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September 28, 2020, 05:46:05 AM

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Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
282910 Posts in 27488 Topics by 3790 Members
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 1 
 on: September 27, 2020, 05:34:32 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
The Discerner

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

The Word of God (both the written Word and the living Word, Jesus Christ) is “living and energizing” and is the double-edged sword of the Spirit, piercing into the deepest recesses of body, soul, and spirit, where it “discerns” even the very thoughts and intents of our hearts.

This discernment, however, is more than just understanding or insight. The Greek word for “discerner” is kritikos and is used only this one time in the Bible. Our word “critic” is derived from it, and this is an important dimension of its meaning. Its discernment is a critical, judging discernment—one that convicts and corrects, as well as one that understands.

It is paradoxical that people today presume to become critics of the Bible when it should really be the other way around. There are textual critics who sort through the various ancient manuscripts of the Bible, trying to arrive at the original text; there are the “higher critics” who critique vocabularies and concepts, trying to show that the traditional authors did not actually write the books attributed to them; and then there are many other purely destructive critics who criticize the Bible’s miracles, morals, and everything else, hoping thereby to justify their rebellion against the Word.

But the Bible still stands! It stands in judgment on our lives and our subconscious motives. It will have the final word when “the books [are] opened...and the dead [are] judged out of those things which were written in the books” (Revelation 20:12). It is far better to heed the constructive criticism of the Word now than to hear its condemnation later. HMM

 2 
 on: September 26, 2020, 08:04:24 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Guarding the Word

“Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.” (Psalm 119:57)

Three stanzas within the 22 stanzas of Psalm 119 have all eight Hebrew terms used to describe the Word of God. How appropriate it is that the central theme in these verses (vv. 57- 64) provides us succinct ways to keep (guard) His Word.

Principally, our “whole heart” must be involved in seeking the “favour” of God (v. 58). The “great commandment” (Matthew 22:38) rests on loving God with “all” of our hearts. If we seek God’s blessing, both during our earthly life and in the eternity to come, we can “trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Such a heart thinks (considers, reckons) about the ways of God and turns (turns back, corrects) its “feet unto [His] testimonies” (Psalm 119:59). The godly life is not an unplanned life. The godly life seeks to understand and obey the words of God’s Word. And the godly life makes “haste” and will not delay in keeping His commandments (Psalm 119:60).

Circumstances may cause temporary difficulties in the life of a godly person (Psalm 119:61), but he will not forget the laws of God. Rather, he will rise at “midnight” (the deepest time of trouble) to give thanks to our Lord “because of thy righteous judgments” (Psalm 119:62).

The one who wants to guard the Word of God is a companion of those who fear God and keep the precepts of the Word (Psalm 119:63). The godly heart sees the mercy of the Lord everywhere and longs for the “Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:28) to teach it the eternal statutes of His Word (Psalm 119:64). May “such an heart” (Deuteronomy 5:29) be ours as we seek to serve Him. HMM III

 3 
 on: September 25, 2020, 08:02:14 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Obedience and Righteousness

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)

Certainly the focal point of all history and the climax of Christ’s earthly ministry, was His sacrificial death on the cross. Christ knew from ages past what was in store for Him, and yet He was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

However, as we see in our text, Christ’s obedience included more than His death, for He was perfectly obedient throughout His entire life. Indeed, it is a good thing, for any act of disobedience would have invalidated His sacrificial death. Animal sacrifices in the Old Testament (which prefigured the final sacrifice of Christ) had to be “without blemish” (Leviticus 22:19). But even a perfect animal was not enough (Hebrews 10:4) to satisfy God’s justice and take away sins. “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things.... But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Christ’s obedience, therefore, consisted not only of His obedience in death but in His entire earthly life—from His incarnation, “I come...to do thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7)—to His childhood, “[Know] ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49)—to His healing and teaching ministry among the people, “I must work the works of him that sent me” (John 9:4)—to His preparation for death, “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

Now, in His obedience, Christ calls us to a life of similar obedience. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). JDM

 4 
 on: September 24, 2020, 04:51:49 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Least in the Kingdom

“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)

The Lord Jesus was evidently speaking here not of the differences between saved and unsaved people but rather of degrees of reward in His future kingdom. The criterion for achieving “greatness” in the future life is simply to believe, teach, and obey the complete Word of God in this life, not just the major doctrines and general principles. Those who undermine any part of God’s Word, either in teaching or practice, will be relegated to “least in the kingdom of heaven.” In the words of the apostle Paul, such a person “shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).

Thus, no Scripture is unimportant, for “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable” (2 Timothy 3:16). In fact, the verse just previous to our text, providing the basis for the Lord’s warning about breaking even the least commandment, is His remarkable assertion about the verbal inerrancy of Scripture: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18).

There are many Christians (especially among intellectuals) who say they believe the Bible but are nevertheless quick to adapt their interpretations of Scripture to the latest speculations of scientists or to current fads of world living. This is insulting to God, who surely can say what He means! “Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

If we aspire to greatness in the coming kingdom, then clearly we must believe and teach “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) according to His revealed Word. HMM

 5 
 on: September 23, 2020, 04:48:38 PM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Hope Through the Word

“Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.” (Psalm 119:49)

The saints of God have always faced something of a two-pronged challenge to their hope. First, those “that will live godly” and love His laws will “suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12) and, secondly, will be troubled by the “prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:3). The pressure of the first and the perplexity of the second often test our expectations.

But the Word of God provides “comfort in my affliction” (Psalm 119:50). Jeremiah, often called the “weeping prophet,” found that the “word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” simply because he embraced with unshakeable confidence the fact that he was “called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16). When the psalmist asked, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” (Psalm 42:5, 11), his answer—in spite of the troubles of the hour—was his certain knowledge that he “shall yet praise him.”

We may recoil in holy anger when the wicked “forsake thy law” (Psalm 119:53), but we can still live with “songs” in our hearts (Ephesians 5:19), knowing that our great Creator God is working “all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11) and that even the “wrath of man” will eventually bring praise to Him (Psalm 76:10).

Our time is short. We live for about 100 years and brag as though we have lived forever. The Creator reckons the nations as mere “dust of the balance” (Isaiah 40:15). We need to shift our viewpoint from the “temporal” to the “eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18) and rest in the absolute God-given knowledge that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). “This I had,” the psalmist exclaimed, “because I kept thy precepts” (Psalm 119:56). HMM III

 6 
 on: September 22, 2020, 09:07:49 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Redeemed!

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)

How glibly we use the terms redeemed, redemption, and ransom. But what do they mean, and more importantly, what did Christ’s act of redemption mean?

Three Greek words and their derivations are used in the New Testament to denote various aspects of this truth. In our text, “redeemed” comes from lutroo, which means to set free, buy back, or ransom. Christ’s innocent blood, sacrificed for us, bought us back. “By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12).

Redeemed from what? From slavery to sin. Jesus taught, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34). Thankfully, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Galatians 3:13). The Greek word here is exagorazo, meaning to buy up, to ransom from the market place (i.e., agora), which could be called “the slave market of sin.” He ransomed us, He redeemed us from the horrors of slavery to sin by His death on the cross.

The final word is apolutrosis, “to ransom in full.” He has paid the full penalty! “It is finished” (John 19:30), He said as He died. In Him alone “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

Each of us needs to appropriate His plan, “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” (Romans 3:23-24). JDM

 7 
 on: September 21, 2020, 08:05:16 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Mercy from the Word

“Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.” (Psalm 119:41)

The Hebrew word hesed, used here for “mercy,” has a breadth of meaning. Its basic connotation is “kindness” and is most often used in God’s patient dealing with the nation of Israel through their long, and often rebellious, history. The most frequent contextual use focuses on God’s withholding judgment during specific times or events rather than executing the just sentence demanded by disobedience to His laws.

It is in that sense that “salvation” is often connected to mercy. God “rescues” a person or nation from the consequences of foolish or rebellious actions because He is merciful: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

This section of Psalm 119 clearly states that these mercies are according to the Word of God. No event dilutes the holiness of God. No judgment withheld violates the innate nature of the thrice-holy Creator. Mercy may delay judgment for the sinner, and justification through redemption will eliminate judgment for the sinner, but God’s holiness does not abrogate the law. The sentence is carried out—either on the sinner or on the Lord Jesus Christ in the place of the sinner (Proverbs 11:21).

The psalmist thus praised the basis for God’s mercies, told of his trust and hope in the Scriptures, and then gave a series of promises to the Lord that marked his own commitment for obedience (vv. 44-48). As the stanza closes, the psalmist promised he would lift up his hands in public praise of the Word and meditate in private as well.

Would God that all of God’s children emulate the heart of this dear brother from the past. HMM III

 8 
 on: September 20, 2020, 09:47:50 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
The Comfortable Church

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:17)

This is the heart of Christ’s rebuke of the church at Laodicea, the “lukewarm” church (v. 16) of the last days. This is an evangelical church for its candlestick is still in place (note Revelation 1:20; 2:5), but it has become a neutral church, “neither cold nor hot” (3:15). The reason for its tepid witness is because it has become “rich, and increased with goods,” comfortable in a culture that tends to equate material prosperity with success and God’s favor. It may have acquired large and beautiful facilities, developed special programs of many kinds, featured a variety of musicians and other artists, and even gained a measure of political power. Yet, Christ calls it poor and blind and naked!

Not all large churches become like this, of course, but it is always a real danger. The desire for large congregations can easily lead to compromising biblical standards of doctrine and practice. “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion,” the prophet warned (Amos 6:1).

Note that the Lord began His letter to the Laodicean church by identifying Himself as “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14). This strongly suggests that a major reason for the development of such complacency in a large church (or a small church, for that matter) is neglect of these three doctrines—the sufficiency of Christ, the inerrant authority of God’s Word, and the special creation of all things by God.

The letter to this church ends with the sad picture of Christ standing at its door, seeking admission (v. 20). “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (v. 22). HMM

 9 
 on: September 19, 2020, 08:36:15 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Taught by the Word

“Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.” (Psalm 119:33)

This eight-verse section (vv. 33-40) closely parallels a similar passage in Proverbs 2:1-5. Both focus on being taught, gaining understanding, and keeping “the way” of God’s Word.

Certainly worth noting is the manner in which the psalmist asked to “go in the path of thy commandments” (v. 35). In every case, the request is for God’s hand to control the process. There is no indication that the psalmist assumed the capability of finding these truths on his own.

    “Teach me, O LORD” (v. 33).
    “Give me understanding” (v. 34).
    “Make me to go” (v. 35).
    “Incline my heart” (v. 36).
    “Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity” (v. 37).
    “Stablish thy word” (v. 38).
    “Turn away my reproach” (v. 39).
    “Quicken me in thy righteousness” (v. 40).

However, having prayed for God’s intervention and oversight in his life, the psalmist promised to act on the given insight and order his life around “the way” so illumined by God’s instructions. He acknowledged his “delight” and his “longing” in the holy life and character revealed in the Scriptures and, like the Proverbs 2 passage, showed a willingness of the spiritual consciousness of his heart and mind to “understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5).

May our prayer always be like this: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). HMM III

 10 
 on: September 18, 2020, 05:20:30 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Father, Abba, Father

“They are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:14-15)

Charles Wesley’s great hymn “Arise, My Soul, Arise” concludes with a stirring testimony of the joy of salvation.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear.
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear.
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And, “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). As our text explains, once we have received the spirit of adoption, we are the sons of God—He owns us as His child. This is a “new” thing. We who formerly were estranged from our Creator have been reconciled to Him. “Old things,” such as the bondage to fear, are “passed away.” The close-knit ties are strong, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee....I will not fear what men shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

Now that He is our Father, we have direct access to Him. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8). As an earthly father desires the best for his children, “how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11). “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And...we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

This father/child relationship goes deep. The term “Abba, Father” reflects a most sensitive and loving bond, perhaps best rendered “O Sweet Daddy.” “We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). JDM

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