Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Lighted Lamp

Luke 8:17 is often used as a warning about how we live our lives now. It is often said that everything we do is secret now will be revealed later. This may be so, though I'm not sure because our works will be tried by fired, that which is consumed we will suffer loss for and that which lasts we will gain reward for. Also that our old selves are put to death leads me to think the common interpretation of Luke 8:17 isn't what God is talking about in the verse.

So what DO I think He's talking about then? Well lets look at this section of scripture Luke 8:16-18 then.

In verse 16 God is talking about how no one lights a lamp and then covers it up. How it doesn't get hidden under a couch but gets put on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. This to ME sounds very much like Jesus on the Cross. The Crucifixion was to be a visible sign to all the world for all time to know that Jesus' work was completed. Jesus is the Light of The World.

With this in mind lets now look at verse 17. "For there is nothing hidden that shall not be disclosed, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come out into the open". If Verse 16 is talking of Christ, then so is verse 17. Since Christ is the very image of God the Father then it is safe to say that nothing about the Father will be hidden from us.

The real kicker is when will all this be revealed. After all the Bible is full of things referred to as mysteries. Quickly check out Luke 8:10 where Jesus tells His disciples that they have been given to progressively know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. He's talking about Sanctification here.

But when will all this be revealed fully? When Sanctification is done. When we are in the very presence of Christ Jesus. See verse 18 now. It is clearly talking about who is going to be Saved and who is not.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Law & Grace

I've just read something written a very long time ago, but brings to such clarity the difference between Law and Grace that I just have to share it here. At the end I will post a single statement which brings the importance of keeping the two, Law & Grace separate.

There was Law before Moses (Adam forbidden to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil Gen 2:17 was law) and there was Grace before Christ Jesus’ on the Cross. Surely grace was most sweetly manifested by the Lord God’s seeking His sinning creatures and in His clothing them with coats of skins (Gen 3:21).

However the “the Law” everywhere mentioned in Scripture was given by Moses and from Sinai to Calvary dominates, characterizes the time (dispensation) just as Grace dominates or gives it’s peculiar character to the dispensation which begins at Calvary and has it’s predicted termination in the Rapture of the Church.

It is of the most vital moment to observe that Scripture never, in any dispensation mingles these two principles. Law always has a place and work distinct and wholly divers from that of Grace. Law is God prohibiting and requiring. Grace is God beseeching and bestowing. Law is a ministry of condemnation, Grace is of forgiveness. Law curses, grace redeems from that curse. Law kills and grace makes alive. Law shuts every mouth before God, Grace makes guilty man nigh to God. Law says “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” Grace says “Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek turn to him the other also”. Law says hate your enemy and Grace says love your enemies. Law says “do” and live, Grace says “Believe” and live. Law utterly condemns the best man while Grace freely justices the worst (Luke 23:43, Tom 5:8, I Tim 1:15, I Cor 6:9-11). Law stones an adulteress, grace says “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.” Under law the sheep dies by the hand of the shepherd, under Grace the Shepherd dies for the sheep.

Now here's the kicker-

The mingling of these two together in the way we often teach today spoils both! The Law is robbed of it’s terror and Grace is robbed of it’s freeness.

I can't sum it up any better than that.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Instantly in Bliss or Woe

So I failed yesterday, because like the man full of pride that I can be (if I let my flesh rule). I did not pray but ran off thinking "I" knew enough instead of asking what "I AM" wanted me to say.

Two women knocked on my door. Jehova's Witnesses. They were out collecting souls in the afternoon. I had opportunity to speak with them for some time. Though I thought I was getting through to them at points they did have points which I could not defend against. Shame Shame I have not studied enough. Forgive me Lord and help my study to be fruitful, and when I am prepared, and you have prepared them please bring them back to my home.

They were denying the deity of Christ Jesus, they did not believe in the Trinity - or as it is called in the Word "The Godhead". I found I could not adequately defend this basic but mysterious principle of Christianity. Shame. I must study more.

Further they did not believe they had the assurance of Salvation. The finished work of Christ was not enough for their beliefs. This was easily defeated by directing them to read Hebrews where it is explained that our Eternal Lord does eternal work. They believed that salvation comes and goes. Since we are healed by His stripes I guess they think Christ Jesus is continuing to pay the price for our sins. Shame Shame!!! Jesus is ascended and is at the right hand of the Father!! Victory!! GLORY! Thank You Father!

Lastly they didn't believe that those who are Saved are with Jesus instantly after we die. They believed they had a "hope" of resurrection from death at some point, but no assurance of such. They believed their good works would some how be judged and resurrection would be based on that. THIS is what I wish to address here today.

What happens the instant we die? Well we are either brought in to the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ or we are separated from Him by a great chasm and are left in a state of torment.

Here are some scriptures you can read yourself, but we'll study the event of the "rich man" and Lazarus as detailed by Dr. Luke in a moment.

Philippians 1:23 if Paul were to die he would be instantly with Christ.

II Cor 5:9 While we are at home with the Body we are away from Home with the Lord, and vise-versa, there is no other place for a believer to be.

Luke 16:19-26 This one is the real kicker. You see the rich man is aware of his separation and of where Abraham and Lazarus are. He died and is instantly in Woe, while Abraham and Lazarus are in Bliss. It can't get clearer than this. The believer is instantly brought to Heaven (the Third Heaven as it actually is).

Brothers and Sisters, the resurrection of those sleeping in Christ is of their bodies not their spirits. Just as the thief on the cross beside Our Lord on Calvary was to be in Heaven that very day so will we who believe be with Our Redeemer on the day we die, or are raptured.

Make haste Our Lord we are eager to be with You! Lord we await the full harvest and thank You that you'll leave no one believer behind!

Why Is The Old Testament relevant?

Because Jesus said so!

We can not pick and choose what we will believe in the Word. Either it is all true or it is a lie, because it claims to be all true. If God is wrong about something then He can hardly be trusted now can He?

God is, nor ever was, nor ever will be wrong in any way at all. Period. From the very first verse in the Word until the very last one the Word is without error. This includes the Creation account. Animals didn't eat animals in the beginning, there was no death and no disease until Eve was deceived and Adam sinned.

Ok so what's the big deal? Why is everyone so up about this "Creation stuff" lately? Well Our Lord (yes the LORD of our lives), the Author and perfecter of our faith said that if someone doesn't believe what Moses and the Prophets said then a resurrection will not cause them to believe.

Luke 16:31 "He said to him, If they do not hear and listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded and convinced and believe [even] if someone should rise from the dead."

Oh isn't it amazing how God can see our true nature? How He alone knows us to the core.

Friday, November 25, 2005

What If

Thank You Father that your love is based on You and not on me. There's a very pretty song written by Jadon Lavik (there's a handle eh?) called "What If". This song speaks to me about my walk. For so long I have thought I had to be good enough to come to Christ. Well recently I have learned that is just not going to happen in my own strength. In fact, I won't be "good enough" until I am face to face with Christ Jesus and my Sanctification is complete.

So what's so good about that? Well Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the Great Physician didn't come for the healthy, nor the righteous. He came for the sick and the sinners. He came for those who have fallen short of God's glory!!! That would be all of us by the way. If it is possible for me to be good enough, then Christ Jesus has died in vain.

Thank You Christ for saving this poor child that I am. I no longer have to wonder "What If" but I know that "I belong to You, apart from the things I do." And yes Lord, "I'm in awe of why You do."

Check out Jadon's music he's a talented guy.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

We Should Be Humble

Jesus humbled Himself when He came to Earth and lived as a child. He was fully human, while still being fully God. He allowed Himself to be a child. This is yet another indication of the consistency of the Word. We are to be as Christ is, and we are to be humble – as is His character revealed in His earthly life.

Matthew 18

1AT THAT time the disciples came up and asked Jesus, Who then is [really] the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2And He called a little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them,
3And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all].
4Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5And whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me.Now Jesus is speaking about the character of a child, [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5And whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me.

Now Jesus is speaking about the character of a child, not himself but since He was a child Himself the character illustration is, I believe, valid.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bless Those Who Hate You

Jesus told us to "invoke" blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse us. To "implore" God's blessing upon those who abuse us.

Wow, who's up for that? Well I've recently started a personal policy of "forgive them and watch them transform". This came from conversations with my Brother in Christ, Cory. I've been watching this bring fruit in my workplace. Just yesterday I started to actually try to follow what Jesus said about those who hate us. I can't tell you how those people (in my life) have reacted so far, but I'm absolutely sure of God's faithfulness.

Check it out yourself, read and heed Brothers and Sisters. Luke 6:27-28.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Remembering The Depths

As I walk through this valley I constantly receive blessing, and comfort. From the touch of God, and from my Brothers and Sisters in Christ. It's been suggested that I record what it's like to walk through this valley so I will always remember, and be able to help those who visit their own valleys in the future. I'm going to do this, and I encourage you all to do the same in your life.

All thanks, and Glory be to Him, Christ Jesus. In Him all things are possible, without Him all things are worthless. All praise to He who would save such a soul as mine. Who loved me before I even knew of Him.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The War Is Over!

Nope, this isn't about Iraq, or any other carnal conflict in the world.

1 John 4:4 "Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world."

Lets understand this. Evil is already defeated. Let's live in the freedom Christ has purchased with His blood for us!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says

Early in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ to John we read what Christ has to say to each of the seven assemblies (or churches). At the end of each message there is the statement "He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies". See Rev 2:7,11,17,29 & 3:6,13,22. Either just after or shortly before this statement (but always tied to it) there is a message of Salvation. The message of Salvation reflects how Christ is described in the beginning of the message to each church, and or the things that Christ has against each church.

Previously, I have mentioned how the Church is built up as individuals are built up and vice-versa. These messages are great examples of this. If you read them you can see more than just the church He is speaking to. You can see yourself. If you do see yourself in one or more of the messages, then you will also see your exact path to Salvation there as well.

To make use of an American political phrase, as the church goes so goes the believer. And, as the believer goes, so goes the church. I'm talking about local churches here, but the same is true of the Church (all believers dead, alive, and yet to live) as well.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Dealing With Those in Positions of Authority

We are often familiar with what is said about servants and masters in the New Testament. We look in scriptures like Col 3:22-23, and Eph 4:5-8 and see that we are to honor our masters. However, it's not just our masters whom we have to some sort of respect. All people in positions of authority have to be respected. In that if they are doing wrong, we allow God to rebuke them. We are to pray for them.

Even the Archangel Michael dared not bring abusive condemnation against the devil but simply said "The Lord Rebuke You!". Jude 1:8-9 and Zech 3:2.

So the next time we feel like lashing out abusively at people who are in authority we should remember what Michael did, and follow suit.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

There Are No Aliens

How can I, a simple man from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who's never studied the topic in depth, who's never been to and likely never will be to "outer space" say such a bold statement? Simple.

Because God is just. (amplified version) Luke 18:7, John 5:30, 2 Thes 1:5 and the Word goes on and on about our righteous (just) God.

So what does God being "just" have to do with it? Read Genesis.

All of creation was cursed because of Adam's sin. This includes the stars and planets in the "expanse of the heavens" where "aliens" would be living. These "aliens" would not be related to Adam and therefore they would not share in Adam's sin debt (as we looked at yesterday here). Since death is the "wages" of sin they ought not be bound to die, yet the curse would cause them to die. Since there is no way to pay a debt that doesn't exist, there would be no way for them to attain salvation. All of them would die unjustly, with no way to be redeemed.

God can not break His promise or go against His Word Heb 6:13-17. Since the situation above would surely do both it is clear that there can be no "aliens" in "outer space".

Cool Eh? - Thanks to God for sending John with this wisdom.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Wages of Sin

We all love to inherit stuff don't we? Many people think it's a good thing.

Have you ever wondered why the Word calls death the "wages of sin"? Just as an inheritance is paid to you, or if you actually inherit a debt you have to pay it, we have inherited Adam's sin debt. We have to pay his debt.

Everyone on the planet is related to Adam, even Eve who was made from him. Together they produced the whole of humanity. Adam died with a sin debt, and all of the generations beyond him have inherited it.

This is what is meant by the "wages of sin". The payment for sin is death. When Adam sinned God cursed all of creation, as Adam had been given dominion over it. All creation was to know death, corruption, disease and decay. This is why the world is the way it is today. It was created perfect, and it was cursed because of sin.

Thankfully, for those who believe the Gospel (The Good News!) we can avoid the eternal death that is the wages of sin. What's this Good News? Jesus came to earth, led a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins (paying the sin debt we owe), was buried, raised from the grave in a bodily resurrection on the third day after His crucifixion, and after a short time rose to sit at the right hand of the Father where He is now intercessing for us.

If you believe that, then your sin debt has been paid in full. Not because of how good you might be, but because of how good He is.

Here's some good news for those of you who don't believe it yet, but want to. Pray about it. Do an honest investigation of the Word. Test it. If you honestly seek God you will find Him. Whatever you find out through your investigation follow it, as long as it was a truly honest investigation.