The Preacher's Pen
CONCERNING ETERNAL SECURITY - 8/4/21
Thought for the day...
I have seen much confusion concerning eternal security. There are many verses that one can go to and see the security of the believer in Christ. There are likewise a variety of verses, that, when taken out of context, may seem to insinuate that you can lose your salvation. This can be confusing.
Am I eternally secure? It goes beyond that...
When dealing with the Sadducees, Jesus said, “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:35-36)
Notice the term, “the children of God”? It is a positional term. We find that principle consistent in the Scripture. Let’s examine it...
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
If He gives us power to become the sons of God, being born of God, is that power not enough to maintain our sonship?
When does sonship begin?
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1-2)
The saved are not one day going to be the sons of God, we ARE the sons of God already, and we KNOW that we will one day be like Him!
One thing I know for sure, I never questioned who my earthly father was, his name is John. He’s never stopped being my father, even when I was rebellious and disobedient.
My children never had grounds to question who their father was, even when they were rebellious and doing wrong, I am, was, and always will be, their father. Regardless to when they became my children, they will never cease to be my children.
Sonship doesn’t end because of disobedience, that is simply when chastening begins.
Sonship is a position, whether there is fellowship or not. We can see that fleshed out in the life of the prodigal son.
“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:17-24)
This guy disrespected his father, wasted his inheritance, and lived like a devil, but, he never forgot who his father was... and his father didn’t throw him away. He was still his son.
As sons, we are heirs of God.
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:6-7)
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26)
Our position of sonship is not because we were or ever will be good enough to be called His children, but rather because Jesus Christ is more than good enough! It was His work on the cross that made it possible for us to become sons by faith, and it is His work on the cross, yea better, His glorious resurrection that makes that sonship permanent.
I am not just eternally secure, I am Paternally secure!
CONCERNING FAITHFULNESS - 7/29/21
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” - Luke 16:10
If a person cannot be faithful in the little things, how can they be trusted with the bigger things. Before you tell God that you will be faithful to preach or to teach, step back and examine your faithfulness to your reasonable service...
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)
How faithful are we already at presenting our bodies a living sacrifice? (1 Corinthians 9:27; 15:31; Galatians 5:24)
How faithful are we already at presenting our bodies holy? (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 2 Peter 3:11)
How faithful are we already at presenting our bodies acceptable unto God? (Romans 14:18; Ephesians 5:10; 1 Timothy 2:1-3; 5:4; 1 Peter 2:20)
These things are called “your reasonable service.” They are the little things... If God cannot trust us to be faithful here, how can He trust us to be faithful in the bigger things?
CONCERNING MARY - 7/26/21 (May seem controversial, but facts don't lie)
The words of Jesus are indisputable. He addressed a variety of issues concerning religion. Being raised a Catholic, but since, gloriously saved by the blood of Christ, I cannot help but see the rebuttals of Religious dogma that Jesus made throughout His earthly ministry.
For example: when it comes to Praising Mary, or exalting her, we find several verses that tend to go against that doctrine.
First, we find that Mary, although a virgin before Jesus was born, was not a virgin long after Jesus was born. Reading the Scriptures will quickly reveal that.
1. “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” (Matthew 1:24-25)
Notice, “knew her not till”? By indication, he knew (intimately) her afterward, which we see in Scripture.
“Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?” (Matthew 13:55-56) further confirmed by Paul in Galatians 1:19: “But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.”
It was well known in those days that Jesus had siblings. To have a doctrine that Mary was an “ever virgin” does not align with Scripture.
2. The next point requires that the word “blessed” be understood. Mary is referred to in Catholicism as the “bless-ed virgin,” and indeed she was a “blessed” woman. The word “blessed” is a one syllable word in the English language, the two syllable “bless-ed” was used in poetry, not common speech. “Blessed” simply means: made happy or prosperous, which indeed, Mary was made happy and prosperous, in that, her womb was chosen to bring forth the redeemer of mankind.
However, when that womb was given praise, Jesus redirected the praise...
“And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:27-28)
Why would Jesus say such a thing if Mary was supposed to be exalted? Probably, because it was never intended that she be exalted. We see this same evidence in:
“Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:47-50)
“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” (John 2:4)
Now the latter verse was not Jesus being disrespectful, it was How Jesus addressed average women in the Bible. (Luke 13:12; John 4:21; John 8:10; John 20:15) He addressed her the same way when He was on the cross (John 19:26).
These are just a couple examples from Scripture that tend to refute the Catholic doctrines concerning Mary.
She was not an “ever virgin.” She went on to be a wife and mother who raised not only Jesus, but his four brothers and his sisters.
There is no tenet in Scripture that allows for the worship of Mary.
So instead of magnifying Mary, why not magnify the one she magnified...
“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” (Luke 1:46-47)
Why not do like she told others to do...
“His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.“ (John 2:5)
Mary would have never received worship when she was on this earth, nor should she now. The praise directed toward her was not accepted by the Lord Himself, why should it be acceptable now?
When you build a doctrine from traditions that violate clear Scriptural evidence, you have become a cult.
CONCERNING SERVANTHOOD - 7/23/21
The Apostle Paul told Timothy:
“And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Timothy 6:2-8)
I fear that the modern believer has lost sight of contentment. In a world of frills and thrills it seems that we cannot be satisfied unless we have more stuff. In fact, we tend to accumulate so much more stuff than we actually need, thinking we are being blessed, when indeed, we are actually being burdened by the adversary. You can only pack a mule with so much before he can’t bare the load and becomes useless.
If the devil can weigh us down with more stuff, which tends to more upkeep and devours more of our time; time that we could be spending with the Lord and doing His work; then he can prevent us from fulfilling our biblical responsibilities.
He doesn’t necessarily need to tempt us with immoral things to side track us, that would be too easy to spot. No, he consumes our time with stuff, making us think that we are being blessed. We spend so much time collecting junk, building houses, tending lands and animals, living in a virtual reality, and more, running every which way to make a buck to keep ourselves afloat; all the while, in debt up to our eyeballs, struggling to make ends meet; and we really believe that we are being blessed, when in reality, we are becoming less and less useful.
In our passage we find that the Bible teaches the dynamic opposite. “Godliness with contentment is much gain.” Who was Paul speaking about? The wealthy believers? The prosperous religious practitioners? The big land owners? The mega-church pastors? No... he was speaking to people who owned nothing:
“Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.” (v.1)
Could you, a modern Christian, be content being a servant?
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)
THE CRUCIFIED LIFE - 7/22/21
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:23-27)
In this passage, Jesus teaches the need for self-denial and daily taking up the cross. These things are necessary if we are to follow Him. We cannot be self-willed and yield to His will at the same time. When we try, we fail miserably. We have to remove self from the equation if our service to Him will be successful.
Because we are flesh, we wake up in the mornings and our minds go directly to what we want to accomplish that day. The problem is that seldom, if we are honest, does God’s will enter our minds at that first thought. We may thank Him for another wonderful day that we get to go enjoy, but unless we immediately take up our cross and follow Him, we can get sidetracked real easily.
So, how do we take our crosses up? A good start would be to go immediately to prayer when we wake up, and ask the Lord what He would have us do today, who He would have us reach today, what His will is for our day. This will realign our focus from the flesh to our faith, and prevent us from immediately starting our day wrong.
Paul said “...I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:31) He understood the need to daily put the flesh to death that the Spirit might reign in his life that day. That is the only way to live daily in God’s will.
Paul furthermore said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
The crucified life can only be fleshed out by denying self, taking up the cross daily, and following Jesus. Anything less reveals that you truly are ashamed of Him, and He will be ashamed of you....
Chew on that for a while.
THE SOULS OF MEN - 7/21/21
Something to think about...
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” - Daniel 12:2
This is not dealing with soul sleep, but rather our physical bodies being reunited with our souls and judged.
As for the soul of the believer, when we are absent from the body we will be present with the Lord. “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)
In Luke 16:22, we see “that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom.” Abraham’s bosom was a name for Paradise. The soul departed there immediately following his death.
The body will remain (sleep) in the dust where it came from until the day of rapture.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
After the rapture, believers will then face the Judgement seat of Christ, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
This judgment is about receiving rewards, not our eternal destination, that will have been already settled the day we were saved.
Now as for those who have not been saved...
They too have a judgement day, and a place where their souls will abide as they await it.
Luke 16:22-23 continues... “the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments...”
Their souls will be ushered into Hell on the day of their departure from this life. There they shall abide in torments until their appearance at the White Throne Judgment of God, when they will be cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity.
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)
Although being with the Lord is comforting for the believer, it is also heartbreaking to imagine that many people we know (family, friends, neighbors, and even our enemies) will one day suffer such torments for the rest of eternity.
We must do our part... pray, witness, and live our lives in a manner pleasing to God.
If we don’t pray for them, who will?
If we don’t witness to them, who will?
If we don’t live our lives in a manner that is pleasing to God, who will we be pleasing? And who will believe our gospel?
HE RECEIVED THEM - 7/21/21
In Luke 9:10: “And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.
Jesus privately took the disciples into the desert. He didn’t announce Where they were going.
Yet, in v.11: “And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.”
His private get away with the disciples was, for a lack of better terms, crashed, by other men who wanted to follow Him, and not just a few, but we find out in v.14 that there were 5000 men that followed him there. The party of 13 (Jesus and His disciples) had just became a party of 5013.
Without delving into the feeding of the 5000, which most of us know that event well, I want to draw our attention to four words in v.11: “and he received them”.
In the midst of what was supposed to be a small group meeting, Jesus received all who showed up, and preached to them, healed them, and provided them with something to eat.
I am reminded of John 6:37: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
I am thankful that we have a Saviour who is willing to receive all who come to Him (5000), not just his elect (12).
I am sure glad He received me on August 19, 1997!
LACK OF FAITH - 7/18/2021
“Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.”- Luke 7:1-10
I this passage, we find a centurion, also known as a Roman Soldier, a Gentile, sending for Jesus on behalf of his servant, likely a Jew. This servant typifies Judaism, in that, he was “sick, and ready to die.” God’s chosen people, Israel, were spiritually not well, and for all intents and purposes are currently dead spiritually.
This centurion had heard about Jesus and obviously believed that Jesus had what was needed for this servant to be healed, and indeed, He does. He loved the Jews enough to build them a synagogue, which would have been outside of the spectrum of his responsibilities. He also loved His servant, revealing the kind of leader that he was.
He was a loving man of authority, and when it came to Jesus, he was a man of humility. It would be good to find loving men of authority who would humble themselves before God today. I fear those kind of men are as much a scarcity today as they were back then, especially among the religious.
This centurion had a genuine enough faith to believe that Jesus’ Word was all that was needed to heal his servant. This kind of faith was not present in Israel, the alleged people of faith.
Jesus used this Gentile centurion to reprove Israel for their lack of true faith.
I wonder if He would be compelled to do the same to modern Christianity?
LOVING YOUR ENEMIES? - 7/17/21
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” – Luke 6:46
So, what was it that He said? Certainly you can apply it to all Scripture, but to put it in the light of its context, one would have to read the preceding verses…
“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” (Luke 6:27-31)
Of all teaching in Scripture, this is probably the most difficult to obey. How do you love your enemies? How do you do good to people who hate you? How do you bless people who curse you? How do you find it in your heart to pray for people who despitefully use you? How do you not retaliate when someone assaults you? Or robs you? How do you give and not be upset when they don’t return the favor?
In and of ourselves, this seems all but impossible. However, it’s not supposed to be about ourselves! We are supposed to emulate Christ by our lives.
Remember Romans 5:8? As contrary as we walked against the Lord, as rebellious we were and oft times still are, as self centered as we tend to be, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Let that sink in… We weren’t at all concerned about Him or our obedience to His Law, yet He loved us to death, proven on the cross… He is who we are suppose to emulate!
Jesus found this subject to be so detrimental that he expounded deeper throughout the rest of the chapter, repeating Himself, to emphasize the importance of this teaching.
“For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.” (v.32) Love is not about what you stand to gain in the relationship, but what you give to the relationship. When your love is given and not reciprocated, you begin to experience what God has been dealing with for thousands of years, and dealt with for many years with you.
“And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” (v.33-36)
Children naturally emulate their parents, and as God is our Father, we should naturally be a reflection of Him in love, goodness, giving, kindness, and mercy. After all, we did not deserve any of that from God, yet He commended it toward us.
Verse 37 is an often misused verse. “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” Taken out of context, many use this verse against believers who are witnessing to them, or failing to condone their vile lifestyles. That is not at all what the verse is saying. Whereas, we are supposed to preach, teach, and warn sinners; we are not to do so hypocritically, or with a critical spirit. We see in the following verses that we need to be right first.
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. (v.38-40)
We need to be right in our measure. If we are blind, we cannot navigate blind people without problems. If we are going to be right, we will need to be like Jesus.
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.” (v.41-42)
This doesn’t mean not to see people’s sin problem, but not to focus on it to the point that you fail to see your own sin. Too often we criticize others because their sin is “worse” than ours… yet all sin is still sin. It would be like a man who is addicted to alcohol trying to correct a man addicted to drugs. Fix your sin problem first! Then you might find the humility to help the other guy with the right spirit, understanding that you are also human.
He then deals with the heart of man…
“For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:43-45)
When your heart is right, you will do right; when the heart is wrong, you will naturally do wrong. And if you are going to call Him your Lord, perhaps you should try living like it! (v.46)
BLESSED OR SORROWFUL - 7/17/21
In Luke, there is a brief summation of what has been termed the “Beatitudes.” In it we find a stark contrast between those who are to be Blessed and those who are to be sorrowful.
“And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” (Luke 6:20-23)
The word “blessed” means “Made happy or prosperous; extolled; pronounced happy” (Webster, 1828).
So what was Jesus saying?
In a nutshell, those who are poor, hungry, weeping, hated, discarded, reproached, and cast out, for His sake (not their own offenses), will be made happy. He tells them to rejoice and leap for joy for their coming reward. Furthermore, He likens them to the prophets of old. What a class to be placed in! Regardless to our current social status, there is coming a day...
Next He said: “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (v.6:24-26)
“Woe” also spelled “wo” means, “Grief; sorrow; misery; a heavy calamity” (Webster). Essentially, being pronounced “unhappy”
That really needs no explanation; if you are worldly rich, full, happy now, and well received by the world, you already have your rewards here? What could you expect in the future?
Remember, “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)
Will you be last for Him? Will you be poor, hungry, weeping, hated, discarded, reproached, and cast out, for His sake? Or are you chasing popularity and wealth?
MINISTRY OF MISFITS - 7/16/21
Looking at the 12 men that Jesus chose to be apostles baffles the mind…
“Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.” (Matthew 10:2-4)
“And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.” (Mark 3:16-19)
“Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.” (Luke 6:14-16)
Let’s take a brief look at these guys…
There were likely six who were fishermen: Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew; the “sons of thunder”, James and his brother John (Simon and Andrew’s partners in the fishing industry – Luke 5:10); and Philip and His friend Bartholomew (A.K.A. Nathaniel). Fishermen were the working class citizens and usually a rough crowd.
There was the tax collector, Matthew (A.KA. Levi the son of Alphaeus – Mark 2:14, a publican -Luke 5:27); Thomas, whose name means “twin” (A.K.A. Didymus – John 11:16, which means “double”); and James the son of Alphaeus; it is likely that these three, mentioned in succession, and two referred to as sons of Aplhaeus, were brothers, Thomas likely being the twin of Matthew. Tax collectors and their families were seldom a welcome bunch.
Then there was Judas the brother of James (author of the book of Jude, A.K.A. Lebbaeus (man of heart praising) or Thaddaeus (that praises), which appear to have been terms of endearment. It is believed that this is the same Judas that was Jesus younger brother (Matthew 13:55).
Next we find a Canaanite named Simon, who may have been the father of Judas Iscariot (John 6:71 & 12:4). We don’t know much about him, but we do know that the Canaanites were driven out of the land in Joshua’s day, and not welcomed in the house of the LORD of hosts in Zechariah 14:21.
Finally, we see the traitor, Judas Iscariot. If the aforementioned is accurate, he would be a half-breed Canaanite-Jew, as “Judas” comes from the word “Judah” and “Iscariot” implies that he was from the city of Kirioth, in southern Judaea, having a father who was a Canaanite. Half-breeds have never been socially embraced.
Judas would later be replaced by the apostles with a man named Matthias, who was never mentioned as doing anything as an apostle.
I believe that Judas’ true replacement was the Pharisee Saul (A.K.A. Paul), who was appointed by God (Acts 9 ). The irony is that Judas was an apostle who became an enemy of the cross, while Saul was an enemy of the cross who became an apostle.
This would make the apostleship probably the most misfit group of men of that day. It never ceases to amaze me what God can do with a bunch of misfits!
JUSTIFICATION - 7/12/21
Obedience to the Law of God does not justify the guilty.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Romans 3:19-26)
No matter how much we try to obey the Law of God on our own, we will fail miserably, we are all under sin (Romans 3:9); and declared guilty (v.19). Knowledge of God’s Law, therefore, only reveals to us that we are sinners in need of a Saviour.
Thankfully, our justification does not depend on our righteousness, but on the righteousness of God which we can only receive by Jesus Christ!
God, by His grace, provides for us redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That redemption cannot be received without faith in His blood.
This faith is more than simply believing the historical data of the death, burial, and resurrection; Satan believes that. It is received through personal faith in His blood!
I am ever thankful for being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus!
CONCERNING JOHN THE BAPTIST - 7/9/21
“But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:13-16)
Zacharias was an old man by this time and he and his wife had been childless up to this point. (V.7) He had been praying for many years for a son unsuccessfully. Yet he apparently, even in his old age, persisted in asking over and over. His prayer was now being answered.
I wonder sometimes if we quit praying for things too soon. James said that “... The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) the key words are “effectual”, “fervent”, and “righteous”. We know that Zacharias and Elizabeth were both “righteous” (Luke 1:6). He had to have been praying effectually, because we can evidence the effect of his prayer. The fervency of his prayer must have been intense. Others were likely praying with him as well. In the end, his age mattered not, the barrenness of the womb mattered not, it was his prayer that mattered.
Along with the answered prayer came a great blessing. This child would bring him joy and gladness. He would be a great man of the God that Zacharias so faithfully served! Every servant of God desires their children to walk after God with as much or more zeal as they do. Zechariah would see this in John.
In order to see that blessing come to pass, there were some restrictions... since John was filled with the Holy Spirit (Ghost) from the womb (v.15), he could not partake in the world’s wine and spirits. The two cannot mix.
I wonder how many blessings are missed in the lives believers because they partake in the world’s substances?
SANCTIFICATION - 7/8/21
John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
“Sanctify” = To cleanse from corruption; to purify from sin; to make holy be detaching the affections from the world and its defilements, and exalting them to a supreme love to God.
Unless we “know the truth” (John 8:32) we cannot be sanctified and cleansed “with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26).
Positionally, we know that believers are sanctified in Christ alone. However, where many fail is in the area of practical sanctification; living that holy life.
It is the Word of God that cleanses us from corruption; not our self will, not our own abilities, not our scholarship, not even our good deeds; the Word alone. It purifies us from sin, enabling us to live holy lives. It realigns our affections from the world and it’s defilements to our heavenly home and our Blessed Saviour (Colossians 3:2). He becomes the direction of our affection. We cease from our earthly labor for things that corrupt, and begin to lay up treasures in Heaven. (Matthew 6:20) We find our satisfaction apart from this world and it’s allures, all through the sanctification by the Word.
Perhaps the reason that so many believers find themselves reattached to the world and it’s allures, and defiled by sin and corrupted in their walk, is because they fail to make God’s Word a daily priority; they fail to:
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Failure to study the resource provided for our practical sanctification, will result in a failure of living a sanctified life.
AN ALABASTER BOX OF OINTMENT - 6/18/21
In Mark 14:3-9 we read:
“And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”
In this passage, there are several things we can notice. The preceding verses set the time frame, two days before the Passover feast. This was the end of the week prior to the crucifixion.
The woman came to Jesus and anointed Him with this very precious ointment. In V.8, Jesus said that she did it for His burial. It was customary for a person to be anointed with the burial ointment after they were dead, but this woman, prophetically, came before He was dead, and anointed Him with much better, affording Him another opportunity to tell them of His impending death, to which they were oblivious.
This woman gave her most valued possession to Jesus. The passage tells us that the spikenard was “very precious,” and that it was in an “alabaster box.” In Biblical times the alabaster box of a young woman was given to her by her parents when she was of age to marry as part of her dowry. The value of the ointment, in this case a year’s salary, was dependent upon the wealth of the family. The breaking of the alabaster box had to do with their nuptials, it was to be broken at the feet of her husband, and the oil used symbolically on his feet. The broken box meant that it could no longer be used, as marriage was intended to be a one time event. There is much symbolism in the breaking of this alabaster box.
This woman, instead of simply opening the box and pouring some of the ointment on Jesus, broke it, and poured it all on Him, essentially, giving Him her self and her all.
However, we also find in this passage, that some of the disciples “had indignation” asking why the ointment was wasted. Due to their own greed, they could not understand what had just been done. Much like today, they knew the price of everything, but the value of nothing. Their minds were consumed with how much the ointment cost instead of the meaning of the woman’s actions. Giving your all doesn’t come cheap and It will draw criticism from those who do not, but it will be remembered by the one who counts.
THE SMALL SHIP - 6/12/21
“And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.” (Mark 3:9)
As I read through the passage, I noticed, as stated, Jesus told His disciples to have a small ship wait on him. That might seem insignificant at first, but when we follow Him through that chapter, we would expect Him to get into the ship soon after, but He did not, not until the next chapter, and thereafter.
While the small ship waited on Jesus, He was busy healing many and dealing with unclean spirits. He went up into a house on the mountain to ordain the twelve and send them forth to preach, heal sickness, and cast out devils.
While on the mountain, the multitude showed up again, and He apparently went out to them. His friends thought He was beside Himself, His foes thought He had a devil, and His family also came seeking Him. It never says how long He was in the mountain, but for all of that to transpire would have taken at least the good part of the day.
Its not until the fourth chapter that we find Him entering into a ship…
“And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine…” (Mark 4:1-2)
Jesus entered into a ship in this verse, in all likelihood, the ship that had been waiting. This ship would now serve as His Pulpit, where His voice would resonate from as He taught those who came to hear. It would also serve as His means for getting His disciples where they needed to be. Jesus certainly did not need the ship for Himself, we know that because He walked on water in Mark 6:48. Jesus chose to use the small ship as a vessel to fulfill His ministry.
As we read through the book of Mark, at least until the eighth chapter, it is no longer referred to as “a ship”, but rather “the ship”. This same ship became Jesus’ and the disciples mode of transportation when traveling by sea. As we read through the book of Mark, we find that this little ship served as a great vessel.
It is the vessel that Waited on the Saviour (Mark 3:9)
It is the vessel that Weathered the Storms (Mark 4:37-38; 6:47-48)
It is the vessel that Witnessed the Supreme (Mark 4:39; 6:48-51)
The small ship was not great in stature, it was never described as having any appeal. In and of itself it was just a small vessel, likely used by fishermen, as a means of making a meager living. Its greatness was not discovered until it was in service for the Master…
We could learn a lot from that small ship.
TEMPTATION OF CHRIST - 5/25/21
In Matthew 4:1-11, we read about the encounter that Jesus had with Satan and his temptations…
4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
The passage begins by telling us that Jesus was “led up of the Spirit,” not to a place of happiness and excitement, like many expect today, but “into the wilderness;” a lonely place and a difficult place. The purpose, “to be tempted of the devil.” Temptation comes from Satan, and although it is evil, in this passage we are given the tools to identify temptation and its source, to resist temptation, and to walk away from temptation as a victor instead of a victim.
I. The Source - v.3 “The tempter” (called “the devil” in v.1 and “Satan” in v.10)
II. The System –
1. FOOD and the FLESH v.3 Satan uses a variety of things to tempt us with. In the first temptation he uses FOOD. Although food is necessary for our health and life, it should never be set above spiritual nourishment. Jesus had just fasted 40 days, nourishing Himself spiritually, and the first thing Satan tries to do is get Him to act in the flesh!
2. FALSE DOCTRINE v.5-6 – Satan not only attempts to end Jesus’ life prematurely (as he had when he was born), but now, he attempts to misuse the Scripture to get Him to obey him. That passage he quoted was misapplied to Christ.
3. FAME AND FORTUNE v.8-9 – Satan offers him the kingdoms and the glory of the world. Satan is the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), and as such has the authority to offer those things. However, one must remember, all of those things are temporal, and those who seek after them will find their eternal reward in the lake of fire. The benefit is NEVER worth the cost.
III. The Solution – v.4,6,& 10 – “it is written” Three times Jesus cites the Word of God to Satan to combat his temptations. The reason most people fall for Satan’s lies is because they do not know God’s TRUTH!
The Bible tells us to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – (2 Tim 2:15) Failure to do so will certainly leave us as prey to Satanic temptation!
Study the Word of God, and fight the devil every step of the way!
INVESTMENTS - 5/7/2021
“The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” - Zephaniah 1:14-18
The best investment we can make will not be in silver and gold, but rather, treasure in Heaven...
Jesus told the rich young ruler, “...If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”
Silver and gold will mean nothing when all is said and done. Where will your treasure be?
As believers, we must keep in mind that all this stuff, all of our earthly treasures will one day perish, and all that will remain is what we have laid up in Heaven.
If you are not a believer, then all you have, your possessions, property, and prosperity will one day burn... sadly, even your person will burn for eternity... in your present state, you are hopeless.
However, it doesn’t have to end that way! Jesus died for you, to make a way for you to change your infernal destination, for you to become a new creature with a new heart and a new desire, able to have a new kind of treasure, laid up in Heaven for you!
If you would like to know more, please contact me, I will help you find that way!
Or, if you would like to read more on how to find it, click this link… http://craigmoss.com/home/index.php/how-be-saved
Settled in Faith Concerning God's Will - 03/24/2021
In Daniel 3:16-18, we read, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
A few things we can surmise from this text:
- They were “not careful to answer” the matter. They were not concerned with how the king would feel or react to their answer; their answer was their answer. They understood the ramifications of their answer.
- They were settled in their faith concerning God’s will. Notice their answer: They knew that God was full well able to deliver them. Their faith was not in that He would deliver them, but that, if it were His will, He could deliver them. However, if God chose not to deliver them from the burning fiery furnace, that would be okay as well; they still would not bow to the kings idol!
So often believers tip-toe around the issues and are careful how they say things, rather than just speaking it like it should be spoken. We understand the repercussions, but are too often moved by them to soften the blow, or even to go with the flow. This is not the proper response.
Far worse, and probably more often, believers expect God to deliver them according to their own desire. They expect Him to quench all the fires in their lives. Every trial that comes their way, they expect God to deliver them, and when He does not, they get upset, bitter, angry, and discouraged, because He did not do what they expected. They fail to consider that His will may just not be their desire. Inadvertently, they stop serving Him the the same vigor that they once had, and begin to serve their flesh and this ungodly world.
Sure, they read their Bibles, but they don’t truly believe their Bibles. They think or even say, “I wish things were like that today!” The fact of the matter is that those things will not be like that today until that reader has the faith of those men of old.
Biblical Ignorance - 01/28/2021
In the book of Isaiah we find this statement:
“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read...” - Isaiah 34:16a
Then, in the New Testament, Jesus made several doctrinal corrections to the religious crowd with a precursor concerning their lack of reading what was written...
“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” - Matthew 19:4-6
“Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” - Matthew 21:42-44
“And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.” - Mark 12:26-27
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” - Matthew 22:19
Biblical error is due to biblical ignorance, which is directly related to the lack of reading the Scriptures. There is only one way to reduce these errors brought on by ignorance, “read” the book! (KJV)
Stop Doing Wickedly - 01/22/2021
“Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 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. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” - Isaiah 1:10-20
It would certainly do us well to look back at God’s way of dealing with a sinful rebellious people!
As we see in v.18, it is God’s desire to cleans sin (that’s why Jesus died on the cross for us). Here we see that even though God’s people were willingly vile and rebellious, God still wanted to cleanse them; He wanted to “reason together” with them. However, He also set the parameters for that reasoning, stop doing wicked (v.17), start doing good (v.18), be “willing and obedient”, or else (v.20).
This was not written as a means of becoming God’s children, it was written TO God’s children! We cannot blame the spiritual condition of our country or our world on the actions of the heathen. No, that blame belongs to the Church (God’s people). It’s not until God’s people get right that we will begin to see our nation healed from its sin (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).
Just food for thought!
The Backslider 4/23/19
The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself. (Proverbs 14:14)
In my morning devotions today, I was reading on what I believe to be the best New Testament illustration of a backslider.
In the 21st chapter of John we read of this account:
“After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. (2) There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. (3) Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. (4) But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. (5) Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. (6) And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. (7) Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. (8) And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. (9) As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. (10) Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. (11) Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. (12) Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. (13) Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. (14) This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.” (John 21:1-14)
In this passage there are a few things that stand out…
I. The backslider walks Away – “I go a fishing” (v.3) – Peter made a conscious choice to return to his previous way of living. He was a fisherman before he met the Lord (Mark 1:16) and was called to be a fisher of men. (Mark 1:17) He knew that Jesus was risen from the grave already and had seen him on two occasions (John 20:19-29), so there was no reason to be discouraged. He just made the decision to go back to fishing.
II. The backslider leads others Astray – “We also go with thee” (v.3) – Though they are ultimately responsible for their own decisions, their backsliding is the result of one man making the wrong decision. No matter who you are, or who you think is watching you, when a believer backslides, you will undoubtedly lead others into backsliding as well.
III. The backslider fails to Pray – “entered onto a ship immediately” (v.3) – None of them stopped to pray about the decision that they were making. If the backsliders would have taken the time to consult the Lord before making their decisions, they would never have been led to make those decisions. Prayer is one of the most important tools a believer has, second only to the Word of God. We should pray before we make any decisions, and not move until we have the answer. That will help us avoid bad decisions.
IV. The backsliding doesn’t Pay – “and that night they caught nothing” (v.3) – A backslider will seldom be successful in their pursuits. There is nothing more satisfying, to the true believer, than serving the Lord.
a. There is no victual for the backslider - Jesus asked them, “have ye any meat?” (v.5) How disheartening it must have been to respond to the Saviour, “No.” There is no meat (nourishment) in the life of the backslider.
b. There is no vision in the backslider – “the sea of Tiberias” - These men were so disheartened that although they could see Jesus on the shore (about a half of a football field away), and hear His words clearly, they could not recognize who He was. The irony here is that “Tiberias” literally means “good vision.” (HBN) Here on the sea of “good vision” the disciples vision was blurred by their backslid condition.
c. There are little values in the backslider – “for he was naked” (v.7) - Another detail that describes the depth of his backslid condition concerns his nakedness. People can make that say what they will, but nonetheless, the Bible says that he was naked, and nakedness revealed a spiritual condition back then, just as it does today.
A very important point that needs to be understood is this next one….
V. The backslider doesn’t Stay – When he knew it was the Lord, Peter jumped out of the backslider’s ship and headed for shore, and the others followed on the ship! When the backslider is confronted by the Saviour, he does not remain in his backslid state!
a. His Presence - Jesus did not come to them; he simply drew their attention. (v.4-6)
i. The darkness of their backslidden condition was veiled in the darkness of night. (v.3)
ii. When morning came, and the physical darkness was taken away, there was a familiar figure standing on the shore, though they could not recognize Him, He could recognize them as His “children!” (v.5) It would be good to add this thought… It did not say that Jesus appeared on the shore, but rather that “Jesus stood on the shore.” (v.4) How long had He been there, was He there all night obscured by the darkness of his backslid “children?” How wonderful of a thought to ponder! Our Saviour is there through our darkest hours! He was just a stone’s throw away. I recall His precious promises “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Mat. 28:20), and “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). Such promises we should hold dear to our hearts. As humans, we will fail, and make bad choices, but remember, Jesus is very near!
b. His Paternity - As previously stated, He called them “children.” Even in their backslid state, Jesus did not cast them off, or disinherit them. They were still His children. A real father will always love his children no matter how far they wander. Love and acceptance are two different things. Though He loved them, he did not go to them, and He did not call them back to the shore, he (like the prodigal’s father) simply was available for them to return and called them to dine (fellowship restored) when they did. That hits home for me, as I have one who has wandered. My love for him will never end, he will always be my son. He is always on my heart, on my mind, and in my prayers. I can only pray that in my lifetime, I will see his return, if not to me, to the Saviour.
c. His Preparation – Jesus had already had fish on the fire awaiting His children’s return. It brings to mind an old favorite hymn… “The disciples came to land, Thus obeying Christ’s command, For the Master called unto them, “Come and dine”; There they found their heart’s desire, Bread and fish upon the fire; Thus He satisfies the hungry every time… “Come and dine,” the Master calleth, “Come and dine”; You may feast at Jesus’ table all the time; He Who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine, To the hungry calleth now, “Come and dine.” (Widmeyer)
Easter.... Should Christians Celebrate It? April 15, 2019
Here we are again… That time of year when well meaning Christians greet each other with the words, “Happy Easter,” and churches are having Easter Sun-rise services. I have an issue with these things, and my issue is biblically based.
Many theologians, past and present, have claimed that “Easter” means “Passover” simply because the Greek word “πάσχα” (pronounced pascha) was used for both, “Passover” and “Easter.”
- If you believe that the modern translations are superior to the King James Bible, then you have no business even using the word “Easter” in your vocabulary, because you believe the word was misinterpreted, and should be calling the day “passover” or “pasch” as your Bible calls it in Acts 12:4. Using what you believe to be a mistranslated word for one of your celebrations is hypocrisy.
- One problem with this is that the word “pascha” was NEVER translated to be the name of a Christian holyday. Aside from this one instance, it was translated as “Passover” a Jewish holyday that occurred the 14th day of Abib (the first month on the Jewish calendar). That makes “pascha” a Jewish holyday.
Now that I have your attention, let’s look at the text in context…
“Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” (Acts 12:1-5)
A few quick observations…
- Herod was not a godly king, he had just murdered James, the bishop of the Church in Jerusalem. Why would he be concerned with offending Christians on a Christian holyday? He would not. This further established the argument for the use of the word “Easter” as a Christian holyday.
- Herod liked the idea that killing James pleased the Jews, so he was going to do the same to Peter.
- This was occurring during the days of unleavened bread, as seen in the passage. The problem here is that “the days of unleavened bread” are the seven days that follow the Passover. The Passover feast had already taken place in order for this to happening during the days of unleavened bread. Therefore, Easter is not the same as the Passover.
“Easter” has nothing to do with Christ. It is celebrated with bunnies and eggs, which are symbols of sexual fertility, NOT the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The sex goddess was called by various names through various cultures. Whether she was called: Eoster, Ishtar, Inanna, Semeramis, Astarte, Ashtoreth, or Isis, she has NOTHING to do with Christianity. “Easter” is a pagan holiday.
For more see the PowerPoint Presentation at http://craigmoss.com/Eoster.ppsx
The Doctrine of Repentance Explained - March 20, 2019
I am going to address a doctrine that has for far too long been discarded and distorted by the modern church. This doctrine is the root of the weakness and worldliness of the modern Christian. It is the doctrine of “Repentance.” Before I begin to explain what repentance is, I will first explain what it is not. Repentance is not a work of the physical turning away from sin or sins. Repentance is not “penance,” as some religions define it. Repentance is not the abusing of one’s self to pay for one’s sins or doing good works to counterbalance one’s sins. Repentance is not turning over a new leaf. There are other erred definitions that “repentance” seems to have taken on by the modern church, in an attempt to discard the doctrine altogether.
However, a gospel that does not require repentance for salvation is a false gospel. I probably just lost several people who were reading this post. That’s okay. This post is not intended for debate or argument with people who hate the thought of repentance. It is simply intended for the purpose of educating people who have been struggling to understand it. So, you might ask at this point, “What is repentance.” First, I will give you some definitions.
REPENT'ANCE, n. (from the Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the English Language)
1. Sorrow for any thing done or said; the pain or grief which a person experiences in consequence of the injury or inconvenience produced by his own conduct.
2. In theology, the pain, regret or affliction which a person feels on account of his past conduct, because it exposes him to punishment. This sorrow proceeding merely from the fear of punishment, is called legal repentance, as being excited by the terrors of legal penalties, and it may exist without an amendment of life.
3. Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life.
Repentance is a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God.
Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. 2 Cor 7. Mat 3.
Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice, from conviction that it has offended God.
A Few other words defined by the same in context….
PEN'ITENCE or PENITENCY, n. [L. poenitentia, from poeniteo, from poena, pain, punishment. See Pain.] Repentance; pain; sorrow or grief of heart for sins or offenses; contrition. Real penitence springs from a conviction of guilt and ingratitude to God, and is followed by amendment of life.
PEN'ANCE, n. (Note the difference)
1. The suffering, labor or pain to which a person voluntarily subjects himself, or which is imposed on him by authority as a punishment for his faults, or as an expression of penitence; such as fasting, flagellation, wearing chains, &c. Penance is one of the seven sacraments of the Romish church.
RELIN'QUISHMENT, n. The act of leaving or quitting; a forsaking; the renouncing a claim to.
The Greek word that has been translated as repentance is “μετάνοια”(pronounced “metanoia”) it is defined as “(subjectively) compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication reversal (of [another’s] decision): - repentance.” As expected, it was translated precisely in the KJB.
Thus, the word repentance, in a summary statement, can be defined as: A change of mind brought on by sorrow over past conduct because it exposes the offender (us) to judgment and it has offended and dishonored God. This change of mind results in the relinquishment of said conduct and a turning to God in faith.
If repentance was not present in your salvation “experience,” then your “experience” is invalid, regardless to how many joy bubbles you may have felt. To further the discussion, I will provide below a few examples from Scripture. I will approach it first from misused verses, and then from appropriate verses.
Most people ask, “What about the Philippian Jailer, he wasn’t told to repent?” Let’s examine that instance for a moment. Here is the extent of what most debaters quote: “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30-31). However, if you follow proper biblical hermeneutical principles, you would not extract two verses from the text without viewing them in light of their context. Thus, let us look at the context. Paul and Silas were beaten and put in prison for commanding the evil “spirit of divination” (v.16-18) out of a woman in Philippi. (v.22-24) Then “at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God” (v.25). There was then a “great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed” (v.26). This earthquake was pretty impressive. The jailer was preparing to kill himself because he thought that the prisoners had escaped. (v.27) In those days, it was better to kill yourself than to be tortured and killed for letting the prisoners go on your watch. Paul cried out from the dark dungeon, stopping him from killing himself. (v.28) This jailer had seen these men beaten for serving their God, no doubt he had heard them singing praises to the God that allowed them to be beaten. He thought for sure that they had escaped. He realized that there was something much different about these men than there was about himself. They actually cared about the life of their enemy. When he fell down before Paul and Silas and brought them out, he asked what he needed to do to be saved. (v.29-30) At this point, this man had already realized that he was wrong and wanted to change. He had already changed his mind (repented) about what was right and wrong. This is not presenting an unrepentant gospel, but rather a repentant one. Why would Paul and Silas have to tell a repentant man to repent? There is no need to, so they go right to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (v.31). They did not just leave it there… “And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” (Acts 16:32-34) Removing repentance from this story, simply because it was not stated by name, would be just as erred as removing this man’s faith from the story, because it does not state that he believed. In fact, you could claim that Paul and Silas baptized this man and his household, without them being saved, or that they were saved through the false doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Let us be careful what we read into and out of the text.
Now let us turn to passages that support repentance as a necessary part of salvation.
The very first message that Jesus preached was “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat. 4:17). In the last orders Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 24 He said: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). Now you can dispensationalize it out of your Bible all day long, but the fact is, Jesus called people to repentance.
When Jesus sent out the twelve apostles, “And they went out, and preached that men should repent” (Mark 6:12).
Peter preached repentance in Acts 2:38 and 3:19. See also 2 Peter 3:9.
Paul preached repentance on Mars Hill in Acts 17:30; through Damascus, Jerusalem, Judea, and to the Gentiles in Acts 26:20. See also Acts 20:21; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Timothy 2:25; and Hebrews 6:1.
There is much evidence in the Scripture to establish the doctrine of repentance and its function in conversion of the soul. There is NO evidence in the Scripture to support the unrepentant devil’s doctrine of easy-believism that is being heralded today in mainstream churchianity (a made-up word that better defines that crowd). Sinners must repent and turn to God in faith in order to be saved!
The Book of JonahAn Exegetical Commentary on The Book of Jonah - By Bro. Craig Moss (Aug. 21, 2018)
The Blessed Man"The Blessed Man" - An Exegetical Analysis of Psalm 1 - By Bro. Craig Moss (July 7, 2018)
Walking in the Spirit"Walking In The Spirit" - An Exegetical Analysis of Romans 8:1-8 By Bro. Craig Moss (May 2, 2018)
The Book of RuthAn Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Ruth - By Bro. Craig Moss (Jan. 19, 2018)
The Effects of Gay Parents on Children - 10/17/2016
Downloadable PDF: Research: The Effects of Gay Parents on Children
Set Free or Made Free? 7/15/2016
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32 KJV)
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36 KJV)
Notice the term “make you free”? Now watch what the corrupted versions do…
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” (John 8:31-32 NIV)
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV)
“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” (John 8:31-32 NLT)
“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36 NLT)
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” (John 8:31-32 HCSB)
“Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.” (John 8:36 HCSB)
For years now, I have had issue with singing “He Set Me Free” and songs that say such. In fact, I changed the words to “He Made Me Free”. I saw a difference between being “set free” and being “made free”. If a prisoner gets help breaking out of prison, he has been “set free”, he is not “free indeed”, he has escaped. He will be recaptured, and will be back in the jail again. However, if the Governor pardons that prisoner, he is “made free”, and is “free indeed”. A pardon declares a guilty man to be free. Once pardoned, he may never be incarcerated for that crime again.
I found the same principle in Acts 16. We often read this passage as a justification by faith passage, as seen in the response to the Philippian jailor. However, let’s look at the whole picture.
In verses 19-26, we find Paul and Silas in a bad way. They are arrested, beaten and incarcerated…
“And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.”
Wow, a great earthquake that resulted in the doors opening and the chains falling off! Paul and Silas were “set free”! But, as you read on in the story, simply being “set free” was not good enough for Paul. Let’s read on through verse 34...
“And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. “(Acts 16:27-34)
In this passage, the jailor brought them into his house. The jailor’s house was in the jail; it was where he lived. He didn’t have the authority to “make” them free. If he had taken them out of the prison, or let them go, he could have been executed for doing so. They were still in the prison… Unshackled, door open, but not free!
“And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace. But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.” (Acts 16:35-39)
They were “Made Free” by the ones who had the authority to do so. And not only were they “made free” from the jail, but also from the city! The Christian is not only “made free” from the penalty and bondage of sin, but is also “made free” from the bondage of this world! Thus he can sing, “This world is not my home, I’m just ‘a passing through, my treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue. My Saviour beckons me, from Heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home, in this world anymore!”
I thank God that I was “Made Free” on August 19, 1997. My sin debt had to be removed in order for me to be free to enter into God’s Kingdom and His Heaven. God freed me from the penalty of Hell and the Lake of Fire when, in repentance and faith, I accepted the sacrifice that Jesus Christ had ALREADY paid for my sin debt. My acceptance of His payment at that very moment “Made” me FREE, and no matter what, I cannot be eternally incarcerated for my sin debt, I am FREE, indeed! I am no longer anchored to this world, my home is up yonder!
How about you? "Made free" or "Set free" or are you still shackled?
Faith Which Was Once Delivered Unto The Saints 7/15/2016
"Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." - Jude 1:1-4
As I read this passage, I couldn't help but notice how quickly true faith can become distorted and diminished, and God's people can begin to preach a lascivious grace, a grace that requires no change of mind, no conviction over sin, no amendment of life. A grace that allows the professor of faith to "continue in sin that grace may abound". Recall brother Paul's response to that mindset?
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" - Romans 6:1-2
Paul, speaking directly to Christians, said that we are supposed to be "dead to sin". That means that sin is not supposed to have an overwhelming influence over us. In fact, it is not supposed to influence us at all, let alone become our indulgence.
If you study out the lives of the apostles, and the early Church, you will find that they had a faith that motivated them to serve Christ, not sin. They were not at all by any means perfect, but were striving for that end. They had a faith that is scarcely seen today... A faith that caused men to walk contrary to their flesh and its ungodly lusts.
A faith that as we see in Jude, was already scarce in the first century of the Church. Remember, Jude was Jesus little brother (Short for Judas - Matthew 13:55). In his lifetime, he saw that faith had diminished from what it was when he and the apostles received it... What would he think today?
We need to pray for the faith that was once delivered to the saints!
The Number “Two” 7/15/2016
Two, in Biblical numerology represents “Division”. The Bible begins in Genesis 1:1 with the creation of two places, “the heaven and the earth”. Verse two presents us with “darkness” and verse three with “light”. We get to verse four and these two conditions are divided. From the very beginning of the Bible, therefore, we find “division” in the number “two”. In Genesis 1:7, you have “the waters under the firmament” being divided from “the waters above the firmament.” In verse 10, you have “Earth” and “Seas”. I could list all of the occurrences of “two” equaling “division” in Scripture, but it will not be practical for me to do so, nor beneficial to you; a good read through the Bible will certainly help sharpen your understanding of this principle.
We will move along to Adam and Eve, the first “two” God created. Quickly we find that even in a perfect environment, man cannot keep the simplest of rules, let’s examine. In Genesis 2:7, God formed man (one). In Genesis 2:9, we see that God mentions “two” specific trees “the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (one good, one not good). “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17). Here we find the very first law. There is no mention of any violation, so long as man was “one”. Then, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” (Genesis 2:21-22). Now there are “two” (DISCLAIMER: I am not inferring that women are bad, follow the numbers, not the feelings, I love women, I was born of one and I married one, which is what normal men do!). The very next thing we find after God created the second person, in Genesis 3:1-7, we meet “the serpent”. Now there are “two” voices speaking to man, and division begins. We saw that there was only one law for the first “two” to keep, and they violated it, by choosing the wrong choice of two, because they listened to the wrong voice of two! (Man had respect unto the second of the two voices, and chose the second of the two choices “the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”) As you read Chapter three, you find that man was now divided from God, no longer to walk with Him in the garden in the cool of the day.
Moving along we now come to Genesis Chapter 4, where we meet Adam and Eve’s twin (“two”) sons, Cain and Abel (One conception, two children = twins). Here we begin to see God sets forth a pattern involving the “two”. “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:” (Genesis 4:3-4). Now God has respect unto the offering of the “second” of the “two” sons. This sets a precedent throughout the Scriptures. As we know Cain kills his brother Abel in Genesis 4:8, and God curses him and puts a mark on his flesh in verse 15.
There has been racial division ever since!
Fast forward now to Genesis 12:1, we are introduced to Abram. In Chapter 15:4-6 we find God promising a “seed” to Abram. Abram believes God, nevertheless, he takes matter into his own hands instead of waiting on God, Abram has “Ishmael” (Genesis 16:1-11) of Sarai’s handmaid Hagar. This was his first son, but not the promised son.
In Genesis 17:5, God gives Abram a second name “Abraham”, and in verse 17:15 God gives Sarai a second name “Sarah”, and to them both in Genesis 21, God give a second son! “And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.” (Genesis 21:1-3) The promised seed was “Number two”! “And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi.” (Genesis 25:11)
There has been division between Ishmael (Islam) and Israel ever since!
Skipping forward, In Genesis 24:67, Isaac marries Rebekah. In Genesis 25:21-26 God gives this second son, two Children, Esau and Jacob, in the order they came out. In time, without covering the whole story, in Genesis Chapters 25-27, Jacob (number two) received both the “birthright” and the “blessing”. “And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him… And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham. (Genesis 28:1-4). In Genesis 32:28-29 God gives Jacob a second name, “Israel”.
In Genesis Chapter 29, Jacob ends up with two wives, of whom he loves the second one. There was division in his home the whole time. (God never created man to have two wives).
Jacob’s son Joseph (The first son of the second wife), has two sons in Egypt (Genesis 46:27). Jacob’s family was such a mess, he ended up blessing Josephs sons, but note the order: In Genesis 48:8-19, Israel blesses the younger (number “two”) son over the older!
Leaving Genesis, we are going to fast forward to the “New Testament” (Number “Two”).
In 1 Corinthians 15:45-47, The Apostle Paul said, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.”
Jesus Christ is the “last” Adam, the “second” man! He is found all throughout the First Testament in spiritual form, but in the second Testament, he is found in the flesh form! (John 1:1-14) “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:7-10)
If you receive Him as your Saviour you will become God’s son, talk about a blessing! “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
You can only become God’s son by going through a “second” birth! “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (John 3:3-7)
As the first birth was earthly, there is an earthly record of that birth. The second birth, which is spiritual, also has a record, but this one is spiritual as well. Having your name on a Church Roll is good, but that is not the record God will be checking. Being a member of a denomination is ok, but God is not going to call the head of your denomination to check the record. There is a birth record book in which God will consult which will testify of your spiritual birth: “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” (Revelation 21:27)
Is your name in the Lamb’s book of life? Is there a record there that will attest to your “second” birth?
If not, there is only one choice left… “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:14-15).
This second death is again a division, instead of abiding eternally with the Righteous and Holy God who created you, you will abide separated from Him in an eternal torment of the Lake of Fire.
Friends, numerology can be intriguing, but don’t stop there. You have a choice of “two” to make: “Birth One” (flesh), or “Birth Two” (spirit)? Be very careful that you choose in time!
“Steak and Potatoes, Hold the Veggies!” 12/02/2015
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2)
In this passage Paul is dealing with the spiritual diet. He tells the Church at Corinth, who thought that they were a spiritually mature bunch, that they were yet carnal babes, who he had to feed with milk, not meat, because they couldn’t handle it. We see the same thing said in Hebrews 5:12-14 (One of the reasons I believe Paul wrote Hebrews is that the language is consistent)
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Today’s Church cries out for meat, yet, for the most part, they can’t handle much more than milk, and the meat they can handle, is causing malnutrition.
I liken it to when I was a child. My mother, like most, would fix our meals. When she would fix us the typical 3 course meal, most of the time, I liked 2 of the 3 items on my plate (aside from liver). I liked hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken and the like. I liked potatoes and corn and the like. What I didn’t like, and usually passed under the table to the dog, was my green vegetables, squash and carrots. I was eating food, but meats and starches are not a real healthy diet. The most important “meat” I was needing, was that which I was throwing to the dog.
The Bible says: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” (Genesis 1:29)
God put vegetation here for us to have for “meat”. Steak and potatoes may taste good, but without the nutrients we get from our vegetables and fruits, that good taste will not make you healthy. You are robbing yourself of a healthy body.
Much the same, if we come to Church expecting the preacher to preach a “Steak and Potatoes, hold the Veggies” Sermon (and he does what we expect) we may walk away feeling fed, maybe even stuffed, but not altogether nourished.
In a sense, we all need a little milk from time to time. I usually take mine in my cereal in the mornings, Sunday mornings, we often find unsaved souls in our pews, that’s a good time to put a little milk in with your cereal. Cereal is a good start for the day. Sunday and Wednesday evenings, we are less apt to see the unsaved, and thus becomes a time to feed the flock. When we dig into the Word of God and teach them about the Temple, the Tabernacle, The Ark and all of the pictures of Christ we find in the Old Testament, and how they connect to the truths of the New Testament, we have begun to give them “Steak and Potatoes”. However, when we dig a little deeper, and deal with the way that the priest would have to present himself holy before God, and how he would have to wear linen breeches to cover his nakedness, and we convey that to the Church in such a way as to apply it to holiness and modesty in practical Christian living, we have then begun to put the “Veggies” on the plate. Learning how to live as a Christian is detrimental to one’s spiritual nutrition, and it is the portion that is missing from the meals served from behind most pulpits today.
Just as it is a shame that many of today’s parents give into their kids woes, and give them their Burger and Fries Happy Meals, or Nuggets and Fries, neglecting their nutritional needs (or whatever it takes to stop their complaining), Pastors who get up on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening and feed their flocks “Steak and Potatoes” but fail to give them the “Veggies” that will nourish their spirits, ought to be ashamed of themselves for giving in to the woes of the people.
Its high time we lift up the standards of the Christian diet!
Do You Honour Your Parents? ... 9/13/2014
"Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." - Matthew 15:1-9
Consider Your Ways... 9/6/2014
"Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:" - Haggai 2:3-4
This was written concerning the condition of the Temple in Jerusalem. However, by application, I saw a message to the Church.
Could you imagine this question being asked about the Church? If the Apostles were alive today on Earth, how would they respond? How would Paul or Peter or James or John answer this question? What about the saints from even the last century?
I am afraid that they would undoubtedly lower their heads in shame over the condition of the modern Church.
The very same text gives us the remedy... "Be strong...be strong...be strong...and work"
The problem is not going to fix itself, we as God's people must be strong and work at it. It may mean that we will need to fast and pray; we may have to lay aside the NFL, NASCAR, golf, etc., video games and, yes, even Facebook! It may mean that we will have to pick up our Bibles and renew our knowledge of the Scriptures. We may have to go out with the gospel and knock some doors, or find a street corner to preach on. We may need to begin personal and family devotions. We may need to be so forward with the gospel that we get people upset with us. It may cost us our careers, friendships, freedoms and even our lives... But then, and only then, will we be in comparison to those who have trod this sod before us! Look at what it cost them...
Perhaps we need to "Consider" our ways... - Haggai 1:5 & 7
Those Little Parasites... 8/16/2014
"The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten." Joel 1:1-4
"Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? " Joel 2:12-17
"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed." Joel 2:25-27
Here in the book of Joel we find that in Chapter 1, the children of God have fallen prey to little parasites... The palmerworm, the locust, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller. These were not ferocious large beasts, like wolves and lions, but little parasites, which do their damage and leave, however, the damage is done. By the time the damage is done by all 4 of them, there is pretty much nothing of any value left.
These parasites don't represent big sins like murder or adultery, but more like complacency and slothfulness. As each one does its damage, it sets up for the next one. Once the damage is done, it won't fix itself.
Pretty soon, the parasites have sidetracked our lives, and the bigger sins move in more freely. You see, the parasites break down the hedge, giving the wolves and lions easier visibility and access to the sheep.
The Word of God gives us the cure for this problem. "Turn ye even to me with all your heart". Herein lies the actual root of the problem. We can not be half or even most hearted Christians. We must be whole hearted Christians! Half heartedness is why God sent the parasites in the first place (v.2:25). However, He says that if we will turn to Him with all of our hearts, with fasting, weeping, and mourning He will be gracious and merciful to us. He will not only forgive us, but will restore unto us even that which the parasites have taken away....
How about it Christian, have the parasites consumed the hedge that protects you from the wolves and lions, in your lives, homes or even Churches? Perhaps the wolves and lions have already made prey of you or your family; or possibly are about to. We have the cure in our Great Redeemer! Take back the ground you have lost! Right now, turn to the LORD with ALL your heart!
Love One Another... 8/5/2014
"The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever. Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it." - 2 John 1:1-6
Here we have John the beloved writing to a favored lady in the Church, a woman who is loved by all who have known the truth. This was a godly woman, and it was reflected in her children who were then grown, and still walking in truth! This woman and her family validated the Scripture, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6). There are women addressed and discussed in Scripture for raising godly children without a godly man in their home to lead them. This is one of them, Lois and Eunice would be examples of the same. As this woman's product was her children walking in truth, their product was Timothy, Paul's son in the faith. When a man will not lead, it falls upon the shoulders of the woman to do so. When that woman is godly, she will lead them into godliness, and it will be evidenced in her children as they grow up. Children are by nature followers, and thus will tend to follow their parent's examples. What examples are we giving them? John was able to greatly rejoice when he found them walking in truth! How will our children be found walking when they grow up?
John describes their walk as "walking in truth", not truth according to man, but "as we have received a commandment from the father". There is no truth outside of the Word of God. It MUST be our sole source of truth. (Even the very laws of gravity must be established in the Bible. No body or thing ever fell up in the Scripture, the only time physical things or people went up in Scripture, there was a catalyst used to make it happen, with the exception of Jesus Christ. However, many a people and things fell down.) All truth MUST be Biblical and provable! John found this woman's children walking in a Bible based truth.
John further declares that that commandment was nothing new, but it was the commandment from the beginning, "that we love one another". He didn't just leave it there, he explained what love was, "that we walk after his commandments". Did you get that? Love is not based upon bubbly emotions and feelings, love is based upon obedience to God's Commandments! I cannot love someone if I am not willing to walk in obedience after God's Commandments, because my love would be feigned, it would not be perfect! "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (1 Peter 1:22-23).
Modern Christianity seems to want to run on a love based upon emotions, rather than and unfeigned love based upon obedience to the truth. This modern love has created a dysfunction in the body of Christ. It is the very substance of the the rebuke Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth. in 1 Corinthians 5. They had a man in the Church that was committing a vile sin, and they felt that they were spiritual because they could have compassion on him. Paul loved this Church, and strongly rebuked them for it, and brethren we must strongly rebuke sin in the house of God as well, or we do not truly love the Church. As a parent, I love my children. If I were to sit back and allow them to do wrong, and embrace them and tell them that I love them, according to Scripture, I would be lying to them. "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." (Proverbs 13:24). I do have to admit, emotionally, I hated having to chasten my children, but real love is not based upon emotion, so in truth I had to do that which I did not take pleasure in doing. Love can only be based upon truth not pleasure.
John continues to explain, "That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it". What John is saying is that this love is not based upon anything new, but rather the commandments that we see throughout Scripture, all the way back to the beginning, these are the pretext for walking in love. We cannot walk in love, toward God or man, if we fail to yield ourselves to God's Word!
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." - John 14:15
"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." - John 14:21
"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. - John 14:23-24
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." - 1 John 5:2-3
Brother Craig Moss • Hornsby, TN • (406) 521-0753