Month: April 2014

For the Time Will Come

There are times when reading the Bible, a phrase or sentence really catches my attention. Some of those phrases seem to beg for your attention. “Hey, look at me, right here, I’m trying to tell you something”. As this happens we should take the time to prayerfully seek meaning and understanding.

Paul really had a way of writing such phrases, and I often wonder if he thought back over the words he is credited with writing and thought to himself “that really has a ring to it”. In the course of reading through first and second Timothy there were several instances where this really stood out to me. For the sake of time and space I will share the one that still beckons for attention:

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

For the time will come. It has quite an ominous sound, doesnt it? There, in that phrase, God says that a certain time is coming. When God says something is coming, it is a duty to look for and try to discern that time. Paul said the time will come. Can we say that time is here?

Sound doctrine is something we must endure. Not only should we endure it, we should seek it, welcome it, hunger for it, and see that it has a priority in our lives. Anyone that remembers being in school, is currently in school, or attending any type of instruction is all too aware that sound doctrine, at times, is dry. Doctrine is quite formal, has many details, and is tedious. It can seem overwhelming.

It is because these things are hard to understand or not exciting to our minds and imaginations that it becomes easier to seek different instruction. When things become difficult to understand or starts to impede on our lifestyle or thought process we look for another way, an easier way.

The world we live in today is always looking for an easier way. This starts out innocently enough, think of the phrase “work smarter, not harder”. While there is some merit to working smarter, there must be a point where the quality of work must not be infringed upon. Now let us apply this to the body of Christ, the church.

When we go to church we enjoy fellowship, we enjoy praise and worship, but do we enjoy those things which are being preached? Do we enjoy the teaching? Does it step on your toes? Does it put a bad spin on the way you want to live your life? Would you rather find another place more in line with what you want to believe? The truth is, you should find a place that puts you in line with what God says.

There are many people who are calling themselves preachers. There are many places that are trying to be churches who preach Jesus. The problem is, everything in the Bible is not easy on the ears. Everything in the Bible is not favorable to the lifestyles being lived. Everything in the Bible is not wealth and prosperity, it is not an “everything will be okay for everybody” book.

We, as Christians, have an obligation to understand what the Bible says, for ourselves. We, as individuals, must seek understanding, not the easiest and most agreeable way we can find. When we stand in judgment, we will not stand for anyone else or with anyone else. We will stand for ourselves.

In closing, let me say this: I know this is not an easy message to read. It is a reminder to be careful what you are seeking and why. It is a warning to be careful of who and what you follow. Be careful to find an understanding based on what God says, for only He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To God be the glory!

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The Blood

Since the fall of man in the garden there has been a need for sacrifice. There has been a need for redemption. There has been the need for shed blood. It is by blood an atonement is made.

In the garden of Eden, according to the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve sinned. Shortly after their sin they found themselves to be naked and wanted to hide from God. It is fair to say at that point they understood guilt and shame. One small distinction between then and now is that today, even in the midst of guilt, there appears to be no shame. I really have to wonder if that is due to neglecting the knowledge of an omniscient, almighty, eternal God, to which every knee shall bow. Is the unbelief, the self-denial, really that bad throughout the world?

Before we get too far down the wrong path let me get back on point. Sin was introduced into the world. Because sin was introduced into the world, which is separation from God, there needed to be a way of reconciliation. God, therefore, presented to them animal skins. This indicates animals died, blood was applied, and a sacrifice was made.

Genesis:3:21: Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

There, at the very beginning of time, a way to overcome sin had been established. A way of reconciliation had been supplied to mend mans broken relationship with God. Man did not supply, man did not find the solution, man did not rectify the situation. God presented the answer. God had provided the blood necessary to cover that sin.

As we approach the Easter holiday, we think about family gatherings, Easter egg hunts, and for some, the annual trek to the nearest church. We ponder the cross, the death, the resurrection. This Easter, let me encourage you to also consider the blood.

1st John:1:7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Hebrews:9:22: And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Hebrews:10:10: By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews:10:11: And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
Hebrews:10:12: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

We still have a need today for that precious blood that was poured out for us about two thousand years ago. There is no other blood that can cleanse our sin. There is no other blood, no other sacrifice that can mend a broken relationship with God, only the blood of Jesus Christ. What can make our sin, though it be as scarlet, white as snow? Nothing but the blood. God is still providing the sacrifice if you will accept.

Jesus still sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for you and for me. Why? It is because that blood, that sacrifice is still as much at work now as it was then. That blood is still cleansing all who call upon the Savior. That blood is still being applied every time someone confesses their sin, every time someone repents of sin, every time a person accepts Jesus as their Savior.

This Easter many sermons will be preached, many lessons will be taught. Take the time to give thanks to God, not only for the sacrifice, not only for the resurrection, but also the blood. It is His atoning blood that cleanses away all unrighteousness. If you have not yet taken the time, now is a great opportunity to call upon Jesus and ask Him to apply that precious blood to you and your life, to accept His work, and praise Him for that saving grace, that beautiful sacrifice, and the privilege to become a child of God.

My King ( a poem)

He didn’t fight, he didn’t run
For His work was almost done
Taken from the garden and
Betrayed with a kiss, He was
Sent in the flesh for exactly this

His life no man did take
He gave it freely for our sake
Laying upon the wooden cross
Which they would nail, was the
Son of God who did not fail

A broken body upon a tree, taking
The place of you and me
Our sin upon his shoulders
He felt forsaken, with love in His heart, our place he had taken

A final cry of “it is finished”, this
Victory is not diminished
The devil and sin once and for
All defeated, ” Well done my Son”
I imagine He was greeted

A perfect life He did live, so that
Our sin He could forgive
This is the gift of God, free and
Pure to all, the only requirement
Is to accept His call

Our time is quickly coming to end
To our eternity, He will send
Heaven or Hell will be the final resting place, all dependent on your acceptance of His grace

A greater Friend you cannot find
In one name, Salvations plan defined, He promised never to
Forsake or leave us, the name above all names, His name is Jesus

Unleavened bread

Exodus:12:15: Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.

The feasts of the Lord are of great significance. Their historical importance for the Jewish people and the church should not be overlooked. The most discussed and well-known are the feasts of Passover and Pentecost, for good reason. The other feasts are just as important. At this time last year I wrote about the feast of Passover and the prophetic fulfillment which is found in Jesus.

Today, I want to illuminate the feast of unleavened bread. This feast is no less important than the others. Although leaven is a term rarely used today, we should know what it means. Leaven means fermentation and expansion in dough or batter, and can also mean a substance that causes a gradual or altering transformation. To understand it in todays terms, you would use leaven in dough to make bread rise, as in a loaf of bread. Unleavened bread could resemble a cracker.

It is now that we see the difference between unleavened bread from bread with leaven. Symbolically, leaven is another term for sin.

Galatians:5:9: A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

Next we see that even a little leaven is enough to alter the whole lump. In the same way, a little sin is enough to cause a problem to the whole person. With that in mind, the question that arises is this; what am I allowing? Just because the sin is small, or appearing to be harmless, can it be that bad? The answer must be yes. It may not seem that bad now, but leaven and sin both can start small, practically unnoticeable. With time it begins to transform and in the end resemble something completely different than what it was at the start.

The difference between bread and crackers, really, is leaven, yeast, hot air. Are we puffed up by our leaven? Has our sin transformed us into something we were never meant to be? That is what sin does, it turns us into something far different from what God would have us be.

Prophetically, this feast too, was fulfilled in Jesus. He lived a sinless life. How can we know that? He was presented the Passover Lamb, without spot or blemish. He is the unleavened bread, the flesh without sin.

1st Corinthians:5:7: Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

We are commanded to purge out sin. How do we do that? By confessing our sin to God, if we do this He is faithful and just to forgive us. By accepting Jesus as our Savior we are a new creature, or as Paul said, a new lump. When a person repents of their sin, they turn away from it, becoming unleavened bread.

Luke:22:19: And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

1st Corinthians:11:24: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

If you were to try to break a slice of bread, it would pull apart. If you do the same with a cracker, it will break. During the last supper with His disciples, the feast of unleavened bread and the fullness of its meaning was to be understood. The same should be understood today during communion services. It is a very solemn occasion, knowing that same unleavened bread is offered freely. It is that Lamb without blemish, it is the Bread without leaven, and only by His blood, His sinless life, His abundant grace that we too can become unleavened bread. It is because He endured the the breaking of His body that we too can share in His inheritance. During Passover, never overlook the importance of unleavened bread the fulfillment found in Jesus. Give thanks, and praise Him, for He is deserving!

Compromise

We are taught and learn from an early age the value of how to compromise. Compromise is a great tool, a powerful tool, when used for the right reasons. It is the essence of what treaties are based on between warring factions. It is the common ground between differing opinions, it is an understanding with varying degrees of agreement.

Compromise is defined as “settling differences by mutual concessions” and “something intermediate between different things”. Most peace agreements in the world have been reached through compromise. It allows two opposing wills the opportunity to find a mutual agreement without the fear of further aggression.

One of the places we most often find compromise is in marriage. As I type this, I cannot help but to smile knowing my wife will laugh or roll her eyes when she reads this. Without compromise, would there be a lasting marriage, a real “til death do us part” marriage?

Marriage isn’t the only place compromise can be found. It extends to our families, siblings, cousins, etc. It also finds a place in our friendships. It allows us a way to find agreement with people we would otherwise never be able to associate with. It helps us grow stronger in our beliefs, it gives us perspective, and helps us to understand other points of view. Compromise is a good thing, in the right places.

The Word of God is the one place there is no room for compromise. Is there room in the church for compromise? Certainly, in the way things are done, in the way its ran, in the way it is set up, in the way that people are reached. For example, when do you pray, when do you sing, how is the offering collected, those things can be changed without harm, usually. Reaching out to the community can be done differently, through commercials, writings, advertisements and so on, and compromise on those things can be reached. The message of the church must not, and should not, ever be compromised.

Yet, generally speaking, today it is one of the church’s biggest problems. Too many are willing to compromise the gospel for the sake of filling the church. This is very contrary to what the Bible teaches:

2nd Thessalonians:2:15: Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

1st Timothy:4:1: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

If you need one good reason why the Word should not be compromised, it is this: When you compromise the Word of God, you are saying it is not perfect, it is not good enough, it has fallen short. According to God’s word, we have fallen short, every man, not Him. He has more than met us half way, by coming down in the flesh of man, hanging from a cross, taking upon Himself the sin of the world, and dying, for us. His compromise toward us took place upon the cross, and when He said “it is finished” it was finished!

His life here was perfect. He offered Himself, a more perfect covenant than the law. He is holy and requires us to be holy, that does not speak of compromise. The only compromise must be on our part, in submission to Him.

This world wants you to compromise, your beliefs, your rights, and your faith. Be cautious, be wise as serpents, be gentle as doves, and guard yourselves. Compromise, in the right context is a good thing, but never let anyone or anything compromise His Word. Praise Him, because He is worthy, He is perfect, and His Word will endure forever, for it is perfect.