christian is also by faith; believing God is who He says He is.

Read this chapter daily for a week. In it you will see that Abel worshipped by faith. Enoch walked by faith. Noah worked by faith. Abraham and Sarah waited in faith. Isaac and Jacob witnessed by faith. Joseph went out in faith. Moses watched over by faith. Joshua and Israel were winners by faith. And Rahab the harlot withstood by faith. All these you will see and all of these you can do by faith. It is having faith to trust Christ and be saved and faith to live in the more abundant life. These things can only come to you by living in, through, and by faith. - Preacher

 

 

 WEEK 35

 

August 26

Are You Dull of Hearing?

Hebrews 5:11-14 (v. 11) ~ Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

Christ Jesus is our Great High Priest and is a Priest after the order of Melchisedec; He is without beginning or ending; without any lineage. Christ Jesus is the Author of Eternal Salvation for there is no other kind. When He saves you, He saves you all the way. The Book of Hebrews is the living proof that it is a one time, life-changing experience that will last forever without end. Seeing we have such a Great High Priest we should give earnest heed to what the Word of God has to say about Him and about how we are to live our life for Him.

Here in these verses we have a warning against dull hearing. Being dull of hearing is being sluggish or lazy in hearing; it is choosing not to hear what God has to say. This is a dangerous course to take for it leads to low spiritual intelligence. Those who tend to be lazy find themselves in want more often than someone who is willing to work. They have a deficit that perpetuates in their life because they choose not to put forth the effort required to get out of that deficit. We need to hear what God is saying so that we do not find ourselves in a spiritual deficit.

Dr. J. Vernon Magee wrote, “To be spiritually alert you have to have a knowledge of the Word of God and to be close to it. The Hebrew believers who are being addressed here had a low SQ, not an IQ, but an SQ - spiritual quotient.” It is hard to teach anybody anything about the spiritual life when they are dull of hearing. Many Christians today do not want to hear the deep things of the Word of God because it requires them to put forth more effort in their Christian walk. The more that you know of the Word of God the more blessed you are (Psa. 1:1-3). But with blessing comes great responsibility to respond to and apply the truths and principles to your personal life.

The more you know the more you should grow and mature so that you can teach others the things that you have learned. If you are sluggish and lazy in hearing the Word, you can never become a teacher because you always have to be taught yourself. A person can sit down and learn how to read music so they can play a piano, they can learn their lessons for playing, but if they never apply the lessons they learn to practicing the piano daily they can never become good enough to teach others. It is more likely they will forget and must be taught the basics all over again.

The “first principles” are the primary elements that are required to have fundamental building blocks. Without them you cannot have a foundation to build from. It is like the “ABC’s” which are the building blocks of the English language. Without the alphabet we cannot form words, sentences, coherent thoughts, or ideas; there can be no intelligent communication. Those who must keep being taught the first principles of the Word of God are those who are never applying them to their own life because they are dull of hearing. As a pastor I have watched many people sit in church and agree with the teaching and the preaching of the Word of God but never apply it in their life. They never become great or even good leaders. Many times they will get out of church and must come back and be taught the same things over and over again. They are dull of hearing.

Paul said of the Corinthian Christians, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able” (I Cor. 3:2). Babes cannot receive the meat of the Word because they have not developed the ability to digest the deeper things. If they never apply the Word and use it in their daily life, they cannot receive the deeper things and mature spiritually; they will always have a deficit in spiritual intelligence. Only those who are exercised in living out the Word of God can truly digest the meat, which are the weightier matters of the Word.

When I was first saved, I had a desire for knowing more of the Word so that I could know more of God and of Christ. I wanted to know more about how to live the life that He had given me (I Pet. 2:2). I had a sincere yearning for the unadulterated and pure Word of God. The more I learned the more I was able to work for the Lord. We are admonished to be doers of the Word (Jam. 1:22-25); we are to put it to use in our life. If you do not become a doer of the Word, you do not have your spiritual senses exercised. You will not have sharp spiritual perception so that you can discern both good and evil. You will never become the leader and teacher that God is growing and developing you to be. Are you dull of hearing or are you growing? - Preacher

 

August 27

We Are Persuaded Better Things of You

Hebrews 6:7-12  (v. 9)~ But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

In verses 4-6 we see that we cannot lose our salvation. If we could we cannot renew it unto repentance.  By the same token, those who are saved and have quit shall not receive reward for the things they have done because they cannot renew them unto repentance either; “… his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered” (Eze. 3:20). We shall see in these following verses that we are admonished to continue in our work and labor of love. Christ Jesus is the Author of Eternal Salvation and we must show our gratitude all the days of our life.

The earth is blessed by God who sends His rain on the just and the unjust and it brings forth abundance for those who work it (Mat. 5:45). There is a work that goes into preparing the ground to receive the seed. There is another work that goes into sowing the seed. It is God who sends the rain and the sunshine which gives the nutrition needed for growth and production. Then the seed takes root downward and bears fruit upward. The same is true in the Christian life; we work by opening the ground of our hearts through faith to receive the Word of God. We take in the seed by hearing, reading, meditating, and memorizing the Scriptures. When we do these things the Word of God in our hearts will take root downward and bear fruit upward to the glory of God. But, it is God who gives the increase in agriculture and in our heart and life.

Those who do not prepare their hearts are not a fertile ground for fruit bearing. They do not work to plant the seed and allow it to take root in their heart and life. Ground that is not worked, tilled, prepared, and made ready to plant is good for nothing but the thorns, nettles, and briars. It will not produce a productive crop of abundance. This is the person who is lazy and dull of hearing. In Proverbs 24: 30-34 we find the story of a man who was too lazy to make preparation and too lazy to care for that which was already planted. His poverty came to him in a very painful way because it left him in a spiritual deficit. His want and his needs came to him as an armed man comes into take away our gain, and it takes away that which he already had.

Now he has nothing because the laws of the harvest can never be set aside. The laws of the harvest say that you will reap what you have sown, you will reap at a later season than you sow, you will reap in kind to what you have sown, and you will reap in greater abundance than you have sown. When you sow nothingness you will reap unmet needs and wants in a greater measure than you have sown. When you do nothing - you sow nothing - you will reap emptiness. 

The heart that is not prepared to receive the Word is a heart that is near to being cursed by God. God wants us to live and walk by faith in His Word. Faith is the foundation of all that we do for the Lord. Our good works are a product of our faith. But our faith and good works are motivated by our love for the Lord. He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15). He wants us to work for Him because we love Him. When we love Him, we will work with joy in our hearts. When we love Him, we will spend time with Him in fellowship. That is what God wants more than anything; more than fulfilling our Christian duties and obligations, He wants us to love Him. When we love Him we enjoy working for Him.

He will reward us openly for all that we do in this life (1Cor 3:12-15). He has given us the gift of eternal life and He wants us to have an abundant life. He wants to bless us in the life that we now live in this world and in the life to come when we leave this world. We have all spiritual blessings and we have all of eternity. And yet, He is going to reward us when we get to Heaven. Those rewards will be the proof that we loved Him. He has said He would never forget our work and labor of love. That work is to be directed towards bringing sinners to repentance and ministering to the saints. You have entered into the labors of those who started your church and built it up (Eph 2:20 & Jn 4:38). Be not slothful but show the, “… same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:  That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Remember that we are persuaded better things of you. - Preacher

 

August 28

Hope In Christ; The Anchor of The Soul

Hebrews 6:16-20 (vs 18, 19) ~ That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil

Christians have a hope today that unbelievers cannot understand. The two immutable things that God gave to Abraham was His Word of promise (Gen 15:4-5) and then He gave Him an oath (Gen 22:16-18). God’s promise is unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. God’s oath is unchangeable because there is nothing and no one greater than God. Therefore He swore an oath upon Himself because He cannot lie. And Abraham was encouraged and assured by the promise of God and the oath of God.

Christians must understand that our hope is steadfast and sure. In Colossians 1:5 we have a hope laid up in Heaven for us. In 1 Peter 1:3 we have a living hope and 1 Timothy 1:1 tells us that Christ is that hope. Our hope is a three-dimensional hope. Our past is cared for by our faith in Christ because our sins are under His blood. Our present is lived by hope because we have a certainty in Christ. And our future hope is in the promises of God that we shall inherit the promises of eternal life.

Today we have the promise of God that we are heirs and joint heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17). God has given His Word that if we would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ that we would be saved. To believe means “to trust, to depend on, and to lean on.” We trust in the finished work of Christ on the Cross; that He died for our sin in our place as our substitute so that we could go free, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, all according to the Word of God. When a person believes these things, He can call upon God to save Him and God gave His Word that He would (1 Cor 15:3-4 & Rom 10:9-13). This is the anchor of hope for our eternal souls.

Our hope gives us the following three assurances: We have a sure promise. When God gave the oath of confirmation it put everything to rest. An oath was always made against that which is greater. God did not need to take an oath, but He did and that puts an end to any argument. God has promised us that we are heirs with Abraham of the hope and of the promises. We have come for refuge to Christ and we have the Word of God that when we trust Christ we become His children and heirs of His promises. He has guaranteed the promise with His oath that we have received eternal life. If we could lose our salvation, then God loses more than we do because He loses His holy character; His integrity is lost because it would mean that He cannot keep His Word. But He is the LORD our God and He changes not (Mal 3:6a). You have a sure promise.

We have a safe refuge. In the Old Testament the Levites were given 48 cities out of which six were cities of refuge. There were three cities on either side of Jordan. If someone accidentally killed someone they were known as the manslayer. The offended family became the avenger of blood. The manslayer was to flee to one of these cities of refuge where they were protected from the vengeance and wrath of that family. In the New Testament our sin makes us guilty of the blood of Christ. We are responsible for His dying for sin because it was our sin that put Him on the Cross. We are guilty and condemned to death and abide under the wrath of God (Jn 3:18, 36). Our “city of refuge” is the Lord Jesus Christ. When we are in Christ we are safe from the avenger of blood and from death. You have a sure refuge.

We have a secure anchor. When the anchor is cast out of the ship it holds it securely in place so that it does not drift with the tide and the flow of the ocean. Christ Jesus is the secure anchor of our souls today. He protects us from the world around us. When the world would love nothing more than to silence us and put us to death our anchor holds. Our anchor reaches up to the throne of Heaven and is secure in Christ. Whatever lies ahead of us we have an anchor in Christ who is ever present at the throne of God to intercede for our best benefit. He is there in that place where our salvation is secure in the fact that the blood is effectual and eternal. You will have problems in this world because it is still under the sin curse, but your anchor will hold because you have a sure anchor that is sure and steadfast. Is Christ Jesus the anchor of hope for your eternal soul today? He can be if you ask Him to be. - Preacher

 

August 29

The Perpetual Priesthood of Christ

Hebrews 7:1-24 (v. 24) ~ But this man [Christ Jesus], because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

Those who have been raised and taught their whole lives to live a certain way in a certain system as were the Jews have great difficulty with change. They had been accustomed to approaching God through a man; the high priest. That is what God had given them in the Old Testament. But because of Christ and His sacrifice we find that the old system is done away with for a new system. The New Testament opens a new and living way to approach God. We no longer must go through a mere mortal man to get to God (Jn 14:6 & Acts 4:12). We now come to God openly because of our faith in Christ Jesus. In Melchisedec we see how to approach God through the perpetual priesthood of Christ.

In Hebrews 7:1 he is called the King of Salem and priest of the most high God. God had said that a king could not be a priest and a priest could not be a king, yet in Melchisedec we find that he is both king and priest. The Lord Jesus is both our King and our Great High Priest. In verse 2 we see that Melchisedec is called the king of righteousness and the king of peace. Christ is "made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec" (6:20). As the King of Righteousness Christ Jesus makes us right with God and as the King of Peace He brings the peace of God into our hearts. That peace comes from His making peace between God and man.

Melchisedec was a priest to whom Abraham paid tithes and that means that he was greater than Abraham. He was also greater than any of the Levitical priests. All other priests trace their roots to Abraham and, therefore, they also paid tithes to Mechisedec. All who were of the Levitical priesthood paid tithes to Melchisedec as did Aaron who was a descendent of – who came out of - Abraham.

He had a special right to the priesthood that was not according to the Law. His priesthood was not based upon human roots or genealogy. It was based upon his greatness. He blessed Abraham and the lesser is always blessed of the greater. Because he had no beginning or ending, he is eternal; his priesthood is an eternal priesthood. The Levitical priesthood always suffered loss of a representative because they were mortal and they all died. In all of this we can see that the Melchisedec priesthood is greater than the Levitical priesthood.

In Melchisedec we can see the priesthood of Christ. The Levitical priesthood was built upon the Levitical Law. The Levitical priesthood under the Law had a requirement that the priest had to be born into the tribe of Levi. But Christ was not born of the tribe of Levi but of Judah. He qualifies to be our Great High Priest because He lives forever; from eternity past to eternity future. For Christ to be our Priest there must be a change of the law; the Old Testament system of the priesthood was over.

That means there was to be a disannulling of the commandment. That word "disannul" means "a cancellation and a putting away." It was put away because the law could not save us. It was powerless to save because of the weakness of our flesh (Rom 8:3). The Law is good and holy (1 Tim 1:8), but we are unable to keep the Law because our flesh is unable to live up to it. Just a note here: We have been delivered from the penalty of the Law but not the authority of the Law. The Moral Law of God is good and it is holy. We are still under the authority of the Law of God even though we cannot fully and completely keep it.

That is why Christ came to this earth. He kept and He fulfilled the Law of God, even suffering the shame and reproach of a sinful death of which He was so undeserving. He fulfilled the Law and when we receive Him into our heart we have the Law fulfilled in us in the person of Christ. Our relationship with God is based upon Christ and not upon the weakness of our flesh. His perpetual priesthood never ends and never changes.

Now the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in you when you walk after the Spirit (Rom 8:4). He gives you the power to overcome temptations and to live a morally pure and clean life. He helps you to live as a child of God (Jn 1:12). Thank God for a Great High Priest who knows us and will always be there for us. His priesthood is a perpetual priesthood that never changes. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Heb 13:8). - Preacher

 

August 30

Saved To The Uttermost

Hebrews 7:25-28 (25) ~ Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Christ Jesus is the perfect High Priest who can save man completely and perfectly. Some may say that we are “beating a dead horse” because we have covered so much of this already. But the truth is that we are holding up a Perfect Saviour for an imperfect people. We are sharing a perfect salvation that can only come through Christ who is God in the flesh. The truth is that we are honoring Christ Jesus when we speak so much of Him and of His perfect and complete salvation.

To say that Christ does not offer eternal life dishonors Him and His Word. To say that you cannot know you are saved until you leave this world and finally end up in Heaven is a slap in the face of the Son of God. He loved you and gave Himself for you so that you could have the peace of God knowing that you are at peace with God. To say that you cannot know that you are saved would mean that you would have to change the meaning of words like “everlasting” and “eternal”. If you do not change their meanings, then you must remove them from the Scriptures. In some instances you have to remove whole verses from the Bible.

I John 5:13 is as plain as the nose on your face that you can KNOW that you have ETERNAL life. It says, “These things [the Word of God] have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God [faith in Christ for salvation]; that ye may know [have perfect knowledge of] that ye have eternal life [your perfect and complete salvation that depends on the person of Christ and His finished work on the Cross of Calvary; it is complete, full ended, never ceasing, uninterrupted, infinite, without end], and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God [that your faith may increase for faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17)].” It dishonors Christ and calls Him a liar to say that you cannot know that you are saved until you leave this world; that is the same as gambling on the odds that a person can do enough good works to outweigh the bad and thus earn entrance into Heaven. It completely ignores the Word of God in Isaiah 64:6 and Romans 3:10-23. It also says that Christ is not able to save you completely.

The word “uttermost” comes from the Greek “panteles” (pan-tel-ace') which means “full ended, that is, entire; completion.” The song chorus says, “I'm saved to the uttermost, I know that I am, washed in the blood of the precious Lamb, thru the Father, thru the Son, thru the Holy Ghost, I'm saved to the uttermost.” There is no other salvation other than eternal and everlastingly complete because according to God’s Holy Word Christ is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him. The reason that I cannot lose it is because He lives eternally and makes intercession for me on my behalf. He died to save me, rose again to justify me, and lives to keep me saved by His glorious, redeeming, resurrecting, life-giving, life-transforming, and life-sustaining power.

He has perfect power because He has all power (Mt 28:18). He lives forever in the presence of God. He lives to make intercession for man. He is able to save all who come to Him by faith. He saves you from sin, death, and condemnation. He saves you to live eternally with God. He saves you to rule and reign with Him.

He has a perfect life. He is holy; separated to God. He is harmless; blameless with no evil or guile. He is undefiled; has no stain of any sin ever being present. He is separated from sinners; never caving to temptation.

He provided a perfect sacrifice. He gave Himself out of perfect love knowing that He had no sin. He was the perfect sacrifice to pay in full the penalty of sin so that we could be set free. He died once for all sin, once for all men, and once for all time. He will never have to pay the price again because He is the ultimate, perfect, and complete sacrifice.

He had a perfect appointment. He was appointed by God’s oath and not the law. His appointment is forever without weakness. He is able to bring many sons to glory because He is made perfect through suffering. Thus He became the author of eternal salvation. There is no other! You are saved to the uttermost and you should know that you are because the Scriptures bear it out very clearly. - Preacher

 

 

WEEK 34

 

August 19

Our Great High Priest: His Position

Hebrews 4:14-16 ~ Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Christ is superior to the Levitical Priesthood. It is important to Hebrew believers to see because they had always approached God through the high priest in the Levitical order. The priests who served in the tabernacle and the temple were those whom they went through to make their commitments and their sacrifices to God.

We no longer have an Old Testament high priest who was just a man. We now have Jesus who is our Great High Priest. The title of Great High Priest has never been ascribed to any other man. Christ is the greatest high priest that has ever stood between God and man. To continue to go to a priest to have access to God denies the finished work of Christ and the priesthood of all believers (1 Pt 2:9 & Rev 1:6).

We need someone to mediate between us and God and that someone is Christ. Job cried out “Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (9:33). Job knew that he needed someone to take his hand and God’s hand and bring them together. Christ is that mediator, that Priest, through whom every believer has access to God.

Jesus is our Great High Priest because of His position. He has passed into the heavens to represent us before the Father. He first came to this earth to represent God to man as God’s prophet. He accomplished that work and finished it upon the Cross. You see, the message of God that the prophet brought to us is that God so loved us that He gave His only begotten Son to be a ransom, a substitutional sacrifice for all of mankind. He came to take down the middle wall of sin that separated us from our God by paying for that sin in our place and thus opening the way into Heaven and into the presence of God.

He then arose from the grave and ascended to Heaven to become our Great High Priest at the Throne of God. He is man in a body of flesh, but He is God for He is deity. The high priest on earth represented man to God from the most holy place in the temple, but Christ is superior because He stands in the Most Holy Place of the universe to represent us to God. He is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, our Great High Priest. He is the sacrifice for sin, and He is the Priest who offered the sacrifice which now stands as our Advocate, our “Daysman”, our Lawyer, and our Mediator.

Because Jesus is our Great High Priest we are challenged to hold fast our profession of faith in Him. This is our confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, our Great High Priest, and our personal Saviour. The profession of the faith in which we stand is the faith that was once delivered to the saints and we are to contend for that faith (Jude 3). We are to hold fast our “profession”, not our “salvation.” Jesus came to pay for our salvation but returned to Heaven to keep us saved and to enable us to give a good witness. We are to keep up our witness and our testimony of Him. He did not challenge us to hold fast our “salvation.” He is not talking about our salvation; He is talking about our testimony.

We who are saved have experienced a life changing power that has caused a transformation of what we think, believe, and what we do. We are firsthand witnesses of that power and so we are to be a living witness of what God has done for us and what He can do for others. We are to be a witness of the life changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He came as Prophet, He lives as Great High Priest, and He is returning as King of kings and Lord of lords.

What profession do you hold forth in the world today (Php. 2:16)? Are you that living witness of the life changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16)? Are you testifying to those who need to hear about Him (Mat. 28:19)? Are you that good witness that you ought to be (Acts 1:8)? Remember “we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.” Therefore, we are challenged to “hold fast our profession.” - Preacher

 

August 20

Our Great High Priest: His Perfection

Hebrews 4:14-16 ~ Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus is our Great High Priest because of His perfection. Without His perfection we could have no hope of ever being saved. But Christ was perfect in His victory over sin. He suffered in every way that we suffer through temptations and yet He perfectly withstood. Because He lived a sinless life, we can now enjoy the liberty of salvation. Because He was perfectly righteous, we now have a perfect righteousness applied to our life. Because He is perfect, we have a Great High Priest who can help us to live a life of victory over the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. 

Christ withstood the temptations of the devil when He was tempted in the wilderness. The devil used the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life to tempt our Saviour in His humanity. But the Saviour taught us through His perfection that there will always be victory over temptations when we stay true to the Word of God. Christ used the Word to defeat the devil in every temptation that he put to Him (Mt 4:1-10). By the way, these are the same temptations that were put before Eve in the Garden when she was tempted to eat of the forbidden tree (Gen 3:6). Adam fell by these temptations and brought sin upon all mankind (Rom 5:12, 19a). But Christ was victorious and therefore brought salvation’s offer to all mankind (Rom 5:19b).

Christ was perfect in His sympathy for us. Christ feels for us as no other could possibly do. He is the one who told us, “Let not your heart be troubled” (Jn 14:1) and then told us, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (Jn 14:18). He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” That phrase means “to feel sympathy with, to commiserate.” He knows our woes because He has been there before us and He is there with us. He knows what you are feeling when you are tempted.

So many times I have witnessed to and counseled with addicts who so desperately want to be free from the burden of their sinful addictions. As much as I can sympathize and empathize with them because of my past, yet I cannot feel exactly what they feel at that moment. But our Saviour knows exactly what they feel at that very moment. He is there with them and will give them the power to say, “NO!” to that agonizing temptation. Whatever temptations you may face, no matter how great or how small, He knows what you are going through and will give you the power to overcome. He is perfect in His sympathy. One other thing: He may not have been an addicted sinner but has been there with so many that He knows more than you could ever imagine about how to overcome any addiction of any kind. There is nothing that He cannot get you through!

He is there for you when you are facing troubles and trials. No matter how lonely you may feel you do not have to be alone. If you are truly saved you are never alone. He is always there with you. His Spirit abides with you forever (Jn 14:16). Even when you are facing the chilling hand of death you are to be comforted by the One who has already crossed that bridge ahead of you. He tasted death for you so that you would not have to (Heb 2:9). The Psalmist said that we may walk through the valley of the “shadow” of death (23:4), but there is no fear of evil. The shadow is not the real thing. Death of this body is not cessation of life. We who are saved shall never die! When we depart this life we are in the presence of the Lord (2 Cor 5:8). That is eternal life, not death. We come under the shadow of death but the Lord, our perfect Great High Priest, will be with us and will comfort us.

He is our Great High Priest because His position is in the presence of God to intercede for us. He is our Great High Priest because He is perfect in His victory and in His sympathy. Because of Him you have victory over death, hell, and the grave. He is good all the time and all the time He is good. He always deserves your all, not just when you are in need or just when things are good. Will you give Him your all today? - Preacher

 

August 21

Our Great High Priest: His Provision

Hebrews 4:14-16 ~ Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest because of His provision. The Greek word translated as “come” in verse 16 means “to approach, come near, visit, or worship” while the word “boldly” means “to speak with assurance.” We can come to the Lord our God with confidence and assurance to speak freely and openly with Him. We can do this because of our Great High Priest who is there with Him to look out for our best interest and the best interest of God our Father.

The Lord Jesus already knows us better than we know ourselves. When we come to Him we can come openly with freedom of speech because He already knows us; He knows your every thought and the reasons and motives for every thought. We can tell Him things that we cannot tell anyone else. When we come to Him it must be with reverence for He is God. But there is nothing that we cannot bring to Him because He is man.

He provides us with mercy for our past. None of us deserve the mercy of God but it is extended to everyone because of the blood of Christ. His mercy is Him “not giving us what we deserve”. Our Great High Priest has made the sacrifice for our sin and failure. It is the sacrifice that allows us to obtain the mercy needed to approach God with our worship, our praise, and our petitions. The Psalmist said, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions” (51:1). We can have forgiveness for our sins when we come to God because of the love He bestowed upon us through Christ. God sees the blood and righteousness of Christ when He sees us approach His holy Throne.

I John 1:9 is our “receiving what we do not deserve” because of Christ. The blood upon the altar in Heaven is the eternal, effectual blood of Deity. The Great High Priest placed that blood upon the altar and now we can have forgiveness of sins when we need it (effectual, eternal blood). We are a needy people, an imperfect people, who need a perfect Saviour and forgiveness daily because we are still in this flesh. But we are the saints of God and we need to remember Whose we are and what we have received of Him. We can have more victory over sin today than we did yesterday because of our Great High Priest. And when we do fail, we can have the forgiveness needed because of His mercy.

Just a note here: This is not a license to sin! Confession of sins brings forgiveness and cleansing from God. But confession of sins is admittance on the sinner’s part that what we did was a crime against God and that we wish to turn from that crime (repentance) and never do it again. A drunkard who asks forgiveness every time he gets drunk, knowing that he will do it again tomorrow, cannot receive forgiveness because there is no place of repentance in his heart. There must be repentance - a change of heart and mind that changes your direction - to receive forgiveness and cleansing. Why would God clean you up if you are planning to get dirty again? God will clean you up when you are willing and ready to be clean. Mercy is not a license to continue in an unclean lifestyle. It is there because of Christ and because of our weakness of the flesh.

He provides you with grace for the present. Because of mercy you do not receive what you deserve, but because of grace you receive what you do not deserve. You ought to do more today than you did yesterday because of the grace God bestows upon you. 1 Corinthians 15:10 says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” You need that fresh supply of grace every day that you live. Through troubles and trials you will find that it is the grace of God that will get you through those times. The Lord Jesus told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). God’s grace in your life will be a testimony to the goodness and the mercy of God because it reveals Him in you when He strengthens you in your weaknesses. - Preacher

 

August 22

The Author of Eternal Salvation

Hebrews 5:8, 9 ~ Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;  And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Our Lord Jesus was willing to die on the Cross for our sins. He came into this world to go to the Cross. Many are so familiar with the Cross that if we are not careful, the meaning and the depth of it may evade us. We must understand fully what the Cross means to us. It is the source of our salvation and it is the security of our salvation. Without the Cross no person can be saved, and no person can enter into Heaven. If there were no suffering for sin, no payment for our transgressions, then there is no salvation.

Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son, suffered because of our sin. Philippians 2:8 tells us, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Many people like to compare themselves with others, but they compare themselves with those who will make them look good. God’s standard is His Son and when we compare ourselves with Him we will find that we “… come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). We miss the standard that is required to get into Heaven because we are sinners and Jesus Christ is sinless. But our Lord knew this and became sin for us and took our sin and nailed it to His Cross that we might be made righteous in Him (2 Cor 5:21).

He became the obedient Son through His suffering in our place. He suffered for us, the just and innocent dying for the unjust and the guilty. He suffered as a man and became obedient to God as a man. He therefore experienced obedience so that He might be our Substitute. Therefore, through His obedience He became perfect and became the complete sacrifice for our sin. There is no need for any other sacrifice. He died once for all men, once for all sin, and once for all time (Heb 10:10). There is no other sacrifice for sin. It is all of Christ and all of grace. It cannot be earned because it is a gift that is freely given by faith in Christ.

Being the perfectly obedient Son He was perfect in His righteousness. Yes, He is God in the flesh, but He became man so that He could be our Great High Priest; our Mediator. He is the perfectly obedient Son who has a relational bond with God (He is God) and a relational bond with mankind (He is man). Therefore, He can be the perfect sacrifice for sin as He appeases (propitiates) the justice of God and brings man into a right relationship and standing before God (reconciles). He touches the one and the other to bring them together through His suffering for sin.

When we approach God through Christ - our faith resting solely upon His finished work on Calvary - then Christ saves us and keeps us safe in Him. When we trust the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour we are saved by His power (Rom 10:9-10). But we are also kept by His power (1 Pet 1:5) because He has promised to finish the work which He started at the moment of our salvation (Php 1:6). We came short of the standard that God requires for us to be saved, but in Christ, His righteousness applied to our life, we reach that standard and no longer “… come short of the glory of God.

Jesus is the author of ETERNAL SALVATION. The Greek word translated as “eternal” here means “perpetual.” Perpetual carries the idea of “continual, lasting, ceaseless, and never-ending.” Perpetual means “continuing forever; everlasting; lasting indefinitely; continuing without intermission or interruption.” So, you see, eternal salvation is just that; never-ending and never-ceasing. It does not depend on me to receive it and it does not depend upon me to keep it. It is all of Jesus Christ who is the author of eternal salvation. There is no other kind. Anything less would not be “eternal.” Those who obey the Gospel and receive Christ are saved forever.

If the Coast Guard were to go out and rescue someone whose boat had sank and bring them back to shore, they saved them. But if the person they rescued began to act poorly before they returned to the shore and the Coast Guard threw them out of the boat, they did not save that person. The first person was saved because they were delivered to their destination. The second person was not saved because they were cast back into the deep (Jn 6:37). Everywhere in the Bible that speaks of salvation through Christ is referred to as saved - a finished transaction - and is eternal and everlasting - without end for any reason. Because of what Christ did for us and all that He suffered for us He is made perfect and is the Author of Eternal Salvation. Praise God! - Preacher

 

August 23

The Security of Eternal Salvation

Hebrews 6:4-6 ~ For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Since Christ is the Author of Eternal Salvation then it just makes sense that once a person is saved, they are saved forever. Some will say that we use our eternal security as a cloak of maliciousness to continue in our sinful lifestyle, but that is contrary to the truth. It should propel those who are saved to be completely and utterly sold out for the glory of God. What He has given us by His free grace can never be matched in this world or in the world to come. But here we see that “IF” it were possible to lose your salvation you could never be saved again; you would be destined for an eternal hell.

I am not an English major and would probably not even qualify for an English minor; maybe for an English failure I could qualify. But I have the Spirit of God who teaches me the Scriptures (1 Cor 2:13-14) and I have what He has shown me in these verses. The first phrase says, “For it is impossible”. From there it gives us a description of a person who has been saved, redeemed, born again, baptized, and adopted into the family of God.

Those who were once enlightened” are those who have come to the knowledge of the truth of the saving grace of God. They have heard the truth of the Gospel message and they embraced that truth and received Christ Jesus as their personal Saviour. They have rested from their own works and rested in the finished work of Christ for salvation. At this point they “have tasted of the heavenly gift” which is the gift of eternal life (Rom 6:23b & Eph 2:8-9). God offers and gives this gift to those who are obedient to the Gospel message.

When a person receives Christ Jesus as their Saviour they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. They have been “made partakers of the Holy Ghost” (Rom 8:9). This is the Seal of promise which is also the “the earnest (down payment) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Eph 1:13-14). The day of the redemption of the purchased possession is the day that our bodies are resurrected to eternal life. At salvation our spirit and soul are redeemed. But on the day the Lord comes for His church our bodies will be redeemed and raised incorruptible and immortal. For those who have already passed away they will receive their bodies resurrected and those who are still alive on that day will be changed in an instant (1 Ths 4:13-18 & 1 Cor 15:51-57).

Those who are saved and have the Holy Spirit can understand the Word of God because it is the Spirit who teaches us the Scriptures (1 Cor 2:13-14). If you are saved you “have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come”. You have received that transforming power that opens your spiritual sight to the things that are supernatural - “powers” - and eternal - “the world to come”. You should know and experience the life-changing power of the Gospel and the Word of God. You should have a different outlook because of the Spirit of Christ within you; you should have a whole new set of desires and priorities.

This brings us back to the first phrase because it ties this redeemed person to a statement that will be hypothetical; “For it is impossible … IFthey shall fall away”. What follows from here is hypothetical because it hinges on the word “IF”. If it were possible to lose your salvation you can never “renew them [the works that salvation accomplishes within your heart and life] again unto repentance”. Those works are the enlightenment, tasting the heavenly gift, made a partaker of the Spirit, tasted the Word of God, experienced the power of God, and have by faith seen the things to come. These all take place at the moment of salvation and continue to grow in those who continue to walk by faith in the Spirit. You can never renew these experiences again because you crucify Christ Jesus openly and bring shame and reproach upon His name. For any one person to be saved a second time Christ would have to come back and die a second time.  You are saying that “IF” you can lose your salvation that His sacrifice “once for all” (Heb 10:10) was not enough to keep you saved. “IF” you can lose your salvation you can never be saved again for it is impossible! But praise be to God because Christ Jesus is the Author of eternal salvation and you can have confidence that you are eternally secure in His eternal salvation! - Preacher

 

 

WEEK 33

August 12

The Tragedy of the Wilderness Wanderer

Hebrews 3:7-19 (12-14) ~ Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

God was grieved with Israel when they would not trust Him enough to enter the promised land. That means they provoked Him to anger. It displeased the Lord that He had done so much for them and they thumbed their noses at Him. Therefore He did not let them enter His rest. “Rest” here is talking about the vibrant abundant life that God wanted to give them in Canaan. God had great and mighty blessings in store for those who had come out of Egypt, but they could not receive it because they did not trust God’s Word.

Canaan in the life of a Christian is the vibrant, energized, exciting, abundant, and victorious life. The wilderness life, though it is the life of a saved person, is the life of daily defeat and no growth in the Lord. God brought you out of the world to enjoy the life of promise. Do you want to be a Wilderness Wanderer, or do you want to be a Canaan Conqueror? God offers it, you must embrace it. It’s your choice.

That generation of Israel missed out on the blessed life of victory, abundance, and the daily blessings and provisions that God had in store for them. They simply did not believe that He could give it to them; they allowed the world to influence them against following the Lord. This is the life of a Wilderness Wanderer and it is a life of spiritual tragedy.

This unfortunately will lead to the trickery of that disbelief, or mistrust of God’s daily blessings and grace. It comes through “… the deceitfulness of sin.” The word “deceitfulness” means “delusion or a false impression, opinion, or belief.” Sin will trick you into thinking all is well when all is not. It will deceive you into believing that it is okay because it feels good. In this way sin will cause you to get further from the truth and further from God. Those in the wilderness believed that all was well because they had food, clothing, and shelter. But if they would have followed the Lord they would have had so much more.

They did not truly please God and their hearts became darkened and harder as they wandered farther from Him. The farther you get away from God the harder your heart will become. If you do not walk in the light as He is in the light then you are walking in darkness (I Jn. 1:7, 8). Darkness causes the heart to become harder. It is the same with refusing to hear the Word of God which is the light of the truth because the Word of God is truth (Jn. 17:17). Refusal leads to darkness and a hardened heart. If you will seek reality and truth you will find yourself walking in the light.

Those who live their lives as Wilderness Wanderers will never know the satisfaction and the peace of walking daily with the Lord. They will never know the sweet fellowship that comes from living the blessed life. They will never understand the joy that comes from satisfying work and the secure provision of all their needs. They will never know because they have not been obedient to the commands of God nor have they really trusted in the promises of God. Perhaps they are struggling with the fact that they have to work to supply their needs not realizing that it is God who gives the ability to work, gives the job to work at, prospers the work for security, and gives the increase in life so that we can be a help to others.

Where are you in your walk with the Lord? If you were ever closer to God than you are today, then you are wandering. You have moved away from God for He never moves away from you; He will only move closer to you. You have allowed something or someone to come between you and Him. If so, you need to rectify the problem before the deceitfulness of sin moves in. The simple remedy is to repent and to return to the Lord. He is waiting for you to come towards Him so that He can move towards you. Wanderers are not secure in their daily trust of God; they struggle daily with their relationship with God. – Preacher

 

August 13

The Triumph of the Canaan Conqueror

Hebrews 3:7-19 (12-14) ~ Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

God warns us to “take heed” which means to look and beware (v. 12). We are to be like a century guard that is on the lookout for the enemy to try to attack. We guard our hearts against the deceitfulness of sin and then we are to help and exhort one another (v. 13). We should be on guard for ourselves, for our temporal family, and for our eternal family. God always wants us to hold fast to our profession of faith (v. 14 & 1 Cor 15:58) and keep our confidence in Him (Psa. 118:8, 9). Men will let you down, but the Lord will never fail you. He encourages us to hurry (v. 15). Do not procrastinate and put off till tomorrow what you can get done today. God wants to encourage you to take heed, to help one another, to hold on and be steadfast, and to hurry about doing it while there is yet time to get it done.

The children of Israel are an example of here of what you are not to do. The lack of trust in God’s Word and God’s promises is what caused them to die in the wilderness. They were never satisfied. They never really had rest and peace. They never knew all the riches of the blessed life. They had to work harder to get what they needed to sustain the life of their families. All of this they received at their own hands for their disobedience and distrust of God. They never were partakers of the divine goodness and blessing of God for they were never allowed to enter the Promised Land.

Those who are Canaan Conquerors know the goodness and the blessing of God. They know the peace and the comfort of the security of God. They know that in trials and troubles that all will be well because they trust the Lord, they trust His Word and His promises, and they know that He is in control and that He will provide. They have no real worries because they are in the hand of the Lord and nobody is able to pluck them out of His hand.

Christian, you need to take heed that there is not a heart of disbelief and distrust within you. God brought you out of the world. He delivered you from fear and bondage of sin and death. He wants to deliver you into the promised life of abundance and victory. When you are trusting God and His Word you will find a new set of priorities in your life. You will want to be closer to the Lord every day. You will want to live a life of victory every day. You will want God to be at the center of everything in your life every day.

If you have not already determined to be a Canaan Conqueror do so today. Give all that you are and all that you have to the Lord and trust His Word and promises for your very life and existence. When you do so you are drawing closer to Him and He promised that He would draw closer to you. When you get closer to God you will find yourself being humbler and He promised that He would exalt you (Jam 4:10 & 1 Pet 5:6). I speak from experience; when you humble yourself before God and stand confident in the faith, some will mock you and trouble you, but God will exalt you in due time. Many times has this been true in my life. If He will do it for someone like me, He will do it for you! - Preacher

 

August 14

The Rests of God

Hebrews 4:1-11 (9-11) ~ There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

The key to this passage of Scripture is “rest”. In verses 4 and 5 it refers to the Sabbath rest of God when He ceased from His work of Creation. It refers to His settling down and being satisfied with the work which He had accomplished. God saw His work and He saw that it was good. In verses 6 through 8 it speaks of God’s Canaan rest when He finally brought the children of Israel into the Promised Land. God gave them victory because they trusted in His power and His promise to give them the land; they rested on the promise of God. God gave them the blessings of the fruit of the land. They rested in God and God poured His blessings out upon them.

 But there is also God’s redemptive rest. That is the rest of trusting in the redemptive work of Christ on Calvary in place of your own works. All that our works could ever earn us is an eternity in hell paying for our own guilt and the penalty of sin. But Christ paid the price so that we could escape the guilt and the penalty of sin. When we put our confidence and faith in the finished work of Christ, then we can enter His redemptive rest. His righteousness is applied to us just as our sin was applied to Him on the Cross. Therefore, we do not have to continue in our vain works. When it comes to salvation, we rest on the works of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 But we also have the sanctifying rest of God. It is our obedience to the Word of God. When God says we are “to do” we “do” and when God says we are “to do not” we “do not.” We are to be transformed by the Spirit of God and the Word of God. It is applying the Scriptures to our life and patterning our life after the Word of God. We submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit as He points and directs us in the Scriptures. We present ourselves to the Lord and subject ourselves to His Word. This is the life application of the Word of God; applying His Word to our hearts and lives as the Holy Spirit directs.

 When we enter the redemptive and the sanctifying rests of God we are living the Canaan Conqueror’s life of victory and blessing. We are being delivered daily from the habit and dominion of sin. But there is yet a future rest of God that we are to enter. That is our eternal rest when all the presence of sin is completely eradicated from our life. We will not only have the victory over death, hell, and the grave, but we have the wondrous gift of eternal life without any presence of sin whatsoever. That is the greatest rest of all. We will not have to deal with the presence of sin in our life and we will not have to deal with a sin cursed creation.

But even greater still is the fact that our works in sanctification will follow us into eternity (1 Cor 3:13, 14). We will enter His eternal rest and there be rewarded for the abundant life that He has given to us in this world. We work and toil and labor for the cause of Christ in the love of Christ. He gives us a more abundant life, and then when we get to Heaven, He will reward us for the good that we have done with that life. It is a win-win for us all the way. We have abundant life, eternal life, and the rewards of that life. That would be like someone giving me a piece of equipment to work with, giving me the ability to use it productively, scheduling the jobs for me to do with that equipment, and then giving me all the money that comes from those jobs. What a joy and what a blessing!

Rest does not mean that you do not have to do anything. Rest means to cease the futile and vain work that you are doing, trusting in the work that God has accomplished in Christ for salvation, trusting the work and the ability that He gives you to do that work in your sanctification, and being steadfast and unmovable unto the end when you shall be glorified and rewarded by Him.

Have you entered the Canaan rest of the Spirit-filled life and are you working in the work He has given you to do? Joy and blessings are found in the rests of God. - Preacher

 

August 15

Resting In The Word of God

Hebrews 4:12 ~ For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

For” ties this verse back to the warning we received in verse 11. We rest in the salvation of God, the sanctification of the Spirit, and the glorification we will receive because of Christ. But we are to also rest in the completed message of the Word of God. Some might believe that what is meant by “the word of God ” here is the Lord Jesus Himself, but it is actually referring to the written Word of God.

The Bible speaks of itself in many different places using various figures of speech to describe itself. It is called a seed in Luke 8:11, a fire in Jeremiah 23:29, a hammer in the same verse, and a sword in our Scripture today. In Ephesians 6 it is also called the Sword of the Spirit. Whatever name it carries we must believe in the completed Canon of Scripture. If we do not we will fall prey to every wind of false doctrine that comes our way.

The message in these verses is that there must be a consistency with God’s Word so that there is consistency with God Himself. If there is no consistency with the Word of God there is no consistency with God Himself. This is where all false religion finds its strength; the Canonical Bible is not enough. Again, those who do not rest in the assurance that the Word of God contains the completed message of God to man is open to every false doctrine and false worship that comes their way. The Word of God is not an ineffective, lifeless, idle promise; it is alive, and it is powerful.

The Word of God is “quick” which means that it is living and never shall die. It is “powerful” which comes from the Greek word “energes” meaning “energizing.” It is a living and an energizing Word. It brings to life that which is dead or near death and energizes or re-energizes it. It is good for the sinner as well as for the saint who may be weary or out of the way.

It is “sharper than any twoedged sword” for it will cut in every direction and it will penetrate. When the Word is used to rebuke sin, the one who is wielding the Sword will be convicted as well as the one who it is directed towards. When the preacher preaches the Word, it will cut towards the congregation and it will cut towards him. He cannot preach anything that does not apply to him as well as to his listeners. It cuts both ways. Many times the Spirit will preach the message to me before I can deliver it to the people.

We must receive the Word as not just another word but for what it is; it is the Word of God (1 Ths 2:13). Paul said, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (I Cor. 2:4). The Word is given to us to bring us to the saving knowledge of Christ, to strengthen and guide us so that we may enjoy our Christian life, and to bring us into an ever-closer relationship with God our Father. The purpose for the Word of God is to influence our life. Someone said, “The Word of God will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Word of God.” We must spend more time in the Word of God embracing it for the fact that it is THE WORD OF GOD.

The Word of God is “piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit.” Only the Word of God can differentiate between the soul and the spirit of man. It is the only thing that can separate the two. When you speak of the soul of man you will find that the spirit is a part of it. In some Bible passages we can see the spirit and soul are synonymous with each other while in others passages they are separate from each other. The Word of God is a spiritual sword that divides the desires of man from the desires of God. We trust His Word and rest from our desires and surrender to rest in the desires of God. It is the Word that will divide the soul and the spirit from one another and do a work that will transform the person into the very image of Christ. You can trust and rest in God’s Word. - Preacher

 

August 16

Resting In The Life & Power of God's Word

Hebrews 4:12 ~ For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 

The Word of God is living, it is vibrant, and it is energetic. It is full of life because it is the living, written Word. If it could be transformed into a man, that man would be the living, eternal Christ. Christ is the embodiment of the Word of God. This book has life and it has power. It divides the spirit from the flesh to reveal to man what is truly within him. It pierces the heart of man to reveal the very intent of the thoughts within. It will cut to the quick and lay open the heart of man. 

The soul and the spirit are invisible to the eye of man, but they are opened and separated by the Word of God to bring conviction of sin. The spirit within the natural man is controlled by the flesh. The Word penetrates with power to dethrone the flesh and to enthrone a new Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. This Word convicts of sin and convinces of the way of righteousness through the Lord Jesus.

When the Word says that it divides the soul and spirit and the joints and marrow it is referring to that which is invisible and hidden. The Word reaches into the farthest reaches of the soul and mind of man so that there is nothing that is hidden. There are no secrets that you can keep away from God for His Word will get into the most secret and hidden places of the heart.

This Precious Word will inform us of what we are thinking and the reasons for our thinking that way. When the Word tells us that lust is sin it will also show us that lust is selfish and puts our wants ahead of the needs of others. It will reveal the weakness of the flesh as it is subject to the pleasures of the world. Therefore, it reveals to us the intent of our heart’s desires and allows us to see the truth.

Nothing is hidden from the eyes of God. He is omnipresent and omniscient. He is everywhere and all knowing. His Word will always accomplish what He sends it to do. His written Word is there to show us the right and the wrong and the good and the evil. It will teach us what is true, honest, just, pure, good, and holy. It will teach us things that are good for doctrine so that we can believe the right things. It will teach us things that are wrong and give us solutions so that we can correct the wrong in our life. It will instruct us so that we can help others to see and come into the light.

Psalm 139:23, 24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” It is a prayer of openness towards God. When you are serious about being right with God this is the attitude of the heart that you should have. You should realize that there is nothing that can be hidden from God. But you need the Word of God to penetrate the deepest recesses of your heart, mind, and soul so that you can know the truth of what is within and why it is there.

You should know and understand that God’s written Word is God’s spoken Word. When He speaks, His words do not dissipate into thin air like yours and mine. When He speaks His Word remains for it is alive and it is eternal. It has the power to affect change in the life of those who believe it and receive it. You can rest in His unchanging Word for the security that you need in life.

When you are serious about being right with God you will open His Word and open your heart and allow His Word to speak to you. It is God talking to you when you read and hear His Word. In the beginning of Psalm 139 we find the Psalmist saysing, “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.” God already knows so let His Word in to accomplish the work that needs to be done in your heart today. Open the Book and let the Book open you to God and all of His wonders and blessings. - Preacher

 

 

WEEK 32

August 5

Jesus Is Our Merciful & Faithful High Priest

Hebrews 2:14-18 (v. 17) ~ Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Jesus became flesh and blood for us to release us and give us liberty and to reconcile us and give us life. He is our “… merciful and faithful high priest.” The word “merciful” here means actively compassionate; He can sympathize with where you are because He has been there. As a human, Jesus can be a merciful high priest because He understands us. As God, He is a faithful high priest because He understands God. As our High Priest, He perfectly understands man and God at the same time.

Man comes into this world spiritually dead and separated from God. That means that we could not keep His Law because we have no spiritual influence to keep it. We have all broken the Law of God; we have all sinned against God (Jam. 2:10; Rom 3:10-12, 23). But God who made us loves us regardless of our own selves. He sent Christ to do a work that only He could do because He is both God and man. The just demands of God’s Law had to be satisfied and Christ paid the price required to fulfill those demands. His death, burial, and resurrection reconcile us back to God by our undiluted faith in His sacrifice.

In doing so He propitiated God by making the atoning sacrifice as both the High Priest who offered the sacrifice for the sins of the people and in becoming the atoning sacrifice Himself. He has appeased God; He has quenched the condemnation and wrath of God towards those who have received Christ as their personal Saviour. He has given us life by bringing us back into a right relationship with God our Father.

The world today is crying our that they do not want to hear about God, or Jesus, or Heaven or hell. They have believed the lies of Satan that there is no God and there is nothing beyond the grave. They believe that death is the end of all existence. Therefore, they are not accountable for how they live or what they do. And they wonder why our children act like animals and why mass shootings are on the increase. Infidelity, multiple partners, and same sex partners are considered a normal part of life now.

They will receive their desires when they enter eternity. There they will be delivered from God, Christ, and the godly lifestyle that they so despise. They will never know the presence of the goodness and the mercies of God ever again. They will get exactly what they are asking for; eternity without God, but first they will face His judgment. The judgment of God is the full weight and just demands of the Law being laid upon those who have broken it. The more of the Law that is violated the worse the punishment in hell will be.

What a Saviour we have in Christ Jesus our Lord. What a salvation that we have in Him. He has given you the full deliverance from the curse of the Law. He has given you a place in eternity with Him. He suffered, died, and rose again so you could get there. He is a merciful and faithful High Priest. Give Him glory today. Give Him recognition for this great salvation. Give Him verbal praise. - Preacher

 

August 6

Jesus Is Our Support & Help

Hebrews 2:14-18 (v. 18) ~ For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

His work in our life is just beginning when He releases and reconciles us. In your new life that you have received you will face the temptation to stray from God and the path He wants you to follow. The world, the devil, and your own flesh will always be sources of temptation. But Christ came to rescue us and give us life more abundant. That abundance is in the power you have been given to believe right, to get right, to stay right, and to have the ability to guide others right.

Christ was tempted as a man and He endured those temptations in the power of His humanity. He understands the full depths of your temptations. And because He was tempted in all points as we are, He can come to your aid to rescue you from the temptations that you face every day. The word “succour” means “to come to the aid or relief of another.” He comes to you in your time of temptation and always has a way for you to escape the temptation.

In Mark 9:14-29 we find the story of a man whose child had a deaf and dumb spirit. He brought him to the disciples and they could do nothing for him. But when the Lord came to him, he found the aid and the help to relieve him from the suffering. “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.  And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (vs. 23, 24). The man needed help with his faith, he was tempted to give up on hope, and Christ was able to succor him in his hour of need.

When you are tempted to stray, to give in to some sin, or feel as though your faith is waning, the Lord will always be there to help you and to give you exactly what you need. Do not ever think that you are so insignificant that God will not come to your aid. Jesus Christ suffered and endured the temptations in the wilderness as well as many other temptations in His life on earth. He was just as much human as you are. In His humanity He was tempted. In your temptations He will always be there to help, to aid, to relieve, and to support you in your time of need. Sometimes we may need to ask for His help with our lack of faith to endure and keep going.

Jesus became flesh and blood to release us, to reconcile us, and to rescue us. When you are tempted you need to discipline yourself to do three things. First, look for the lie that is in the temptation and confront the lie (Gen3:1-7). Second, you need to claim the truth of the Scriptures (Mat. 4:1-13). Thirdly, you need to call for the help of the Saviour (Jam. 4:7, 8). He will come to you and He will help you. Christ Jesus is your support and your help in times of temptation. - Preacher

 

August 7

Whose House Are We!  Pt 1

Hebrews 3:1-6 (v. 6) ~ But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

The center of Jewish worship was the tabernacle and then the Temple. When God dwelt with the children of Israel it was in a physical house; the place of worship. He came into the tabernacle where all worship of and fellowship with God took place. When Solomon finished the Temple a change took place and the Temple became the permanent place of worship. 

When Christ came another change took place. God had become man and He occupied a human body. We are told in Colossians 2:9, “For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” And again in John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” The word “house” is used seven times in this passage of Scripture in Hebrews. But the one phrase we need to focus on is in verse six. It says, “… whose house are we…” This phrase is referring to born again believers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God is saying that we are the spiritual house that God now abides in. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pt 2:5). Since we are the spiritual house of God there should be some marks in our lives to prove this out.

There must be careful consideration. If we are believers, we are “holy brethren”; believers set apart from the world and set apart to God. We are to be partakers of the heavenly calling of salvation. We are saved and we are secure in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God; we are the house of God. We are partakers of the divine nature in the abundant life when we endure our Christian walk in this present evil world. It means that we have things in common with Christ; “we are labourers together with God” (1 Cor 3:9).

We must carefully consider the Saviour. He is the Apostle of our profession. “Apostle” means “sent one.” He is sent and commissioned by God for the work He came to do. Jesus Christ is the Apostle who represents the Father to the people. He is the High Priest of our profession. The High Priest represents the people to the Father. The God-man is the only One who could realistically represent the Father and the people. Because He is both He is best suited to represent both.

For this we must have grateful appreciation. God lives within every believer and every believer should be marked with grateful appreciation. We are “to offer up spiritual sacrifices.” In Christ, as the temple of the Living God, we are to “… offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Heb 13:15). We should be grateful for His faithfulness. Moses was a faithful servant but was sometimes reluctant to serve. He was Israel’s greatest leader and did all that God had for Him to do, but Jesus Christ was superior in His faithfulness.

We should be grateful for His majesty. Moses was honorable, but Jesus is worthy of more honor. The building should bring attention and glory to the builder. The house that Moses built was but a picture of what was to come. Christ, indwelling the believer, was the fullness of that picture. Moses was the human instrument in the building of the Tabernacle, but Christ designed and provided for the building. As a person looks at a picture of someone dear to them, especially one who has passed away, they think of the person that the picture represents. The picture is but a man-made piece of paper, a reproduction or likeness of a real person. The person is more precious than the picture, and it is the person that gives the picture its value. The work of Moses was a picture, but Christ was the person that the picture represented; and therefore, better.

You should give careful consideration to whose you are and Who Christ is. You should show your gratitude for God and His Christ every day you live in the way you live. Let your life be a shining light that brings glory, honor, and praise to God your Father. - Preacher

 

August 8

Whose House Are We! Pt 2

Hebrews 3:1-6 (v. 6) ~ But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

When we consider Jesus the Apostle and High Priest of our faith, we should carefully consider who we are and who Christ is to us. We should be grateful for His deity. Moses wrote about Christ but Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Mat. 16:16). If it were not for the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose house would you be? You would not belong to God because without the shedding of blood there is no remission or cancelling out of sin. Without the removal of sin God cannot inhabit the soul. Therefore, Christ the Lord became God “in the flesh” to become our Apostle and High Priest so that He could unite us as one with God the Father. There needs to be careful consideration that only Deity could bring this to pass, and we should show our grateful appreciation for it every day by the way we live.

We must show grateful appreciation for His faithfulness, His majesty, and for His deity. We should show it in every part of the life that we now live in the flesh. It is to be a holy life that is separated from worldliness and separated unto God. We consider whose we are and we show gratitude for that by living according to His will and not according to the desires of our flesh.

We must have a faithful determination to stay the course and to hold fast to our faith. The world does not want you to stay the course and certainly does not want you to hold fast to your faith. 1 John 2:19 tells us, “They went out from us, but they were not of us;” This is speaking of those who had profession of faith without possession of the Spirit. They were never saved. To hold fast means to stay the course that is determined for us so that we can have the heavenly blessings that we need to live in the world. We live in the world, but we are not a part of the world.

We must have a holy boldness to hold on in the world today (Acts 4:29). That is what the word “confidence” means in this verse of our text. It means that we can speak freely, bluntly, frankly, and publicly. It is the ability to speak of our faith in God and in our Saviour Jesus Christ without fear or restraint. You should have boldness to hold forth the Word of life wherever you go (Php. 2:15, 16). You should not be ashamed or afraid to share Christ with others. Having this confidence that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God should give you boldness to speak of what you believe; you are His and He is yours. One of the great evidences of salvation is the boldness to stand for the Lord and to defend the faith once delivered to the saints.

Faithful determination gives you holy boldness and it gives you happy boastfulness. You can boast in a good way of all that the Lord has done for you. What He has accomplished for you and me He has done for whosoever will come to Him. His work is an all-inclusive work in that He will take anyone who will repent and come to Him in faith. It is boasting of God’s goodness and His blessings in your life.

The work of Christ between God and man is something that every person should hear about. Every person deserves to have a clear and concise presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ just as Christ deserves for every person to hear a clear and concise presentation of the Gospel. In the same way that Christ is the go between for God and man, “we are labourers together with God” (I Cor. 3:9) to go and share the message of salvation to whosoever will give us an audience to share Him (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15, 16; Acts 1:8; Php. 2:15, 16). The greatest work that you can do for Christ is to tell others about Him and His grace.

Whose house are you? Does your life bear out the marks of careful consideration, grateful appreciation, and faithful determination? Remember Whose house you are and hold fast to your confidence and rejoicing unto the end. - Preacher

 

August 9

Canaan Conqueror or Wilderness Wanderer

Hebrews 3:7-19 (v 14) ~ For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

One of the main purposes of the Book of Hebrews is to encourage the Christian to go on to maturity in Christ. The danger is not that we would lose our salvation but that we would not enjoy the full blessings of the Christian life if we do not go on. There are Canaan Conquerors and there are Wilderness Wanderers.

Those who are Canaan Conquerors are the ones who live the exciting, vibrant, and victorious Christian life. Those who wander in the wilderness live a defeated life and do not share in all that the abundant Christian life has to offer. You either grow in the Lord or you are failing to believe and grow. You can be a child of God who is born again and yet not experience the divine nature because you are not going on to complete maturity in Christ.

Hebrews is written to Jewish believers but is profitable for all believers. Therefore we see the tragedy of disbelief. The Old Testament is full of illustrations such as we have in this chapter of Hebrews. These things are “… written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). There are some things that we can learn here from the children of Israel.

Notice that there are three locations in understanding the history of Israel. There is Egypt, the wilderness, and Canaan. God delivered Israel from Egypt. They were delivered by power and by blood. When the blood of the Passover lamb was applied to the doorposts of their houses the death angel spared their lives. This is a perfect picture of salvation. They came to the Red Sea and they crossed over on dry ground which pictured baptism. God had taken Israel out of the world (Egypt) and He wanted to put them into the abundant life (Canaan).

Between the world and the abundant life was the wilderness. In the wilderness they wanted to go back into Egypt, but they could not. Once they were under the blood and through the Red Sea they were through with Egypt forever. However, they could not enter the Promised land, the abundance of the divine life, because of their unbelief. Because of their unbelief that whole generation died in the wilderness.

Israel rebelled against God and provoked Him. In other words, they irritated Him with their disbelief and distrust of what He said. They complained against the leaders that God had chosen and appointed over them. They constantly complained and regretted having ever left Egypt. For 40 years they tried God in the wilderness. The tempted Him which means they tested Him to see if He would really meet their needs. They proved Him which means they tested Him to see if He would meet their approval.

We are told to “take heed” about how we treat the Lord our God. A Wilderness Wanderer lives for the Lord out of duty or dedication. They will serve the Lord if it is convenient for them; if they have the time, if it costs them nothing, and if it benefits them. A Canaan Conqueror has a personal daily walk with the Lord; it is a lived for God and serving God in every area of their own personal life. They are always looking to do something for the One who has done everything and has given so much for them.

How do you treat the Lord? Is He the Authority and Priority of your life, or do you just call upon Him when you need Him? Do you strive to get closer to Him daily? Do you seek to serve Him every day in every part of your personal life? Do you have a personal relationship with Him that allows you to experience and share in His life every day; to live in victory over the world, the devil, and your own flesh? Go, walk with Him today and you will experience the abundant life of fellowship in His grace and glory. In Him and with Him you are more than a conqueror. - Preacher

November 30: Punishment Promotes Wisdom

Proverbs 3:11-12  My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Chastening is for correction of ignorance. We do not know everything all at once when we are saved. We are new born babes in Christ who need proper upbringing to become a mature Christian. So the Lord uses chastening to correct and instruct our ignorance so that we may stay safe in the world.

Scourging is for the correction of disobedience. When we know the truth and do not follow the truth then God will use scourging to bring us back to proper behavior. Scourging refers to spiritual spanking; this may be whatever the Lord has to use to get your attention. It may be something physical with your health, some spiritual defeat, some financial difficulty, or some other hardship that will cause you to repent and get back where you need to be with the Lord.

You do the same thing for your children. You must teach them right and wrong, teach them the benefits and the consequence, and then you must enforce the rules and guidelines for proper behavior. You may chasten them with rebuke and stern warnings first, but if they continue to do wrong then the punishment will get a little harsher each time. Physical punishment – spanking -  should be a final punishment, not the first.

God has given us His Word to set the parameters of our behavior. His Word is good and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Doctrine is instruction to believe the right things. These are the basic fundamental truths of His Word. These cannot be compromised for any reason whatsoever. If you compromise doctrine you sin against your holy and benevolent Father.

Reproof is rebuke of wrong doing to convict of sin. The Spirit of God will use the Word of God to convict you of sin. He does this so that you will repent and get right. If you keep falling into the same trap you may cause God to bring harsher punishment against you. But the sooner you repent and get right the easier it will be on you. By the way, the Lord does not enjoy punishing His child, but He does it out of love because He wants to prosper you in life.

Correction gives us solutions so that we might stay and live right. He does not just give you reproof without giving you a solution to your problems. The reproof warns you that you are in the wrong; you have broken the parameters of good behavior. You need to repent and obey His Word. Now He tells you what you need to do to stay right so that you may consistently obey and live right. You must learn from your mistakes.

Instruction is training and teaching so that we can help guide others in the right paths. God so graciously allows those who have walked in the paths of wisdom to invest into your life through teaching a Bible class, mentoring through setting a right example for you, preaching, and giving counsel in navigating through difficult times. Do not be weary of His correction or punishment. Your Father loves you with infinite, sacrificial, undeniable, unconditional love. His desire is to protect and prosper you in life so that you can have the best He can give you.

When you have come to a place of spiritual maturity, then you can teach others and help them. You ought to have a daily diet of God’s Word so that you can know right, get right, stay right, and teach right. -Preacher

Subcategories