For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?
Every person who holds a mortgage is required by their mortgage company to hold insurance on their house. The insurance provides the bank a manner through which it may recover the loss if you default on your loan. Having insurance on your house is a wise and responsible financial investment. The insurance gives you a peace of mind that, if your house should be destroyed, you can replace your house. The peace of mind that is bought is priceless.
Every Christian should possess peace of mind regarding his fellowship with Christ. Knowing the blessings of full salvation in Christ, the believer rests in the faith that Christ has done everything that is necessary for salvation, including the believer’s ability to experience a victorious Christian life. Some Christians do not want to experience the rest that faith provides. They remain content with the knowledge that they are saved from hell rather than resting in the knowledge that heaven is their final destination. They make little or no progress in their spiritual lives, and they are content with the progress they have made. The writer of Hebrews calls such pathetic behavior unbelief. The third chapter of Hebrews is written to present Christ is the perfect rest. Moses is compared to Christ, and the illustration of entering into rest is found in Moses’ leadership of Israel as they left Egypt for the promised land. Because of unbelief, the Israelites were cursed to wander in the wilderness. The third chapter of Hebrews gives a strict warning to the Christian. Do not allow unbelief to prevent you from experiencing joy and blessing in the Christian life. Read the rest of this entry
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
People have commonly approached the Bible as if it were only a curiosity. Having read the Sacred Pages through sin-darkened minds, they understand it to be nothing more than great literature or fanciful interpretations of ancient history. On the contrary, the Bible is more than just a book of literature or antiquity. The Bible is the most unique book in all of human history. The Bible holds authority over mankind today that is equally as powerful as it was when it was written. The issues the Bible addresses are the same today as they were thousands of years ago. It is sure that society has changed a great deal from Bible times, but man’s problems have not changed because every man is created equally in God’s sight. Every man has the same forefather in Adam, and as such, inherits a sin nature. Sin has not changed in thousands of years, so man’s problems have not changed either. Man may pervert the use of his most recent inventions to commit the same sins of robbery and murder as in Bible times.
Paul writes the letter of 2 Timothy as a sequel to the first letter to a young pastor named Timothy. Timothy had been reared in a godly Jewish home by his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois. According to Rabbinic law, Eunice and Lois taught Timothy the Law so that he knew it by heart by the age of five. Paul points Timothy to the Bible that he had learned so well as his source of authority as the spiritual leader of his church. Paul encourages Timothy to ‘Preach the word’1 as opposed to merely giving good advice or his own opinions. The very instruction Timothy had received as a child was still sufficient in his adulthood. Paul tells Timothy that the Bible is given by God to teach us how to live. You too may turn to the Bible to know how to live. Read the rest of this entry
By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.
One of the greatest mysteries today stems from a dark day in American history. On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, by a sniper. Many theories exist concerning the identity of the actual shooter, from where he shot, and why he pulled the trigger. Some people believe a shot was fired from a grassy knoll nearby. Some believe Kennedy was assassinated for his political platform. Some believe that Kennedy was shot once; others believe he was shot twice. Active imaginations consider certain details of the events surrounding the assassination to mean things other than the obvious. We do know from history that Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the assassination and was later shot by Jack Ruby as Oswald was being escorted through a crowd. Regardless of the suspected how’s and why’s, the actual cause and reasons behind President’s tragic death is commonly unknown. Perhaps time will uncover new evidence which will put to rest the mystery behind the assassination of President Kennedy.
We read of an even greater mystery in God’s Word. Facts concerning the mystery were revealed over several thousand years, and the mystery has yet to be fully understood. The twists and turns as well as the irony and paradoxes of the mystery cause us to wonder at the infinitely marvelous revelation of God in the person of Christ. The plan of God for man’s redemption is well beyond the ability of the human mind to grasp. At the same time, the plan of redemption is a simple as “A-B-C”. The fact that an infinite and eternal God could make Himself as one of His creatures to live in a finite and temporary manner is difficult to understand, though it is revealed progressively through the Scriptures.
People everywhere love a good mystery, and God’s people love and thrill at the mystery revealed in the Scriptures. Paul presents this mystery to Timothy to excite him about the thrills of ministry. Paul writes the letter of 1 Timothy, one of the letters in the section of the Bible called the Pastoral Epistles, to a young man about to enter his first pastorate. Chapter three details the qualifications for spiritual leaders. In order to impress upon Timothy the significance of his new pastoral duties, Paul summarizes the most thrilling aspect of ministry. The mystery of redemption is the foundation of ministry, since without redemption salvation would be unavailable to mankind and no need would exist to tell people about redemption. You ought to thrill with Paul and Timothy at the wonder of the greatest mystery of all time. Read the rest of this entry
Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!
A salvage store called Crazy Eddie’s used to run silly commercials describing their incredibly low prices. Crazy Eddie himself would appear on screen at the end of the commercial to say, “Crazy Eddie’s prices are insane!” At the bottom of the screen would appear the following phrase. “Prices and merchandise available for a limited time only.”
Paul’s second letter to the church of Thessalonica was written in part to give them peace of mind concerning the rapture. Teaching the doctrine of the rapture, the first epistle to the Thessalonian church dispelled the fear that the dead would miss the rapture. Paul explains that Christians who die will actually meet Christ in the air before the living Christians will. Apparently, the church had misunderstood the teaching of the rapture, and they either responded in fear or in laziness. Paul says in chapter two in response to fear, “1Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.” In response to those who chose to do nothing until the Lord’s return, Paul says, “11For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”1
Paul concludes his letter to the Thessalonican church with the words of our text. The source of the Christian’s peace is found in the presence of God. You may rest in God’s peaceful presence.
Unlike Crazy Eddie’s available for a limited time only prices, peace is always available through God’s presence. Hebrews 13:5 ends with these comforting words: “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” The faithful, unceasing presence of God is a source of peace. Since God’s presence is all around us and in us, surrounding us, we live in a river of peace.
What are your thoughts on this verse?
What is Christian peace?
What does the text say is the source of our peace?
Why does a Christian lose his sense of peace?
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
A June 25, 2008 Associated Press article from Guthrie, OK, recounts a brave little girl. The girl’s mother taught her to call 911 for help with a simple little song. The song literally became a lifesaver when the pregnant mother fainted. The little girl took the phone and punched the correct buttons because of the song. The girl was even able to answer questions to guide the paramedics to the right location. I mention that story to illustrate the power that music possesses. God, the creator of music, knew the power music would have over us, and He uses music to teach us the importance and power of His Word in the believer’s life.
Our text focuses upon the believer’s worship, especially as it concerns how we relate to each other. In every group of people, inter-personal conflicts will inevitably arise. This reality is found even in Christ’s Church. Paul approaches the handling of inter-personal conflicts in verses twelve to fifteen. “12) So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13) bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14) Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15)Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” The only way that Christians can cooperate, defer to each other, is when Christ is held supreme in the church’s life and worship. Nothing on earth is more beautiful than a church which operates in the unity of Christ.
Paul discusses the worship of the church in verses sixteen and seventeen. Having just described the ideal behavior of the Christian, Paul gives the method by which the ideal is achieved. Paul points the Christian back to Christ. As one reads Christ’s word, He understands the heart of God. Paul described the heart of God in Colossians 1.19-20. “19For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Christ, the express image and fulness of God bodily, set a perfect pattern for us to follow; the pattern is recorded in God’s Word. As we follow Christ’s word, we will worship in the beauty of perfection. Christ’s word must be the central focus of all public and private worship. Read the rest of this entry
however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
THIS CHAPTER WILL BE RADICALLY RE-WRITTEN, BUT IT’S WHAT I HAVE SO FAR, SO PLEASE BEAR WITH ME.
We often have the conception of Paul as a super-Christian. We consider Paul to be the holiest man ever to live, second only to Christ Himself. We think of Paul as acting properly all of the time. In other words, Paul’s Christianity was one which we could only dream to have. We may struggle with the fact that we are not as mature Christians as we ought to be. We may wonder if there is something wrong with us because we do not see the Christian maturity that we desire. We may even become discouraged when we compare ourselves with the likes of Paul. Paul quickly diffuses such lofty conceptions of himself earlier in Philippians 3. As Paul writes his last letter to a church expressing his final words, one would expect the words to be profound and deep. The words of our text are actually very simple in implication. We must trust that Christ satisfies any gaps in our Christian walk. Read the rest of this entry
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
During his prime, the heavy weight boxing champion Mike Tyson was nearly invincible in the ring. Tyson whipped the likes of formidable opponents such as Larry Holmes to earn his championship belt with relative ease. Tyson had out-of-the-ring problems which caught up to him and eventually cost him the championship belt. A rematch was arranged between Tyson and Evander Holyfield to regain the belt he lost to Holyfield just seven months earlier. The match did not begin well for Tyson. Sensing he was going to lose to Holyfield again, Tyson became angry. The fight ended in a rather bizarre manner in the third round. Tyson embraced Holyfield in a strategy to ward off a few blows. Suddenly, as Tyson embraced Holyfield, he turned his head and bit a chunk out of Holyfield’s ear. The match ended immediately, and Holyfield declared the winner by default. Mike Tyson’s boxing career ended in a rather embarrassing manner. Tyson fell from household name to household joke. Mike Tyson possessed incredible physical power but little strength of character. Read the rest of this entry
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.
Every responsible adult owns a very important document. The document is unusual because its contents cannot be enforced until its owner dies. The document bears the title ‘Last Will and Testament.’ The document says, “These are my desires (will) and my promises (testament).”
Galatians deals with a last will and testament. The will is last because nothing needs to be added to it, and the testament or promise will be fulfilled. When Christ died, the new testament went into effect.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia concerning Christ’s will and testament. The congregation was confused about the importance of the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant, the promises Jehovah made with Abraham and Moses. The Galatian church placed great importance upon the Mosaic Covenant, believing it to be superior to the older Abrahamic Covenant.
The church’s error was that they place the emphasis of salvation on the works which the Mosaic Covenant dictated. The Mosaic Covenant was a conditional covenant. In other words Jehovah said, “If you do this, I will do that.” If the people refused to do what the covenant demanded, Jehovah would punish the Israelites. In contrast no condition was placed upon the Lord’s covenant with Abraham. God promised to do for Abraham exactly what He said He would do.
The error Paul refuted in Galatians 3 is an error which has Read the rest of this entry
but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Paul’s instructions to the church in 2 Corinthians 3 deal with the error that the Old Testament worship was better than the New Testament worship. We will see Paul point to Moses and then to Christ. The truth Paul teaches the Corinthian church applies to you today. When a person turns to Christ, the blinders of sin are removed to reveal the gloriousness of Christ’s heart. You must look to Christ to become like Christ. You must not fear spiritual growth.
Exodus 34 tells us about the veil that Moses wore.1 As Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the stone tablets on which were written the Ten Commandments, Moses’ face shone brightly because Read the rest of this entry
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
Paul stresses the importance of the church and its public worship with an illustration of the Church as a body. The Church is one entity made of many individuals. Since the Church is a body, each member of the body is responsible to maintain the coherence of the body through the holiness Christ imputes to us and the Holy Spirit generates in us. Paul illustrates the church as God’s Temple. The church is the visible, physical evidence God has given to reveal His character of holy love to a lost and dying world. You must be part of God’s church to be part of God’s will.
The church resembles the Temple in many ways. First, the temple and the Church were built to Read the rest of this entry