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!