Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Monthly Archives: February 2016

The ACTS Files – Acts 2:29-35 – Peter’s Sermon (Part three)

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The ACTS Files – Acts 2:29-35 – Peter’s Sermon (Part three) – 02/29/2016

Acts 2:29 (ESV) “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

Thank you for clicking on this recent installment of “The Acts Files” and this article is part three in a three part series of verses which are collectively called “Peter’s Sermon”. I personally love these verses because it shows the work done in the life of the Apostle Peter from when he denied Christ at Passover to this dynamic preacher at Pentecost. (Time elapsed was less than two months!) My prayer is that I present these scriptures in a manner that is edifying and worthy of the God I wish to serve. Let’s look at these in a line by line and verse by verse format starting in verse twenty nine…

V29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

Peter continues his sermon by continuing to reference King David and the Messiah Jesus and he states quite clearly that what was mentioned in the previous article (link) was not talking about David as some believed at that point, and this is why he states this quite clearly. The original author David is both dead and buried and did not come back to life, so the author is not speaking of himself and is in fact speaking of the only one who did die and come back to life – JESUS! Peter states the evidence is there for David’s burial as his tomb was still with them and if they wished to seek it out and validate the truth of that statement, it could easily be done.

V30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.

Peter takes great care to mention the following…

  • David the Prophet – We see further in the sermon why Peter calls King David a “prophet” as opposed to just King David. It is important to mention that despite David’s many faults, he was still very much a “man after God’s own heart” and despite any thoughts of whether he was worthy or not.This is encouraging for us all on a personal level as I am sure there are things that we have done that we are not proud of. Maybe not in the realms of adultery or murder to cover up that adultery but I am sure that there are things about our lives that we would rather were not publicized. We are no or less worthy as David because as sinners we are short of God’s standard. Thankfully we are saved by grace and not by works, lest any man should boast.
  • God swore an oath – Peter is keen to remind us of the trustworthiness of God, when God gives an oath or make a promise then you know that the God of truth who cannot lie will tell you the truth and what is promised will happen.
  • Prophecy of descendent on his throne – Yes this was fulfilled in the short term when Solomon ascended to the throne but it had greater implications as we read in the gospel accounts of the genealogy of Jesus that he was not just from the line of David in his maternal mother Mary, but also in his legal guardian Joseph.
  • He foresaw the resurrection of the Christ – He saw not just the birth of a messiah that would come from his line, but the mission complete, that the messiah was going to come and fulfil the scriptural prophecies regarding the resurrection.

In case you are in any doubt who Peter refers to, he names that man in verse 32…

V32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

Peter makes it abundantly clear that it is Jesus, the Son of God that he is talking about, and that Jesus and his deeds would still be known as it was only a short time since Passover. Peter makes it crystal clear that Jesus was the only one who could have fulfilled that prophecy in the book of Psalms and gives the following reasons why…

  • He was raised up – We see the evidence for this is Acts one, where Jesus literally went up to heaven.
  • He had witnesses to this fact – Peter and the other followers of Jesus who had followed him to the end were indeed primary witnesses to this fact. If this was a Jewish court there were sufficient witnesses to prove the case.
  • He was exalted to the right hand of God – In order to avoid any question of “where is Jesus now then?” Peter answers before the question arises.
  • He received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit – The example of this had just happened! Talk about having a water tight case for the theology, there was irrefutable evidence that had just happened moments earlier.
  • David did not ascend into heaven – and here is where we learn that it certainly wasn’t David, David’s body was still where it was buried. He was not in heaven.
  • He called Jesus Lord – and lastly, we look at how David viewed Jesus. He called him Lord.

And as much as King David was revered, Jesus was more worthy of all praise, honor and glory. He is coming back and his enemies will be thrown down. Reading the book of Revelation as a Christian makes me anxious and wanting Jesus to come back, how do you feel about the end of the world? Are you anxious because you are unsure your eternal destination or are you willing the Lord to return?

Lord willing, in our next article in Acts we look at verses thirty six through forty one where we look at the response of the crowd. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Psalms Saturday #9 – Psalms 93 – The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty

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Psalms Saturday #9 – Psalms 93 – The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty – 02/27/2016

Psalm 93:1 (ESV) The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. 3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. 4 Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! 5 Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

This Psalm is awesome in its praise to the LORD. I love this because it gives titles that should only be ascribed to the LORD, please enjoy this great Psalm of praise, although it is just five verses it is rich in teaching moments. Let’s look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis beginning in verse one.

V1 The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

I love and rejoice when I read these words and I thank you firstly if you are spending your precious weekend reading these words. Let’s look at how the Psalmist refers to his LORD to set out the tone of the Psalm…

  • LORD – He calls him LORD (All Capitals) the name above all names and as rich as our language is, we still do not have the words to describe how majestic God is. The author of the words of this precious book that we read and a constant thread throughout scripture that is never contradictory.
  • Reigns – To the writer of this Psalm, his LORD is ruler in his life, he is in charge and in control he has total devotion to the LORD of all creation.
  • Robed in Majesty – Think of the finest king you can imagine and you are no-where close. The one who alone is worthy of All gory, All honor and All praise, then you are getting closer.
  • Strength – Do you have confidence in your countries foreign policy? Do you have confidence in being a world superpower? What about the defense policy? The Psalmist is using the same confidence that is displayed in Psalm 20…

    Psalm 20:7 (ESV) Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God

    We have moved on a little from using chariots and horses but I am sure you will get the picture that whatever strength you think that your nation has, it is nothing compared to the strength of the LORD.

  • World is established – He is the one who made everything in 6 days! It was established as to his measurements and his criteria, nothing is there that he did not request.
  • Never be moved – It will never be moved except at the LORDs command.

Getting a picture of how big and awesome He is yet? If not then please read on!

V2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.

He is beyond time, he is established before “old” was, he will be established after everlasting is. The prophecies of the Old Testament he could see them happening when the prophets were moved to predict them. He is outside of time but yet he made time. He had the birth of Christ planned when Micah was prophesying what city he would be born in. He established the law as an example to the people of his perfect standard knowing that he would send a redeemer to save them because God’s standards were so much above our own. The Psalmist now gives examples of how big God is…

V3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. 4 Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!

Now we have an example of the power of God, that he can even control the floods and the waves of the sea. He can lift up the floods and make the waters roar. If you have ever stood at a shoreline with a child you will know of the worry that swells up inside of you if a wave comes in that is mightier than you would like. (For me if the water is going to hit her kneecap then I pull her out) and that is nothing compared to the type of wave the LORD can begin to send.

The terms are very descriptive and describe the situation rather well. Terms like “mightier”, “thunders”, “lifted up their voice” and “lifted up their roaring” tell of a God who has the ability to allow the waters cover the earth such as in the days of Noah, but in his benevolent grace he restrains the waters from doing so. This is classic Jewish poetry to demonstrate the point of why the original declaration of the LORD being mighty is in fact correct. The Psalmist speaks greatly about the strength of the LORD but what about the LORD’s character?

V5 Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

The Psalmist talks about the HONESTY of the LORD. His words, his commands, his decrees are very trustworthy. You can trust his words and the words that are written in his name are words you can quite literally build your life upon. Lastly we see the term “holiness befits your house” and that is very apt, God is holiness, he does not lie and his perfect standard is way too perfect for us.

He does not lie and he is that holy that he hates sin, which is why he made provision for you to escape your sins by faith in the messiah Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to heaven and God desires you to be in heaven and as the Psalmist says that is not a temporary state but will be forevermore. There are two ways that you can travel when you die, you can have an eternity without God with eternal death and suffering in the lake of fire or you can choose eternal life with God in heaven. God is that just a God, he allows you to choose for yourself.

Lord willing, in our next article in Psalms we look Psalm 100 and an awesome Psalm of praise. The Psalmist used such wonderful terms as “mighty”, “majesty”, “everlasting” and “holiness” all words which are very befitting a glorious God. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless – Titus 3:8-11

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Avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless – Titus 3:8-11 – 02/25/2016

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 3:8 (ESV) The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Paul continues his thought in the middle of this letter in verse eight; let’s look at the text on a verse by verse basis…

V8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

In the last article we looked at those who were foolish and disobedient, and Paul reminded those to be submissive to rulers and authorities and gave some great characteristics of how a Christian should be especially in a society that is not “Christ-friendly”, Paul continues this thought and finishes it with this sentence, he was insistent that the Christians focus on what is important.

We are all called to a battle, a heavenly war if you will and as soldiers in that battle against darkness we all have to stay on task. We are fighting an enemy who is relentless in his pursuit against the people who have chosen to follow the messiah Jesus Christ; I know from personal experience that my most trying times where I have been spiritually attacked have been when I have been deepest in the trenches following the will of God in my life.

We are to be devoted to good works, that is what we are saved for, we are called to be different to this world, as the world gets darker we are supposed to shine as beacons of light that point towards our Messiah Jesus. Paul goes on to look at our conduct as Christians…

V9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

Paul goes back to the beginning of his letter and almost brings it full circle and continues the thought that began when he spoke of the things that should not be taught, Paul uses a word for “avoid” that literally means “point the other way” and that is possibly a better understanding for us. My advice to the modern day Christian is the same, ask yourself a question “will this debate matter in five years?” or “Is this debate worth the people it will cost me?” and often times that will change our minds in getting involved in discussions that we really have no business being in.

We usually do this electronically these days as opposed to in person, when we add our fellow brothers and sisters onto our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram accounts we give them access to ourselves and sometimes that access leads to viewpoints that are different, most often in the areas of theology and politics, just because they sit near you in a building on your preferred day of worship (most of us Sundays) does not always mean that they mirror your stance on every issue.

The Pharisees were tremendous at causing dissention and creating “holy laws” (or cultural laws) in addition to the already unattainable Law of Moses and often times they created these great religious discussions to flex their theological muscles and show how much they knew. That also happens today and as Christians we should avoid any discussions that stoke individual pride even if we are doing so “for God”. If the motivation (and be honest now) is prideful or the motivation is to show how holy you are then it will have little worth.

Quite often we see the mission of God as discussions like these and we neglect the basics such as “loving our neighbor” or “mentoring up a weaker believer” claiming that we are simply too busy to do these simple works when we are tying ourselves up in great theological disputes that will often cause contention and very rarely win a soul to Christ.

And lastly we should avoid contention for the sake of contention. I have friends who are young earth, some who are old earth, I have friends that are pre-trib, I have friends that are post-trib and I respect and value their friendship enough that I won’t keep tagging them in article that are against their viewpoint on these issues that are contentious. If they have known me for more than five minutes they will know my individual stance on these articles and how I back that stance up with scripture. I find that most drama can be avoided with a little care on the instigators part. Here is what Paul says about these types of people…

V10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

We all have those folks, we maybe know those folks, and we maybe are those folks who could cause a fight in an empty room. Even as you are reading this I bet you are casting your mind to some folks that you could think of who are like this. Paul is not using this as an excuse to cut someone loose that is contentious (I have seen this passage of scripture used to shun someone who has less popular viewpoints in the hope that the person eventually gets the message and leaves) but more as a guideline that they should not be shunned as stated earlier, that we should be pursuing that person who has gone his own way.

We should be warning him multiple times yes but we should not give up on him. Jesus paid such a high price for our Salvation and we should be doing all we can to welcome him (or her) back if they decide to repent and wish to be part of the church again. Often times the leaving of that person is done in such a way that the person would never be able to be returned to fellowship. Obviously that should be avoided and we must love even in tough love and often times that is missing when situations like this happen and people with axes to grind against churches will often feel “unloved”. (It may or may not be the case but we have to take that idea out of the water)

Obviously, if the person is unrepentant and has to go then so be it, but it should not be the first option. If he chooses to not partake of the communion of the saints and chooses the route of self-condemnation then let him go. I would go as far as to say minister to him from a distance in prayer in the hope that he returns to his messiah and also in the hope of correction of doctrine also. His choices are between him and God now.

Lord willing, in our next article in Titus we look at the end of the chapter and see how Paul concludes this letter to Titus in chapter three verses twelve through fifteen. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Genesis Two – Day Seven – The Seventh Day, God Rests – Genesis 2:1-3

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Genesis Two – Day Seven – The Seventh Day, God Rests – Genesis 2:1-3 – 02/23/2016

Genesis 2:1 (ESV) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in chapter two verse one…

V1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

This is the day where a line was drawn in the sand. This verse shows that creation was a one off event and that God had finished creating it all. When he created the earth, the plants and even the humans, he created them fully grown and we read that the plants were blooming, the trees were bearing fruit and the man was fully grown. We read in the biblical accounts that there were no babies until the days of Cain and Abel.

V2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

The interesting thing about this account is that God is so big that he did not have to rest, he could have gone on creating for an indefinite amount of time if he wished, however the seven day example that God set out was an example for us as humans. He rested as an example that the creating work was done and we need to look at our own lives and make sure we are taking time for rest.

I say this because I am as guilty as the next man of taking on tasks or jobs that I have no business taking on. I do over-schedule, sometimes I do under-deliver and I do not take enough rest and God, who knows what is best for us designed the week for us to have a rest. It is good for our physical, our emotional and obviously our mental health.

God knew what was best for us and this was even in the days before electronic devices that consume our lives and take us almost like a prisoner. (Perhaps that is why they are called “cell phones”) and I saw good evidence of that this week when I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Every exhibit that I went to I found myself almost being rude and guarding my own little section of the glass where my family were trying to see the exhibits due to the “selfie culture” where folks would barge in front of you to try to get a picture or video of the animals rather than actually view them with the beautiful eyes that God gave them. I actually watched one of the keeper talks through someone else’s cell phone because the lady did just what I said earlier.

I am not against electronic devices and I own a cell phone, PC and a tablet but I do feel that we do need to take a Sabbath rest from these devices because we are becoming a culture of artificialness. I will give you an example where I am the butt of the joke if you will…
On Sunday I went to Calvary Monterey where I got up early and opened my tablet to google maps to map out my journey, I took the same tablet to church in lieu of a notepad and bible and for most of the next two hours I relied on an electronic device to guide my way, read the bible and to take notes based on the sermon text.

We need to unplug ourselves and rest but not for the sake of being lazy, we are supposed to remember God on our day of rest because it is a gift from God. God is not a tyrant or benevolent dictator, yes we are on God’s cycle of seven days but we are to realize that the seven day week is a foreshadow to the rest that we have in our messiah Jesus Christ, you see that even from the dawn of creation God had made a plan for a redeemer. Let’s look at verse three…

V3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

We see the Sabbath mentioned again in Exodus 20…

Exodus 20: 8 (ESV) “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

In the Law given to the children of Israel there was a provision made for the Sabbath, again God was looking out for the children of Israel as they had just come from the worst slavery imaginable in the country of Egypt under the Pharaoh where they literally worked from dust till dawn making bricks out of straw, often having to forage for their own building materials building the great cities of the Egyptian empire, is it any wonder that the God who loved them so much had told them to literally “take a day off”.

Certain churches that are Sabbath keepers will have the Sabbath as holy as the teachings of Jesus but fail to realize the rest we are supposed to have in Jesus. There is a whole side issue of whether you should take a Sabbath, what day should it be? And that for me is a secondary issue. Paul makes this clear in the book of Colossians chapter 2…

Colossians 2:16 (ESV) Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

And who is to argue with the Apostle Paul, there truly are better things to focus our attention on and can we not address the sins in our lives with the same vigor and zeal that we rush into arguments like this? Let’s look at what Paul wrote to the Galatian church…

Galatians 4:8 (ESV) Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.


We have to be careful to not make the sacrament holier than it actually is. It is an observance and if you are convicted by God to keep a certain day over others then great. I know many pastors that take Monday as a day off because as you would expect they work on a Sunday. Lastly let’s look at what is written to the Hebrew church…

Hebrews 4:9 (ESV) So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

We have that Sabbath rest; remember I said that before – in our messiah Jesus. I put it to you that every day should be set apart for God and we should be living in that great commission to go out, evangelize, tell people the good news and allow the Holy Spirit to convict hearts and be an example that changes people’s lives. We are to go make disciples and show them who we are in our messiah Jesus Christ, who is in?

Lord willing, in our next article in Genesis we look at the creation of man and woman as we continue in chapter two in Genesis starting at verse four going through to verse nine. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The Righteousness of God Through Faith – Romans 3:21-26

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The Righteousness of God Through Faith – Romans 3:21-26 – 02/21/2016

Romans 3:21 (ESV) But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills. Let’s start in verse 21 of chapter 3…

V21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—

Paul continues in the letter to the Roman church by discussing the revelation of righteousness, Paul finishes talking about the judgment of God in verse twenty to the coming justification in verse twenty one. Even the words used are beautiful. Paul starts by saying “but now” talks about the change between the Law and the New Covenant. Paul ties the new work in Jesus Christ with the work that began in the beginning from God as a continuing work that was shown through the Law and the prophets.

The two works are not separate but the new Covenant built upon the work that the Law and Prophets began, which is why they bear witness to it. As stated in the last article, the law has no ability to save us but it does illuminate God’s perfect standard to show the righteousness that God has as his standard and how attainable it is for us to do on our own.

Which is why we required the saving work of the cross of Jesus Christ, we needed that to bridge the gap between man and God. Paul goes on to say…

V22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:

And this is the point of what Paul is saying is that the righteousness of God is only through faith in Jesus Christ for those who believe. We get this through faith as opposed by faith. It is not something that can be earned it is something that is received freely and abundantly by a benevolent God and he makes it available to all those who believe, we have to have faith that Jesus Christ died for our sins and made a way for us to go to heaven. Pal states there is no distinction because although we have righteousness not earned by works but given by grace, it is still righteousness and it came from God.

This is in stark contrast to the last article that stated that “no-one was righteous” and if we were to end Paul’s message there then the message of Christianity would be no less true because of what Paul is about to state in verse 23…

V23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

…However that is not the end of the story, yes we are guilty under God’s perfect standard, even if it is just in thought Jesus calls us guilty, let’s look at what Jesus says about your thought life…

Matthew 5:21 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

So if it is in your thought life, if you look upon a woman with lust in your heart and keep that in your heart and ponder after it until you are having a thought life affair then you are in sin? What if you don’t actually “do the crime?” I say that according to the word of God – absolutely!

We are all starting off from the same sinful state; we have a hereditary sinful nature that was passed down all the way from Adam. Just as universal and as all-encompassing is that statement the remedy is the same. We all start off from the position of separation from God and we all have the same opportunity to reconcile with God. This is a sobering thought that we all start from that same position regardless of the severity of our sin, we are at the same position as the murderer, the rapist, the multiple felon, the man on death row and should we not choose to take that free gift of salvation we will end up in exactly the same place, regardless of how moral we are down here.

We are justified freely by his grace as a gift and many “health, wealth and prosperity” preachers teach they end it there, they fail to observe the second part of the sentence “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” and that is the reason for the free gift is that it was paid for us by the next part “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” Jesus is the reason for the faith, he is the centerpiece in all that we do and we know that we are redeemed through his sacrifice on the Cross where he volunteered to come to earth to bridge that gap between man and God. Let’s look at what Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians regarding this…

1st Corinthians 6:19 (ESV) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

We were bought with a price and that price was Jesus death which he gladly paid and if you were the only one who was ever going to accept him as their messiah he would still have done the same. We were redeemed and that price was Him. God passes over all of our past sins because of His blood and God shows his perfect forbearance that he was righteous.

V26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

To sum up what Paul is saying is that Jesus was a sacrifice (propitiation) instead of us, he was judged in our place to allow God the Father to remain righteous in making a judgment against sin and allowing him to judge those who rejected his “Get out of Hell free” card (quoting a Monopoly analogy. He made the atonement, punishment for our sins because we could not pay the debt on our own. He was the ultimate Passover lamb (Exodus 12) who instead of saving the firstborn of a house be was there to save the people of the world from their sins.

As stated in verse 23, we all deserve judgment, and God would be no less just had he consigned all of mankind to die in their sins, however God loves his creation and set in motion the Jewish temporary system of atonement by animal sacrifice until the messiah came and gave a permanent sacrifice when he went to die at Calvary and satisfied the desire for justice to be served and mercy to be shown because of the ultimate sacrifice.

Lord willing, in our next article in Romans we will continue to look at chapter 3 verses 27-31 where we look at whether we are justified by the Law of works or whether we are justified by faith. We also look at where the Gentiles fit in and whether God is God of the Jews only … I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, – Jude 1:24-25

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Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy – Jude 1:24-25 – 02/19/2016

Thank you for reading this Bible study on the book of Jude. This bible study is part of a series on the book of Jude, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Jude for other studies in this book.

Jude 1:24 (ESV) Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Lord willing it is my desire to go through the epistle of Jude on a verse by verse basis and we have reached verse twenty so far, please join me in looking at the text beginning in verse twenty four…

V24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Jude culminates this letter in contending for the faith with a familiar type of greeting that I am sure that if you have read the book of Jude more than once you will have looked at it and probably skipped over it or if you have read it word for word I can guess that you may not have pondered the meaning why the letter finishes in the manner but the greeting itself is worthy of an article because it is filled with lessons that can easily be applied to us today.

This is called the closing or closing doxology and let’s break it up and examine it inductively in order to get the most out of the text.

• Now to him – Even in his closing Jude is intentional in the dedication of the letter to the one who is most important, Jude reminds us in the following sentence of the heart of God and how he is, as the song says “a good, good father”.
• Who is able to keep you from stumbling – Jude is very doom and gloomy in his letter, but here he reminds us of what a big God we serve, he is the one who is able to keep us because let’s face it we are not able to keep ourselves. If you think that you are, have a wee think about who you are if you are left to your own devices, not the “polished Christian” that you display outwardly.

We read in the last article (link here) the idea that we were to avoid men who were dangerous to our faith, avoid the scoffers and keep ourselves in the love of God. This is all gearing up to the next thought and we are kept from stumbling so we could be presented.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, We are sinners and we deserve judgment, however the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ allows us to claim a state of blamelessness that we do not deserve or cannot earn on our own. That is what grace is! That we benefit through Jesus suffering and resurrection and we are presented as if we never sinned! What a God we serve that he would go the whole distance to allow us a way to heaven.

God will present us blameless but I do want to challenge you in asking how is God moving in you? You can usually see the ones that he is moving in because they are usually the diligent ones in doing the work of the kingdom down here on earth. In the words of Janet Jackson “what have you done for Him lately?” Are you following the callings that God has on your lives with your full passion and effort?
• Before the presence of his glory – And here is the destination of our grace! We will be in the presence of God should we truly be a child of God. I am excited to be in the presence of God for all eternity. Personally I laugh when I hear people saying things like “won’t it be great to hang out with (insert hero of the faith)” and I think to myself, actually no, I will be too busy worshipping God and being in his presence. All I do in his name it to try and get the folks that God places in my way alongside me. If you are reading this and unsure of your salvation, I want you to be next to me in paradise.
• With great joy – Because of God’s grace we can be joyful in his presence and that we don’t need to sneak in like the guilty child that knows they shouldn’t get a treat due to past misdemeanors. God has assured us a place in heaven regardless of our sin if we really are a true Christian. We are presented, as if we were a dignitary at a party and received with great joy. How mind-blowing is that?
• To the only God – Jude refutes the polytheistic notion that there are many gods and dedicates his letter to “the one God” the only God, the one who saves, who is he?
• Our Savior – Jude introduces him as “our Savior” and the last 500 words of this article give some basic information of why his is the savior. If he is the savior that tells us that we need to be saved, how can we be saved?
• Through Jesus Christ our Lord – And this is basic John 14:6, there is one way to heaven and that is through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is the basis for the Christian faith.
• Glory – And now Jude gives the attributes of God, I categorize these separately because they deserve individual attention, there is not enough words in the English language to adequately discuss about the many ways that God alone deserves glory, we were created for his glory and all of the things that we distract ourselves with and give adulation to, ask yourself if they are taking away the glory that should be reserved for God.

Look at a football stadium, several thousand people all dressed in the same colors, some even paint their faces as if they belong to a tribe. They chant, they cheer, they sing songs of praise to their team, they cheer when they do well and they wail and boo when they don’t. I know what I am like when I am watching football and I lament that I am not the same way on a Sunday when I am worshipping God.
• Majesty – God is sovereign, he should be treated as you would treat the finest king, the most powerful president or the most powerful person that you can think of pales in significance to the power of this King of King and Lord of Lords. He alone is the one that deserves all the pomp and circumstance because of his dominion.
• Dominion – Do not forget that God is in charge, he could call time on the world as we know it in the blink of an eye. Do not think we are transferring power to God if we declare it, we are simply recognizing who he is and the power that he has. I serve a big God, how about you?
• Authority – And God has all authority, he is absolute! Literally the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Much like his glory, his majesty and his dominion, there is no beginning and there is no end to it. We can’t fall into the lie that God has limits because NOTHING is impossible to God.
• Before all time and now and forever. Amen – We see all those attributes and now we see what timescale God has, he is before all time and he is now and forevermore. He is not held by time and is limitless in such a way that it is almost impossible for us to comprehend. Each time I think of my God in a larger sense, he shows me that he is even larger than I thought he was.

Just as God is forever, our glory in God and time in his presence will be the same. We should know this already because we have rich hymns such as Amazing Grace that states the following…

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
Than when we first begun”

And that is the reality that Jude is conveying here, that regardless what limits you think you can put on God, God is bigger than those limits, whether your limiter is time, glory, dominion or whatever, our victory and triumph is forever in God. Jude shows us what unshakable faith he has in God by that last sentence, regardless of what he comes against he is going to approach it with absolute and supreme confidence and faith in God. And he knows that that is past, present and future, God does not change and his mercy is longsuffering and enduring.

Do you have that faith that Jude has? Would you like to strengthen that faith? Would you like to start your journey of faith, please contact me if this is you? It is my desire to either start you on your journey or strengthen you if you have limited or weaker faith.

I am really grateful to have been able to relook at the book of Jude in these articles and I am also glad to be able to complete the book in this article, I am still praying about what epistle to look at next but I feel that Lord willing it will probably be Paul’s second epistle to Timothy, I have been reading that and it is so rich in lessons that could easily be applied to our lives as Christians today. Please keep me in prayer as I make this decision, each book and study is covered in prayer and the decisions to do these books and the order they are done in is not taken flippantly or lightly. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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John the Baptist prepares the way (part one) – Matthew 3:1-12

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John the Baptist prepares the way (part one) – Matthew 3:1-12 – 02/17/2016

Matthew 3:1 (ESV) In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” 4 Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

This is a series in the Gospel of Matthew which looks to visit the text from the Gospel of Matthew on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Matthew, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.

Let’s start our bible study in verse one of chapter three.

V1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew now moves on from his narrative away from the childhood of Jesus and leaves that account with Jesus growing up in Nazareth in the last article in this series (link here) and begins looking at the child who was promised of Zechariah and Elizabeth called “John the Baptist” so let’s look at who he was. We are introduced to the foretelling of the baby John in the gospel of Luke…

Luke 1: 5 (ESV) In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. 8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” 18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. 24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

So we understand this baby will come and grow into a man who will have the “Spirit of Elijah” Luke carries on in the first chapter of Luke when he accounts of the birth of John the Baptist and a prophecy by his father…

Luke 1:57 (ESV) Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

Zechariah’s Prophecy

Luke 1:67 (ESV) And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, 68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; 72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” 80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

And here is where we carry on the story in Matthews Gospel and John’s message was not one of hearts and flowers and if modern day folks who examine preachers and assess whether their message would be very “seeker friendly” would find John wanting. John had a simple message because he knew his role in ushering in the Messiah. It was his job to call whoever would listen to repentance, but not repentance for the sake of John, he was requesting a true repentance of the heart and a turning back to God for all people.

His message was so in unison with his messiahs mission that his first words were the same as Jesus, both started their missions calling the ones who had gathered to listen to “repent” and that gives an indication of how far the world had sunk away from God’s plan. That message is still relevant today because we need to lose ourselves and seek the Lord while he may be found and to call upon him while he is near.

John states this by saying “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and that is just as true today than it was then, Jesus is coming again soon and the anticipation of that second coming of the Messiah should excite us to continue our kingdom work down here. John’s main message was not the repent, but he reason for the repentance.

Lord willing, in our next article in Matthew we will look at part two of the introduction to John the Baptist where we pick up in verse three and see what John actually preaches and the heart behind that, I would hate for you to miss it and the riches that will be revealed in that bible study. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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The ACTS Files – Acts 2:22-28 – Peter’s Sermon (Part two)

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The ACTS Files – Acts 2:22-28 – Peter’s Sermon (Part two) – 02/15/2016

Acts 2:22 (ESV) “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

Thank you for clicking on this recent installment of “The Acts Files” and this article is part two in a three part series of verses which are collectively called “Peter’s Sermon”. I personally love these verses because it shows the work done in the life of the Apostle Peter from when he denied Christ at Passover to this dynamic preacher at Pentecost. (Time elapsed was less than two months!) My prayer is that I present these scriptures in a manner that is edifying and worthy of the God I wish to serve. Let’s look at these in a line by line and verse by verse format starting in verse twenty two…

V22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Remember in the last article (link here) we had stated that peter was being bold, this is exactly what we meant by that last remark. Peter could have had such a dynamic sermon just by quoting from the prophet Joel and would certainly have had a lot of public kudos by finishing there, but God knew Peter and knew that that man who so often put his foot in it in a wrong way was about to give a brave declaration that publically set a target on his back from the religious people of the day.

He addresses them “Men of Israel, hear these words” and Peter wanted to make sure he had the crowd’s attention and spoke with authority, he spoke with urgency with a message that would quite literally save their lives. He talks about someone who the people already knew. The fame of Jesus of Nazareth would certainly not have died down some 50 odd days after his death. Peter starts by stating the common ground about who Jesus was, the fact that they agreed that he was “attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst” and he built his sermon from there.

Peter goes on to say that Jesus death was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” and that God knew that the people would “crucify and be killed by the hands of lawless men”. Peter does not miss and hot the wall and states that “You killed this man who was innocent and sent by God and you had no reason to do so” he was not concerned with giving a “seeker friendly” message and he was not looking to be a people pleaser but he was looking to save those who were there, regardless of the consequences, lets contrast this to Peter’s last act when the Lord Jesus Christ was alive prior to crucifixion…

Matthew 26:69 (ESV) Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

This is a man strengthened by spending time with the resurrected Jesus, spending a crazy amount of time in prayer, being on one mission with the disciples and being filled by the Holy Spirit. If you think that you cannot be used by God because you are not as dynamic as Peter here, I am here to say you are probably correct, you cannot do it on your own, however if you are obedient to the small things and give it all up to God, he will accomplish things in your life that you couldn’t even dream was possible.

V24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

Here is the left hook, Peter tells the people, you did your worst to the best of your limited ability but Jesus was always going to conquer death, Peter uses the same term that would be describer for birth pains, God raised him up to fulfil the prophesy that is listed in the following few verses and can be found originally in Psalms 16.

V25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

It is quoted as the words of David (King David) and as stated prior it is lifted from Psalms 16:8-11 and you can believe that Peter got three years of intensive bible instruction of the Old Testament so you can be sure that the Messiah taught them from the scriptures.

Jesus is described as that lamb without blemish who was the only one who was able to be called “the Holy One” the one who lived a perfect life, was a perfect Savior and was the only one who was able to reconcile man to God. The Psalm also prophesied that the “Holy One would not see corruption” this states that he would not be in the grave long enough to start the decaying process and the Messiah Jesus Christ rose on the third day. We celebrate this at the Christian festival of Easter. Because of this our soul will not be abandoned in its sinful state to Hades (or Hell) and that is the glorious news of the gospel.

Although Jesus took the punishment of the sins of the world he is described in the passage as the one who “made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.” Jesus was rewarded by the ascension to the Father and that is where he is today, living, loving and interceding on your behalf today and pleading with you to have a relationship with him. If you have a relationship with him he desires for you to have a deeper relationship with him and if you do not know him as your Savior he desires to have to begin one.

Lord willing, in our next article in Acts we will look at part three of Peter’s sermon where Peter concludes the sermon by showing the prophetic nature of the messiah Jesus Christ by showing his lineage to King David and it truly is so dynamic that I would hate for you to miss it. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Psalms Saturday #8 – Psalms 70 – O LORD, Do Not Delay

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Psalms Saturday #8 – Psalms 70 – O LORD, Do Not Delay –02/13/2016

To the choirmaster. Of David, for the memorial offering.

Psalms 70:1 (ESV) Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me! 2 Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life! Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt! 3 Let them turn back because of their shame who say, “Aha, Aha!” 4 May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” 5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

This Psalm is both a plea for help and a prayer for deliverance, although it is just five verses it is rich in teaching moments. Let’s look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis beginning in verse one.

V1 Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!

How many times have you felt like this? Whether the trial is great or the trial is small we want deliverance as quickly as possible. Can I be so bold as to put to you something that might not be all that popular? Could it be that God is allowing you to go through whatever trial you are going through to be a teachable moment in your life in order to build you up for something greater yet to come in your life?

I most definitely can identify with this. Who can’t? Who actually enjoys trials? Who has not been frustrated with “God’s timing” when it has been slower than your timing (or what you would like your timing to be!) Regardless of the size of the issue and regardless if you will look back in a few years’ time and be ashamed that that stressed you out, the issue is big enough at that time to cause you to plead and to beg with the one you know can deliver you.

And that is the beauty of this, when the chips are down and you are reliant on who you believe can deliver you, your faith carries you home to that loving father God. It is said that in a fire you understand what is important in your life and what you are willing to leave behind. When you are in the fire you look to deliverance, it is important that you chose the one who can deliver you!

V2 Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life! Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!

This is a righteous prayer, he wants the ones who are persecuting be put to shame and confusion and emphasizes the real harm that they want to do to him. They are said to be seeking after him looking to take his life. I am taken back by the restraint in the petition that he is not asking God (whom he knows could deliver according to his will) to “nuke them” to “wipe them out” or to “allow them to draw their last breath” and he does not seek the same medicine for those who seek his life. (At least not in these verses)

And we see this example when David is fleeing from Saul and twice has the opportunity to take Saul’s life and relents and does not. We may not be going through persecution to wipe that other person out. The Psalmist simply seeks to have them shamed, confused and dishonored. He appears willing to allow them to live.

V3 Let them turn back because of their shame who say, “Aha, Aha!”

They are saying “Aha” and not calling on the name of a Norwegian 80’s band! (Perhaps his opponents were calling him to “Take on me?”) They are being mean in their speech. It is a mean way of mocking and being derogatory and the manner of speech indicates a certain amount of gloating and goading.

Have we not all been victim of that these days due to the instant nature of the internet and the rise of social media, the slightest silly thing that we say can leave us with “egg on the face” with a period of longevity that would simply not be the case in the case of something that was said privately.

I have learned this the hard way and had to do some embarrassing back tracks and even this week I was teased about something that I posted nearly ten years ago and the reason I bring this up is that we are all blessed with astounding memories and some of us are blessed with better recall than others. I am unfortunate that when I make a “boo boo” I make a memorable one that people tend to remember. I am sure that as you are reading this you are recalling something that you have done in this manner?

V4 May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”

And here is the praise portion of the Psalm; the Psalmist does not forget that God is worthy to be praised despite the current trial or issue that befalls him. A decent question to ask is “Do you praise him in the storm?” or do you snivel and whine because things are not rosy in the garden?

Are you being persecuted for the sake of your faith or for another reason? I ask this because sometimes we cause our own drama and we are our own version of a live “Jerry Springer show” I ask this because you may not feel like rejoicing in the name of the Lord because you may not actually be seeking Him and I doubt that you will be glad in Him if your focus is all about you.

This shows the heart of the Psalmist that he wants to praise God even although he faces the pain of death! What faith is this? Do we see such faith in our modern day comfortable Christianity except on the mission field. This month we rejoiced at the release from an Iranian prison a man who I am sure we all have been praying for called Saeed Abedini and we read of how the man endured beatings because he was a faith that was not accepted in the country that he was arrested and yet he still remained faithful.

V5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

He starts with “LORD make haste” and ends with “LORD, do not delay” and in case you are in any doubt of the urgency of this petition then we really should not be after seeing the urgency that begins and ends this Psalm. Timing truly is playing on the Psalmists mind. If the Psalmist was British he would be saying “Get on with it!”

He does reiterate that his God is “his deliverer” and he would be the one to get him out of this grave situation he is in. A good question to ask in this manner would be are you that confident when you go through the trials of life? Is your hope in your deliver? Do you have faith that you will be removed from danger when God’s timing happens?

Lord willing, in our next article in Psalms we look Psalm 93 and an awesome Psalm of praise. The Psalmist used such wonderful terms as “mighty”, “majesty”, “everlasting” and “holiness” all words which are very befitting a glorious God. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work – Titus 3:1-7

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Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work – Titus 3:1-7 – 02/11/2016

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 3:1 (ESV) Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Paul continues his thought in the middle of this letter in verse one of chapter three; let’s look at it in a verse by verse basis…

V1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Paul exhorts Titus to “Remind them” as if they required constant remembrance to do what is being asked of them. Paul is asking them to be submissive to rulers and authorities that do not share their vision and values and often times worked against the mission of the church where Titus was located. We today are called to the same, regardless of our thoughts of those who are in charge of us whether that be workplace managers, politicians, kings, queens or whomever we are called to be submissive to them and deal with them in a humble manner.

Paul lists characteristics that categorize this…

• Be obedient – Whether we like it or not God had a plan in placing those people in authority, it is not our role to be disobedient to the ones ruling us. You don’t have to imagine a Government who is passing laws that do not reflect the values that you hold as it happens even today, just as it did in Paul’s time; we are called to be obedient. Be law abiding, work hard, pay taxes, be an example to other so that they question what is different in our lives and desire a relationship with Jesus for themselves.
• Be ready for every good work – In addition to keeping our civil obligations we are also to be active Christians and be ready to do the work of the Father! We have to be beacons of light, tell others about the good news and be that example to others. It should keep us up at night that people are dying in their sins; we should be primed and ready to give an account of what we believe in and evangelize whenever we have that opportunity.
• Speak evil of no-one – “be careful little tongue what you speak…” We have to be careful in what we say in regards to others, a good rule of thumb is to only speak of people in an edifying manner, judge it under the following criteria “would you say it to them if they were standing here?”
• Avoid quarreling – This is something that Paul writes elsewhere in the epistles and people are all different and some folks look for arguments, ask yourself in the midst of an argument “will this matter in 5 years?” and then you can assess whether it is worth bickering about!
• Be gentle – Paul does not write “be a doormat” but love folks enough to be gentle with them, not just in good manners or to be “people pleasing” but be willing to serve others prior to serving yourself.
• Show perfect courtesy towards all people – Some translations say “showing humility” and these are distinctly Christian traits and will come to some easier than others. If you are struggling in this area then my advice is to pray about the areas you find hard.

V3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Paul refers to where we were before Christ, if you have been following our studies in the book of Romans, you will see a similar vein here as what is spoken in Paul’s epistle to the Roman church. We have to remember who we were in order that we do not slide back and copy those behaviors. Please do not get me wrong, there is no sin we could commit that Christ has not atoned for, but speaking personally I have knowledge of what life what like before Christ and I really have no desire to return to that life.

Paul lists that we were the following

• Foolish and disobedient – This is the epitome of the man living for himself, he is so insular and self-focused that he cannot see beyond himself and is caught up in his own folly and disobedience to the will of God.
• Led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures – Once the slow fade of being led astray and lines begin to be blurred then you embrace the sin and go back to your former lives away from God.
• Passing away our days in malice and envy – Because of our sin and self-focus, we look to bettering our situations and we do our best to better our situations by tearing at others and attempting to get ahead by tearing others down.
• Hated by others and hating one another – Of course of the last one was the seed, this is the root plant, the malice and envy blooms into hatred and strife, does this seem attractive to anyone?

Does this sound like the life you are living? If so I urge you to come home to Jesus and rededicate your life to Him. Paul continues in verse four…

V4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

That place in verse 3 is a dark place huh? We can’t rescue ourselves from that and it is very God that we do not have to! We were rescued by the grace (goodness and loving kindness of God) Paul talks about this also in Romans 5…

Romans 5:6 (ESV) For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

What I am saying is that God reached out to us and did all the work long before our hearts gravitated towards him. Paul reiterates by saying “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” and this is the essence of the good news of the Gospel, I mean talk about finishing your letter with a left hook or your sermon with a bang.

Let us get a few things clear, going to church or bible study a Christian does not make, responding to an altar call 25 years ago at a Billy Graham crusade a Christian does not make, being baptized 11 years ago a Christian does not make, these are great works but we are saved by the mercy of God and our hearts being sold out and changed by the work of the Holy Spirit. Can I hear an AMEN? God is always the one who makes the first move and we will always receive back much more than we give out.

Verse 7 tells us that we are “justified by his grace” and this is the roof the house is built upon and our reward is to be “joint heirs in the Kingdom” and what a pearl of great price that should be! When we become saved and full “all in believers” then we have that blessed assurance of that eternal reward.

Lord willing, in our next article in Titus we look at the end of the chapter and see how Paul concludes this letter to Titus in chapter three verses eight through fifteen. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG