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Mercy [and] Grace


cheseḏ [and] chānan
While not interchangeable, cheseḏ (mercy) and chānan (grace) are closely related. While mercy is the withholding of what is deserved (e.g., death and hell), grace is the bestowing of what is not deserved (e.g., life and heaven). 2 Samuel 9 gives one of the most graphic pictures in all the Bible of both mercy and grace, with ten startling parallels to the Savior and sinner:
First, Mephibosheth, the son of King David’s friend Jonathan, was crippled by a fall (2Sa_4:4), just as each of us was crippled by Adam’s fall, even rendered “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph_2:1-3).

Second, as David wanted to show Mephibosheth “kindness [cheseḏ] for Jonathan’s sake” (2Sa_9:1), God has shown us mercy and grace for the sake of the Lord Jesus (Eph_4:32).

Third, that kindness was neither deserved nor earned by Mephibosheth, who could do little for himself, much less do anything for the king of Judah and Israel. We in turn deserved nothing but death, and there are not enough works in the universe to save a single soul (Eph_2:8-9; Tit_3:5).

Fourth, Mephibosheth was sought by the king (Tit_3:1; Tit_3:5), again picturing unmerited favor. Likewise, not a single person has ever “[sought] after God” by his own power (Rom_3:11). “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” Jesus declared (Joh_15:16). A dead man can do nothing, so “no man can come to [Christ], except the Father which hath sent [Him] draw him” (Joh_6:44; cf. Joh_6:65; Act_16:13-14).

Fifth, David ordered and empowered servants to fetch Mephibosheth (Act_16:5), a graphic picture of evangelism. God has likewise called and empowered each of us as witnesses (Act_1:8; Mat_28:19-20).

Sixth, a result of all this was that Mephibosheth reverenced the king (2Sa_9:6), a challenge to us to worship Jesus.

Seventh, he became a servant of the king (2Sa_9:6), as are we of Christ (e.g., Rom_6:16).

Eighth, he was given riches and security (Rom_6:7), just as we have spiritual riches (Ephesians 1) and security in Christ (Joh_10:28-29; Rom_8:29-39).

Ninth, he was made a king’s son (Rom_8:11), as we are God’s children (Joh_1:12-13). And tenth, his physical condition was hidden from view when he sat at the king’s table (Joh_1:13). We, too, have been sanctified by Christ (Heb_9:12-15) and “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph_2:6).
Scriptures for Study: If you haven’t already done so, read this wonderful account and rejoice in God’s mercy and grace.

 

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HEBREW – Mercy


cheseḏ
Mercy is a translation of the Hebrew cheseḏ (H2617), which is “one of the most important [words] in the vocabulary of OT theology and ethics,” appearing some 240 times, most frequently in the Psalms. It speaks of kindness, loving-kindness, mercy, goodness, faithfulness, loyal love, and acts of kindness. While the word is used for kindness one person might show another, such as David’s kindness to Mephibosheth, the son of David’s dear friend Jonathan (2Sa_9:7), it is God’s mercy to man that stands out.
If there is a single word, in fact, that could summarize God’s dealing with His people, it would be the word mercy. One example, and by far the most notable appearance of cheseḏ, is in Psalms 136, where the psalmist declares twenty-six times of God, “His mercy endureth for ever.” This psalm is a study in worship, with God’s mercy at the forefront, displaying what wondrous works He has done. Mercy is at the foundation of His character (Psa_136:1-3), the function of His creative work (Psa_136:4-9), the fountain from which all His blessings flow to His people (Psa_136:10-25), and the force behind His Rulership in heaven (Psa_136:26).
The greatest manifestation of God’s mercy, of course, is that of redemption, His saving men from sin (Psa_51:1, “lovingkindness”, Psa_86:13). We are always struck by Jonah’s opposition to going to the unimaginably wicked Assyrians at Nineveh. Because he knew that God was a God of “kindness” (loyal love, committed to the objects of His love) and would save those pagans when they didn’t (in Jonah’s thinking) deserve it (Jon_4:2).
It is also noteworthy that with few exceptions, the Septuagint translates cheseḏ with the common Greek word eleos (G1656), which speaks of “kindness or good will towards the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them.” The whole point of mercy, therefore, is to relieve the affliction that man suffers because he cannot relieve it himself. Mercy is always to the helpless.
With God’s mercy as our model, we are to show mercy to others. “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy [i.e., covenant loyalty manifested in love] and compassions every man to his brother” (Zec_7:9; Jas_2:13-17). Judgment, in fact, is reserved for those who do not show mercy and kindness (Psa_109:16).
Scriptures for Study: What does Psa_103:8 say about God and mercy? What is the prerequisite for God’s mercy in Psa_32:10?

 

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HEBREW – Know [and] Praise (4)


yāḏa‘ [and] hālal
The old Scottish (Genevan) Psalter of 1551 affectionately and respectfully refers to Psalms 100 as “Old Hundredth.” The first stanza declares:
All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.
Here “is one of the every-day expressions of the Christian church,” writes Charles Spurgeon in The Treasury of David, “and [it] will be so while men exist whose hearts are loyal to the Great King. Nothing can be more sublime this side of heaven than the singing of this noble psalm by a vast congregation.” Today we consider a fourth way to praise God according to “Old Hundredth.”
The words “Know . . . that the LORD he is God” (Psa_100:3), show us that we praise God by increasing our knowledge of Him. Know is yāḏa‘ (H3045), which appears more than 900 times and has a wide range of meanings concerning knowledge acquired by the senses, “to know relationally and experientially.” It is similar to the Greek ginōskō (G1097), “to know by experience,” and often is practically synonymous with love and intimacy (Mat_1:25), as well as the personal relationship the believer has with Christ (Php_3:10; 1Jn_2:3; 1Jn_2:5; cf. Mat_7:23).
Yāḏa‘, then, first appears in Gen_3:5, where Satan tells Eve that eating of the forbidden tree would enable her to know good and evil. Gen_3:7 goes on to say that Adam and Eve knew they were naked. It also speaks of sexual intimacy (Gen_4:1) and even its perversion, such as homosexuality (Gen_19:5). Spiritually, not only does yāḏa‘ speak of God knowing us (Gen_18:19; Deu_34:10), but also of our knowing Him. While the lost do not know God (Jer_10:25; Job_18:21; Joh_17:25), the believer does, and that knowledge is to increase and grow. The psalmist desired to understand and know God’s Word (Psa_119:125). Solomon wanted “to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding” (Pro_1:2) and then added, “Teach [yāḏa‘] a just man, and he will increase in learning” (Pro_9:9). Peter likewise declares, “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2Pe_3:18).
Scriptures for Study: In what does true knowledge result (Psa_9:10)? What does Psa_44:21 declare about God?

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Heaven Authorized Baptism


 

Mark 11:27-33

 

“The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?,” Mark 11:30.

 

John’s baptism was commanded and authorized by God Almighty Himself (John 1:33). Some have minimized John’s baptism, saying it was not Christian baptism because he was not a member of the New Testament church. If God sent John to baptize, how dare anyone question its authenticity? It was good enough for Jesus and good enough for all the apostles and a requirement for apostleship.

 

John’s baptism was a total washing, symbolic of repentance of sin to be ready to go into the kingdom of God, which many thought was to be set up immediately. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:1, 2).

 

Baptism pictures the gospel. One dies to sin in the crucifixion of Christ; God counts it as though we were on the cross. Then, the saved person is to be buried with him, pictured in total immersion. Romans 6 teaches that when God saw Christ resurrected from the dead, He reckoned Jesus’ resurrection was our coming forth from the grave. Baptism shows the death, burial and resurrection of the believer with Jesus. Thus, scriptural baptism of a saved person, authorized by a true New Testament church, is one’s public identification with Christ and His people, an identifying mark announcing that this person is saved and not ashamed of Jesus. When one submits to baptism, he is making a life statement saying, he is saved and serious about following Christ and fellowshipping with His people.

 

Just saying

 

Baptism is a great equalizer. Since they all had the same baptism, they should be of the same unity in the Holy Spirit.

 

Robert Brock

 

 

 

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Humility—The Way to Greatness


 

Luke 14:10, 11

 

For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted,” Luke 14:11.

 

 

 

To humble oneself to be exalted is an oxymoron. James and Peter also gave the same admonition. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Since the grace of greatness is only afforded by God to those who are humble, it would benefit us to find out what it means to humble oneself. Jesus publicly accused the Pharisees of false piety for publicly advertising their fasts and disfiguring themselves to appear humble and submissive.

 

Humility that God recognizes is supernatural, a gift of the Holy Spirit, like the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23). Humility appears not to be the result of praying for it, but rather surrendering oneself to God’s control. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10). Here, we see James, Jesus’ blood brother, advising us to humble ourselves to be lifted up by God. One basically has to lift an empty cup for God to fill. “Blessed are the poor in spirit [spiritually bankrupt] for their’s is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).

 

Greatness in the eyes of God may be opposite man’s idea of greatness. Jesus told twelve jealous apostles that the greatest people in the kingdom are those with a servant’s heart, willing to serve others rather than be served. Jesus Himself came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.

 

 

 

Just Saying

 

Here’s my cup, Lord. Fill it up and run it over into others’ lives.

 

 

Robert Brock

 

 

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Ye Shall Be Witnesses


 

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth,” Acts 1:8.

 

Two words in Christ’s marching orders to the churches are both translated power. In Matthew 28:18, 19, “All power [exousia—authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.”

 

Then, in Luke 24:45-53, He repeated the Great Commission and made it clear, “But, tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power [dunamis—supernatural energy of the Holy Spirit] from on high” (verse 49). We get the word dynamite from dunamis (dunamis—supernatural energy of the Holy Spirit). When Christians go in the authority of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit, their lives become forms of worship in Spirit and truth that God records in Heaven. Having authority to witness, they were not ready to witness until they had the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

One wonders, how much of God’s kingdom work is done by talented Christians in the flesh, going in His authority, but without the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Acts 1:8 is actually the outline of the entire book of Acts.

 

Paul was educated and talented to the hilt. He could have done God’s business if God would have made the way easier by removing his infirmity.  However, God let him know that He was able to do His own work. All Paul needed to do was surrender and allow God to use him to do it. Paul did not need a miracle. God’s grace was all he needed. Paul went on to allow God to use up his life for Christ’s glory, not for the glory of the great apostle, Paul. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, . . . and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7, 8).

 

 

JUST A THOUGHT - Paul’s life and ministry exemplifies Jesus Christ. Follow Paul’s example.

 

Robert A. Brock

 

 

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Conquering the Devil’s Domain


 

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;),” Ephesians 2:5.

 

We were once Satan’s pawns, spiritually dead. Now we have been resurrected and seated in heavenly places with Jesus Christ.

 

We are ashamed of many things we did before salvation. Satan, the prince of darkness, presents himself to us as an angel of light. Our freedom and security in Christ also makes it possible to participate in a satanic lifestyle. If sin was not fun, Satan would have no customers. For a fleeting moment of pleasure, some mock the sacrifice that bought their freedom and make the Father violently angry. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:7, 8).

 

My marvelous wife taught our three sons to place their tongues in the roofs of their mouths and make the N-N-N sound. Now say, N-N-No! Every time David lost one of his precious children, he knew his own sin was the reason for the child’s suffering. “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Sam. 18:33). Because he did not say no to the devil and drink his coffee in the parlor, he took Satan’s bait on the balcony. Any Christian who spends too much time on the balcony with Satan had best wrack it up. David paid with four beloved children; how much are you willing to pay for this? “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb. 12:6).

 

 

JUST A THOUGHT - To the end of the age, storm the gates of hell, holding Jesus’ hand, yelling, No!

 

Robert A. Brock

 

 

 

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The True Family of Christ


 

For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother,” Matthew 12:50.

 

In John 7, the Scriptures make it clear that Jesus’ half  brothers did not believe He was the Messiah and even mocked Him.

 

I have three brothers whom I love very much. We ate Post Toasties from the same box, swam in the same swimming hole and shared our childhood in blissful innocence and ignorance. However, if one of my brothers came to the breakfast table and announced that he was God, I doubt I would have taken him seriously. If he began a campaign to tell the world that he was God, I would be the first one to sign, having him committed for psychiatric help.

 

Jesus’ mother perhaps was worried about His physical health. She and the brothers innocently came to remove Him from public shame and help Him recuperate. It was not until after Jesus’ resurrection and personal visit from the dead (1 Cor. 15) with the next brother in line, that James saw the Light and even became pastor of the church in Jerusalem. He introduced himself as Jesus’ servant.

 

How many grow up so close to the gospel they could touch it and never believe from the heart? That a mere man called Jesus could be God in the flesh, was the stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.

 

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).

 

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (verse 5).

 

Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (verse 6).

 

 

If we obey the gospel, Jesus promised to manifest Himself to the repentant sinner.

 

 

JUST A THOUGHT - Truth will prevail when untruth will not prevail.

 

 

Robert A. Brock

 

 

 

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183 – July, 02 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

A goodly heritage”

 

            Andrew Gifford entered into heaven on June 19, 1784 and was buried in front of 200 ministers and a multitude of others in Bunhill Fields in the early morning of July 2, 1784. Dr. John Ryland, President of Bristol Baptist College, stood on a tombstone and delivered the funeral oration. Gifford had just completed over 60 years in the Baptist ministry in Bristol during a time of religious tolerance under the “Declaration of Indulgence” granted by King Charles II on Sept. 5, 1672. Prior to that, Andrews grandfather, his namesake, was imprisoned at least four times for preaching without state authority. His father, Rev. Emmanuel Gifford, served as a sentry as his father preached the gospel in the Bristol area. Once he was discovered and violently pursued by their persecutors. He took refuge under a staircase as his tormentors ran on by, swearing to do him physical harm if they caught him, but God gave deliverance to the young man and the Baptists in their worship. With such a heritage, young Andrew was raised in Bristol and was baptized when he was fifteen years old. He was trained at the local academy and was preaching the gospel by the time he was twenty-four. Dr. Ryland, said the following words at his grave side that morning, “Farewell, thou dear old man! We leave thee in the possession of Death until the Resurrection Day, but we will bear witness against thee, O King of terrors, at the mouth of this dungeon-thou shalt not always have possession of this dead body it shall be demanded of thee by the great Conqueror, and at that moment thou shalt resign thy prisoner. O ye ministers of Christ, ye people of God, ye surrounding spectators, prepare to meet this old servant of Christ at that day, that hour when this whole place shall be nothing but life, and death shall be swallowed up in victory.”

 

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 270-272.

 

 

 

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LINKED WITH HIM


When I feel still and very empty,
I try to turn my thoughts to prayer,
A little light turns on inside
And suddenly my God is there.

My doubts come from their stony places, He turns each one into a flower,
My heart gets into heaven’s gate,
I’m linked again with Him in prayer.

Marion Schoeberlein

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