Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Category Archives: Numbers

Avoid irreverent babble to avoid more ungodliness – 2nd Timothy 2:16-19

wpid-downloadfile-34.jpeg

Avoid irreverent babble to avoid more ungodliness – 2nd Timothy 2:16-19 – August 31st 2016

This is a series in the book of 2nd Timothy, 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 2nd Timothy as the LORD wills.

2nd Timothy 2:16 (ESV) But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Paul encourages Timothy to be focused; perhaps it is because of his youth or perhaps it is a personal observation but we see that Paul lasers in on avoiding irreverent babble. We see so many ministries today lose their effectiveness because the believer does not heed the warning in the book of James chapter 3…

James 3:1 (ESV) Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

As I read that I start to disqualify myself because I know my own heart and my own failings. I know none of us are perfect but what Paul is stating here (as well as James) is that profane babblings are not to come from the mouth of a teacher because like it or not he has a greater responsibility not to stumble others. If the leadership has dropped standards in this area it will encourage others to do so and will create a culture of ungodliness.

This is confirmed in verse 17 where Paul states that “it will spread like gangrene” and I know that this is a very graphic picture where it will be like a cancer and be like a degenerating illness when we allow the profanity of man, whether that be his opinions, his ideas or his ways although they tickle the fancy of those you wish to reach and be very popular, if it is contrary to the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ then those things are exactly what Paul is speaking of.

Some of the most lampooned heretics started off on the correct path so we have to be on our guard. They did not all start off like Hymenaeus and Philetus. (Do you remember Hymenaeus from 1st Timothy 1) Their message was profane to the correct Word of God and it was popular because we hear that it was spreading quickly and we even know what error they were preaching.

They taught that “the resurrection has already happened” and due to the heresy they were causing others to believe in something that was contrary to the Word of God. Whilst it was terrible that this happened I do love the lesson here that we have to line up what we are being taught with how well it lines up with the Word of God that will not contradict itself. They were trying to remove the hope from Christianity by stating that Christ was not coming back and the fruit of their labors is that they were upsetting the faith of some, should they remained in this error without repentance we have the words of Christ in the gospel of Matthew 18…

Matthew 18:1 (ESV) At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Sounds harsh huh? That is why I quoted that “not many should become teachers” as it is a much greater responsibility. We have to stand on the solid foundation of God as we read in verse 19. Despite Paul being on the defensive he states quite clearly that the defense of the Gospel that he is defending would not be touched by such minuscule attacks. Guys like Hymenaeus and Philetus and even modern day heretics would not be enough to pull down the kingdom of God. They may misrepresent it or cause it scandal but the Lords firm foundation stands.

Paul speaks of two seals and we see these below…

The Lord knows those who are his – Is a direct quotation from the book of Numbers which in context reads as follows…

Numbers 16:1 (ESV) Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. 2 And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. 3 They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” 4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, 5 and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the LORD will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him.

And we are reminded that the Lord knows who are his, we don’t always do and although we can see small evidences of spiritual fruit in people’s lives we will be surprised when we get to heaven by who made it and who didn’t. This is a great witnessing strategy too because Jesus died for us all so who are we to judge who deserves or not His saving gospel.

Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity – We are called as Christians to flee from our sin! Who is perfect in that area huh? I am not being facetious when I say that as we all have different hurdles and stumble in different ways but if we still act like we are in the world then how will we effectively witness to those we want to save for Jesus Christ? How salty are you?

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we will look at the verses twenty through twenty six of chapter two where Paul encourages Timothy to “be an honorable vessel” having read ahead I love these scriptures and 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

Advertisements

Joshua had BIG shoes to fill – Joshua 1:1-8

20140721-174625.jpg

Joshua had BIG shoes to fill – Joshua 1:1-8 – 07/12/2016

Today’s devotion looks at Joshua and we have all had the situation where we have had to follow someone who was influential, imagine you are following the guy that the LORD gave the tablets of the law to, the guy who followed the LORD into leading the exodus of people out of slavery in Egypt. Let us look at the commission of Joshua in the book of Joshua…

Joshua 1:1 (ESV) After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Those of you who know me will know I love the book of Joshua and also I have big feet and therefore BIG shoes. (US size 13) The book of Joshua has everything that you would want in a modern day novel; it has spy stories, epic battles spiritual lessons and reliance on God as well as the consequences for going against God. When my local Calvary Chapel in Porterville started studying Joshua on a Tuesday night I don’t think I missed many of the lessons such as my admiration for the book.

Moses was blessed that even despite his rebellion (Numbers 20) the LORD let him see the Promised Land, (Deuteronomy 34) he had been told prior that he would not set foot in it but he was blessed in that he was able to at least see the fruit of his labor prior to his death.

Just as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses were given promises from God; Jacob was also made a promise from God. Can you imagine the comfort that is to Joshua because as stated at the top of the article, he had BIG shoes to fill? He was replacing the man who had led the children of Israel out from slavery in Egypt. The first thing that strikes me about this passage of scripture is that God keeps his promises, let is look at what God promised…

  • Arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. (V2-4) – God gave instruction to GO! When God directs your steps and has chosen you for a mission that he is allowing you to do then you best do it! This was no vague promise; he even told Joshua the area in which he was entitled to go. This may upset some who want to take away land from Israel but God drew the boundary long before many of these arguments were thought up.
  • No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. (V5) – Have you ever uttered the words “If my God is for me then who can be against me”? This is exactly what God was telling Joshua.
  • Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them (V6-7) – There is a difference between being strong and courageous in our own might and being strong in the LORD and He was telling him to be courageous but he was also saying that he had to do it according to the Law. He had to have no fear but lean on the LORD and his statutes.
  • This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (V8) – Lastly we have confirmation that the mighty leader with big shoes to fill had to be in the scriptures both day and night, they had to be a priority in that man’s life if he was going to lead God’s way. A good question to ask in application would be regardless of the extent of leadership you have been given, whether you are a Pastor, a small group leader, Sunday school or children’s leader, husband, or even a single man it is imperative that you are in the scriptures and it is a priority for you.

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

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved – 2nd Timothy 2:14-19

wpid-downloadfile-34.jpeg

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved – 2nd Timothy 2:14-19 – 05/13/2016

Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Timothy, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to Timothy who was in the Ephesian church. This is called a Pastoral Epistle and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure and also for choosing leaders in the church. For other bible studies on other epistles please see our main epistle page or for others in 2nd Timothy please click on this link.

2 Timothy 2:14 (ESV) Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the second chapter of Second Timothy.

V14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

In true Pauline fashion we see that Paul instructs the younger man to not get distracted with things that would take him away from the word of God. That is the basic job of the pastor is to keep his “sheep” focused on God and I do lament that we have moved away from doing life together as Christians. Paul was reminding Timothy to keep the things that were spoken of in the last blog article first and foremost and then follows a command.

He tells them to not quarrel about words, to not get into unprofitable arguments and in this election year I see that we do that more and more as Christians, we get mad about things that really ae not worth getting heat up about. It is not worth it to cause contention in the church of Jesus Christ over things that do not matter. As Paul states, it does no good and only ruins the hearers.

Paul touches on a little of what we find problematic in our relationships today in that we are to not strive or quarrel about words and there is nothing wrong with standing up for the truth however the issue comes when we wish to debate points that are irrelevant n the great scheme of things and we care more about defending our own small theological point than the greater work of the Lord. That then causes harm in relationships because often times these exchanges are not done in love.

V15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

This is the most famous part of this scripture but I prefer to quote it with the verse behind and often times the verse in front in order to get the context of what Paul is saying. People have oft quoted this verse as a badge of honor to show how much they study the word and this verse being the reasoning why. It is good to study the word and that is commendable but it should not be a “kudos point” in our Christian walk. Let’s look at this the way Paul intended.

  1. Do your best – Sometimes this is translated as “be diligent” and much as we looked at when we looked at Psalm 123, God looks for us to be diligent, to be studying when we are not feeling it and in season and out of season. (2 Timothy 4:2) If we are not enduring then it may be time to check out motivation. If it is for us and not for the Lord then we have our reward already! (Matthew 6)
  2. To present yourself to God as one approved – And God’s opinion is the only one that matters, people will come and go and popularity is a fleeting fad of a swaying opinion that will either be in your favor or not. Pastors will often times not be the most popular people in the building (especially if they are doing their job right) and what Paul states here is true on this level.

    Like much of 1st Timothy Paul exhorts Timothy to get himself approved and get his doctrinal ducks in a row as he wasn’t called to get others approved, which will come as he is equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. (Ephesians 4) But as a leader he needs to make sure he is being refreshed as much as possible, that is why I try to get to at least one conference a year that has sound biblical teaching from men I trust.

  3. A worker who has no need to be ashamed – Have you ever done a job where the boss is watching and suddenly your “work rate” improves, so how many of you feel sad now that you have admitted that to yourself. Remember you have a heavenly boss that sees everything you do, so how holy do you feel now? Is there anything in your life that you wouldn’t want shown on a big screen cinema for all your family and friends to see?

    Yes we are saved by grace and not by works but it is encouragement to be diligent as we have that natural reaction of shame to our sin that stems back to the Garden of Eden because let’s face it, it is embarrassing when your work is examined and it is shown to be deficient.

  4. Rightly handling the word of truth – and this is the roof on the house, the topping on the cake and quite frankly the reason for the diligence. As a leader he had to know what it said the reason why it said it and be able to explain it to someone who either had a strong Jewish background in the law or no religious background whatsoever. He had to be able to explain the gospel truths to everyone who would receive it. It is tremendously important that the Pastor understands the correct meaning and application to the scripture before he teaches it. We see why in the book of James…

James 3:1 (ESV) Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

That scares me, even just teaching or preaching on a bible study or writing these articles means that I would be called a “teacher” and if ever a title was placed on someone who was more undeserving it is here. I see myself not as a teacher but more as someone who wants to make the scriptures more accessible to as many as possible.

V16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.

We need to be careful if we are seen as a teacher to not lead people away from the word of God. As leaders and by default we will have people looking up to us, it is not something that I chase or desire but it happens a lot. One thing we need to be careful is to not lead people astray with our actions. If you are a leader in authority you will be looked at and scrutinized. Let me give an example of this…

At a youth group I attended when I was much younger I was invited (along with the rest of the group) to the leader’s apartment building where we had youth group that evening because the church was unavailable. Where I was sitting in that guys living room I saw his CD collection and then started to think, if he likes these bands then they must be okay. I never saw his DVD/VHS collection but if I had then I might have used that to justify bad choices in my life based on what he had. Do you see where I am going with that?

We need to avoid vanity in our preaching also and avoid anything that promotes us. I find it a lot when I am speaking to fellow bloggers or pastors who have written a book that they can be very “promoting” of their own works. (I have been guilty of that also in the past too so I am speaking as much to me as anyone else!) There really is nothing as holy as the word of God and despite any good or relevant points that I make on these articles I pray that I always point you to the word of God first.

Teaching that is in place or dilutes the word of God may be popular for a season but it is not a substitute for the real thing. It is what will lead people further away from Godliness and the cancer will spread like gangrene and Paul gives two examples of this by naming two offenders to show Timothy what type of people he was meaning. We see our old friend Hymenaeus from 1st Timothy 1:20 but he appears to have a new partner in crime in this letter.

What were Hymenaeus and Philetus teaching? Well according to Paul they were teaching that the “saying that the resurrection has already happened” and were teaching incorrect doctrines regarding the End times and despite having started in the correct position they allowed themselves to become incorrect in their doctrine stating that Jesus had already returned. We have to base our faith on sound doctrine and not man’s opinions in order to be correct scripturally. Due to this incorrect doctrine they were causing others to have problems in their faith.

Some people may be okay with some unconventional teaching and methods and I am all for reaching people for the gospel, however if we stray into heresy and teaching that is not consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ then I will have an issue with that. People start to believe a version of Jesus that is not the Jesus of the bible and that is not okay. Also it the heresy does not have to affect everyone, if they are upsetting the faith of some that is bad enough.

V19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

In typical Jewish writing style we see that Paul goes from the negative to the positive and he states quite boldly that despite the attacks on the faithful word of God, He has a firm foundation and that foundation will stand up to the scrutiny of skepticism and false religion. That is a good question to ask yourself is that do you stand on that firm foundation when under attack by those who wish to trash your faith? Or do you stand on that firm foundation that cannot be shaken?

Paul takes his thoughts from Numbers 16 verses 5, 26 & 27

Numbers 16:4 (ESV) When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, 5 and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the LORD will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him.

And

Numbers 16:26 (ESV) And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins.” 27 So they got away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, together with their wives, their sons, and their little ones.

Because the Lord knows who are his, notice that it says the Lord knows, not us! I genuinely think that we will be surprised by who we see in heaven and who we don’t because many of us will not be our true selves when we are with other believers. We are called to be his and we are also called to true repentance and a life change when we enter that relationship with Jesus. We need to turn from our sins and depart our iniquity as Paul states. That is my MO here at TTE is to either help you into a relationship with Jesus, help you find a decent bible teaching church and partner with you in growing in Christ and if you are a believer I pray these studies help you grow deeper in Christ because let’s face it! It is all about Jesus!

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we will look at the verses eight through thirteen of chapter two where Paul talks being a worker approved by God, having read ahead I love these scriptures and 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 ACTS Files – The Coming of the Holy Spirit and tongues of fire – Acts 2:1-4

downloadfile-9.jpeg

The ACTS Files – The Coming of the Holy Spirit and tongues of fire – Acts 2:1-4 – 01/04/2016
Acts 2:1 (ESV) When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
This is a series in the Book of Acts which looks to visit the text from the Book of Acts on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Acts, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.
Luke continues in the book of Acts picking up the events of the day of Pentecost. We read in chapter one all that happened between Christ returning to heaven, the choosing of Matthias and why Judas had to be replaced and lastly where they had to be in order to receive the Holy Spirit, the main lesson we have learned is the disciples changed status as men of God and the obedience that they have, let us look on a verse by verse basis the first four verses of chapter two.
V1) When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.
Pentecost is a festival some fifty days after Passover; this is valuable information as it gives an accurate timeline between when Christ was crucified, rose from the death and the events which are unfolding between the next few chapters in the book of Acts. We have to realize that there is only a period of a month n a half in our Western calendar. As we are looking fromJanuary 4th 2016, would you say with confidence you have a recollection of something that happened on the 15th of November last year? I am fairly sure I could, especially if it was something as monumental as the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Pentecost is called “the day of firstfruits” and we read about this in Numbers 28…
Numbers 28:26 (ESV) “On the day of the firstfruits, when you offer a grain offering of new grain to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, 27 but offer a burnt offering, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; 28 also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for each bull, two tenths for one ram, 29 a tenth for each of the seven lambs; 30 with one male goat, to make atonement for you. 31 Besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, you shall offer them and their drink offering. See that they are without blemish.
It was very much a high Jewish festival and an important day in the calendar. It is no coincidence that God used the timing he used in that he used a timing when the whole area was dominated by an Empire that its northern border was in Northern England, It’s southern border was in North Africa and Christians would be able to spread this new faith as far as Germany in the east, Spain in the west without leaving “Roman lands”. God also used a high festival where they would encounter many devout Jewish people who were in Jerusalem for this holy day.
We read also that they were “all in one place” (some versions have “all in one accord and in one place”) the important part was that they were aligned in one mission and that mission was to wait for the Holy Spirit and leave the results up to God. They shared in so much, common bond, common faith, common salvation and common geography. We could learn so much from this as modern day believers, which is why it is vital for us to align ourselves with believers who are the same mission that we are, we have to behave as if Pentecost is today and the very spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ relied on what we did today. (That may be the situation for those people that you know with hardly any Christian friends or family, you may be the difference in someone’s eternal destination!)
I say align ourselves with believers who are on the same mission as that is what churches and bible studies are supposed to be about, hey are supposed to be open, transparent, a place to be energized, challenged, exhorted, ministered too, a place to lick your wounds and allow you to go back on mission. It is a place to worship together, learn together pray together and grow together. It is a vital support system to what you do in the world but it cannot be your WHOLE mission.
V2) And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
Do you remember what we said at the beginning of this article, they were in obedience waiting for the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem? If so, you will know what is happening here! They heard a sound coming from heaven and pouring on the disciples. This was no wee spring or sprinkle of the Holy Spirit, God poured it on them from above and this fulfilled what was prophesied by John the Baptist in the gospel of Matthew:
Matthew 3:11 (ESV) “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.”
He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and what? Ahhhh what it says in verse three…
V3) And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
So they had tongues of fire which appeared to them and rested on each one of them, talk about God literally gifting them with the tools that they would need for the job in hand. Fire in the bible can mean many things…
•       Purification – Such as a refiner would do so to purify a precious metal, likewise we must go through purification in our lives.
•       Removal – Fire was used to remove what was not required and show what was permanent, as stated in Matthew 3, burning the chaff with unquenchable fire.
•       Sacrificial – All throughout the levitical law you see sacrifices being offered and some were offered and burned to the LORD.
•       Judgmental – We see the ultimate judgment is a lake of fire for those who refuse to accept Gods reconciliation in the book of Revelation.
We read that the tongues of fire rested on them individually, no longer as a nation such as the children of Israel where each man under the New Covenant was to receive individually the Holy Spirit.
One thing that it is important to talk about is that the tongues of fire and the gift of tongues were not the gift itself but were evidence of the gift of the Holy Spirit. They were filled due to their obedience, they were filled due to them all being in one accord, they were filled due to their being beneficiaries of a promise that God fulfilled through them. Today in our churches there is a whole tongues issue where I have seen in the past the abuse of the gift of tongues and Lord willing we will go deeper into this in the next article but here are some thoughts I would like to leave you with.
Some facts about the tongues that were spoken…
•       Most of the men were not learned men and did not learn the languages
•       Their tongues were enabled by the Holy Spirit
Here is the first evidence of the Holy Spirit, the tongues being spoken in languages that they did not know. This was done to further the gospel of Jesus Christ and unlike some places of modern worship where tongues are spoken with regularity and that they teach that you are not a complete Christian unless you have that gift, this was done in order to further the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I have been in churches where friends of mine have “faked it” in order to fit in at an assembly, please do not think for one second I am discounting this wonderful spiritual gift but I always have one question when I hear of such things and that is “How is this furthering the gospel of Jesus Christ?” and “Would God want us to lie about gifts that we do not have?” It is a contentious issue and one I tread carefully as I know folks who have had the gift of tongues bestowed upon them and had it translated as prophecy and that is beautiful to be used by God in that way and I truly believe that the gift of tongues is a valid gift.
In the next article we will see in verses five through eight where the glory of God was in these acts of supernatural empowerment.
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
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Jesus is born in Bethlehem and the visit of the wise men – Matthew 2:1-12

image

Jesus is born in Bethlehem and the visit of the wise men – Matthew 2:1-12 – 12/23/2015

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.

Matthew 2:1 (ESV) Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Matthew spares little detail about the birth (for a more in depth coverage of that then see the gospel of Luke chapter 2) and goes straight to how the world received the news of the Messiahs birth. I find it remarkable that the people who bring such gifts came from so far away and the very people who had confessed with their mouths that they needed a messiah were to treat Jesus with such hostility.

V1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

We have it confirmed that Jesus, as the prophecy has stated would be born in the ancestral home of King David, a little city to the south of Jerusalem called Bethlehem. It states clearly which Bethlehem that it was in the land of Judea and Matthew goes into such great detail as to even tell us who was ruling at the time in that land. This dates Jesus birth before the date of the death of Herod the Great and gives great insight into the time period mentioned.

The men read the scriptures, studied the stars and went where they believed the new king would be they were guided into the area by a star that shone brightly for this purpose to declare where Jesus was born. They came to the capital city Jerusalem and made haste to go to the Royal palace where they expected the new king to be born. They were guided by a star and their own understanding and you can understand why they went there in the first place. Interestingly there is a prophecy in the book of numbers about a star…

Numbers 24:17 (ESV) I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

We could interpret this in many different ways but here are the plain facts regarding the homage that these wise men who came from the east direct from the scripture:

•       They sought the “King of the Jews” – The first thing that I am in awe of in this passage is that they would come so far to pay homage to a nation that is occupied and politically oppressed at that time where the monarchy of the nation really only had tax raising powers and all the real power came from Rome due to the Roman occupation. Secondly I am bowled over that they used the very name that would be nailed above his head when he was crucified. From his birth Christ’s mission was being confirmed even now as an infant.
•       They followed “His Star” – It was His star, no-one else’s! It was bright enough and noticeable enough that men from a great distance were able to track it, follow it and have it bring them to the area (remember Jerusalem is less than 10 miles from Bethlehem) of the birth. It does make me wonder about the chief priests, scribes and other religious men who were looking for a messiah. Did they not see the star? Why were they not on their face worshipping him?
•       They came to “worship Him” – These men were almost certainly not Jewish coming from so far east, but they came so far to worship the baby that was the messiah for a people that they had no connection with. Were they still thinking of an earthly throne at this point or were they aware that this was a much better king?

V3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Of course the guy on the throne doesn’t like this idea of a new king! Herod was not a nice guy, he was a tremendous builder, he was great at collecting taxes and worked well with the Romans and the religious people to keep the peace in his land and so he manage to broker deals on all sides to keep himself in that sliver of power that he still had and had some so much wrong to preserve this. He had a lot to be scared of as he was feared rather than served and was not serving the people well as a true king should.

This is a guy who is attributed to have killed members of his own family and rivals due to perceived threats on his reign and in some cases paranoia that people were plotting against him. He was troubled by the news of a “new king” and especially one with religious connotations because as stated previously his rule was finely balanced based on keeping all sides happy, if this “new king” would have the backing of the religious people then he saw his power slipping.

It states that “All Jerusalem with him” and that tells you that if the king was unhappy and paranoid then heads may literally roll. This is based on both the scripture and what history records about the man himself. And that if Herod did not get his way of what he was plotting then who would be the collateral damage of the king’s wrath?

He goes to the religious people because no-one in his house had birthed a son and they quoted him from the prophet Micah chapter 5 verse 2. This tells me that the king was not proficient in the scriptures and such words about the character of Herod are backed up with the fact he didn’t know basic prophecy regarding the expectant messiah of Israel. What is tragic here is that the religious people knew the scriptures and did not immediately head for Bethlehem and honor who they are waiting for, even if they were not sure at least send someone to find out if it is him!

V7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”

Herod questions the men and realizes that this infant king would be less than two years old. They had travelled a long way so Herod wanted to know exactly how old this threat was to him. Being the coward he was he wanted to make sure that if this was a danger that it was dealt with while the victim could not fight back. Herod heard the word of God but did not allow it to permeate his heart and even although he heard it from a man who was well educated in scripture he did not accept it into his heart.

He then “says the right things” by stating that he wanted word brought back to him that he “may worship also” and despite saying the right things he was far from wanting to worship him in his heart. We see in later verses that he wanted to kill him and Matthew does not record that they agreed to come back and merely that they did not respond.

V9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

And they left the king and went back to following the star, what a supernatural occurrence for that start to still be shining so brightly after so many months of weary travelling, they were extremely happy at finding the star again after their encounter with Herod. They were about to find out how different these two kings were. The star came to rest literally shining to the head of Jesus

V11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

They went into the house, I would note that at this point, the popular nativity scene where they are all bumping around in the stable that Jesus was born in is in most probability not actually accurate as Jesus would have been between 1-2 years old at this point due to when the wise men originally saw the star, assuming they left right away and journeyed as quickly as they could in difficult terrain. We see three facts that back this up:

•       Scripture says they “went into the house” – It is not a stable, it is a house and it would be incredible to think that they could go such a length of time in a city that Joseph would have known people without finding better lodgings than an animal shelter behind an inn.
•       They saw Mary his mother – There is no mention of Joseph being at the visit of the wise men, he could have been a multitude of places such as work, running errands and who could say for certain, but Joseph for whatever reason was not mentioned as being there.
•       They worshipped him and offered him gifts fit for a king – Knowing who they had seen before (Herod) and the character of the man, do you not think that Herod was man when he saw the lavishness of the gifts that were being offered to someone who were not him? This may have not been the surroundings that they were expecting to see the King of Kings but they certainly came prepared to worship him. It is convicting in my heart and I do wonder if I do likewise and always come prepared to worship him? You will notice that the gifts were offered (and rightly so) to Jesus and not Mary.

Shepherds or Kings?

This account is often confused with an account in the book of Luke chapter 2:

Luke 2:8 (ESV) And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

There are a few things I would like to bring forward to state these were separate visitations…

•       These men came from the same region – Jesus was presented to the Jew first and then the Gentile
•       This happened on the night of Jesus birth, not a great journey later
•       They were told they would find a baby, in a manger whapped in swaddling clothes
•       They had it confirmed by a multitude of angelic witnesses
•       They left right away to Bethlehem
•       They found Mary and Joseph and the baby still in the manger
•       They knew that God was the one to be praised

And that is just looking at the text on its own, I felt compelled by the Lord to give that explanation because I am keen to remove any obstacles from someone believing in Jesus. This was he who so many had prophesied about, this was the one sent by God, who was as much God as he was man, he is the only way to heaven and the only one that was capable of saving the world from their sins and even today the only one that can reconcile you to God and save you from your sins. By faith in him alone is the key to eternal life and He alone is worthy of all honor and praise, he is Name above all names, Alpha and Omega, King of Kings and Lord of Lords and at his name every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that he alone is Lord! My prayer for you is that confession is a confession of joy and not of despair.

V12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

The wise men continued their worship of Jesus in their obedience to the supernatural dream and elected to not be an informant that would cause harm to the baby. They wanted no part in Herod’s plans to “worship” the child.

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
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

These people defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones – Jude 1:8-9

image

These people defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones – Jude 1:8-9 – 12/11/2015

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.

Let’s start in verse eight of the first chapter of Jude.

Jude 1:8-9 (ESV) Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Jude who was continuing in his thought when he spoke of those folks at Sodom and Gomorrah and their lust for sins of the flesh he made a similar statement that there were people who were like these people who defiled the flesh and rejected authority. Jude states that the lawless men and the Angels wanted to be in authority, they rejected God’s authority and did not want to be bound by a heavenly code of conduct. 

It is very similar to the atheistic, humanistic view that we are seeing rise in more recent times that we are our own authority, which we only have to answer to ourselves. Let us look at this “self-morality logically…

•       Let’s remove the laws of the land – would everyone still behave if there were no consequences?
•       Let’s remove the defense of our nation – Would no-one attack us if we were vulnerable?
•       Let’s abolish Government and everyone is in charge – Would we have a cohesive policy on everything?
•       Let’s abolish code of conduct at work – Would anything get done if you could not be fired?

Those analogies may seem extreme or ridiculous but with those four measures I reduced any nation in the world to be vulnerable to attack, archaic chaos, lazy nation who would have companies going out of business every day with an economy in the toilet. There would be no crime because everything is legal but people still get murdered, raped, looted and harmed, but the victims are never punished due to no legal system and often die because the hospitals cannot cope with the volume of patients in the ER and with a very weak economy and no Government to direct policy the aging hospital system cannot be upgraded, but hey at least we are in charge of our own destiny and we are all in charge huh?

And I deliberately did not remove God and the whole system went to pot! I just removed all the human made stuff and can you imagine trying to live in a society like that and that would be like what Jude is saying, these people reject authority. Let’s look at the possible ways you could reject authority on a Christian level…

•       Bible – based an isolated doctrine based on only liking certain passages and not the full counsel of scripture
•       Bible – Form incorrect doctrine by rejecting valid scripture
•       Beliefs – Seeing Christianity as a buffet as opposed to a main meal, discarding beliefs that may actually be needed in our lives or be life changing
•       Prayer – not submitting to a vibrant and regular prayer life and wondering why you are not growing in God.
•       Lifestyle – confessing God with our mouths but not changing our lifestyle and being “worldly Christians” living in sin.
•       Submission to God’s will – not submitting to God’s will in your life and worshipping a glorified deity version of yourself! If your God never says no to you, you may not be following Gods will after all.
•       Rejecting leadership/pastoral authority – Have you been through 5 churches in the last year? Are you always offended? Is no church good enough? Has everyone hurt you? I say this in the deepest of love but it may not be those pastors.

This is tough stuff and it truly is where the rubber hits the road. If you want something easy then join the Marines. In the words of a Calvary Chapel Pastor (Calvary Chapel Monterey) I truly respect called Nate Holdridge “If you are not tired then you may not be doing it correctly” and in order to get the point of what I am driving at, let’s learn from a biblical account of a people when they were in the worst of their rebellion against God, the Children of Israel and let’s see what it says in the book of Judges…

Judges 21:23 (ESV) And the people of Benjamin did so and took their wives, according to their number, from the dancers whom they carried off. Then they went and returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and lived in them. 24 And the people of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and family, and they went out from there every man to his inheritance. 25 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

We come in as they are discussing how to provide for the wives of the tribe of Benjamin. Once they had their provisions and they had what they had come for, we read that “there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Even although there was no physical presence on the throne they still should have been giving thanks to God but they followed the heart and the heart was not striving for the things of God. The obvious result is that they rebelled and went further and further away from God.

Jude calls the “dreamers” because they were not in touch with the reality that God was sovereign and in many cases when we slide into sin and get deeper and deeper in, we start to concoct fantasies and alternate realities in where we can justify what we are doing. If we give ourselves over to our sin or our desires and live in that life instead of the life that God has for us eventually it will become unhealthy.

Sometimes we can “holy” our fantasies and desires and seek to promote ourselves in Gods kingdom and place ourselves in places God never intended us to be, sometimes we can let our desires cloud our visions and we could end up blaspheming because we may be in error and deceived in what we believe is prophecy or a spiritual gift that we have tried to promote ourselves into to make ourselves look holy.

These people sound like the latter, the deceivers because they appeared holy in gifts, visions and prophecies but they were gossips, slanderers and the first to rail against the ones that God had in charge of the assemblies. I see this more than most having not accepted any positions in the churches I have attended but the ones who are awesome to the pastors face are not necessarily the ones who should be trusted with the ministries of God because they are the ones who ignore the assembly to schmooze the leadership in order to get the best places. Pastors be aware of these people and look first at the servants who clean the bathrooms or stack the chairs without prompting. 

V9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Talk about a clash of the Titans that Dana White from the UFC would love to see in the Octagon in the Red (pun intended) Corner – The Devil and in the Blue Corner – Michael the Archangel. Everything Jude has said thus far has lead up to this visual matchup between the one who is loyal to the authority of God and the one who was the chief musician in heaven, had a lot of authority himself and rebelled against God. Michael is on our side as God is love, the Devil seeks only to destroy.

First of all I have no idea where this idea of a dispute about the body of Moses originated from, if you wish to read about the physical body of Moses we last read about it in Deuteronomy 34 if that is of interest to you but regardless of what the dispute was or why there was a dispute in the first place and my guess is that the devil was probably looking to do something to do any of the following…

•       Maybe use Moses body in some way to lead Israel away from God in some form of idol worship or some form of Messiah type plan.
•       Maybe he knew about Moses appearing in bodily form at the transfiguration
•       Maybe he thought Moses would need the body in the book of Revelation as one of the two witnesses

This again is speculation and who knows why it was being disputed. I am a simple guy and smarter guys than me have got stuff like this wrong so I will let you the reader pray over it and if it is something you wish to pursue then I wish you well. The overall point is not why there was a dispute but how Michael dealt with it and we as Christians could learn so much from this. He knew that the devil was cunning and was more than a match for him and knew that this spiritual warfare had to be won for the greater good.

Michael did not promote himself or puff himself up and say “I am Michael the archangel” He merely said “The Lord rebuke you!” Michael handled this like a boss, he did not leave himself open to attack by the devil, he learned from the Garden of Eden. He did not descend to the devils level and accuse or mock the devil, he used the name above all names that he knew that the devil could not compare or stand against. Let’s bring it back round to what Jude is saying and let’s look at the conduct of these “certain men” against the conduct of “Michael the archangel” and see that although Michael was the one in battle he handled it appropriately and how much more do these certain men be shamed because they have “spoke evil of authority”

I am not blameless in this way and I am certainly pondering ways that I have not always fully respected those the Lord had over me and now I am entering a season where the Lord has me lead people I am seeing it a lot from the other side and trying to not give people a reason to speak evil of me. My advice is pray for your pastor and always intercede for your leaders as often as you remember.

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
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Destroyed by their sin and unbelief

image

Jude 1:5-7 – Destroyed by their sin and unbelief – 11/27/2015

Jude 1:5 (ESV) Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

As we continue in the book of Jude we see more of what was written earlier in the previous articles that Jude is very much a “mini book of Revelation” it is a very small book in relation to the rest of the bible however it is a very dynamic book as in its twenty five verses is some very rich theology. I would urge that you open the bible to the book of Jude and see what truths we wish to convey in this series of articles.

V5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

Jude was not writing anything new, he was simply looking to remind them of a truth that they once knew, much like the previous article when Jude wrote that he had intended to write about the common salvation but instead had to write the letter that he wrote. As observed previously Jude was very sensitive to the Holy Spirit guiding his writing and this is another reason why this is such a rich letter dripping with theology.

Sometimes we have to hear good and relevant truths more than once because we do not always heed them or apply them to our present life situation or apply it properly to our lives in order to make the example one that sticks. Let’s face it we are human and we do need a daily washing in the scriptures to keep God’s truth fresh in our minds and keep our focus on Godly things.

Jude reminds them some Old Testament truths that in Numbers 14 that even although the children of Israel were saved out of slavery in the land of Egypt they refused to obey God with all their hearts and God pronounced a judgment upon them…

Numbers 14:1 (ESV) Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the people of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” 10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel. 11 And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” 13 But Moses said to the LORD, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for you brought up this people in your might from among them, 14 and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O LORD, are in the midst of this people. For you, O LORD, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if you kill this people as one man, then the nations who have heard your fame will say, 16 ‘It is because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land that he swore to give to them that he has killed them in the wilderness.’ 17 And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, 18 ‘The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ 19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.” 20 Then the LORD said, “I have pardoned, according to your word. 21 But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD, 22 none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, 23 shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it. 24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. 25 Now, since the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valleys, turn tomorrow and set out for the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.” 26 And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 27 “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the LORD, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: 29 your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, 30 not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. 33 And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ 35 I, the LORD, have spoken. Surely this will I do to all this wicked congregation who are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die.” 36 And the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing up a bad report about the land— 37 the men who brought up a bad report of the land—died by plague before the LORD. 38 Of those men who went to spy out the land, only Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive.

It is important that you know where he is quoting from as in order to “always be ready to give a defense for the faith” (1st Peter 3:14-15) you must first have read what you are defending and understand the history of where it is coming from. To do that you must be reminded to refresh your heart in a regular basis with the Word of God. The children of Israel who did not believe (and that also included Moses, the man who started the Exodus) never set foot in that promised land.

V6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—

Jude speaks of an obscure passage of scripture in Genesis 6 which says the following…

Genesis 6:1 (ESV) When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.

Basically there were rebellious angels who were not content with their place in heaven decided to take human women as wives of their own, when it speaks in the bible that they took wives it speaks of an un-natural sexual encounter that God was not authorizing when he created man and woman. You will observe that this happened pre flood and shortly after and due to the wickedness that abounded God commissioned Noah to build an Ark and restart the earth’s population.

Jude gives another piece of information about these angels that they are in eternal chains until the judgment of the great day and that tells me that God was far superior to those angels and also what they did was wrong in the sight of God and they had to be detained until “that great day” when Jesus will return and judge.

V7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Jude continues the thought about unnatural sexual relations by mentioning another wicked place in the book of Genesis. We read about Sodom and Gomorrah when Lot pitched his tent there and the following happened…

Genesis 19:1 (ESV) The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth 2 and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” 3 But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” 6 Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7 and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” 9 But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door. 12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. 13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting. 15 As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” 18 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. 19 Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. 20 Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” 21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22 Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace. 29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.

The consequence of Lots decision in Genesis 13 to choose the valley that looked nicer when he separated from Abram and the consequence to raise his wife and daughter in such a sinful culture and failing to lead his family well should be a warning to us all. I am not going to focus too much on the behavior of the men of Sodom as there are innumerable articles that go in great depth and if the Lord spares me long enough to do an article on it then I will do so.

The knock on effect to this is that his daughters do not know right from wrong and a few verses later get their father drunk and they both sleep with him. From this union the Moabite people are born through a child called Moab. Both the men of Sodom and Lots daughters displayed “unnatural desire” and should they not repent of their sins they will suffer a punishment of eternal fire.

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
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Do not be destroyed due to your lack of belief

image

Do not be destroyed due to your lack of belief

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.

Let’s start in verse five of the first chapter of Jude. 

Jude 1:5 (ESV) Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—

It has been a while since we looked at the book of Jude and here is the beginning of what I called the third section of this short letter entitled “Warning against the False Teachers” and this is something that I would encourage all of my readers to be watchful of, that would be of teachers who try to dilute the Word of God or those who simply present a gospel that is not consistent with our messiah Jesus Christ, some preach heresy and some even are so bold as to deny him as the messiah but still claim to be Christian leaders. 

Should we call out everyone we do not agree with? I say no, because unless they are actually preaching against the bible or preaching anti-biblical stances then it is just opinion, it is interpretation often times and whilst I may enjoy things done a certain way, I am happy to see others worship the Lord in a way that suits them better.

In verse five we read “Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” Jude starts with “I want to remind you” he is not declaring new or knowledge that they are not aware of; he is merely reminding the readers of a truth that they should already know. He follows this up with the phrase “although you once fully knew it” which confirms the knowledge is knowledge that needs to be “relearned”. I can really relate to this as there have been times in my Christian walk where God has allowed me to “relearn” things I should already know, usually to apply it to a situation I hadn’t faced before, sometimes it is maturity and sometimes it is my understanding of the bible.

Being the good teacher that Jude is, he does not leave them hanging and takes them back to where they should know it from. He takes them back to the book of Numbers chapter 14… (I am not going to go into it other than to copy the verses so that you can read this in the context Jude intended. 

Numbers 14:1 (ESV) Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the people of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” 10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel. 11 And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” 13 But Moses said to the LORD, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for you brought up this people in your might from among them, 14 and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O LORD, are in the midst of this people. For you, O LORD, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if you kill this people as one man, then the nations who have heard your fame will say, 16 ‘It is because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land that he swore to give to them that he has killed them in the wilderness.’ 17 And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, 18 ‘The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ 19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.” 20 Then the LORD said, “I have pardoned, according to your word. 21 But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD, 22 none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, 23 shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it. 24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. 25 Now, since the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valleys, turn tomorrow and set out for the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.” 26 And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 27 “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the LORD, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: 29 your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, 30 not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. 33 And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ 35 I, the LORD, have spoken. Surely this will I do to all this wicked congregation who are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die.” 36 And the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing up a bad report about the land— 37 the men who brought up a bad report of the land—died by plague before the LORD. 38 Of those men who went to spy out the land, only Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive. 39 When Moses told these words to all the people of Israel, the people mourned greatly. 40 And they rose early in the morning and went up to the heights of the hill country, saying, “Here we are. We will go up to the place that the LORD has promised, for we have sinned.” 41 But Moses said, “Why now are you transgressing the command of the LORD, when that will not succeed? 42 Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, lest you be struck down before your enemies. 43 For there the Amalekites and the Canaanites are facing you, and you shall fall by the sword. Because you have turned back from following the LORD, the LORD will not be with you.” 44 But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, although neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses departed out of the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them and pursued them, even to Hormah.

Quite a lot of history huh? God delivered the children of Israel from the most barbaric slavery that they could ever encounter where they were literally worked to death to advance a cruel empire and the pets of the Egyptians had more rights than a Hebrew slave, despite such an epic delivery and God showing up in a real way through plagues against the Egyptians, hearing the voice of God at Sinai and a literal parting of the Red sea to allow such a great escape, this was all within the lifetime of the people who were grumbling, they were free, they were on the way to the land and geographically they were on the edge of the land that God had promised and yet they still whined against God. Because of their unbelief they did not see God’s promises. Do you do that? Do you not believe in the promise of God’s power and protection?

We see further explanation in Psalm 95…

Psalm 95:10 (ESV) For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” 11 Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”

I saw a Facebook meme yesterday posted by my wife that stated “Do you quote the bible but live like you have never opened it?” and that is very convicting in this situation.

God is not going to leave us in an Arabian wilderness, but we have the same choice as the children of Israel to go with God’s plan for our lives or go against it. A question that you would need to ask yourself is “Are you even a Christian?” do you know where you are going in the event that you should pass from this earth this evening? If you are assured that you have eternal salvation, Are you living in the calling that God has called you to? If you are an evangelist are you evangelizing? If you are a preacher are you preaching? If you are a worship leader are you praising God?

Are you blooming where you are planted? I would love to be in full time ministry but as of yet God has not opened that door for me, but I will still try to reach colleagues and use my talents in my own time to write articles like this one and teach bible studies on a Sunday evening in my home, my desire is to see my street on fire for Jesus, to get rid of the gangs and the crime and make my area of town a desirable place to live because people are on mission for Christ. It is a big aim but I serve a big God and I pray on a daily basis for opportunities.

Or are you like the children of Israel in another way; did you start out well and have tapered off recently? Is the fire still there but it is barely flickering? Do you know that you are in rebellion against God but are too stiff necked to deal with it or perhaps too ashamed. God destroyed those in rebellion and I would caution you in standing in defiance of God, as Christians we are often tested by our endurance to finish the race, regardless of our will and want. I want to be that endurance Christian and I write this not because i have it all sorted out and have it perfect, I write it as an exhortation based on someone who could tell you he knows where you are coming from and I have been that knucklehead and came out the other side. I am not perfect but I am trying to be all in!

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – February 20th 2015

image

This article is part of a series called Bible in a year,  for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for February check out our February page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for February twentieth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Numbers 33-36.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – February 19th 2015

image

This article is part of a series called Bible in a year,  for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for February check out our February page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for February nineteenth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Numbers 30-32

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
SDG
TGBTG
TTE