Friday, November 28, 2008

Ephesians 2:1-10

I challenge everyone reading this blog to memorize Ephesians 2:1-10. My, what a wonderful passage of scripture this is! Say it often after you memorize it. Teach it to your children and grandchildren. This scripture tells us what God has done for us by his grace--and only by his grace.

Without grace we would have no life. It is God who gives us life and liberty. We have eternal life by grace (John 3:16, 36; 5:24; Matt. 25:46; John 17:3; Gal. 6:8).

We are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-10). We are the workmanship of God; he has made us his children; he has given us eternal life; he has promised us an inheritance incorruptible (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Christ is the object of our faith. We have faith in no other. Since he is God, we have our faith in God (Mark 11:22). Since the Holy Spirit is God, we have our faith in the Holy Spirit, and the three (the Trinity) work together in a perfect way to bring about everything that each believer needs to be saved, be secure, and be faithful.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Good Conference

I just returned on Wednesday from a Bible Conference at Bible Baptist Church in Harrisburg, Illinois, where Bro. Art Donley is pastor. We had a great attendance, and many preachers were there. We heard some great preaching. I wish I could have stayed for the Wednesday night service, but I came back for our good services here at First Baptist Church in Harrison, Ohio. Bro. Bob Jones and Bro. Bobby Green were preaching in the Wednesday services in Harrisburg.

We had a good service at First Baptist Church. Our attendance was not too good, but God blessed. I am preaching through the book of Jeremiah, and I was in Chapter 4. I did not finish the outline, so I will need to continue in this chapter next week.

On Sunday mornings I have just finished a series on "Why We Do Not Need To Be Baptized To Be Saved." There were six messages altogether. Sunday I will begin on a new series, or I will preach a sermon or two before starting on another series or a book of the Bible.

On Sunday evenings I am preaching on 2 Samuel.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bed Bugs

We have bedbugs! That is not funny, so quit laughing. There is an epidemic of these little rascals in Cincinnati this year. They were brought into our house by a "friend" who came to do his laundry. To rid our house of these pesky little things, we must go through a regiment of vacuuming, removing drawers from dressers, washing all clothes (clean and dirty) and putting them into garbage bags, removing all items from drawers and putting these items into garbage bags, putting everything in one room in the center of the room away from the wall--what a mess!

But, then, sin is just that hard to get rid of. Many people clean out their dirty words, their bad attitudes, and their bad habits and try to get rid of their sin; but they find that the sin is still there. Many try to stop taking drugs, stop smoking, stop cursing, etc., and they find that they go right back to it. How can we get rid of our sin? What steps do we take for that?

I have a sheet sitting right here in front of me telling me what I must do before the pest control people come to the house and do their work. But I am here to tell you that you do not have to do any preparatory work before Jesus Christ forgives you of all of your sins. He died on the cross to pay for sins; and if you can repent of your sins and place your complete trust in Jesus, his death, burial and resurrection, then your sins will be gone forever.

I am so afraid that, after the pest control people come to do their exterminating, we may still have some bed bugs; but when Jesus takes your sins away, there is not one sin left. He cleanses us from all of our sins. Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us. They can never be remembered any more.

We will have to wait a few weeks to know whether all of the bedbugs are gone, but we do not have to wait to know that our sins are forgiven. They are forgiven instantly and without work and without charge. Thank the Lord for his unspeakable gift!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Science & Global Warming

To see what scientists say about Global Warming, just click on the following link: Copy and paste this link into your web browser.

Monday, September 22, 2008

In Mansions Bright

In Mansions Bright
By Ronnie Wolfe – Sept. 19, 2008

In mansions bright my soul will go
In joy of soul be swept away.
My heart rejoiced, my mind at peace,
All sorrows gone, no debt to pay.

In mansions bright there’ll be no sun
For Jesus is the only Light.
Fellowship and praise divine
Make these mansions brilliant bright.

Home of soul and home of Christ
There I’ll be with Him for e’er
There His love I’ll understand,
For on the cross my sins did bear.

Come, dear friend, and go with me
To this my home of eternal rest,
And bid this world a last good-bye
Knowing Christ has done his best.

For funeral of Ruth Moore

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav Is Coming

The storm is coming to our southern shores, and Gustav may be as bad as Katrina. We who live north of the predicted harm must keep our minds on the need that will exist once this storm has done its damage.

If there is a need for help, Elliott Baptist Church in Mississippi is gearing up to be as much help as possible. They are already getting ready to house many people in their church building, and several of their members are inviting strangers into their house to help them out, since they had to evacuate due to the storm.

If you would like to help with financially, you may call the church at the following numbers.

Elliott Baptist Church

Friday, July 11, 2008

Why Doesn't God Heal Amputees?

This is a question that has been asked by a disgruntled atheist. Atheists always question our faith, but they never question their own faith in logic, reason, and science, though these all come short and are limited in what they can do.

Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

We do not worry about the things that God does not do; we know nothing about that. We are concerned about what God does, and we know that God heals. No one disproved that the man in John chapter five was healed of his impotency. I am sure that every Pharisee and scribe would have done so if they could. No one disproved that the blind did actually receive sight. No one disproved that Lazarus was raised from the dead. I am sure many would have done so if they could.

We also know that God saves sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), that God created the earth, that Noah built an ark and weathered a universal flood, that Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, and that Lazarus was raised from the dead. We know this by faith the same way that you know certain things by your own faith: evolution, uniformitarianism, transcendental knowledge, aliens, and ghosts, which are all purported by scientists.

If God decides to heal a liver rather than an amputated leg, that is his business, not ours. The secret things belong to him.

Why is it so that you do not distrust science, since there are many things that science cannot do and has not done. Why cannot science heal an amputation? Since your faith is in science, that would be your question, and it is mine, also. Can you give a reasonable answer to that? Why cannot science raise the dead?

God can do anything he purposes, but he does not do them at our whim but according to his own will and purpose: Daniel 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4).

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Heart-beat of Missions

A denominational paper ought to be the counterpart in spirit and purpose of the Acts of the Apostles. Instead of a little "missionary corner" in the paper there ought to be a pulse-beat in every line for missions. The supreme trouble with the missionary work now is that it is crowded off into a little corner. We want a missionary literature that will enthrone the one great passion and purpose of Jesus Christ, and do this in every issue of the paper and in every column of every issue. Until that is done by our papers, our preachers, and our churches, the continuing black plague upon all our religious efforts will be the anti-missionary spirit. We are not here primarily to cultivate sociology or to build up civilization. Our primary business is to give the gospel to the whole world. On no other basis has a church the moral right to the plot of ground on which her building stands. What was our Lord's conception of his church? For what did he build it? His church, he tells us, was to be his body, the instrument of his will, the medium through which be would manifest himself to the world. It is the business of the body to execute the purpose of the head. Christ's church is his body, and it is his purpose that the body shall carry forward the work that brought him from heaven to earth. For what did he come? "It is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." This was his supreme mission, and that of his churches is identical with that of their divine founder and king. For this cause he brought them into the world, and for this cause he keeps them here.

Taken from "The Inspiration of Ideals" by George Truett, Page 42

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Psalm 23 - #10

Psalm 23:6b . . . and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

This is the kind of expression that makes those who do not believe in God flinch. They believe that there is no place to dwell after a person is dead. If evolution were the proven scientific theory that many believe that it is, this may be true; but evolution has not and cannot be proven. Therefore, the possibility of an Intelligent Designer, thus, God, is very real. That reality springs to the truth that what God says in his book is true.

Jesus said in John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Where is Jesus? Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

So Jesus is ascended up on high; that is, Heaven. He is at the right hand of the Father: Heb 12:2 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.

One day I will dwell there. My mother is there; my wife is there; my foster brother is there; many of my friends are there; and Jesus is there. I often tell the story about the woman who became my wife. Before we were married, I told her that I did not know where I would be living, since I was a preacher. She said, "As long as you are there, I don't care where we are." That is the nicest thing she ever said to me. I feel the same way about Jesus. If he is there, that is where I want to be.

In this verse I find the promise that I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Forever is a long, long time. Only our Shepherd can make such a promise. The promise goes out to everyone who is his sheep: John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Let the Atheists howl of their empty destiny. Let the Modernists make fun of a real place called Heaven. Let the Moderates wonder about eternity and its beauty and its permanence. I will put my trust in God. Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

Thus goes the Psalm about our Shepherd. I shall not want. I shall be supplied. I shall eat and drink of good things. I shall live in his house forever. What more can I desire, and what more pleasure can I have than to know without a doubt that I will be with my Shepherd physically and eternally?

2 Tim. 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

On those streets, whether gold or not
Fastening my eyes upon my Lord,
Jesus on the throne there sitting,
Issuing standards from his Word.

Alive I'll be and present there
To behold my Shepherd in fine array.
I'll sing his praises without end
And worship God through endless day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Psalm 23 - #9

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

From the time that I was conceived in my mother's womb, God was present with me. His prevenient grace gave me stay and protected me, following behind my every move and thought. He was hidden from my realization of him except for what I was taught from others; but when I was 13 years old, I began to know him intimately. That is when he saved me by his grace.

It was not until later that I realized all the care and kindness that God had shown me before my salvation. When I was a baby, I drank some turpentine and almost died; but God was there to care for me. When I was a little older I had double pneumonia and almost died, but God was there to care for me. When I was almost three years old, I had Polio and could have died; but God was there to care for me. When I was in my 20's, I crossed a railroad track and realized that a train was speeding from around the corner unbeknown to me, but God was there to care for me. I am now 63 years old, and God has been caring for me all the time. From my conception until now God has been my Caring One.

"All the days of my life" does not refer only to my life since my salvation; it denotes every day of my life from first to last. He has always cared for me; he loved me from the foundation of the world. But his providence has been active in my personal life all the days of my life.

God's goodness is his protection and prosperity. He always has and always will give me the necessities of life. When it is my time to die, he will allow death to take this body; but he will still care for me through eternity. All the days of my life include every minute of every day and every second of every minute. He is there "all the days," not just a few of the days. Remember, God is with you every day and all day long, even through the night when we are unaware of our surroundings. Psalm 33:5 He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

God's mercy is countless, sublime and supreme. Mercy is a spiritual and divine thing. God's mercy follows me. The word "follow" in the Hebrew means "to pursue." Mercy will chase after me, find me, and bless me: We do not follow after mercy, because we are all human and depraved in heart and mind; but God's mercy runs after us just as a guided missile. When needed, it overtakes us and overwhelms us. Psalm 32:10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. Then we feel his blessings and know his love. Psalm 13:5 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.

Tomorrow will be no different from today. His goodness and mercy will follow us through the night and into the next day. They never cease pursuing us as God's children. Every day without exception they follow us. When goodness and mercy are needed, just cry out as the Psalmist in Psalm 30:10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper. He will not turn you away but will come to your aid, especially when you are obedient to him. Zech. 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Psalm 23 - #8

Psalm 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

He preparest a table before me. As I wander through this dark world, with evil all around and enemies thinking nasty of me, I can have a sweet fellowship with the Lord and put the thoughts of earth's dangers and darkness aside for a while and just be fed by God himself. We sit (my Lord and I) at the table with good things to eat, spiritual things that reach far above all earthly provisions.

In the presence of mine enemies. Though my enemies be close at hand, though they taunt me concerning my faith in the Lord, though they may hate the very Lord that I love, yet the Lord and I sit close by the enemies and, notwithstanding their jeers and hatred, we enjoy our fellowship together. The enemies may desire that I fall in my testimony; they may desire that I fail in my efforts to serve the Lord; they may wish that the Lord himself did not exist; but that makes no difference to my Lord and me. We simply sit together and enjoy the table that is spread with every kind of sweet and delicate serving of spiritual food.

When I finish eating at the table with the Lord, I am refreshed and charged with energy to again face my daily enemies, loving them for the cause of Christ, witnessing to them of God's amazing grace, and living among them and not entangling myself in the world with them. 2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

Thou anointest my head with oil. We may notice that the Hebrew word for "preparest" is in the Qal tense, or the casual or simple present tense of action. However, the word for "anountest" is in the Piel tense, which is the "intensive" present tense. You might say "I broke the dish." That would be in the simple or Qal tense of the verb. But you may also say "I broke the dish into a million pieces," which is the intensive or Piel tense.

When the Lord anoints my head with oil, he does it in an intensive way. It is as if he wants the enemies to know in a physical way that God has not forsaken me. My enemies cannot understand why I am so happy with my quiet life, loving and serving the Lord. They do not understand why I cannot enjoy the loudness of the world, the abundance of extreme energy engaged by the world in order to try to be happy. My joy is with the Lord, not in worldly pleasures. Oh yes, I have my problems with worldly pleasures just as everyone does; but that is not my real joy.

The word "anointest" has to do with being prosperous or fat. The word fat in the Bible has a good connotation. It implies success and prosperity. So, the Psalmist is saying in this Psalm that God is benefiting us in a good way and giving us a supernatural unction from his Holy Spirit. We are, you might say, fat with blessings.

My cup runneth over. The word oil in the Hebrew can also be translated "fat things." So, the Lord fattens us with fat things. I hope you understand what that means: it means that we as his children are benefited above the world with his good things. Psalm 103:5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord will not fill my cup if I do not present it to him for additional servings of fat things. I must bring my cup to him and ask him for a refill. He will never refuse me that. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

I am thankful to God that he will give me whatever I need to serve him, and he makes my cup run over, or he gives me more than I need so that I can enjoy of his abundance. He gives us abundant grace (2 Cor. 4:15); he gives us abundant rejoicing (Phil. 1:26); and he gives us abundant mercy (1 Peter 1:3). What else do we need when we have the abundance of God's cup running over with blessings?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Psalm 23 - #7

Psalm 23:4b -- . . . thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

The rod and the staff are the same instrument used by the shepherd. The rod is the straight part of the instrument with which the shepherd turns back the enemies of the sheep, such as the wolf and the lion. There are many enemies of God's people, and with the word of God they are pushed away by our dependence upon his holy word and the instruction that it gives us when we spend much time in it. Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. In this meditation we find much rest and security as if God were with his Shepherd's rod turning us away from the enemies of truth.

I remember that, when I was a teenager, I listened so several radio preachers. One of them was Herbert W. Armstrong. He said to me from the radio one day that there is no such thing mentioned in the Bible as eternal damnation. As I listened, I continued to read God's word daily. Then one day I read this in my Bible, Matt 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. After I read this, I turned off the radio and did not listen to Herbert W. Armstrong any more. The word of God settled it for me. The word of God was God's rod to turn back the enemy of God's word. Praise the Lord!

The rod is also used to count the sheep. To "pass under the rod" meant that the sheep was counted as the shepherd's own property. Ezekiel 20:37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: It certainly is wonderful to know that God knows his own. 2 Tim. 2:19 . . . The Lord knoweth them that are his . . . . He marked us out in eternity past, chose us before the world's foundation, and brought us to himself through faith in his gospel. With his rod, he marked us out as his own property, and nothing can change that, because he is the one who has done it.

The staff is the crooked part of the instrument that the shepherd used. The shepherd mainly used the staff to pull sheep back to himself away from a dangerous situation or to guide a sheep by pulling him from side to side with the hook.

God leads his dear children along, the song says. "Some through the water, some through the flood, some through the fire, but all through the blood; some through great sorrow, but God gives a song; in the night seasons and all the day long." His staff, then, comforts us as he gently guides us through the valley of the shadow of death, beside the still waters, and in the paths of righteousness.

The rod and staff does two opposing things: it will turn us away from danger and from error, push us out into the world to be a witness, or it will tenderly bring us to the Savior for his leadership and comfort. I am thankful for God's rod and staff. They comfort me. Do they comfort you?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Psalm 23 - #6

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me . . .

Though I Walk. The believer walks in the way of God, in the paths of righteousness. On the way to his Heavenly home, he encounters many troublesome obstacles that come in the way as he walks toward his goal. Some of these obstacles may bring the believer to the shadow of death, not death itself, but its shadow, giving the potential of fear on every hand. This idea is taken from the sheep that the shepherd watches as they travel over many sharp rocks and come at different times to the potential of death, as they may fall into a ditch, come to some water where the sheep may drown, or a cliff where the sheep may fall to his death.

Are you willing today to walk in the shadow of death for the Lord? Are you strong enough in your faith that you will face the enemies of the cross? Are you assured that God is with you and that he will lead you all the way to Heaven? That is what this Psalm is about.

Through The Valley of the Shadow of Death. But if the shepherd is doing his job, he will keep the sheep from danger; for, as the sheep approaches the potential of death, the shepherd will take hold of the sheep and lift him above the danger and bring him back onto the solid ground. This, then, becomes only a shadow and not death itself. Believers often fear death, at least the prospect of death's coming by way of some horrible calamity; but we also fear the shadow of death, those times when death seems to be so near as we walk our Christian walk.

Have there come some deep valleys in your life? Do you remember going through them as you walked along the Christian path? Do you know that the Lord is with you there just as he is when you are happy and enjoying the good things of life?

I will Fear No Evil. We are not to fear those times when death is near, whether it be at the end of a gun barrel, as the young lady gave her profession at the point of a gun at Columbine High School, after which the gunman killed her, or as the great martyrs who stood firm in the fires as they testified of their Savior, or those who faced the wild beasts which eventually tore them to shreds. We are to fear neither the Evil One, Satan himself, nor those evils which he can put in our way to try to make us stumble. Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Neither should we be afraid of death, because we know that it is only a channel-way to get to Heaven, a bridge to cross, a river to pass over. It is only a quick change from this life to the next life. 1 Cor. 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Thou Art With Me. The Lord, as our Shepherd, is always with us. He promised us that he would never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He is there to lift us up when we fall, to encourage our weakened and discouraged souls, to teach us of his good doctrines, and to rejoice with us as we receive his blessings with thanksgiving.

We do not need to fear, because the Lord is with us. Just as, when you were a child, your parents gave you great security by their very presence; even so the Lord will give us great security when we know that he is with us. Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Psalm 23 - #5

Psalm 23:3 . . . he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

He Leadeth Me. This is a straightforward clause which declares a straightforward action on God's part. "He" is the subject of this clause, and it declares God as being the one who is the Actor in this event. If it were not for God, and we could exist without him, then we could not be led in the paths of righteousness; because God must do this leading, since he is a righteous God, and there is no righteousness without him.

The object of this clause is "me." The action that God takes in this clause is directed to me. This makes this action personal. God is interested individually in his sheep. He takes a personal and intimate interest in each one of his children. What would I be without God? I would be nothing--I could not exist apart from this Providence.

The action of this clause is "leadeth." This verb is in the present tense, so God's leading is an ongoing action. He does not lead us for a while and then leave us to ourselves. He leads us all the way to eternity and throughout eternity. If we had no leader and could exist aside from him, then we would be going every which way, and there would be chaos on the earth (if there could be an earth). Isn't that what is happening in the world today? People are neglecting God and his word, and the world is becoming more and more chaotic. Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

In The Paths Of Rightousness. When God leads us, he does not lead us into paths of wickedness: Matt 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. God leads us in one direction only, and that direction is toward him. Part of the redemptive purpose of God is to bring us to God, and that is what he is doing in all of his Providence. His immanence is precious to every saved soul. He works directly in our individual lives by leading us in the paths of righteousness where there is light and life: Prov. 12:28 In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

But if we as God's children veer off the righteous pathway, there is death:

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; . . .

1 John 5:16 . . . There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Job 24:19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned.
Outside the paths of righteousness is death. God will punish sin with death, yes, in his children. He will bring death upon those who refuse to walk in the paths of righteousness. I do not pretend to know when God does that, but his word says that he will do it.

Within the paths of righteousness is life, and we would all do well to cry out to God even as Job did in Job 23:3 Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! We should seek the presence of God whatever it takes in our lives to do so. Every Christian should desire to walk in the paths of righteousness and to bring glory to God.

But how can we be led in the paths of righteousness? Notice Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word. We must spend much time in Bible reading and study and in prayer that we may find God and study his attributes, his graces and benefits, and his chastisements.

For His Name's Sake. God does not lead his children into dark places where sin dwells. He does not lead them where danger of temptation lurks. He leads his children in his own path, but not for their sakes but for his own name's sake. Remember we are but the dust of the earth; we are only his creatures. We deserve none of the goodness that God manifests to us. God is the one who deserves all the credit, all the reward, all the praise, all the service, etc.

His name is JESUS (Matt. 1:21). His name is holy (Luke 1:49). His name is to be preached among all nations (Luke 24:47). We have life through is name (John 20:31). We should be willing to suffer shame for his name (Acts 5:41). Our sins are remitted through his name (Acts 10:43). We should give thanks to his name (Heb. 13:15). His name is called The Word of God (Rev. 19:13).

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Psalm 23 #4

Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: . . .

The Hebrew word for "restoreth" means "to return, to bring back." This happens in several ways as God works with his chosen ones. This restoration comes from God: "HE restoreth my soul." We cannot restore our own souls from sin and backsliding. God must be the author as well as the finisher of our faith.

He restores us from our sins in salvation. We all fell in Adam, turning away from God in disobedience. We all fell into sin: the practice of sin and the condemnation of sin. Notice the following scriptures.

Rom. 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

In our sinful condition, we need salvation by grace which comes only from God. It is by grace that we are saved: Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

He restores us from backsliding. Jer. 3:6 The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. So many in our own day have turned from their Lord to the beggarly elements of the world: Ga 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Either true believers or simply professed believers have turned their backs on the Lord for these beggarly elements and have turned to the world for their satisfaction. From this the true believer can be turned and shall be restored when the grace of God is effective in his life.

Jer. 3:22 Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God. Jeremiah prophesied much concerning backsliding Israel. They are encouraged to "return." This is the same word that is used in Psalm 23:3 that is translated "restore." It is God who turns us, pricks our hearts, and carries us back to himself through his word even as he did Peter when he denied the Lord.

So, dear believer, keep yourself under the preaching of God's word, for it is God's word through which God will restore your soul, and it will be restored to the blessedness of the Savior and the sweetness of his communion. We dare not return back into the world once we have been restored. Once should be a sufficient number of times to teach us the difference between being backslidden and being in God's constant care and assurance.

He will restore us from weakness. When our bodies get weak and we cannot do what we once did (and many who read this have already experienced this), it is God alone who can restore the soul in these times, draw us above the strife of heart that is brought by the overwhelming calamity of disease and sorrows of life. As our hearts get weaker and weaker and our bodies diminish their usefulness, God is there to restore that body to that which his purpose claims.

It may not be God's will that you or I will return to our former youthful energies, but God will nonetheless restore our souls, not only in our confidence that God is working in us both in strength and weakness, but he will ultimately bring us to himself through his Son, Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: He will bring us to bodily death and quicken us through his Spirit so that we may experience the ultimate of God's blessings and entertain a wonderful reception in Heaven for all who believe. This is the greatest and most splendid restoration.

So brighten up your corner by believing in God, that he will restore your soul. He is our Shepherd, and this is one of his duties as our Great Shepherd.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Psalm 23 - #3

Psalm 23:2 . . . he leadeth me beside the still waters.

The fact that God leads us is a fascinating thing. This infers that we are not simply lying down in green pastures as God's sheep--we are on a journey and need for someone to lead us on this journey. We must get up and follow the Shepherd. Notice John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: This is the duty of a believer: to follow the Shepherd, not to constantly lie down in green pastures or expect the Lord to continually put us in a place of contentment and relaxation. We must fight the battle before us. The Shepherd will go before us and lead us on through the battle.

While he is leading us, he will supply us with spiritual necessity. Not only is it necessary for us to lie down in his pastures and enjoy God's graces, but it is also necessary for us to be refreshed along the way with the waters that he supplies. The plural of water (MAYIM in the Hebrew) speaks of cleansing. These waters are not only for refreshment and hydration for our bodies, but they are also for our cleansing. Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. This cleansing is necessary, because our old natures surge up as we travel along this life. This cleansing comes from the word of God, which is like water being poured over a wound for healing. The word of God is refreshment and helps us in times of trouble.

In the cold of winter, the flesh on our bodies tends to become dry and cracked. For healing, this takes water and a protection so that the moisture will not leave our skin. We use hand lotion to keep the moisture from going out of our skin. As long as the moisture is in the skin, the skin will heal; but when the water dissipates from the skin, then the skin begins to crack again.

We are in a dry, weary land, and we need water. Remember that God gave the Israelites water when they were in the desert. Without this water, they would die. Can we realize that God is daily sustaining us with the water of his word and the oil of his Holy Spirit? Remember that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). This is the protection like a lotion that keeps the moisture in; and as we read God's word and are obedient to him, the moisture comes into our lives, and the Holy Spirit protects us by keeping the moisture in it.

But the moisture will not stay in our hands forever even with the lotion applied to the hands; so it is with our lives. We cannot study God's word once and expect the moisture from his word to stay with us forever. We must study it day by day even as we must apply the hand lotion every day. Our lives get dry from staying so long away from God's word. Therefore, we need to have a daily supply of God's word in reading, studying and meditation. Then the Holy Spirit will seal that in our lives, but he will not seal it there forever. We must go back for a refreshing new supply of water.

Water is a healing agent. One of the first things one uses in medicine is water. We bathe with water and clean wounds with water. God's word (like water) is a cleaning agent and will cleanse the sinner of the most horrible of sins. Eph. 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.

As we journey this Christian life, we should expect God, our Shepherd, to give us water as needed along the way and to energize the churches of God with this same water. The Christian journey is a dusty one, and we accumulate this dust in our lives, which signifies sin. But the water of regeneration and the water of the word keep these sins at bay and keep us serving our Master, who supplies all the water we need.

Someone said a long time ago, "Still waters run deep." This is true with God's supply of water. There is no shortage, the well is deep, and who can go into the depths to draw out this water for us? Only our Shepherd, just as he did with the woman at the well in John Chapter Four.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Psalm 23 - #2

Psalm 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

The same Shepherd that is mentioned in verse one is the same Shepherd who makes us lie down in green pastures. He will never allow a proxy, a substitute or a hireling to take his place when communicating with his people. This Shepherd will now and always watch over, care for, and attend his people individually. Each lamb and each sheep has great value to him.

Matt. 10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

These green pastures are places of tender grass where the sheep can enjoy luscious grazing of fine refreshment. In the lives of believers these tender grasses are the graces which God extends to us continually. The grace of salvation, the grace of believing, the grace of righteousness, the grace of preservation, the grace of promised glorification are all ours, and we feed on these great truths from his pasture, the word of God. And in this world we relax and retreat from the world, worship our Lord in this comfortable place, and have a place to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Psa 84:3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.
We need a gentle and tender place to bring up our children. We need a hiding place, a place away from the world around us and them. We need to shelter our children, unlike the advice of many child psychologists today. Our children need to taste of this green pasture and understand our welcome forethought of going there and enjoying the things of God, feasting upon his word, the truth that separates us from the world and brings us into the realm of Heaven.

This is a good pasture, although many prefer the rough briers of the world, the challenges and stresses of the workaday world, the influences of men's depraved minds, and the pleasures of sin for a season. These pastures green will satisfy the hungriest soul, the thirstiest heart, and the panting of the harts along the water brooks of peaceful waters flowing aside.

Ezekiel 34:14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Psalm 23 #1

The Lord. This is the "Lord of all." This is the "Lord of Sabbaoth, the Lord of hosts, the Lord of lords and King of kings. This is the person who is speaking to us in this Psalm. Never read this psalm without knowing and understand who is speaking to you. This is the Lord, Jehovah, the God of Heaven and earth, the Almighty sovereign. He condescends to a very lowly state to speak to us human beings--how can he do such? God is amazing in this way.

The Lord is. We know by scripture, and by our own innate understanding of things, that God is. To be saved we must understand that he is. Heb. 11:6 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.

The Lord is my. This word "my" is an implied word in the Hebrew, but it has a strong significance. This word in English shows possession, and it is true in the Hebrew that this implication is correct. This intimates that God is in some way related to us. In fact, the implication is so strong as to say that he belongs to us in some way. To know that God not only created us but is also connected to us in a personal way is the mystery of the ages; it is bound up in the Gospel message.

The Lord is my Shepherd. The word Shepherd in the Hebrew is RA-AH and has a definite agricultural meaning at its base. It speaks of a shepherd of sheep or a herdsman of animals. But it also carries the meaning of pastor, ruler, or one who has compassion on others. It is with this word that God makes a specific connection with his people. He is our Shepherd. When no one cares for my soul, God does; when troubles are all around us, God is there with his mighty presence and his care; when tribulation comes, God sees us through them; when we are hungry, he feeds us; when we are thirsty, he gives us water to drink. He supplies all of our needs. It is so sad that many times we are not cognizant of these things, but God continues to supply these things nonetheless.

I. This is a personal pronoun and refers to the person who is reading the psalm. It denotes the person who is at the receiving end of the blessings of God, the provisions of God, and the wonderful opportunity to praise God for what he has done for us. "I" am the one who needs the Lord; "I" am the one who cries out for help; "I" am the one who needs refreshment; "I" am the one who is the beneficiary of God's greatest blessings. The only time that it is proper to be intrinsic and self-centered is when we are in a thankful attitude that God would look upon such a worm as "I."

I shall not. Many times we as God's people are concerned about the "I shalls" of the Bible. We are concerned about what we need to do to serve God. We concern ourselves about God's commandments and how many we are keeping. But what about the "shall nots" of the Bible? Sometimes they are more blessed than the "I shalls."

I shall not want. This word "want" means "to be in want, to be decreased or abated, to lack." We shall not go backward but forward if we are his sheep. We shall not be abated from a positive journey in the Lord's vineyard. Even when we backslide as believers, we are still going forward toward the Lord's purpose in our lives. He will eventually bring us to his Kingdom. We shall not lack anything that we need to serve God. God has supplied every need for us. Even David, who wrote this magnificent Psalm, had no need that God could not supply. We have only to see David and the way God blessed him to realize how great our God is. We have the same needs that David had, and he is our God and our Shepherd just as much as he was David's.

May God give us a new understand of the Shepherd, the sheep, the pasture, and the supply that our Shepherd gives us so freely and joyfully. Don't we have a wonderful Shepherd?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #19

Rev. 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Jesus is depicted here as having the seven Spirits of God. This speaks both of the fullness or completeness of God's Spirit as having been given to Jesus without measure: John 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. It also represents the Spirit of God in all of the seven churches, which designates that the Spirit of God rests in every true church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us first take up the idea of the Spirit of God in the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Revelation seven churches are mentioned: Ephesus, Smyna Pergamus, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodacia. Each one of these churches had the Spirit of God. We notice in at least four of the addresses to the churches this clause: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. The Spirit of God has a particular interest in each local church and, I believe, is in attendance at every worship service. We are brought into the membership of the local church by the leadership of the Spirit of God: 1 Cor. 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. This is the Spirit of God into which we drink when we are led by this same Spirit to join with God's people in God's church, which was purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28).

Sweet Spirit draw us unto Thee
And find our spirits to be free
From sin and sanctified to Thee
Till our eyes see only Thee.

Sweep us from our earthly heart
And take our longings far apart
From evil that our hearts now breed
And to thy church thy Spirit lead,

Where we can worship Thee apart
From worldly lust and sorrowed heart
And long for thy unchanging care
Through saints who sing thy praises there.

Then we see the complete Spirit of God represented in the perfect number seven. We have seen that this Spirit is given to Jesus without measure, and we know that Jesus had ready access to that Spirit, though he limited that access when he became a man made like unto sinful flesh. He laid down his ultimate power in heaven when he came to earth and became submissive as a servant of God, the Son of man (Phil. 2:7).

We see this seven-fold Spirit coming down upon Jesus when he was being baptized by John: Matt. 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: We see this same Spirit leading Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil (Matt. 4:1). This is the same Spirit by which Jesus cast out demons (Matt. 12:28). The Spirit led Jesus into the temple at a young age (Luke 2:27). Jesus had the power of the Spirit when he went into Galilee to minister (Luke 4:14). This Spirit of God is the same Spirit who was to come as the Great Comforter: John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

It is this same Spirit which Ananias and Sapphira tempted when they lied to Him. It is the Spirit of the Lord who led Philip to speak to the Eunuch, and it was the same Spirit who caught him away (Acts 8:29-39). This is the same Spirit who spoke to Peter in a vision concerning the salvation of the Gentiles (Acts 10:19). This same Spirit hindered Paul and his company from going into Bithynia (Acts 16:7).

This is the same Spirit after which God's children walk, and not after the flesh (Rom. 8:1). It is the same Spirit that makes us free from the law (Rom. 8:2). He dwells in us (Rom. 8:11), and if we are led by the Spirit of God, we are truly his sons of God (Rom. 8:14). He bears witness with our own spirit that we are the children of God (Rom. 8:16), and he helps our infirmities when we do not know what to pray for (Rom. 8:26). And he does so much more; and as we read through the scriptures, we see him in both the Old and New Testaments.

When all is over for this earth and this era, the Spirit will say "Come," and we are to invite others to come to this same Spirit of Christ, and whosoever will may come and take of the water of life freely (Rev. 22:17). We see this Spirit of Christ in the beginning as he moved upon the face of the waters (Gen. 1:2), and we see him again at the end of scripture in Rev. 22:17. He has been faithful to his job as God's Spirit, not bringing attention to himself, but exalting Jesus Christ. He will exist throughout all eternity, and by that same Spirit we shall dwell in God's eternal temple and enjoy the blessings of God.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #18

Rev. 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Here we see Jesus revealed as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is both King and Lord. No position can exist higher than those two positions, and Jesus deserves both positions, and no one else does.

King of Kings. Jesus is King of the kings of the earth, and scripture has much to say about the kings of the earth. First, they set themselves against the God of Heaven and his anointed (Christ). Psalm 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us (see also Acts 4:26). This is the state of mind of the kings of the earth. These are the rulers of the world. In the main they do not accept the wisdom of God through scripture, but they set themselves upon all types of philosophy and sociology, and even science, to prosper in the world. They want and think they need to associate with other rulers of the earth, so they disdain and ignore the wisdom of God. Many nations were once built upon the principles in God's word but are now turning from those principles to the wisdom of men. Our own country has been doing this for many years. But notice what the Lord thinks of this: Psalm 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. Notice God has set his king upon Mount Zion, and he reigns from above. This is Jesus.

Second, when compared to the kings of the earth, he is the prince. Rev. 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. He is the head, the commander, this magistrate of the kings of the earth. The kings of the earth can do nothing without his permission.

Third, the kings of the earth, along with the great men, the rich men, and the chief captains will hide themselves in the rocks and dens due to that which is coming on the kings of the earth because of their sin and their rejection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the King (Rev. 6:15).

Fourth, the kings of the earth will one day behold the glory of the Lord as they fear him. Psalm 102:15 So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. Notice Psalm 138:4 All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth. The glory of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, is nothing compared to that of our Lord in his kingdom. Even the glories of the kingdom of Solomon are nothing to be compared to our Lord's glory as the King of kings.

But not all of the kings of the earth will so turn from the Lord and his Christ. Some will come to know and trust Jesus Christ and be in his glorious kingdom. Rev. 21:24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. However, they will no longer be kings of the earth, but they will be children and servants of the great King of kings. I am reminded of Queen Elizabeth who was asked what she was thankful for. She said, "I am thankful for the letter 'm'." When asked why, she said the Bible says that "not many noble are called." It does not say "not any noble are called."

The most glorious thing about Jesus' kingship is that he is King of saints. Notice Rev. 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. He rules our salvation; he rules our lives; and he is the Great King who will take us to be where he is. This is a marvelous thing!

Lord of Lords. Moses, I think, put it best when he said in Deut. 10:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: Jesus is Lord because of his nature. He exists to be Lord of all (Acts 10:36; Gal. 4:1).

Many today are preaching the "Lordship of Christ," in salvation. In other words, one must make Jesus his Lord in order to be saved. This, however, is not the Gospel concept. Jesus is already Lord, else Saul would never have said, "Lord, what wilt thou have me do?" Jesus was already his Lord. As Lord, Jesus commands that every man everywhere repent, Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: This declares his Lordship. He does not wait until a person believes to become his Lord; Jesus is already and always Lord of all.

There are gods many and lords many, 1 Cor. 8:5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) . . . but there is only one real Lord, Deut. 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: Notice also 1 Cor. 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. He is the only Potentate, 1 Tim. 6:15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; This is the reason that we as pastors cannot be lords over God's heritage (1 Peter 5:3), but we must be examples to the flock of God. Only Jesus is Lord, not people who think they are smarter than God, arrogant and proud in their own flesh. We must submit completely to his Lordship and his Kingship. He is both King and Lord. Let us submit to that and live as his humble servants, for we are his children, and he loves us with an everlasting love. His commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3).

Monday, March 3, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #17

Rev. 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Jesus in this verse is mentioned as "Christ": the Messiah, the Promised One, the Anointed One, the fulfillment of all Messianic prophecies.

Christ From The Past. As early as the book of Genesis we find the prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. Most know of this first prophecy in Gen. 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. God put hatred between the serpent and the woman and between his seed and her seed. Satan's seed is the Antichrist, for he is born of Satan's influence throughout the ages. The woman's seed is Christ, for Gal. 3:16 states Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. This one seed of the woman is Jesus. The prophecy of Genesis 3:15 was fulfilled when Jesus came to earth, born of a woman, born under the law (Gal. 4:4), and he grew to manhood under God's protection and leadership. He died on the cross, and in doing so crushed the serpent's (Satan's) head. In the meantime, Jesus Christ's heel was bruised. To die for the sins of a people is a venture that is incomprehensible to man, and it is a venture that brought much pain and sorrow to Christ. In this venture he procured the salvation and security of all of his people. Thank God he is faithful to his promise from the past. For a recap of these events please read Acts 3:18-26.

Christ In The Present. As the Messiah, Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures. During the time when Jesus was walking the earth, that was NOW to those people who lived alongside of him. What a time to live--to see Jesus walk, teach, do miracles, and interact with the current society! That generation was put into a great responsibility, because they were seeing the Messiah, the fulfillment of scripture, the Savior, perfect humanity, perfect God in the flesh. After Jesus died, was buried and resurrected, he appeared to many, and then he went to Heaven. Now in this present time, we acknowledge that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father on the throne of God (Mark 16:19). That is where Jesus is today. He is making intercession for his people there on God's throne. Notice these scriptures

  • Rom. 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
  • Rom. 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
  • Heb. 7:25 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.
In this present time we stand as believers before a holy God, the Holy Spirit, and the Christ with great assurance that we have a Great High Priest who is making intercession for us, assuring us that we can never lose the salvation that he has given us, and giving to us diurnal grace whereby we may serve him faithfully. We must acknowledge daily that he is our God, that we have the Holy Spirit, and that Christ is performing his duty as our High Priest. There is no greater assurance than that.

Christ In The Future. Jesus has already made the promise that he will come and take us to be where he is: John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. When that is accomplished, we shall see the ultimate victory of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Rev. 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. The power of his Christ is found in the casting down of the great accuser (Satan). One day Satan will be completely defeated by Jesus Christ, and Jesus will rule and reign as the ultimate Christ, manifesting all of his power and glory. What a day that will be!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #16

Rev. 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Here Jesus is described as the tabernacle of God. This is the ultimate purpose of God in all of his work on earth: to bring men to God (1 Pet. 3:18) and to dwell with us eternally (John 17:24). Jesus is portrayed in the Old Testament tabernacle wherein were vessels which gave symbolism to Christ himself (see Heb. 9:2-4). This tabernacle was a temporary edifice which was moved with Israel through the wilderness. A more permanent building was built in Solomon's day, and it, too, was in symbolism of the Messiah in all its parts.

Both the tabernacle and the temple are gone now, but the symbolism continues through the churches of the Lord in baptism and communion. In baptism the Gospel is symbolized by the immersion, submersion, and emersion of a believer. In communion he is symbolized by unleavened bread, whereby his perfect life in his body was portrayed, and in the fruit of the vine, which symbolizes the blood that was shed, the precious blood of the Lamb.

But Jesus remains in symbol as the tabernacle, because he will one day be with his people even as he was with men when he was incarnated, when he "dwelt (tabernacled)" among his people. Again he will "tabernacle" among us when he comes to take us to be with him. We shall dwell with him on earth eternally when he comes from Heaven to take us away from all evil and present us faultless before him in love (Eph. 1:4; Jude 1:24).

Notice that he dwelt among men, not trees or animals. Certainly he was here with trees and animals, but he is not spoken of as dwelling with them. This is significant in the sense that Jesus came to redeem human beings from their sins, not animals or trees. He is our Kinsman Redeemer, taking upon himself the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7), though he was in the form of God (Phil. 2:6).

Let us be thankful that we now live under his shadow, protecting us from any spiritual or eternal harm. He has sealed us with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30), and he has become our buckler and shield. One day we shall live under his visible reign where we shall praise him eternally and live without evil or sin, for our sins have been plunged beneath his blood, and he has washed us from all our iniquities (Rev. 1:5).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #15

Rev. 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Jesus is revealed in two ways in this verse. First he is revealed as "our Lord," and in the same verse he is revealed as "his Christ." These are paramount descriptions of Jesus.

The phrase "our Lord" is indicative of God the Father, who owns all of the kingdoms of the earth. He is the Great Creator of all things, and he will eventually own everything in perfection, for it is his purpose and duty to bring everything into perfection, as he has predicted early in scripture. It is the duty of every creature of God to love him, obey him, and give honor to him. But if this Lord, the Father, is not believed in and trusted through his Son, Jesus, then he is not our "our Lord," but "their Lord." The world today seems to be turning away from any trust in God; they seem to want to destroy the very mention of God in any way, but God will have his deserts: Psalms 2:3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

God is "our Lord," because he so loved us (John 3:16) that he gave his only begotten Son that we who believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life. God is faithful to that, and we who believe upon his Son, Jesus, do have eternal life without any worry of falling, for he "upholdeth him with his hand" (Psalm 37:23-24).

God is "our Lord," because he belongs to us by grace. Notice Mark 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: Here we see that "the Lord is our God." He belongs to us personally through faith in his Son, because Jesus died that he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). It is wonderful to know that God is our God, our Lord. If he had not revealed himself to us, we would never had known him; we would never have him as our own.

But then, Jesus is revealed as "his Christ." Christ belongs to God. Notice 1 Cor. 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. God the Father is Christ's head. Jesus Christ is completely surrendered to the perfect will of his Father, and he performs that will to perfection. Jesus is the Lord's anointed against whom the kings of the earth set themselves (Psalms 2:2).

Being God's Christ, the transaction of redemption was God's altogether. The blood which Jesus shed was God's blood (Acts 20:28). The fulfillment of God's purpose in redemption was God's, and it was done through his anointed, Jesus Christ. There is, therefore, no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

One day these earthly kingdoms will become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ. It will not be our kingdom but his kingdom. We are only permitted to be a part of that kingdom by his free grace. Every believer should be in wonder and amazement at the fact that God is our Lord, and Jesus is his Christ. This is the only plan that will bring eternal life.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #14

Rev. 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

One of the greatest emblems of Jesus is his being pictured as a lamb. Here he is a Lamb slain, having seven horns and seven eyes. The emblem is used 26 times in the book of Revelation. In this very fifth chapter of Revelation, the word lamb is used four times to designate Jesus. In verse six he is introduced and is pictured as a Lamb slain, having seven horns and seven eyes. This shows his power (horns) and his wisdom and authority (eyes). Then in Rev. 5:8, 12, and 13 he is shown as the Lamb that deserves praise.

In chapter six Jesus is portrayed as the One who can open the seals of the book (6:1), and the One before whom the wicked of the world fall down in fear (6:16).

In chapter seven we see Jesus portrayed as a Lamb before whom the saved of the earth appear (7:9) and to whom they give praise for salvation (7:10). In 7:14 and 12:11 Jesus as the Lamb is credited for saving his people from their sins by his own blood and washing their robes as pure as the snow. This Lamb shall feed them (7:17), lead them to living fountains of waters, and wipe away all tears from their eyes.

In chapter 13 we find that Jesus is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world and is in victorious competition with the lamb which speaks like a dragon (Satan).

In chapter 14 this Lamb stand on Mt. Zion with 144,000 who have the Father's name written in their foreheads. These follow the Lamb wherever he goes (14:4), were redeemed from among men, and are firstfruits unto God and the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

In chapter 17 the Lamb overcomes all obstacles which stand in the way of his reigning in complete fullness as King of kings and Lord of lords.

In chapter 19 and 21 we read of the marriage of the Lamb. What a wonderful event when God's people will be eternally joined with Christ.

In chapter 21 we see the Father and the Lamb as the temple of this eternal place, the Lamb is the light of that place, and he has the Lamb's book of life.

In chapter 22 we see the crystal river proceeding out of the throne of God, a throne that equally belongs to the Lamb (vs 1). There will be no curse there, because the Lamb is in this place, "and his servants shall serve him."

There are Four other references to the Lamb of God in the New Testament outside the book of Revelation. The first is on the occasion of John's baptizing and seeing Jesus pass by and says "behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29, 36). Philip explains the meaning of Isaiah 53:7-8, which takes us back over 600 years before the New Testament was written. Peter, then, gives full explanation of this idea when he mentions in 1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Oh Lamb, meek and mild
Yet strong as Judah's Lion,
Make us whole with sprinkling blood
And bring us all to Zion.

Make your enemies to fear
And conquer Satan's realm.
Cast him down to hell's dark place;
With power, you take the helm.

Guide the course to victory's place
And keep your children well.
Save your children from their sins;
Deliver each from hell.

Thank you for your Lion's strength
To die on Calvary's hill.
Thank you for your lamb-like love
To save us at your will.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #13

Rev. 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Today we shall take up the subject of Jesus as the Root of David. In Isaiah 11:10 Jesus is prophetically called "the root of Jesse." In Revelation 22:16 Jesus is called "the root and offspring of David," and as such is "the bright and morning star." He is also mentioned in Rom. 15:12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.

The preservation of the Messianic seed throughout the Old Testament is a detailed study in itself, but that preservation is one of the most interesting and exciting studies a Christian can make. The ultimate achievement of this progeny, the Messiah, Jesus, is that he has prevailed and has the authority to open the book that is in his hand and to open the seven seals, behind which are hidden the greatest blessings of Christ.

Joseph, Jesus' earthly father, was a descendant of David and Jesse (See Luke 3:31-32). Mary, Jesus' earthly mother, was also a descendant of David and Jesse (See Matt. 1:6). We read a capsule of Jesus' descendancy in Matt 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

In Acts 13 Paul delineates this principle of Jesus' ancestry when he said in Acts 13:22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. 23 Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: So Jesus' Messiahship is based upon the idea that he would be a descendant of Abraham, Jesse, and David. This promise being fulfilled, Jesus appeared as the Savior of men, the only Savior, for he is the only one who can fulfill the promise of a Messiah given to Old Testament Israel.

The following scriptures give promise of the Davidic Messiah.

2 Sam. 7:12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.

Psalm 132:17 There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.

Jer. 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

Herein lies our assurance, that God has made promise through his seed, the one seed: Gal. 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. This one seed is Christ, the one seed who can save a soul from sin and give confidence of eternal security and blessing.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #12

Rev. 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

In this study we will consider Jesus as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. "The lion has long been recognized as 'The King of the Beasts.' A male lion can weigh anywhere from 350 to 600 pounds.
Most males are about nine feet long from the nose to the end of the tail. They are about 3 1/2 feet tall at the shoulder. Male lions are the only cats with manes. This collar of long thick hair covers their head, except the face, and the neck down to the shoulders and chest. As well as providing a majestic appearance, it also protects him during a fight." [Names of Christ, Dr. James Modlish].

First, a lion is known for his strength. Lions have been known to drag 600-pound animals long distances. Saul and Jonathan were portrayed as having the strength of a lion (2 Sam. 1:23). Jesus, being the Lion of the tribe of Judah, also was a man of strength. Many people think of him as weak, but this is not so. He drove the money changers out of the temple (Matt. 21:12-13). He also had the ability to carry a heavy cross on his shoulder after being scourged nearly to death (Matt. 27:26). Then, when Jesus comes again, we shall see him with power and great glory (Matt. 24:30).

Second, we notice the roar of the lion. Notice the roar of the Lord as a lion: They shall walk after the Lord: he shall roar like a lion (Hosea 11:10). But there is more than one kind of roar from the lion. There is the soft roar after the catching of the prey to call her little ones to eat Psalms 104:21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The lion will also roar loudly when seeking for others in the pride, then will listen to hear an answer: Job 38:3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. There is also a roar of fear, and we have much need to fear the One who can destroy both body and soul in Hell (Matt. 10:28).

Third, we notice that lions were used in judgment (1 Kings 13:24-26; 1 Kings 20:35-36). When a lion eats its prey, he will tear it apart and eat the entrails first. Notice Psalms 7:2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.

Remember that Satan himself is also pictured as a lion 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: This simply means that we cannot fight against Satan. He is too strong for us. It will take a lion against a lion to bring reconciliation of the sinner before God, grasp him out of the mouth of the lion, and the great Lion of the tribe of Judah will win in the end.

I am grateful to be on the winning side of this battle. We who trust in the Lion of the tribe of Judah will be the victors, for he has made promises to us that only he can keep. In him we must trust completely lest Satan, that old serpent and roaring lion, have victories in our lives. Thank God for his Lion.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #11

Rev. 4:9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever . . . Rev. 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

Today we want to notice the phrase "him that sat on the throne." In Chapter Four of Revelation, we have a scene in Heaven as John is taken up to view this splendid place. This One who sat on the throne is none other than Jesus Christ, a wonderful revelation of him in this final book of scripture. The One sitting on the throne was worthy of all praise from the four beasts (living creatures) who shouted to him "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come."

Following the four beasts and their thanksgiving to the One sitting on the throne, the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped him. This is the praise that our God deserves and that only God deserves. Since Jesus is God, then he deserves this ultimate praise and worship. He sits in the heavens (Psalm 2:4). He is Hosanna in the highest (Mark 11:10). He sits on the circle of the earth (Isa. 40:22). He is in heavenly places (Eph. 1:3). Thus, we, too, must bow to our Lord who is above all principalities and powers, and might, and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world, but in the world to come (Eph. 1:21).

But not only does our praise go to the heavenlies where Jesus sits on the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55), but our service should be done with the knowledge that Jesus watches our every motive and movement; and we know that God does not look upon the outward appearance as much as he looks upon the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).

As we serve Jesus Christ, we understand that he is higher than any man and that our trust in him, as well as our dependence upon him, provides everything we need to serve him and to live righteously in this present world (Titus 2:12). He supplies every need we have (Phil. 4:19), and we can do all things through him, because he strengthens us (Phil. 4:13).

So we are "bound to give thanks to God . . ." (2 Thess. 2:13), for it is he who "has chosen us to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." With thankfulness we trod along this journey realizing that only God through Jesus Christ can satisfy our souls. He redeemed us by his own precious blood; he saved us by his grace; he keeps us by his Spirit; and he promised to come to take us away to heaven, there where he sits on the throne.

What a glorious morning that will be when we see Jesus there at the Father's right hand, either standing or sitting. We shall see him as he is and know him as he is. We shall worship him as he is, and he is the same yesterday, today and forever. We shall know that he is the only human being who has the right to sit with God in his throne. We shall not lust after or covet that position, because his being in that position has made us what we are, for it is by grace that we are what we are (1 Cor. 15:10).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #10

Rev. 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Jesus Is The Amen. The meaning of the word Amen is "truly," "so be it," or "let it be so." It is derived, some say, from the Berber language, which is a very ancient language. In the Kabyle language it means "like that." The word is an affirmation that what has just been said it true. Jesus is the Amen, because he is truth. He is true to his word, to his covenant, to his promises, to his purpose, to his Father, and to his people. This word also shows the finality of a statement. The word Amen is usually used at the end of a statement, after it has been finished and the logic of it has been delineated. Thus, Jesus is the end of all argument, all discussion, and all doubt. At the end of his words, there should be and shall be a hearty Amen (Rev. 19:4). His words are final when spoken in love, encouragement, comfort, or judgment.

Jesus Is the Faithful and True Witness. Jesus witnessed his Father's glory in timeless eternity past. He witnessed the indignant and sorrowful estate of man and lived among them when he came to earth to be our Mediator. He witnessed the wrath of God as he hung on the cross and received from God's hands just deserts for the sins of his people. He witnessed the victory of his resurrection and the glorious joy of his people as they one by one come to know him and to receive life at his hand. These witnesses of Jesus are faithful and true. Then one day he will be the faithful and true witness of the judgment of Almighty God against the wicked and his own judgment for his people at the Judgment Seat of Christ. As he was a faithful a true witness in Jeremiah 42:5, so he is in everything that he witnesses.

Jesus Is The Beginning of the Creation of God. "The first cause of the creation" (Gill), because "without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3). He is the first cause of the creation in the universe wherein all material things are a part; but not only that, he is the first cause of the creation of man's new life in Christ--salvation. He is ultimately the first cause of the new Heaven and the new earth. Without Jesus Christ there is no creation, because man is not the first cause of anything except sin on the earth: "by one man sin entered into the world" (Rom. 5:12). Jesus is most importantly the first cause of our spiritual creation, for in him we are made new creations (2 Cor. 5:17).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #9

Rev. 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

Jesus Is Holy. Isaiah 6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. See also Rev. 4:8. God certainly is holy, but also Jesus Christ is holy, because he is the express image of the Father. His holiness is pure holiness, not a holiness which can be described or understood by man's mind. Jesus is holy from his pre-existence throughout all eternity. When he was conceived, the angel said in Luke 1:35 . . . The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Jesus Is True. Everything in Jesus' existence is the epitome of truth. Man cannot comprehend this kind of truth. He is the true Light (John 1:9). He is the true Bread from Heaven (John 6:32). His record (or testimony) is true (John 8:14). His judgment is true (John 8:16). He is the true Vine (John 15:1). He is full of grace and truth (John 1:14), for truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Pilate asked the question, "What is truth?" (John 18:38), Jesus said in John 14:6 . . . I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Jesus Has The Key of David. He has this key in type, because he was portrayed by King David of old. He is to sit upon David's throne and rule with authority, thus depicting by the key the authority to administer his kingdom and to execute judgment. Jesus has complete authority over his kingdom and his churches. Therefore, it is with this authority that the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ are summoned to preach the Gospel of Christ to every creature. It is with this key that God's grace is bestowed upon every believer in Christ. It is with this key that Jesus summons preachers to preach his word and calls missionaries to fields of service. It is with this key that Jesus unlocked all the mysteries of future things of which he has currently only taught us through the Spirit of God. No man has this authority; only God can measure out this authority with perfection and execute it flawlessly. That is why He must open the door that no man can shut and shut the door that no man can open. His purpose is perfect, and no one can thwart that purpose (Dan. 4:35).

Friday, February 15, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #8

Rev. 2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

In this passage we see Jesus, not as the Son of man, but as the Son of God. This is his true nature, his innate being, his sovereign existence. As the Son of God he has always existed, and he shall always exist even throughout the eternal ages.

Even the centurion, who saw Jesus on the cross dying a horrible death, after hearing the enemies of the Lord chide him about being the Son of God, tempting him to come down from the cross to prove his deity, the centurion nonetheless said, Truly this man was the Son of God (Mark 15:39). If this centurion can see that Jesus was the Son of God, certainly it seems that many others can also see that he is the Son of God.

He is God's beloved Son (Mark 3:17). He is the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16, 18). He is the crucified Son of God (Heb. 6:6). He is the Son who must be believed, 1 John 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

The Ethiopian Eunuch put his complete faith in Jesus as the Son of God in Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

But Jesus had to be both Son of God and Son of man before he could reconcile God and man. He must touch the presence of God in a real way, be as God is, understand the delicacies of the Father's wisdom and power and preview all things from Heaven's view. Then he must, by his own contract with God, submit to come to earth and die for the sins of his people. This is a great mystery and one which no man can understand, but it is nevertheless true. Jesus was incarnated (put in the flesh) that he might experience not only God's view of things but man's view of things. He must be tempted in all points like as we are (Heb. 4:15); he must suffer as a servant (Isaiah 53:11); he must lie in the tomb three days and three nights (Matt 12:40); and he must arise from the dead Matt 17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Let us see Jesus as the Son of man, dealing with sin (Rom. 8:3), feeling our infirmities as our High Priest (Heb. 4:15), and dying for us personally and individually (1 Cor. 15:3). But we must see Jesus as the Son of God, majestic, holy, perfect, righteous, sovereign, a revealer of truth and the delineation of the word of God. We must see him on the throne sitting at the Father's right hand and coming in the clouds of Heaven (Matt. 26:64).

He served here as the Son of man, but one day he will come as the Son of God with fiery judgment upon those who are his enemies, those who do not trust in his sacrificial work on the cross, the shedding of his precious blood for the remission of sins of those who will come to him by faith.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #7

Rev. 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

We see Jesus revealed in this verse as the one who has the sharp sword with two edges. The only other place we see this reference in the New Testament is in Heb. 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.

Jesus Christ is the living word, and the Bible is the written word, which is also alive. We also read about the word of God as a sword in Eph. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Remember in this revelation of Jesus, he is the one who has the sword. He is the one who wields the sword. If God does not effect the purpose of the word of God in hearts, then it has no purpose. Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

If God had not sent Jesus to the earth to die for our sins, we would still be in our sins and would be of men most miserable (1 Cor. 15:19). The same is true if God had not sent the word of God for us to prosper. The Bible is sent to us for a purpose. 2 Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

We know that these scriptures (the Bible) were sent by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, moving upon the writers to commit to writing the very things that God intended for us to have in the Bible. 2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Now it is not we who have the power over the word of God to wield it and make it effective in men's lives; it is Jesus Christ who has the sword, who makes it effective and executes its purpose among men. We must realize that the word of God is not for us to interpret but for Christ to effectively manifest in men's lives as we preach it to them. Without this effort on Jesus' part to make the word effective, we should be able to do nothing. John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Now there are at least three ways in which Jesus Christ used this sword toward his people. First is that of Knowledge. He says, "I know thy works" (vs. 13). Of course, we know that Jesus knows everything; but in practice we act as though he may not. He knew the works of the believers at Pergamos. Jesus also uses the sword in Determination. He determined that he had something against this church, because there were some in the church who held the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. These things the Lord hated, but the church allowed such members to stay in the church. The third way in which the Lord used the sword was in Judgment. He said in Rev. 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim. 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. We must study it, because we have no a priori knowledge of the word of God but must receive it from God himself. If we study and know God's word, then we do not need to be ashamed of what we preach and what we do. We must divide the word of truth (or handle it) in the proper way. How is it that we should handle it? We should remember that it is not our word but Christ's. We are using borrowed property when we preach his word. If we handle it this way, then God will bless it in our witness and in our practice. Remember, it has two edges. One cuts one way, and the other cuts the other way. In other words, that which you preach applies not only to your hearers but also to you. Judge not, that he be not judged. Whatever you preach or witness to others, God expects in you. Let us all take heed to what we teach and preach, to what we believe and witness. Jesus Christ is the true possessor of his word.