Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Freedom from Fear

The world lives in fear and bondage to Satan. They fear the unknown future. They fear loss, including the loss of control over their own lives. They fear death.  That’s why they turn to religion and superstition and astrology.  Man is incurably religious.

 

Freedom from the fear of death

 

Hebrews 2:14-15 explains to us that Jesus came into this world to identify with us  and then offer His shed blood as a sacrifice for our sins so that He could deliver us from the power of Satan and free us from the fear of death that holds each of us in bondage all our lives.  Deny it if you wish, but there’s not a person on this earth in his natural, unconverted state who does not fear facing death.   What a wonderful thing it is to know Christ as our Lord and Saviour and experience  freedom from the fear of death!  What a joy it is to be able to look forward with  glad anticipation to leaving these sin-cursed bodies one day and living forever in new glorified, sinless bodies with Christ! 

 

It’s not that death has become our friend.  Death is still our enemy.  But Christ, through His own death and resurrection,  has conquered death for us. We can scorn death with Paul in I Corinthians 15:55-57 “O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the Law.  But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Fear God!

 

Throughout the Bible fear is expressed as a negative emotion or cloud that Christians need not live under.  Over and over again  the Bible encourages us to “Fear not!”   On the other hand,  the fear of God is a positive emotion to be chosen and sought after. The greater our fear of God,  the less we will fear men and circumstances.  In fact Proverbs 1:7 teaches,  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and understanding.”

 

The natural unconverted man has no fear of God.  Romans 3:10-18 describes such a person and concludes with  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”    Every man in his saner moments knows there is a God.  He knows he must live somewhere forever.  He knows God exists and that someday he will have to answer to Him.  Only a fool would ignore God and reject the salvation He offers freely to every sinner.  Psalm 14:1 “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. (or No God for me!}”

 

Respectful reverence

 

For the Christian, the fear of God is not a dread of God.  Through faith in Christ, we enter God’s family and He  becomes our loving Heavenly Father. John 1:12   The fear we have of God is like the respectful fear a child has for his father or mother. Because he knows they love him and he loves them,  he does not want to disobey or dishonor them;  but please them.

 

Fear is a sin

 

The reason we sin and dishonor God is because we do not fear Him  Because we do not fear Him, we live in fear.  Fear is a sin.  Revelation 21:8 describes those who will one day  be cast into the Lake of Fire and among them are the fearful.

 

Fear paralyzes us from doing what we ought to do. 

Those who live in fear, live in torment. I John 4:18  

Fear brings bondage.  Romans 8:15 

The  fear of man snares us. Proverbs 29:25  

When we fear the future, we show a lack of faith in God.  

Over and over again the Bible commands us to fear not.  So when we fear we show our disobedience to God.

 

The choice we must make

 

The fear of God is a choice we must make.  Proverbs 29:1  It involves turning away from known sin in our lives.  The one who claims to be a Christian, but continues to live in direct disobedience to God is only deceiving himself.   Such a person is not aware that God is angry with him.  Psalm 7:11  “God is angry with the wicked every day.”   

 

 Jonathan Edwards, the famous Puritan preacher described the perilous position of a sinner as being caught in a spider web hanging over the fires of Hell.  Our only hope is Christ.  God is watching and waiting to save those who recognizing  their lost condition,  tremble at His Word.  Isaiah 66:1-2

 

The moment we receive Christ, we are immediately delivered from tormenting fear.  John says in I John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not make perfect in love.”  Although the Christian continues to have a reverential fear of God,  his life is not governed by fear.  Instead, we have a loving relationship with God.  We know He loves us and we live for Him and serve Him because we love Him.

December 29, 2010 Posted by | Fear | Comments Off on Freedom from Fear

Wonderful

Seven hundred years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Prophet Isaiah  in Isaiah 9:6-7 gave an amazing prophecy concerning Jesus’  birth, giving five names that would identify and describe Him.

1. Wonderful

2. Counselor

3. Mighty God

4. Everlasting Father

5. Prince of Peace.

In this Christmas series on the five names of Jesus, we will examine each of these names.

Before we discuss these names, I want to take you back to a prophecy of Jesus’ birth in Isaiah 7:14.  Years before this prophecy was given,  the ten northern tribes of Israel, sometimes identified collectively as Ephraim, which was one of those tribes; was warring against the two southern Tribes of Israel: Benjamin and Judah,  known collectively as Judah. 

The prophecy was given to King Ahaz of Judah who was fearful and discouraged because Israel was coming to war against him.  Follow along with me in your Bible  at Isaiah 7:1.  Ahaz was being attacked by a confederation of two kings:  Pekah of Israel and  Rezin, King of Syria. Note that in spite of their superior size and power, they were not able to prevail against Judah.

Verse 2 tells us that The King of Judah, the tribe of the house of David, was moved in fear as the branches of  trees are moved by a wind storm.

In verse 3-9  God commanded His prophet, Isaiah, to comfort and encourage the fearful king of Judah to not fear for in a few short years, Israel would be conquered and scattered and dispersed. That took place in 721 BC when Israel was scattered by the Assyrians throughout the world.  Today they are still scattered after 2700 years; although some since 1948 have returned to their Homeland of Palestine.   One day all of them will be regathered back to Palestine again, but that’s another exciting story you can read about in my series on PROPHECY on this web site.

A WONDERFUL PROPHECY

In Isaiah 7:10-14 God offers to give King Ahaz a sign that would comfort and encourage him that God was with him.  Basically, God was offering him any sign he wished in the heavens or on earth.  Ahaz refused to accept a sign from God. Perhaps he thought that would be presumptuous, but actually he was showing unbelief in God.  So God gave him and the people of Judah a special sign, whether they wanted it or not.  That sign was that in the fullness of time, God would cause a young virgin woman who had never known a man sexually to supernaturally conceive and bear a son, whose name would be IMMANUEL, which means GOD  WITH US.  For more on this amazing prophecy, I encourage you to go to the link JESUS on this web site and scroll to The Virgin Birth and read of the amazing fulfillment of this prophecy and the meaning of it.

Then in Isaiah 9:1-7 Isaiah tells us more about this coming Messiah, who would be identified by five names: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. 

Let’s consider now the first name, 

WONDERFUL.

This world and this universe is wonderful!  None but a fool can stand at the rim of The Grand Canyon and not be moved by our wonderful God.  None but a fool can peer into the universe from powerful telescopes or from a space capsule in outer space or from the peaks of the world’s highest mountains and be unmoved by our Almighty God and Creator of this earth and universe.

None but a fool can witness the birth of a baby and look into the eyes of that infant and not be moved to worship and adore God who brought that infant human being into this world.  Psalm 139 states that “we are fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Yes, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, but only God is Wonderful!

WE’RE HERO WORSHIPPERS

We are prone to focus on the wonders of men themselves.  We glory in their wonderful scientific discoveries and inventions. We think on the genius of man himself as  painter, musician, architect, builder, scientist, inventor, actor or outstanding statesman and stateswoman.  We dwell on the genius of their inventions and discoveries and on their works of art, but Samuel Morse who invented the telegraph had it right when he sent over the wires his first telegraph from Washington to Baltimore, “What hath God wrought!”

We think of some of the great spiritual giants of the past: Abraham, Moses, David,  Elijah and the Apostles, such as Peter, James John and Paul; or the men of the Reformation, such as Luther, Huss, and Wycliffe.   We glory in some of the missionary giants such as David Livingston, Hudson Taylor or William Carey.  Some of us glory in the church leaders of this generation who have built great churches and great radio and television ministries and we call them great.  Mankind is so prone to hero worship.  Even Christians fall into this trap.  

But no man or woman is worthy of that name WONDERFUL. All pale into insignificance when contrasted with our Wonderful Lord Jesus Christ. creator of the universe, the only begotten Son of God,  our Saviour and our God.

JESUS, AS THE WORLD SEES HIM

 

To the ungodly there is nothing wonderful about Jesus.   They see Him simply as an ancient misguided prophet/teacher who though He accumulated some followers, ended up making people angry and killing Him.

To the world the word wonderful is reserved for music super-stars, movie stars and sport’s heroes. We reserve the word for fun-filled, exciting experiences.  We are the center of our existence.  Anything that makes us feel good is wonderful.   We talk about having a wonderful time. For the average person, life is boring. You see it in the blankness and emptiness of the lost.  Only fun and  entertainment  and worldy success gives any meaning to life,  To the worlding life stripped of fun and entertainment is totally boring and  empty.  The average person lives for Fridays,  vacations and retirement.    What a sad, empty waste of a life!

TO THE CHRISTIAN, JESUS IS TRULY WONDERFUL!

 

His creation is wonderful!  As we stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon we are aware of His greatness and awesomeness and we think of Ephesians 3:17-21

At Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park we are made aware of God’s faithfulness to us and we think of Lamentations 3:21-23 and Hebrews 13:8.

At Niagara Falls we are made aware of His awesome power as spoken of in Ephesians 3:20-21

The Appalachian and Rocky Mountains remind us of Jesus’ eternality and majesty as spoken of in Psalm 90:1-2.

The oceans speak of His  might and sovereignty.  Psalm 104:5-9

Rivers, lakes, forests and fields speak of His abundant provision.

The rainbow speaks of His faithfulness and graciousness, God’s promise that He would never again send a worldwide flood.  Genesis 9:11-17, Lamentations 3:21-23

The Heaven’s speak of His infinite glory, Psalm 19

As we look into the face of a new born baby, we are reminded of God’s loving-kindness as we read of it in Psalm 139.

In Church we Christians sing of Jesus as our beloved Saviour and Friend.  “I am His and He is Mine”.  In the second stanza of that song we sing,

“Heaven above is softer blue,

Earth around is sweeter green,

Something lives in every hue,

Christless eyes have never seen.”

EVERYTHING ABOUT JESUS IS WONDERFUL!

 

His wonderful birth.  Luke 1:3-35

His wonderful life.  Matthew 21:14-15

His wonderful death for our sins. In Mathew 27:54 read the amazing words of the Roman Centurion who oversaw His execution on the cross.

His wonderful resurrection is recorded in John 20.

His wonderful return for His own is found in  I Thessalonians 4:13-18

His later return to this earth with His Church in great glory to reign.

II Thessalonians 1:7-10  and Revelation 1:7

SECRETS ABOUT OUR  WONDERFUL JESUS THAT OUGHT TO CAUSE US TO FALL DOWN IN WORSHIP BEFORE HIM.

 

1.  We share in His wonderful supernatural birth in our own supernatural new birth. John 1:12

2. We share in His wonderful death to our sinful self natures.  We die with Him. Romans 6:4-6

3. We share in His wonderful resurrection life that springs from our daily crucifixion with Him.  Galatians 2:20

4. And we will one day share in His bodily resurrection when Christ calls to catch us up to Heaven in what we call the rapture of the Church.

I Corinthians 15

May God thrill you with the wonder of knowing and being personally related to Jesus Christ now and forever through the new birth!

 

 

December 25, 2010 Posted by | Christmas Series | Comments Off on Wonderful

Counselor

This Christmas season we are considering the names of Jesus, prophesied in Isaiah 9:6.  The first was WONDERFUL, which you can read in the previous article.

In this message we see Jesus as our Wonderful, Wise Counselor.  He carries the government of our lives on His wise, powerful shoulders. Nothing is too hard for Him.  Christ is our wisdom as well as our salvation, according to I Corinthians 1:30.  Though anyone can dig knowledge out of a book, or through experience; only a Christian can discover true wisdom from Christ and His Word, the Bible, we learn in Proverbs 1:7  and 2:1-6.

If you’ve not yet read the first article in this series, entitled  WONDERFUL, read that first to gain an historical perspective to this series.  It deals with a confederacy of nations coming against Judah and how King Ahaz of Judah was encouraged.  Note further in Isaiah 8 some warnings God gives to Judah concerning her enemies, warning that we can take to heart when faced with spiritual warfare.

BEWARE OF SATAN AND HIS OWN!

Don’t associate and compromise with God’s enemies when attempting to serve God.  Isaiah 8:9, Psalm 1,  II Corinthians 6:14-18, For more on this warning go to category SEPARATION. 

Don’t give ear to the enemy of God and His Word. If you’re listening to preachers who never warn of sin and the need for trusting in the shed blood of Christ for salvation, they are false teachers. Don’t listen to them or you will absorb their poison and be led away from the Truth and ultimately destroyed. Isaiah 8:9

Don’t attempt to fight against God’s enemies, or you will be destroyed. Isaiah 8:9  God is well able to take care of His enemies.   Basically we should simply mark or recognize them and warn others of them and avoid them according to Romans 16:17.

Don’t waste your time listening to them and taking counsel with them.

Isaiah 8:10-11.

Don’t be impressed with nor fear their seeming majority. Isaiah 8:12. Remember, you and God make a majority in any situation. Romans 8:31

Separate yourself unto God.  Let Him be your fear; not the confederacy. Isaiah  8:13

Don’t listen to nor read those whose messages do not square with the Bible. Isaiah 8:19-20   Amos 7:7-8 speaks about God’s Word being our plumb line by which we judge whether what we’re hearing or reading is straight.

To ignore these warnings is to soon find ourselves in spiritual darkness.

Isaiah 8:22.

 

 

Beware of those who compromise the Word. They will also defile the true worship of Christ.

Beware of those who disobey Christ’s Great Commission by substituting social action and political correctness for preaching the Gospel. Caring for the physical needs of the sick and the needy is good if followed up with caring for the spiritual needs as well.

Concern yourself with being separated unto God. He will strengthen and uphold you. Revelation 18:4,  II Corinthians 6:14-18  

NEVERTHELESS

 

That word, nevertheless in Isaiah 9:1 contrasts the fear and confusion described in Isaiah 7-8 with the assurance of victory prophesied and promised in  chapter 9.   God’s eternal plan for Israel and then for His Church was carried out in His first coming when Jesus came into the world as a Suffering Servant to die and rise again for our sins  and will be concluded in His second coming when He returns as conquering King.

According to I Peter  1:10-11, the Old Testament  prophets who wrote these prophecies by inspiration of God did not always understand what they were writing; but they searched their writings diligently to try to understand them.

What was God’s plan for this world? According to Isaiah 9 Jesus came as the Light to this dark world.  Israel rejected that Light at His first coming, but they are going to welcome and receive that Light and freedom from the yoke of oppression  at His second coming.

Thank God that even in the noise and confusion  and insanity of our present political and economic world, we Christians enjoy that joy and light and freedom from the yoke of sins’ oppression now through knowing Jesus, the Light of the world.

That joy and peace and prosperity will extend worldwide when Jesus, our Wonderful Counsellor returns to reign over the world. Isaiah 11 and 35 describe that millennial reign of Christ in beautiful detail.  It’s the same Millennium described in Revelation 20 when Christ reigns for 1000 years on this earth. That glad day is coming. 

WHO IS THE COUNSELOR?

 

Christ is our wonderful counselor.  We as Biblically literate counselors have the privilege and responsibility to give wise counsel to those in need.

A wonderful counselor is first of all one who knows Christ and is constantly reading and meditating in the Bible. It is his meditation day and night. His mind is saturated with it.

A wonderful counselor is one who advises others Biblically, and helps them think through their problems and arrive at Christ centered decisions and actions.  

A wonderful counselor is one who directs others to discover Biblical solutions to their problems from God’s Word.

A wonderful counselor is one who warns others of  the dangers of seeking counsel from the ungodly and apart from God’s Word.  The very first Psalm warns of this.

QUALITIES OF A GOOD COUNSELOR

 

1. People seek counsel from those they know and trust.  Jesus is that perfect counselor. John 10:14

2. People turn for counsel to those who obviously know them and love them unconditionally enough to tell them the truth.  Perfect love casts out fear according to I John  4:18. Such counselors are not fearful of being vulnerable, open and honest. James 5:16 Jesus loved the people to whom He ministered and they knew it.  That’s why He was always invited into the lives of people. They knew He would accept them as they were.

3. But this vulnerability and open love sometimes backfires and those who should be appreciative are often the ones to backstab and attack the very ones who are trying to help them.  But this is no reason to quit serving God  and ministering to people.  Jesus experienced that and continued serving, even to offering up His life on the cross.

Paul served and suffered at the hands of those he served also, according to II Corinthians 12:14-15.

4. People turn for help to those whom they have grown to respect,

Parents, teachers and pastor cannot force respect. It must be earned over time as we live consistent lives before others.

Parents must require little ones to obey immediately without complaint or whining or crying.   If it is done in fairness and in love,  it will result in life-long respect of the children for their parents.

But if children grow up observing hypocrisy and duplicity and rebellion in their parents, they lose respect.  Then the parents have lost the battle.  They have forfeited the respect of their children.  The chances of children coming to such parents for counsel are nil.

Note also that Jesus had the respect of His enemies, the Pharisees and Sadducees though they hated Him, according to Matthew 22:16. Why was that?  Because Proverbs 16:7 teaches us that when a man’s ways please the Lord, God makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Pilate, though a coward and fearful of the people and losing his political position with Rome, nevertheless, had a profound respect and admiration  for Jesus.  That is obvious in his trial of Jesus. 

5. People turn for counsel to those who understand them and have walked in their shoes.  Jesus has walked in our shoes, according to  Hebrews 4:14-16.   Furthermore Jesus is meek and lowly. Matthew 11:28-30. Many otherwise, well trained counselors fail simply because they fail to be meek and lowly in their dealings with others.  My most effective teachers throughout my life were meek and lowly.

6. People turn for counsel to those they trust.  Proverbs 25:19   Can you keep confidences? Have you ever noticed in John 4 that Jesus kept the confidence of the Samaritan woman.  He did not discuss her sins with the disciples when they returned from Samaria.

7. People who desire God’s wisdom turn to those counselors who evidence God’s wisdom in their own lives.

8. People who seriously want to know God will turn to counselors who evidence a personal knowledge of God.

We must be ready and willing  and available  to help anyone in their time of need.

9. We must be approachable.

If you are seeking counsel for your own problems,  don’t waste your time and money on counselors who do not know God and whose counsel is not based on the Bible.  No matter what their education, they have little or nothing of value to share with you.

Don’t trust the counsel of this world. They are not to be trusted. Psalm 1:1

Isaiah 30:1-3   Rather, trust the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6. Seek wisdom and counsel from His Word.  Psalm 119:24

At this Christmas season, remember Jesus, not only as the Babe in the Manger, but as your ever present, ever ready counselor to help you in your time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16.

December 24, 2010 Posted by | Christmas Series | Comments Off on Counselor

Mighty God

To think of Jesus only as a baby in a manger affects me sentimentally. To think of Him as a great teacher affects me intellectually. But to think of Him as the Mighty God affects me morally. To think of Him as any less than the Mighty God is to make Christmas simply a meaningless, secular holiday. 

Are you convinced that Jesus is truly the Mighty God who created the universe and holds it together by His power, or is He simply another ancient prophet who established just another religion?

You  had better settle that question once for all. If he is a mere man we need not take anything He said seriously. He is of no more value than an other ancient religious leaders.  If He is God, as He claims to be,  then His every word is vital to our eternal welfare.  We had  better take His claims and commands seriously.

THE PROPHECIES AND CLAIMS OF HIS DEITY

 

Not only is the Old Testament filled with prophesies and types of Jesus as God, the Gospels are written, especially the  Gospel of John, to convince us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  Note the claims of Jesus’ deity in the entire Gospel of John.

Further claims of Jesus’ deity are found in  Philippians 2:5-11, Colossians 1:13-20, 2:9-10,  Hebrews 1:1-3,  Revelation 1:8,18.

What a mystery!  God, in the person of a tiny baby,  needed the care of His mother. He needed to be fed, changed, bathed and cuddled. Imagine, God the creator of the universe, totally dependent on His mother.

HIS ATTRIBUTES REVEAL HIS DEITY

 

His eternality  John 1, Hebrews 1,  Revelation 1

His holiness  Luke 1:35

His omnipotence  Isaiah 40:1-11

His omniscience   John 1:45-49, 2:24-25

His omnipresence  Matthew 18:20, 28:20

His immutability  (His unchangeableness)  Hebrews 13:8

His love for us in dying for our sins.  John 3:16  Romans 5:8

HIS WORKS REVEAL HIS DEITY

 

 His creation. John 1:1-14

His preservation of all. Colossians 1:16

His redemption. Titus 2:13-14

His bodily resurrection Rom. 1:4

His power to raise the dead.  John 11

His judgment  John 5:22-23

THE ONLY RIGHT RESPONSE TO HIS DEITY

 

Receive Him as God and Saviour.  John 1:3,12,  Colossians 1:16

Worship Him now and forever.  Revelation 5:11-14,  Hebrews 1:6,

As the angels  Hebrews 1:6,

As Mary  Luke 1:47-48

As the shepherds  Luke 2:16-20

As the wise men  Matthew 2:11

As Simeon and Anna in the temple.  Lk. 2:25-29, 36-38

Live a life of surrender and obedience to Him.  Romans 12, John 20:26-29

Be involved in obedience to His Great Commission.  Matthew 29=8:19-20,

Acts 1:7-8,

Have you received Him as your God and Saviour? John 1:12

Have you unconditionally surrendered your life to Him?  Rom. 12:1-2

Are you growing in the knowledge of God through studying His Word and

attending a church where God’s Word is preached without compromise?

Is Christ your life, your purpose and your strength?  Philippians 1:21, 4:13

It’s only as you know Jesus as the Mighty God of creation that  you can know Him as your Saviour.

December 23, 2010 Posted by | Christmas Series | Comments Off on Mighty God

Everlasting Father

Is Jesus really the Everlasting Father, as Isaiah 9:6 announces He is?  Is He not the Son of God? Follow along and I will try to untangle this mystery. Again, I warn you to test everything you read or hear about God by the Bible.  Those who ignore this will be led into false doctrine.

We’ve noted in previous studies in this Christmas series that Jesus is named and described as WONDERFUL.  He’s wonderful beyond any man  or anything in this world.

We’ve also noted Him as COUNSELOR.  Nothing is too hard for Him. We receive wise counsel from Him as we read and listen to His Word, the Bible.  Any counsel that ignores the Bible could be of Satan. Beware of receiving counsel from anyone who denies, twists or  ignores the Bible.

In the previous message, we noted Jesus as The MIGHTY GOD.

He is the Elohim of the Bible. That Hebrew name used over 2500 times in the Bible speaks of His strength and preeminence.  

He is the Jehovah of the Bible.  That name speaks of His relationship with His people. 

He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end or all things.  

He is the I AM of both the Old and New Testament.  You find that name in Exodus 3:14  and again in John 8:58 where Jesus makes that claim.

He is the Lamb of God, announced by John the Baptist at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, but in God’s foreknowledge He  is  the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world, as we learn in Revelation 13:8

We come now to a huge thought.  He is not only the Son of God, but He is the Everlasting Father, Isaiah 9:6 announces. How can that be?  That is the topic of study before us.

What we DO  know is that Jesus is the Son of God. God announces His coming Son in Psalm 2:4-7  In Daniel 3:25 Jesus is seen as the Son of God in the fiery furnace with the three Hebrew young men, Shadrack, Meschach and Abednego.   The angel Gabriel also announces the baby Jesus, whom the virgin Mary would bear, as The Son of God.  The Father announced Him publicly as His Son as His baptism by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:17  and again at His transfiguration in Matthew 17:5.

THE WORK OF THE SON

 

God the Father turned His whole idea of a  creation over to His eternal Son, Jesus.

1. The Son created this universe, including the earth.  That is clearly taught in John 1,  Colossians 1,  Hebrews 1 and Revelation 1 and 4.

2. When man sinned and brought God’s curse on himself,  God the Son, knowing it from before the foundation of the earth, planned and carried out redemption by the grace of God and through the shedding of blood and the death of Jesus and through His bodily resurrection.

3. The third work of the Son is to reign over the world during the Millennium as King of Kings and Lord or Lords.  That is described in Revelation 20 and it is prophesied in Isaiah 11, and 35  and in Zechariah, as well as other prophecies scattered throughout the Old Testament.

4. The fourth work of the Son is to judge Christians at the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ.  II Corinthians 5:9-10 

5. The fifth work of the Son at the end of the Millennium is to  condemn the lost Christ rejecters to The Lake of Fire.  Revelation 20:11-15

6. The sixth and final work of the Son is to take His Bride, His blood-bought Church to His Heavenly Home He has prepared for us.  John 14:1-6 and Revelation 21:9

THE AMAZING TRUTH WHICH FOLLOWS THE WORK OF CHRIST

 

Let me begin by reminding you that one of the names of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6 is  Everlasting Father.  How can the Son of God also be the Everlasting Father?    Never forget that Jesus IS GOD!   It was not that God was not wiling to suffer and die for us, so He sent His Son instead.  Not at all!  Rather the Everlasting Father came down in the person of His Son to suffer and die for our sins and then rise again the third day.

What did Jesus say in John10:30? “I and my Father are ONE.”

What did Jesus say in John 14:8-9 When Philip requested  ” Lord, show us the Father and we’ll be satisfied.”  Jesus answered, ” He that has seen me has seen the Father.”

When the work of Christ is completed: His creating, redeeming, reigning, judging the saints, condemning the lost, and taking His Bride to be with Himself forever: when that is accomplished; the Trinity will not necessarily cease to exist, but the Trinity will have accomplished God’s purpose.

Turn to I Corinthians 15:24-28 and learn what happens next.  After we are caught up to be with Christ,  “Then cometh the end, when He, Jesus, shall have delivered up the Kingdom of God, even the Father, when He shall put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He  has put all enemies under His feet.”  That is, He reigns to the end of the events in Revelation 20.  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Now read carefully verse 28  “And when all things shall b subdued under Him, JESUS,  then shall the Son also be subject unto Him (the Father)  who put all things under Him ( The Son) that God may be all in all!

Is there a Trinity throughout eternity?  I believe so.  However, Christ has accomplished His purpose in creating, redeeming, and judging. The Holy Spirit’s work of convicting and teaching and helping to conform us to Christ is complete.  The Son continues to have His eternal Bride, His Church; but now  He is totally submitted and one with The Everlasting Father, that as far as we are concerned, God is all in all to us. Christ is our Heavenly Bridegroom and He is our everlasting Father throughout eternity.

I am not dogmatic about this. It’s just that until I have fresh light on the matter, I am satisfied to rest in this truth that in Heaven  Jesus will not only be our Heavenly Bridegroom.  He will be one with the Everlasting Father that God may be all in all.

December 21, 2010 Posted by | Christmas Series | Comments Off on Everlasting Father

Prince of Peace

In this message, we conclude our study of the names or titles of Christ as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6-7 by considering His final title in this passage, Prince of Peace.

 

WHY IS THERE WAR AND HATRED TODAY?

 

Why does peace evade mankind? Why is he in constant turmoil and filled with hatred?  The answer to those questions is sin.  When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden by listening to Satan and disobeying God, they brought the consequences of sin upon themselves and the entire human race.  Recorded in Genesis 3:15,  God declared war on Satan and on those who follow him. 

 

This sad, sin-sick, Satan-dominated world in rebellion to God  has cried out for peace ever since the Fall of man into sin in the Garden of Eden.

 

Cain killed His brother Abel.  Human history is a record of  wars and blood shed.  Much of religion is a history of so-called “holy wars.”   The persecution and murder of Christians worldwide is perhaps as great today as it has been throughout history. The ultimate cause of hatred and war is unregenerate man’s hatred towards God.

 

Isaiah 57:20-21 states clearly and dogmatically that there is no peace to the wicked.  Those who refuse the salvation Christ offers us through His blood sacrifice, forfeit peace. They will never have true peaceful hearts, no matter how much they spend on going to  the world’s counselors.

 

Into this dark, sinful world of  hatred and strife came Jesus, the Prince of Peace.  Jesus holds out His nail-pierced hands to sinful man and as Colossians 1:20 describes it,  offers him peace through the blood of His cross.  That peace with God only comes to those who receive Christ and are justified  by faith, according to Romans 5:1.   As a result of justification, we not only have peace with God,  but we also have the peace of God.  Philippians 4:7 promises us that we have the peace of God which passeth all understanding, keeping or guarding our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

 

THE ONLY ANSWER TO THE  WORLD’S MESS

 

One day Christ will return to this world as a conquering king and destroy Satan and all those who follow him and bring in the truly Great Society which the world’s politicians vainly seek.  That final victory over Satan and sin is described in Revelation 21:1-4. The events of this chapter take place at the end of Christ’s Millennium.

 

But first, comes the Millennium itself which I have dealt with in our series under the category, PROPHECY on this HIDDEN TREASURES web site.   This thousand year reign of  Jesus on this earth is described throughout much of the Bible.  Three outstanding passages that describe it in detail are Micah 4 and Isaiah 11 and  35. Revelation 20 shows where the Millennium fits into human history. It follows the Great Tribulation described in Revelations 6-19 and it precedes the eternal state described in Revelation 21-22.  During this times, Jesus will return from Heaven to reign over this earth from Jerusalem.  Faithful Christians who have suffered for their identification with Christ in this present age, will reign with Him under His direction, according to II Timothy 2:12. 

 

THE CHRISTIAN’S RESPONSIBILITY TODAY

 

The Church has only one great responsibility, and that is the fulfillment of Christ’s Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, disciple converts and establish  churches.

 

The Christian’s responsibility is NOT

 

1.  To alter the Gospel to try to create a false peace with the world by giving them an inoffensive, guilt-free message that appears to make Christianity more palatable and attractive to them.

 

2. The Church is not  to judge this evil world by making resolutions and pronouncements against the world to try to Christianize a world that hates Christ and His godly standards of righteousness.  It is not our primary responsibility to try to abolish social evils, such as slavery and abortion.   The Apostle Paul, who is the model for every preacher,  did not get actively involved in fighting social evils.  Read the short, one chapter epistle addressed to Philemon.  There Paul won a run-a-way slave, Onesimus, to the Lord and then taught him to return to his master and  be a good faithful servant.  Then he wrote the epistle to Philemon, the Christian slave master and taught him how to treat his slave, now saved,  as a brother in Christ.

 

Is slavery evil?  Of course it is!

 

But the Christian solution to this evil is not to fight the system in place, but to win people to Christ. When Christians understand that they are brothers in Christ, God deals with regenerated hearts and the slavery issue disappears peacefully as Christians start treating one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. 

 

The same goes for employer/employee issues.  Labor unions are not the answer.  They only cause more friction, antagonism and hatred as employers and employees each try to get the best of each other. This results in forcing employers to continually pay higher and higher wages, raising the cost of goods and services and ultimately driving business from our nation to those nations who hire slave labor to do the same job.   On the other hand, when employers and employees become Christians, employers become kind and considerate and treat their employees as family  and employees have a desire to  give of their best to their employers, as they would to Christ Himself.

 

When Jesus Himself  dealt with the adulteress Samaritan woman in John 4,

He did not condemn her for her adultery; rather He dealt with her respectfully and kindly about the men in her life, but concentrated on her need for the living water of salvation.  She identified with that thirst and eagerly listened to Jesus as He presented her with the living water of salvation.  She immediately went to the city of Samaria that day and told her friends about Jesus.  As a result of her changed life and her testimony concrning Jesus,  many Samaritans came to faith in Christ.  

 

3. The Great Commission is not for the Church to concentrate their resources and effort on feeding and clothing the poor of this world.  Rather, the concentration of our effort must be on preaching the Gospel.  That Great Commission was given by Jesus just before He returned to Heaven after His bodily resurrection. It is found in  Matthew 29:18-20, Mark 16:15-16,  Luke  24:46-49 and Act 1:7-8.  It clearly deals with a heart need to be right with God.

 

Of course, as missionaries see medical,  material and physical needs first hand, we should do what we can financially to help them meet those needs for medical care,  for fresh, clean water,  for educating people to read and better themselves.  But these are all secondary needs.  The primary need is for people to hear the Gospel and come to Christ for salvation and then teach them how to reach their own people with the Gospel. 

 

So the concentration of our financial support to foreign missions must be on helping missionaries reach the lost with the Gospel, as well as disciple those who come to Christ and teach them how to win others to Christ.

 

IS THE GOVERNMENT OF YOUR LIFE ON JESUS’ SHOULDERS?

 

As Isaiah 9:6 promises, one day the government of world will be on Jesus’ shoulders. That is, Jesus will bear the full responsibility of  godly government and world peace.

 

In the meantime, we who claim to know and love Christ as Christians must  surrender ourselves to Christ our Lord and King and allow Him to bear the government of our lives on His shoulders. You’ve asked Jesus to be your Saviour. Have you surrendered to Him as your Lord?  Only then will you truly know the Prince of Peace in your life.

December 20, 2010 Posted by | Christmas Series | Comments Off on Prince of Peace

Art and Music Defined

As a piano player and a lover of a wide variety of music all my life including: classical and semi-classical music, hymns, operas and oratorios written over the past four hundred years,  Gospel songs, negro spirituals, orchestral music, band marches and  easy-listening; I’ve done a lot of thinking about music in recent years.  Recently I awoke one morning with the following definition of art and music brewing in my mind.

As the natural beauty and grandeur of creation  is the expression and work of God and His gift to mankind to bring glory to Himself and to enrich, and ennoble and bring enjoyment through our eyes to our souls;  so  music can bring glory to God and enrich and ennoble and bring enjoyment through our ears to our souls.

Christian music includes scripturally-based lyrics (but not necessarily in the language of Scripture itself) that are well married and well fitted to  an infinite variety of  pleasurable, memorable and well-organized patterns of melodies that spring from Holy Spirit filled hearts, according to Ephesians 5:18-19 and Colossians 3:18; melodies enriched with beautifying harmonies and carried along with various rhythms that ennoble and bring us enjoyment and edification.

I believe that all so-called Christian music that fails to measure up to this standard or that is sung or performed by those whose hearts are not right with God;  is mere dissonance, ugliness and irritating noise, as God hears it according to  Amos 5:23. and not worthy to be called music, much less, Christian music.

December 11, 2010 Posted by | MUSIC | Comments Off on Art and Music Defined

Change and Decay

One of the most difficult things about growing old is sensing the ever increasing speed of change all around us.

I see it in the technical field. Back in the mid 60’s when I realized that nearly all the Christian songs I loved were being removed from being played on Christian radio stations,  I bought at deep discounts, (for they wanted to get rid of them as being out of style)  a large quantity of my favorite hymns and songs of testimony  on 33rpm records hoping to enjoy them all my life. Records get scratchy over the years and  record players grow old and fail. Now try to find a record player in the electronic stores.  

I once, just for the fun of it, asked a young lady clerk in one of these stores if  she had any Victrolas for sale.  You should have seen the look in her eyes as she looked at me as an alien from another world.  

Over the years I have accumulated family VCR tapes to play and enjoy in old age.  The tapes fall apart and become difficult and then impossible to play.  The audio tapes I have accumulated over the years are becoming obsolete.  New tape recorders are about impossible to find.

But more vexing than technical change is the moral fog that is closing in on Christians as I see what used to be evil  now considered good. Their faulty response is, “We are being freed from legalism.”  Check Paul’s warning of legalism in Galatians and you will find it was the false attempt to be saved through law-keeping and  self-righteousness.   Paul not only dealt with legalism; but he also  dealt very clearly and sharply with carnality and worldiness in the lives of Christians.

Abide With Me, written in 1847,  is one of those old hymns I’ve known all my life; but never thought about  very much.

What the hymn writer wrote.  I  understand  better now than at any time in my life.

____________________

Abide with me, fast falls the even tide:

The darkness deepens, (the moral darkness of this wicked world system)

Lord with me abide;

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

____________________

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;

Earth’s joys grow dim,  its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see:

O Thou who changes not, abide with me.

____________________

I need Thy presence ev’ry passing hour;

What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?

Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?

Thro’ cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.

____________________

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;

Shine thro’ the gloom, and point me to the skies;

Heav’n morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee:

In life and death,  Lord, abide with me!

December 10, 2010 Posted by | Change | Comments Off on Change and Decay

Purpose of Life

The Westminster Shorter Catechism’s first question and answer is:  “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” 

This chief end (or purpose of man) does not start when we die. For every Christian it ought to start now. 

Instead of glorifying and enjoying God, the chief end of many Christians is to enjoy the perverted entertainment and life-style that this Satan-controlled world system offers,   and then when they die enjoy God forever. Such a life is a contradiction and  does not glorify God.

December 1, 2010 Posted by | Purpose of LIfe | Comments Off on Purpose of Life