KEY VERSE: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord,” I Corinthians 1:30, 31.
Two little boys debated whose father was smarter. Jon said his father was smarter because he discovered a medicine that stopped hair from falling out. Brad said his father was smarter because he discovered a medicine that caused hair to grow back. Both fathers were bald. This is about the amount of our earthly wisdom.
Jesus gives us heavenly wisdom that does not end when we die. God’s wisdom is Christ and Christ in us. We are given wisdom through Christ Jesus as the Holy Spirit tutors us in the love story of God. This story is so simple it confuses a genius but gives wisdom to an illiterate because he accepts it by faith. That message is this–God so loved the sinner that He sent His sinless Son to die in the sinner’s place.
REFLECTION: In Christ, one has His wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption; so if one is outside Christ, what does that make him?
WILL A MAN ROB GOD?
I know, I know! Everybody’s mind is made up from the title of this article what it is going to be all about. When pastors choose this title and use Malachi 3:8, it is almost always a message of giving of money to the cause of the church. So how could this be any different. Well, think with me and see!
Certainly, a lot of churchgoers do rob God in the matters of tithes and offerings as the context of this Old Testament passage of scripture indicates, but that is not the primary burden of this article. Robbery of God takes on a much grander scale of which robbery in tithes and offerings is but a symptom. Consider that when one repents from sin and receives Christ Jesus into his heart, he is born from above and his spirit sealed with the Holy Spirit of God. That person has been purchased by the shed blood of Jesus. He is no longer his own, but a subject of Jesus. As such he is to render praise and honor to his Savior (how logical). So what do many do? They find any excuse, and the slightest one at that, to miss church worship services or the giving of themselves in any noticeable way to honor the God of their salvation. Many, yes, many, would be embarrassed beyond words if they were called upon to lead in prayer, because prayer is a stranger to them. Will a man then rob God of the just honor due Him? Will a man rob God of the glory He is to receive from him in His church? Will a man rob God of His rightful place in his heart? Will a man rob God of His rightful place in his home? Will a man rob God of the power of personal testimony that he is failing to share with others? How many ways modern Christians do rob God!
The problem is a heart problem! Moreover, that speaks to the attitude toward tithes and offerings. Jesus pungently said it when He taught that where a man’s heart is, there will his treasure also be. So, look around. Where does your money go? Where is your leisure time spent? Where do you find your joy? There is where your treasure is. Certainly, it is a precious few who find their heart and their treasure in the things of God. Among far too many the decision is repeatedly made to rob God! It is robbery, sheer robbery! It is the kind of robbery that a sermon, or brow-beating, or grudging change will NOT fix. It is the kind that underscores heart trouble.
Knowing that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of deeds whether they are good or evil, wisdom cries out for a return of the heart to the God who bought it with His precious blood. When that cry is heeded, all the other things will be fixed.
HOW TO KNOW THERE IS A GOD
Would you like to know that there is a God, that Jesus Christ is His Son and Savior, and what true teaching is? Will, Jesus Himself suggested an experiment: Joh_7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. The responsibility is on the seeker. He must be willing to do God’s will when it is revealed to him. God promises no light to one who closes his eyes against it, nor any spiritual food to one who will not eat.
If you are an honest doubter, will you pray this prayer? “God, if you exist, I ask You to reveal Yourself to me. I am willing to do Your will if You reveal it to me, and will accept Jesus as my Savior if You reveal Him to me as Your Son.” Then read the entire Gospel of John, first noting its purpose in chapter 20, verse 31.
“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God,” Hebrews 10:7.
Jesus Christ shed His blood and laid down His life for me! When I take a moment to let this truth sink in it humbles me. To see the sacrifice it took to cover my sins is sobering. How can I ever give anything back to Him that measures up to that? My life is all I have to give.
Sin absolutely wrecked our world. All of God’s creation feels its effects, including you and I. We are a broken people. Sin has devastated our lives and separated us from God. Just anything will not work as a worthy sacrifice to reconcile us back to God.
In today’s passage, we see the writer of Hebrews quote a psalm of David’s. Verse 4 speaks of the impossibility of the blood of bulls and goats to remove sin. The animal sacrifices in the Old Testament were great pictures that showed us the seriousness of our transgressions before God, but they fell short of paying the price for sin.
Then Jesus entered the world and became the answer for our sins. He offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice. His death and shed blood was able to accomplish what the blood of animals never could.
Now we have a reason to serve Him. The knowledge of what Jesus did on our behalf should serve as all the motivation we will ever need. When we consider the enormous gift that God gave to us, we should react by giving Him our lives.
Is the truth of Jesus’ sacrifice serving as your motivator for doing His will?
“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him,” Psalm2:12.
In a kingdom, the commoners will feel either insecure or protected in direct relation to the character of their king. Since everything in the universe is in God’s kingdom, in the final analysis, everything must relate to God, be measured by His standards and receive reward or punishment. Solomon said that God has made us simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated. Since people have confused their relationships to the King, they have muddled their responsibilities in the kingdom.
Everything in the visible and invisible realm was made of Christ’s energy by Him and for Him. Since all living and nonliving matter is created of atoms, which are spinning balls of God’s energy, then God is in absolute control. How foolish for Satan and the lost world to think they can plot to take over the kingdom as though God did not exist. Every created being is just one heartbeat away from eternity.
Like Daniel, the innocent may have to suffer along with the guilty, but Christians can rest assured that the Father has set His King on His right hand, making His enemies His footstool. His kingdom will come, and His will done on earth as it is in Heaven.
One fine day when the King comes to set up His throne in Zion, He will bring the saints with Him, and they will reign with Him for a thousand years. Won’t that be a real change . . . a welcome change?
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, . . . behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation” (Zech. 9:9).
IN OTHER WORDs
Make sure you are in Christ’s kingdom and not Satan’s.
2 Thessalonians 3:16-18
“Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all,” 2 Thessalonians 3:16.
Paul used someone other than himself to pen most of his letters. We do not know exactly why Paul did this, but we learn in today’s passage that he did at least pen one verse in his own handwriting. Paul even made an explicit point to let the readers know that this final admonition was written in his own hand. There is a lot of speculation as to why Paul would do this. Was it because he wanted to show his special care in writing this particular letter? Was it simply his sign of authenticity?
This could very well be the case. There may have even been a case of forgery that led to the idea that the day of Christ had already come. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:2.)
What is really important here was Paul’s salutation. He wrote (may) “the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means” and “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” Paul wished grace and peace to his readers. As believers, we have received both God’s grace and peace. Paul now prayed that these two wonderful gifts would continue with us. Paul wished for the believers in Thessalonica and believers everywhere to be filled with God’s wonderful grace and peace.
JUST A THOUGHT
Do you find rest and comfort in God’s grace and peace in your life?
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.
For the Christian, real spiritual joy and peace cannot come from the world. Our joy must come from the One who overcame the world (1 John 4:4, 5). Peace and joy in Christ is a state of mind that sees God working in the background, no matter how bad the circumstances. Paul stated it like this, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil.1:21). Either way, Christ is glorified.
In John chapters 14—16, Jesus spoke words of comfort to His church, which had finally resigned itself to the idea that He really was going to let the leaders kill Him. Naturally, the apostles were devastated. They had left their families and homes and jobs to follow Him in what they thought was to be the establishment of the kingdom of Israel. Parents in Israel had taught their children this all their lives. Now, He said that He was going to let the leaders kill Him. All is lost. Jesus taught them that He must first be the suffering Messiah and pay for mankind’s sin. Then, He would rise the third day and go to the Father’s house, from whence He will return, “And receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).
Jesus has paid for sin with His life. He will return and set up His kingdom and will rule in justice and righteousness.
Posted: 12 Jul 2014 01:11 AM PDT
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him,” John 3:36.
Believe means “to give mental assent to”; believe not is translated from the Greek word for disobey, and abides is from the word meno meaning “to dwell or set up housekeeping.” A person who possesses everlasting life has placed his eternal destiny in the hands of Jesus Christ and asked God for pardon, believing Christ’s sacrifice paid for his sins. The one who does not obey Christ’s invitation will not see eternal life but has set up housekeeping under the wrath of God.
How can a person go through life without God’s grace to help him through the trials of life? At a funeral one usually sees two groups of people. One group has gone through the gauntlet holding God’s hand, depending on Christ’s strength. The other group stares blank-faced into the future with no hope. These have set up camp under the wrath of God. How sad when God has already provided the sacrifice to bring them into His presence as His children. All their time here on earth could be spent depending on Him as their daddy, Abba.
What a sad way to spend life on earth, living under God’s wrath, headed to the eternal lake of fire!
Revelation 22:12, 13
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be,” Revelation 22:12.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor.5:10).
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. . . . For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:23-26).
He will not tarry. When the Father tells the Son to go get His bride to the wedding feast, it will be the crowning event of the history of mankind, the most magnificent celebration the world has ever seen. He will not need seven years to judge His people. He is bringing His reward with Him. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. . . . Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:27-30).
There are one hundred sixty-eight hours in a week. How many hours are spent storing up rewards where we live?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed,” Romans 1:16, 17.
Some believe the knowledge only of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is the power they need to be saved. However, for the gospel to be the power of God unto salvation, one must believe the gospel, repent and ask forgiveness of sin and by faith receive the person of Jesus Christ into himself. When one makes that surrender, the Spirit seals Himself to the believer’s spirit, then the believer comes alive unto God. The power of God, Jesus Christ, regenerates the seeker’s spirit and he comes alive unto God to walk in newness of life (Phil. 3:9).
The wrath and power of God against sin is revealed in nature. The whole universe has been placed under the curse. All creation groans and travails in calamity, looking forward to the time when Christians receive their new bodies (Rom. 8:22, 23) because Heaven and earth also be created new. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away” (Rev. 21:1).
The power of God is the person of Jesus Christ. Receive Him.