Good Friday: An Impossible Tradition

In Colossians chapter two and verse eight the Apostle Paul said, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

The Bible is not only the Word of God but is indeed the Word Himself. John said, “The Word was God” (John 1:1). Within the Bible’s pages we see the beautiful and unfolding drama of redemption, featuring the climactic crucifixion of God’s darling Son. On this particular day noonday became midnight. The sun refused to shine as the Son was rejected by sinful men. This day was unlike any other day in human history. GOD DIED on crucifixion day!

To what day, however, may we ascribe God’s good and merciful sacrifice of Himself? That is the question.

For centuries, Christians, or shall I say “Christendom,” has marked the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. The good news is that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (I Corinthians 15:1-3); the bad news for Good Friday is that the Scriptures speak superfluously about the day upon which He died. The promises and prophecies of Scripture connected with His death and resurrection cannot be irrefutably linked to a Friday crucifixion.

Please take a moment to ponder the following considerations concerning when the Lord Jesus Christ tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9):

1. THE EMPHASIS OF SCRIPTURE ON THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS

Jesus said in Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

These words were not the emphasis or hyberbole of Matthew; these are the words of the Lord Jesus! You say, “The Hebrews had an idiom concerning days. An onah was a Hebrew consideration that any part of a day could be considered an entire day.” This fact is true, and based upon such evidence, Jesus resided in the grave a portion of Friday, the entirety of Saturday and a portion of Sunday, thus three days.

However, the Lord Jesus promised to be in the tomb for three days and three nights. Such an idiom did not exist for the night.

John 2:19-21

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.

See also Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:34, Matthew 27:63, John 12:19, etc.

2. THE PASSOVER SABBATH VS. THE WEEKLY SABBATH

The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. (John 19:31)

If the Sabbath spoken of here is the weekly Sabbath, Good Friday would be the day of the crucifixion. If indeed there is another Sabbath at work here, what is the significance of the language John uses here concerning “that sabbath day was an high day?”

The weekly Sabbath/Saturday/7th day of the week was a tradition with roots previous to Adam’s occupation in the Garden of Eden. God rested from His laborers on the seventh day for our pattern of rest and worship. This day was commemorated in Exodus chapter twenty as a day which should be remembered and kept holy.

Our confusion often lies in our Gentile understanding of the Bible. Jesus died for the world, but He lived a Jewish life. The Passion week of our Lord was full of Jewish symbolism regarding his fulfillment of the Jewish feasts, which all point powerfully to the Messiah!

In His last days Jesus was the fulfillment of two Jewish feasts through death. They are Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Passover was the perpetual commemoration of their deliverance by Jehovah from Egypt through the merits of the blood of the innocent lamb. Exodus chapter twelve records that the houses of Israel were to take unto themselves a perfect lamb on the 10th day of the month Nisan (the beginning of months, Ex. 12:1-2). The lamb was kept by them until the 14th day of the month, upon which it was slain in the evening and the blood was applied to the door posts of their homes. When God came through Egypt that night, He was looking only for the blood. Ethnicity would not save them…only the blood! Jesus was the fulfillment of every Old Testament lamb, from the one slain in the Garden of Eden for man’s sin, to the top of Mt. Moriah in Isaac’s stead, to the multitudinous lambs slain in the Tabernacle and the Temple. John Baptist proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world!”

Immediately following the Passover was the seven-day feast of unleavened bread. At conception this feast spoke primarily of God’s quick and timely snatching of His people from the land of their bondage. Truly, they did not have time to let their bread rise! When the fulness of time came, they got out of dodge!

Upon the first day of this feast the cupboards were to be cleared of all leavening agents unto the seventh day of the same. Leaven as we know is a picture of sin (Exodus 12:15, Matthew 16:6, 11, 12, Mark 8:15) and was to be purged from their homes.

The Apostle Paul in speaking of the purity of the local church uses leaven once again in his fight against church impurity. He exclaimed, “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” (I Corinthians 5:7). As there was no sin and no guile found in our Passover Lamb (I Peter 1:19), so there is to be a seriousness about sin in His body, the church.

The Bible says,

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:5-8).

The first day (and the last day) of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a Sabbath. This is a “special” Sabbath, also called a “high Sabbath”. As the Jews of the Old Testament were given preparatory time in cleaning their homes for this seven-day feast, so these New Testament-era Jews prepared for the feast. The Sabbath day following Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross can be reconciled by understanding that His death occurred in the middle of the week on the Eve of the “high day” or Sabbath rest of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

3. THE GOSPEL WRITERS RECORDED NO LESS THAN 20 EVENTS THAT OCCURRED BETWEEN HIS DEATH AT 3 PM AND A THE SUNSET (BEGINNING OF THE HIGH SABBATH) PRECEDING SABBATH DAY

In the Gospel records we are dealing in Jewish time (sunset-to-sunset), not Roman time (midnight-to-midnight). Seeing that according to this timeline, no work could be performed on Saturday (the weekly Sabbath), a Good Friday model would give the disicples less than three hours to perform the following:

-request His body from Pilate
-His body to be inspected on the cross and His legs not to be broken
-Joseph of Arimathaea goes to Pilate to beg for the body
-Pilate sends enquiry to Golgotha to concerning the certainty of Jesus’ death and the centurion’s enquiries to Golgotha to confirm death and report back to Pilate (we all know how slowly the wheels of government bureaucracy turn!)
-Joseph then goes to the market to buy fine linen
-Joseph proceeds to extract the body from the cross
-He, along with the help of others, washes the body and wraps it in a linen cloth (sindon- “one piece of linen, see Matthew 27:59) and lays the body in the Garden Tomb without spices/ointment
-the stone is rolled to cover the opening of the tomb
-later, Nicodemus procures a great amount of expensive spices, and returns with the help of Joseph and other ladies, as to embalm Christ’s body, and He is wrapped in a linen cloth and the head separately in a napkin (the word here is “othonion” is used here as speaking of plural cloths).
-again, the stone is rolled to cover the tomb and they depart
-on the first day of the week the women returned to anoint His decaying body with spices but found the stone rolled away

It seems totally unreasonable that Joseph and these women accomplished these many tasks in less than three hours from His death on late Friday evening to the beginning of their weekly Sabbath.

We must, therefore, conclude that the Lord Jesus died on Wednesday evening (the 14th day/Passover) and great haste was made by Joseph to quickly wrap Jesus in a single napkin in His tomb before the High Day commenced so that the Lord Jesus did not hang, ignored and unloved, on the cross for the entirety of the Passover Sabbath. This would have allowed the disciples the entirety of Friday to appropriately care for His body in the garden tomb.

DOES IT MATTER?

Of course it matters! Everything in the Bible matters! Paul said, “There are some traditions of men that are not after the truth of Christ.” We ought never to give any portion of our Bibles away in seeking to numb our minds so as to think in other men’s boxes. The Bible clearly states the necessity of Christ’s bodily resurrection after an interment of three days AND three nights.

May the passion week ignite us to know the truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us! CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY….JUST LIKE HE SAID!

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WHAT ABOUT THE BLOOD MOON?

The following article was submitted by guest columnist, Jeff Wade. You will enjoy his perspective and interest in Bible prophecy.

The full lunar eclipse Monday night was a magnificent display of God’s intentions of using the heavens for signs as recorded in Genesis 1:14. This “blood” moon was one in a series of four that NASA calls a Tetrad. Tetrads are not very common, but they do happen.

However, there is a distinct rarity about this set of four total lunar eclipses. They will happen over a year and a half (2014/2015) and will land on the first Jewish holy day of Passover and the last Jewish holy day of Tabernacles, two straight years in a row. This pattern is so rare that it has only happened 7 times since the birth of Jesus Christ, this current one being the 8th.

Passover, was a feast given by God to the Jewish people commemorating God’s freeing his people from the bondage of Egypt under the leadership of Moses (Exodus 12). God instructed the people to take a lamb on the 10th day of the month, inspect it for 4 days to ensure that it was perfect and without blemish; then on the 14th day they were to kill the lamb and place the blood on the door posts of their houses. When God passed through Egypt, any household that did not have the blood applied was stricken with death to the firstborn child. However, when God saw the blood, he passed over and his people did not experience death.

Passover was not permanent, however, but rather a foreshadowing of the perfect Lamb of God who was to come and atone for the sins of His people. As Abraham went up the mountain to sacrifice his only son Isaac as God told him to do, Isaac, not realizing what was happening, asked his father where the lamb was for the sacrifice. Abraham’s reply was beautifully prophetic…

Genesis 22:8 Says, “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide HIMSELF a LAMB for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.”

And God did just that!!! When John the Baptist saw the Lord Jesus Christ come onto the scene he said “Behold, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The Lord Jesus rode into Jerusalem the 10th day of the month, was inspected by the people until the 14th day, then declared by Pilate to be an innocent man (spotless Lamb). The Lamb of God was then killed on the 14th day of the month, which was Passover, where He shed his blood on the cross for the sin of the world!!

So, taking into account that Genesis 1:14 says that God made the sun, moon, and stars for SIGNS, what is the significance of a “blood” moon occurring on Passover for 2 consecutive years?

God is demonstrating by His sovereign control of the heavenly bodies that the blood of the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, IS our Passover!!! Just as God required the Jews to place the blood of the lamb on the door posts of the their houses on that first Passover night, we too are required to have the blood of the Lamb applied to the door posts of our hearts.

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

The only hope of eternal life is by faith in the shed blood of the perfect Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).

Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

John 3:36 records, “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.”

Blood moon…Passover…shed blood of the Lamb of God!!

Heed God’s warning! Time is short, and the Lord Jesus is returning VERY soon!

Vance Havner on the Government

I thought it most appropriate in these wild and wooly days of government shutdown and the downgrade of responsibility and logic to recite the oft-quote American  prophet, Vance Havner.  If Havner were alive today, what might he preach to call a prodigal nation back to God?  Maybe the following excerpt might help.

THE POLITICAL WORLD IS WAITING FOR THE SUNRISE. The politicians do not know it, of course. They would try to make the day dawn by their efforts around conference tables. But the hope of a better day rests with only One, the Lord of Glory. Only in Christ can you bring men together. Capital and labor have no trouble when they meet in the Lord. When Boaz saluted his laborers by saying, “The Lord be with you,” and they answered, “The Lord bless thee,” they gave us then and there the only solution of the labor problem. The white man and the black have no trouble when they both love the Lord. They have most trouble when starry-eyed idealists try to solve their problems. The rich man and the poor meet in Christ: there a Joseph of Arimathea stands on equal footing with fishermen disciples. The learned and unlearned meet in Christ, and an uneducated D.L. Moody can work with renowned scholars and theologians bound by a common love. National lines melt in Him with whom there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free.

The scattered pieces of this bleeding world can never be put together by any conference of experts. Only the return of our Lord holds the answer. There may be armistices and breathing spells while fresh confederacies form, but Christ alone will bring an end to dictators, just as He will bring an end to death and disease and depravity and the devil.”

 

Eros vs. Agape

One of the chief take-a-ways from your reading of the Old Testament “church” is that what begins with idolatry ends with gross immorality.  They just seem to always go together.

Recently, within a culture of so-called “progress” has come gross digression towards spiritual ruination.  True religion is not rotting because of the cultural decline in America; rather, the culture is declining because of that which we call “true religion” in 2013 America.  Within this ever-widening societal decline has been a deliberate attempt at re-inventing church.  “Traditional” has become the new F-bomb of religious terms.  

In many circles today the music of the church is set to the beat and groove of the world.  Within our churches is a lack of gender identification and modesty in dress.  This is the “come as you are, even if you are immodest” generation.  We approach God by casual means, instead of intentional holiness.  

One of my observations concerning the new music and Contemporary theology is the blurring of the lines between the sexual and the sacred.  Yes, within the walls of what should be a safe place (the local, New Testament church), free from worldliness, sexual impurity and cultural experimentation, is a blurring of people’s idea of love to God.  What, then, are the words needed for our observation?

  • eros- sensual love; of human origin.  Used as a noun, eros is the name of the primordial Greek God Eros, the god of love.  
  • phileo- tender affection, often seen as philadelphos, or brotherly love (Romans 12:10)
  • agape- God’s love; sacrificial love; “Calvary love”

In contrasting two terms eros and agape we see that they are different in origin, aim and outcome.  Eros is sensual love, having an earthly origin.  Eros is a flesh love, righteously satisfied only within God’s holy parameter, the institution of marriage.  Although this word is not found in the Bible, the idea is borne throughout the Scriptures.   In that it is sensual its outcome cannot be spiritual, for we cannot begin with the flesh and end in the Spirit or vice versa (Galatians 3:3).   When the Apostle Paul admonishes husbands in the book of Ephesians, He does not say, “Husbands, eros your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it” (5:25).

Paul uses the word agape.  Agape, then, is the miracle of the universe.  It is the love of God.  It is a love that proceeds from the heart of God (Romans 5:5).  It is not earthly; it is heavenly.   Agape is the love God has for the world (John 3:16), and out of that love, Christ descended from Heaven and came to the cross.  Husbands, then, are to have a Calvary love for their wives!  

How, then, do we love God?  We love Him with agape love.

It is my belief that the same philosophies used by the rock ‘n roll crowd to “set the mood” for a concert full of swooning fans are the same techniques and same foundational principles being practiced in our churches.  Accordingly, Jesus is no longer seen so much as a Saviour but a lover.  To illustrate, CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) groups often sing songs  which have a secular origin and an erotic flare.  These songs, then, are sung in worship to God, Jesus Christ becoming the object of affection.  

Lest we think this impossible, consider that fornication and sexual perversion were synthesized with true worship recurrently in the Old Testament (see I Corinthians 1:10-11, I Samuel 2:22).  

A.W. Tozer wrote the following words in 1959:

“THE period in which we now live may well go down in history as the Erotic Age. Sex love has been elevated into a cult. Eros has more worshipers among civilized men today than any other god. For millions the erotic has completely displaced the spiritual.

“How the world got into this state is not difficult to trace. Contributing factors are the phonograph and radio, which can spread a love song from coast to coast within a matter of days; the motion picture and television, which enable a whole population to feast their eyes on sensuous women and amorous young men locked in passionate embrace (and this in the living rooms of “Christian” homes and before the eyes of innocent children!); shorter working hours and a multiplicity of mechanical gadgets with the resultant increased leisure for everyone. Add to these the scores of shrewdly contrived advertising campaigns which make sex the not too slyly concealed bait to attract buyers for almost every imaginable product; the degraded columnists who have consecrated their lives to the task of the publicizing of soft, slinky nobodies with the faces of angels and the morals of alley cats; conscienceless novelists who win a doubtful fame and grow rich at the inglorious chore of dredging up literary putridities from the sewers of their souls to provide entertainment for the masses. These tell us something about how Eros has achieved his triumph over the civilized world.

“Now if this god would let us Christians alone I for one would let his cult alone. The whole spongy, fetid mess will sink some day under its own weight and become excellent fuel for the fires of hell, a just recompense which is meet, and it becomes us to feel compassion for those who have been caught in its tragic collapse. Tears and silence might be better than words if things were slightly otherwise than they are. But the cult of Eros is seriously affecting the Church. The pure religion of Christ that flows like a crystal river from the heart of God is being polluted by the unclean waters that trickle from behind the altars of abomination that appear on every high hill and under every green tree from New York to Los Angeles.

“The influence of the erotic spirit is felt almost everywhere in evangelical circles. Much of the singing in certain types of meetings has in it more of romance than it has of the Holy Ghost. Both words and music are designed to rouse the libidinous. Christ is courted with a familiarity that reveals a total ignorance of who He is. It is not the reverent intimacy of the adoring saint but the impudent familiarity of the carnal lover.

“Religious fiction also makes use of sex to interest the reading public, the paper-thin excuse being that if romance and religion are woven into a story the average person who would not read a purely religious book will read the story and thus be exposed to the gospel. Leaving aside the fact that most modern religious novelists are home talent amateurs, scarcely one of whom is capable of writing a single line of even fair literature, the whole concept behind the religio-romantic novel is unsound. The libidinous impulses and the sweet, deep movings of the Holy Spirit are diametrically opposed to each other.

“The notion that Eros can be made to serve as an assistant of the Lord of glory is outrageous. The “Christian” film that seeks to draw customers by picturing amorous love scenes in its advertising is completely false to the religion of Christ. Only the spiritually blind will be taken in by it.

“The current vogue of physical beauty and sparkling personalities in religious promotion is a further manifestation of the influence of the romantic spirit in the Church. The rhythmic sway, the synthetic smile and the too, too cheerful voice betray the religious worldling. He has learned his technique from the TV screen but not learned it well enough to succeed in the professional field, so he brings his inept production to the holy place and peddles it to the ailing and undersized Christians who are looking for something to amuse them while staying within the bounds of the current religious mores.

“If my language should seem severe, let it be remembered that it is not directed at any individual. Toward the lost world of men I feel only a great compassion and a desire that all should come to repentance. For the Christians whose vigorous but mistaken leadership has wooed the modern church from the altar of Jehovah to the altars of error I feel genuine love and sympathy. I want to be the last to injure them and the first to forgive them, remembering my past sins and my need for mercy, as well as my own weakness and natural bent toward sin and error. Balaam’s ass was used of God to rebuke a prophet. It would seem from this that God does not require perfection in the instrument He uses to warn and exhort His people.

“When God’s sheep are in danger the shepherd must not gaze at the stars and meditate on “inspirational” themes. He is morally obliged to grab his weapon and run to their defense. When the circumstances call for it, love can use the sword, though by her nature she would rather bind up the broken heart and minister to the wounded. It is time for the prophet and the seer to make themselves heard and felt again. For the last three decades timidity disguised as humility has crouched in her corner while the spiritual quality of evangelical Christianity has become progressively worse year by year.”

If Tozer saw the iniquity of such diabolic perversion in 1959 imagine the acceleration of his perception to 2013.  

Let’s wake up!  Let us not be deceived by the newest trends of worship that arouse our soul to worship but be strictly in love with Calvary as we worship Christ in spirit and in truth.

 

 

 

Words that Make Families Function

 

il_fullxfull.255824037Is your family functioning, or is it dysfunctional?  I presume that is an objective question, seeing that “normal” has multitudinous definitions in our morally relative society! There is, however, a culture defined in Scripture that teaches us what a family functioning for God looks like.

In the book of Ephesians Paul sets out to describe the blessed conditions of Heaven in the Christian home.  Here, there are at least eight words that make a family function.

  1. FORGIVING- Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”  The culture of Christianity is forgiveness, for you could not be one without having been forgiven.  Every marriage would have quickly and painfully ended in divorce from day one had not forgiveness reigned in human hearts.
  2. REDEEMING- Ephesians 5:16 says, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  Families are to make the most of their time.  Making the most of our time means we redeem time and spend it wisely as an investment in the eternal.  Deuteronomy chapter six describes time redemption as teaching the truths of God’s Word at bedtime, morning time, and at other times when spiritual applications may be made.
  3. UNDERSTANDING- Ephesians 5:17 says, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”  Family life is all about the will of God.    The family cannot function outside the will of God for them.  How imperative it is for the father to ensure that he makes wise decisions concerning church membership, employment, residence and all other matters according to the will of God!
  4. FILLING- Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”  Is the filling of the Holy Spirit, meaning being Spirit-controlled, any more important in its presence than in the home?  All of our words, actions, attitudes, and decisions are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
  5. SPEAKING- Ephesians 5:19 says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”  The Christian home ought to be permeated with soul-stirring and Christ-honoring music.  I speak not of “church music,” for the right type of music in church is thoroughly Christian and fitted for the pew and the pillow.
  6. GIVING- Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Families cannot function spiritual or financially where discontent and greed of gain overflow the banks of contentment.  The Bible says, “Be content with such things as ye have, for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).  The opposite of discontentment is contentment with the person of God as our reward (Genesis 15:1).
  7. SUBMITTING- Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  There is mutual submission in the functioning family.  In other words the family cannot and should not revolve around one personal alone.  The family is not all about the children and their needs, nor is it all about the mother or the father.  Although the wife is to submit to her husband in all things (5:22), the husband is still accountable to his wife and children in the use of his time, their money and his energy.  He should not be a rogue, expecting from others what he himself is unwilling to reciprocate.
  8. LOVING- Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”  Creative love designed the family (Genesis 2), and Calvary love redeemed the family ruined by sin.  Much is made of love (in a human respect), when more, I say MUCH MORE, ought to be made of Calvary love (John 3:16 love).  May a spirit of sacrifice and giving be found in each member of my home!

These are but a few of the words that make families function biblically.  Long live the family that functions!

“The Dirt” on the Dirt

There are few things in the world more basic or common than dirt.  As a matter of fact, all 7 billion of us on planet earth live on it, eat from it, sleep on it and are held to it by gravity.  It has always been so.  No human being can divorce himself from it.  Even the seas are borne upon the sand.

God has a way of doing amazing things with common elements.  The Bible says in First Corinthians chapter one and verse twenty-seven, “But god hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.”  If God did not do amazing things with ordinary people, none of us would have a prayer.

Through the Bible we read of the extraordinary place “dirt” has in the Scriptures narrative.

  • out of it came man- Genesis 2:7
  • on it was pronounced a curse- Genesis 3:17
  • to it came Christ- Galatians 4:4-5
  • upon it at Calvary the sun was concealed and the soil quaked- Matthew 27:45, 51
  • away from it Christ ascended back to Heaven- Acts 1:11
  • from it we will climb when Christ returns for His own- John 14:1-4, I Corinthians 15:53-58, I Thessalonians 4:13-17
  • back to it Christ shall come to reign as King- Revelation 20:4
  • upon it the fire of God’s wrath shall cover- II Peter 3:10-11

Just think!  If God can do all that with dirt, what can the Almigthy do with you?  After all, you are made of it and to it you shall return (Genesis 3:19).  The only hope that dirt has it to find its way into the Master’s hands to be used for His glory, and come to repeat the exclamation, “A man that is called Jesus made clay” (John 9:11).  Selah!

Vacation Bible School RULES!!!!

As we are preparing for our last night of VBS, my heart is full! God has been so good to us. Thus far, thirty-eight souls have been saved by God’s grace. For a church only three months in existence, the attendance, program and excitement has been “out the top.” Please allow me to make some declarative statements that are reflective of observations I have made this week.

1. In our technological age, souls can be won to Christ through the spoken Word alone. We are told on every side that we live in a visual age, but faith still comes by hearing of the Word of God.

2. Souls will come to Christ if we just invite them to come to the Savior. The Gospel has not lost is power!

3. Vision is still given by God and blessed by Him. Being a new church, I knew we must reach out to the community if anyone were to come! The Lord laid an unreached neighborhood on my heart. I then shared that burden with our people, and we worked! Many souls have been saved in that area.

4. The phrases “God has really blessed” and “We have really worked hard” are friends, not enemies. We have worked hard, but the Lord has given the increase!

5. Churches can support one another to bring souls to the Savior. We do not have a bus…but I have friends! By borrowing their bus, we have brought children to the Savior and fruit to their account in Heaven. Thank God for pastors who understand the needs of church planters!

6. God does not bless our programs, but rather honors His. The Great Commission was His plan to reach the world with the Gospel. When we take His program seriously, He blesses the work of our hands.

7. Love for the lost and acceptance of where sinners are and how they act is offensive to some “church people.” You can see on the faces of some people how uncomfortable they are when being around the unsaved. It is a sad commentary on the average church. I am grateful, however, that I am not speaking about members of our church!

8. Serving, loving, working and going are fun! Some things are akin to “washing one another’s feet,” but Jesus said, “Happy are ye if ye do them.”

9. Satan hates the work of God and will fight it, but the hiss of the serpent means that God is near!

10. Invest in people, not lifeless programs. We have been privileged to host Ted and Jo Mock to serve with us in the Bible School. We do not finance elaborate crafts, dynamic games, exotic food or advertisement. We invest in vessels. For us, the vessels have proven to be sanctified, meet for the Master’s use and prepared for this good work. Long after that exquisite craft lies in a land fill, it is still people that God uses.

I am excited about tonight’s conclusion, and then, there is Sunday!

The Daily G-R-I-N-D…I mean, F-I-N-D

From whence come the great things?

Our world places great stock in the grandest and best, and as a society we find ourselves drunk on a “success syndrome.”  There seem to be no moral limits on what many might do for “five minutes of fame.”

Success, however, has a different definition in the Bible.  The Word of God says in Joshua chapter one and verse eight, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

God’s Word defines success as observing and doing what we have been taught from the Word of God to do.  What, then, might we discover about great things?

Recently, I was re-learning the truths of the Lord’s Supper.  I say “re-learning” because sometimes we should ignore what we remember about a truth and approach it as if we were digging for its truth for the first time.   My setting was Matthew chapter twenty-six.  Matthew in writing his takes a Jewish vantage-point and proves that the Lord Jesus had chosen an Upper Room in which He might observe the Passover meal.  That meal was organically Jewish in nature.  It had been given to the Nation of Israel upon their exodus from the land of Egypt.  Exodus chapter twelve records that the meal was to be observed by all Hebrew generations forever.

Our Lord did not ignore the feast but kept it with His disciples.  It is in this setting that something great took place.  The Bible says, “And as they were eating [the regular Jewish Passover meal], Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins [the Lord's table]” (Matthew 26:26-28).  As our Lord was doing His daily task, something great took place!   Seated there around the Table, Jesus took earthly bread and earthly wine to instruct His disciples concerning the breaking of His body and the shedding of His blood , therby instituting the Lord’s Supper for His church.  Jesus did something great out of a common and regular obligation.

Moses did not take a trip into the wilderness to observe the supernatural and spectacular truth of the burning bush.  Moses observed the burning bush as he was in the business of daily caring for his flock of sheep.

John did not anticipate the glory of that “Lord’s day” when he was “in the spirit” and viewed future prophetic truth just as clearly as yesterday’s sermon.

The little lad with the five loaves and two small fish did not envision a feast for five thousand!  He was in the business of regular duties, as was our Lord.

Simply put, we need to realize that great truths take place when we are in the business of doing the daily things.  Daily duties are not a grind but where find God’s richest blessing!

The Bible says, “And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded” (II Chr. 8:14).

Let us not seek success today but the Saviour!  Today, let us not make greatness, but God, the goal, and find our greatest success in living for Him.

Stop Riding the Line- a guest post from Marie Cox

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Marie Cox

I hate to admit my faults, because it makes me feel so vulnerable. But here it goes…I can be so faithless at times. There I said it! I feel better already! I have been struggling for weeks about a very important situation for our family. I hated to even tell my husband how many nights I stayed awake worrying about it, for fear the closest human being in my life might see through my thick skin straight to my weak heart. (As if he doesn’t already see through it!) But, today God came through again like He always does! Now, can I be really honest with you? As I am typing my praise out, I am already doubting again that it may still not work out…when will I ever learn to just trust our Abba Father?!

I hate to excuse sin away by blaming it on past difficulties in my childhood. Our upbringing is no excuse to sin, but it does play a part in the way we handle difficult situations. For some reason, probably by involuntary choice, I do not remember much about my childhood. My little sister and my older brother can recite events that happened 20 years ago with full details of what color socks we were wearing to what we ate for lunch on that particular day, and I seem to not remember anything. What I do remember is at a very early age refusing to get my hopes up about anything. Time and time again our stepfather made promises to us and then would hardly ever come through with those promises.

There is a fine line between not getting my hopes up and living a totally faithless life. I seem to ride that line an awful lot in my adulthood. My husband is always getting on to me about riding on the dotted line on the street, because one day I might get hit head on by oncoming traffic! Ouch! It is okay to be careful as to not live a totally disappointed life, but it is not okay to live a faithless life!

Little Sins

Song of Solomon says, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” (Song 2:5)

Charles Spurgeon once said, “The sea is made of drops; the rocks are made of grains: and the sea which divides thee from Christ may be filled with the drops of thy little sins.”

As we either inspect ourselves or are made conscious of Christ’s perpetual inspection of us, what be the little sins that steal our closeness of relationship with Christ?  Are there little things adding up to big problems in our spiritual lives?

Recently, I watched as a home was inspected for purchase.  The inspector checked for small things.  He did not pull onto the property, hastily do a circuit of the exterior, breezing through the main rooms and then giving the house a “go.”  He carefully inspected small things.  Any homeowner knows that something does not have to be big to be a major problem.  What we are saying upon inspection is, “Let me know of all the little foxes that might spoil the vines.”

We think of small things when speaking of vehicles.  Recently, someone told me of a car they recently replaced.  They said, “There were never any major issues with that car, but it was nickle-and-diming me to death.”  What they meant was, “The little foxes spoil the vines.”

There are small things in our lives that must be addressed towards our ultimate spiritual vitality.  Will we allow the ultimate Inspector, the Holy Spirit, to thoroughly search the vineyard of our lives so that every part of our being might bring forth abundant fruit for the glory of God?