Jump to content
Kingdom of Adventistan
Sign in to follow this  
phkrause

Days of Praise

Recommended Posts

phkrause

July 10, 2020
Exceeding Greatness
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.” (Ephesians 1:19)

There are a number of scriptural superlatives that convey something of the tremendous magnitude of our great salvation. These are marked by the adjective “exceeding,” which in the Greek implies essentially boundless, surpassing dimensions of the attributes it describes.

First of all, as our text implies, His power available to us is one of exceeding greatness. Its magnitude is measured by the power required to bring Christ back from death and Hades.

Consider also the measure of His grace, “that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). His grace has saved us when we were dead in sins, but this is only a small token. In the ages to come, we will experience His grace as one of exceeding riches.

Then there is the wonderful peace of God. “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). In this verse, the word “passeth” is the same word. Paul is saying that God’s peace is one exceeding understanding.

Finally, consider His glory. “For 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). The future eternal glory is one of exceeding weight, or abundance.

Thus, the infinite blessings and resources of our salvation in Christ are described as providing the power of surpassing greatness, the grace of surpassing richness, the peace which surpasses all understanding, and the eternal glory of surpassing abundance! All of this is freely available “to us-ward who believe.” HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause
  July 11, 2020
The Shame of Entropy
“I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” (1 Corinthians 6:5)

The word for “shame” in this verse is the Greek entrope, meaning “turning inward” or “inversion.” It is used only one other time, in 1 Corinthians 15:34: “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” Evidently this special variety of shame is associated with taking controversies between Christian brethren to ungodly judges and also with failing to witness to the non-Christian community. Instead of bringing the true wisdom of God to the ungodly, such “entropic Christians” were turning to worldly wisdom to resolve their own spiritual problems. This inverted behavior was nothing less than spiritual confusion!

The modern scientific term “entropy” is essentially this same Greek word. In science, entropy is a measure of disorder in any given system. The universal law of increasing entropy states that every system tends to disintegrate into disorder, or confusion, if left to itself. This tendency can only be reversed if ordering energy is applied to it effectively from a source outside the system.

This universal scientific law has a striking parallel in the spiritual realm. A person turning inward to draw on his own bank of power, or seeking power from an ineffective outside source, will inevitably deteriorate eventually into utter spiritual confusion and death. But when Christ enters the life, that person becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through the Holy Spirit and through the Holy Scriptures, “his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). The law of spiritual entropy is transformed into the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2). HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause
  July 12, 2020
The Rain and the Word
“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

In these familiar verses, there is a beautiful anticipation and spiritual application of the so-called “hydrologic cycle” of the science of hydrogeology. The rain and snow fall from the heavens and eventually return there (via the marvelous process of river and groundwater runoff to the oceans), then later evaporation by solar radiation and translation inland high in the sky by the world’s great wind circuits, finally to fall again as rain and snow on the thirsty land, beginning the cycle once more.

But they do not return until they first have accomplished their work of watering the earth, providing and renewing the world’s water and food supplies to maintain its life.

Analogously, God’s Word goes forth from heaven via His revealed Scriptures and their distribution and proclamation by His disciples. It does not return void, for it accomplishes God’s spiritual work on Earth. But it does return, for it is “for ever…settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).

The fruitful spreading of God’s Word is presented in many other Scriptures. For example: “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.…In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good” (Ecclesiastes 11:1, 6).

Thus, as we sow and water the seed—which is the Word of God—we have God’s divine promise that it will accomplish that which He pleases. HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause

July 13, 2020
Resurrection in the Old Testament
“Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19)

Some have argued that the doctrine of a bodily resurrection was unknown to the Israelites of the Old Testament. In fact, this denial was a cardinal doctrine of the sect of the Sadducees at the time of Christ (Matthew 22:23).

Our text, however, makes it clear that this promise has always been known to the people of God. Long before Isaiah’s time, Job had said: “I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And...in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25-26). After the time of Isaiah, the promise was still known. “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). Such promises were not referring to some vague “immortality of the soul,” as taught in pagan religions, but to resurrection of the body!

First, however, the Creator must become man, die for the sins of the world, and defeat death by His own bodily resurrection. In our text, in fact, Christ is saying that Old Testament believers would be raised “together with my dead body.” This was literally fulfilled when “the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many” (Matthew 27:52-53). Then, when Jesus first ascended to heaven (John 20:17), He led the souls of those who had been in “captivity” in the grave with Him into heaven (Ephesians 4:8). All who have trusted Christ in the Christian era will likewise be raised from the dead when He comes again. He has defeated death and has promised, “because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19). HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause
  July 14, 2020
The Good Seed
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” (Luke 8:11)

The Word of God is pictured by many beautiful symbols in the Scriptures, and perhaps one of the most meaningful is that of the seed sown in the field of the world by the great sower, the Lord Jesus Christ. The first reference to seed sowing in the Bible is in the story of Isaac, who “sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him” (Genesis 26:12).

Now Isaac himself was the “seed” of God’s promise to Abraham, and he was a precursive fulfillment of the ultimate promised “seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16). Isaac’s sowing of literal seed in the land of the Philistines is thus a type of Christ’s sowing of spiritual seed throughout the world. As Isaac’s sowing brought forth a hundredfold, so the beautiful parable of the sower indicates that at least some of the seed “fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold” (Luke 8:8).

Although not all seed will come to fruition, it must be sown throughout the world. Some of the seed will bear fruit, for God has said “that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be…it shall not return unto me void” (Isaiah 55:10-11). “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23).

The first of Christ’s parables is this parable of the sower. The second, complementing the first, indicates that the seed is not only God’s Word but also God’s children—those regenerated through the Word. “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:37-38). Thus, we also become sowers of the Word, witnessing to the world and bearing good fruit in His name. HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause
  July 15, 2020
Learning by Example
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” (2 Timothy 3:14)

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, they were in the midst of his foreboding prophecy of coming apostasy and persecution. Furthermore, he knew that he himself would soon be executed and that these might well be his final teachings to his young disciple and to others through him. It is remarkable that in such a setting the Spirit of God impelled him to use the example of his own life as the best and most fitting climax to his great ministry. “Just keep on believing and doing what I have been teaching you—that which you have seen put into practice in your own life.” These teachings and practices had just been recounted in verses 10-11, and what a remarkable summary they provide of a genuine Christian life!

Doctrine—my teachings, sound and true to God’s Word
Manner of life—my Christ-like behavior and habits
Purpose—my sole aim, to honor God and do His will
Faith—my faithfulness to His Word and its demands
Longsuffering—my patient forbearance
Charity—my showing true Christian love
Patience—my cheerful endurance in hard times
Persecutions—the unjust opposition heaped upon me
Afflictions—sufferings and tortures that I endured

The apostle Paul had maintained this strong and consistent Christian testimony for over 30 years following his conversion and could, in all good conscience and true humility, cite his own example as a true teaching aid for others to study and follow.

May Paul’s example be ours, and may our lives likewise become true examples of Christianity for any who are watching us today. HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause
  July 16, 2020
Committed to Thy Trust
“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.” (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

Paul exhorted his disciple, Timothy, and by implication exhorts us, to “keep” (literally to guard or preserve) that which was placed in his trust. The context implies that the entire teaching of Paul is in mind, as well as Timothy’s position of ministry.

Not only was he to preserve truth, he actively was to “avoid” error. Systems of thought were available that masqueraded as “science” (literally “knowledge”). These systems were not merely neutral but were in opposition to the truth.

There can be no doubt that godless humanism (particularly as it finds its false scientific justification in evolution and uniformitarianism) has been responsible for the loss of faith in many professing Christians. Much of what is called “science” in universities today could better be described as “profane and vain babblings.”

But today’s students are not alone in their error. Back in the 1800s, when uniformitarianism, and later evolution, were first being championed by only a small minority of scientists, theologians led the way to their broad acceptance. Rushing to embrace Charles Lyell’s principle of uniformity and the concept of an old earth while still holding on to a charade of biblical authority, theologians proposed the tranquil flood and local flood concepts. Likewise, theologians proposed theistic evolution, the day age, and gap theories to accommodate evolution, and their theological grandchildren enjoy the majority voice at most evangelical seminaries today.

It is time that Christian laity as well as those standing in our pulpits today regain “that which is committed to [their] trust” and avoid “science falsely so called.” JDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause
  July 17, 2020
For Our Transgressions
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

The 53rd chapter of Isaiah (actually, the chapter should begin at Isaiah 52:13) contains the clearest and fullest exposition of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ for our sins to be found in all the Bible. Our text verse is the central verse of this chapter, which, in turn, is the central chapter of Isaiah’s second division, chapters 40–66.

Although the chapter and verse divisions of the Bible were not part of the original inspired text, it almost seems that some of them (notably here in Isaiah) were somehow providentially guided. Part 1 of Isaiah contains 39 chapters and part 2 has 27 chapters, just as the Old and New Testaments have 39 and 27 books, respectively. Likewise, the major themes of the two Testaments—law and judgment in the Old, grace and salvation in the New—respectively dominate the two divisions of Isaiah. Many other correlations can be discerned—for example, the second division begins with the prophecy of John the Baptist and ends with the prophecy of the new heavens and the new earth, just as the New Testament does.

Be that as it may, this central verse of the central chapter of Isaiah’s salvation division surely displays the very heart of the gospel. Christ was “wounded” (literally “thrust through,” as with great spikes) and “bruised” (literally “crushed to death”) for our sins.

On the other hand, we receive “peace” with God because He was chastised (i.e., “disciplined”) in our place, and we are forever “healed” of our lethal sin-sickness because He received the “stripes” (i.e., great welts caused by severe blows) that should have been ours. What wondrous love is this! HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause
  July 18, 2020
The Pure Word
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” (Proverbs 30:5)

When the inspired writer of Proverbs testified here that God’s Word was “pure,” he did not use the usual word for, say, moral purity or metallic purity. Instead, he asserted in effect that every word of God had been refined and purified, as it were in a spiritual furnace, so that any and all contaminants had been purged out, leaving only the pure element.

The same truth is found in the great psalm of the Scriptures (Psalm 119). “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it” (Psalm 119:140). David used the same word in another psalm, where it is translated “tried” in the sense of “tested for purity.” “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him” (Psalm 18:30). The word for “buckler” in this verse is the same as for “shield” in our text. Thus, God equips with a perfect shield against the weapons of any foe, because “His way is perfect” and “every word” in Scripture has been made “pure” before the Spirit of God approved its use by the human writer.

This surely tells us that the human writer of Scripture (that is, Moses or David or John or whomever), with all his human proneness to mistakes or other inadequacies, was so controlled by the Holy Spirit that whatever he actually wrote had been purged of any such deficiencies. Thus, his final written text had been made perfectly “pure,” free from any defects. This control applies to “every word” so that we can legitimately refer to the Scriptures as verbally inspired and inerrant throughout.

As the apostle Paul stressed, our spiritual armor in the battle against evil is “the shield of faith” and “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:16-17). HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause

July 19, 2020
The Prince of Glory
“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:3)

One of the most precious hymns of the Christian faith is “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” written by Isaac Watts. Let us use its rich rehearsal of truth in poetry to guide our Bible study these next four days.

 

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.


The great King of all creation laid aside aspects of His immortal attributes and became a mortal man so He could die for us. Simultaneously man and God, He endured death for condemned sinners, then He re-entered His lifeless body. The hymn writer called Him the “Prince of glory,” a fitting affirmation on the eternal Son of the Father.

Having once again retaken His created life, the Creator offered us eternal life—a free gift to undeserving sinners. Having paid the sufficient price for all our sin, thereby removing all penalties levied against sinful man, He offered us eternal life also. “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).

Nothing we do in this life gains us eternity; works are worthless. “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Working for rewards can avail nothing, but rather we look to the cross of our wondrous Christ. JDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause

July 20, 2020
Not I, but Christ
“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 second verse of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” continues by rightly identifying the focus of a believer’s affections. This song does not direct our affection to objects like the cross or the blood and so imply improper worship, but it clearly specifies the deity and work of Christ as paramount to us. We worship Him for who He is and what He has done and is doing on our behalf. His death makes all the difference to us.

 

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.


We know that “being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). What happened there? “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10).

Today we no longer have an obligation to render animal sacrifices to God for our sin, but we do need to offer something better than even our best. Scripture asks us to “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans 12:1). We do not literally sacrifice ourselves to His blood, but we cherish and recognize that the shedding of His blood on the cross makes it all possible. JDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause

July 21, 2020
His Head, His Hands, His Feet
“Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side....And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My LORD and my God.” (John 20:27-28)

Perhaps no other means of execution ever inflicted more physical pain than Roman crucifixion. Today as we ponder verse three of the precious hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” we reflect on the facts that when Christ was crucified, a cruel crown of thorns was mashed down upon His head and His body was held suspended in place by painful Roman spikes nailed through His hands and feet. He knew what awaited Him, for a description of the dying process had been written long beforehand (Psalm 22). Yet, He endured it all out of love for us.

 

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?


We get some perspective of His love from these verses: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).

He has done it all for us. We cannot earn salvation, but we have an obligation to conform our lives to His example, even His death. Scripture informs us that we can “know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10). His death on the cross and His resurrection pave the way for us to follow. JDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause

July 22, 2020
Love So Amazing, So Divine
“In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” (Colossians 1:22)

The past three days we have studied the verses of the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” We have seen insights into the sufferings of Christ on the cross for our behalf, the love that led Him there, and its bountiful gift to believers. We are now prepared to consider our response.

 

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.


The author, Isaac Watts, begins verse four with a mention of creation. If we were to own it, it would not suffice as a suitable gift, for He is the Creator of all (Colossians 1:16-17), including the vastness of space, the intricacies of life and Earth systems, the mighty spiritual angels, and even the creation of His image in man. “There is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1 Corinthians 8:6). He is Lord of all! He knows us better than we know ourselves, and yet He loves us so.

The most amazing line of the hymn is the final couplet. A fitting response to His love would be a complete offering of one’s soul, life, and all. He is our great Creator and the offended Judge. He gave up aspects of His eternal essence in order to take up our likeness and die for us. He is our everlasting King. It all focuses in on the cross—the wondrous cross!

“My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27). “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever” (1 Timothy 1:17). JDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause

July 23, 2020
Jesus Christ Our Creator
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)

Before one can really know Jesus Christ as Savior or Lord, he must acknowledge Him as offended and rejected Creator, because He was our Creator first of all. This is such an important doctrine of the New Testament that it is remarkable how rarely it is emphasized in modern evangelicalism.

Creation by Jesus Christ is the doctrine with which John begins his great gospel of salvation: “In the beginning was the Word,…All things were made by him;…and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (John 1:1, 3, 10). It is the foundational message of the book of Hebrews: “God .…hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

The apostle Paul said that he had been called specifically to preach “the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:8-9). When a person becomes a believer in Christ, receiving His very life by the new birth, he is said to be “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:10).

In the final book of the Bible, Jesus Christ is called “the beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14). But of all the biblical passages identifying Jesus Christ as Creator, the most definitive of all is our text for today. Everything in heaven and Earth was created by Him and for Him! “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Romans 11:36). HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause
  July 24, 2020
The Ransom Price
“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

The thought that the death of Jesus and His shed blood were somehow the ransom price paid to redeem lost sinners from an eternal prison in hell has been a stumbling block to many of those very sinners. Yet, that is the teaching of Scripture, whether it appeals to their reasonings or not. “Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold.…But with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19). In the Old Testament economy, ransoms were paid for various reasons, such as freeing slaves. The last use of “ransom” in the Old Testament, however, seems to foreshadow the New Testament concept. “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death” (Hosea 13:14).

But to whom was the ransom of Christ to be paid? Not to the devil, of course, or to any human king. It can only have been paid to God Himself, for He had set “the wages of sin” to be “death” (Romans 6:23). For a time, these wages had been paid in part “by the blood of goats and calves” offered on the altar as a temporary covering for sins. But that was only until the true ransom could be paid. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who…offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).

Such a sacrifice was not foolishness as the scoffer claims, but “the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Praise God—the ransom has been paid and we have been redeemed! HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause
  July 25, 2020
With the Rich in His Death
“And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:9)

It is generally recognized that the amazing 53rd chapter of Isaiah, written over 500 years earlier, is the most explicit and complete exposition of the substitutionary suffering and death of the Lord Jesus Christ in all the Bible, including even the New Testament accounts. And this prophecy that His death and burial would be with both the “wicked, and with the rich” is surely one of the most remarkable. How could such a prediction possibly come to pass?

Yet, it did! Unjustly condemned, not for any violent or deceitful acts, but only for telling the truth, Jesus was crucified between two wicked criminals, yet He was buried in a garden tomb lovingly built by a rich member of the council that had condemned Him to death.

Furthermore, that elaborate tomb had almost certainly been personally designed and built ahead of time by Joseph in specific anticipation of using it to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy. That wealthy owner of the tomb lived in Arimathea and would never have built a tomb for himself or his family near Calvary, the place of crucifixion. But he and a friend on the council (Nicodemus) had somehow come to believe in Jesus and His gospel and decided they were the ones that should render this service.

Perhaps, as they looked up at the body of the Lord on the cross just before removing it for burial, they remembered His words to Nicodemus three years earlier, when He had said: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). They had indeed believed, no doubt suffering severe loss, but they had done what they could for Christ. HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause
  July 26, 2020
Places He Has Been
“And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.” (John 18:2)

In the 18th and 19th chapters of John’s gospel, there are four “places” where Jesus had to go to accomplish our salvation. The first was the place as noted in our text: He, “knowing all things that should come upon him” (John 18:4), nevertheless went directly to that place, knowing that Judas would meet Him there.

Then He went to the place of trial: “Pilate…brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called…Gabbatha” (John 19:13). But He did not stay there long; the mockery of a trial was soon over, and Pilate delivered Him to be crucified. “And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull” (John 19:16-17). And in that place called Golgotha, He died for our sins.

He was betrayed in a place called Gethsemane, condemned in a place called Gabbatha, and crucified in a place called Golgotha. But that was not all; He must yet be laid in a tomb. “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus” (John 19:41-42).

And that also was the place from which He arose, and our salvation was secured forever! Now, just before this amazing four-place itinerary of our Lord Jesus, He had promised still another place to which He would be going.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions.…I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).

Because He went to a place called Calvary, we shall soon be with Him forever in a place called heaven! HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause

July 27, 2020
He Shall Judge the World
“Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.” (Psalm 96:13)

Those men and women who reject or ignore the wonderful offer of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ need somehow to realize the eternal consequences of their foolishness. Jesus Christ was not just a religious teacher in Israel 2,000 years ago but is the very God who created them, the Second Person of the triune Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). God the Father “created all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9) and therefore “hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22).

And on what basis will He judge us? Our text tells us that “righteousness” and “truth” are the criteria. The problem is that “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). However, the Lord Jesus was incarnate truth and righteousness, and God “hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ has made eternal salvation available freely to us. There is no other way. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

But how do we know that all this is not just a peculiar doctrine of one particular religion?

Here is how: God “hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). By defeating death itself, Christ has vindicated His claim to be the Judge of all! HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause
  July 28, 2020
The Day of Visitation
“Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12)

This unique expression, “in the day of visitation,” based on a surprising use of the Greek word episkope, occurs one other time in such a way, when Christ wept over Jerusalem and pronounced its coming judgment. “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.…because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:42-44).

Now this word, episkope, and its derivatives are usually translated as “bishop,” “office of a bishop,” or “bishopric,” and it seems strange at first that it could also mean “visitation.” However, its basic meaning is “overseer” or “oversight,” and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is really the “Shepherd and Bishop of [our] souls” (1 Peter 2:25), as well as that of nations and, indeed, every aspect of every life.

As a bishop or pastor (“shepherd”) is responsible for the “oversight” of his local church, or flock, so Christ is “that great Shepherd of the sheep,” the true “Bishop of [our] souls,” the overseer of all people in every age. In His great plan of the ages, the Jews, and then the Gentiles, each have been entrusted with a time of “visitation,” or “oversight,” of God’s witness to the world. Sadly, Jerusalem “knewest not the time of [her] visitation” (Luke 19:44) and, as for Judas, the Lord had to say, “his bishoprick let another take” (Acts 1:20).

Now in God’s providence, it is the time of Gentile oversight, and it is eternally important that we who know His salvation today glorify God by our good works, with our “conversation [i.e., lifestyle] honest among the Gentiles” in our own “day of visitation.” HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause

uly 29, 2020
The Everlasting Covenant
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.” (Hebrews 13:20)

This is the only verse in the book of Hebrews that refers specifically to Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It occurs at the climactic conclusion of the book (which had previously referred at least 17 times to the atoning death of Christ) and is associated with God’s everlasting covenant with His people.

The covenant theme is strong in Hebrews. The Greek word diatheke, which is also frequently translated “testament,” occurs more in Hebrews than in all the rest of the New Testament (or “New Covenant”) put together. The word basically means a contract, especially one for disposition of an inheritance.

A number of God’s divine covenants are mentioned in Scripture, but the writer of Hebrews is especially concerned with God’s new covenant (or “new testament”). It is surely the most significant of all covenants.

This new covenant is also called “a better covenant” (Hebrews 7:22; 8:6). It is best defined in Hebrews 8:10-12, quoting Jeremiah 31:33-34: “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts:…and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Christ is “the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15).

The inheritance is eternal because the covenant is everlasting. The blood of the covenant is the infinitely precious blood of Christ, whom God has raised from the dead, and now “he ever liveth to make intercession” for all those who “come unto God by him” (Hebrews 7:25). HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause

July 30, 2020
Given to Us Eternal Life
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:11)

Our text for today contains truths that provide great power and comfort for Christians. Let us reflect on some of them.

The word “record” needs amplification. In noun form, it means “the evidence given,” and in verb form it means “testify,” or “witness.” The apostle John used it nine times in verses 7 through 11. Study of our text and its context shows that the record mentioned is none other than the great truth that Christ Jesus was God’s only Son and that He died as a perfect and fully sufficient sacrifice to provide us life eternal.

In our text, we see that this work of bestowing eternal life is God’s work. It is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). This eternal life is our present possession, for He “hath given” it to us (i.e., in the past). This gift is to individuals—to “us”—not to a nation or even the church, but to those who have believed. Furthermore, this “eternal life” is eternal! It will last for eternity and cannot be taken away. It is inconceivable for an omnipotent God to give “eternal life” temporarily. We are alive in Him, having been born (again) into His family. This is a permanent situation.

The tense shifts to the present in the last phrase of the text. Our “life is in his Son.” We are “in him....This is the true God, and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). Our life finds its vitality in living union with the Son. His death and resurrection made life possible, and now His present life is ours. His Spirit, resident within us, provides this vitality, and since the Spirit of God is eternal, our life is eternal. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (v. 13). JDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause
  July 31, 2020
The Powerful Hand of God
“Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.” (Isaiah 48:13)

The human hand is an anatomical marvel; nothing remotely comparable exists among the primates or any other animals. It is a marvel of design. But surely the “hand of God”—of which a human’s hand is only a very dim shadow—is infinitely more powerful and skillful.

Note the testimony of Isaiah 45:12: “I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.” God did not have to use intermediate processes or pre-existing materials. Everything was “commanded” into existence, and “I, even my hands,” made all of it, including humans. Creation was direct—a direct product of God’s mighty hands.

Not only was it direct, it was also immediate, as our text above makes emphatically plain. His hand laid the earth’s foundation and spanned the heavens. Then, “when I call unto them,” He says, “They stand up together!” Not one by one— first the universe, then the sun, then the earth, and so on. No, “they stand up together.” “He spake, and it was done” (Psalm 33:9). It did not take 16 billion years; it took six days—and the only reason it took that long was so that God’s workweek could serve as a pattern for people (Exodus 20:8-11).

God’s hand is omnipotent, and “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” It is wonderful to know His hand is gentle and loving as well as powerful. His hands will bear eternal scars where they were spiked to the cross, because He loved us and died for us. “My sheep hear my voice,” He says, “and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). The hand that spanned the heavens can hold on to those who trust Him. HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause

August 1, 2020
Those Whom God Calls Fools
“Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?” (Deuteronomy 32:6)

This rebuke was by Moses as he warned the people of God just before their entrance into the Promised Land. It contains the first use of the Hebrew nabal (translated “fool” or “foolish”) in the Bible. Here it is applied to God’s chosen people after they had been redeemed out of Egyptian slavery by God. This implies that the most foolish of all people are those who have known about God and His great salvation and yet have turned away from His Word.

Paul writes in similar scathing terms of those who had known of God’s great deliverance of their fathers from the evil world before the Flood and yet then abandoned Him for idolatry. “When they knew God,...their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21-22).

David used the same word about those who decide they can explain things without God, just as many intellectuals in modern America do. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.…Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God” (Psalm 53:1, 4).

Even prophets and preachers can become fools if they follow their own wisdom instead of God’s Word. “Thus saith the Lord GOD; woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” (Ezekiel 13:3).

Jesus rebuked even those He dearly loved because they were surprised and discouraged when He was crucified. “O fools,” He said, because they had been “slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25). God help us to maintain believing hearts, not foolish hearts, as we serve Him! HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause

August 2, 2020
Fire in the Bones
“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jeremiah 20:9)

When God’s Word really becomes a part of one’s soul, that one can never be the same again. As dejected Jeremiah said in his imprisonment: “The word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily” (Jeremiah 20:8). So, he said: “I will not…speak any more in his name.” But he could not quit! God’s Word was burning in his bones, and he must let it out. “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29).

The psalmist David had a similar testimony. “I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue” (Psalm 39:2-3). When the resurrected Christ “expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself,” the two disciples from Emmaus later testified: “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:27, 32).

Of all the symbols applied in the Scriptures to God’s Word, that of fire is the most awe-inspiring. Fire was not a discovery of some primitive man, as evolutionists imagine, but has always been an instrument of God’s judgment, from the flaming sword in Eden (Genesis 3:24) to the lake of fire in hell (Revelation 21:8). In fact, God Himself is said to be “a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).

The word of fire in the burning heart cannot be contained but must be proclaimed at any cost. As Paul acknowledged: “Necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16). HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phkrause

August 3, 2020
Acceptable Sacrifices
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

In the Old Testament theocracy of Israel, it was the responsibility of the Levitical priesthood to be “daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices” in atonement for the sins of the people, and this continued until Jesus Christ “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever” (Hebrews 10:11-12). The old priesthood has now been set aside. Only the sacrifice of Christ and our identification with Him through faith is acceptable for our salvation.

Nevertheless, there is a new priesthood—a spiritual priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices—and it is vital that we who are now His priests offer sacrifices that are acceptable and pleasing to God. The first and most basic sacrifice is set forth in one of the Bible’s key verses: “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” (Romans 12:1).

Three other acceptable sacrifices are outlined in the concluding chapter of Hebrews. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).

The continual offering of praise to God, in all circumstances acknowledging His wisdom and goodness, is an acceptable sacrifice. Doing good works—not for our salvation but because of our salvation—is acceptable. So is “communicating” (Greek koinonia)—sharing what we have with others. With these sacrifices, God is “well pleased.” It is our high privilege as His holy priesthood to offer up these spiritual sacrifices. HMM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  



×
×
  • Create New...