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.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #6

Rev. 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

In this verse Jesus is ascribed the name "Son of man." We must remember that Matthew depicts Jesus as King; Mark depicts him as Servant; Luke depicts him as Son of man; and John depicts him as Son of God.

As Son of man, Jesus relates to human beings, he being the Kinsman Redeemer for those who trust him. Study the story of the "near kinsman" in Ruth Chapter three. Jesus, in order to redeem us from our sins, had to be inherently related to us; so he came to us in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3). He did not come to redeem animals or plants to his kingdom; he came to redeem human beings like you and I.

When he left Heaven, he left his glory there. Phil. 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: This he did that he might be our substitute for sins, to take on the curse of the law and become a curse for us. Gal. 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: What a tremendous transaction that Jesus paid upon the cross when he was hanged there in the place of sinful men and women, boys and girls!

Although Jesus was a man, he was much more than a mere man; he was God incarnated in the flesh. John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. He came from Heaven, being in the likeness of God, but he humbled himself, being in the likeness of man; thus, he is the Son of man.

He was clothed with a garment down the foot (or from head to toe, we would say), and he had on a golden girdle. This garment is the righteousness of God. Jesus is completely righteous, not having committed any sin at all. Therefore, we can be made righteousness by the imputation of Christ's righteousness. 2 Cor. 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

His hair was as white as snow, signifying his wisdom from God, since age signifies wisdom and honor (Lev. 19:32; Prov 16:31). Jesus is the all-wise God. 1 Tim. 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. See also Jude 1:25.

His eyes are a flaming fire, meaning that in his eyes dwells judgment for all men. Rom. 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. God is the ultimate Judge of all men, and this is symbolized here in the fiery eyes of Jesus Christ, for Jesus is the Son of the Great Judge, and Jesus himself has a measure of judgment (Psalm 96:13). His feet were like fine brass, which also symbolizes judgment.

Jesus' voice was as the sound of many waters. The waters of the sea represent the peoples of the world. Jesus speaks to all men alike. He does not have one rule for this race or country and another rule for another race of country. Jesus' teachings are the same around the world. He is the Son of man, the Word for every nation. His death has saved men of every tribe and tongue. Thus, his commission is to all the world (Mark 16:15).

In his hands Jesus holds seven stars, and he stands in the middle of seven golden candlesticks (or lampstands). This portrays Jesus as the administrator of his churches. He is the head of each and every local church, and his message goes out to the entire world through the auspices of these local churches; thus, he is the Son of man, his message being from man to man, the message of the Gospel. Jesus is ultimately the Son of God, but he is also the Son of man. If this were not so, we would all still be in our sins. Thanks to a God who has a Mediator (Jesus) to do the reconciling work of God to bring us to God through faith in this Son of man, for he is also the Son of God, yea, God himself.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #5

Rev. 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Jesus here is called the Alpha and Omega, which, of course, are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The meaning is apparent in this verse: "the beginning and the ending," or "the first and the last" (1:17). He is the Alpha and Omega in at least three ways.

Alpha and Omega in Contrast. Jesus is many times in the New Testament compared to other things, showing his superiority to all. Here he is compared to the mortality of man. Verse eight tells us that Jesus is and was and is to come. This is quite different from any other human being on the earth. No one has ever lived forever in this life. Heb. 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: and, although two did not die, they did leave this world and were taken to Heaven without any resurrection on their own power. The mystery of Jesus is expressed in 1 Tim. 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. This is a unique quality in Jesus. That is why he is our Savior.

Alpha and Omega in Command. As our Great Commander, Jesus has the authority to give command to his servants. In verse 11 of this chapter, Jesus gives commandment to John and says, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia . . . . Thus Jesus is said to have authority to give his commission in 18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Alpha and Omega in Comfort. In verse 17 John is taken with grief as he sees and hears the Lord Jesus. But the Lord comforts him with the same thought before us. He laid his right hand upon John and said "Fear not, I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen: and have the keys of hell and of death (Rev. 1:17-18). Jesus is a great comfort to all who come to him by faith. He does this in part so that we may comfort others in the name of Jesus. 2 Cor. 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Remember that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). He is contrasted to all other human beings with superior qualities (Acts 4:12). He can command his children with commandments which are not grievous (I John 5:3). He also comforts us with a comfort that only he has (2 Cor. 1:3). What a great Savior we have!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Jesus Revealed in Revelation #4

Rev. 1:5 . . . Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

What a grand salvation is ours! Jesus here is revealed as our ransom, our mediator, our High Priest, our Lord and King. No grander love can be expressed than that expressed from our Lord as he went to the cross to shed his precious blood for our sins. John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. We are his friends, if we do what he commands us. He is my friend, and he loves me. I know this, because he died for me. When he was on the cross, I was on his mind.

him that loved us. This is the greatest love that any one can experience. It is not a flippant or frivolous love; it is a love that only God can express, and he did express it when he died on the cross for those who will repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ, that he paid for their sins completely on the cross.

No one ever loved me like this, even though I had the greatest parents anyone could have, even though I have great brothers and sisters, even though I had the greatest wife in the world, even though I have Christian people all over the world who love me and pray for me. Jesus loved us so much that he stretched out his arms and died. He loved his Father so much that he stretched out his hands and died. Then he resurrected from the dead, because it is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ that we have our hope.

Jesus loved us in timeless eternity past, but he expressed that love here within the veil. He expressed his love and manifested it when he gave his own life a ransom for many. In that "many" was I. I was poor and wretched. I was lost and undone. I was dead in my sins (Eph. 2:1). I was blinded by the wisdom of the world (2 Cor. 4:4).

washed us from our sins in his own blood. How could anyone be washed in blood? The only person who can be washed in the blood is the one who will come to Jesus Christ, call upon his name, trust him for salvation and know him as personal Savior.

Jesus has washed us from all of our sins, past sins, present sins, and future sins. All of my sins were future when Jesus paid for them. He washed them as clean and white as the new-fallen snow Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

He washed us in his own blood. This is a very important phrase, because this was not just human blood; it was the personal blood of Jesus Christ. It was the only pure and innocent blood that God would accept for payment of our sins. Peter calls it "precious blood." 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:

Matt 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. This is the symbolism of the Lord's Supper. What a great symbol to show that Jesus' blood is perfect and that this is a periodic reminder of what he has done for his people! We should always be thankful for Jesus Christ, for his death, burial and resurrection, and for his precious blood that paid for our sins. We should thank God for being satisfied with that payment so that we would not have to stand before him with eternal blame and guilt. Thank God for his unspeakable gift (2 Cor. 9:15).

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #3

Rev. 1:5 . . . and the prince of the kings of the earth.

It is not evident to the lost world, or even to the saved world in an apparent way, that Jesus is the Prince (head and leader) of the kings of the earth; for we all see, first, from our human eye before we see from the spiritual eye. Is it evident to you that Jesus is the prince of the rulers of America? Is it evident to you that Jesus is the prince of the kings of other countries both good and bad? Of course, it is not.

But you and I as God's children can rest in the comfort that, no matter who rules from the president's desk in America, we have a greater ruler than he. Jesus, the prince of the kings of the earth, is in charge of all things. He has predetermined the end of all things and has prescribed their purpose to bring him ultimate glory.

The kings of the earth are mainly proud and have a measure of arrogance. We have seen this in our recent American primary elections. One would think that the destiny of our country lies in the talents and wisdom of our earthly leaders, but Christians know better. We are to pray for them, encourage them when they are right, and rebuke them when they are wrong; but we know that no one but Jesus is our Great Prince, not simply of our souls but also of the kings of the earth. Matt 22:21 Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Each of these earthly kings is responsible before the God of Heaven, which one day will be brought to reality when Jesus returns. They must give an answer to him for the way they ruled his earth. Many of them will fall prostrate before him in fear due to their disobedience to him. Rev. 6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

Would it not be a wonderful thing if every king of this earth would see Jesus as the Great Prince of the kingdoms of the earth? One day, of course, the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of Jesus. 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.

Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. The sooner the kings of the earth realize this, the nearer we will be to having peace on hear. But the sad fact is that they will not understand this concept, because they are blinded by sin. Psalm 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed . . . .

The only thing believers can do is to pray for them who have earthly rule over us. 1 Tim. 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. Then, we need to preach the Gospel to every creature that God's grace will be evident in our country and world (Mark 16:15). Within the keeping of the Great Commission, we are to also baptize believers and teach believers the truths of the word of God. This is paramount in our witness for the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 17:14; 19:16).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #2

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,

First begotten according to his promises. Jesus is the first begotten of the dead in that he is the first to resurrect from death on his own power. We see in 1 Cor. 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. Jesus is the exemplar of the truth of resurrection of which Paul said he was appearing in judgment before the people of Israel. Those who slept are those who have already died and are still in their graves. They will, if they trusted Christ, be resurrected according to his promises. He promised Abraham a city whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10). Job knew that in his flesh he would see God (Job 19:26).

First begotten accord to his purpose. John Gill says on this verse, "This character supposes that he died, as he did, for the sins of his people; and that he rose again from the dead, as he did, for their justification;" Therefore, he became the firstfruits of his purpose, for he came to die that we might live (Mark 10:45). He laid down his life for his sheep (John 10:15).

First begotten accord to his prospect. Jesus is the first begotten of all those who have trust in him, whether they are dead or alive. He promises that we will be with him prospectively. The prospect for the thief on the cross was Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43). The prayer that Jesus prayed to his Father was Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world (John 17:24). In John 14 Jesus tells us that he will return one day and receive us unto himself that where he is there we will be, also (John 14:3).

First begotten accord to his principles. Therefore, shall we always preach this same message of the resurrection to the lost; for Jesus came, not just to redeem us from our sins, but that he may teach us through the apostles and through his church to teach others the true principles of Christian doctrine, which is at its base the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that he is truly the first begotten of the dead. He resurrected first; therefore, we may also be resurrected by the power of God.

Let us be as the apostle Paul and say as he did in 1 Cor. 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Jesus Revealed In The Revelation #1

In this study we will see Jesus in the book of Revelation. Sometimes
we get so involved in the prophecies of this great book of the Bible
that we fail to see Jesus Christ himself. I intend to take many of the
words and phrases which either name Jesus or describe him and have
some simple devotions pertaining to Jesus himself in the book of

The first of these will be taken from Rev 1:1 where we read The
Revelation of Jesus Christ. We will take up, first of all the name
Jesus Christ. This denotation is mentioned six times in the book of
Revelation. In Rev. 1:1 we see that a revelation has been given to
Jesus Christ so that he can give it to John the revelator.

John bare record or witnessed of the message that God gave to Jesus
Christ to give to John. This gives us assurance that the message in
this book has good authority and is correct whether we understand it
or not.

The second time the expression Jesus Christ is used in this book is
in Rev. 1:2, which speaks of Jesus’ testimony. All the time he was
here on earth, he was a testimony of his Father; but now he is a
witness of things that must shortly come to pass. John is the
recipient of this testimony and must give it true.

Notice Rev. 1:5 where we are told that Jesus Christ is the faithful
witness, who witnesses what the Father tells him (John 8:28). He
sees what the Father sees, and he hears what the Father hears; and he
gives his prophets this witness so that we can hear it from the
apostles and prophets. We will speak of the other names in verse
five later.

In Rev. 1:9 we read this appellation again, Jesus Christ. He speaks
here of the “patience of Jesus Christ.” This is patience that Jesus
Christ had as the Son of God, and it was also the patience of the
believers that Jesus gave to them when he saved them by his grace.
This patience is shown in John in stating that he was in the isle of
Patmos for the word of God (I think for preaching the word of God),
for the testimony of Jesus Christ. If it had not been for the grace of God, John
would never have made it off the isle of Patmos, and we would never
have known the wonderful blessings of this precious book. It is all
of God’s grace and to his glory.

Rev. 12:17 uses this name again, Jesus Christ, and again the idea of
“testimony” is mentioned. He speaks of the saved, who have the
testimony of Jesus, the believers who believe what Jesus says and
depend upon his word rather than the word of men.

The last time we see this appellation is in Rev. 22:21, the closing out
of the book of Revelation, where John desires that the grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ be with those who read the book. Certainly Jesus
is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2); he is the medium
of grace from God our Father.

Jesus is the Messiah (the meaning of the word Christ). He is the
promised One, and it is only by him that we can have eternal life. He
is the only mediator between men and God (1 Tim. 2:5). In this title
we see Jesus, the man, who came to earth and was made like unto
sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3), lived and died that we might have life (Matt.
20:28) , and promises to take us to Heaven to live with him eternally
(John 14:2-3; John 6:44).

Jesus, the man, and Christ, who is God. This makes our salvation
worthy of thanksgiving to God through his grace and mercy. This
makes us love Jesus the more because of what he has done for us (1
John 3:16). The Holy Spirit bears witness that we are the children of
God through Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:16; Gal. 3:26).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Prayer For Preachers

We pray today, Oh God Almighty
That preachers stay involved
With reading scripture, praying oft,
And therefore be resolved

To stay the path and not turn back
From all that has been given
Them to guard and preach and tell
So men can go to Heaven.

Give strength to them, Oh Lord Divine
And give them what they need
To preach the word and not withhold
The everlasting seed.

Give them joy in God’s own word
And fill them with your love.
Show them how to preach with power
The truths down from above.

And if we can, who older be,
Encourage them to stay
In God’s firm word and in His will
And never stray away.


Instructions For A Young Preacher #25

1 Tim. 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane [and] vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

As an apostle of Jesus Christ, vindicated by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, Paul tells Timothy to keep or guard the things that he has committed to Timothy's trust. Of course, we know that God is the one who calls into the ministry, but Paul entrusted these instructions to Timothy somewhat in the same way that we as teachers and preachers of the word of God entrust them to the younger preachers, praying that they will stay with the stuff and guard the instructions that come from the word of God in order that they may teach them to others (2 Tim. 2:2).

We have spoken a little already concerning vain things. In chapter four, Paul speaks of "old wives' fables," etc. Here he speaks of babblings, or nonsensical words, words which do not bring glory to God and words which are contrary to truth. To avoid these things means to turn aside from them or ignore them as truth, for God's truth is the only real truth. This does not mean that we should not learn as much as we can, but we should always turn aside from those things that are false. This can be determined only from being faithful to the study of God's word.

We should also avoid "oppositions of science falsely so called." The word science here is the Greek word GNOSIS, and it has to do with general knowledge. Sometimes, however, general truth is given for real, firm and eternal truth; thus, it is fasely named, which is the meaning of "falsely so called" from the Greek word PSEUDONOMOS (false name).

Evolution is a great example of this. The study of evolution is an effort at discovering the origin of man, but it is not true; because it is not based upon God's word. The first effort at teaching evolution, in fact, was done in order to destroy the foundational truth of creation by the word of God. The study of evolution has accomplished much of its goal, mainly because many preachers have succumbed to this teaching, leaving the word of God by explaining away the truth of creation. Liberal preachers are a prime example of what Paul did not want Timothy to do.

We must "keep" or guard the truth of creation and many other things that man has tried to destroy, such as salvation by grace, the blood atonement, the precious word of God, and eternal security. Those who have turned from these teachings have not kept the faith. They have turned aside to vain jangling (1 Tim. 1:6) and have turned aside after Satan (1 Tim. 5:15). Let us not do the same.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #24

1 Tim. 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

Bro. Clarence Walker used to say that two things can destroy a preacher: women and money. I think this was very good advice. I don't know whether someone taught this to him or whether he just saw it in preachers as he grew older, but I remember it well; and it would do every preach well to remember these two culprits.

There is nothing wrong with women, and there is nothing wrong with money in themselves. The problem comes with the wrong use or the wrong attitude about them. Paul here instructs young Timothy to charge those who are rich not to be high-minded. I suppose this is a very likely temptation for those who are rich, not that I would know from personal experience.

There will be some people in the church who have a little money. Sometimes a church will have some rich people. If so, it is the preacher's job to remind them from time to time not to let their money go to their heads. This is not easy for a young preacher to do. Those with money usually speak with authority and act with authority, but there is no authority greater than the word of God. We must all be humble in attitude one toward the other.

All riches belong to the Lord, so we have no claim to authority for it. All good and perfect gifts come from above (James 1:17), wisdom comes from above (James 3:15). that is why Paul tells Timothy to charge people to trust in the living God, who gives us all things to enjoy. Everything we enjoy (little or much) comes from God.

Timothy is to instruct the rich to be rich in good works. Notice he does not ask the rich to give up their riches--there is nothing wrong with being rich. He just charges them to recognize the riches that we have in the living God. He also is to instruct the believers who are rich that they should be willing to distribute, or to help others with their riches and not horde it themselves. They are to be willing to communicate, or keep in touch with the church in such a way that they know when a need arises so that they may help those who are less fortunate.

Verse 19 goes on to say that the rich should lay up for themselves a good foundation, a spiritual foundation against the coming day of judgment, so that they may lay hold on eternal life; that is, not to lay hold on this life but to let it go and look for much better things to come through the promise that is in Christ Jesus.

Rich men may well lay claim to the world, but the world is not theirs. It belongs to those who are meek, seeking Christ for their riches, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith. I am not rich in the things of the world, but I know that I am rich in spiritual blessings of God. One day I will see an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fades not away, one that is preserved in Heaven for me (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Once the preacher and all believers in the church get their minds off their worldly riches and onto God's riches, the churches of the Lord will have revival.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #23

1 Tim. 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Some preachers, even after obtaining a good profession before many witnesses, have fallen down to the temptations of the world. This is always a sad thing. Sadly, part of being a preacher is having to watch as fellow preachers fall, and sometimes they never get back up. The Bible is clear as to what should be done in this case. The Bible says in Gal. 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. It will take a person who is spiritually strong to restore such a preacher as this.

The instruction here is to fight the good fight of faith. This intimates that the work of a preacher is a warfare. Paul gives instruction in other places of scripture how we should fight this fight. Notice 1 Cor 9:7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? . . . . First, a preacher must fight this battle at the charge of God himself rather than having his own ministry. I have known of men who were set on building their own ministries, and sometimes one could tell that it was his ministry and not necessarily God's ministry.

Paul also tells the Corinthians what the weapons for the battle are. See 2 Cor. 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;). These weapons are not carnal; they are not made of wood and steel. We do not handle them in our hands, wear them on our body, or shoot them from guns. Our weapons are much more powerful than this. These weapons are listed in Ephesians chapter 6. It is an armor, which we all must wear. Eph. 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Our loins (waist) are to be girt about with truth; we are to have on the breastplate of righteousness, have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and take the shield of faith. With this shield of faith we will be able to quench ALL the fiery darts of the wicked one. On the head is the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit is to be carried everywhere, which is the word of God.

Then, with all of this equipment, we are to pray always and watch with all perseverance. In this way we can fight the good fight of faith. Faith is the main thing, but we also need these other weapons, which are all spiritual. Sometimes we use our own weapons rather than the Lord's, and that is when we get discouraged.

The second part of this instruction is to "lay hold on eternal life." This means that we are to always have our goal, our sights, our desires on eternal life, for that is where our inheritance is, an inheritance which we have already. 1 Pet. 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

If we set our sights upon eternal life and realize the worth of it, then we will keep our eyes on it and continue to walk toward it. With our eyes on eternity, we will be less likely to find ourselves cast by the wayside and more likely to be useful in the Kingdom of God. The fight goes on, and preachers are to lead the charge, witnessing, studying, praying, preaching, and loving people. In this God is honored, and the people we meet will have great benefit from our witness. God has made the charge, now let us go forward!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #22

1 Tim. 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

The Greek word for godliness in this verse is EUSEBEIA, and it literally means "to fulfill a duty." The word is translate "godliness," but the word "God" is not in the Greek word. This Greek word indicates a fulfillment of duty, not only toward God, but also toward our fellowman.

So the first step in this instruction is that a preacher have godliness; that is, that the preacher fulfill his duty to both God and man. Some of the things we can do to fulfill our duty to man (both negative and positive) are mentioned already in this book. For example, "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies; Holding faith and a good conscience; Put the brethren in remembrance of these things; Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; Let no man despise your youth," etc. As far as our fulfillment toward God, we have already read several. For example, "Lifting up holy hands without doubting; Not a novice; behave thyself in the house of God; Well reported of for good works; Fight the good fight of faith," etc. Reading through 1 Timothy reveals enough things included in godliness to keep any preacher busy for a very long life.

But the important thing in this instruction is that godliness is to be done with contentment. The Greek word for contentment is AUTARKEIA and has to do with being self-sufficient. In other words, we should have godliness with maturity, where no one must constantly be reminding us what we should do. No preacher, board, or convention should have to tell us how to act; we should know enough from the study of God's word that we do not need someone else's guidance in these things. This is not to say we cannot learn these things from others, but it does mean that we must mature and be aware of godliness in our lives even when our teachers are not around.

To be content also means that we have no worry, no questions, no doubt. Every preacher should know where he stands and should have his manners mastered. Through this godliness we will be able to bring God the proper honor and glory and will be able to receive slander and persecution without being devastated. Notice what Paul said to the Corinthians in 2 Cor. 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

Having godliness with contentment is set down by Jesus as our example in his surrender of himself to his Father in Heaven. Notice, then, what Jesus said to us: Matt. 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. This is godliness with contentment.