September 17, 2017
Jonah was from Gath, located just north of Nazareth, close to Cana and about 2 miles from Sepphoris. His ministry was during the reign of Jeroboam II (793-753 B.C.) which places him just after Joel and before Amos. His audience was in the ancient city Nineveh and the theme of his book is repentance.
During the time of Jeroboam II Israel was quiet, peaceful. It was also prosperous but not in a good way, meaning it became financially prosperous but spiritually bankrupt. Idolatry was common. Morality was weak. The background can be found in 2 Kings 14.
2 Kings 14:23-25
“Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, began to rule over Israel in the fifteenth year of King Amaziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria forty-one years. 24 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. 25 Jeroboam II recovered the territories of Israel between Lebo-hamath and the Dead Sea, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had promised through Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath-hepher.”
Nineveh was the capital of Assyria; it is modern-day Mosul, Iraq. Nineveh was founded by Nimrod, the great grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:1-12). Nimrod was also the founder of babel, modern day Babylon and the site of the beginning of false religions.
Why did God send His servant to a pagan land with a message of repentance? To let Israel see that a pagan city can hear the word of the Lord from a foreigner and respond. Israel had been rejecting prophets God had raised up from their own and now pagans are going to hear the same message and respond!
Jonah Runs from the Lord Jonah 1:1-17
“The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”
Jonah’s name means “dove”. His father’s name means “truthful, loyal”. Jonah is the first prophet to go to a Gentile nation to bring God’s message of judgment and repentance.
Why would God do this?
- To bring His message to Gentiles
- To show the contrast in how God’s word is received by Gentiles and how it has been rejected by Israel
- To show Israel God’s original intent; they were to be a blessing to other nations.
The capital city of Nineveh (modern day Mosul) has its roots going back to Nimrod (Genesis 10). It was 500 miles north of Israel on the Tigris River. During the time of Jonah, it had a population of approximately 600,000 and had land miles of about 60 square miles. The people of Nineveh worshipped the gods Assur and Ishtar. They were considered to be “wicked” people. The people of Nineveh responded to Jonah’s message but a hundred years later, during the time of Nahum, Nineveh was conquered by king Nebuchadnezzar in 612 B.C.
“3 But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.”
Tarshish was a merchant city 2,500 miles from Israel located in southern Spain. Spain was thought of as the end of the world. The apostle Paul desired to get to Spain because he wanted to take the gospel to the ends of the world. In Jonah’s case he was desiring to run from God as far as he possibly could, which in his day was Spain. By the prophet telling us where he was headed, how far he was going to go, in the opposite direction, reveals how desperate he was NOT to bring God’s word to Nineveh.
Why didn’t Jonah want to go to Nineveh?
1.) He knew God so well that he knew if the people of Nineveh received God’s word, God would respond and show mercy
2.) The nation of Assyria and the city of Nineveh were so evil; obviously Jonah did NOT believe these evil hearts deserved the opportunity to receive God’s mercy.
“4 But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. 5 Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. 6 So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.” 7 Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit. 8 “Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?” 9 Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” 10 The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the Lord. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. 11 And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?” 12 “Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.” 13 Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.” 15 Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! 16 The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.”
The storm and the wind, much like the one that came against the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, are sent by God. When God sends a storm it’s for a purpose!
What was the purpose of this storm?
Sailors are accustomed to storms and rough weather, but even they were afraid of the power behind this storm. God has everyone’s attention!
Notice the contrast; the sailors “shouted to their gods for help” and Jonah slept.
The sailors, desperate to find an answer, cast lots believing that God is in control of the outcome. Casting lots was a practice acceptable in Israel.
God gave the sailors an answer. The reason for the fierce storm was Jonah. God knew that. Jonah knew that and now everyone on the ship knew that.
- “Who are you?”
- “What is your line of work? “
- “What country are you from?”
- “What is your nationality?”
I am a Hebrew and I worship the God of heaven…
- “Oh, why did you do it?”
- “What should we do to you to stop this storm?”
What does Jonah tell them to do?
- “Throw me into the sea,”
Jonah was willing to die RATHER THAN go to Nineveh!
The sailors did not want to throw Jonah to his death, again look at the contrast here. These sailors had more concern for the welfare of one man than the prophet did for the nation of 600,000!
“17Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.”
This is the verse that most people learn and remember about Jonah. He was swallowed up by a whale. The verse does not say a whale; it says a great fish, however one can understand the fish was of great size.
The great fish is mentioned 4 times in this book.
The city of Nineveh is mentioned 10 times .
The prophet is mentioned by name 21 times in this book.
God is mentioned 40 times – so who is this book about?
A fish? A prophet? Or God!
As I said Jonah and the fish is what most people remember when in fact what the theme of Jonah is the message of repentance. The people of Nineveh will hear God’s word, they will respond to it by repenting and that becomes the theme and point of this book. It is a message every believer needs to hear and understand. It was the message ancient and modern Israel needed to and needs to hear!
September 10, 2017
Obadiah’s name means “servant of the Lord”. A servant just like John the Baptist was, who proclaimed “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30)
This is the shortest book in the Old Testament and is not quoted in the New Testament. So why do we have this minor prophet book? Remember, the “minor” prophets corporately make up a large section of Scripture. Together the minor prophets have more chapters than the book of Isaiah. We know very little about Obadiah as a person. What’s important about this book is its message, “The Day of the Lord”.
“Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You shall be greatly despised.
3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ 4 Though you ascend as high as the eagle, And though you set your nest among the stars, From there I will bring you down,” says the Lord.”
Obadiah was sent to minister to the Edomites. The Edomites lived in modern day Jordan. Like the Moabites and Ammonites, the Edomites were also cousins of the Jews tracing their heritage back to Esau, Jacob’s brother (Genesis 36). The city of Teman was named for Esau’s grandson.
Why the Edomites?
The Edomites capital was a city called Petra.
Petra was and is hidden in the crater of a volcano with only one way in – a narrow mountain pass. In a few places that mountain pass was only 12 feet wide.
It would take only 20 men to defend the city because they could stand on the cliffs above and there was only 1 way in they could defeat any enemy who tried to attack. Because of this Petra was known as the safest city on the earth.
Because of this the Edomites became extremely proud and arrogant.
Just as Isaiah, Micah, Nahum and Habakkuk, the prophet Obadiah received a vision from the Lord. Like those other prophets the vision was recorded and shared.
It was given for the benefit of the people NOT for the benefit of the prophet.
“If thieves came to you, if plunderers came by night—
how you have been destroyed!— would they not steal only enough for themselves? If grape gatherers came to you, would they not leave gleanings?
6 How Esau has been pillaged, his treasures sought out!”
The Lord is saying
- Because of your pride
- Because you think you are untouchable
- Because of how you have treated Israel
“Every last one of your treasures will be taken”
Petra was re-discovered in the 1800’s. Its buildings are carved into the rocks.
When rediscovered its building were fine HOWEVER… They were empty!
Nothing, not a single artifact was found. Petra had a population of over 1 million people – Where did all the stuff go??? Obadiah’s prophecy was completely fulfilled.
This is IMPORTANT – because Obadiah is filled with prophecy – much that is still yet to happen.
Verses 5-16 explain further exactly what Edom had done.
It was the Edomites who tried to conquer the land of Israel in the days of Judges (Judges 11).
The Edomites in turn tried to get revenge during the days of King Solomon (1 Kings 11:14-11).
When Jerusalem fell to Babylon all Edom rejoiced.
2 Chronicles 21 gives the background
This section lists the charges against Edom…
- You stood aside on the day that strangers carried off his wealth, and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem; you too were like one of them.
- You should not have gloated over your brother on the day of his misfortune
- You should not have rejoiced over the people of Judah on the day of their ruin
- You should not have boasted on the day of distress
- You should not have entered the gate of my people on the day of their calamity
- You should not have joined in the gloating over Judah’s disaster on the day of his calamity
- You should not have looted his goods on the day of his calamity
- You should not have stood at the crossings to cut off his fugitives
- You should not have handed over his survivors on the day of distress
“15 For the day of the Lord is near against all the nations.”
The future the prophet sees is the millennium time when Jesus, the Messiah established His millennium kingdom.
Israel’s Final Triumph Verses 17-21
Israel’s Final Triumph Verses 17-21
“17 But on Mount Zion there shall be those that escape, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall take possession of those who dispossessed them. 18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire, the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble; they shall burn them and consume them, and there shall be no survivor of the house of Esau; for the Lord has spoken. 19 Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau, and those of the Shephelah the land of the Philistines; they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria, and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. 20 The exiles of the Israelites who are in Halah shall possess Phoenicia as far as Zarephath; and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad shall possess the towns of the Negeb. 21 Those who have been saved shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.”
The house of Jacob = The Jews
The house of Esau = The Arabs
There will be no survivors from the house of Esau = Hamas, Hezbollah
People from the Negev = Israel
Mountains of Esau = is modern day Jordan
The land of the Philistines = is modern day Gaza
The fields of Ephraim and Samaria = is the modern day West Bank
Gilead = is the modern day East bank of Jordan River
According to Scripture … there is a day coming when modern day Israel will possess the land of the west bank, Gaza, and Jordan.
Adding this prophecy to Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38, Isaiah, Joel, and Zechariah one gets a picture of Israel prospering and once again being victorious. A time the world has not seen since King David and Solomon (1,000 B.C.)
Verse 18 paints a vivid picture:
The house of Jacob will be a fire
and the house of Joseph a flame;
the house of Esau will be stubble,
and they will set it on fire and consume it.
There will be no survivors
from the house of Esau.”
The house of Jacob and the house of Joseph are Jews which is modern day Israel. It seems there will be an attack on Israel (a fire, a flame) however Israel (God’s chosen) will prevail to the point that “There will be no survivors from the house of Esau.” (House of Esau are modern day Arabs such as Hezbollah and Hamas)
The day of the LORD is near!
September 3, 2017
At The Top of Carmel
Fire can be either a blessing or a burden. It can either warm you or burn you.
There is a reason that FIRE is a theme often found in Scripture.
No prophet spoke of fire more than Amos.
Now that we have reached the last chapter let’s ask the question,
“What is Amos’ message?”
A Key to Bible Interpretation: A key component of interpreting Scripture is to
find a primary passage. It is too easy to take an isolated verse from here or a small phrase from there and form an interpretation. False teachers do this. They then say “The Bible says…”
So…What is a primary passage in Amos?
Obviously he has been dealing with Israel and their future. (Judgment has been a theme but it’s not the primary subject)
Here’s what we have to ask… What is Israel’s future? Does Israel even have a future? To answer this, the primary passage is Romans chapters 9, 10 and 11.
They deal with Israel’s past, present and future.
In the modern day evangelical church too many are taught that Israel has no future.
They are taught that the church has replaced Israel, meaning the promises and the blessings God promised Israel have been lost because they rejected their Messiah, Jesus.
It is a common teaching that those promises now ONLY apply to the church.
Another teaching is that Israel and the church are equals. Meaning devout Jews who practice Judaism will all end up in heaven.
The primary passages of Romans clearly show that Israel and the church are not equal but distinct.
Romans explains that
- There is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
- That all things work together for good for those who love him
- Nothing shall separate us from the love of God
- That all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
- That yet while we were still sinners Christ died for us
- If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead YOU WILL BE SAVED
THIS is the path to salvation – Jesus!
Here’s the problem – What do you do with the Jews?
In Romans 9 Paul deals brilliantly with this.
He explains God’s past dealing with Israel, revealing God’s sovereignty.
- Israel was adopted by God
- They actually saw the visible presence of God both in a pillar of fire by night and in a cloud by day and when the Glory of God filled the holy temple.
- They were given the Law
- They received unique blessings
In Romans 10 Paul deals with God’s present dealing with Israel revealing God’s direct involvement and explains the Law simply served to point people to the coming Messiah… Jesus.
In Romans 10 Jesus is revealed as the Savior but He is rejected by the Jews.
The message of Jesus as Messiah was entrusted to the Jews but they did not receive it.
In Romans 11 Paul deals with God’s promises to Israel, revealing that God will fulfill what He promised.
The olive tree is a symbol of Israel. Paul explains that the natural branches may have bene broken off but the root remained.
The Gentiles were grafted in as branches.
Paul explains the natural branches will be grafted in again (Romans 11:23-24) because God is NOT through with Israel. If the wild branches are bearing fruit, which Gentiles are…can you imagine how fruitful the natural branches will be when they are grafted back in?
The day is coming when Israel will experience REVIVAL like no other nation ever has! (Romans 11:26)
Amos ends his book by going back to the promise God made with David
In 2 Samuel 7 – God promises David that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) would come from the line of David and the tribe of Judah and would establish a kingdom that would last forever.
WHY do you think he ends the book with this?
This promise will be fulfilled when Jesus returns and reigns from Jerusalem.
The promise that David’s “house,” “kingdom,” and “throne” will be established “forever” is significant because it shows that the Messiah will come from the line of David and that He will establish an eternal kingdom from which He will reign.
The word “house,” promises a dynasty in the line of David.
“Kingdom,” refers to a people who are governed by a king.
“Throne,” emphasizes the authority of the king’s rule.
“Forever” emphasizes the eternal.
What is Amos’ message?
THAT is Amos’ message!
“I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said: Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake, and shatter them on the heads of all the people; and those who are left I will kill with the sword; not one of them shall flee away, not one of them shall escape.”
The 5th and final vision of this last section is that of the fallen and destroyed temple.
This is not the temple in Jerusalem; this is the altar at Bethel and any structure that was over it.
Amos sees the Lord Himself standing next to this altar commanding its destruction. The pillars are to be taken down causing the whole structure to collapse and killing all inside. Anyone who was outside or not killed by the falling structure would be put to death with the sword.
“2 Though they dig into Sheol, from there shall my hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down. 3 Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search out and take them; and though they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the sea- serpent, and it shall bite them. 4 And though they go into captivity in front of their enemies, there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them; and I will fix my eyes on them for harm and not for good.”
Though desperate to escape none will. Not on the highest mountain or in the deepest sea will any be able to hide from God.
“5 The Lord, God of hosts, he who touches the earth and it melts, and all who live in it mourn, and all of it rises like the Nile, and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt; 6 who builds his upper chambers in the heavens, and founds his vault upon the earth; who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out upon the surface of the earth— the Lord is his name. 7 Are you not like the Ethiopians to me, O people of Israel? says the Lord. Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir? 8 The eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth —except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, says the Lord. 9 For lo, I will command, and shake the house of Israel among all the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall to the ground. 10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, “Evil shall not overtake or meet us.”
Israel made gods in their own image. God is not a god made in man’s image! He is the Lord of hosts or the Lord Almighty!
Israel has responded to God in the same manner as pagans such as the Egyptians and Philistines. They will reap the same wrath as the pagans however their destruction will not be full. There will be a remnant from the house of Jacob. The covenant God made with Abraham will be honored and fulfilled.
The Restoration of David’s Kingdom Amos 9:11-15
“11 On that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen, and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; 12 in order that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name, says the Lord who does this. 13 The time is surely coming, says the Lord, when the one who plows shall overtake the one who reaps, and the treader of grapes the one who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. 14 I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 I will plant them upon their land, and they shall never again be plucked up out of the land that I have given them, says the Lord your God.”
There will be a millennium. In that millennium, from Jerusalem, Jesus will reign. Amos speaks of that day. David’s dynasty will continue on, not Jeroboam’s.
The promise is that Israel will once again be planted and never pulled from her land again.
August 27, 2017
The Time is Ripe
“Feast” and “Famine” suggest an excess or a shortage of something.
The expression actually began as “ Feast and fast” but in early 1730s, the “fast” changed to “famine”.
Famines can be devastating. Some of the world’s greatest famines were:
26 BC Famine recorded throughout Judea recorded by Josephus, 20,000 died
1064 AD 7 years’ famine in Egypt, 40,000 died
1460 Famine in Japan, 82,000 died
1097 Famine and plague in France, 100,000 died
1996 Famine in North Korea, 600,000 people died
1693-1694 Famine in France , 1.3 million died
1601-1603 One of the worst famines in all of Russian history; famine killed as many as 100,000 in Moscow ; 2 million died in total
1998-2004 Famine in Congo (Africa), 3.8 million people died
1959-1961 Famine in China , 15 million deaths.
In Amos’ day Israel was happy and content with their life and lifestyle.
But the real question is…
Was God content with their life and lifestyle?????
Vision # 4 – The Basket of Fruit Amos 8:1-14
Vision # 1 – Locust (Amos Prayed)
Vision # 2 – Fire (Amos Prayed)
Vision # 3 – Plumb Line – No Prayer
Vison # 4 – God uses fruit- something Amos is very familiar with.
Remember He is a shepherd and a fig farmer.
“This is what the Lord God showed me—a basket of summer fruit. 2 He said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me, “The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass them by. 3 The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,” says the Lord God; “the dead bodies shall be many, cast out in every place. Be silent!”
To explain spiritual truths God often uses common items such as seeds, pottery, yeast and here He uses fruit. Summer fruit is fruit which is ripe for eating. How does this transfer into spiritual truth? Israel is ripe for judgment.
Harvest time was a time of celebrating. This “harvest” would not be a time of celebrating but a time of wailing. Amos’ 4th vision was a vision of judgment. As with a harvest and the yielding of fruit, the time for Israel has come. A disobedient nation more focused on personal gain than righteousness is about to reap what it has been sowing.
How does Israel 760 B.C. COMPARE to America 2017????
ALMOST 2,800 YEARS APART
Other than time does anything else separate them???
Israel 760 B.C. was materialistic
Israel 760 B.C. kept God out of the public life
Israel 760 B.C. Highlighted alternative religion complete w/altars
Israel 760 B.C. was full of corruption (especially in leadership)
Israel 760 B.C. was full of deceitfulness
Israel 760 B.C. thought they were just fine – all was OK
“4 Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land,5 saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, 6 buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”
The people had become so materialistic.
They were completely caught up in business.
“Let’s get this worship service over so I can go and make money”
Israel had rebelled against God and had turned their back on the needy. On the days of the new moon and on the Sabbath, days on which now work was to be done, the greed of Israel’s heart is revealed as they are asking when this day of worship will be over so we can go about selling and making money?!
Worship was interfering with their lifestyle!
Verse 5 “practice deceit with false balances…”
Their “selling” was done with unrighteous scales (Deuteronomy 25:13-16). Greed and deceit is what filled their hearts, robbing the poor of what little they had.
The ones who could least afford to have things taken from them
were taken advantage of… they were being stolen from
Amos is preaching to an audience that couldn’t wait for the Sabbath to be over so
they could go back to their real passion: making money!
Worship was just a habit, an empty ritual, because in their
hearts they were plotting how to profit and in most cases in deceitful ways, cheating their customers with short weights and measures.
How do we know their worship was empty ???
Look at their hearts and lifestyle.
So the Lord said since they had no “appetite” for hearing the
word of the Lord (or heeding it), he would take it away.
There would be a famine of hearing the word.
Can you imagine!!!???
Think about this – think about our culture
- The marriage rate in the United States has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded.
- More than 40% of all babies were born to unmarried moms
- Support for Gay Marriage grows
- Public education is a complete mess. A study of millennials in 22 major industrialized nations
- Adding $128,424,657 to National debt PER HOUR
- The Number of Young Men Not Working Has Doubled in 15 Years
- The U.S. leads the world in illegal drug use (2008)
- Gang activity and violence – Chicago gangs to cops 10-1
Today we have the Bible on our bookshelves, on our laptops
and on our Ipads and smart phones.
But do we reach for it as often as we download apps or play our games?
Our life compared to a time of Jesus’ earthly life…
“Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations
She was operating out of a sense of duty rather than devotion.
What did Jesus say????
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Tension and frustration mount when we are performing the wrong tasks or trying to cram too many of the right activities into a given period.
A critical spirit develops.
Look at Martha’s response…
“Lord why don’t you make her help me, don’t you care?”
What is she saying?
I am doing the right thing and she is not!
The physical food we eat today will be gone quickly but the spiritual food Mary is taking in will remain in her heart.
“7 The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds. 8 Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who lives in it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt? 9 On that day, says the Lord God, I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight. 10 I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on all loins, and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son, and the end of it like a bitter day. 11 The time is surely coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. 12 They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it. 13 In that day the beautiful young women and the young men shall faint for thirst. 14 Those who swear by Ashimah of Samaria, and say, “As your god lives, O Dan,” and, “As the way of Beer-sheba lives”— they shall fall, and never rise again.”
Verse 11 “The time is surely coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.”
God responds to Israel’s greed and deceit with four word pictures:
Vs 8 – a great earthquake causing the Nile to rise
Vs 9 – darkness in day time
Vs 10- joyful feasts will become times of mourning
Vs 11- a famine, not of food but of God’s Word!
Because Israel did not repent of their sins, they were not forgiven. Vs 7 states, “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds”. For eight chapters Amos has been warning of God’s coming judgment on a people who treat their fellow countrymen with deceit and their God with disobedience. Temple worship was replaced with worship of golden calves at makeshift altars. Joy was replaced with lies.
What was the result of such a lifestyle? A coming famine of God’s word and judgment! When will this happen? When Assyria over takes the northern region and the ten northern tribes go into exile. In that day, man-made religion will not help. The strength of man will be useless. The false god of asherah will be useless.
When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness, after the first temptation He responded with a passage from Deuteronomy which said…
“One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”
Israel was about to go into a period of not hearing the word of God. Judah will follow. After the prophet Malachi, there will be a 400 year period of silence from God. No prophets will speak until John the Baptist proclaims “repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).
When spiritual truths lose their value this is a sign that something is wrong in your life. The path you are on is not the right path. What shall you do?
SEEK THE LORD!
August 20, 2017
A Plumb Line
“Never again.” Those words are almost always painful. They sound so final- as if there is no going back. No more chances. When “never again” is spoken, we know something has gone too far. Sometimes life goes on after “never again”, however, things are often never the same. “Never again” usually leaves a burden to bear, a sense of brokenness. “Never again” are difficult words to hear, we hear these words spoken from the Lord in Amos chapter 7.
Do you believe your prayers have the ability to change God’s mind?
Hold that thought….
This last section of Amos, chapters 7-9 has 5 visions of judgment.
- Locust (7:1-3)
- Fire (7:4-6)
- Plumb line (7:7-9)
- Basket of Fruit (8:1-14)
- Ruined Temple (9:1-10)
Locust, Fire, and a Plumb Line – Amos 7:1-16
Amos 7:1-3 – Vision # 1
“This is what the Lord God showed me: he was forming locusts at the time the latter growth began to sprout (it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings). 2 When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said, “O Lord God, forgive, I beg you! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” 3 The Lord relented concerning this; “It shall not be,” said the Lord.”
When the harvest comes in the king took from the first crop; the 2nd crop was for the people. This is what was going to be destroyed by the locust. This vision bothered Amos. So much so that he begged the Lord for mercy, not to bring this judgment. Much like Abraham, Moses and Samuel, Amos went before the Lord and pleaded. The focus of this intercession wasn’t the people’s repentance or sacrificing; the focus was completely on God’s grace.
Genesis 18:22-33 – (Abraham)
“So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26 And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.” 27 Abraham answered, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
Exodus 32:11-14 (Moses)
“But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14 And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.”
1 Samuel 12:22-25 (Samuel)
“For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. 23 Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. 24 Only fear the Lord, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”
Amos 7:4-6 – Vision # 2
“4 This is what the Lord God showed me: the Lord God was calling for a shower of fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. 5 Then I said, “O Lord God, cease, I beg you! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” 6 The Lord relented concerning this; “This also shall not be,” said the Lord God.”
The 2nd vision was one of fire, fire so servere it dried up the water. Back in Genesis God promised Noah that He would never again destroy the earth with water, the next time God’s great judgment comes, it will not be with water; it will be with fire. This vision Amos saw would have been a foretaste of what that final judgment will be like. However, once again this vision bothered Amos so deeply that he had to act. Once again he intercedes on behalf of Israel and begs God for His mercy.
Again I ask, do you believe your prayers have the ability to change God’s mind?
Maybe we won’t change God’s mind but it seems the faithful prayers which have the proper MOTIVES can change the course of action that God takes.
Instead of having fire dry up the water and burn the land, once again God relented and His grace was granted.
Amos 7:7-9 – Vison # 3
“7 This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. 8 And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by; 9 the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”
The 3rd vision, again one that deeply troubled the servant, was a vision of a plumb line, a carpenter’s tool to measure how straight a wall is. If a wall is too far off it would have to be taken down and rebuilt. The Lord is not measuring a wall but He is measuring Israel. How far off from His Laws has Israel come? Back in Genesis God gave Israel the choice to live anyway they wanted. If they obeyed God they would receive His blessing. If they went their own way and disobeyed God they would receive the fruit of that decision. The plumb line would very clearly show how far Israel had gone astray.
** Notice with this 3rd vision there is no prayer of intercession on Amos’ part. Why not? Because Amos understands that Israel deserves what is coming, to ask God for grace in this situation would only further and deepen Israel’s sin. They would not respond in repentance; they would continue in their idolatry.
Amos, knowing the answer to this, knew that the time for Israel to face the consequences of their choices had arrived. Genesis 28-30 was very clear. The only place Israel was to bring their sacrifices was to the temple in Jerusalem. The only God they were to worship was the Lord. When measured they were completely out of plumb and now the sword of judgment was about to fall.
Because Amos was true in preaching the truth, his message was not well received. With this 3rd vision Amos did not intercede. Israel had gone too far away from God’s word. As with much of a prophet’s message it was not heard and not heeded.
Amaziah Complains to the King Amos 7:10-17
“10 Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the very center of the house of Israel; the land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos has said, ‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land.’” 12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”
God said, “I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”
Amaziah the priest said about Amos, “Amos has conspired against you in the very center of the house of Israel”
See the difference?
Verses 10-11 is the priest’s report to the king
Verses 12-13 is Amaziah’s message to Amos
The priest enjoyed personal comfort and pleasure because he served the king in the king’s house. That life of comfort and pleasure was being threatened so the priest conspired to have the voice of God removed. Of course he as a priest had no power to do this so he must have the king make that decision. The king did not hear Amos’ message. The king heard the priest’s interpretation of God’s message. The king responded to what he was told. The wickedness of the priest’s heart is revealed when he called Amos a “seer” which means the message he is presenting is of his own not of God. On behalf of the king the priest tells Amos to “go home”.
“14 Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, 15 and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 “Now therefore hear the word of the Lord. You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’ 17 Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Your wife shall become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be parceled out by line; you yourself shall die in an unclean land, and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’”
As a man of God Amos does not “flee”. He stands his ground and firmly speaks God’s message. Because the priest has rejected God’s message and has misinformed the king, here is what lies ahead for the priest, his family and his nation…
- Amaziah will lose all his property
- He will go into exile and die in a foreign land
- His children will also be killed by the enemy’s sword
- Without husband and sons, his wife will be destitute and become a prostitute
- The entire nation of Israel will be captured and taken into exile
August 13, 2017
Woe to You
Woe… Wait WHY Woe?????
Woe means judgment. It entails grief, anguish and affliction.
In Matthew 23 Jesus spoke a series of “woes” against the Pharisees.
Why? They were harsh words but much was at stake.
Because when it comes to the Gospel, so much is at stake we cannot afford to be complacent.
Complacent – Webster’s Dictionary – “marked by self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies”
Pastor James Emery White has spent over 30 years in ministry. He was a Professor of Theology and Culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where he later became their 4th president. He said “One of the benefits of doing a fair amount of traveling and speaking is that you gain a sense of what plagues. “ “And it all starts with complacency in a leader”.
Five Marks of Complacency
- Far too easily satisfied. Do you often answer questions with the response “I don’t know”? Does that mean you do not know or you do not care?
- 2. You become quick to make excuses.
When you are complacent, you are quick to offer all kinds of reasons about why
- Never enough time.
When you are complacent … time is being filled, it is easy to dismiss using it in other ways. You tell yourself there simply isn’t enough of it. Then you keep spending it the way you always have
- No longer teachable.
When you are complacent, you resist being “pushed” or “challenged.” You may say that you surrender to God 80% of the time but realize 80% surrender is rebellion!
Jesus did not die on the Cross for your sin so that you can live in your sin.
- Content with early success.
The final mark of complacency is when you have had a measure of success and it is proving to be enough. You’ve stopped dreaming, which means you’ve stopped pushing.
We try to live as Christian as we can. Oftentimes we fail. The question is what do you do them. Do you quit or do you learn from the failure?
Haddon Robinson, who taught preaching at Dallas Seminary, Denver Seminary, and Gordon-Cromwell Seminary said;
“Education is not filling a pail with information,
its lighting a fire in the spirit of the learner”
Haddon Robinson Dallas, Denver, Gordon-Cromwell
“Alas for those who are at ease in Zion, and for those who feel secure on Mount Samaria, the notables of the first of the nations, to whom the house of Israel resorts! 2 Cross over to Calneh, and see; from there go to Hamath the great; then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms? Or is your territory greater than their territory, 3 O you that put far away the evil day, and bring near a reign of violence?”
This chapter opens with the warning of “alas” or “woe”. The woe is addressed to both Judah and Israel. The capital of Judah is Jerusalem (Zion). The capital of Israel is Samaria.
Once again, both capitals are given a warning. If large pagan cities such as Hamath (Syria) and Gath (Philistines) could not escape judgment, how can they? Syria and Gath had already fallen to the mighty Assyrian army. How or why would Israel think they would fare better?
“4 Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory, and lounge on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the stall; 5 who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David improvise on instruments of music; 6 who drink wine from bowls, and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! 7 Therefore they shall now be the first to go into exile, and the revelry of the loungers shall pass away. 8 The Lord God has sworn by himself (says the Lord, the God of hosts): I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds; and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.”
Woe to those who are complacent. Lifestyle does matter. Comfort is not bad, unless it is the only thing one pursues.
The definition of comfort is “freedom from constraint”. Do you find yourself always wanting to do things your way? Without restraints or restrictions? Be careful!
Living for pleasure is not the purpose of life; living for God’s glory is. Luxuries are highlighted here to expose the sin of irresponsibility. Excess is waste, whether it be in physical things or in personal resources. We all only have so much time. It does matter what we use that time for and how we use that time. The same is true for our resources. How and what our resources are used for matters.
- Sleeping on mats on the floor or sleeping in beds of ivory
- Eating meals of grain or eating meals of lamb and veal
- Sitting on chairs of stone or lounging on luxurious couches
- Drinking wine at will from bowls not cups
- Wearing expensive perfume
All while oppressing and exploiting the poor.
2 Timothy 3:4
“There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”
“9 If ten people remain in one house, they shall die. 10 And if a relative, one who burns the dead, shall take up the body to bring it out of the house, and shall say to someone in the innermost parts of the house, “Is anyone else with you?” the answer will come, “No.” Then the relative shall say, “Hush! We must not mention the name of the Lord.”
Those who have enjoyed idolatry. Those who have enjoyed blessing yet rejected helping those in need. Those who have lived lives of unrighteousness and have rejected righteousness. When judgment comes it will be so severe and so thorough that none of those will be exempt.
Survivors would not want to seek or speak the Lord’s name. Why? Because they are fearful.
Those who have not turned their hearts back to God are afraid of Him. The warnings have been ignored and now His judgment has come.
“11 See, the Lord commands, and the great house shall be shattered to bits, and the little house to pieces. 12 Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow the sea with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood— 13 you who rejoice in Lo-debar, who say, “Have we not by our own strength taken Karnaim for ourselves?” 14 Indeed, I am raising up against you a nation, O house of Israel, says the Lord, the God of hosts, and they shall oppress you from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi Arabah.”
With two rhetorical questions, “Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow the sea with oxen?” the sins of Israel are highlighted. In Amos’ day, King Jeroboam II gained some territory, however since that gain was done through corruption it will amount to nothing (lo-debar means “nothing”).
Things accomplished by human means and by human strength are temporary and fragile. Fortunes can be reversed or wiped out in a moment. What Israel thinks it has and what Israel thinks it has become is going to be temporary and will be destroyed and conquered.
“Hamath to the valley of Arabah” represent the northern and southern boundaries of Israel, established by King Jeroboam II.
2 Kings 14:23-25
“King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel began to reign in Samaria; he reigned forty-one years. 24 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin. 25 He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah…”
The entire nation of Israel, from its northern borders to its southern borders will be overrun and conquered. Assyria will be the vessel God uses to bring judgment against Israel.
August 6, 2017
Seek God and LIVE
A Lament for Israel’s Sin Amos 5:1-17
“Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel: 2 Fallen, no more to rise, is maiden Israel; forsaken on her land, with no one to raise her up. 3 For thus says the Lord God: The city that marched out a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which marched out a hundred shall have ten left. 4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: Seek me and live; 5 but do not seek Bethel, and do not enter into Gilgal or cross over to Beer-sheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into exile, and Bethel shall come to nothing. 6 Seek the Lord and live, or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire, and it will devour Bethel, with no one to quench it.”
Lamentations is a time of mourning. Because Israel has rejected God’s warning, their cities and the people in them will fall. This is a death, a death of a nation. Most living in northern Israel will die or be taken into captivity. Only a very small remnant will be left. Key cities such as Bethel, Gilgal and Beersheba which were all at one time key places of worship, will be overthrown. The house of Joseph refers to two of the largest northern tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph. The north will be conquered.
This is the third chapter opening with the words, “Hear this word…” From a practical standpoint one who heard Amos had to wonder why Amos was wailing. He had not suffered the death of a family member so what would he be suffering over? Were they willing to hear this word, “Seek me and live”?
“7 Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood, and bring righteousness to the ground! 8 The one who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name, 9 who makes destruction flash out against the strong, so that destruction comes upon the fortress.”
Wormwood is a bitter herb. That’s what Israel has made of justice. Justice has been perverted; it no longer represents what is righteous.
“the Pleiades and Orion” speaks of the heavens, the stars. Job uses the same language…
“who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; 8 who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the Sea; 9 who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south…”
Job uses these terms to describe the wisdom and the power of creation. Amos uses these terms in a negative sense saying that Israel worships the creation NOT the creator.
“10 They hate the one who reproves in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks the truth. 11 Therefore because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. 12 For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate. 13 Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time; for it is an evil time.”
Israel has turned blessings into curses. They have taken what God has entrusted to them and corrupted it. The place where justice was to be administrated, in the cities’ gates, has become the place where the leaders take bribes. Corruption and deceit has replaced justice and righteousness.
“14 Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said. 15 Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. 16 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord: In all the squares there shall be wailing; and in all the streets they shall say, “Alas! alas!” They shall call the farmers to mourning, and those skilled in lamentation, to wailing; 17 in all the vineyards there shall be wailing, for I will pass through the midst of you, says the Lord.”
Again Israel is given a warning, “Seek good and not evil…that you may live”.
In the days of Moses God passed over the Israelites, saving them from death. At the same time God passed through the Egyptians causing the death of the first born. Here Amos presents a picture that all of Israel should understand. The warning is that God will not pass over but He will pass through Israel. The warning is that if Israel does not repent and turn back to God, death is certain.
The Day of the Lord a Dark Day Amos 5:18-27
“18 Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you want the day of the Lord? It is darkness, not light; 19 as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake. 20 Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? 21 I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. 23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. 24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. 25 Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 26 You shall take up Sakkuth your king, and Kaiwan your star-god, your images, which you made for yourselves; 27 therefore I will take you into exile beyond Damascus, says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.”
Why would someone want the “Day of the Lord” to come? Only because they had an incorrect view of what that day held. It will not be a day of blessing, but a day of judgment. It will not be a day of vindication, but a day of reproof. This section opens with the warning of “alas” or “woe”.
To just show up for worship is useless. God takes no delight in the act. He desires the heart!
“Sakkuth and Kaiwan”, what is this? Sakkuth is the place of worship. Kaiwan is a god. Also known as molech which was the god of the Canaanites. Worship of this god included the full gamut of idolatry, everything from worshipping the stars to child sacrifice.
2 Kings 17:15-18
“They despised his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their ancestors, and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false; they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do as they did. 16 They rejected all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves cast images of two calves; they made a sacred pole, worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. 17 They made their sons and their daughters pass through fire; they used divination and augury; and they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight; none was left but the tribe of Judah alone.”
Israel had been warned …
“When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn to imitate the abhorrent practices of those nations. 10 No one shall be found among you who makes a son or daughter pass through fire, or who practices divination, or is a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts spells, or who consults ghosts or spirits, or who seeks oracles from the dead. 12 For whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord; it is because of such abhorrent practices that the Lord your God is driving them out before you. 13 You must remain completely loyal to the Lord your God. 14 Although these nations that you are about to dispossess do give heed to soothsayers and diviners, as for you, the Lord your God does not permit you to do so.”
Stephen speaks of this time in Acts 7:42-43
“At that time they made a calf, offered a sacrifice to the idol, and reveled in the works of their hands. 42 But God turned away from them and handed them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘Did you offer to me slain victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 43 No; you took along the tent of Moloch, and the star of your god Rephan, the images that you made to worship; so I will remove you beyond Babylon.”
July 30, 2017
When God Withholds
“Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on Mount Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to their husbands, “Bring something to drink!”
Maybe the women of Israel didn’t care about being called cows … but most women… well …
“Cows of Bashan” is a derogatory description of the women of Israel. Especially to the wives of the wealthy who enjoyed much luxury. Luxury means “excessive”.
They live their life selfishly, not lives devoted to serving God and helping the poor.
Amos again uses his background of farming and ranching. He calls these women “cows”. Like a cow being fattened up for slaughter, these women were living lives of corruption, gaining wealth at the expense of the poor and like a cow being prepared for slaughter, these women were being warned of the coming destruction.
“ 2 The Lord God has sworn by his holiness: The time is surely coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks.”
The Northern tribes will be taken captive. Amos warns that the Assyrians will “take you away with hooks”. This was a common practice of the Assyrians.
They would place hooks in the nose or lips of their prisoners and lead them away. As Amos prophesized this, we can look back 2,700 years later and see this happened just as God said it would.
Illustration of a King Blinding His Captives
This sketch is an archaeological discovery from the ruins of Ancient Assyria.
It reveals an Assyrian king blinding a captive king while holding his head still with a hook in his lips. The other kings are waiting for the same fate with bridles in their noses. (Isaiah 37:29, Ezekiel 38:1-4, 2 Kings 25:7)
“ 3 Through breaches in the wall you shall leave, each one straight ahead; and you shall be flung out into Harmon, says the Lord. 4 Come to Bethel—and transgress; to Gilgal—and multiply transgression; bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days; 5 bring a thank offering of leavened bread, and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them; for so you love to do, O people of Israel! says the Lord God.”
The Lord is once again warning them of the coming invasions.
The enemy will “breach the walls” meaning they will invade and be successful in overthrowing Israel.
The “sacrifices” Israel brought before the Lord were an abomination.
Bethel and Gilgal were once places that were sacred. At Bethel, Abraham built an altar to the Lord. Jacob built an altar to the Lord (Genesis 28:10-22). Gilgal is the place where Joshua led Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Before he did, all the males were circumcised and the Passover was observed. It was a time of recommitment to the Lord (Joshua 5).
Leviticus 7 explains the Thanksgiving or peace offering. It is given for various reasons, such as recovering from a serious illness. The key obviously is that it is to be given with a thankful heart. As for the sacrifice itself, it could be brought from cattle, sheep or goats of either gender or age. As with other “peace offerings”, part of the animal is burned on the altar. The part that is burned is the part given to God which is the fatty part of the animal such as the kidneys. The breast is the part given for the priests, and the rest is for the one presenting the offering. The cakes with leaven were not to be placed on the altar or to be part of the sacrifice; Leviticus 2 does not allow leaven to be presented to God. Then what are they for? They are to be given to the priest.
“This is the ritual of the sacrifice of the offering of well-being that one may offer to the Lord. 12 If you offer it for thanksgiving, you shall offer with the thank offering unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of choice flour well soaked in oil. 13 With your thanksgiving sacrifice of well-being you shall bring your offering with cakes of leavened bread. 14 From this you shall offer one cake from each offering, as a gift to the Lord; it shall belong to the priest who dashes the blood of the offering of well-being. 15 And the flesh of your thanksgiving sacrifice of well-being shall be eaten on the day it is offered; you shall not leave any of it until morning.”
“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind. 22 And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices, and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.”
Israel Rejects Correction – Amos 4:6-13
“6 I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me, says the Lord. 7 And I also withheld the rain from you when there were still three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would be rained upon, and the field on which it did not rain withered; 8 so two or three towns wandered to one town to drink water, and were not satisfied; yet you did not return to me, says the Lord. 9 I struck you with blight and mildew; I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards; the locust devoured your fig trees and your olive trees; yet you did not return to me, says the Lord. 10 I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword; I carried away your horses; and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me, says the Lord. 11 I overthrew some of you, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a brand snatched from the fire; yet you did not return to me, says the Lord.”
5 times in this section Amos uses the phrase, “yet you did not return to me”.
God had sent His message to return to Him. First He sent His word.
When Israel rejected His word, He then sent warning through
famine, drought, destruction of crops, plague, even military defeat.
Yet through all of this Israel refused to stop living in sin and return to the Lord.
“12 Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel! 13 For lo, the one who forms the mountains, creates the wind, reveals his thoughts to mortals, makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!”
“Therefore”, because Israel refused to turn back to God, they must prepare themselves to face God’s judgment. The God of creation, the One who created heaven and earth, the One who sustains the entire universe is the One who Israel will be held accountable to.
What more could God have done?
Yet the people of Israel were not responsive. It begs the question, 2,700 years later – are we prepared to acknowledge our sins and “return to the Lord”?
July 2, 2017
When Two Walk Together
Imagine a Court Scene:
You stand before the judge – your faith, which is your defense, is called into question…
Your God hating unbelieving co-worker is called as the witness against you.
Your God hating unbelieving neighbor is called as the witness against you.
The God hating unbeliever at the market you shop at is called as the witness against you.
After those God hating unbelieving witnesses have testified against you – HOW does your case look?
Last week I asked…
What is more important – our motives OR our conduct?
What we do or why we do it…
I hope you pondered that question because …
Amos’ words in the next couple of chapters CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
More importantly, if you hear and heed them, they can change the eternity destiny of unbelievers.
Amos begins chapters 3, 4 and 5 with the phrase “hear this word”.
He reminds his listeners that they are not hearing the words and warnings of a prophet, a man, but they are hearing the words of God.
It is the Lord sending this message, a message that needs to be heard!
Chapter 3 is a word against Israel. Chapter 4 is an accusation as Israel rejects correction. Chapter 5 is a lamentation for Israel’s sin.
Israel’s Guilt and Punishment Amos 3:1-15
“Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt: 2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
To have God speak to us is a special privilege as well as a great responsibility.
To “know” the Lord is a blessing, a blessing that requires the proper response.
“You only have I known of all the families of the earth…” This is a description of an intimate relationship. Israel has been blessed with a deeper understanding of God than any other nation. He has spoken to them. He has made covenants with them. Other nations know about God but Israel, from its beginning has had a deep personal relationship with the Lord.
In the New Testament we are told, John 15:16
“You did not choose me but I chose you.”
Just as Jesus chose us, God chose Israel.
Because God did, Israel has an obligation to respond to God’s choosing them.
- God protected Israel with the Passover blood.
- He delivered Israel out of bondage in Egypt.
- He parted the Red Sea allowing Israel to have safe passage to their new lives.
- The Lord has delivered YOU with the blood of Jesus.
- The Lord has delivered you out of bondage of the world.
- The Lord has provided for YOU safe passage to eternity .
“3 Do two walk together unless they have made an appointment? 4 Does a lion roar in the forest, when it has no prey? Does a young lion cry out from its den, if it has caught nothing? 5 Does a bird fall into a snare on the earth, when there is no trap for it? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing? 6 Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster befall a city, unless the Lord has done it? 7 Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. 8 The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?”
A series of 7 rhetorical questions confirms that nothing happens without God being in control.
What do these questions mean?
When God acts there should be no surprise.
Before He acts in judgment, He gives much warning.
The Lord has sent His prophet to Israel.
Israel can reject the prophet’s words, but they cannot claim that God’s voice has not been heard.
“Amaziah (the priest of Bethel) said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”
“9 Proclaim to the strongholds in Ashdod, and to the strongholds in the land of Egypt, and say, “Assemble yourselves on Mount Samaria, and see what great tumults are within it, and what oppressions are in its midst.” 10 They do not know how to do right, says the Lord, those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds. 11 Therefore thus says the Lord God: An adversary shall surround the land, and strip you of your defense; and your strongholds shall be plundered.”
When God’s prophets bring messages of pending judgment, it is not uncommon for them to call “witnesses” against those being judged.
Isaiah called heaven and earth as witnesses.
“Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me.”
Ashdod is the land of the Philistines.
Pagan nations such as Egypt and the Philistines are being called as witnesses against Israel. As God brings judgment against Israel, by allowing the Assyrians to come and conquer Israel, pagan nations will see firsthand what happens when God speaks and His words are not listened to.
They will be witnesses to see what happens when God commands and the people respond in disobedience.
What has Israel done? They “do not know how to do right…those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds”. The Law of Moses was clear that the widows and poor were to be cared for. Lust and greed kept Israel from fulfilling the Law of Moses.
“12 Thus says the Lord: As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of Israel who live in Samaria be rescued, with the corner of a couch and part of a bed. 13 Hear, and testify against the house of Jacob, says the Lord God, the God of hosts: 14 On the day I punish Israel for its transgressions, I will punish the altars of Bethel, and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground. 15 I will tear down the winter house as well as the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall come to an end, says the Lord.”
Amos was a shepherd. Here he uses his experience from the shepherd fields in a word picture to makes his point. Verse 12 is a graphic picture of a remnant.
That will be all that is left of Israel, a remnant.
Throughout world history God has always kept a remnant.
My DEEP concern is that the church today will soon be a remnant.
We go about our daily business AS IF all is well and …
Verse 13 is again a call to pagan nations to be witnesses against Israel. If Israel will not present a picture of God being honored and glorified, then He will show the pagan world who He is. Bethel was a place that Abraham and Jacob built altars to the Lord. In this day it had become a place of idol worship with altars of golden calves.
Paul had this Old Testament foundation when he ministered.
1 Corinthians 12:12-31 – Unity and Diversity in the Body
“12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body…”
God has brought us together for HIS GLORY.
June 25, 2017
This is What the Lord Says
What is more important – our motives OR our conduct?
What we do or why we do it…
Our founding fathers used a term – “sacrificing for our Duty”
More importantly, what Duty?
America is an amazing country – at its beginning it desperately needed men and woman willing to sacrifice for its interest.
As great as America is, how much more important is the Kingdom of God?
How much more important is our willingness to sacrifice for the Kingdom?
- Amos is a shepherd and a farmer
- He tends fig trees and sheep
- He is called by God to sacrifice for duty
The phrase “for three sins . . . even for four” is a common phrase in Amos, used 8 times. (1:3, 6, 9, 11,13;2:1,4, 6).
This phrase is how Amos communicates sin and judgment.
“Three sins” represents fullness or completeness;
“four” represents an overflow of sin.
“Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because he burned to lime the bones of the king of Edom. 2 So I will send a fire on Moab, and it shall devour the strongholds of Kerioth, and Moab shall die amid uproar, amid shouting and the sound of the trumpet; 3 I will cut off the ruler from its midst, and will kill all its officials with him, says the Lord.”
The next judgment comes against Moab.
Moab’s history goes back to Abraham’s nephew, Lot.
The history between Israel and Moab goes back to the book of Genesis.
One of the most well-known interactions is between the Lord, Balaam and his donkey…
“… saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 … Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. 4 ” Now Balak son (the) king of Moab at that time. 5 He sent messengers to Balaam … saying, “A people has come out of Egypt; they have spread over the face of the earth, and they have settled next to me. 6 Come now, curse this people for me, since they are stronger than I; perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land; for I know that whomever you bless is blessed, and whomever you curse is cursed.”
This act of cursing and control leads to the charge against Moab.
The Lord’s judgment comes against Moab because of its capturing of Edom’s king and burning his body and bones.
- Ammon was known for the killing of the unborn.
- Moab is known for the burning of one’s bones into lime.
Burned the bones: This is where vengeance doesn’t stop at death.
Burning a dead person’s bones … was considered a desecration. (Refusing a proper burial)
What is more disturbing – the King’s motives or the King’s conduct?
What he did or why he did it…
Judgment on Judah Amos 2:4-5
“4 Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they have rejected the law of the Lord, and have not kept his statutes, but they have been led astray by the same lies after which their ancestors walked.
5 So I will send a fire on Judah, and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.”
Now Amos turns from the pagan nations and to Israel. Judah is accused of three specific sins:
- rejecting God’s Law,
- not keeping God’s statutes,
What is the difference between God’s law and His statues?
Aren’t they the same?
“Law” – is the general Hebrew term and refers to the list of laws given by the Lord in the Books of Moses.
“Statutes/Commands” refers to a particular law such as those related to a festival like Passover or the Feast of Tabernacles.
Translation: Here is what we should do (Laws) and how we should do it (Statutes)
Judah’s sin is worse than those of Moab, because the law of God was delivered to Judah by direct revelation. God Himself told them – just like us.
How do you and I know what God has said, what he wants and what He doesn’t want… How do we know?
Those who don’t read the Bible do not have direct revelation.
SADLY…STUPIDLY…They are trusting their relationship (with God) to someone else’s view…opinion…etc .
Think about this.
Why do Christians,
people who spend time praying…
Live the way they do?
Judgment on Israel Amos 2:6-16
“6 Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals—
7 they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way; father and son go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned;
8 they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge; and in the house of their God they drink wine bought with fines they imposed.”
Summary: What did Israel do – Greed and Lust
ARE things any different in our culture today- NO
So the church MUST be different
For someone to take your sandals was cruel and unusual punishment. The needy were to be cared for, not abused.
Here Amos does list four sins:
- They sell the righteous for silver and sandals
- For the smallest amount of debt, people were sold into slavery
- Father and son abuse the same girl
- They abused the poor
They took the things away from the poor that were necessary for them to live. They did not need these things but they took them from the poor anyway.
- “They lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge”
Outer garments used to secure a loan, which were to be returned by night fall (Ex 22:25-27, Deut 24:12-13) and a widows garment which was not to be taken (Deut 24:17) They took these garments and used them in idolatry.
“9 Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of cedars, and who was as strong as oaks; I destroyed his fruit above, and his roots beneath. 10 Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. 11 And I raised up some of your children to be prophets and some of your youths to be nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel? says the Lord. But you made the nazirites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, saying, “You shall not prophesy.”
Here they are asking have you forgotten all of this?
Israel had forgotten what God had done for them.
Before Israel lived on the land, the Amorites did.
However God had given them victory over the Amorites.
To get them to the land God delivered them out of Egypt, provided and protected them while they wandered through the wilderness.
All of this God did for Israel.
God revealed Himself to Israel. He allowed some of their sons to become Nazarites. This was a voluntary vow to live a life dedicated to God and to holiness.
How did Israel respond to this? They killed the prophets and caused the ones committed to the Nazarene vow to stumble. They commanded the prophets not to prophesy.
ARE WE ANY DIFFERENT TODAY – WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
“ 13 So, I will press you down in your place, just as a cart presses down when it is full of sheaves. 14 Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not retain their strength, nor shall the mighty save their lives; 15 those who handle the bow shall not stand, and those who are swift of foot shall not save themselves, nor shall those who ride horses save their lives; 16 and those who are stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, says the Lord.”
Verse 13 states, “I will press you down in your place”.
HOW will God do this?
- the strong WILL NOT retain their strength
- the mighty WILL NOT save their lives
- those who handle the bow WILL NOT stand
- those who are swift of foot WILL NOT save themselves
- those who ride horses WILL NOT save their lives
All of these examples explain that no amount of human strength can keep God’s judgment from happening.
There is often a vast difference between what we want to hear and what we need to hear. We often need to be reminded of the mercies we have received.
June 18, 2017
The Lord Roars
Who was Amos?
Amos was a shepherd and from a small town of Tekoa about 10 miles south of Jerusalem just beyond Bethlehem.
Being from this region it is easy to see why he used such terminology as
- The roar of the lion and
- The howl of the jackal.
There were only about 50 years between the ministry of Elisha and Amos. Assyria had entered onto the world stage. As a super power Assyria used terror, violence and propaganda against any nation that tried to stand against them.
God sent Jonah to Assyria, Isaiah to Judah, and Amos to Israel.
Amos’ name means “burden-bearer” which is the message he carried to the north.
Amos was not a priest or a prophet. He was a farmer and rancher, a man who raised and tended sheep and took care of his fig trees (7:14).
Amos had 5 visions from the Lord beginning with the phrase:
This is what the Lord God showed me…” (7:1, 7:4, 7:7, 8:1, 9:1).
The themes of Amos are worship and justice.
The enemy of Amos’ time was not a foreign nation but internal corruption.
He speaks out against greed and materialism.
He speaks out and warns against religious hypocrisy.
- Greed blinds people to righteousness.
- Hypocrisy gives people a false sense of security.
“The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of King Uzziah of Judah and in the days of King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake.”
This first verse gives us a lot of background.
We are told the prophet’s name, his trade, his hometown, and the date of his calling.
To get Amos, one must understand other sections of Scripture. For example…
Then we are told about an earthquake. What earthquake?
Zechariah speaks of this and because of the timing many believe it was a result of King Uzziah’s sin.
“you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah.”
2 Chronicle 26:16-21
“But when he had become strong he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was false to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to make offering on the altar of incense. 17 But the priest Azariah went in after him, with eighty priests of the Lord who were men of valor; 18 they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to make offering to the Lord, but for the priests the descendants of Aaron, who are consecrated to make offering. Go out of the sanctuary; for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the Lord God.” 19 Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to make offering, and when he became angry with the priests a leprous disease broke out on his forehead, in the presence of the priests in the house of the Lord, by the altar of incense. 20 When the chief priest Azariah, and all the priests, looked at him, he was leprous in his forehead. They hurried him out, and he himself hurried to get out, because the Lord had struck him. 21 King Uzziah was leprous to the day of his death, and being leprous lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the Lord. His son Jotham was in charge of the palace of the king, governing the people of the land.”
DOING WHAT THE LORD SAYS NOT TO DO
HOW DOES THE LORD (not people) FEEL ABOUT IT?
“2 And he said: The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds wither, and the top of Carmel dries up. 3 Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing sledges of iron.”
Amos can be divided up into three sections.
The 1st part of Amos deals with judgments against Judah and Israel and their neighbors.
The prophet first deals with Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and then Judah and Israel.
The 2nd section is chapters 3-6 which deals with Israel and
the 3rd & last section, chapters 7-9 has Amos’ 5 visions and
deals with future restoration.
The judgments against Judah, Israel and their neighbors all begin with the phrase “Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions… I will not revoke the punishment”
We also see the phrase “and for four” which means their sins overflow.
The phrase “for three sins . . . even for four” is a common phrase in Amos (1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6).
This phrase is how Amos communicates sin and judgment. “Three sins” represents fullness or completeness; “four” represents an overflow of sin.
The phrase “for three sins . . . even for four” is not followed by listing 4 specific sins.
In fact, the typical pattern is to list one or two sins.
Therefore, the expression is not meant to imply a specific number of sins but to communicate that there is an excess of sin which lead to God’s judgment.
As a shepherd the prophet warns the nations that the Lord “roars” like a lion. His judgment is about to be poured out. Mt Carmel is an area of lush greenery. Carmel means “garden land” however when God brings his hand of correction upon Israel, Carmel will not be lush with green vegetation but will be dried up and barren. This is a picture of what is coming for the northern tribes.
The Lord’s charge against the Syrians deals with their invasion of Gilead and their taking of prisoners, including women and children, and treating them as one would handle grain on the threshing floor (2 Kings 8)
“4 So I will send a fire on the house of Hazael, and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad. 5 I will break the gate bars of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitants from the Valley of Aven, and the one who holds the scepter from Beth-eden; and the people of Aram shall go into exile to Kir, says the Lord.”
“And I will kindle a fire at the wall of Damascus, and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.”
Damascus is the capital of Syria and represents the entire nation. Hazael was the King of Syria (841-801 B.C.) (1 Kings 19:15). “ben” means son of…so “Ben-hadad” is the throne name of the son of the king (2 Kings 8:7). There were actually three kings named Benhadad. Jeremiah used the term as a general title for the kings of Damascus.
The “valley of Aven” means the valley of wickedness. Beth-eden which means “house of pleasure” was located near the Euphrates River in eastern Syria.
Kir is mention in 2 Kings 16:9
“the king of Assyria marched up against Damascus, and took it, carrying its people captive to Kir”
“6 Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they carried into exile entire communities, to hand them over to Edom. 7 So I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, fire that shall devour its strongholds. 8 I will cut off the inhabitants from Ashdod, and the one who holds the scepter from Ashkelon; I will turn my hand against Ekron, and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, says the Lord God.”
Gaza, situated between Israel and Egypt, was home to the Philistines. The Philistines were known as “sea people” because they came from various lands sailing the Mediterranean Sea and landing on the coast of Israel. They settled in five cities Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron and Gath. Gath isn’t mentioned here because it was destroyed by King Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:6).
The Philistines not only went to war with Israel but they also participated in the selling of captured enemies. The Philistines sold people to the Edomites who were tortuous people.
2 Chronicles 21:16-17
“The Lord aroused against Jehoram the anger of the Philistines and of the Arabs who are near the Ethiopians. 17 They came up against Judah, invaded it, and carried away all the possessions they found that belonged to the king’s house, along with his sons and his wives, so that no son was left to him except Jehoahaz, his youngest son.”
As the Philistines did to other nations, God’s judgment upon them was total destruction.
“9 Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they delivered entire communities over to Edom, and did not remember the covenant of kinship. 10 So I will send a fire on the wall of Tyre, fire that shall devour its strongholds.”
The next judgment comes against Tyre. Tyre was a coastal Phoenician city located on the Mediterranean Sea (it is modern day Lebanon).
What was “the covenant of kinship”? King Hiram helped build the temple in Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 5:11
“King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar trees, and carpenters and masons who built David a house.”
There wasn’t ever a war between Israel and Tyre. However Queen Jezebel was from there and brought baal worship from that region into Israel.
“11 Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because he pursued his brother with the sword and cast off all pity; he maintained his anger perpetually, and kept his wrath forever. 12 So I will send a fire on Teman, and it shall devour the strongholds of Bozrah.”
The next judgment comes against Edom, a city that has been mentioned in the previous verses. The Edomites came from the line of Esau (Genesis 36:9-14). Edom was an enemy of many people, but especially an enemy of Israel.
The Israelites came from the line of Jacob. Jacob and Esau were brothers but tension had been between the two siblings since birth (Genesis 25). This tension lasted all the way to the time of Jesus. Jesus was from the line of Jacob and King Herod was an Edomite from the line of Esau. King Herod tried to have the baby Jesus killed, but God safely sent Joseph and Mary with the baby Jesus to Egypt.
Teman was the grandson of Esau (Genesis 36); the town in Edom was named after him. Bozarath was also a town in northern Edom; it was a capital city. (The modern day nation of Jordan, in Scripture was divided into 3 sections: Ammon in the North, Moab in the center, and Edom in the south).
“13 Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of the Ammonites, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead in order to enlarge their territory. 14 So I will kindle a fire against the wall of Rabbah, fire that shall devour its strongholds, with shouting on the day of battle, with a storm on the day of the whirlwind; 15 then their king shall go into exile, he and his officials together, says the Lord.”
The next judgment comes against the Ammonites. Their history goes back to Lot…
“Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, so that we may preserve offspring through our father.” 33 So they made their father drink wine that night; and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she rose. 34 On the next day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Look, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, so that we may preserve offspring through our father.” 35 So they made their father drink wine that night also; and the younger rose, and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she rose. 36 Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son, and named him Moab; he is the ancestor of the Moabites to this day. 38 The younger also bore a son and named him Ben-ammi; he is the ancestor of the Ammonites to this day.”
The charge against the Ammonites is their attempt to control other nations by killing the newborn. Sadly this tactic was a common warfare tactic. Kill the young so they cannot produce or sustain a nation.
2 Kings 8:12
“Hazael asked, “Why does my lord weep?” He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel; you will set their fortresses on fire, you will kill their young men with the sword, dash in pieces their little ones, and rip up their pregnant women.”
2 Kings 15:16
“At that time Menahem sacked Tiphsah, all who were in it and its territory from Tirzah on; because they did not open it to him, he sacked it. He ripped open all the pregnant women in it.”
“Samaria shall bear her guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open.”
This may have been a common warfare tactic, but it did not escape the Lord. His judgment is about to fall on this evil practice and those who practiced it.
The punishment will come against the “wall of Rabbah”. Rabbah was the chief city of the Ammonites. It will be destroyed and its leaders will be taken off into captivity.
June 4, 2017
The Gathering of Nations
What is important to God?
Should that be important to YOU?
Joel chapter 3 reveals something that is important to God
“For then, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgment with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations. They have divided my land,3 and cast lots for my people, and traded boys for prostitutes, and sold girls for wine, and drunk it down.”
Joel proclaims that the restoration of Israel begins with the regathering of Israel.
In Scripture there are ONLY TWO regathering of Jews back to the Holy Land.
Do you realize the day in which we live?!!
Israel Population in 1960 was 2.1 million
Israel Population in 1970 was 3 million (This was 20% of Jews worldwide)
Israel Population in 2000 was 6.7 million (This was 36% of Jews worldwide)
Israel Population in 2017 is 8.7 million (This was is 54% of Jews worldwide)
(36% of Jews live in United States)
As Israel is regathered to the Holy Land as a homecoming, Gentile nations are gathered to Jerusalem for destruction, the Battle of Armageddon.
“On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. 4 On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. 5 Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.”
“I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake[a] in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.”
Verse 2 speaks of “the valley of Jehoshaphat”; Jehoshaphat means “Yahweh judges”.
This is an area located near Jerusalem (Ezekiel 38-39, Daniel 11:45, Zechariah 9:14).
This valley will be where God’s courtroom will bring judgment against these evil nations.
Verse 2 says, “They have divided my land,3 and cast lots for my people, and traded boys for prostitutes, and sold girls for wine…”
This was common practice of both the Phoenicians and Philistines. In the day of the Lord those nations and any other will be held accountable for their actions.
“4 What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will turn your deeds back upon your own heads swiftly and speedily. 5 For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. 6 You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, removing them far from their own border.7 But now I will rouse them to leave the places to which you have sold them, and I will turn your deeds back upon your own heads. 8 I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away; for the Lord has spoken.”
Judgment begins with the Phoenicians and the Philistines.
When God’s Spirit is poured out and His people call on His name, Gentile nations that had been a stumbling block in the past will no longer be a stumbling block between the Lord and His people.
Nations that had carried away God’s treasure from his temple only to use the silver and gold in pagan worship…these nations that had carried away God’s people to foreign lands…these nations that spilled the blood of God’s children – they received God’s judgment.
He asks them, “Are you paying me back” for how I judged you?
The Lord is turning His back upon these nations for what they had done to what is His. God is “restoring the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem”, meaning all that was His and all that was to be used to worship Him, will be brought back and used for its intended purpose.
Judgment in the Valley of Jehoshaphat Joel 3:9-16
“9 Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare war, stir up the warriors. Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up. 10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weakling say, “I am a warrior.”11 Come quickly, all you nations all around, gather yourselves there. Bring down your warriors, O Lord. 12 Let the nations rouse themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the neighboring nations. 13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine press is full. The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. 16 The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shake. But the Lord is a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.”
The picture of gathering the harvest is not used for agricultural purposes but for military.
God is calling all nations to the final battle. In truth, this will not be a “battle” but a bloodshed. God’s wrath will be poured out just before the return of Christ.
This will end the Tribulation period and begin the Millennium. It is the Millennium where Christ will reign from the Holy temple in Jerusalem.
The “sickle”, the “harvest”, and the “winepress” are described in graphic detail in Revelation 14.
“I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” 19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 20 They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.” (180 miles)
The Glorious Future of Judah Joel 3:17-21
“17 So you shall know that I, the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it. 18 In that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, the hills shall flow with milk, and all the stream beds of Judah shall flow with water; a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the Wadi Shittim. 19 Egypt shall become a desolation and Edom a desolate wilderness, because of the violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they have shed innocent blood. 20 But Judah shall be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem to all generations.21 I will avenge their blood, and I will not clear the guilty, for the Lord dwells in Zion.”
Ezekiel 40-48 gives great detail of the “millennium temple”. This is the time spoken of when Israel will be the center of the world.
From the time of creation God has repeatedly said that He is the only God. He is the only One to worship. Israel was to have no other god but the Lord. When this day comes we will have reached the point in world history where God’s initial intention for the people of the world to acknowledge Him and to worship Him will be fulfilled.
May 28, 2017
The Day of the Lord
“Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near— 2 a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come. 3 Fire devours in front of them, and behind them a flame burns. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, but after them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them.”
“Blow the trumpet”… “sound the alarm” As he did in the opening chapter, Joel opens this chapter with a double emphasis. Trumpets were sounded to call the people to a time of festival or to announce a time of warning. The sounding of the alarm was a time for paying attention.
What is the Day of the Lord?
- It’s a day of darkness
- It’s a day of gloom
- It’s a day of clouds
- It’s a day of thick darkness
The locust invasion is so thick it blots out the sun.
As devastating as this event is, it is only a warning of what’s to come.
The Day of God’s judgment will be a day unlike any other day.
Chapter 1 was a literal event, an invasion of locust that destroyed everything. Chapter 2 is an explanation that the locust devastation is just a warning, a wakeup call. Those who have ears, let them hear!
Locust invasions, plagues, earthquakes, famines… all warnings of the wrath to come.
Chapter 1 verse 2 asks a question about the past,
“Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your ancestors?”
Chapter 2 doesn’t look back – it looks forward…
“Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near”
This is such an important point that God used multiple prophets to proclaim this coming day…
“See, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the earth a desolation, and to destroy its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. 11 I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity…”
“Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you want the day of the Lord? It is darkness, not light; 19 as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake. 20 Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?”
“The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter, the warrior cries aloud there. 15 That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, 16 a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. 17 I will bring such distress upon people that they shall walk like the blind; because they have sinned against the Lord, their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.”
“Wail, “Alas for the day!” 3 For a day is near, the day of the Lord is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations.”
WHAT are all these prophets saying?
- The Day of the Lord is a time of judgment
- The Day of the Lord is still future
- The Day of the Lord will affect the whole earth
- The Day of the Lord will lead to the coming kingdom of Christ
“4 They have the appearance of horses, and like war-horses they charge. 5 As with the rumbling of chariots, they leap on the tops of the mountains, like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble, like a powerful army drawn up for battle. 6 Before them peoples are in anguish, all faces grow pale. 7 Like warriors they charge, like soldiers they scale the wall. Each keeps to its own course, they do not swerve from their paths. 8 They do not jostle one another, each keeps to its own track; they burst through the weapons and are not halted. 9 They leap upon the city, they run upon the walls; they climb up into the houses, they enter through the windows like a thief.”
Horses and chariots were used in times of battle.
The locust is described like an invading army.
When the enemy army invades, devastation follows.
“10 The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. 11 The Lord utters his voice at the head of his army; how vast is his host! Numberless are those who obey his command. Truly the day of the Lord is great; terrible indeed—who can endure it? 12 Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. 14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God?”
“Truly the day of the Lord is great” … “Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me”!
This sums up Joel’s message. REPENT.
In Vs 12, the Lord Himself speaks directly.
Vs 13 reveals the blessing of repentance:
God …is gracious and relents from punishing”
“15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16 gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy. 17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
This is a time when all are required to respond, from the oldest to the youngest.
No one was exempt. In the Old Testament the bride and groom are to have time off from everyday distractions to build the foundation of their marriage.
However, in this “day” even the bride and groom are to respond.
“If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.”
What is repentance?
It begins with confession.
Confession of what?
Confession of specific sin.
Not a general confession but specific confession for specific sin.
Why does that need to be the first step?
Because the next step is to be genuinely sorry.
One must have sorrow for their sin.
One can have regret but not sorrow.
Regret doesn’t lead to change. Sorrow does.
“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is his delight.”
“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart”
Once one has confessed their sin and truly is remorseful, then one is ready to change and that’s what repentance is all about. It’s turning away from something and turning to something else. It’s turning away from sin and turning to God!
Joel called out the elders, the drunkards, the farmers and the priests.
The priests are to lead by example. They are to …
- blow the trumpet
- sanctify a fast
- call a solemn assembly
- gather the people
- assemble the aged
- gather the children
These are all action steps.
People may not respond, but those who love the Lord are to be active.
Those who do not take action will be held accountable (see Ezekiel 33:2-6)
“18 Then the Lord became jealous for his land, and had pity on his people. 19 In response to his people the Lord said: I am sending you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a mockery among the nations.20 I will remove the northern army far from you, and drive it into a parched and desolate land, its front into the eastern sea, and its rear into the western sea; its stench and foul smell will rise up. Surely he has done great things! 21 Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! 22 Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield. 23 O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before. 24 The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25 I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent against you. 26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.”
After the prophet has firmly proclaimed the seriousness of the Day of the Lord, he then spends the rest of his book speaking of the future restoration.
Israel will be restored as a nation.
The people will be restored as a bride and the land will be restored and blessed.
Again Joel quotes the Lord as he speaks directly in 19-20.
God says He will bless Israel with grain, wine and oil, all needed for everyday life.
Verse 20 speaks about the northern army being removed.
Ezekiel 38 also spoke about an army someday coming from the north…
“You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. 16 You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.”
God will intervene and destroy that invading army.
The army will be driven into the eastern sea which is the Dead Sea and the western sea which is the Mediterranean Sea.
Joel reassures his audience…
- Do not fear, O soil
- Do not fear, you animals
- Children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God
The harvest will be abundant; the threshing floor will be full. God promises…
The blessing of the early rain which comes in March-May
And the blessing of the later rain which comes in October – December
In the desert, rain is always a blessing!
“27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame. God’s Spirit Poured Out 28 Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. 30 I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 32 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.”
Last week in chapter 1, verses 8-10 I asked why must Israel mourn and repent and seek God’s forgiveness?
What did she do?
The answer is here in verse 27.
She broke the 1st two commandments.
After Israel confesses and turns away from idolatry and turns back to the Lord, God says…
“You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.”
Verse 27 is key. God says He is “in the midst of Israel”. This is extremely important because during the time of Ezekiel the spirit of the Lord departed from Israel.
“Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 19 While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.”
“The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it.”
Verses 28 and 29 are quoted by Peter in Acts 2:17-21
God “pouring out my spirit on all flesh” is a New Testament fulfillment.
Not until Pentecost does this prophecy become fulfilled.
The 1st occurrence of the Holy Spirit coming upon a group of people is:
“So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.”
The first occurrence of the Spirit being on an individual is found in:
“Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find anyone else like this—one in whom is the spirit of God?” 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command”
The craftsman who built the Tabernacle had the Spirit of God on him.
“The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3 and I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft.”
Each time in the Old Testament the Holy Spirt is placed on someone for a period of time and for a specific purpose.
The prophecy of Joel says that there will be a day when the Holy Spirit will not be placed on and removed from individuals but will indwell within!
This is fulfilled in Acts at Pentecost.
What does this mean?
It means that ALL believers have a purpose and receive the Holy Spirit to be used by God.
Because of the Holy Spirit indwelling in each believer, ALL believers are called to be witnesses for Christ.
After Pentecost, when Peter preached, we are told 3,000 REPENTED and were added to the church (Acts 2:38).
Joel 2:32 is quoted by Paul in Romans 10:13.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
May 21, 2017
Tell It To Your Children
The name Joel means “Jehovah is God”.
It is a confession of faith, much like “Jesus is Lord”.
In 1:1 we are told Joel’s father’s name but NOT what did for a trade.
Or what tribe was Joel from? Or what years he minister? Or who was the king or kings during his ministry?
Since we aren’t given those answers – it’s hard to put a date to the book.
Since we are not told those things, this means the book is not about who Joel is or where he is from; it’s about the message he has to proclaim.
Both Amos and Isaiah quote Joel, so many believe Joel pre-dates them.
Amos 1:2 quotes Joel 3:16 (Amos was 765-755 BC)
Isaiah 13:6 quotes Joel 1:15 (Isaiah was 700 BC)
Joel was 835-800 BC making him the 2nd oldest prophet (Obadiah being the oldest).
Joel’s words are over 2,800 years old.
Joel falls naturally into two parts.
In 1:1–2:27 we read about a terrible locust plague that came over Israel as a judgment from God and how the people repented and God restored their fortunes.
Then in 2:28 to the end of the book we read about how God at some future time is going to pour out his Spirit far and wide to bless his people and how he is going to gather for judgment the nations which have rejected him and his people.
Joel’s message is timeless, meaning every generation benefits from understanding it. Joel deals primarily with one topic: The Day of the Lord.
5 times in 3 chapters, Joel uses that phrase.
The Day of the Lord is a day which is still yet future.
It involves God’s ultimate wrath and it involves the nation of Israel.
“2 Hear this, O elders, give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your ancestors? 3 Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”
“hear this”… “give ear” the double emphasized opening says, LISTEN.
This is important. You must hear this.
This type of urgency usually means the listener is going to have a decision to make and they are going to need this information in order to make the proper decision.
Joel’s first call is to the “elders”, religious leaders and “all inhabitants” meaning everyone. Then he calls out the “drunkard”, the “farmers” and finally the “priests”.
With the loss of his wine,
- the drunkard will wail,
- the farmer will despair and
- the priests are to lead the nation in true repentance.
“Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your ancestors?”
Meaning the event Joel is about to deal with (the locust invasion) is an act of Divine wrath, not a natural act of mother nature.
“4 What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten. 5 Wake up, you drunkards, and weep; and wail, all you wine-drinkers, over the sweet wine, for it is cut off from your mouth.”
The focus of the locust is the complete destruction they brought.
The theme of four judgments (sword, famine, wild beasts and plague)
is seen elsewhere in Scripture (Ezekiel 14:21 and Jeremiah 15:3).
Their destruction is so complete that it will affect every aspect of life.
Obviously one’s economic life will be affected (farmers have no harvest to reap).
One’s spiritual life will be affected (priests won’t have wine for offerings)
which leads to one’s social life being affected.
Destruction of this magnitude almost requires one to turn to God.
Joel explains that not only are the vines destroyed but so are the fig trees, the grain, the oil from the olives, the pomegranate, the palm and the apple tree.
“6 For a nation has invaded my land, powerful and innumerable; its teeth are lions’ teeth, and it has the fangs of a lioness. 7 It has laid waste my vines, and splintered my fig trees; it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down; their branches have turned white.”
Not having wine for social purposes is an inconvenience.
Having one’s worship interrupted because one cannot bring forth an offering is a much more serious matter.
Having no food to eat because all the crops have been destroyed could be life threatening. The locust are not only the invading army but they are also a forewarning of something far worse coming. This is a warning Israel needs to hear and understand.
“8 Lament like a virgin dressed in sackcloth for the husband of her youth. 9 The grain offering and the drink offering are cut off from the house of the Lord. The priests mourn, the ministers of the Lord. 10 The fields are devastated, the ground mourns; for the grain is destroyed, the wine dries up, the oil fails.”
The nation of Israel, which is the bride of God, is to weep as a young bride would over the death of her new husband. What does this mean?
It means Israel is to repent, to cry out to God or she could be in danger of becoming like a young widow, one who has lost a new love.
“For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.
Israel is to exchange the beauty of a wedding dress for the course goat hair of sackcloth. She is to exchange the wedding feast for a time of fasting.
Because Israel must mourn and repent and seek God’s forgiveness.
What did she do? Joel will answer this a little later (2:27).
Vs 9 says, “The grain offering and the drink offering are cut off from the house of the Lord”.
This is the morning and evening sacrifices.
To have these two offerings “cut off” would be equivalent to having one’s relationship with God cut off. This is a severe situation!
The locust invasion is just a foretaste of the day when God’s judgment will be poured out upon the land.
This is to be a wakeup call for Joel’s generation and all the following generations. As devastating as this is, it is just a warning of a future time.
“11 Be dismayed, you farmers, wail, you vinedressers, over the wheat and the barley; for the crops of the field are ruined. 12 The vine withers, the fig tree droops. Pomegranate, palm, and apple— all the trees of the field are dried up; surely, joy withers away among the people.”
Harvest time is a joyful time. That joy is now being replaced with despair.
How should the people respond? Joel answers that next…
A Call to Repentance and Prayer
“13 Put on sackcloth and lament, you priests; wail, you ministers of the altar. Come, pass the night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God! Grain offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God. 14 Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord. 15 Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.”
Many of God’s prophets wore clothing of goat hair, rough sackcloth clothing. Why?
Because often their message was of repentance and sackcloth was the garment one wore in times of mourning and repentance.
It was purposely designed NOT to be comfortable.
Joel calls for the priest to lead by example and then to publicly call for a time of public repentance.
The entire nation is to fast and repent and call upon God for forgiveness and restoration.
Verse 15 hits upon the theme of Joel, “the day of the Lord is near”.
This is the 1st of 5 references to the phrase “the day of the Lord is near”.
(1:15, 2:1, 2:11, 2:31,3:14)
When disaster strikes people often ask why?
Jesus was asked such a question. We’re not given the story in Scripture but the question from Luke 13 explains the situation.
Worshippers from Galilee were in the temple when Roman soldiers killed them.
How could worshippers be killed while they were seeking to worship God?
There was also a collapse of a tower in Siloam that killed 18 people.
The question being asked of Jesus is – WHAT did these people do to deserve that?
“At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”
Jesus responds by asking,
“Do you think … these Galileans … were worse sinners than all other Galileans?” “those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem?”
What is Jesus saying?
When tragedy falls upon people, believers often respond by saying,
“well evil happens. We live in a fallen world”.
That’s true, but that’s not how Jesus answered the question.
He explains that we all will perish, whether it be by the sword or by a tower falling on us.
We are all doomed UNLESS we repent!
Translation: instead of asking “why”, we should recognize that anything can happen to any of us at any time.
Because God extends His grace and allows us whatever time we have, people need to understand that it is only by God’s grace that we don’t have tragedy fall upon us.
It is by God’s grace that we have the ability to recognize that we all are sinners;
we all must recognize our sin and repent.
Repentance, recognizing of sin, and accepting God’s free gift of salvation – without that, we all perish!
It is by grace that we do NOT receive the punishment we deserve.
“16 Is not the food cut off before our eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our God? 17 The seed shrivels under the clods, the storehouses are desolate; the granaries are ruined because the grain has failed. 18 How the animals groan! The herds of cattle wander about because there is no pasture for them; even the flocks of sheep are dazed.”
When God brings judgment upon Gentile nations, Israel receives blessings and restoration.
However the day is coming when God will bring His hand of judgment upon the whole earth and Israel will need to repent and seek the Lord.
“19 To you, O Lord, I cry. For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flames have burned all the trees of the field. 20 Even the wild animals cry to you because the watercourses are dried up, and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness”
Verse 15 explains, “destruction from the Almighty it comes”.
Verse 19 explains that Israel is to turn to the Lord and cry out to Him.
May 7, 2017
Who is Wise
What is Wisdom?
The dictionary defines wisdom as
- “having experience, knowledge, and good judgment”
- “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting”
What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge?
Wisdom and knowledge are both recurring themes in the Bible.
“Knowledge is “information gained through experience” .
Knowledge can exist without wisdom, but not the other way around.
One can be knowledgeable without being wise.
God wants us to have knowledge of Him and what He expects of us.
God wants us to have knowledge of the commandments.
How do we know? We are told so in God’s Word.
Equally important as having knowledge is having wisdom.
Knowing facts about God and the Bible is not all there is to wisdom.
Wisdom is a gift from God.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
God blesses us with wisdom in order for us to glorify Him.
The book of Proverbs is perhaps the best place in the Bible to learn of biblical wisdom.
Proverbs 1:7 speaks of both biblical knowledge and wisdom:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, / but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Wisdom is the application of knowledge
Nuggets from Hosea
- The Family of Hosea – an object lesson (Ezekiel, Jeremiah)
- Adulterous wife/ Faithful husband – Extremely Personal
- The future restoration of Israel – Pray Psalm 122:6
- A courtroom setting – Nervous/ Prepared
- Assurance of God’s redeeming love – Peace, security
- God promises beginning with the phrase “I will…” He will keep promises
- Idolatry is a form of pride – deciding who and what to worship
- Acknowledge the Lord and seek His face – ACTION STEP
- Before God brings judgment He brings warning –
Noah 100 years, Jeremiah 40 years, Canaanites 500 years
- God’s Kingdom is still future – beginning with the Millennium
- Evangelize, share the truth
- Israel 1st king, Jeroboam, placed gold calves at Dan and Bethel
- Holy ground desecrated
- “Do not rejoice O Israel” God’s people ought to be a rejoicing people.
- When the heart is divided it affects the whole man.
- “Remember” Who…What…When … Why – Personal & Corporate
- Worshipping false gods leads to emptiness (Morning mist, Dew, Chaff, Smoke) Word pictures design to create feeling.
A Plea for Repentance Hosea 14:1-3
“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.2 Take words with you and return to the Lord; say to him, “Take away all guilt; accept that which is good, and we will offer the fruit of our lips. 3 Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; we will say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy.”
As Hosea closes out his book there is one last effort to reach the people.
Restoration begins with the recognition of sins.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN OTHERS RECOGNIZE IT?????
The structure of Hosea has been
Hosea’s marriage: Adulterous wife/ Faithful husband (1-3)
Adulterous Israel/ Faithful God (4-14)
- Adulterous Israel found guilty (4-6)
- Adulterous Israel put away (6-10)
- Adulterous Israel restored (11-14)
Assurance of Forgiveness Hosea 14: 4-9
“4 I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. 5 I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily, he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon. 6 His shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive tree, and his fragrance like that of Lebanon. 7 They shall again live beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom like the vine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.”
God is a God of relationships
Relationships require commitment.
Relationships require mutual response.
“I will heal their disloyalty”
“I will love them freely”
Who is “THEY”? – Israel
It will be God not idols that will restore Israel.
“They shall again live beneath my shadow”
“They shall flourish as a garden”
“They shall blossom like the vine”
The fulfillment of this has not happened – yet. This will be fulfilled in the Millennium.
“And I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that, when they look on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. 11 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land shall mourn, each family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves.”
“The one they have pierced” – this is not some unknown martyr that is being described – it is the coming of the Messiah Himself. The apostle John quotes Zechariah 12:10 when he is describing the piercing and death of Jesus by Roman soldiers.
“as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”
Verse 11- “On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.”
To explain the depth of future weeping
This refers back to the heartbreaking death of Judah’s beloved and godly king Josiah, who was killed in battle with the Egyptian pharaoh, Neco in 609 B.C.
(2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chronicles 35:22-27).
Hadad Rimmon is a combination of two names of Syrian gods (2 Kings 5:18).
This explains that the same site of Josiah’s death – the Jezreel Valley, will be the site of the battle of Armageddon – Megiddo.
Jeremiah wept over Josiah as he wept over no one else.
The whole nation will mourn over their sin of unbelief.
From the citizens (each clan by themselves)
to the leadership, the civil rulers (the house of David)
to the prophets (the house of Nathan),
to the priests (the house of Levi).
“8 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; your faithfulness comes from me. 9 Those who are wise understand these things; those who are discerning know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.”
Hosea ends his book with a reminder – God is offering a choice.
“Those who are wise understand these things”
“those who are discerning know them”
With the flavor of Deuteronomy the prophet ends by saying you have a choice –
“For the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them”
April 30, 2017
I AM The Lord Your God
The Adventures of Pinocchio based in Italy- written in1883
Pinocchio took his eye off the path and as we know he went further and further down the path of destruction.
The Pathology of Sin
Pathology is: The science of the causes and effects of diseases.
There is a very predictable pattern to sin.
That’s the story of Pinocchio and that’s been the story of the book of Hosea.
WHAT is that path of sin?
1.) We do what is right in our own eyes
2.) We forget who we are (sons and daughters of the living God)
3.) We start doing things in our own strength and
4.) We start doing things in our own ways.
Then we’re faced with a new reality.
“When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling; he was exalted in Israel; but he incurred guilt through Baal and died. 2 And now they keep on sinning and make a cast image for themselves, idols of silver made according to their understanding, all of them the work of artisans. “Sacrifice to these,” they say. People are kissing calves!”
Ephraim is the largest tribe in the north; when she spoke she did so with authority and power, especially in the time of Judges.
That influence and power is gone.
Why? Because of her affair with baal.
The result of her worship of baal was spiritual death.
Hosea continues to speak of Israel’s unfaithfulness and he continues to do so by comparing Israel’s history with her present.
Ancient Israel forgot who they were and they started doing things in their own strength and in their own ways.
That’s the Pathology of sin
A predictable pattern to sin
Sounds like our culture today?
Swearing, deception, murder, stealing, adultery, violence, deceit, robbery, gangs, the practice perjury, enter contracts they don’t intend to keep, dragging people into court with all sorts of lawsuits
“3 Therefore they shall be like the morning mist or like the dew that goes away early, like chaff that swirls from the threshing floor or like smoke from a window.”
These four word pictures describe the emptiness Israel ultimately received from worshiping baal.
- Morning mist
- Dew that goes away early
- Chaff that swirls from the threshing floor
- Smoke from a window
How do we protect ourselves from doing things in our own strength and in our own ways?
To keep us from forgetting, we must be in God’s Word daily.
Now I know you are busy… we have all this technology to make life easier.
- What was life like before technology?
- How busy were people before technology?
George Washington was a pretty busy guy but he spent 1 hour every morning and 1 hour before bed each day in study and prayer. George Washington was a very busy man, but he made time to devote to God’s Word each day.
Patrick Henry, the founding father who gave the “Give me liberty or give me death” speech, said this about Bible reading:
“One of his neighbors going to see him found him reading the Bible. Holding it up in his hand, he said: ‘This book is worth all the books that ever were printed, and it has been my misfortune that I have never found time to read it with the proper attention and feeling till lately. I trust in the mercy of Heaven that it is not yet too late.”
It was his habit to sit in his dining room every morning, and read his Bible …”
We do this so we do not forget and become like Pinocchio and follow that path of destruction.
“4 Yet I have been the Lord your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. 5 It was I who fed you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. 6 When I fed them, they were satisfied; they were satisfied, and their heart was proud; therefore they forgot me.”
What is it that God wants?
Nothing has changed.
He desires an intimate relationship with His people.
Israel had this and threw it away.
Similar language is used with the first 2 of the 10 commandments:
“you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.”
God cared for Israel and Israel took from God.
Understand that it is God who provides.
Whether it be manna or meat, God is our provider.
People respond in one of two ways to that.
Either they are humbled and thankful or they become prideful. Israel gave in to pride and it led to her destruction.
“7 So I will become like a lion to them, like a leopard I will lurk beside the way. 8 I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs, and will tear open the covering of their heart; there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild animal would mangle them. 9 I will destroy you, O Israel; who can help you? 10 Where now is your king, that he may save you? Where in all your cities are your rulers, of whom you said, “Give me a king and rulers”? 11 I gave you a king in my anger, and I took him away in my wrath.”
Instead of having a loving relationship with Israel, God will bring judgment upon her. Like a wild beast tears up its prey so will God allow Israel to be destroyed and carried away (history confirms this happen when Assyria did just that).
One must understand the foundation of Deuteronomy 28-30.
God clearly warned Israel that they could receive blessing or curses; it was their choice.
God would respond to Israel as they responded to Him.
They chose to worship foreign gods; the Lord responded as a wild bear would respond to the loss of her cubs.
The lion, leopard and bear were all very common in this day and in this land, meaning the reference here would not have been lost on the people of Israel.
To further make a point, a rhetorical question is asked.
“Where now is your king, that he may save you?”
No human king could deliver Israel.
Only God could do this.
God’s plan was for Israel to be different from other nations.
They were not to have a king; God was to be their king.
Others nations would see how God ruled and that would bring honor to the Lord. However Israel did ask for a king (1 Samuel 8) and God let her have one.
After Solomon, when the nation divided, the north never did have a “Godly” king.
“12 Ephraim’s iniquity is bound up; his sin is kept in store. 13 The pangs of childbirth come for him, but he is an unwise son; for at the proper time he does not present himself at the mouth of the womb. 14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death? O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your destruction? Compassion is hidden from my eyes. 15 Although he may flourish among rushes, the east wind shall come, a blast from the Lord, rising from the wilderness; and his fountain shall dry up, his spring shall be parched. It shall strip his treasury of every precious thing. 16 Samaria shall bear her guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open.”
Israel’s sin is “bound up” meaning it is preserved. It could have been forgiven but Israel has refused to hear the words of the prophet. Like an infant refusing to be born, the nation of Israel has foolishly placed herself in a place of death.
Verse 14 does present a glimmer of hope. Shall God ransom and redeem Israel from death? This implies God can, the question is will he?
Paul quotes from Hosea in 1 Corinthians 15. What’s important to understand is what’s being said. When Paul quotes from Hosea he is giving us more clarity as to what God is saying…
1 Corinthians 15:50-58
“What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
There will be a day when a remnant from the 10 northern tribes will be redeemed. God will allow Israel to be destroyed by the Assyrians;
the east wind will come and bring destruction with her.
However, God, being true to His promise, will one day redeem Israel.
When will this happen?
In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul is speaking about the rapture of the church.
- We will not all die, but we will all be changed
- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet
- For the trumpet will sound
- and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed
The trumpet will signal the end of the church age.
This will usher in the tribulation period.
It is in this tribulation period that God will restore the remnant of the 10 northern tribes.
April 9, 2017
God’s Compassion Despite Israel’s Ingratitude Hosea 11:1-12
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and offering incense to idols. 3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. 4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.”
- The picture of a loving tender Father
Hosea 11 is quoted in Matthew 2:15
“And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Exodus 4:22-23 is the first time we see Israel being referred to as God’s.
“I called My son out of Egypt” – As Moses said to Pharaoh,
“Israel is My son, even My firstborn; let My son go, that he may serve Me”
In order to understand the message of God’s prophets one must understand the message of Deuteronomy 28-30, especially Deuteronomy 28.
If Israel was to obey God they would be blessed.
If Israel chose to disobey God they would not be blessed.
If the nation did not repent, it would suffer and be under God’s judgment.
Is that still true today?
Obey be blessed/ choose to disobey lose blessing
Think about what you are saying.
If you go out for lunch and someone at the next table clutches their chest and falls to the floor… what would you do?
- Would you step over them and walk away?
- Would you try to help?
That’s a physical example of someone in GREAT need.
What do we do when someone is in GREAT spiritual need?
Deuteronomy is the foundation of the Old Testament prophets;
it is also the key to understanding Moses’ ministry.
In the book of Deuteronomy Moses uses the word, “remember”.
That is how he passes the baton to the next and future generations.
- Remember what God did.
- Remember when He did it.
- Remember why He did it.
Think about this – What has God done for you?
When did He do that?
Why did He do that?
How many people have you shared that with????????
How many people really know WHAT, WHEN & WHY God did what He did in your life?
That’s the BEGINNING of sharing the Gospel.
While in Egypt, God not only cared for Israel, He helped Israel develop into a nation.
As a parent helps a child develop, God raised Israel, from a child into a nation. God lovingly cared for Israel, again as a parent would for their child.
Unfortunately that child (Israel) did not reciprocate God’s love; it rebelled.
The more God warned Israel, by sending prophets, the more Israel rebelled.
For a moment… Let’s meditate on that fact….
Do you realize how many people in our world can relate to a child rebelling against their Parents?
That’s is a scenario people understand.
You just get to help them realize … they can CHANGE the outcome.
- That is what God is sending Hosea to tell Israel
- realize … they can CHANGE the outcome
- That is what God is sending you and I to tell our neighbors…
- realize … they can CHANGE the outcome
“5 They shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. 6 The sword rages in their cities, it consumes their oracle-priests, and devours because of their schemes.
7 My people are bent on turning away from me. To the Most High they call, but he does not raise them up at all.”
Some of the saddest words a believer can hear:
“They have refused to return to me”.
“My people are bent on turning away from me”.
Strong language is used to explain the condition of the nation’s heart.
The lesson here is that it is vital for a nation which God has blessed to respond with a grateful heart.
“8 How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender.”
Admah and Zeboiim were two cities destroyed with Sodom & Gomorrah.
One can see how it breaks the Lord’s heart to have to deal with Ephraim in a similar manner.
“By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land.”
“The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur—nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, which the Lord overthrew in fierce anger.”
This is called parenting
- Now, do you understand this from the perspective of a parent?
- Do you understand this from the perspective of a child?
“9 I will not execute my fierce anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and no mortal, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath. 10 They shall go after the Lord, who roars like a lion; when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west. 11 They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria; and I will return them to their homes, says the Lord.12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit; but Judah still walks with God, and is faithful to the Holy One.”
Verse 9 – God shows His mercy
He is God not a man. He is not ruled by His emotions.
Verse 10 – Yet the Jews were then about to be carried to the East, not to the West;
The ten tribes were carried to the East into Assyria.
- There will be a remnant
The vessel the Lord used to destroy Ephraim was Assyria under the rule of the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser.
Again God’s prophet offers some hope; “I will return them to their homes.”
Even though Israel will be dealt with, disciplined, there will be a remnant that will return.
It is interesting here that God says in verse 10, “when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west.”
When Israel returned from Babylon they came from the East not the West.
This can only refer to His second coming and the establishing of His kingdom. It will be a time when His children will be regathered from all parts of the world.
March 26, 2017
What Will YOU do?
In 1996 The Japan Times took a poll for their Community Section.
The poll question was:
If you had to leave the homeland – what would you miss the most?
The responses were
Here’s our question this morning:
What would life be like without God?
Think about that – you would have no remorse for sin because there would be no one there revealing that your behavior was sinful.
Your would have no guilt because you didn’t spend enough time praying or reading the Bible – you would be free of that obligation.
Whatever you did or said would be the right thing as long as
YOU thought it was right.
You could do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted and it would all be good.
What would life be like without God?
Many of us can’t even fathom that scenario.
That is like asking what would life be like without AIR.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves let’s really look at how easy it is to live without acknowledging the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
How do you do that?
This means to ALWAYS be aware of God’s presence.
When you are getting up – having your coffee, brushing your teeth –
Be THINKNG about the Lord, be thinking about your day ahead and how He may interact with you.
Be prepared for the Lord in “all circumstances”.
“Do not rejoice, O Israel! Do not exult as other nations do; for you have played the whore, departing from your God. You have loved a prostitute’s pay on all threshing floors. 2 Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail them.”
God literally tells Israel “rejoice not”.
Understand this is God telling the people – DO NOT REJOICE!
We know this is harvest time because of the reference to the threshing floor.
What were the people doing?
They were partying, they were celebrating, they were rejoicing.
The harvest had come in and they were celebrating and acknowledging baal’s provision.
Yes, NOT God’s provision … baal’s provision!
God’s people ought to be a rejoicing people!
- The joy of the Lord is their strength.
- The rest of God shall be theirs.
What would life be like without God?
Don’t we push God away when we complain, gossip, live on our own merits and strength?????
100 years after Isaiah and Hosea, Jeremiah brings a similar message to Judah in the south.
“Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols.”
Any prosperity Israel was enjoying was temporary.
What will happen if Assyria over takes Israel and they no longer receive God’s protection and blessing?
How deeply should Israel be concerned?
Chapter 9 explains in plain language what Israel will lose.
- Vs 1-2 say they will no longer have joy.
- Vs 3-6 explain how they will be removed from the Holy land. They will be exiled.
- Vs 7-9 explain that Israel will no longer have spiritual discernment.
- Vs 10-16 explain that their offspring will decline and not be blessed.
- Vs 17 explains that Israel will be rejected.
The threshing floor was a common place of prostitution.
The men have their harvest and soon the income from their harvest.
In some cases it will be a years’ worth of income.
As the men sleep on the threshing floor to guard their livelihood, the harlots come out.
The threshing floor was also a common place of baal worship, seeking his blessing for prosperity.
Oftentimes the two elements were combined: baal worship and prostitution.
For those seeking baal’s blessing, they lost God’s blessing.
baal was unable to bless, God was unwilling to.
We read this and think – HOW could these people be so lost???!!!
How could they be so blind????!!!
To NOT acknowledge God’s provision.
To not even think about willingly bringing God the first fruit.
What would life be like without God?
Who do we honor when we get a paycheck?
If you are blessed with unexpected money – does God get any of that?
Or does your mind go “now I can do this… get this … go there…”
Then before you know it most if not all of that money is gone and you look back and think where did it go?
God provides – how well does the church (the people of God) acknowledge God’s provision????
This is Hosea 9!
“ 3 They shall not remain in the land of the Lord; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and in Assyria they shall eat unclean food. 4 They shall not pour drink offerings of wine to the Lord, and their sacrifices shall not please him. Such sacrifices shall be like mourners’ bread; all who eat of it shall be defiled; for their bread shall be for their hunger only; it shall not come to the house of the Lord. 5 What will you do on the day of appointed festival, and on the day of the festival of the Lord? 6 For even if they escape destruction, Egypt shall gather them, Memphis shall bury them. Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver; thorns shall be in their tents.”
How much of a blessing is the place you live? Your home… imagine if …
“ 3 They shall not remain in the land of the Lord
God had chosen the land of Canaan,
- to place His people
- It was a land which the Lord brought His people into by “a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm.”
- It was the land of promise
- to work His miracles
- to reveal Himself
- to send His Son
Deuteronomy 26:14 and Leviticus 7:20 explain that one who was in mourning, one who has touched a dead body, is ceremonially unclean and was not to eat from the offering given to the Lord.
Any meat a “mourner” touched would be considered unclean and defiled.
That is what God is COMPARING their offering (their worship) to –
an unclean, defiled act
Think about this…
Vs 5 asks a great question:
5 What will you do on the day of appointed festival, and on the day of the festival of the Lord?
Vs 3 says – Israel will “return to Egypt”
To “return to Egypt” is to return to captivity.
When you are free – WHY would you want to go back to bondage?
This is why we can REJOICE – You are Free!!!
Israel will not physically return to Egypt; they will be exiled and mingled into Assyria and the Assyrian culture.
They will lose the freedom they had enjoyed.
The food they eat there will be “unclean” because it will not be prepared as the Law of Moses describes.
There will be no presenting of first fruits.
In fact any “sacrifice” offered would be a defilement because there was no temple in Assyria.
Memphis is the capital of Egypt. The land of Israel, once considered to be as precious as silver, will be nothing more than a land of thorns and thistles.
Bread will not be offered to the Lord nor will it be accepted by Him.
Matthew 4:4 – Jesus’ response in 1st temptation
“Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
We desperately need the Lord!
“7 The days of punishment have come, the days of recompense have come; Israel cries, “The prophet is a fool, the man of the spirit is mad!” Because of your great iniquity, your hostility is great. 8 The prophet is a sentinel for my God over Ephraim, yet a fowler’s snare is on all his ways, and hostility in the house of his God. 9 They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah; he will remember their iniquity, he will punish their sins.”
God had placed His words into His prophets and He sent them to His people.
The people, so deep in sin, responded by calling these messengers, these servants of God, fools.
By ignoring God’s word, Israel places themselves under them.
Meaning by ignoring what God says one opens themselves up to the woe not the blessing. Another great lesson for every believer!
The reference to the men of Gibeah (Judges 19, especially verses 22-30) is a reference to one of the most vile acts in scripture.
This repulsive act almost led to a civil war and the extinction of the tribe of Benjamin.
To have Israel’s behavior compared to Judges 19… says A LOT!
“10 Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree, in its first season, I saw your ancestors. But they came to Baal-peor, and consecrated themselves to a thing of shame, and became detestable like the thing they loved. 11 Ephraim’s glory shall fly away like a bird— no birth, no pregnancy, no conception! 12 Even if they bring up children, I will bereave them until no one is left. Woe to them indeed when I depart from them! 13 Once I saw Ephraim as a young palm planted in a lovely meadow, but now Ephraim must lead out his children for slaughter. 14 Give them, O Lord— what will you give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. 15 Every evil of theirs began at Gilgal; there I came to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no more; all their officials are rebels. 16 Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit. Even though they give birth, I will kill the cherished offspring of their womb.”
If the comparison to Judges 19 wasn’t enough, here God compares Israel to what happened at Baal-peor, which can be found in Numbers 25.
“ the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, 2 who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. 3 So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.”
“ but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.”
Because of Israel’s behavior God will remove His hand of blessing.
God compares Israel to the first fruit of the fig tree.
The early summer fruit of the fig tree is especially sweet. That’s what Israel was. But that sweet relationship quickly soured as Israel sought false gods.
Israel became a “bitter” harvest.
A sad lesson to learn BUT one that has to be learned!
“17 Because they have not listened to him, my God will reject them; they shall become wanderers among the nations.”
When God made a covenant with Abraham, land was included in the blessing.
Israel lost the ability to enjoy that blessing as they became foreigners.
March 19, 2017
Choosing Man or Choosing God
Mom always gave us easy rules to follow
- Don’t forget to wash your hands
- Brush your teeth before bed
- Always say please and thank you
- How well did you follow Mom’s rules???
God gave us easy rules to follow too
- Man‘s will should never overrule God‘s will
- How well do you follow Mom’s rules???
Israel’s Apostasy Hosea 8:1-14
“Set the trumpet to your lips! One like a vulture is over the house of the Lord, because they have broken my covenant, and transgressed my law.”
The trumpet to thy mouth!
“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet” Isaiah 58:1
As the sound of a trumpet would startle a sleeping people, the trumpet was sounded in (5:8).
Why again? As a warning.
Hosea has talked about the sin now he deals with the consequences.
The enemy is coming and the warning is a call for repentance.
In Israel’s case the vulture (which is unclean) is Assyria, who is about to descend upon Israel. “The house of the Lord” is the people.
There was no temple in the northern kingdom and the altars that were set up were not honoring to God.
Church is in greater danger than any secular community, because:
- Its guilt is greater.
- Its influence can be more destructive
- As a believer – DO YOU HEAR the trumpet?
“2 Israel cries to me, “My God, we—Israel—know you!” 3 Israel has spurned the good; the enemy shall pursue him. 4 They made kings, but not through me; they set up princes, but without my knowledge. With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction.”
Hosea is cataloging some of the people’s chief sins.
He begins with the political arena.
Here Israel’s sin is all too obvious.
Rather than seeking men of God’s choosing, the Israelites have installed their own kings and royal officials.
The implication is that, even worse, they have appointed men who make no pretense of knowing the Lord or following His law.
The second charge is aimed at the religious leaders.
Here the Israelite’s idolatrous worship is condemned.
Israel claims she has cried out to God, yet she lives in spiritual apathy.
She practices false worship which is idolatry.
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?”
They were so confident in their works that their confidence became proof their works were not authentic.
Matthew 15:8 (Quoted from Isaiah)
“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
“5 Your calf is rejected, O Samaria. My anger burns against them. How long will they be incapable of innocence? 6 For it is from Israel, an artisan made it; it is not God. The calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces. 7 For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads, it shall yield no meal; if it were to yield, foreigners would devour it.”
Thanks to Israel’s first king, Jeroboam, calf worship was common in Israel. Golden calves were placed at Dan in the North and at Bethel in the south (1 Kings 12:25-33). This was something that was an abomination to the Lord.
Because of this behavior the Northern tribes shall reap what they sowed.
Reaping and sowing is common terminology used in Scripture.
“Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity.”
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
“8 Israel is swallowed up; now they are among the nations as a useless vessel. 9 For they have gone up to Assyria, a wild donkey wandering alone; Ephraim has bargained for lovers. 10 Though they bargain with the nations, I will now gather them up. They shall soon writhe under the burden of kings and princes.”
“Israel is swallowed up”, by whom? By Assyria.
The connection between Israel and Assyria is not Israel going into captivity; it is Israel seeking an alliance with Assyria. Israel is compared to a stubborn wild donkey. Her idolatry stopped Israel from not only worshipping God but from being what God had intended her to be. Israel was blessed to be a blessing. She was to be a vessel that God used to reach other nations. Instead she became such a poor witness that she was a “useless vessel”.
To say that she had “bargained for lovers” meant that Israel acted like a prostitute. Instead of being faithful to her husband she allowed herself to be seduced by other nations. Israel sent gifts to Egypt and money to Assyria, hoping in return to form an alliance. She abandoned God and these alliances abandoned Israel.
Is there such a thing as RELIGIOUS Sin????
“11 When Ephraim multiplied altars to expiate sin, they became to him altars for sinning. 12 Though I write for him the multitude of my instructions, they are regarded as a strange thing. 13 Though they offer choice sacrifices, though they eat flesh, the Lord does not accept them. Now he will remember their iniquity, and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt. 14 Israel has forgotten his Maker, and built palaces; and Judah has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his strongholds.”
Israel built altars.
They offered sacrifices.
God rejected their “worship” because it wasn’t sincere.
What’s the point? Showing up to church is not what God desires. Having a sincere heart matters!
Israel has been warned. God says they have been warned multiple times. Each time they have chosen to disobey His instructions. To say that they shall “return to Egypt” is saying that bondage in Egypt was their past and captivity in Assyria is their future.
Trusting in self is a recipe for failure. Trusting in the Lord is a receipt for success. This is a great lesson for all believers to understand! In Hosea’s day, the Lord suggested to Judah that they should pay attention to this warning.
The Israel/Egypt connection is strong. In the past when Israel was in bondage in Egypt she did not have God’s Law yet. Nor did Israel have the Tabernacle or priesthood or sacrifice system. But here in Hosea’s day, in the present, Israel had the Law. They also had a Temple, and they had a priesthood and they had the sacrifice system. However, Israel disobeyed God’s Law; the priest had become corrupt and the temple activity was an abomination.
March 12, 2017
Crying out From the Heart
Hosea continues his prayerful plea to his people by urging them to know and acknowledge the Lord.
What does that mean? (to know the Lord)
What does that look like? (to acknowledge the Lord)
“To know and acknowledge the Lord”
The KEY to communication is not just hearing the words;
it’s understanding the meaning BEHIND them.
Has anyone ever invited you to something that was so not you?
You wonder why in the world did they ask me to come here or to do this? This is so NOT me.
“To know and acknowledge the Lord”
Don’t just hear those words, understand them.
What about Him is it that God wants you to know and to understand?
Hosea chapter 6 is a future time, the millennium.
Hosea Chapter 7 is Hosea’s time.
- The people wanted to be healed NOT cleansed.
- They wanted God to just make things right.
- They wanted to be able to live the way they wanted to live and believe God would bless that lifestyle.
- They were seeking happiness not holiness.
What’s the difference between being healed and being cleansed?
Healed versus cleansed
“Now your impurity is lewdness. Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurity, you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided.”
“those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth”
What’s the difference between happiness and holiness
- Happiness = Emotion, feelings , wants
- Holiness = Decision, commitment, sacrificing
This attitude led to the moral decline of Israel, especially of its leaders, who encouraged the flood of corruption and idolatry.
“1 when I would heal Israel, the corruption of Ephraim is revealed, and the wicked deeds of Samaria; for they deal falsely, the thief breaks in, and the bandits raid outside. 2 But they do not consider that I remember all their wickedness. Now their deeds surround them, they are before my face.”
Ephraim represents the northern kingdom and Samaria is the capital, which was the center of wickedness.
The lesson here is clear: we can choose to live any way we want.
- We can seek God or we can reject God.
- We can praise Him or we can curse Him.
The choice is ours.
But whatever choice we make there will be a day when we will be accountable for that choice!
Ephraim has been easily deceived and lacking discernment.
They called to Egypt for help; they turned to Assyria for protection.
“3 By their wickedness they make the king glad, and the officials by their treachery. 4 They are all adulterers; they are like a heated oven, whose baker does not need to stir the fire, from the kneading of the dough until it is leavened.5 On the day of our king the officials became sick with the heat of wine; he stretched out his hand with mockers. 6 For they are kindled like an oven, their heart burns within them; all night their anger smolders; in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire. 7 All of them are hot as an oven, and they devour their rulers. All their kings have fallen; none of them calls upon me. 8 Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned. 9 Foreigners devour his strength, but he does not know it; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, but he does not know it. 10 Israel’s pride testifies against him; yet they do not return to the Lord their God, or seek him, for all this.”
Verse 4- “They are all adulterers” = unfaithful
Worshipping foreign gods
PLEASE understand HOW serious this is!!!!
Verse 5- officials became sick with the heat of wine
Political leaders are liars and schemers
Alcoholism had been involved in the collapse of other kingdoms
i.e. – Alexander the Great
Verse 7 says “All their kings have fallen” 5 of Israel’s last 6 kings were assassinated by their successors. (2 Kings 15 to 17)
Verse 8 declares that “Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples”
meaning the northern kingdom allowed other nations to bring their pagan beliefs and tradition into Israel and Israel ended up worshipping these nation’s pagan gods.
Vs 8 – A cake “not turned” is a cake that is burned on one side and raw on the other, meaning it is useless.
Verse 9 – “ gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, but he does not know it.”
This is a metaphor of declining strength and pending death.
Verse 10 seems in contrast to the opening three verses of chapter 6.
One says Israel returns to Him and here it says they do not.
Why the contrast?
It is because it is speaking of two different times.
Chapter 6 is a future time, the millennium.
Chapter 7 is Hosea’s time.
Futile Reliance on the Nations – Hosea 7:11-16
“11 Ephraim has become like a dove, silly and without sense; they call upon Egypt, they go to Assyria. 12 As they go, I will cast my net over them; I will bring them down like birds of the air; I will discipline them according to the report made to their assembly. 13 Woe to them, for they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against me. 14 They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds; they gash themselves for grain and wine; they rebel against me. 15 It was I who trained and strengthened their arms, yet they plot evil against me. 16 They turn to that which does not profit; they have become like a defective bow; their officials shall fall by the sword because of the rage of their tongue. So much for their babbling in the land of Egypt.”
Vs 11 – “like a dove, silly and without sense”
A dove can easily be scared off of its nest and when it leaves it’s neither grieving nor searching for its young when it is robbed of them.
Vs 12 – The Lord, not Assyria or Egypt, has control over Israel’s destiny.
Vs 13 – they have been easily deceived
Vs 13 – they have fled from me! For they have rebelled against me! I want to deliver them, but they have lied to me.
Vs 15 – they plot evil against me
What is evil?
It is anything that will cause harm – animals to gossip
Israel’s seeking rescue from Egypt and Assyria did not provide rescue but a trap. The alliance they tried to make with these foreign nations were in direct disobedience to what God told Israel to do.
“But I have said to you: You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey. I am the Lord your God; I have separated you from the peoples. 25 You shall therefore make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; you shall not bring abomination on yourselves by animal or by bird or by anything with which the ground teems, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean. 26 You shall be holy to me; for I the Lord am holy, and I have separated you from the other peoples to be mine.”
1 Kings 11:1-2
“King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the Israelites, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you; for they will surely incline your heart to follow their gods”
What was the Lord to do with such unfaithful people?
Deuteronomy 28-30, Psalm 44:11, Amos 4:10
March 5, 2017
Acknowledging the Lord
Hosea is 750 years BC.
So far we have seen the nation of Israel become divided.
The North (Israel) has rejected God and the worship of Him.
The South (Judah) is losing focus.
You MUST stay focused!
Last chapter (5) began a warning to Judah to learn from Israel’s mistakes.
A Call to Repentance Hosea 6:1-3
“Come, let us return to the Lord; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. 3 Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Chapter 5 ended with God holding back His hand until Israel would
“acknowledge their guilt and seek my face.”
But chapter six opens with the prophet bringing a message of hope.
This did not happen in Hosea’s lifetime. Nor in Isaiah’s or Jeremiah’s.
Meaning that at some point Israel will “acknowledge their guilt and seek His face.”
Imagine WHAT THAT day will be like!!!!!
This will happen at the beginning of Jesus’ millennium reign (Zechariah 12 to 14).
To be healed… to be revived ….to be raised up
- Moral separation from God is ruin
It’s like when you
- Cut the branch from the root … it withers
It’s like when you
- Cut the river from its source, … it dries up
Footnote: Verse 2 “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him”.
- This speaks to Jesus’ 2 days in the tomb and His raising on the 3rd
This verse also speaks to Israel’s revival, resurrection, and restoration.
- This verse speaks to the 2 temples that will be destroyed and a 3rd temple that will lead to Israel’s spiritual blindness being removed.
- This verse speaks to Israel’s 2 captivities (Egypt & Babylon) and then their ultimate release from bondage (the time of the Messiah, the Millennium).
In Scripture “The Third Day” is…
A Day of Significance
A Day of Restoration
A Day of Rescue
- Why was Jesus in the tomb 3 days?
- Why not a week? Why not an hour? Why 3 days?
- Genesis 1:10, 12 Twice on the 3rd day God said “it was good”.
- Genesis 22:4 Abraham arrived at Mt Moriah – Isaac rescued
- Genesis 40:1-23 Joseph interprets dreams
- Exodus 19:10 The day the Lord came down on Mt Sinai
- Leviticus 7:17-18 Sacrifices left until 3rd day could no longer be eaten
- Leviticus 19:6-7 Sacrifices were to be consumed by flames
- Joshua 1:11,3:2 After 3 day – Israelites cross the Jordan
- Judges 20:30 the 3rd day the Benjamites are defeated
- 2 Kings 20:5 King Hezekiah healed
- Ezra 6:15 Building of temple completed- 3rd day of the month
John 2:19-21 –“destroy this temple and I will raise it again in 3 days”
- Esther 5:1 Esther calls for 3 day fast
- Hosea 6:1-2 Rescued from death
- Jonah 2:1-9 In the belly of the fish
Matthew 12:38-40, Matthew 16:21
- In the Old Testament the 3rd day is the moment when an event attains its climax.
- It is repeatedly the day when a situation is completed or fulfilled.
- In the Jewish culture the 3rd day is associated with special divine activity
Jesus in the tomb – on the 3rd day “He Is Risen!”
Hosea 6:2 – “we may live before him”
Literally, “before His Face.”
In the face, we see the will, and mind, the love, the pleasure or displeasure of a human being whom we love.
Look into Jesus’ face – what do you see?????
Hosea 6:3 – “let us press on to know the Lord”
We shall grow continually in that knowledge
What do people “delight” in?
According to surveys people like to…
- VISITING FRIENDS
What does God like????
“For the Lord takes pleasure in his people”
This means YOU!
God delights in YOU!!!!
Impenitence of Israel and Judah Hosea 6:4-11
“4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early. 5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have killed them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. 6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. 7 But at Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me. 8 Gilead is a city of evildoers, tracked with blood. 9 As robbers lie in wait for someone, so the priests are banded together; they murder on the road to Shechem, they commit a monstrous crime. 10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing; Ephraim’s whoredom is there, Israel is defiled. 11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed. When I would restore the fortunes of my people,”
Vs 6 – God cares about doing what is right
Not in doing what is popular or what is considered socially acceptable.
God cares about doing what is right.
Before God brings judgment He brings warning.
God is patient but there does come a time when the warnings stop and wrath occurs.
God has sent the prophets to Israel. They have been warned, repeatedly.
They knew how they could receive God’s blessing and they knew the fruit of disobedience (Deuteronomy 28-30).
God desires relationship, not religion.
- Religion is based on do’s and don’ts.
- Relationship requires personal commitment.
Hosea 6:6 is quoted by Jesus to the Pharisees.
Matthew 9:13 and Matthew 12:7
THIS is the motivation to CONTINUALLY dive into God’s word.
- I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice
- I desire the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings
This word KNOWLEDGE – This is more than just knowing the details.
It’s more than having all the answers
- It’s feeling like God feels
- It’s seeing like God sees
- It’s loving like God loves
That’s having the Knowledge of God
Knowing what he would do and doing it
Kids mimic adults
Non-believers watch believers ….. They see
- Your attitude in Worship
- They see if and how much you give to God
- Praying both in private and corporately
- Applying, not just listening to, the message
Verse 4 says, “Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early.”
At dawn things may look fresh but when the sun comes up the dew is gone.
This is how God is comparing Israel’s devotion.
From the outside it may look real.
But it was forced; it was religion.
It lacked heart and it was temporary.
As soon as they were enticed by something else they were off fulfilling their passion for sin and exposing their superficial acts of worship.
God wants our hearts.
He wants our sincere worship and love.
Unfortunately; “In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing”.
February 26, 2017
You Can’t Hide From God
The first 3 chapters set the foundation for how God responded to idolatry.
God has been cast aside by an unfaithful wife.
As God brings us into his family, He lavishes us with love that we don’t deserve and people respond by constantly wandering away from him.
So God disciplines, he allows circumstances into our lives to induce us to return to Him.
Then comes God’s amazing grace where he receives us with open arms.
Your acceptance before God is based on the cross!
God took your sin and unfaithfulness, past, present, and future.
He displayed his love for you when he died on the cross and still loves you the same today.
Impending Judgment on Israel (NORTH) and Judah (SOUTH):
This would be like reading about the judgment coming upon the world and the church.
“Hear this, O priests! Give heed, O house of Israel! Listen, O house of the king! For the judgment pertains to you; for you have been a snare at Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor, 2 and a pit dug deep in Shittim; but I will punish all of them.”
- House of Israel (the people)
- House of the King (the royal family)
What happened at Mizpah (Judges 10:17, 11:29)
Mizpah is the site of the covenant of Jacob with Laban.
Mizpah is also the site where the Israelites assembled when they were called to fight the Ammonites.
What happened at Tabor? (Victory in the time of Judges and the transfiguration)
These sites were also places of false, pagan worship.
In disobedience, the priests still offer sacrifices.
They slaughter not in worship but with hearts sinning with pagan gods.
Israel had been warned repeatedly of coming judgment yet they ignored God’s warnings.
They also took for granted God’s mercy.
They twisted God’s grace into a license to sin.
Instead of looking at the source of their problems and their hearts and relationship with the Lord, they focused on finding something else to heal their wounds. Rebellious hearts did not want to turn to God.
“3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me; for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore; Israel is defiled.4 Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they do not know the Lord. 5 Israel’s pride testifies against him; Ephraim stumbles in his guilt; Judah also stumbles with them.6 With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them. 7 They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord; for they have borne illegitimate children. Now the new moon shall devour them along with their fields.”
Understand the tribe of Ephraim, especially its history, how it started out and how it finished.
- Ephraim was the largest of the northern tribes
- They were the tribe with the most ideal location
- They were richer than other tribes;
- They had a rich history (Joshua, Gideon, and Samuel all came from this tribe)
The Heritage of Ephraim -Genesis 41:9-12
“Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph … 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
The Story of Ephraim – Psalm 78
9 The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle;
10 they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law.
11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.
12 He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors in the land of Egypt,
They were quitters at heart, like many today.
- a marriage gets shaky—-just quit.
- the job has difficulties—just quit
- the pastor steps on your toes a time too many—-just quit
- the opposition is too feisty—just quit
WHAT does that attitude/behavior/lifestyle lead to…
“17 But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High.
18 They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.
19 They spoke against God; they said, “Can God really spread a table in the wilderness?
In Summary: The Men of Ephraim
They continued to sin
They demanded from God
Alexander the Great set forth to conquer the world. A few months along in his quest, he came upon a fortified city. He called from below with orders to see the king. He asked the king to surrender. The king laughed and asked why he thought that they should surrender to a group no bigger than this. Alexander told him that he would give a demonstration. He ordered his army to line up single file and start marching toward the edge of a cliff. They marched and 10 men stepped off to certain death before he ordered the rest to stop. The king and the city surrendered quickly upon seeing the unbending allegiance to their leader.
Truth or legend? We don’t know but the point is when a soldier is committed, the enemy takes notice.
What is the opposite of worship????
Idolatry is a form of pride.
- Deciding what to worship.
- Deciding who to worship.
- Deciding that it is one’s right.
All signs of pride.
In this indictment against the north, Judah is mentioned.
This is a warning fired at the southern kingdom to learn the lesson from the sins of the northern kingdom.
Look at the world today
What can the church learn from the behavior of the world?????
Verse 6 highlights that in worship, one cannot just go through the motions.
One’s hearts need to be in one’s worship.
These verses plainly state that God will not respond to their religious festivals or sacrifices.
WHY NOT – Isn’t that what God wants???
No. God does not want tasks for tasks sake…
These “tasks” will not bring blessing but judgment.
God wants relationship and out of relationship come tasks (good works)
“8 Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah. Sound the alarm at Beth-aven; look behind you, Benjamin! 9 Ephraim shall become a desolation in the day of punishment; among the tribes of Israel I declare what is sure.”
Blow the horn! The watchmen are to sound the alarm. The three cities mentioned by name here (Gibeah, Ramah, Beth-aven) were three strategic cities. There are designed to see the enemy and send the sound of warning.
The church is to give an earnest warning of the judgment about to come.
Sound the alarm and wake up the population.
Benjamin refers to the entire southern kingdom.
They are receiving a strong warning.
Genesis 49:27 – Jacob’s blessing on his sons
“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.”
Benjamin was small but this tribe was going to be a warrior.
“There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them … Summon your power, God;
show us your strength, our God, as you have done before.”
The tribe of Benjamin, Israel’s 1st judge and Israel’s 1st king came from this tribe.
Benjamin was a tribe of promise
But it (like you and I) had to remain focused!
“10 The princes of Judah have become like those who remove the landmark; on them I will pour out my wrath like water. 11 Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, because he was determined to go after vanity. 12 Therefore I am like maggots to Ephraim, and like rottenness to the house of Judah. 13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to the great king. But he is not able to cure you or heal your wound. 14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I myself will tear and go away; I will carry off, and no one shall rescue. 15 I will return again to my place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face. In their distress they will beg my favor:”
To remove a landmark is simply removing stones that established boundary lines. Why was this such an offense?
Because it is the same as stealing land from your neighbor.
“You must not move your neighbor’s boundary marker, set up by former generations, on the property that will be allotted to you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.”
Ephraim is crushed. Why?
Because the north tried to seek out the Assyrians for help instead of crying out to God.
The north needed to repent and pray, not seek out treaties with her enemies.
2 Kings 15:17-20
20 Menahem exacted the money from Israel, that is, from all the wealthy, fifty shekels of silver from each one, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and did not stay there in the land.”
Later, Judah, the southern kingdom, committed the same sin as Israel, the northern kingdom, and eventually suffered the same fate.
2 Kings 16:5-9
7 Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up, and rescue me from the hand of the king of Aram and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” 8 Ahaz also took the silver and gold found in the house of the Lord and in the treasures of the king’s house, and sent a present to the king of Assyria. 9 The king of Assyria listened to him; the king of Assyria marched up against Damascus, and took it, carrying its people captive to Kir; then he killed Rezin.
Because of their sin, God allowed the Assyrians to conquer the northern tribes and He allowed the Babylonians to destroy Judah.
In verse 15 He says that He was removing His hand until they “acknowledge their guilt and seek my face.” The same holds true for America today!
A Prayer for Guidance
O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul….
Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends, and kindred.
From Washington’s prayer journal, Mount Vernon
February 19, 2017
Hear the Word of the Lord
Hosea chapters 1 to 3 were about the prophet’s marriage.
As the prophet became estranged with his unfaithful wife,
God also became estranged with His unfaithful wife, Israel.
However, those 3 chapters reveal God’s grace, His holiness and His love.
Chapters 4-14 give excerpts from Hosea’s preaching of grace and judgment.
In the west we describe things with words.
God is powerful… amazing … wonderful
In the east they describe things with pictures.
God is my Rock… my Fortress
In Hosea 2, verses 14-23 there are 10 promises that God makes.
They all begin with “I will…”
God makes promises that reveal just how deep His love goes.
Let’s quickly look back at those 10 promises. By looking back it will help us look forward.
Hosea 2:14 – “I will now allure her”
- God doesn’t force people to love Him, but he does woo us
Hosea 2:15 – “I will give her her vineyards”
- God brings restoration to His people
Hosea 2:17 – “I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth”
- He will put an end to idolatry
Hosea 2:18 – “I will make for you a covenant”
- This new covenant will include a restored creation and peace
Hosea 2:18 – “I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war”
- God will bless His people with peace
Hosea 2:18 – “I will make you lie down in safety”
- No longer will her enemies prosper against God’s people
Hosea 2:19 – “I will take you for my wife forever”
Hosea 2:21 – “I will answer”
- Heaven (the rains) and earth (the produce) will bring blessings to His people
Hosea 2:23 – “I will sow”
- He will plant His people in His land and they will flourish
Hosea 2:23 – “I will have pity on”
Understanding God’s holiness, grace and love is important.
God wanted to forgive the sins of His people and restore fellowship with them but they weren’t ready.
Chapter 4 begins to reveal that hard truth.
Not only are God’s people not ready to repent, they see no need to!
Chapter 4 is a picture of a trial, “the Lord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land.”
God Accuses Israel Verses 1-11
“Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel; for the Lord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land. 2 Swearing, lying, and murder, and stealing and adultery break out; bloodshed follows bloodshed. 3 Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish; together with the wild animals and the birds of the air, even the fish of the sea are perishing.”
When people choose to walk in disobedience, their character is revealed.
Idolatry and adultery, the rejecting of God’s covenant, leads to a lack of love and compassion.
Those who practice the worship of idols (idol maybe yourself…it’s all about you) begin to lose concern for the poor and needy.
Idolatry is selfishness.
Adultery is pride.
Those who practice the worship of idols tend to love their neighbors less, if at all… As charges are brought against Israel, the breaking of the Ten Commandments is a highlight.
- lying- The 9th Commandment
- murder -The 6th Commandment
- stealing- The 8th Commandment
- adultery – The 7th Commandment
Because Israel violated the Ten Commandments, it brought suffering to the land and everything that lives on the land, both man and animals.
The land is God’s and Israel had desecrated God’s creation.
The fruit of this desecration will be natural disaster, droughts, famines and war.
“4 Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest. 5 You shall stumble by day; the prophet also shall stumble with you by night, and I will destroy your mother. 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. 7 The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; they changed their glory into shame. 8 They feed on the sin of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity. 9 And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways, and repay them for their deeds. 10 They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply; because they have forsaken the Lord to devote themselves to 11 whoredom. Wine and new wine take away the understanding.”
The people responded to God’s charge with a cry of innocence.
Verse 6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”, which means more than having knowledge about God.
It means having personal knowledge of God.
In scripture, to “know” someone is to have intimate understanding about that person.
“And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
God responds to the people telling them the mother (Israel) will be destroyed and because they have rejected God’s instructions they are no longer qualified to be His priests to the nations.
The position of influence Israel once held has been turned to shame.
Verse 9 says the “priest; I will punish them for their ways, and repay them for their deeds”.
When Jeroboam established pagan altars, the true priests in Israel left and went to Judah.
The king replaced true priests with false priests; spiritual leaders who did not have an understanding of God or His Law.
Lost leaders produce lost followers.
Lack of knowledge brings destruction!
The Idolatry of Israel Verses 11-19
“12 My people consult a piece of wood, and their divining rod gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have played the whore, forsaking their God. 13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and make offerings upon the hills, under oak, poplar, and terebinth, because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the whore, and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.”
Hilltops, places of heights and places with many trees were favorite and common spots for idol worship, including prostitution.
“You must demolish completely all the places where the nations whom you are about to dispossess served their gods, on the mountain heights, on the hills, and under every leafy tree.”
“For long ago you broke your yoke and burst your bonds, and you said, “I will not serve!” On every high hill and under every green tree you sprawled and played the whore.”
“And you shall know that I am the Lord, when their slain lie among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountain tops, under every green tree, and under every leafy oak, wherever they offered pleasing odor to all their idols.”
Because Israel’s priests, the spiritual leaders, were corrupt and lazy, their sin carried over into their own families.
Their own daughters and daughters–in-law became “temple prostitutes” thus committing adultery.
“14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go aside with whores, and sacrifice with temple prostitutes; thus a people without understanding comes to ruin. 15 Though you play the whore, O Israel, do not let Judah become guilty. Do not enter into Gilgal, or go up to Beth-aven, and do not swear, “As the Lord lives.” 16 Like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn; can the Lord now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture? 17 Ephraim is joined to idols— let him alone. 18 When their drinking is ended, they indulge in sexual orgies; they love lewdness more than their glory. 19 A wind has wrapped them in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their altars.”
Obviously the women who practice adulterous behavior will be punished but these verses focus heavily on the men.
The husbands and fathers who are called to be spiritual leaders, those who choose to worship other idols and partake in this adulterous behavior, will be held accountable and receive the heaviest punishment.
Gilgal is a unique spot. It was once a holy place.
It was the place where Joshua led Israel across the Jordan and into the Promised Land (Joshua 5:10-15).
It where Jesus was baptized.
This site was later desecrated by idol worship (Amos 4:4, 5:5).
Beth-aven means “wickedness” “deceit”.
It is a substitution for the name Bethel.
Bethel, which means “house of God”, is a sacred place.
Both Abraham and Jacob built altars to the Lord there (Genesis 28:10-22).
By calling it Beth-aven (wickedness) instead of Bethel (house of God), it highlights that this is the site where Jeroboam built golden calves and desecrated what once was a holy place.
1 Kings 12:28-32
“So the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold. He said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29 He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one at Bethel and before the other as far as Dan. 31 He also made houses on high places, and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not Levites. 32 Jeroboam appointed a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month like the festival that was in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altar; so he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made.”
Ephraim was the name sometimes used to describe all the tribes which made up the north.
Ephraim was the largest of the 10 tribes.
Since Israel was bent on rejecting God, he says he is going to let them have what they think they want.
Their own perverse choice will bring upon them wrath.
This is similar to language Paul uses in Romans 1:18-32.
February 12, 2017
Love as the Lord Loves
Remember the Prophets have a similar structure to them:
- A warning of impending judgment (because of the nations’ sinfulness)
- A description of the sin
- A description of the coming judgment
- A call for repentance
- A promise of future deliverance
How do you grow spiritually?
How do you apply Scripture?
Scripture is all about character.
Do you think Jesus cared that some disciples were fishermen and another was a tax collector?
No, that was just WHAT they did.
Was that important to Jesus???
It was about who they were… their character.
Hosea 3 is only 5 verses.
Hosea 3 is about Hosea taking back his unfaithful adulterous wife.
WHY does he do this???
Is it because he is a prophet and the boss said to???
NO … that would be doing it because of what he does (He’s a Prophet).
The reason he is a prophet is because he is a righteous man.
He takes back his wife because that is who he is.
Do you realize that after this chapter Hosea and Gomer are not talked about again!
If this book isn’t about a righteous man taking back and loving an adulterous wife, then WHAT is this book about????
He’s an example between “doing” (what you do) and
“being” (Who you are … your heart… your character)
“The more priests there were, the more they sinned against me; they exchanged their glorious God for something disgraceful. 8 They feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness. 9 And it will be: Like people, like priests. I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.”
What they did as a profession was being a priest.
What they did in relationship with God was wickedness.
WHICH did God care about???
Was God concerned if they performed their duties correctly
Did God care more about their hearts (who they are)?????
“Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Assurances of God’s Redeeming Love
Hosea was commissioned to take back Gomer.
She left sometime after the birth of their third child.
Notice in verse 1 she is addressed as a “woman” not a “wife”.
It shows how deep the unfaithfulness was, how estranged the relationship was.
“The Lord said to me again, “Go, love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer of barley and a measure of wine. 3 And I said to her, “You must remain as mine for many days; you shall not play the whore, you shall not have intercourse with a man, nor I with you.”
He bought her at a slave auction for 15 shekels (1/2 the price of a common slave, Exodus 21:32) and barley. Barley was the price paid for a person accused of adultery.
“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 12 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: If any man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him, …15 then the man shall bring his wife to the priest. And he shall bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah of barley flour.”
Verse 3 says, Gomer, “Israel”, will not be allowed physical relations for “many days”. Hosea was told to love his wife again. She was to be a wife, not a roommate. So what does this mean? It means Israel, when they are regathered back to Israel, will not have a position of power or a leadership role in world affairs, not until the Lord returns and establishes His earthly kingdom. Then Israel will once again become the center of the world. In the Millennium when Israel is completely restored it would be like an unfaithful wife being completely restored with full marital relations.
What are “Raisin cakes”?
(Isaiah 16:7, Jeremiah 7:18; 44:19).
“Raisin cakes” were often used in idol worship.
Idolatry affected the whole family.
In the case of Jeremiah 7, the kids would gather the wood, the fathers would light the fire and the mother would make the cakes.
- Articles of worship were abused and thus removed.
The parallel between God and Israel (Jesus and Us) is seen in Hosea and Gomer.
“4 For the Israelites shall remain many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5 Afterward the Israelites shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; they shall come in awe to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.”
Ephod and teraphim were items of the priest. It was part of the priestly garment. Israel has gone many years without a temple to worship in.
Without a priesthood.
Without a sacrifice system.
All of these were elements given to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
All of these were elements allowing Israel to truly worship God.
These articles of worship were abused and thus removed.
While Israel continues in her relationship with the Lord she must do so without committing adultery and without a temple, priesthood and sacrifice system.
For the rest of the book we each are going to be challenged about who we are.
- Our character
- Our love
- Our priorities
- Our motives
Our relationship with the world and our relationship with God.
February 5, 2017
Restoration is the Goal
I have to admit the story of Hosea may not be the first source I would use to council; however the lesson here is amazing!
“Say to your brother, Ammi, and to your sister, Ruhamah.”
Ammi means “My people” and Ruhamah means “to obtained mercy”
This is speaking of the restoration of Israel. Ultimately Israel will be blessed.
It is interesting how this passage was preached years ago…
Charles Spurgeon preached on Hosea 2 on February 12th, 1893.
He focused on the fact that verse 23
“I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.”
Was quoted by Paul in Romans 9:25
“As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.”
”The revelation of the mind of God in the Old Testament helps us to understand the gospel revealed in the New Testament. There is no authority that is so powerful over the minds of Christian men as that of the Word of God.”
His point is… and it is still true…
God speaks through his revealed Word
Israel’s Infidelity, Punishment, and Redemption
“2 Plead with your mother, plead— for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband— that she put away her whoring from her face, and her adultery from between her breasts, 3 or I will strip her naked and expose her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and turn her into a parched land, and kill her with thirst.”
As with many of the prophets, we see the language of a courtroom.
Israel is the mother. The people are the children.
The people are to bring charges against the nation.
Meaning the individuals are to rise up and repent.
They are to call the mother (Israel) on her sinful acts.
They are not to look the other way or to partake in her sinfulness.
There is corporate sin but there is also individual responsibility!
Ezekiel 16 has similar language.
Ezekiel 16 covers the period of Abraham entering the land of Canaan through the exile in Egypt.
Before Abraham lived in the land it was occupied by the Amorites and Hittites. When Israel was formed, in the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, she was unwanted and uncared for.
When she was born, in Egypt, she was naked, meaning without culture and history.
The Lord took her and she grew into a beautiful woman, which was the time of King David.
Then she fell into wickedness. Israel’s sin and unfaithfulness to the Lord is told vividly in both Ezekiel 16 and Hosea.
How does this help us????
If we look at the original state of God’s people, we see the state in which every unconverted person is today, the state in which all of us, who are now saved, once were. It’s important to understand what we once were and what we are now
We were lost, doomed, destined for eternal agony.
But then Jesus paid the price to deliver us.
Now we are saved, we have hope and eternal life.
“4 Upon her children also I will have no pity, because they are children of whoredom. 5 For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, “I will go after my lovers; they give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.”
What is being said here in Hosea?
That Israel isn’t even trying to hide her sin.
The nation has publicly declared her desire to pursue other “lovers” meaning the worship of pagan idols.
- For her food: grain, bread and water
- For her clothing: wool and flax (linen)
- For her luxuries: oil and wine, silver & gold
She will turn away from her provider and to her lovers.
By turning to these pagan gods Israel will lose the prosperity she once enjoyed. She will be “stripped naked”.
“6 Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns; and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. 7 She shall pursue her lovers, but not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them. Then she shall say, “I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better with me then than now.” 8 She did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished upon her silver and gold that they used for Baal.”
Israel may pursue other gods but God will not let her find them. She (Israel) will be deprived of grain and wool and basic necessities so much so that she will have a change of heart and desire to return to her first husband, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Hosea, in very vivid language, describes the fruit of idolatry and adultery.
Israel’s disobedience leads to her to her shame.
“9 Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season; and I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness. 10 Now I will uncover her shame in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of my hand. 11 I will put an end to all her mirth, her festivals, her new moons, her sabbaths, and all her appointed festivals. 12 I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, of which she said, “These are my pay, which my lovers have given me.” I will make them a forest, and the wild animals shall devour them. 13 I will punish her for the festival days of the Baals, when she offered incense to them and decked herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers, and forgot me, says the Lord.”
If Israel wanted to believe that the Canaanite god baal could produce rain and allow the crops to grow, God says He will hold back the rain.
He will hold back His blessings to prove that the pagan god cannot be Israel’s husband.
What does that look like today?
The “vines and fig trees” represent the finest of the crops of the land. Israel won’t enjoy them because God will destroy them.
Why? Because Israel did not acknowledge that these blessings came from above.
They regarded them as payment from foreign pagan gods.
This will be fulfilled when the Assyrian army devours the land.
The worship of false gods goes back to the time of Nimrod and the Tower of Babel. The worship of baal goes back to the time of judges when King Ahab married Jezebel.
Jezebel wanted to wipe out the worship of the true God of Israel.
“Then the Lord raised up judges, who delivered them out of the power of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen even to their judges; for they lusted after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their ancestors had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord; they did not follow their example.”
Instead of worshipping the Lord, Israel burned offerings to baal.
This is Israel’s act of spiritual unfaithfulness.
“14 Therefore, I will now allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. 15 From there I will give her her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she shall respond as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.”
Once Israel is disciplined and once she turns away from idolatry, future blessings await her.
The “Valley of Achor” was a place of “trouble”.
“Achan answered Joshua, “It is true; I am the one who sinned against the Lord God of Israel. This is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, then I coveted them and took them.
25 Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord is bringing trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him to death;
That place of “trouble” when Israel entered into the Promised Land the first time will become a place of blessing when Israel enters into the Millennium.
“16 On that day, says the Lord, you will call me, “My husband,” and no longer will you call me, “My Baal.” 17 For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more. 18 I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety. 19 And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. 20 I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord. 21 On that day I will answer, says the Lord, I will answer the heavens and they shall answer the earth; 22 and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel; 23 and I will sow him for myself in the land. And I will have pity on Lo-ruhamah, and I will say to Lo-ammi, “You are my people”; and he shall say, “You are my God.”
Again, Hosea ends a section with a picture of future hope. The day is coming when Israel’s spiritual blindness will be removed and she will see God as her true husband and Jesus as her King (Jeremiah 31:31).
Three times God says “I will take you for My wife…” which is the opposite of a prostitute, meaning Israel will restored! Paul quotes this in Romans 9:25.
January 29, 2017
When the Lord Speaks
In summary a prophet’s message was:
“Because you have honored God’s Word, blessings are being poured out upon you”
“Because you have broken God’s Word, curses have fallen upon you,”
The translation is 2 fold:
Help me understand –
- Is this a hard concept to understand?
- Is it a hard concept to (do your best to) live out?
Throughout Scripture God leads and then He responds to us as we respond to Him.
His Word is clear
- His desire is to bless
- His desire is to bless (as a parent does with a child)
- His desire is to bless
- His desire is to bless, but He responds appropriately.
Today we begin a series on the Minor Prophets. When you hold these pages in your hands, they consist of:
How many books are in the Bible? (This section is 18% of the Bible)
How many chapters are in the Bible? (This section is almost 6% of the Bible)
There are 929 chapters in the Old Testament and 260 chapters in the New Testament.
That’s a total of 1,189 chapters (average, 18 per book).
Do you realize that MOST believers do not know how many Minor Prophets there are?
If they do – do you realize that MOST believers can’t name them by name?
So if we do not know much about this 5+% of God’s Word –
How can we apply it????
Here’s your decision – either these books (the Minor Prophets) are an archaic message given to a people that no longer exist and they have nothing to do with life in the 21st century
We have much to consider and apply.
FYI – The Minor Prophets are quoted often in the New Testament including by Jesus Himself!
By God’s grace, the prophets did not just proclaim a message of doom and gloom.
(Which is what most people believe)
They also proclaimed a message of Salvation and His Coming Glory.
When we study the prophets we see they have a similar 5 point structure to them:
- A warning of impending judgment (because of the nations’ sinfulness)
- A description of the sin
- A description of the coming judgment
- A call for repentance
- A promise of future deliverance
We begin with the book of Hosea….
Hosea ministered to the northern tribes of Israel (Also called Ephraim, after its largest tribe). After King Solomon’s death, Israel became a divided nation.
2 Samuel 5
David has been king for 7 years, but only over the southern 2 tribes.
After 7 years he becomes king over the entire country — all 12 tribes — and takes Jerusalem and makes it his capital. He is King over all of Israel for 33 years (40 in total)
After David – His son Solomon becomes King. After Solomon, his son Rehoboam becomes king. Rehoboam quickly angered the ten tribes in the north with heavy taxes. This encouraged the people in the northern part of Israel to break away from Judah.
Map of Judah and Israel in Hosea’s day
To keep people from returning to Jerusalem to worship, Jeroboam I (the 1st king of Israel):
- Sets up golden calves at Bethel and Dan.
- He dismissed the priestly tribe of Levi and appointed his own priests.
- This action led the ten tribes of Israel into idolatry.
- Idolatry led directly into immorality. (1 Kings 11-14).
(FYI- 1 Kings 15 – Jeroboam’s whole family is killed)
Remember God’s Word about being obedient and loving Him…
“Because you have honored God’s Word, blessings are being poured out upon you”
“Because you have broken God’s Word, curses have fallen upon you,”
Hosea’s message was directed at Israel’s moral decline. Israel was in a time of prosperity (2 Chronicles 26) and rejected Hosea’s message.
Hosea is quoted often in the New Testament.
- He is quoted by Matthew (2:15; 9:13; 12:7,)
- Luke (23:30),
- Paul (Romans 9:25-28, 1 Corinthians 15:55) and
- John (Revelation 6:16).
The Family of Hosea – Hosea 1:2-9
He lived and ministered in a time when Israel was singing, dancing and enjoying feasts. However those times of celebration were not times of honoring the Lord so Hosea spoke out against their sin.
Hosea’s commission was extremely dramatic.
Why? To get the people’s attention
What did God ask Hosea to do?
“2 When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”
Gomer become a harlot after their marriage. There is a parallel between Hosea/Gomer and the Lord/Israel.
She became influenced by the culture and became immoral after the wedding.
The children will also be part of this great object lesson.
Their names will have prophetic significance.
The 1ST born was a son and was named “Jezreel” which meant “God will scatter”.
The 2ND child is a daughter. She is named “Lo-ruhamah” which means “not pitied”.
The 3RD child, another son. was named “Lo-ammi” which means “Not My people”.
The Restoration of Israel – Verses 10-11
Prophets not only brings words of warning but they also bring words of future comfort.
The prophet now looks forward to the time when Israel will experience the blessing of the Millennium.
Even after all THAT Israel did, like a loving father, God still loves Israel and promises a future of hope.
In these closing verses of Hosea 1 there are 5 future blessings…
- Israel will increase: “The number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea”
- They will be “Children of the living God”
- They will be reunited: “the people of Judah and the people of Israel shall be gathered together”
- Jesus will be their king: “they shall appoint for themselves one head”
- God’s promise will be fulfilled: “they shall take possession of the land”
Are we humble enough to learn what God wants to teach us?????
January 8, 2017
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
(Acts 1:9) After Jesus spoke these words to His disciples He ascended back into heaven.
These would have been Jesus’ last words on earth…
This is the key verse to the book of Acts.
This verse divides the book of Acts into the following categories:
- Jerusalem – Acts 2:42-8:3
- Judea and Samaria – Acts 8:4-12:24
- the ends of the earth – Acts 12:25-28:31
The word “witness’ comes from the Greek word martys which is also the root word for martyrs. Not all witnesses were martyrs, but in the New Testament sense, all martyrs were witnesses. The lesson here is that one has to be willing to be a witness all the way to martyrdom.
What is the Purpose of Missions?
Ministry is not always easy.
In fact there are many obstacles and hurdles.
Each time you face an obstacle, you/we have the choice to continue serving or to quit.
Here’s the question – if you quit – WHAT would you do?
What else would bring purpose?
John 6:68 (This verse is kept in the front of My Bible)
- After the feeding of the 5,000
- After He walked on the Sea of Galilee
John 6:59 says Jesus was “teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.”
Some of Jesus’ teaching was hard.
In this case He was making the point that “Discipleship requires personal commitment”.
Many who followed Jesus were not willing to make such a commitment.
Jesus turned to the 12 disciples and asked them “Do you want to leave too?”
“Lord, Where would we go?”
THAT’s the question that keeps me going!
- What else would I do?
- Where else would I go?
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”
Imagine the scene as Jesus approaches the area of Bethany and John sees him in the distance.
The first Biblical mention of the Lamb appears in Genesis 22 when Abraham went to the altar to offer his son Isaac.
Leviticus 14 talks about lambs as a guilt offering;
Exodus 12:21-27 talks about the Passover Lamb.
John combines in one term the
- Voluntary sacrifice,
- Substitutionary atonement,
- Obedience and
- Redemptive power
Of Jesus … the Lamb of God
One cannot think of the idea of substitutionary atonement without thinking about Isaiah 53:1-5.
“Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.”
“7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
THAT IS WHY we are called to do missions!
Throughout history, from the beginning of time,
- men and women,
- the noblest of them,
- the kindest of them,
- the strongest of them,
- the greatest of them—all of them have fallen prey to sin.
Generation after generation, century after century, men have drifted away from their creator.
But then came a man unlike any man before.
- This man did not fall prey to sin; He possessed power over sin.
- This man did not succumb to death; He triumphed over death.
How? By suffering as a lamb.
In our place.
The Lamb of God has not only endured death in our place; He has defeated death by His power.
He bears the scars of death, yet he is sovereign over death.
Salvation through sacrifice; the crucifixion of God’s Son.
“Jesus was “obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has exalted Him to the highest place and given Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”
January 1, 2017
Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication
1 Kings 8:22
“Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven…”
In 1 Kings 8, Solomon prays to dedicate the Temple.
To dedicate something means “to set apart for a specific use”.
The temple was to be a place to meet with and worship God.
Solomon’s father, King David said:
2 Samuel 7:2
“I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.”
David’s heart was saying, “I live in this beautiful house of cedar and God’s presence is in a tent.” This BOTHERED David greatly.
He wanted to build God the most beautiful house anywhere!
God’s response to David was with the promise, the covenant with David.
The temple is the meeting place between God and His people.
Before the temple the Garden of Eden was a meeting place.
Before the Temple and before the Tabernacle, Abraham built altars to worship God.
4 times Abraham built altars
- In Shechem – Genesis 12:6-7
- In Bethel – Genesis 12:8
- Again in Bethel – (after return from Egypt) Genesis 13:4
- In Hebron (after his separation from Lot) Genesis 13:18
“When Noah came out of the ark, he built an altar…” Genesis 8:2
Once Israel goes into the Promised Land the Tabernacle becomes the main place where God met with His people.
In the days of David the Philistines stole the Ark of the Covenant from the tabernacle thinking that somehow they had managed to capture Israel’s God.
2 Samuel 5
David had been king for 7 years, but only over the southern two tribes.
After 7 years he becomes king over the entire country — all 12 tribes — and takes Jerusalem and makes it his capital.
And the Davidic dynasty which was promised by God in 2 Samuel 7 begins
The Ark of the Covenant is brought to Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 6.
So now you have three huge themes coming together:
- The city of Jerusalem,
- The kingdom dynasty of David,
- And finally the tabernacle that eventually becomes the temple under Solomon in the next generation.
Jesus Himself says in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Neither his opponents nor his disciples had a clue what he was talking about.
“After he was raised from the dead, then his disciples remembered his words and they believed the Scriptures”.
Jesus becomes the temple, the real, ultimate meeting place between God and sinful people.
Back to Solomon and the building and dedication of the temple …
God provided a confirmation of His blessing upon the temple’s construction.
“When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; / his love endures forever”
Let’s use Solomon’s prayer as a foundation for this coming year.
As Solomon prayed, notice his prayer had less to do with a physical building and more to do with the hearts of the people who would come to this temple to connect with God
1 Kings 8:22-23
“Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven; 23 and he said: “Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts.”
1 Kings 8:33-34
“When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this temple, 34 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers.”
1 Kings 8:35-36
“When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, 36 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.”
1 Kings 8:37-40
37 “When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers; when their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is; 38 whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: 39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men), 40 that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You gave to our fathers.”
1 Kings 8:41-43
“Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for Your name’s sake 42 (for they will hear of Your great name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this temple, 43 hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.”
1 Kings 8:46-50
“When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near; 47 yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness’; 48 and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who led them away captive, and pray to You toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name: 49 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause, 50 and forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You; and grant them compassion before those who took them captive, that they may have compassion on them.”
1 Kings 8:54-61
“And so it was, when Solomon had finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the Lord, that he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. 55 Then he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying: 56 “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses. 57 May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us, 58 that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. 59 And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the Lord, be near the Lord our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day may require, 60 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. 61 Let your heart therefore be loyal to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day.”
Solomon then offered a sacrifice and (Vs 65) held a feast.
December 25, 2016
The Promises of Christmas
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
Isaiah spoke those words 700 years before Christmas.
Jesus preached that message.
“then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Why do we have Christmas?
Why did Jesus leave heaven and come to earth?
Aren’t the birth, death and resurrection of Christ the most important events in human history!??
I have heard some say that every day should be Christmas and that we should honor Jesus’ birth everyday – we don’t need a special day to celebrate it.
Yes, I agree we should honor Jesus every day. But when something is special, it’s okay marking that event (a birth, an anniversary, a holiday, even a death).
God set the times, dates and PURPOSES for festivals.
Special days are to be marked and God is to be fully worshipped without interference.
Christ’s purpose in coming to earth was to recover a lost humanity.
Now think about this…
- Why did Jesus come as a baby?
He could have come in majesty and power, yet he came as a little baby that needed to be cared for.
Jesus was vulnerable.
When King Herod commissioned all the baby boys to be killed in Bethlehem…
- Why didn’t God protect Jesus?
He did but He did it by telling Joseph to take his family and flee to Egypt.
- Why flee?
Since when does God flee from anything?
Again Jesus was vulnerable.
Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever been in need?
Have you ever needed protection and provision?
Of course you have; we all have.
Jesus can relate to your frailty.
He can relate to your need.
Before creation God detailed the type of ministry Jesus would have.
He will be a priest and a shepherd.
He will lead His flock even through the valley of death.
If one wanders away Jesus will take that lost sheep in His arms and return him to the flock.
One of the promises of Christmas is that because Jesus CAME Jesus restores our soul and brings us true comfort and joy.
Isaiah 61- Luke 4 (Synagogue in Nazareth)
This is what Jesus was to preach
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim…”
- Good news to the poor
- He shall bind up the brokenhearted
- He shall proclaim liberty to the captives (freeing those of bondage)
- He shall set the prisoners free from darkness
- He will comfort the weak and those who mourn
- He shall deal tenderly with the ignorant
- He shall feed His flock
- He shall guide with His council
If we miss Christmas –the coming of Jesus – we miss those promises of Christmas.
“to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,”
The promises of Christmas come from a Divine Messenger who delivered a Divine Message.
Let take a closer look at that day – we can because God Himself preserved it in His holy word.
“And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people. For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you, you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’
Why did the angel say fear not?
Anyone who saw God would not survive.
In the Jewish culture angels were the closest to God.
From the very beginning this was not just any child.
Jesus came to be the Savior of the world.
The long awaited Savior had been born.
- The One who would be the Son of David and would rescue Israel from their enemies
- The One who would be the Son of Abraham fulfilling the Abrahamic Covenant
- The One who would fulfill the promise God made with David where Israel would have a kingdom that’s literally would be a kingdom of peace
- The Messiah would rule over the entire world in peace and His kingdom would have no end; it would be eternal.
- Not only would the Messiah come and establish the fulfillment of Abrahamic promise and that is the end of suffering and the fullness of righteousness and holiness and blessing on the nation, but the Messiah would also come and save sinners.
These are all the Promises of Christmas!
How do you receive God’s Promises?
Matthew 2:1-12 is the story of the wise men
From tradition we think we know some of the facts and details.
But as we study the scripture we find that there are questions we cannot answer.
- How many were there? We don’t know. (3 because of the 3 gifts)
- Where did they come from? We don’t know. (Persia because of their studies)
- How long did their journey take? We don’t know.
Let’s look at what we do know
A wise man’s journey is one of FAITH.
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East.”
- What would prompt someone to leave the comfort of their home to go on a dangerous journey?
There is no doubt that He had been born – the question is “Where is He?”
They had seen the star – the evidence was real – now where is He?
They had faith that He was alive – that He existed – now all they needed to do was to find Him.
Their purpose was established – find Him. And so they were willing to risk everything to find Him. They were willing to leave the safety of their homes to seek the King.
Can you imagine their neighbor’s reaction? “Are you going on a journey?” “Yes.” “Where are you going?” “We don’t know for sure.” “How far is it?” “Well we don’t know that either.” How long are you going to be gone?” Well we’re not quite sure on that either.”
“Boy for wise men you sure don’t much do you?”
But you know they must have said the same things to Abraham when he left his home for the Promised Land.
They must have said the same things to Noah who was building an ark – even though it had never rained in the history of the earth up till that point.
They must have said the same kind of things to Peter, Andrew, John and James when they left the fishing nets to become fishers of men.
What are you crazy? Are you insane? Are you out of your minds? No not crazy – not insane – not out of their minds – men of faith.
God’s journeys always involve FAITH.
It’s impossible to please God apart from faith.
Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.
A wise man’s journey is one of WORSHIP.
When the wise men came on their journey it was for the purpose of worship.
They brought with them gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
These gifts have a lot of symbolism associated with them.
Gold represents wealth. It is a gift fit for a king. (Jesus was the King of Kings) Frankincense is the sap of a tree that was dried and hardened and used as incense to worship God. Thus we see a gift for his deity. (Jesus was the Son of God)
Myrrh is a fragrant perfume that was used to anoint the dead – to embalm and preserve them. (Jesus was the Sacrificial Lamb)
Worship always involves SACRIFICE.
Was there a price to be paid for the wise men’s worship?
They had given themselves to a journey. Travel in those days was not very comfortable – in fact it could be downright dangerous.
The wise men had sacrificed their own comfort to find the king and worship Him.
Romans says it this way:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
To truly worship requires sacrifice.
The greatest gift, the greatest sacrifice you can give to God is yourself.
What God wants most of all – above everything else is YOU.
He wants your heart; He wants all of you.
A wise man’s journey is one of CHANGE.
“Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.”
Isn’t it interesting that after they worshiped Jesus that they could not go back the same way that they had come? I find that to be a fact even today. Once you have met God you will never be the same. An encounter with God changes things – it changes you .
December 18, 2016
2 Timothy 4:1-22
2 Timothy chapter 1 was about being faithful.
2 Timothy chapter 2 is about being strong.
2 Timothy chapter 3 was a warning.
2 Timothy chapter 3 is about being faithful to fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-2
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”
When Paul gives Timothy “charge”, this is a forceful word in Greek.
This is not a suggestion but a command.
What is the command for?
For Timothy to remain faithful in serving the Lord.
He is to use his gifts which are preaching and teaching.
Paul confirms the truth that there will be a day when all believers will be held accountable and when that day comes, Jesus will be the judge. He will appraise the work of all believers.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15
“If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
This is not a salvation judgment that would have already been determined;
this is an account of what you did with what God gave you.
Believers will have the Berma seat judgment and unbelievers will have the Great White throne judgment.
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
To be ready “in season and out of season” means to be prepared to preach the truth, when it seems to be popular and when it is unpopular. The culture, traditions, or the opinions of others can never be allowed to water down or to stop preaching the truth. For believers, living and sharing the truth is never out of season; it is all the time.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
“3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
As a believer in Jesus Christ how do you feel when you read the words here telling you that there will be a day “when people will not put up with sound doctrine”?
“Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. 9 For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. 10 They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. 11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”
People want to hear what appeases their own desires. This allows them to live the way in which they want to live. One’s theology has to mirror one’s lifestyle otherwise one would be living a life they could not justify. Rather than changing their lifestyle, they change their theology. Truth becomes a burden.
This error causes the preachers to preach what man wants NOT what God wants.
2 Timothy 4:5
“5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
To do the work of an evangelist is to bring the gospel to non-Christians. This is a duty of all believers.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Being faithful may well lead to having to “endure hardship”. That possibility cannot detract one from being faithful to the calling Jesus has given them.
2 Timothy 4:6
“6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.”
A drink offering was the offering that followed the burnt offering (Numbers 15:1-16).
Paul saw his coming death as his final offering to God. Paul’s life was full of sacrifice; now the last drink offering was about to be poured out.
With his impending death, Paul reminds Timothy that he is to carry on the work, offering his life to the service of the Lord.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
“7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
- I have fought the good fight
- I have finished the race
- I have kept the faith
When life is finished, what statement will describe your faithfulness?
What is the reward for faithfulness? Crowns…
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
1 Thessalonians 2:19 (The crown of rejoicing)
“For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?”
1 Corinthians 9:25 (incorruptible crown)
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
1 Peter 5:4
“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
Personal Remarks 2 Timothy 4:9-18
2 Timothy 4:9-10
“9 Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.”
As Paul closes out this letter he brings Timothy up to date on the various whereabouts and condition of those who have been a part of Paul’s life and ministry.
Paul desires to see Timothy one last time but there is a sense of urgency in Paul’s request, for he understands his days on earth are limited. Demas, short for Demetrius, has been one of Paul’s closest co-workers, along with Luke and Epaphras.
“Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.”
It seems Crescens and Titus did not desert Paul but that he sent Crescens to Galatia (Central Asia Minor) and Titus to Dalmatia just off the coast of the Adriatic Sea (also called Illyricum Romans 15:19).
2 Timothy 4:11
“11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.”
The good Dr. Luke, Paul’s co-worker who followed Paul on much of his travel and is the author of the book of Acts and the Gospel of Luke is still by Paul’s side. Mark, who is Barnabas’ cousin, is also known as John Mark. The very same one who left the ministry while on Paul’s 1st missionary journey.
“ From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.”
Since that day it is obvious that Mark has matured and Paul would like to see him one more time.
2 Timothy 4:12
“12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.”
Tychicus had delivered Paul’s letters to the churches at Ephesus (Ephesians 6:21) and to Colosse (Colossians 4:7) and probably these letters to Timothy and Titus.
2 Timothy 4:13
“13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.”
One could see how a cloak would be something of value to someone in prison. It is a large heavy wool garment which can be used as a coat or a blanket.
The parchments Paul is requesting were dried and treated animal skins used as paper and were written on. We do not know if these were copies of Old Testament books or blank pieces Paul wished to write on. Wouldn’t it be fun to know what Paul did with these and where they are!?
As life was ending what did Paul want?
- To be with friends,
- To be warm and
- To study and read God’s Word –
another good lesson.
2 Timothy 4:14-15
“14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.”
We aren’t quite sure who Alexander is. Logic would say he was an idol maker much like Demetrius the silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis (Acts 19:24). Like Demetrius he probably bore false witness against Paul and opposed Paul’s teaching. The obvious question to ask is why would Paul warn Timothy about this man. He must live on the route Timothy will take from Ephesus to Rome. There is a great lesson here, especially for the faithful… those who interfere with what God has called you to do will be held accountable to the Lord! Alexander may have caused damage to Paul or Paul’s ministry or to both, but his fate is in God’s hand.
2 Timothy 4:16
“16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.”
A “first defense” refers to a verbal defense used in a court of law. This is where charges would have been publically made known. In the Roman court system a person receives two hearings. The first is called prima action. This is where charges are filed and it is determined if a trial was necessary. The secunda actio would then determine the person’s innocence or guilt. Paul is currently in between these two hearings. If found guilty he could face the death penalty, which is what happened. (Paul was beheaded at the hands of Nero).
2 Timothy 4:17
“17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.”
Here is the heart of Paul’s reason for explaining that he was abandoned. It does not matter what humans do – the Lord will never abandon you! (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5)
To be delivered from the mouth of a lion is a common phrase meaning to be saved from impending danger. The Lord strengthened Paul so that he could proclaim the gospel.
2 Timothy 4:18
“18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
There is no need for a believer to fear death. No evil plot from man can keep God’s children from coming home.
Final Greetings 2 Timothy 4:19-22
2 Timothy 4:19-22
“19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.”
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.”
Priscilla and Aquila, after they fled from Italy, were faithful co-workers of Paul’s in Corinth (Acts 18) as well as in Ephesus and in Rome (Romans 16:3).
Erastus is the director of public works in Corinth (Romans 16:23).
Onesiphorus is the one Paul prayed for along with his family in 2 Timothy 1:16.
Trophimus traveled with Paul from Greece to Troas (Acts 20). Miletus is a seaport thirty miles south of Ephesus.
Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia are all Latin names which means they were probably Gentile believers from the church in Rome.
Paul closes the letter with a blessing.
May God be with you – the you is plural meaning all the believers in Timothy’s church in Ephesus (and all believers who will follow).
December 4, 2016
2 Timothy 3:1-17
2 Timothy chapter 1 was about being faithful.
2 Timothy chapter 2 is about being strong.
2 Timothy chapter 3 is a warning.
2 Timothy 3:1
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.”
The RSV– “times of stress”
The NRSV says – “distressing times will come”
The KJV says – “perilous times shall come”
The ESV says – “times of difficulty”
The 1599 Geneva says – “dangerous times”
The Living Bible says – “it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian”
The focus is not on the CONDITION of the days but on the CONDITION of the people.
Last days = from the 1st coming of Jesus to His return.
2 Timothy 3:2-5
“2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
As people neglect their spiritual lives they will become more and more selfish and eventually begin to turn on each other.
Vs 5 says people will be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
Who is Paul warning about here?
- It’s not mankind in general
- It’s not the unsaved
- He is talking about those in the church
“Those who have a form of godliness but deny its power”. They may express knowledge of God but they do not have a relationship with Him. True Christianity cannot be hidden; it overflows into the public arena.
What is it going to look like when the church is slanderous, prideful, lovers of self and lovers of money?
Topping this list of characteristics is being “lovers of selves”. Whenever love of self is raised, love for God and love for the things of God is lowered.
- lovers of themselves (making own will the center of life)
- lovers of money (there is God, and people and things. We should worship God, love people, and use things. If we start worshipping ourselves, we will ignore God and start loving things and using people.)
- boastful (an arrogant individual who exaggerates)
- proud (all that matters is me) (“to show one’s self above”, “to appear above”)
- abusive (harsh, denigrating, demeaning insults directed against God or man)
- disobedient to their parents (for Jews this is equal to rebellion)
- ungrateful (refuse to recognize the debt they owe to God)
- unholy (that which is in opposition to God or what is sacred. without regard of duty toward God)
- without love (this term speaks of natural affections, attack on family unit)
- unforgiving (those who are unwilling to negotiate a solution to a problem involving a second party)
- slanderous (goal is to harm one’s reputation)
- without self-control (lacks strength to control one’s passions)
- brutal (no regard for the rights or feelings of others)
- not lovers of the good (hostile to or despisers of all that is good; lack of generous interest in the public good.)
- treacherous (betray another’s trust and confidence)
- rash (to do foolish things without thinking)
- conceited (means wrapped by smoke, so that what is outside one’s world of self cannot be seen)
- lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (to ignore God and live one’s life in pursuit of selfish desire that gratify the flesh)
2 Timothy 3:6
“6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,”
Paul exposes the modus operandi of the false teachers. They enter private homes on the premise of teaching spiritual truth only to gain control and to exploit. “Gullible women” are those who are weak in virtue and the knowledge of the truth. They are usually weighted down with guilt and become easy prey for deceitful false teachers. Paul is not singling out women as much as he is describing the most common method used by false teachers. Guilt kept these women from making proper decisions.
2 Timothy 3:7
“7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
This speaks of those who were jumping from one false teacher or cult to another without coming to an understanding of God’s truth. It was common for these students to be able to quote the Old Testament scriptures and could probably hold a conversation about certain doctrines but the truth of God’s word escaped them. Obviously this meant they were still slaves to their sin which kept them living a life full of guilt. Not grasping the truth of Jesus’ love and grace kept them in bondage and made them easy targets for those with deceitful hearts.
2 Timothy 3:8-9
“8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.”
Jannes and Jambres were two Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses (Exodus 7:11, 22; 8:7, 18-19). Although their names do not appear in the Old Testament Jewish traditions do name them as the sorcerers who opposed Moses. Paul uses these two men as examples of the deceitfulness of the false teachers.
A “depraved mind” is a mind devoted to lies. It is to have some knowledge of God and perhaps know of His commandments. However, it is living impure lives and to have very little desire to please God.
The modern day legal definition of a depraved mind is:
“Depravity of mind refers to the state of mind which is contrary to justice, honesty or morality. Depravity of mind is a condition where there is a deviation or departure from the ordinary standards of honesty, good morals, justice, or ethics as to be shocking to the moral sense of the society. Depravity of mind can also be described as an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which a person owes to another, or to a community.”
Eventually their deceit will be exposed. Truth does not exist as an option, but as a testimony. Counterfeit cannot stand the test of time, truth can!
A Final Charge to Timothy Verses 10-17
2 Timothy 3:10-11
“10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.”
Paul was forced to flee from
- Damascus (Acts 9:23-25)
- Pisdian Antioch (Acts 13:50)
- Iconium (Acts 14:6)
- Thessalonica (Acts 17:10)
- Berea (Acts 17:14)
Timothy was from Lystra.
The Lord’s continuous deliverance of Paul should have encouraged Timothy as he faced opposition and possible persecution in Ephesus.
How we live our lives, the decisions we make reveal what beliefs we hold and what priorities we keep. This is why we need to often do a self-evaluation. It is easy to drift away from what we value. We must be willing to make corrections often.
2 Timothy 3:12-13
“12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
Faithful believers WILL face opposition and persecution from a Christ-rejecting world. Persecution is not reserved for just the super Christians. To live a life of obedience to Christ and to continue to grow spiritually will require one to go against the culture of the world which in turn will bring attention, mostly negative, against you. However worldly accusations against a Godly person is not a negative thing!
Until Christ returns false teachers will continue to mislead the lost. However their fate is sealed and there will be a day they will be held accountable. Corruption and deception will continuously rise until the world experiences the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 3:14-15
“14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Paul encourages Timothy to remember his upbringing and the Godly teachings of his mother and grandmother. Like David remembered his “lion and bear” victories which gave him the confidence to take on Goliath, Timothy can have confidence in the truth which has been taught to him since birth. The Old Testament points directly to the truth of Jesus.
“And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
Confidence in the truth of Scripture should lead to an obedience and dependence to Christ. We should strive to live lives of trust and conviction.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
“16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
All Scripture, meaning both Old Testament and New Testament, is accurate and given by divine inspiration.
“Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.”
To understand that the Bible is “God breathed” is to understand the power which resides in each word, verse, chapter and book. Authority rests in God alone. Through that authority his word is good for…
Teaching (revealing Divine instruction and doctrine)
Rebuking (Wrong behavior or wrong belief)
Correcting (The restoring of something to its proper condition)
Training in righteousness (Godly guidance for Godly behavior)
To be “thoroughly equipped” means to be able to meet the demands of Godly ministry and righteous living. To be capable of doing everything one is called to do.
The goal of instruction, discipline and training is to keep us focused on what God has called us to do NOT on what we want to do.
November 27, 2016
2 Timothy 2:14-26
2 Timothy chapter 1 was about being faithful.
2 Timothy chapter 2 is about being strong.
2 Timothy 2:14
“14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.”
Another responsibility is for believers to constantly remind other believers of the instruction and warnings which Paul is sharing with Timothy.
Arguing with false teachers and arguing with those who use human reason over God’s Word are activities that are not only foolish, but they are dangerous.
Paul uses the word “ruin” here. This form of the Greek word “ruin” is only used one other time in the New Testament. Peter uses it in 2 Peter…
2 Peter 2:4-9
“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.”
Timothy is to warn these false teachers “before God” meaning he is to call God as a witness against them and their teaching. The real warning here is not only are the false teachers brought to ruin but also those who listen to them.
2 Timothy 2:15
“15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
By contrast, Timothy must do his best to teach the truth. To correctly handle the Word of God one must understand the historical background, as well as the context the Word was written in. Again it is far too simple to use human reason, meaning reading scripture and saying, “I think this verse means this…” How are you coming to that conclusion? By understanding context and condition or by human reason. We must be zealous, diligent in imparting God’s Word accurately. To “rightly divide” means to “cut it straight” which is a reference to the trades that require an exact response or answer. Trades like wood working or tent making, trades where precision and accuracy are required. When handling God’s Word precision and accuracy is required.
2 Timothy 2:16
“16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.”
This is the second of three warnings. Heresy only leads to ungodliness.
Notice that the believer’s response to such people and such teaching is not to be tolerant or kind but we are to AVOID such people.
2 Timothy 2:17-18
“17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.”
Those who interpret God’s Word with human reason and those who speak or teach God’s Word out of context not only bring shame upon themselves but they ruin those who hear them. Like gangrene or cancer, this is deadly and can spread quickly.
Once again Paul uses Hymenaeus and Philetus as examples. We are told here that they were teaching falsely about the truth of the resurrection. A common lie in Paul’s day was that because the body (something which is physical) is evil, it would not actually resurrect. The false teaching was that believers would not experience a physical resurrection but only a spiritual one.
This is much like the false teachers Paul deals with in Corinth…
1 Corinthians 15:12-17
“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”
2 Timothy 2:19
“19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
Paul does not allow evil and false teaching to get the last word. He reaffirms that despite what people may say or do God’s work of salvation through Jesus and the preaching of the gospel through the church will continue to stand.
“…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
When Paul says, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” It probably brought back thetime of Moses and Numbers 16
Numbers 16:1-3, 23-26, 31-33, 35,
“Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent 2 and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. 3 They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”
Then the Lord said to Moses, 24 “Say to the assembly, ‘Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’”
25 Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 He warned the assembly, “Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.”
As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community.
And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.
2 Timothy 2:20-21
“20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”
Again we have a picture proving distinction between a true believer and a false follower. The holy should be separated from the common.
A wealthy person would have a large house and would have vessels of silver and gold. In that same house one would find items of wood and clay. When and for whom would the silver and gold be used and when and for whom would the wood and clay be used?
The point is that as a believer, one who is sanctified, separate, made holy for the PURPOSE of God is comparable to the use of the special and common vessels found in a house.
2 Timothy 2:22
“22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
What are the “evil desires of youth”?
Understand that the term youth today, which mainly refers to teenagers, was not used in the same manner in Paul’s day. In the time of Paul, life was placed in two categories, youth and old age. So youth covered many years. Timothy was considered to be in his youth, yet he was in his thirties when Paul wrote this letter.
(THIS would be an easy example of interpreting Scripture with facts or with human reason. Human reason would say that desires of youth would be from our teenage years, not all our life up to old age.)
As we flee from evil desires we must run towards something. This means that we must pursue righteousness, faith, love, purity, all Godliness.
2 Timothy 2:23
“23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. “
Paul’s third warning deals with arguments.
Selfishness. Pride. These attitudes lead to quarrels.
One cannot pursue righteousness and seek after foolishness.
2 Timothy 2:24
“24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”
In contrast to the false teachers, Timothy must focus on being the Lord’s servant.
Again, Paul emphasizes that having arguments with false teachers is useless and damaging.
What should one’s response be – just preach the truth.
2 Timothy 2:25-26
“ 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
Opponents would be those who have been deceived by false teachers as well as unbelievers. Whenever God’s Word is taught four parties are involved. The teacher, the listener, the Lord and the enemy (trying to deceive and steal). The best way to instruct is by word and deed. To teach it and to live it.
November 20, 2016
2 Timothy 2:1-13
Last week 2 Timothy chapter 1 was about being faithful;
2 Timothy chapter 2 is about being strong.
2 Timothy 2:1
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
“You then” contrasts what Paul is about to say to Timothy with what he said in the first chapter which was about being faithful. Paul just spoke about those who had become ashamed. Why were they ashamed? Because of the circumstances of persecution and their weakness in dealing with it and fear of what could happen to them. After Paul explains that, he encourages Timothy to remain strong.
2 Timothy 2:2
“2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others”
There is a saying that one cannot lead in a place they won’t go or can’t go themselves. Paul is telling Timothy that he needs to entrust what he has learned from Paul to teach others who then can continue spreading the gospel. After many years of ministry with Paul, Timothy understands divine truth. Timothy is now to take what he has learned and teach others. This is the essence of discipleship. This format of spiritual reproduction is how generations of Godly leaders and teachers continue on to this day and until the Day of the Lord’s return.
2 Timothy 2:3-4
“3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”
The metaphor of a believer being in a battle and fighting as a soldier is a familiar one in the New Testament. Soldiers in active duty expect warfare. To be on the front lines means living in harsh conditions. Christians who live holy, obedient lives place themselves on the front lines of spiritual warfare. Believers will fight regular battles against those who oppose the truth.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Paul explains that a soldier does not get involved in civilian affairs. When a metaphor is used it is important to BE CAREFUL NOT to turn that into something other than what the author intended it to mean. For example: when comparing a believer to a soldier and then saying that a soldier does not get involved in civilian affairs it means that a believer should not wander off from the commitment they have made to the Lord Jesus, meaning that we have to be careful not to get entangled in the thinking, philosophy, attitudes and habits of the world. When a soldier is committed, he is committed. From the time he wakes in the morning until the time he sleeps at night. This should be a picture of the Christian soldier as well.
2 Timothy 2:5
“5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.”
Here we move from a military metaphor to an athletic metaphor. Again the purpose is to focus on the commitment required. It takes great effort and determination to compete successfully in athletics (1 Corinthians 9:24). In Paul’s day there were the Isthmian games in Corinth. In our day we have the Olympics. Both of these venues give us a picture of athletes who are fully and completely dedicated to victory.
As athletes have rules in competition, the “rules” for the believer is the Word of God. Both athlete and believer must be obedient. Unfortunately we live in a day where sports are not driven by winning the prize as much as it is by making money. This is an example of being caught up in “civilian affairs”. The goal of any athlete should be to compete and to gain victory not making a salary that is beyond comprehension. The same is true for the believer. The goal of life is to know, love and serve the Lord, not to have as much pleasure and comfort as we can obtain.
2 Timothy 2:6
“6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.”
We move from the soldier to the athlete and now to the farmer. When God spoke to Israelites He often used farming metaphors. The Israelites were to work the land and so they understood such terminology. The metaphor of the farmer explains the hard work involved as well as the reward for faithful service. Although working a garden is hard work, planting and harvesting is only a small portion of the farmer’s time. He must also protect the soil from insects and disease. He must be prepared to deal with either drought or flood. He must be ready to press on through the elements such as the wind and summer’s sun.
In the Greek the term “hard working” would mean to labor to the point of exhaustion. Farmers worked long hours and the work was hard and in all conditions. What is the spiritual meaning of this metaphor? That we must be focused, committed, and hardworking. Be willing to suffer and know that in the end the reward will be there.
2 Timothy 2:7
“7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”
After using three different metaphors from three different walks of common life: soldier, athlete and farmer, Paul tells Timothy (and us) to meditate on what is being said. Think about this. Then after you have done that, think about it again and then again.
Think about this so that you understand the truth and that you understand the implications! What Paul has said here is not advice but a strong admonition. To be successful one must have…
- Hard work
2 Timothy 2:8-9
“8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.”
Jesus obviously is the ultimate model. He is better than a faithful soldier, a victorious athlete or a prosperous farmer. Paul understands that for Timothy (or any believer) to be the kind of Christian they are being called to be they must be focused like an athlete, willing to continue on in harsh conditions like a soldier and be willing to labor like a farmer. Even then it is possible for one to end up being chained like a criminal, as in Paul’s case. Again, the point is that no matter what may happen in this world, the Word of God is true and free and will deliver you into the promise and hope we each desire.
2 Timothy 2:10
“10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.”
Why would anyone want to live like the examples Paul has given us? The life of a soldier, an athlete and a farmer is a hard, fully focused life. The temptation is to settle for less and be fine with apathy. That however is NOT what the Lord wants.
We may be asked to suffer, not for our sake, but for the sake of others. Why? Because there are those who have not yet realized the depth of love Jesus has for them and in these cases our efforts matter. God has chosen to use His weakest vessel (humans) to reach the lost. Why would He do this? Because by using the weakest of many vessels, God gets the most glory!
Paul uses the term “elect”. This can become somewhat confusing because if we try to figure out who God’s elect is and who is not we will fall short probably every time. What would you have said about Paul, pre Acts 9? When he was known as Saul, would you have thought that this would be the one that God would use to reach Gentiles? Only God knows who the elect are. We are to love everyone and pray for everyone and live as if all are called to salvation. What happened after that is for God not us.
Would you have been willing to suffer persecution and hardship for Saul of Tarsus?
2 Timothy 2:11-13
“11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.”
Paul emphasizes the truth of what he is about to conclude with saying this “is a trustworthy saying”.
The “faithless” which Paul speaks of is a lack of saving faith not a weak or struggling faith. This speaks of one who rejects the truth of Jesus. The contrast found in these three verses is obvious.
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.”
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
“To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.”
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”
1 John 2:18-19
“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”
November 13, 2016
2 Timothy 1:1-18
1 Timothy and Titus were written while Paul was imprisoned in Rome (Acts 28).
It is believed that Paul was released from Rome and then was arrested again under the persecution of Nero. Paul’s first imprisonment was one which he felt he would be released (Philippians 1:19-26, 2:24). However his second imprisonment, there is no language of hope for his release. It is during this second imprisonment that he writes 2 Timothy.
The first Roman imprisonment was under house arrest, which gave Paul the freedom to have visitors and to be a witness for Christ. This second imprisonment, approximately five to six years later, Paul is treated as a criminal, placed in a cold cell (4:13) and placed in chains (2:9) with no hope of being set free (4:6).
Unlike his first, during this second imprisonment Paul is abandoned by all who were close to him (1:15). Why would they desert Paul? For fear of persecution and ultimately execution. Paul writes to his spiritual son Timothy asking him to come to Rome and to visit with him one last time. In 2:2 Paul passes the mantle of ministry to Timothy exhorting him to continue on in faithful service. For one last time Paul wants to be a source of encouragement for Timothy.
Paul, understanding that his confinement is a sentence to death, writes a very personal letter to Timothy. The letter must be read with an understanding of the emotion and circumstance with which Paul writes. Paul has witnessed the moral decay and his concern for believers to remain faithful highlights this passionate letter. This is the last of Paul’s 13 letters.
2 Timothy 1:1-2
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
As in his other letters, Paul opens by describing himself as an apostle, a sent one, a messenger and servant of God. This is “who” Paul is; an apostle, a messenger, a servant of Christ. Even while chained in a Roman prison cell, Paul recognizes the authority and responsibility God has placed upon him. This authority is not self-appointed but granted by the will of God.
2 Timothy 1:3
“3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.”
As a model we can use in prayer, Paul begins by offering thanks to God. Once again remember even being held as a criminal in a prison one can be thankful to God. For what? In this case Paul is thankful for Timothy.
Paul tells Timothy that he prays for him “night and day”. What an example of faithfulness! Circumstances do not dictate Paul’s prayer time. The Kingdom does.
2 Timothy 1:4
“4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.”
Paul shares a deeply personal word here. As life is coming to an end for him he desires to see Timothy one last time. Perhaps Paul wanted Timothy there to be with him, as much as he could, during these last days.
I’m sure Paul longed for Timothy’s company however I also imagine that Paul wanted to make sure Timothy was encouraged one last time. Paul knew that Timothy was called to the position of pastor to the church in Ephesus and Paul wanted to make sure Timothy heard that confirmation and commissioning one more time.
2 Timothy 1:5
“5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
In verse 3, Paul mentioned his own spiritual heritage, his ancestors. Here he mentions Timothy’s grandmother and mother. You can’t borrow someone else’s faith but you can see the faith of others and then develop your own. This is the case with Timothy. His mother and grandmother were wonderful Christian models of faith.
2 Timothy 1:6
“6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
Stay hot – do not grow cool
HOW do you do this???? Consider your resources
In 2:1, Paul answers our question: “You then, my child, be strengthened (be empowered) by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” So the power of verse 8 that sustains the fire of unashamed courage is “by the grace that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
New Testament believers receive a special gift from God – the Holy Spirit. Once one truly becomes a believer the Holy Spirit is given as a deposit of what’s to come. Paul commands Timothy to “stir up” or keep the fire alive. How could Timothy do this? By the continued use of his spiritual gifts of teaching, preaching and leading.
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit”
2 Timothy 1:7
“7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
“God gave” … that’s a gift!
God has given us the gift of love. To love like Jesus loves. What did Jesus do? He became a servant and He laid His life down. We have the power (Dunamis) (we get our English word Dynamite from this Greek word). God has given us the power to love.
We are not to be timid, which means to be “cowardly, embarrassed or shamed”.
Timothy was ministering in a day when Roman persecution was at its worse.
There was the constant confrontation with false teachers and he lived in a culture in Ephesus which was very secular and pagan.
Timothy’s personality was probably not one of assertion so when he had to dig in and stand firm against false teachers and against apostasy, it more than likely took a lot out of him.
When Timothy felt overwhelmed or even fearful Paul tells him he is to recognize that those emotions are not from God. The Lord has given every believer all the resources they need for any trial or threat that may come their way.
2 Timothy 1:8
“8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.”
Why would a believer be “ashamed” of the name of Jesus?
Because of fear of the violent persecution taking place. Confession often meant a brutal death sentence.
Shame often reveals itself through silence. No matter what the outcome may be, including suffering, every believer is to be true to the Gospel, proclaiming it with strength and boldness both in word and in deed.
2 Timothy 1:9
“9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”
What is the purpose of life?
Happiness? Comfort? Laziness?
As a believer we all should recognize often that we have been redeemed. It’s amazing to understand that redemption is ours but it is vital to remember what we have been redeemed from! Redemption has come at a price, the blood of Jesus.
To answer the first question, what is the purpose of life? It is to love, serve, and fellowship with our Lord and Savior. This was God’s design for you before you were even born. This verse is not a general call to unrepentant sinners but a call to those who have been redeemed. Our justification should result in an all-out effort to live a life of holiness.
2 Timothy 1:10
“10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
What is “it” in verse 10? It is God’s grace.
The grace we receive from God is undeserved. Oftentimes we can’t even comprehend it. However that is no excuse for ignoring His grace.
Because of God’s grace death has been defeated. Physical death still occurs but for the believer it is no longer the enemy.
1 Corinthians 15:54-55
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
“he will swallow up death forever”
““I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?”
2 Timothy 1:11-12
“11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.”
The penalty for preaching and teaching about the Gospel was death in which case Paul had no fear. Again Paul acknowledges that he was appointed by God to be his messenger and if the cost of being faithful was death, he had no fear of that.
Paul had explained the suffering he had already endured. He had been beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, stoned and left for dead, criticized and most of this by his own countrymen. With all that, he could say “I was not ashamed of the Gospel!” His full confidence was in the Lord. The phrase “I have believed” means that his faith was something that began in the past but continues on.
2 Timothy 1:13-14
“13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”
Timothy was taught the Old Testament by his grandmother and mother. Paul also was well versed in the Old Testament. They both knew what the prophets of old prophesized. They also know the words of Jesus. They trusted in the prophecy of the coming Messiah. They trusted in Jesus’ words of fulfilling those prophecies. This is true doctrine or sound teaching.
This is known as orthodoxy (right doctrine) which produces orthopraxy (right living). To teach others the gospel we too must trust in its validity. Our trust in God’s Word must be revealed in our lives. We are to guard what has been entrusted to us!
There is a sense of urgency in Paul’s words. Timothy must have complete trust in what has been entrusted to him. So must all believers.
2 Timothy 1:15
“15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.”
We know nothing else about Phygelus and Hermogenes except what is written here. They must have been leaders and well known in the province of Asia, what now is modern day Turkey. Their desertion under the pressure of Roman persecution reveals insight to what the church was like as Paul passed the baton of ministry to his spiritual son Timothy.
2 Timothy 1:16-18
“16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.”
In contrast to those who deserted Paul he now speaks of the faithful. Onesiphorus was not ashamed or afraid to be associated and to be a follower of Jesus. Paul prayed for this man and his family, “May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus”.
When Paul was in Ephesus, Onesiphorus must have shown Paul a great deal of hospitality. That’s what a true believer would do. Later Paul reveals that this fellow believer traveled to Rome and searched for Paul. He searched “hard” meaning his travel involved time, effort and possibly even the threat of life.
November 6, 2016
Don’t Put HOPE in Wealth
1 Timothy 6:11-21
Paul’s Final Charge to Timothy
1 Timothy 6:11
“11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
“Man of God” is a term used to describe a man who spoke for God.
The man of God is known by what he:
- Flees from
- Follows after
- Fights for
- Is Faithful to
What do you flee from?
What do you pursue?
Timothy was to live “differently”. This is a calling for ALL believers. We are to live differently. We are to flee from certain things (false teaching, ungodliness) and embrace others (righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness).
1 Timothy 6:12
“12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
The Greek word for “fight” gives us the English word “agonize”. This is a military term describing one’s discipline, concentration and effort.
Timothy’s life, and ALL believers’, should reflect a commitment to Jesus. It should and needs to be seen in one’s behavior, attitude and speech. This is NOT a now and then description but an everyday lifestyle.
To “take hold of the eternal life” is to understand that eternity is a future hope but it is also a present day event as we live in the power and values of God’s kingdom.
1 Timothy 6:13
“13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you”
What confession did Jesus make before Pontius Pilate? That he was truly the King and the Messiah.
“Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
We, as Timothy was, are charged with proclaiming this truth!
What an honor & privilege!
1 Timothy 6:14
“14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
To “keep this command” is not a Sunday calling but a lifelong pursuit. One day the Lord will return to earth in Glory. That is a day we look forward to. We are to live today for that day.
1 Timothy 6:15-16
“15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.”
Jesus was born of a virgin. He lived a sinless life and …
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”
This we KNOW. When will He return? ONLY God knows.
In His first coming He was a baby and vulnerable. When He returns He will come in might! He will return as “the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords”.
1 Timothy 6:17
“17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
Too often wealth and pride go hand-in-hand. The more wealth a person has the greater the temptation is to look down on others and become prideful. Those who have much are often tempted to TRUST in their wealth versus trusting in God.
Christianity does not require a vow of poverty but it does require granting the proper honor to God and acknowledge that it is the Lord who provides not the individual. In the world’s economy worth may be determined by possessions, but that is not true in God’s economy.
In the world, wealth does create a social divide, rich versus poor. In heaven all are equal. There are no rich and there are no poor. No matter how much wealth we have here on earth we are to live with that heavenly understanding.
1 Timothy 6:18
“18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”
Simply put, we are blessed to be a blessing. Those who have wealth (by the way most American’s ARE considered wealthy), are to invest that wealth by being generous and being willing to share. If we won’t share our money we will never share our hearts.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
1 Timothy 6:19
“19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
What is treasure?
Is it temporal or is it eternal?
The answer to the second question depends on how you answered the first question.
When it comes to giving should we ask how much of MY money should I give to God or should we ask how much of God’s money should I keep?
Do you spend more time in prayer asking for wants or in thanking God for what you have?
Is your future secure because of IRA’s, retirement accounts and real estate or because you are saved by grace and have eternal life because of the blood of Christ?
1 Timothy 6:20-21
“20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. Grace be with you all.”
What shall we do?
This is not a hard question to answer. Scripture is clear. We are to guard and proclaim the truths of Scripture. This is not a trivial matter.
God has “entrusted to your care” the gospel. The truth of who Jesus is and what He has done and what he will do.
“Grace be with you all”. This is not just a blessing for Timothy but for all the believers in Ephesus and all who believe thereafter. Paul’s desire is that all believers live in the understanding of God’s provision and protection and stand firm in the truth of the gospel.
October 30, 2016
Love of Money
1 Timothy 5:24-6:10
1 Timothy 5:24-25
“24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.”
Some sins are obvious. Some are not.
Some are obviously unfit for ministry.
Others are qualified to serve.
Some are very good at faking spirituality, looking good on the outside but filthy on the inside.
Whether sins are obvious or unseen, eventually they do bear fruit.
Sin has a way of exposing itself in speech, attitude and actions.
The same goes for good works. Some are evident very quickly.
Some are done in secret. True Godliness is always revealed.
The calling to ministry is internal. One feels it themselves, but it is also external, meaning others see and confirm that calling as well.
Last week we understood the importance, the wisdom of taking your time getting to know and watching men before you commission them into leadership roles in ministry. When choosing elders, be patient in one’s approach, witnessing their qualifications and letting their heart and the spirit inside them be revealed.
This week we move into another type of relationship…
1 Timothy 6:1-2
“All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.”
In the Roman world the system of slaves was an economic one. Slavery was prevalent and widely accepted in the ancient world. The economy of Egypt, Greece, and Rome was based on slave labor.
What can the modern day believer take from this passage?
The master/slave relationship of Paul’s day is parallel to the modern day employer/employee relationship.
What kind of employee should a believer be?
What kind of employer should a Christian be?
These questions are answered here in this section.
Paul refers to himself as a “bondservant” (Romans 1, Philippians 1).
A bondservant is one who remains a servant by their own free will.
Some servants were slaves under legal bondage, others were voluntary.
A “bondservant” was a servant who could be free but chose to stay in the same position, as a servant. Many times the home the servant worked in became their home. Families were started and raised.
When the master and servant both became believers, this added a new dimension to their relationship spiritually but oftentimes not socially. The social structure stayed the same, meaning slave/master. If the social structure became the focus, the message of the Cross could be compromised or lose its meaning. Trusting in Jesus is about salvation. When one becomes a believer their views on social issues may dramatically change, but this is a personal heart change.
Once they become a Christian, slaves (employees) are to serve their masters (employers) even better. They are to “honor” them meaning they are to recognize the masters absolute and unrestricted authority. If this is practiced in earthly relationships it will be acknowledged in heavenly relationships.
Jesus is our master and we are to serve Him and recognize His absolute and unrestricted authority.
1 Timothy 6:2-5
“These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”
After speaking about submission, obedience and honoring authority, once again Paul brings up the warning of false teachers.
Here he points out three traits of false teachers:
- They teach a different doctrine
- They do not “agree” with correct doctrine
- They reject Godly teaching
Paul describes the consequences of false teaching; they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words. Paul provides a list of “fruit” that is produced by false teachers:
“…envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction…”
This explains that nothing of value comes from following false teaching.
- Envy is dissatisfaction with what one has or a desire to have what another has
- Strife is selfish which leads to an angry disagreement
- Malicious talk is the need to exalt oneself at the expense of others
and these things lead to evil suspicions and friction.
To say that one has been “robbed of the truth” means that the truth has been “deprived”, or “stolen”. In the Greek this word means destitute.
1 Timothy 6:6
“6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
To contrast verse 5 we have verse 6 and contentment.
In the Greek this spoke of a person who was unmovable by external circumstances. For the believer the source of contentment is the Lord Jesus.
What is Godliness?
We don’t need any special talent or equipment. God has given to each one of us “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
Genesis 5 – Moses twice describes Enoch as one who “walked with God.”
Hebrews 11 – Enoch was one who “pleased God”
Godliness is always devotion in action.
Contentment is internal; It has nothing to do with the external.
Contentment has nothing to do with what you have or do not have.
The word “Contentment” means “to not need anything”.
The human spirit was not created to find contentment in earthly physical stuff.
It is created to find contentment in a personal intimate relationship with the Lord.
1 Timothy 6:7-8
“7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”
When it comes to earthly physical possessions, we should be content with just the basic necessities of life, food and clothing.
This opens up the question, is it wrong to have stuff?
No, not if the Lord provided them and not if they don’t interfere with one’s relationship with the Lord. How can possessions do that?
By spending more time with stuff (hobbies, TV, computers, cell phones etc.) than with God.
In an average week do you spend more time watching TV or praying and reading God’s Word?
In an average week do you spend more money on hobbies and habits or on the Kingdom?
1 Timothy 6:9
“ 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
As Paul continues the theme of contentment he makes the point that money and possessions do not equal personal satisfaction. Those who “desire” physical possessions are constantly falling into the temptation. Such as? Not being a good steward. Not trusting God to meet true needs. Once we begin to compromise we begin to participate.
“each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Our deepest joy should be found in the Lord not in stuff!
1 Timothy 6:10
“10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Money in itself is not evil but the “love of it” is.
“But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…”
In God’s economy;
- Gold cannot replace God
- Business success cannot replace the value of family
- Dreaming cannot replace the proper handling of resources
- Comfort for self cannot replace meeting needs of others
Our culture is driven by the desire to have and produce wealth, yet it is the misuse and ungodly desire of wealth that leads to destruction.
How do you spend your time?
Surprising Facts About How We Actually Spend Our Time
As of 2014, the life expectancy in America is 78.6 years. Divide that up, and this is how the average person spends their lifetime.
- You spend 25 years sleeping.
- You work for 10.3 years. 40 hours a week from ages 20-65.
- You watch TV for 9.1 years. 8 hours per day.
- You spend 2 years watching commercials.
- An average 3-hour NFL broadcast only has 11 minutes of actual gameplay, 63 minutes of commercials, 67 minutes of shots of players standing around , 35 minutes of shots of coaches, crowd and cheerleaders, 15 minutes of replays
- You spend 2.5 years cooking.
- You spend 3.66 years eating,
- The total amount of food you consume in a lifetime is close to 35 tons.
- You drive a car for 4.3 years.
In that time, you’ll cover enough distance to go to the moon and back 3 times.
- You spend 3 months of your life in traffic, about 38 hours a year.
- You spend 1.5 years in the bathroom.
- You spend 70% of our waking life in front of digital media.
- As of 4th Qt of 2013 Americans spend 11 hours a day with electronic media
- You walk a total of 110,000 miles.
- That’s equivalent to 4 times around the world.
- You spend 90% of your time indoors.
- You drink 12,000 cups of coffee.
- That’s about 1.6 cups per day.
- If you’re more into tea, you drink 48 pounds in your lifetime.
- Women spend nearly 1 year deciding what to wear.
- Women spend 1.5 years doing their hair.
- The average man will spend 1 year staring at women.
- Women spend 8 years of their life shopping.
- That’s over 1 hour every single day.
October 23, 2016
Those Who Are in Need
1 Timothy 5:1-22
I Timothy 5:1-2
“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”
“Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.”
We are to be gentle with one another not abusive.
Notice the terms used here, father, mother, brother and sister – these are family terms. This is what a church is to be, a family.
The term “exhort” means to come alongside someone and help or strengthen.
We are to strengthen one another.
I Timothy 5:3-4
“3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.”
4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.”
Paul now addresses widows. This is more than a casual verse or two. There are 14 verses about widows; that’s 12% of the entire letter. One eighth of 1st Timothy is addressing widows. Believers are to give proper recognition which means we are to “honor” them.
Other places in Scripture also deal with widows. In fact there is an entire book in the Bible built around 3 widows – the book of Ruth.
Paul takes the time to remind the believers at Ephesus of the 5th commandment. Families have the first responsibility for their widows (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). Children and grandchildren have a moral debt to take care of the ones who raised them; this is an act of Godly obedience.
We are to have compassion on those who are in need. Jesus dealt with a widow in Luke 7. At Nain Jesus comes upon a widow who is also burying her son. Luke 7:13 says Jesus had “compassion” – the English word doesn’t do that moment justice. The proper description is that Jesus “was moved to His core”. WOW! Imagine how Jesus felt when he saw this widow and when he looked into her eyes. He had compassion and brought the widow’s son back to life.
Faithful people are compassionate people!
Back in Biblical times a bride came with a dowry.
It was to be put a way just in case she was ever a widow. That’s what she would use to live off, BUT what happened if the dowry was spent?!
Not every widow is a widow in need. Not all widows are alone or without resources. What is considered “proper recognition”? This includes caring for the widows financially and offering any other support she may need. Whatever resources the widow is lacking the church should come alongside and help with.
“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.”
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.”
“When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.”
“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
I Timothy 5:5
“5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.”
Now the focus shifts to the widow’s spiritual life. Paul explains there are 2 types of widows. Those who put her hope in God and those who want to live for pleasures.
Should the church use its resources to help any and all widows or just the ones that have made a commitment to God?
Paul explains that the church should help the widow who “puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.”
This means that the church should only support the widows that seek God and trust in Him. This is the mission of the church. What if a widow does not meet these qualifications? What about the one who does not live for God but lives for her own desires and pleasures? Scripture answers that question.
I Timothy 5:6-7
“6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame.”
There are times in Scripture where God will let those who seek their own desires and pleasures go. He hands them over to their own desires.
Paul says the church should follow that model meaning that any widow who lives this way (worldly, immoral, ungodly) should not receive support from the church. Ultimately that would only be agreeing with her decision to live a worldly life and ultimately will drive her further away from trusting God.
Without financial support from the church and with no other family to support her, hopefully her desire to seek personal pleasure will not last long and she will return to the Lord and to the church with the right heart and spirit.
“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.”
Not just church leadership were to follow this thinking but all believers were to allow the wayward widow to go her way until she reaches a point of brokenness.
This response to the wayward widow will be considered proper conduct or “blameless”, meaning “above reproach”.
I Timothy 5:8
“8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
In 1 Timothy 4:3 we were told that the false teachers were forbidding people to marry, attacking the very root of the family and the foundation of society.
Here Paul reconfirms the importance of the family unit.
Anyone who does not support their family members in need is denying the faith by their choice and lifestyle.
I Timothy 5:9-10
“9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.”
Sixty, the New Testament age of retirement is the age Paul uses as a point of reference. Why 60?
By 60, women would have completed the child bearing and raising part of life and now have the time to devote themselves to ministry. They now can live lives of service to God and the church.
Being faithful to her husband is literally a one-man woman. This does not exclude women who were married more than once. Young widows were encouraged to re-marry and have a family. However while she is a wife, she is a faithful wife.
This character trait displays how devoted and faithful she is, as she was a wife of character.
The reference to a widow who has “washed the feet of the Lord’s people” is an indication of a servant’s heart for this is a common task performed by slaves.
I Timothy 5:11-12
“11 As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge.”
It was common for newly widowed women, especially if they are young, to make a vow not to re-marry but to remain single and to spend their lives serving God.
Such women were easy targets for false teachers and their lies.
“Any vow or obligation taken by a widow or divorced woman will be binding on her.”
Paul recognized the danger of desires versus keeping a vow.
1 Corinthians 7:8-9
“Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
“I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”
I Timothy 5:13
“13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.”
Busybodies are people who move around and pry into things that do not concern them. They do NOT mind their own business.
This is in contrast to the widow given to prayer and good deeds (vs 5 & 10).
Instead of spending their time focused on works of service and speaking words of encouragement they selfishly finds reasons to be involved in gossip and speaking “non-sense”. This is a warning to those who create idle time as well as to church leadership to beware of such people. Unfortunately more times than not the ones fulfilling these ungodly behaviors were young widows.
1 Thessalonians 5:14
“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive…”
I Timothy 5:14-15
“14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow satan.”
Young widows who are still of child bearing age still had the opportunity to re-marry and have a family. Managing your home, raising well-trained God fearing children was a way that God’s kingdom could be served. Paul is NOT against marriage and family. He is saying make sure you know what you are committing to before you commit!
Unfortunately some young widow had already given up on their commitment to serve Christ.
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
1 John 2:15
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”
I Timothy 5:16
“16 If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.”
As Paul concludes the section on widows and the church’s and believer’s responsibility to take care of them, he makes sure that women aren’t excluded in this command. If a believing woman has a widow in her family then she is to reach out and be that compassionate hand that cares. To neglect this responsibility is to dishonor Christ.
I Timothy 5:17
“17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.”
Paul now changes focus from widows to church leadership, especially pastors and elders.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.”
Pastors who are true shepherds are to receive “double-honor”.
What is double-honor? This was in regards to their financial support, to respect and to honoring the position God has put them in. They will be held accountable for the responsibility God has placed on them. Paul is asking the church to recognize the value of the pastor’s work. A true shepherd will give of himself to the point of weariness which means to the point of exhaustion.
I Timothy 5:18-19
“18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.”
Paul quotes from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. First he quotes Deuteronomy 25:4 and quotes Jesus’ teaching in Luke 10:7.
A pastor who truly shepherds his people should be paid accordingly.
The last thing the people need is for the pastor, their shepherd, to be weary and weakened by lack of financial support. This kind of burden hinders the whole congregation.
Because leaders are the easy targets and are often open to unfair criticism and gossip, no accusation against a pastor or elder should be considered unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.
This wisdom was given to Israel in Deuteronomy 19:15 and confirmed by Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17 and again by Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:1.
If someone hears of an accusation against a pastor or elder and it is not substantiated by other witnesses they should confront the one spreading the accusations because it is sin and can only cause division and damage to the church and to the kingdom.
I Timothy 5:20
“20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.”
However, after the confrontation of 2-3 witnesses, if a pastor or elder is in sin then they need to be dealt with. If the pastor or elder does not confess and repent from the sin then the entire church is to be aware of the sin. Rebuke is always for the purpose of repentance and ultimate restoration. When a leader sins, it affects all those under his leadership.
I Timothy 5:21
“21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.”
The temptation in dealing with leaders who have fallen into sin is to look the other way or to avoid any type of confrontation. As God has no favorites when it comes to church discipline there is to be no favoritism.
As witnesses, Paul calls upon God, Jesus and the elect angels. The elect angels are “unfallen” angels and are in contrast to satan and demons. These angels will be a part of God’s eternal kingdom.
I Timothy 5:22
“22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.”
A common ceremony affirming a man’s calling into public ministry is the laying on of hands. This comes from the Old Testament practice of laying hands on the sacrificial animal so that one is identified with the animal (Leviticus 4, 16, Numbers 8, Deuteronomy 34).
The warning here is NOT to commission or approve a person into ministry without the proper preparation period. To place an “unqualified” person in a position of ministry or leadership would be to be as guilty of any sin they may commit while in ministry. To make a hasty careless selection is a poor representation of God and the authority God places on certain positions.
October 16, 2016
Do Not Neglect Your Gift
1 Timothy 4:1-2
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”
“Later Times” – the early church has put the beginning of this period as the time of the coming of Christ to the time of His return. This is also known as the “church age”. The “church age” runs from the coming of the Holy Spirit, meaning from Pentecost, and will end with the rapture.
Some will “abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits.”
Peter also warned about this…
2 Peter 3:3
“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.
The word apostasy comes from the Greek word for depart.
This defines one moving away from an original position.
Why would someone move away from seeking the truth?
Scripture explains that they believe lies and are deceived.
“deceiving spirits” and “things taught by demons” is not teaching doctrine about demons but it reveals the foundation for false teaching.
What is the source of these lies and deception? satan.
The enemy constantly works at perverting God’s Word.
False teachers will teach lies under the pretense of Godliness.
In chapter 4 Paul deals directly with the false teachers that have been exposed in previous chapters. He not only calls what they teach lies but he calls them liars!
Previously, Paul had warned the elders of this church in Ephesus…
“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.”
What has happened to these false teachers?
Scripture give us a picture. Their “consciences have been seared as with a hot iron”. The King James reads their conscience was “seared”.
Seared is a medical term explaining that nerves have been destroyed and scar tissue makes it impossible to feel. How does this translate to false teachers?
Their consciences have been desensitized to lies and deception to the point where they can teach these things and have no effect on their conscience.
1 Timothy 4:3
“3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.”
Creating order out of chaos is good.
Setting and honoring boundaries is good.
Legalism does nothing more than elevate the role of man.
Legalism places people in bondage.
After explaining that the source of false teaching is satan,
Paul now goes into detail listing two examples of such teaching.
False teaching more often than not contains a small element of truth.
To take a truth, such as fasting, and to elevate this as a requirement for salvation turns the truth into a lie.
This “purity” lifestyle was popular with the Jewish sect known as the Essenes;
For the many of you who have been to Israel with me, we have seen their lifestyle when we visiting Qumran.
They believed one HAD to be separated from the world.
From the Greek side there was the teaching of Gnosticism which taught that the physical was evil and had no effect on the spiritual.
There is nothing wrong with remaining single.
There is nothing wrong with deciding to eliminate certain foods from your diet.
It becomes falsehood when these things are taught as being HOW one can please God.
Nothing which comes from God is forbidden.
However one must receive things from God with thanksgiving.
1 Timothy 4:4-5
“4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”
To be “consecrated” or “sanctified” means that it is set apart, completely dedicated for God and the things of God.
The two examples of false teaching which Paul exposed dealt with marriage and food.
It is not hard to see that marriage is ordained by the Lord.
Nowhere in scripture is marriage forbidden.
Paul will spend more time dealing with the second example, foods.
1 Corinthians 8:8
“…food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.”
As we spend time in prayer giving thanks for what God has provided a transformation happens. One becomes more aware of God, His provision, His grace, His love, and His purpose.
To take what God has given and to demand that one abstain from what God has provided for spiritual reasons is falsehood. Believers are free from food laws.
“Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
Acts 10:13-16 Peter in Joppa
“Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
- God created to be received (shared)
- We are to receive with thanksgiving
1 Corinthians 10:30
“If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
1 Timothy 4:6
“6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.”
This instruction was given to Timothy (this letter is a personal letter written pastor-to-pastor). HOWEVER, what is said here applies to ALL believers.
“These things” referred to here includes all that has been said from 2:1 to 4:5.
- Fundamentals of the faith must be understood by all
- Scripture cannot be allowed to be compromised
1 Timothy 4:7
“7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.”
Being committed to God’s Word means rejecting anything that is not God’s Word.
Have nothing to do with godless or profane, meaning opposite of holy.
The phrase “old wives” was used to describe someone who was not educated.
What does this mean to us today? Sometimes in the religious or spiritual world something becomes popular and may seem harmless but is in fact very dangerous.
How do we avoid such deceptions? “Train yourself”
like an Olympic athlete. EVERY aspect of your life revolves around winning the prize.
For an athlete it’s a medal; for a believer it’s a holy life.
1 Timothy 4:8
“8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
Physical training is good. Physical training has physical benefits.
However Godliness (Euseberia) penetrates every aspect of body and soul and lasts beyond this earthly physical life.
Every area of life is affected by Godliness
1 Timothy 4:9-10
“9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”
Ministry is hard. It is grinding. It will cost you. So why do it?
Because we have “hope in the living God”
So we shall “labor and strive”. To labor means to engage.
To strive (agonizomai) means to labor fervently.
There are eight Greek words that can be translated “strive”. Agonizomai is used here in 1Timothy 4 as well as in …
“22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”
1 Corinthians 9:25
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
“To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”
1 Timothy 4:11
“11 Command and teach these things.”
These five words are pretty self-explanatory and will be repeated in 1Timothy 5:7, 6:2, 2 Timothy 2:2, 2:14 and Titus 2:15.
- Pursue Godliness
- Labor and strive to reach others
1 Timothy 4:12
“12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Age does not always equal maturity, especially spiritually.
The Greek culture placed great emphasis on age and experience.
Paul is telling Timothy he can earn respect by being an example.
Paul lists five areas where Timothy can be a Godly example
- Words or speech
- Conduct (righteousness)
- Love (self-sacrifice)
- Faith (commitment)
- Purity (Holiness)
All five of these character traits were lacking in the false teachers.
Our speech is a reflection of what is in our hearts.
Our faith is our knowledge and confidence in Jesus on display.
1 Timothy 4:13
“13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.”
Paul reconfirms Timothy’s job description.
- Read the Scriptures
- Preach (challenge those to apply God’s word in daily life)
- Teach (systematic instruction of the Word of God)
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
1 Timothy 4:14
“14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.”
“Do not neglect your gift”
Who is this command for?
Spiritual gifts are listed in Romans 12:4-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-12.
1 Timothy 4:15
“15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.”
After outlining what is involved in true Christian living we are told to be “diligent” in these matters.
The word “diligent” means to “keep at it”
which means this is not a when I feel like it way of living but it is a calling to everyday, day-in and day-out, commitment to Christ.
1 Timothy 4:16
“16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
One’s priorities are on display for all to see.
Perseverance is evidence of a born again life.
A disciple is one who is committed to the cause of Christ.
The fulfillment of salvation is still future however it begins here on earth.
We begin to live our faith out with each day we are given.
Perseverance, faithfulness, diligence: these things will keep you and those around you from falling to the lies and deceit of false teachers.
October 9, 2016
1 Timothy 3:1-16
Remember when Paul wrote this personal letter to Timothy there were not any chapter breaks. His letter would have been written in one complete scroll. I say that to remind you that everything Paul has been writing to Timothy about false teachers in chapter 1 and the responsibility of men in chapter 2 leads to chapter 3 and Biblical character.
1 Timothy 3:1
“Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.”
Trustworthy means true or faithful.
The NIV uses the term “whoever”, the KJV uses the term “if a man” aspires to…
In the Greek the term is TIS which is in the masculine form.
Coming off of chapter 2, Paul is listing the qualifications for elders which is a position for a male.
HOWEVER, everyone, men and women can see this list of qualifications and desire to live lives at this level of spiritual maturity.
“to aspire” the Greek word “Orego” means
“to stretch out”, “to grasp for”, “to pursue”
THAT is what we are to do with our Christian walk.
The term “overseer” or “bishop” is often used in Scripture.
The term presbuteros means elder.
Notice Paul does NOT tell Timothy to “appoint” or “ordain” elders.
Because this church in Ephesus has been established.
For a period of time Paul pastored the church in Ephesus.
Time has passed since then and now Timothy is taking over the “pastor” position and he has some work to do.
The term episkopos describes the position known as pastor.
Scripture lists the responsibilities of a pastor in several places. A pastor should …
- Lead, keep watch over (Acts 20:28)
- Equip the saints for the work (Ephesians 4:12)
- Rule or manage well (1 Timothy 3:2, 2 Timothy 2:15)
- Teach (1 Timothy 3:2, 2 Timothy 5:3)
- Shepherd/protect (1 Peter 5:1-4)
- Be an example (1 Peter 5:3)
A pastor is to keep out false teachers as well as anyone who may desire the office for personal gain.
1 Timothy 3:2-7
“ 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”
In the New Testament the words “Elders” and “Overseers” are used interchangeably, as is the word “Bishop”.
How does the modern day church define these titles or positions of leadership?
In the modern day culture the word “Bishop” or elders has come to mean the one(s) who oversees the church.
It is easy for a modern day church to battle over these titles. The titles themselves really have no value – what is of importance however is how these positions function!
An elder is not about age; it’s about spiritual maturity.
We are given two pictures of Biblical leadership
- The Family
- The Shepherd
The family or household model is a universal position. In God’s design the “Father” is the head of the household, which means he is the one responsible for giving overall Christian direction to this unit. It is the Father who is ultimately responsible under God to see to it that all members of his family are loved, cared for, encouraged, and taught God’s truth.
The shepherding model of Biblical leadership is much like the family model. Much like the father is to care for the family a shepherd is to care for the sheep. Under God’s guidance it is the shepherd’s responsibility to see to it that the sheep are sheltered, fed, and protected from wolves. If injured the shepherd tends to the sheep. If lost the shepherd searches for the sheep.
Eldership is not about age. Culturally the term “elder” is given to someone of age. Biblically age is not a qualification of eldership – maturity is!
Someone can reach old age yet never reach a level of spiritual maturity.
The easiest example to explain the difference between age and spiritual maturity is the “young” man who just finishes Bible college or seminary and becomes Pastor of a church. Is that man not qualified to be an Elder because of his young age?
The Maturity “Profile” of an Elder
Based on 1 Timothy 3:1-7
- Be above reproach – “anepileptos” This simply means an Elder should have a good reputation among believers and non-believers.
- The husband of but one wife – Paul’s focus here was on moral purity and based on the “culture” in which he ministered it is easy to see why this was an example of maturity. A man who is faithful to one woman, his wife, would have the reputation of being above reproach. Nothing destroys trust faster than immorality. Paul’s point was if a man could not be trusted to be loyal to his wife he couldn’t and shouldn’t be trusted to be loyal in other areas of life.
- Temperate – “nephalios” This is a man who has a clear focus on life. He is stable and steadfast. His thinking is clear. He is not given to extremes and is calm in judgment.
- Self-controlled – “sophron” Literally means to be “sound in mind”. To be sensible. ALL Christians are called to be this.
- Respectable – “Kosmios” To make the Gospel attractive by the way one lives. This is where we get our modern day word “cosmetics”.
- Hospitable – “philoxenos” This describes the way we use our material possessions especially the homes we live in and the food we eat. We are to be open to strangers.
- Able to teach – “didakikos” Once people put their faith in Christ Jesus the key to their spiritual growth is feeding on God’s Word. It is the Elders who are the overseers of this need. All Elders should be involved in this function realizing the most important teaching times come in a one-on-one relationship. This is what “fathering is all about (Deut. 6:4-9). The ability to teach is being able to communicate God’s Word in a non-argumentative, non-defensive, and non-threatening way.
- Not given to drunkenness – “paroinos” Spiritual leaders should not overindulge in drinking NOR should they cause others to sin by using their freedom. Drunkenness nullifies self-control.
- Not violent – “plektes” This is anger out of control, both physical and verbal. A violent person or a “bruiser” is a quarrelsome person. This person is controlled by emotions that are rooted in selfishness. This person would be unqualified to lead in any position especially in the Lord’s house.
- Gentle – “epiekes” Fair. Reasonable. Being gentle is in contrast to being violent.
- Not quarrelsome – “amachos” A person who avoids debates and arguments. This is part of being able to teach. A quarrelsome person is usually self-seeking and disrespectful.
- Not a lover of money – “aischrokerdes” It is not wrong or evil to have money. Paul is saying spiritual leaders should be free from the love of money. They must model generosity. They should possess a non-materialistic attitude.
- Manage his own family well – If he is a husband and father, is he the spiritual leader of his home? A test of a man’s maturity is his family. Do his children obey him with proper respect?
- Not be a recent convert – “neophutos” putting a man in a position of spiritual leadership without proper maturity is setting this brother up to fail (Pridefulness).
- Have a good reputation with outsiders – “marturia” Modeling Christ-like behavior. The saying more is “caught” than “taught” is more than just a cute saying. This oversimplification is based on Biblical truth. Those who are “teachers of the Word” – “live the Word”. A commitment to Godliness is seen and it is what people see in our lives that gives weight to our words.
1 Timothy 3:8-10
“8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.”
The word deacon (diakonoi) means servant. The term represents any type of service in the church. There is no scriptural definition of their service or responsibility other than Deacons serve under the leadership of the elders.
What is focused upon here in these verses is the kind of person who should serve in this role. A deacon should be worthy of respect. He or she should be sincere and not “double-tongued” mean saying one thing to one person and something else to another. This leads to deceit, gossip and division.
“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Deacons are to “keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience” meaning they do not adhere to strange or false doctrine. Their faith is well grounded and they are part of a team willing to advance the gospel.
1 Timothy 3:11
“11 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.”
Paul is not speaking about wives in this verse but about women. The position of deacon is one that a spiritually mature woman can hold and fulfill. Women serving in the church, just like men serving in the church, must be trustworthy in personal life and in ministry. They cannot be “malicious talkers” meaning they cannot gossip, spread falsehoods, slander or agree with those who do.
Why would women be singled out as being tempted to gossip? In ancient time it was the woman’s responsibility to go to the well each morning and bring back fresh water for their family. While all the towns’ women gathered at the well only one at a time could fill their bucket, what did the rest do as they waited? They talked. The question is what or whom did they talk about? This is the context behind the woman at the well in John 4.
1 Timothy 3:12
“12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well.”
In regards to one’s personal family, a deacon is held to the same standard as an elder.
1 Timothy 3:13
“13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.”
To serve the Lord well should be the goal of every believer.
Whether they are placed in an “official” position of leadership or not – ALL believers should strive to live lives that qualify as an elder or deacon.
“Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
For those who do, there is a promise here, you will gain an “excellent standing… in Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 3:14-15
Reasons for Paul’s Instructions
“14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”
“I am writing you these instructions …”
1.) Be alert to false doctrine
2.) Understand the responsibility men have
3.) The level of maturity believers should strive for
God’s “household” is a family.
God’s house is the church. The church is the bride of Jesus. To the Lord the church has great value and those who are part of God’s family need to love and appreciate the church as Jesus does. We do this by our attitude and behavior.
“The church of the Living God”. The term “Living God” has deep Old Testament roots – Deuteronomy 5:26, Joshua 3:10, 1 Samuel 17:26, 2 Kings 19:4, Psalm 42:2, Isaiah 37:4, Jeremiah 10:10, Daniel 6:20, Hosea 1:10.
Jesus is living.
He is ACTIVE in your life and in mine.
Do we live that way – as if we know Jesus is active in our lives????
1 Timothy 3:16
“16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.”
The sixth line of verse 16 was an early church hymn. This verse is a summary of the gospel.
It is TRUTH
It is a confession of faith.
“He appeared in the flesh – Jesus’ incarnation
was vindicated by the Spirit – Rom 1:4, Jesus’ resurrection
was seen by angels, – Heb 1:6 “He is NOT here, He is Risen!”
These verses witness to Jesus’ incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension. The church is now called to keep this witness alive.
October 2, 2016
1 Timothy 2:1-15
1 Timothy 2:1
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving
be made for all people…”
- Petitions – The KJV reads “Supplications” whose root word means “to lack” or to “be without”. The lost have a great need for salvation.
- Prayers – Prayer is not to be filler. It is to be purposed meaningful conversation between us and our Lord.
- Intercession- Root word means “to fall in with someone”. Romans 8:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit “intercedes” on behalf of believers. The Ephesian church is to plead to God on behalf of the lost in Ephesus.
- Thanksgiving – Ultimately thanksgiving revolves around holiness. To be thankful is to acknowledge that all that we have and all that we are is because of our Holy Lord and Savior.
1 Timothy 2:2-3
“…for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
- Paul says we are to be praying for those God has placed in leadership positions.
- Does it matter if we agree with them? No.
- They will be held responsible for how they lead and the direction they lead.
We are to pray that their decisions are placed before the Lord and nothing is done without God’s leading.
If they fail at this, they will be held accountable and we (believers) will be held accountable for how we prayed for them.
Understand “who” Paul is asking the church at Ephesus to pray for. It is the Romans and especially the Roman emperor (who at the time was Nero and was viciously torturing and persecuting Christians).
Paul explains that even in these conditions, being tortured and persecuted, (for their belief in Jesus NOT for civil disobedience) believers can still experience “peace”! Praying in these conditions is proof of one’s transformed life.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
1 Timothy 2:4
“4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
- God WANTS Not WILLS all people to come to the knowledge of saving grace.
- God’s “desire” is for people NOT to sin. God hates sin (Psalm 5:4, 45:7).
- Because He hates sin, this means He hates its eternal consequence, eternal damnation.
- God is not silent about what pleases Him and what ultimately brings Him glory.
What can the church get out of this? Marching orders!
We are to evangelize. God’s desire is for those who love Him to help those who don’t know Him or have begun to reject Him to be made aware of just how deeply He loves them.
This is NOT optional!
1 Timothy 2:5
“5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,”
There is NO other way of salvation. There is just ONE way. Tolerance does NOT mean pluralism (meaning more than one).
A mediator is one who comes between two parties to resolve a conflict. The ONLY one who can resolve the conflict between man and God is Jesus! This points to the fact that humans do need a mediator and knowing that need – God has provided it.
1 Timothy 2:6
“6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”
This verse is a creed meaning it’s a core or fundamental belief.
Jesus died for our sins. Innocent blood was shed for the guilty.
He was the “ransom” or the “payment”. This term is often used to describe the price paid to set a slave free from bondage, not just for a brief period but permanently.
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 Timothy 2:7
“7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—
- “And for this purpose”, What purpose?
- For the sake of bearing testimony to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
- A herald is one who “speaks for” or “proclaims for” the king.
Paul understood the importance of his calling. An apostle is one who teaches (a disciple is a student). A herald is one who proclaims the truth on behalf of the king.
- The church is to take the truth of the gospel to the lost.
1 Timothy 2:8
“8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.”
Paul continues his instruction on prayer from verse 1.
Here Paul explains the importance of our attitude when we pray.
When Paul uses the term “men” here it does not mean mankind; it means men, males. God intends and expects men to be the spiritual leaders.
What happens to a church when the men do not lead?
What happens to a family when the man does not lead?
Men, it’s time to MAN UP!!!!
Paul says to “pray” by “lifting up holy hands”. This is more than just posture. Holy hands mean to be unpolluted.
1 Kings 8:22 – Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication
“Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven 23 and said…”
“Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.”
“I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.”
“Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.”
1 Timothy 2:9-10
“9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”
Why the focus on women? Women in Ephesus, who were now attending church, were still living impure and self-centered lives.
This distraction was carrying over into worship. Paul calls Timothy to confront this problem. This verse is not meant to be a fashion guide.
Women need to be modest so that worship is not disrupted.
Worldliness/ glamor is a precursor to lust and lust diverts our focus away from God.
The point here is that women’s conduct should be appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
1 Timothy 2:11-12
“11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.”
A woman should learn in quietness not silence.
Paul says he does not “permit” which means to allow someone to do what “they desire”.
Remember “teaching” is where most of the trouble was occurring in the Ephesian church.
Before Paul addresses the women, he addresses the men (Verse 8).
It is the men’s role to be the spiritually covering for the women and children.
If the men fail at this or refuse to take on this God ordained responsibility then it falls upon the women (to spiritually cover the children).
This is not God’s design.
Paul’s emphasis here is a calling to the men as much as it is to the women.
Sin caused men to abandon servant-leadership and become passive or harsh and insensitive and uncaring, or some other distortion of Biblical headship.
Sin distorted the woman’s support and led to manipulation or defiance or helplessness or some other distortion of true biblical submission.
Paul is calling for a recovery of God’s original plan.
He doesn’t abolish what God created at the beginning.
He wants to get back to it: true Biblical headship and true Biblical submission.
Headship is the divine calling of a husband to take primary responsibility for Christ-like servant leadership, protection, and in the home.
3 key words that some want to use cause strife and rebellion
Silence – teaching – authority
“silence.” Verse 11: “Let a woman learn in silence.” Notice that the word “silence” is used two other times in nearby verses. The word for silence here (hesuchia) is used earlier in verse 2 of this chapter (hesuchion). There it refers to the “quiet” life which all godly people should lead.
“Pray . . . that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.”
This gives you the tone and the extent of the word. It doesn’t refer to absolute silence: a “quiet” and peaceable life is not a life of total silence. It’s a life untroubled and serene and content. The silence isn’t to be total. It’s what we would call “quietness.” So what sort of quietness does Paul have in mind? It’s the kind of quietness that respects and honors the leadership God has called to oversee the church. Quietness means not speaking in a way that compromises that authority.
Paul’s says, “I permit no woman to teach”?
Let’s look at other places where Paul and others talk about women teaching.
Titus 2:3 He says that the older women are to teach the younger women: “they are to teach what is good, and so train the younger women to love their husbands and children.”
2 Timothy 3:14 where Paul tells Timothy to remember from whom he learned the Scriptures. And the persons he has in mind (we can tell from 2 Timothy 1:5) are Eunice and Lois, Timothy’s mother and grandmother. (His father was not a believer or even a Jew, Acts 16:3.)
Priscilla. It says in Acts 18:26, “When Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos, they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately.”
So, Paul is not saying in 1 Timothy 2:12 that every kind of teaching is forbidden to women. There are examples of them teaching younger women, teaching children, and in some way teaming up with their husbands to give private instruction when someone is confused or uninformed like Apollos.
WHA Paul does have in mind here when he says, “I do not permit a woman to teach”?
The next phrase is, ” . . . or exercise authority over men.” “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over men.”
Instead of letting the word “teach” mean anything we want it to mean or think it might mean, it’s safer to say, it probably means a kind of teaching that somehow relates to authority.
Teaching and exercise authority go together.
So what is this “authority” referred to in verse 12?
When you read the rest of 1Timothy about the role of elders in the church, what you find is that the elders had two basic responsibilities: they were to govern and they were to teach.
You can see this in the qualifications of 3:1–7, but the easiest place to see it is in 5:17, “Let the elders who rule [or govern] well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”
Elders rule or govern, and elders teach or preach.
Back in Acts 20:28, you may recall, the elders in the church at Ephesus were called by the Holy Spirit and made “overseers” and charged with “pastoring” or feeding the flock that is, teaching the whole counsel of God.
What Paul says in 1Timothy 2:12 when he says he does not permit a woman to teach and exercise authority over men. He is saying in essence: I do not permit women to fill the office of elder in the church. The elders are charged with the leadership and instruction of the church. That’s a summary of their job.
When Paul puts those two things together and says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority,” the most natural sense is, “I do not permit a woman to assume the office of elder in the church.”
So the authority Paul has in mind in 1Timothy 2:12 is the authority of elders. What is that supposed to look like? Well we saw already from Jesus in Luke 22:26: “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.”
And Peter said to the elders of the churches (1 Peter 5:3), “Do not domineer over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock.”
In other words, elder-authority is servant-authority.
Elder-leadership is servant-leadership.
Elder-authority can always be called to account by Scripture.
Therefore teaching is the primary instrument of leadership in the church.
Defining Authority and Submission
“Authority” refers to the divine calling of spiritual, gifted men to take primary responsibility as elders for Christ-like servant-leadership and teaching in the church.
“Submission” refers to the divine calling of the rest of the church, both men and women, to honor and affirm the leadership of the elders and to be equipped by it for the hundreds and hundreds of various ministries available to men and women in the service of Christ.
God intends for the entire church to be mobilized in ministry, male and female. Nobody is to be at home watching soaps and reruns while the world burns.
And God intends to equip and mobilize the saints through a company of spiritual men who take primary responsibility for leadership and teaching in the church.
Headship is the divine calling of a husband to take primary responsibility for Christ-like servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home.
Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts.
As Paul will go on to explain the qualifications and responsibilities of the elders, one of the obvious signs is that the elder is male.
Again this conforms to God’s order.
What happens when the man won’t lead?
This is the scenario Paul is trying to make sure does not occur.
What this verse is not saying is that women need to be quiet and be inactive.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Women do have a vital role in God’s ministry.
They have spiritual gifts that need to be exercised.
1 Timothy 2:13-14
“13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.”
Paul now uses scripture to support what he had said in verses 9-12.
Male and female roles have always been part of God’s perfect design.
Adam violated his leadership role and Eve violated her supportive role.
Paul chose not to elaborate but to simply explain the facts of the order of creation.
Let’s remember this is a personal letter addressed to a fellow pastor
Timothy was to turn chaos into order, to separate the truth from lies.
1 Timothy 2:15
“15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”
Saved, as in salvation?
Saved is an American church word, in the Jewish Culture they use the word Chosen
What about women who never bear children?
Paul is no longer speaking of Eve.
He says this as a future statement, “women will be saved”.
They will be saved through the errors of the false teaching they had previously accepted.
The Greek word here means “preserved” or “rescued” which means “to heal” or “to be delivered from”.
Meaning that the women in Ephesus and after will be freed from or “saved” from false teaching.
Because it is the woman who physically bears the child, she will be the one who will be able to deliver future generations into truth and away from sin.
A woman has the ability to raise generations of Godly children.
Not all woman are called to be married, let alone bear children (1 Corinthians 7:25-40). This section about being saved through childbearing is NOT speaking about eternal salvation. How does a woman receive that? By faith.
There is an assumption that these women have already confessed a relationship with the Lord which is why Paul writes these women shall “continue in…” faith, love and holiness. Propriety simply means “behavior that is accepted as correct and proper.”
September 25, 2016
Beware of False Teachers
1 Timothy 1:1-20
1 Timothy 1:1-2
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy my true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Paul’s greeting to Timothy and to the church at Ephesus comes with authority.
He emphasizes that his authority as an apostle is not self-appointment but appointment by God.
The term “God our Savior” has its root in the Old Testament.
Once Paul established by what authority he is about to write,
he begins by offering a blessing, “Grace, mercy and peace.”
Paul and Timothy – Paul addresses Timothy as
- “my true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2)
- “my dear son” (2 Timothy 1:2)
- “my helper”
- “co-worker” (Romans 16:21).
Timothy ministered with Paul in
- Brea (Acts 17:14),
- Athens (Acts 17:15),
- Corinth (Acts 18:5, 2 Corinthians 1:19)
- and accompanied him on his trip to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4)
- Timothy was with Paul during his 1st Roman imprisonment and
- He went to Philippi to encourage the believers there and then reported back to Paul in Rome (Philippians 2:19-23)
- After Paul’s release… Paul sent Timothy to churches as his representative (1 Corinthians 4:17, 16:19; Philippians 2:19, 1 Thessalonians 3:2).
- Timothy eventually became the pastor of the church in Ephesus (Eph 1:3).
- Timothy was from Lystra (Acts 16:1-3) (which is modern day Turkey).
- REMINDER – Lystra was where Paul was stoned and left for dead
- Timothy’s name, means “one who honors God”
- His mother (Eunice) and his grandmother (Lois) taught him the Old Testament scriptures from his childhood (2 Timothy 3:15).
- He has a pretty solid background
The Book of 1 Timothy
- It is a practical letter containing pastoral instruction from Paul to Timothy.
- Timothy was well educated in Paul’s theology so there was no need to give extensive doctrine instruction.
1 Timothy 1:3-11 Timothy Charged to Oppose False Teachers
“3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith…
6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
Why all this talk about false teachers?
From the beginning of the spreading of the gospel there have been heresies and false teachers.
These false doctrines were a direct attack on the foundation of the church.
Some may expect these heresies to come from outside the church but what happens when the attack comes from within the church walls?
Timothy was given the responsibility of staying in Ephesus and making sure “certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer.”
These false teachers may be few in numbers but they had a wide influence. Timothy was “charged” (a military term) with making sure these false teachers were removed and their influence was limited.
- What is a heresy?
- What is a false doctrine?
A “heretical person” is one who follows his own self-will and who is to be avoided. (Titus 3:10)
Heresy is designed to create divisions in the church (1 Cor. 11:19).
Heresies signify self-chosen doctrines not coming from God (2 Pet. 2:1).
Heresy is designed to bring confusion and doubt.
Heresy is different than personal convictions (do I eat meat or not eat meat).
Heresies distort truths.
Paul warns Timothy that false teachers “devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies.”
“endless genealogies” refers to people who felt they had special knowledge or had the ability to “interpret” scripture in a way that did not lead people to Christ but ultimately caused confusion and division.
Rather than equipping the church these false teachers were creating confusion.
“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
Myths? Myths are stories used to justify behavior that contradicts God’s word. This is why it is mandatory to understand the Bible in CONTEXT.
Anyone can take a Bible verse or passage, place it out of context and make it say almost anything they want it to say. That is myth NOT truth.
Timothy was to preach truth AND warn of error so people heard the real message of salvation.
Stopping false teachers is an act of love.
It protects the Scriptures and helps people understand truth not myths.
The behavior of these people is ineffective and their reputation becomes one of controversy not love.
Godly love is not sentimental or guilt driven. It comes from “a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith”. The opposite of these attributes is selfishness.
Do you have a cyst growing in your spiritual life?
A cyst develops abnormally in our body –
a spiritual cyst chokes the life out of important things?
When the things of God do not stir you
When the glories of heaven do not interest you
When the horrors of hell do not concern you
When the fate of the lost don’t move you
When the Word of God does not attract you
When the idea of prayer does not delight you
When the house of God does not gratify you
When you do not see the other things in your life as a way
to honor God?
September 18, 2016
“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.”
- Paul begins his FINAL greetings to his friends in the church in Rome
- He commends to them, “Phoebe, a servant.”
- It is widely agreed that Phoebe was likely the carrier of Paul’s letter to Rome. This is a great responsibility.
- Cenchreae is a neighboring city to Corinth. Corinth is where Paul is writing Romans
It is easy to BEGIN reading this last chapter at verse 16.
Because verses 3-16 say to “greet…so and so”
YES, of the 28 names listed 26 are mentioned by name.
2 others are referred to as Rufus’ mother (vs. 13) and Nereus’ sister (vs. 15).
There are 5 households mentioned.
17 men are greeted, 9 women and 2 couples.
HOWEVER, Romans 16 is far more than a list of names.
Notice the different relationships:
- co-worker, first convert, sister, brother, Mother to me,
- the Lord’s people, fellow prisoners, fellow Jews and
- the city’s director of public works.
“Greet one another with a holy kiss.”
A holy kiss of affection – In the time of Jesus & Paul, this was a common custom
- It was a widespread custom to kiss friends and guests.
- When Jesus was invited to dinner by Simon the Pharisee, Simon didn’t kiss him…but a woman anointed his feet and kissed him. (Luke 7)
- What would the greeting of a holy kiss mean in that situation?
- Had the Pharisee greeted Jesus with a holy kiss
- That’s how powerful this greeting is
The Kiss Was Holy
- The Christian’s kiss should be holy.
- There are many ways for a kiss to be unholy.
- Judas’ kiss of betrayal certainly was unholy.
The Kiss Was Family Affection
- Not a romantic one.
- It’s like the affection of kissing your children good night.
It Was a Physical Demonstration of love
- Healthy families are not afraid to touch each other.
- It creates security and trust .
- The NEED for touch in babies and women
It Was Culturally Acceptable
- The holy kiss is not a binding requirement for all believers
- Paul didn’t describe it as a Gospel obligation
- There may be cultures and situations where a kiss would not communicate what Paul desires.
- Hugging might. Handshaking might.
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”
The issue here is not the same as in chapter 14 where Paul is dealing with different convictions about non-essential things. There he said, in 14:5, “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”
- There was no talk in chapter 14 about avoiding people.
- The whole point was to help the strong and the weak Christians live together in mutual respect and understanding.
In verse 18, Paul said we should watch out for people who depart from the apostle’s doctrine and try to take others with them. Avoid them!
- Does that sound so UNCHRISTIAN like?????
- But it’s not
The Warning: Vs 17-18
- They put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.
- They are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.
- By smooth talk and flattery they deceive
Part of the job of the shepherd is to protect the sheep. Paul has two weapons at his disposal in his role as shepherd, declaring the truth and warning against intruders.
He has taught the Roman church the truth in this letter and now he warns them against those who would seek to lead them astray.
People who deceive the saints are not serving God but themselves.
Verse 18: “By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
False teachers don’t get a following by being rough and harsh.
They get a following by being nice.
It will seldom be popular to resist false teachers in the church because they are almost always perceived as bringing a blessing and speaking with words that help. They may even be called gentlemen. BUT they have their own agenda!!!!!
“Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”
The action steps: Vs 16-19
16 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
17 watch out for and keep away from those who cause division.
19 be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
The life of faith must be received and lived with the innocence and purity of a child (Mark 10:15)
BUT live in the maturity and reality of an adult who knows there is a war going on.
Verse 19b: “I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.”
Paul said something like this to the Corinthians. He said, “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature”
He got this from Jesus. Jesus said, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
When it comes to wisdom—the discerning of false teaching and destructive behaviors—don’t be naïve. Be wise; be mature.
But when it comes to evil— the destructive teaching and appeal that goes with them— be innocent. Be like a child in the sense you are innocent in evil.
I don’t take it mainly as a reference to any current event in the Roman church because Paul hasn’t described any crisis that appears to be coming to a head like that.
The troubles he describes are of an ongoing kind. We will have to be vigilant for false teachers till the last day.
I don’t think it’s a reference to a current event but to the last great events of history when Satan is finally crushed and put in the pit (Revelation 20:2-3) and in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).
It’s a warning not to be friends with evil because evil will lose.
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”
There are 15 chapters about salvation and Christian living and no mention of the devil.
When Paul finally mentions the devil, he has one thing to say about him.
Paul has one sentence to say about Satan in sixteen chapters.
Verse 20: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
That’s all. He gets one mention. And the mention is: He’s doomed. You will crush him under your feet.
This is not a new thought – Goes all the way back to Genesis 3:15, God promised that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent:
“I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.”
Paul regularly wrote using a secretary.
We know this because 4 times he signs off at the end of a letter with a greeting which he says is in his own hand (implying that the rest is in the hand of his secretary)
- 1 Corinthians 16:21
- Galatians 6:11
- “See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!”
- Colossians 4:18
- 2 Thessalonians 3:17
Nevertheless, the letter is his and the voice is his and the thought is his.
“Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.”
Isaiah 53 spoke about the righteous one who will justify the many (53:11)
Jeremiah promised that God would establish a new covenant (31:31)
Ezekiel said I will give them ONE heart and put a new spirit within them (11:19)
Through Jesus Christ OT prophecies are fulfilled!
September 11, 2016
Full of Goodness
Last Week Romans 15:1-13
- Paul cites four Old Testament passages illustrating that it was always God’s intent for the Gentiles to be brought into the fold of God’s love and mercy.
- Gentiles were not an afterthought in God’s plan.
- How does a believer have hope and joy?
- We must see our future with him as more precious and satisfying than anything we can have or experience here on earth.
We pick up from there…
“I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.”
What was life like in the church in Rome?
- They were “complete in knowledge”.
- They are “competent to instruct one another”.
Yet Paul spoke “boldly” to them.
“Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”
They were able to admonish and counsel one another toward
Continued Godliness and Kingdom Fruitfulness.
Paul admonished the congregation at Rome
- Admonish means to tell or urge (someone) to do something
- To indicate duties or obligations to
“Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.”
What is Paul saying when he writes, “So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.”
- Paul could take no credit for his ministry
“It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. 21 Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” 22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.”
- Paul’s life was dominated by a great ambition.
- It FAR TOO EASY to drift from day to day trying to get things done with no driving vision of the future?
Paul quotes from Isaiah 52:15
What does Isaiah 52 mean?
It explains “The suffering servant” … the foretelling of Jesus
If Jesus was willing to come and be a servant (I came to serve not to be served)
(Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45) can’t we also be servants?!
“But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.”
From Jerusalem to the land that connects northern Greece and northern Italy
Paul has preached in such a way that he can say,
“I’m finished. My work is done.”
As a believer, a Christian, I’ve meditated on this thought…
If Jesus returned today to find millions of people unevangelized, obviously He would look to us for an explanation.
I cannot imagine what explanation we could give.
I am certain that most of the excuses we are accustomed to making – and we make them with such a good conscience, based on Scripture – I believe we would be completely ashamed of them.
“I have been longing for many years to see you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain.”
- How did Paul hear about Spain? (From sailors?)
- His desire is to take God’s Word to the end of the world
I picture every time Paul got on a boat he asked the seasoned sailors,
“How far west have you been?”
“Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.”
Vs 23 Paul said he wanted to go to Rome.
Why is he going to Jerusalem?
From Corinth to Rome is 650 miles (by air)
From Corinth to Jerusalem 1,400 miles
This trip to Jerusalem is a 2,000 mile detour.
Acts 11:28, which is confirmed by historians, says there was a famine in Judea between A.D. 44 and 48. That may have been part of the reason for such a dire need among the Christians in Jerusalem.
So WHY is Paul making such a drastic detour?
- Paul wanted to take this money to Jerusalem himself, rather than give it to another, because he has personally raised this money, so that any embezzlement of it would undermine his ministry and bring reproach on the gospel.
- This collection for the poor is the demonstration of what the gospel does to people—it makes them
- Paul takes this offering to the poor in Jerusalem himself to underline the importance of ministry to the poor.
- It creates unity. If the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, then they ought to be of service to them (Jewish Christians)in material blessings.”
“I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.”
The importance of prayer – please pray for:
- Sunday School Teachers
- Food Bank
- Prayer Team
- Worship Team & Sound
Paul opens chapter 15 in the way he closed chapter 14, encouraging the strong believer to bear with the weaker believer.
What everyone needs is HOPE.
What produces and sustains hope?
- Since hope sustains joy and
- joy sustains endurance and
- endurance sustains love
How does a believer have hope and joy?
We must see our future with him as more precious and satisfying than anything we can have or experience here on earth.
There is some good stuff here HOWEVER it’s nothing compared to what lies ahead!
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Vs 1 – “We who are strong ought to bear
The word “Ought” means having a strong obligation. Almost a debt.
WHAT is it that we ought to do?
To bear with the weaker believer and not put ourselves first.
To bear means to carry.
So believers have “a strong obligation” to bear with the weaker (younger) believer.
To build them up and to lead them closer to Christ
How do we do that?
2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
Vs 4 – “whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope”
Paul says all of it — all of it — is written to wake and sustain your hope.
If you live this way you will be criticized.
HOWEVER the Lord says…
Vs 3 -“The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
Many of your footnotes will tell you that Paul uses a quotation from Psalm 69:9.
But what does Psalm 69 say?
Paul included it so it must have some meaning
Let’s take a little rabbit trail…
“I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children;
9 for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. 10 When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn;
11 when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me.
12 Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards.”
Psalm 69 begins with the author describing some type of illness.
Understand an illness in the days of the Psalms would have been seen as a curse from God meaning that what people would have thought and said was that the author was in sin and because of his sin God brought on this illness.
The author responds by denying this thinking stating that this charge is NOT true.
What do you do when someone else believes they know WHY you have suffered or have been attacked????
Sounds like the book of Job – rabbit trail # 2
John 9:1-3 Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
“…His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents…”
WHY would Jesus’ disciples ask Him THIS question?
Let’s go back to Job … who goes back to the time of Abraham, a time when God was preparing to establish the nation of Israelthrough which the Messiah will come
We know Job was a righteous man. How do we know this?
Job 1:1 “was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.”
Job 1:2 “He had seven sons and three daughters”
Job 1:4-5 “His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.”
As God was preparing to establish the nation of Israelthrough which the Messiah would come, Job became an object lesson ESTABLISHING the fact that not ALL tragedy and suffering is from sin.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO ESTABLISH THIS FACT?
REMEMBER THE QUESTION JESUS’ OWN DISCIPELS ASKED HIM IN JOHN 9?
Because even back in the time of Abraham, God was establishing the understanding that sometime the righteous will suffer.
This is IMPORTANT because in the future a baby is going to be born.
He is going to live a sinless life and die on a cross for the sins of the world.
Had God not established the fact that sometime the righteous do suffer – then Jesus would not have been accepted as the Messiah (Deuteronomy 21:22).
“I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children;
9 for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. 10 When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn;
11 when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me.
12 Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards.”
- Sometimes suffering is due to sin
- Sometimes it’s not
When it’s not – please understand Jesus still stands in the gap for you
2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The purpose of unity is not to please other believers.
It is to please the Lord.
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
“For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: ‘Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.’ Again, it says, ‘Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.’ And again, ‘Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples.’ And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Here, condensed in one statement, is a summary of Romans 9-11 pointing out that God, in Christ, came as a servant to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs, which resulted in mercy being extended to the Gentiles.
Paul cites four Old Testament passages illustrating that it was always God’s intent for the Gentiles to be brought into the fold of God’s love and mercy.
- 2 Samuel 22:50: This song of praise by David is also included in Psalm 18. Israel would praise God among the Gentiles and they would hear His power and might.
- Deuteronomy 32:43: In the Song of Moses, Israel’s first leader issues an invitation in the last verse of his song: “Rejoice, O nations (Gentiles) with His people (Israel).”
- Psalm 117:1: These verses called on the nation to praise the God of Israel for “his love towards us” and the “faithfulness of the Lord”.
- Isaiah 11:10: This passage predicts a branch rising from the “stump of Jesse”, the father of King David, which would rule over the nations and the Gentiles will hope in Him. That branch was obviously Jesus Christ.
Paul uses all of these verses to prove that the Gentiles were not an afterthought in God’s plan.
God’s plan from the beginning was to bring Jew and Gentile together to share in His blessings (Genesis 12:3).
What does this mean? THIS MEANS YOU ARE NOT AN AFTERTHOUGHT!
The Weak & The Strong
Make the main thing, the main thing.
- It’s easy to focus on external matters and neglect the main thing.
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.”
WHAT is a “disputable” matter?
- Living in sin?
“One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.”
“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord.”
These disputable matters were primarily two items, food (Vs. 2) and the observance of sacred days on the calendar (Vs. 5).
The weak brother’s abstinence from meat is not because he believes this behavior is the way he is justified.
So the question now is: What’s weak about this abstinence from meat?
Why does Paul call it weak?
The weak regard meat as unclean because they believe eating meat will not glorify God as much as abstaining will.
They believe there is something about meat that makes eating it less honoring to God than abstaining.
The weak man is making his choices based on what he believes will most honor the Lord and express thanks to the Lord.
What is Paul’s response?
Paul’s answer to the problem is to stop judging one another.
This goes for both sides. The conviction that there is something about meat that makes abstinence more honoring to God than eating and drinking was a mistake.
“The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?”
With this verse it is easy to read this and say “we shouldn’t judge others?”
Is that a true statement?
To judge by definition means: “To form an opinion or conclusion about”
“4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?”
This is a follower, a believer in Jesus.
This means believers are called to be holy, righteous and set apart.
I shouldn’t form a personal opinion about or come to a conclusion about my brothers and sisters in Christ.
- As believers are we to freely accept sin?
- Are we to turn a blind eye to sin?
- Are we to come along and encourage sinful behavior?
No of course not.
So, what is the bottom line?
“If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
Too many people live and die for themselves
- Obviously the Lord intends to draw a vivid contrast between the rich man and the poor man.
- The Lord does not name the rich man – that’s significant.
- All we are told about him is the way he dressed and the way he ate.
- Lazarus is the only character in any of the parables who is given a name.
- His name means, “God is my helper.”
- In those days they did not use knives or forks or napkins; they would eat with their hands, wiping them on crusts of bread which were thrown out afterward.
- This was what the poor man, Lazarus, was waiting for — crusts of bread that had been thrown out after the feast.
- The only comfort he had was the dogs licking his sores.
- Abraham’s bosom: In Scripture we are called “children of Abraham” -(Galatians 3:7) we go where Abraham is.
- “The rich man also died and was buried.”
- While his magnificent funeral is going on here on earth; he is in torment
- There is nothing said of the burial of the poor man.
- His body was probably thrown out on the city dump, outside the city walls, as the bodies of beggars routinely were.
- Lazarus, is in heaven because he believed Moses and the prophets
- He is not in heaven to give him compensation for what he went through on earth.
- No, he is there because he believed Moses and the prophets.
- The main thing in life is to listen to what God has said, to listen and obey Moses and the prophets.
- The reason for our earthly existence is that you might understand what lies beyond, what this life is heading toward.
- “The torment of the dead” is that they cannot warn the living.
- Ecclesiastes 12:1 “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come“
“If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
Why does Paul quote from Isaiah? (45:23)
- The prophecy about Cyrus is given 150 years before he lived and became King of Persia. God said that Cyrus will be the one that He will choose to bring Israel back to the Holy land.
- Why did God use Cyrus? For Israel’s sake.
- This means anyone who went against Cyrus would be going against God. Cyrus was God’s chosen vessel and it was by God’s design that history played out.
- To the audience in captivity and for all who come after that generation, here is God’s point.
- “Who foretold this long ago?”
- If they want to question if God will do what He says He will do, then they will see that His words will be fulfilled
“12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.
“Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. “
As long as it is not legalism, or heresy or false religion
15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. “
- Just because you have “rights”
- Does not mean you need to exercise them
Here is the ultimate passage on keeping the main thing the main thing
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.”
The main thing is God’s kingdom, which centers on our relationship to God and to others.
Romans 14:17-18 is Paul’s only reference to God’s “kingdom” in Romans.
A kingdom has a king, and Jesus is King!
It’s about Him, NOT you and I!
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.”
Christians MUST be willing to give up personal rights in order to spread the gospel to those needing to hear.
Is your relationship with Jesus a public relationship or a private relationship?
Romans 13 commands believers to
- Live respectfully towards the king (1-7)
- Love one’s fellow man (8-14)
These are 2 dimensions of one’s Christian life.
“8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
Paul quotes 4 of the 10 commandments.
Commandments 5 to 10 deal with our relationship with people.
Commandments 1-4 deal with our relationship with God.
When asked (Matthew 22:36) Jesus said the GREATEST commandment is what????
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The point of Romans 13 is about how we live and treat each other!
- If someone needs help and you can help… then help them!
- The debt of love is a debt we will always have the resources to pay.
- Love is a debt we pay on every day and never is paid in full.
The 2nd half of this section answers the questions:
WHY is this really important?
WHY is there such an emphasis on caring for people?
The answer is – the Day is near
Jesus Christ has appeared once and His return is coming?
If your first thought is “when?”,
That’s not the right focus.
Live as if He is coming back today!
The culture… your flesh… all may say “you have plenty of time.”
This is not how the Lord wants us to be thinking and living.
Don’t live as if you have plenty of time… Live as if today is it.
“11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”
“11 And do this… wake up from your slumber
Does this sound like a suggestion or a command?
Believers MUST awaken from spiritual sleep-
WHAT is spiritual sleep?
Unresponsiveness and inactivity concerning the things of God.
How significant is the day we live in?
- Night is Jesus’ physical absence
- Day is his physical presence
The term “walk” means a manner in which we are to live.
If people watched you would they be impressed by your lifestyle?
Do people look at you and say “I want to be like that!”
Paul lists 6 sins here.
WHY did he list these 6?
These are very common behaviors AND these behaviors are practiced fairly often and considered OK (by the world).
- Attending feasts with much drinking
- Impure, shameless, indecent activity AND behavior
- Quarreling, causing strife
- Jealousy, begrudging others
All what the Bible calls “Deeds of darkness”
The day in which we live is critical.
- It’s critical for our kids
- It’s critical for our family
- It’s critical for our friends
- It’s critical for our co-workers
- It’s critical for our neighbors
Closing: If you were to write a paragraph on high standard behavior, what Godly behavior would you list? WHO would you use as an example? How well do your decisions and actions reflect what you wrote?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God…”
“Everyone Must submit himself to the governing authority…”
When it comes to submitting oneself to the governing authority of the land, The language changes … urging (12:1) is replaced with a command (13:1)
““Everyone Must submit himself to the governing authority
for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
So, as believers we MUST submit to the leaders of this country????
What if we don’t agree with what they say and do?!
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.”
Daniel reminds us that it is God who places kings, presidents, leaders in place and it is God who removes them.
This means Claudius, Nero, Nebuchadnezzar and others were all in power because of God’s permission.
“3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.
4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
Q.) What is the purpose of Government?
A.) To have a peaceful life and be an effective witness
Romans, especially the 1st 8 chapters, explains in great detail, what it means to be “saved”. Justified… sanctified… heaven bound
One’s salvation impacts EVERY relationship in a believer’s life.
Are there other examples of God telling his children to submit to those in authority? Yes, one of the most difficult EXAMPLES is:
1 Peter 2:13-14
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”
One must realize that the audience Peter was writing to were believers who were being tortured and literally fleeing for their lives.
It would be hard to imagine this group fulfilling Romans 13:1-2.
But they did and for a GOOD reason!
What does Submit Mean?
It’s a military term to describe soldiers who are under authority.
This principle is a command and is to be done willingly.
Thus chapter 13 opens with a command, not an urging.
So WHAT are we responsible for?
What are we to do when our leaders make ungodly choices?
Are we to blindly submit?
When Peter and John were told by Jewish leaders “not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus” They replied…
“Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
So what are we held accountable to do???
PRAY…Pray they understand the responsibility they have TO GOD.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Pray for those in positions of authority.
They will be held accountable for the privilege God has granted them.
Believers will be held accountable for praying, not agreeing with, possibly not obeying… but we must pray!
- You say “please” and “thank you”.
- You say “Yes” not “yeah”.
- When finished you push your chair in.
- If you can, you open a door for someone.
- If you see someone who needs help… you help.
- You don’t talk with food in your mouth.
- The one who hits your shoulder with no apology.
- The one who unloads 37 items at the “10 Items or Less” lane.
- The shopper who barks orders at sales staff
- Manners suggest gratitude rather than entitlement
- Manners still reflect on your family and what your parents and teachers taught you.
- Manners are something that people will remember about you, even if they don’t remember why they remember you.
- Do you have time to love?
- Do you have time to hate evil?
- Do you have time to be joyful in hope?
- Do you have time to be faithful in prayer?