Monthly Archives: April, 2017

Spirit and the Word

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11)

The word “fun” is never mentioned in the Bible, and “entertain” is used only in reference to being hospitable. Such activities as “reveling” and “playing” receive nothing except condemnation in the Scriptures (with the exception of little children at play).

Yet, there is growing emphasis today in many churches and parachurch organizations on providing “entertainment” and “fun times” for their members—especially for teenagers and young adults. This is the way to reach them and keep them for the Lord, so they say. Perhaps so, but one wonders why neither the Lord nor the apostles nor the prophets ever told us so. Is this a program kept in reserve by the Lord just for the young people of this generation?

Actually, Christians can have something far better, more effective, and more lasting than fun and entertainment. In Christ, they can have heavenly joy! “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” the Bible says (Proverbs 17:22), where the word for “merry” is more commonly translated as “joyful” or “rejoicing.”

While the Bible never mentions “fun,” it has many references to “joy” and “rejoicing.” Here are just a few. “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16). “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). “For the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

We must remind ourselves continually that the Lord Jesus daily, through His words, shares His joy with us, “that [our] joy might be full.” HMM

Born to Die

“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

Especially as noted in the gospel of John, Christ identified many reasons why He had been born. Consider the following sampling of verses and references. First and foremost, Christ came to redeem those who would believe: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). But under that umbrella of redemption come many other aspects.

Jesus said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). God’s will was paramount even in judgment (John 5:30) as well as resurrection. “This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40). It also governed His teaching (7:16-17). In everything, Christ sought to bring glory to His Father (7:18).

Many aspects of Christ’s work are to be realized in this life, for He said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). His desire in it all was that we might have an eternal relationship with God. “That they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

But the primary goal was to bring to climax His redemptive strategy. He knew that none of the other aspects of His work had any effect without atonement for sin, which was only possible if a blood sacrifice was made for that sin. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). This was the reason He came to Earth. JDM

Boldness in the Holy Place

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” (Hebrews 10:19)

In the ancient tabernacle only the High Priest was allowed to enter the “holy of holies” to commune with God, and that only once a year, on the great day of atonement. This most holy place was separated from the rest by a very heavy veil. When Christ died, however, as the one final and perfect sacrifice, “the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom” (Matthew 27:51).

This miraculous rending of the veil was intended by the Lord to symbolize the wonderful truth that we now have open access to come into the very presence of God, “by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Hebrews 10:20). Thus, as our text says, we no longer must go by way of priests and sacrifices to come to God. We can enter directly “into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.”

Because of what Christ has done for us, we can come boldly (not arrogantly or presumptuously, however) into God’s presence in prayer. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

We can also have confidence (same Greek word as for “boldness”) in witnessing for Christ. After praying for boldness, “with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33).

Just as did the apostles, in Christ we now “have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3:12). HMM

Health and Wealth

“If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.” (Job 8:6-7)

Bildad was reflecting the half truths and logic Satan used with Eve (2 Corinthians 11:3). When theology or philosophy differ from Scripture, the choice is either one or the other. Attempting to amalgamate the differences always leads to error. The prosperity gospel often taught today is an extension of that error.

Satan refused to understand that some of the human race were “perfect and upright” like Job (Job 1:1) and loved and trusted God for their eternal destiny. Such godly people cannot be bought by possessions or circumstances. As Job later said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15).

Satan’s original lie to Adam and Eve was that they could obtain the power of God by grasping the “secret” of evil. As the human race grew more despicable, embracing Satan’s lie, Satan began using the duplicity of angelic power and human procreation (Genesis 6:1-4) to attempt his coveted coup (Isaiah 14:13). That was destroyed by God with the great Flood.

Satan tried again with Nimrod at Babel and was defeated when God confounded human language. Lucifer then attempted to “trick” God into taking away His blessing on Job so Satan would have an example to show of God’s capricious care. All Satan got for his efforts was the testimony of this great man enshrined in Scripture to encourage the rest of humanity. “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:11). HMM III

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