Posts Tagged ‘hope’

“Do you love me more than these,” Jesus asked of Peter who had not too long before boldly stated before all the disciples “Though all men forsake Thee, I will not.”

Here Jesus was graciously administering some much needed comfort and healing to Peter because of his earlier three denials with three precious opportunities to confirm his love for Christ. Yet Jesus takes Peter further as He continues with His instruction to Peter as to how He wants Peter to love Him; 1. Feed my Sheep and 2. Follow me. What a blessing it is that the Lord instructs us how to pray, love, serve and worship Him.

Certainly nobody could deny Peter loved Christ in view of the fact that he had been willing to lay down his life for Jesus who tells us there is no greater love than that . . . however, love needs to be . . . no, actually love must be given to the honoring of its proclaimed point of affection. Godly love doesn’t merely seek its own expression; rather it pursues the gratification of the other. (more…)

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.

A brother and I were praying for another person a while back when he quoted parts of the  verses above in his prayer. That got me to thinking about how these two verses are possibly the ones which I hear taken out of context most when praying with others. Each verse seems to have their own catch phrases that tend to be quoted by young or untrained believers. Even believers who appear mature and seasoned are still only repeating without evaluating what they’ve heard from some preacher, trying to “claim” the promises of God. However, I need to ask, is that really Jesus’ intent here? Was He merely trying to teach us the formula of what and how things need to be done so we can then successfully claim His promises and get our prayers answered?

So, wen I hear people misused verse 19, it is actually quite troublesome to me, because they really believe that by getting me or another to stand in agreement with them that they’re more likely to have their prayer answered. This flawed understanding literally keeps these believers in a position of trying to perfect the way they do things so they can have faith for their prayers… rather than simply praying because of faith.

Sadly, I am absolutely certain there are many Christians out there who cannot even understand what I just said. Because they been taught things incorrectly, they are left believing “faith” is something they must somehow muster up to compel God to move on their behalf, or even to hear their prayers.

We often witness another naive, though popular tactic to apply faith to prayer. This happens when people conclude their prayer request with that notable fluctuation in their tone as they say, “In Jesus name!” It kind of reminds me of when I was a kid and we would see another kid aspiring to be a magician wave his plastic wand and say “Abracadabra!” That’s because that was the magical word that was going to make the magic trick work.

However, scripture says faith comes by hearing and that hearing the word of God, so obviously many are hearing the word of God incorrectly and are failing to discern when they do. Faulty hearing leaves people trying to apply another kind of “faith” to their prayers, rather than permitting the word of God to be the vehicle whereby true faith is given unto them. That is why scripture states over and over, “He that has an ear to hear, let him hear.”

Regarding verse 20, it is evident it is being misunderstood by someone when you can sense they feel the need to verbally remind the Lord that there are “two or three are gathered together” in the His name. When I hear such usages of the scriptures it saddens me; because these are not the context in which the scriptures are given. Therefore I am writing this post to go over these verses to show how they are misused and address an error that is too common among those professing to know and walk with the Lord of Glory.

First, let’s look at this belief that if “two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything” then they will get whatever they are praying for. This misunderstanding is one reason why a lot of Christians hold hands when praying corporately. That doesn’t mean holding hands is wrong, but rather believing there needs to be “touching” is wrong. Most believers have witnessed this on religious TV shows, and perhaps that is where they were taught this erroneous belief.

While I discourage viewing the whole video, this is an example of  what many preachers do when they call on the people and those out in the viewing audience to come into an agreement together. Sometimes they will use the added touch of encouraging the people to reach their hands forward towards the pulpit and those at home to lay hands on their TV sets, as they pray for everything from financial prosperity, a revival, the salvation of family members, physical healing, and once again, some more financial prosperity.

It seems the more people can “do” while they are praying the more likely they are to have the faith for what they are praying about. What these preachers are doing is literally asking the people to make a conscious decision to willfully consent to surrender their minds and use their bodies to accept whatever is being told to them to do.

However, Jesus’s reference to “agree . . . as touching anything” is actually to imply an indication that such faith is authentic; and was not issuing an instruction to make physical contact. “As touching” is the proof faith is already present in their hearts; the kind of faith spoken of in Hebrews-

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Substance is tangible; it can be held and thus touched. Such is the gravity of true faith, evidence that has undeniable weight with God. But this faith comes only by correctly hearing, or rightly dividing, the word of truth. A hearing that receives understanding into the heart whereby we firmly lay hold of the promises of God.

Heb 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

When “two of you shall agree ” it is an indication that there exists a like-mindedness and unity of faith. Jesus wasn’t teaching us that we should solicit others to agree about issues of prayer so it will be more likely they will be answered, He was explaining when believers truly come together in a unity and faith regarding something (to be discussed later) then He will hear and their prayers will be answered by Him. Of course, the “agree as touching” or unity of faith will be dependent on each yielding to the Holy Spirit as He imparts to them a correct understanding of a matter through their”hearing” of His word.

Which brings us to verse 20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” Perhaps what I would like to do first with this verse is address what it is not saying. It is not saying that there needs to be “two or three gathered together” to have Jesus in our midst. His promise to all His children is evident in the verses below–

Ge 28:15 And, behold, I am with you, and will keep you in all places whither you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken to you of.

Mt 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

There are many other passages that confirms the Lord is with each of His children. Remember, we are the temple of God, so to think Christ would not be with us when alone would be a rejection of the greatest promise of God to never leave or to forsake us. So then, if we are to be good “workman that needs not to be ashamed” and rightly walk in the light of this word, we must determine what Jesus was in fact speaking about.

To start, keep in mind the whole of Matthew 18 from verse 7 to the end is dealing with “offenses.” However, from verses 15 to 35 Jesus begins dealing specifically with one  “brother” or believer being offended by another. When that happens we are instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ here to go and “gain” our brother back. That is because sin separates men from God and each other, causing a breach in the unity of faith and the bond of peace to be broken. Jesus begins by telling us to first go privately and explain to our brother how he has “trespassed” against us.

Matthew 5:23 – Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has ought against you; 24 Leave there your gift before the altar, and go make your way to first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 18:15 – Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone:  for if he will hear you, you have gained your brother.

 

Sometimes people don’t even recognize that the thing they did offended someone, or perhaps know what they did or failed to do was actually a sin. This instruction of scripture requires us to be willing to humble ourselves and to go seeking to remedy the situation by lovingly reasoning with our brother regarding the nature of their offense. Should they fail to hear us individually we are further instructed to take another brother with us so that these truths which are given to guide our love and behavior towards each other “may be established” according to God’s word.

If the brother continues to be unwilling admit or unconvinced that they have truly sinned, then Jesus says we are to tell it unto the whole church so that the whole body can judge the matter and together attempt to persuade the transgressor of his sin. However, the success of this will only be achieved through unfeigned love together with fervent prayer and often times requires fasting; thus placing the whole focus on restoration of unity and the bond of peace so the body might remain fitly joined together in service and worship to the glory of God.

Again, this all comes down to the transgressor humbling himself to correctly hear the word of God regarding the nature of his actions (or lack thereof). If he hears you, or the multitude of witnesses, then we have gained back our brother. If not, then we are clearly told that a willful sinner who continues to reject God’s word is to be unto us as “an heathen man and a publican.”

This “retaining” of their sin isn’t placing the brother in a state of condemnation, for his own continuance in sin has done that. Rather it is the churches responsibility to not enable sin by allowing people to continue in a known sin by permitting them to continue with us in a false fellowship. Yet this is what churches do all the time under the banner of “Love the sinner, Hate the sin.” Light and darkness have no meeting place for godly fellowship. However, if he acknowledges the truth and repents of his sin, then we can “loose” him from his sin with prayer and forgiveness.

When the sinner acknowledges their offense, it is here that we see the agreement “as touching anything” that Jesus was speaking of. All the parties involved have come to an agreement and a unity of faith regarding both sin and righteousness; the issue having been rightly divided and the offender humbled thereby and now seeks forgiveness. It is here at this precious moment we truly see how “two or three” are gather in Jesus name for righteousness sake and the petition that would be foremost upon their lips and hearts is for the Lord of Glory to forgive and heal the body of believers by strengthening the bond of peace and increasing our passionate charity one for another. Jesus’ promise assures us that He is there in our midst to heal us and bind us together in His Spirit, for He loves when we acknowledge His word and repent of our sins.

To take these verses and reduce them to a willful consent to accept another’s notion or desire about anything else and to pray holding hands to accomplish such, does enormous damage to the true intent of Jesus’ words. He has instructed us to love one another as He loves us and to humble ourselves, even when we are in the right. We are to go seeking restoration of that one who has perhaps ignorantly slipped out of the path of righteousness. Brothers and Sisters, what incredible healing God could work in His church if only they would correctly hear His words that were sent to heal us.

Concerning our praying “in Jesus name,” we do so as the qualifier of the object and reason of our faith; for it is because of Him and what He has done that we can exercise faith and come boldly before His throne of grace in our times of need, such as a holy reconciliation. We know “as touching” that we have our petitions because what we ask is according to His will and not our own, for His glory and not our wants. And thus faith does work, for faith works by love. It comes from hearing and that hearing the truth of God’s heart, love and will for us.

Therefore, faith’s focus is always God and His steadfast faithfulness to His word. Faith exists solely because of what He has wrought for us and desires to complete in us through Christ Jesus our Lord. Faith finds rests only in His word and believing what He has done and what He has said He’ll do; never depending upon anything within or from ourselves. Faith is given to us simply because we believe what “He has said…”

Heb 13:5 – Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

1 Peter 1:13 – Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as He which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, “Be you holy; for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by Him do believe in God that raised Him up from the dead and gave Him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God22 Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently. 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides for ever. 24  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away: 25 But the word of the Lord endures for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Jesus is always with all His Children. But He is especially there in their midst as a healer to strengthen and bond us together again when in love we strive for the unity of the faith, confess our sins and pray for one another; for this is truly one of the greatest witness of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the LORD.

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another.

So, go and “gain” back your brother…

“Do you love me more than these,” Jesus asked of Peter who had not too long before boldly stated before all the disciples “Though all men forsake Thee, I will not.”

Here Jesus was graciously administering some much needed comfort and healing to Peter because of his earlier three denials with three precious opportunities to confirm his love for Christ. Yet Jesus takes Peter further as He continues with His instruction to Peter as to how He wants Peter to love Him; 1. Feed my Sheep and 2. Follow me. What a blessing it is that the Lord instructs us how to pray, love, serve and worship Him.

Certainly nobody could deny Peter loved Christ in view of the fact that he had been willing to lay down his life for Jesus who tells us there is no greater love than that . . . however, love needs to be . . . no, actually love must be given to the honoring of its proclaimed point of affection. Godly love doesn’t merely seek its own expression; rather it pursues the gratification of the other. (more…)

(Timely re-post) 

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

A brother and I were praying for another when he quoted parts of these verses in his prayer. It got me to thinking about how these two verses are possibly the ones I hear taken out of context most when praying with others. Each verse seems to have their own catch phrases that tend to be quoted by young or untrained believers. Even believers who appear mature and seasoned are still only repeating without evaluating what they’ve heard from some preacher, trying to “claim” the promises of God. However, I need to ask, is that really Jesus’ intent here? Was He merely trying to teach us the formula of what and how things need to be done so we can then successfully claim His promises and get our prayers answered?

So, wen I hear people misused verse 19, it is actually quite troublesome to me, because they really believe that by getting me or another to stand in agreement with them that they’re more likely to have their prayer answered. This flawed understanding literally keeps these believers in a position of trying to perfect the way they do things so they can have faith for their prayers… rather than simply praying because of faith.

Sadly, I am absolutely certain there are many Christians out there who cannot even understand what I just said. Because they been taught things incorrectly, they are left believing “faith” is something they must somehow muster up to compel God to move on their behalf, or even to hear their prayers.

(more…)

Sometimes it seems life takes you in circles, different people but the same ole’ situations whereby you witness other believers hearts being harden against the truth because of their pride. That is why I am reposting this article again. Brothers and sisters, we must always remember our battles must always be fought in a spirit of humility if they are to truly be won, for that is the path of righteousness the Captain of our salvation showed us as he openly defeated His enemies by willingly enduring the cross. Therefore, let us too pick up our crosses and follow Him into victory.

Ephesians 4:1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.

James 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Re-posted article –

It has been several months that I felt the Lord has been speaking to me about faith, faithfulness and forgiveness. Throughout it all I have found myself wanting to write about what He has been showing me regarding having “faith as a grain of a mustard seed” where Jesus tells His disciples, “you might say unto this sycamine tree, ‘Be you plucked up by the root, and planted in the sea,’ and it should obey you.” I have sought various opportunities of late to so write concerning faith and a few other topic concerning spiritual things that I might leave my own children a record of what I feel the Lord has revealed to me pertaining to the promises and conditions of the Kingdom of God of which Jesus testified “every man presses into it.” However, I have felt restrained by His Spirit prior till now that it wasn’t time to write. Why, I am not really sure, the Lord knows though. Perhaps so will I when I am finished.

(more…)

There was a time in my life as a believer where my walk was very far removed from the Lord. I had found myself more than entangled in several sins. I remembered one night being so overwhelmed and burdened to the point of utter despair, literally fearing that I could die in my sleep and would be forever lost. I cried out to what seemed to be heavens of brass, my prayer barely out of my lips only to be falling to the ground. All this after only a couple of years  after having been promoted through a local church fellowship to be a deacon, then elder-ship and then shortly before leaving the church I was made assistant pastor.

My last message I shared with the church before I left (to the surprise of many) was about Paul’s exhortation in Galatians to those who are spiritual to restore those who were overtaken by a fault. However, at the time I wasn’t preaching to the congregation, rather I was crying out against my fellow leadership. My emphasis wasn’t about restoring the one overtaken, but rather whether those who were leaders were “spiritual” enough to even discern when a brother was over taken. There I was discourage, oppressed by the adversary, walking with sin in my life and about to begin what was to be a dark journey that almost ended in my destruction . . . and they didn’t even know it.

(more…)

I hear it all the time, how God loves us all unconditionally. Over the years of having conducted services at a mandatory rehab for people whose crimes were drug related, ministered at homeless shelters and having countless conversations with “believers” who readily admit they are not walking with God as they should, I frequently run into those who enthusiastically confess to me how they know, absolutely know, that God loves them unconditionally and that He accepts them just as they are.

This has led me into many discussions with people about what it means to “believe” and what exactly this “grace” is that these people are boasting about since they know they are saved because of it.  Sadly, many have no real understanding of what grace really is, they simply repeat what they were once told, “It is unmerited favor.” It is as if people are convinced that when God looks at them He has on some special “Jesus only” colored glasses because they think God only sees Jesus when He looks at them and not themselves for how they truly are.

Grace is truly an amazing gift of God given to the believer, but there are four things about grace we can readily know from scripture –

1. Grace is sufficient

2. Grace can be frustrated

3. Grace while working similarly in all God’s children, still has a uniqueness to it purpose as it is given to each of us

4. Grace can be received in vain.

(more…)

It has been several months that I felt the Lord has been speaking to me about faith, faithfulness and forgiveness. Throughout it all I have found myself wanting to write about what He has been showing me regarding having “faith as a grain of a mustard seed” where Jesus tells His disciples, “you might say unto this sycamine tree, ‘Be you plucked up by the root, and planted in the sea,’ and it should obey you.” I have sought various opportunities of late to write so concerning faith and a few other things that I might leave my own children a record of what I feel the Lord has revealed to me pertaining to the promises and conditions of the Kingdom of God of which Jesus testified “every man presses into it.” However, I have felt restrained by His Spirit prior till now that it wasn’t time to write. Why, I am not really sure, the Lord knows though. Perhaps so will I when I am finished.

(more…)

This is part one of a two part series on hell.

It is not enough that we each have our own set of Christian beliefs that we faithfully hold to. For many religions have faithful followers; many of which that would shame the half-hearted “Christian” who professes to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. Even if one was faithful to their favorite religious creed, faithfulness cannot deliver from sin or offer an assurance of eternal life.
Yet so many people boldly declare they are free simply because they have a belief system, a religion of choice, and their favorite translation or particular version of holy oracles or religious book which they cling to above all others. Many going about their daily lives with absolutely no clue that they are deceived and dead in their trespasses and sins; having only a form of godliness while they deny the true power of God which truly sets men free and transforms them.

John 8:31-36 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, “If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed;  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  They answered him, “We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how say you then, ‘You shall be made free?'”  Jesus answered them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin.  And the servant abides not in the house for ever: but the Son abides ever.  If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”

If one is off a little in their foundation of their theology, then they will be considerably more off as they continue to build upon the principles they have embraced for their faith. As a building contractor I learned a long time ago that if I start off out of square, unlevel or out of plumb, the more I build off my starting reference point the further off I get. It is the same with the tenants of faith in Christendom.

Part of the devil’s plan was to saturate Christendom with theologies that are “mostly” true. I have a saying I use often with my kids, “The best lie is the one with the most truth in it.” Reason being, that if you want to deceive someone, let’s say someone with a little understanding and knowledge of God’s word, you will need to bait them with certain truths and plausible theories in their own popular Christian lingo.

They will then recognize some of those aspects of the truth they are acquainted with and will be more likely to embrace it, since it appealed to their logic and familiarity. However, because of their weakness of scriptural knowledge and understanding they can be tricked into embracing a carefully forged lie simply because they saw logic in it and will therefore often embrace a whole theology without thoroughly proving it. This is because most people have a pride that causes them to trust in their own ability to recognize truth without having to prove it.

(more…)

Trips to the Tomb

I have posted this before, but since it is Easter this coming Sunday I figured it would be a good repost for those who may have missed it. I hope it blesses you.

For centuries there has been much confusion when people try to reason the different accounts of Jesus’ resurrection as recorded by the apostles. The fact that they all seem to have a different story to tell does not help. Perhaps, a good way to consider their seemingly different reports is to view them like transparent overlays, similar to the one’s we have seen in books showing the skeleton, then the nerves and blood vessels, organs, muscular and finally the skin and hair.

The Gospels, similarly, are each reporting different events which had taken place around a major singular occurrence, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fact is that these different events are recorded in God’s word and are therefore true. Perhaps the answer to the confusion is to consider that there were multiple trips made to the tomb.

The best way to determine the possible order of these trips to the tomb is to consider the different details that have been given about the time of day and light of the sun. Was the sun going down or coming up? These questions are actually quite easy to answer. However, we must remember that the Sabbath, like all the other biblical days, began and ended with sundown, see Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 and Lev. 23:32.

(more…)

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

A brother and I were praying for another when he quoted parts of these verses in his prayer. It got me to thinking about how these two verses are possibly the ones I hear taken out of context most when praying with others. Each verse seems to have their own catch phrases that tend to be quoted by young or untrained believers. Even believers who appear mature and seasoned are still only repeating without evaluating what they’ve heard from some preacher, trying to “claim” the promises of God. However, I need to ask, is that really Jesus’ intent here? Was He merely trying to teach us the formula of what and how things need to be done so we can then successfully claim His promises and get our prayers answered?

So, wen I hear people misused verse 19, it is actually quite troublesome to me, because they really believe that by getting me or another to stand in agreement with them that they’re more likely to have their prayer answered. This flawed understanding literally keeps these believers in a position of trying to perfect the way they do things so they can have faith for their prayers… rather than simply praying because of faith.

Sadly, I am absolutely certain there are many Christians out there who cannot even understand what I just said. Because they been taught things incorrectly, they are left believing “faith” is something they must somehow muster up to compel God to move on their behalf, or even to hear their prayers.

(more…)

Since the fall of men it has been debated to the point of bloodshed what God requires of men to be found pleasing to Him. Some like Adam’s son Abel were not hesitant to offer the first born of his flock, as well as the fattest to the Lord as an offering, while Cain brought forth of his bounty from the earth as an offering. Yet it is clear from the scriptures that Abel’s offering was considered by God to be “a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” God’s words to Cain regarding his offering was rather simple, “Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shall you not be accepted? and if you do not well, sin lieth at the door.”

Le 2:1 And when any will offer a meat [grain] offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon: 2 And he shall bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests: and he shall take there out his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour [aroma] unto the LORD.

Now many have reasoned that the displeasure God had with Cain’s offering was that it was a bloodless offering, yet scriptures tell us that God accepted such offerings. So it is clear here that the problem was not in that which was offered . . . rather the trouble was with the one making the offering. Today however, God is not asking for us to make these types of sacrifices, He is however still looking for that which Cain obviously lack in his offering to God and that for which “the Lord respected Abel and his offering.”  But on this I will touch briefly a bit later.

Since the crucifixion of Christ when a sinner yields to the Holy Spirit’s conviction that their sins have caused them to fall short of God’s righteousness in their life, that simple acceptance of God’s judgment against them is sufficient to bring them to the point where true reconciliation with the Redeemer can begin through repentance. But this is only a starting place, the beginning of a new life, a new birth where they can continue on to grow in wisdom and stature before God.

(more…)

This is a small study I put together on Judging and the need for the addressment of sin in the church.

Because the Word of God states, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation,” it is of fundamental importance to endeavor to interpret the scriptures in their context, i.e., to whom where they written, what subject matter do they address and their time and place, etc., etc.

Since we are going to be dealing with the second letter to the Corinthians, and the third chapter in particular, it is prudent to examine the previous chapter in which Paul does make these comments, “I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all . . . Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.”

It is evident that Paul wrote something to them which he now refers them back to, and what was presented to them was done so in order that he “might know the proof of” them, whether they would be obedient or not. Is this obedience unto him? Or unto the precepts of God’s word? That of course which was first written is I Corinthians, in which Paul dealt with an issue of sin being committed by the same one Paul is now encouraging them to “forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.”

(more…)

“Do you love me more than these,” Jesus asked of Peter who not too long before boldly stated “Though all men forsake Thee, I will not.”

Here Jesus was administering some much needed comfort and healing to Peter because of his earlier three denials with three opportunities to confirm his love. Yet Jesus clearly takes Peter further and instructs Peter in how He wants Peter to love Him; 1. Feed my Sheep and 2. Follow me. What blessings of the Lord that He instructs us how to pray, love, serve and worship Him.

Certainly nobody could deny Peter’s love for Christ in view of the fact that he had been willing to lay down his life for Jesus who tells us there is no greater love than that . . . however, love needs to be . . . no, actually, love must be to the honoring of its proclaimed point of affection. Godly love doesn’t merely seek its own expression; rather it pursues the gratification of the other.

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