Category Archives: Weekly Bible Studies

The Practice of Godliness


The Practice of Godliness

1 Timothy 4:7-10;Titus 3:1-9                               February 17 2013

Timothy was “brought up in” the truths of the faith. Paul’s pointed advice makes it clear that “truth” is not simply something to be believed, but to be lived. Thus Paul emphasizes the importance in any ministry of not only commanding and teaching truths, but also of setting an example by living them. We have not really grasped Scripture’s truths until they begin to find expression in our lifestyle.

1. Several directions, with motives for due discharge of duties.

(1 Tim.4:7-10)      

1 Tim.4:7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end  we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

Outward acts of self-denial profit little. What will it avail us to mortify the body, if we do not mortify sin? No diligence in mere outward things could be of much use. The gain of godliness lies much in the promise; and the promises to godly people relate partly to the life that now is, but especially to the life which is to come: though we lose for Christ, we shall not lose by him. If Christ be thus the Saviour of all men, then much more will he be the Rewarder of those who seek and serve him; he will provide well for those whom he has made new creatures.

     2. Obedience to magistrates, and becoming behaviour towards all, are enforced from what believers were before conversion, and what they are made, through Christ. (Titus 3:1-9)      

      Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. 9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.

Spiritual privileges do not make void or weaken, but confirm civil duties. Mere good words and good meanings are not enough without good works. They were not to be quarrelsome, but to show meekness on all occasions, not toward friends only, but to all men, though with wisdom, James 3:13 . And let this text teach us how wrong it is for a Christian to be churlish to the worst, weakest, and most abject. The servants of sin have many masters, their lusts hurry them different ways; pride commands one thing, covetousness another. Thus they are hateful, deserving to be hated. It is the misery of sinners, that they hate one another; and it is the duty and happiness of saints to love one another. And we are delivered out of our miserable condition, only by the mercy and free grace of God, the merit and sufferings of Christ, and the working of his Spirit. God the Father is God our Saviour. He is the fountain from which the Holy Spirit flows, to teach, regenerate, and save his fallen creatures; and this blessing comes to mankind through Christ. The spring and rise of it, is the kindness and love of God to man. Love and grace have, through the Spirit, great power to change and turn the heart to God. Works must be in the saved, but are not among the causes of their salvation. A new principle of grace and holiness is wrought, which sways, and governs, and makes the man a new creature. Most pretend they would have heaven at last, yet they care not for holiness now; they would have the end without the beginning. Here is the outward sign and seal thereof in baptism, called therefore the washing of regeneration. The work is inward and spiritual; this is outwardly signified and sealed in this ordinance. Slight not this outward sign and seal; yet rest not in the outward washing, but look to the answer of a good conscience, without which the outward washing will avail nothing. The worker therein is the Spirit of God; it is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Through him we mortify sin, perform duty, walk in God’s ways; all the working of the Divine life in us, and the fruits of righteousness without, are through this blessed and holy Spirit. The Spirit and his saving gifts and graces, come through Christ, as a Saviour, whose undertaking and work are to bring to grace and glory. Justification, in the gospel sense, is the free forgiveness of a sinner; accepting him as righteous through the righteousness of Christ received by faith. God, in justifying a sinner in the way of the gospel, is gracious to him, yet just to himself and his law. As forgiveness is through a perfect righteousness, and satisfaction is made to justice by Christ, it cannot be merited by the sinner himself. Eternal life is set before us in the promise; the Spirit works faith in us, and hope of that life; faith and hope bring it near, and fill with joy in expectation of it.

Summary

Titus’ ministry is to be one of organizing local church leadership, silencing false teachers, and instilling an appropriate Christian lifestyle. What happens in a church where such a mission is successful? Paul suggests that Christian people will prove to be good citizens of the secular state . They will also be deeply rooted in God’s love and in response will “devote themselves to doing what is good” . In addition the church will avoid unprofitable disputes and purify itself of warped and divisive individuals . With all this said, Paul closes with a few personal remarks and with greetings to Titus from those who are still with Paul .

 

The Character if Leadership

 The Character of Leadership  

1 Timothy 3:1-15                       February 10 2013

JA”>“The word is episkopos, which is frequently translated in older versions as “bishop.” A study of N.T. texts suggests that it is used as a synonym of presbuteros, elder. Thus “bishop” and “elder” refer to the same person, the same office.

JA”> The phrase has been interpreted to rule out the possibility of a divorced person holding this office but, interestingly, not to rule out a widower who has been remarried. Most commentators agree, however, that it simply means monogamous: a one-woman kind of man who is totally faithful to his wife.

       These verses list 15 qualities to consider when selecting elders. Note that the qualifications do not mention seminary training or possession of any particular spiritual gifts. Instead they are character qualifications. Spiritual leaders are to be the kind of person that Christian teaching is intended to produce. Let’s show great care in choosing godly persons as our spiritual leaders and not be influenced by the wealth or social status that attract men of the world.

JA”>Elder character traits in brief .

Above reproach: Totally faithful to his wife.

A one-woman man: Totally faithful to his wife.

Temperate: Sober, careful, and deliberate.

Self-controlled: Disciplined, reasonable.

Respectable: Modest, honorable, well-behaved.

Hospitable: One who welcomes visitors.

Able to teach: Able to explain and apply.

Not given to drunkenness: No tendency toward wine.

Not violent: Not hostile, antagonistic.

Gentle: Kindly, reasonable, forebearing.

Not quarrelsome: Not combative or contentious.

Not a money lover: Cares for people, not things.

Good manager of his family: Directs family life.

No recent convert: Mature and humble.

Of good reputation: Admired by outsider

1.The qualifications and behaviour of gospel bishops.(1 Tim. 3:1-7)      

JA”>1Tim.3:1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a  bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

JA”>If a man desired the pastoral office, and from love to Christ, and the souls of men, was ready to deny himself, and undergo hardships by devoting himself to that service, he sought to be employed in a good work, and his desire should be approved, provided he was qualified for the office. A minister must give as little occasion for blame as can be, lest he bring reproach upon his office. He must be sober, temperate, moderate in all his actions, and in the use of all creature-comforts. Sobriety and watchfulness are put together in Scripture, they assist one the other. The families of ministers ought to be examples of good to all other families. We should take heed of pride; it is a sin that turned angels into devils. He must be of good repute among his neighbours, and under no reproach from his former life. To encourage all faithful ministers, we have Christ’s gracious word of promise, Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, color:windowtext;mso-fareast-language:JA”> . And he will fit his ministers for their work, and carry them through difficulties with comfort, and reward their faithfulness.

14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;mso-fareast-language:JA”>     2.   (1 Tim. 3:8-15)      

1 Tim.3:8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.14 These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth

JA”>The deacons were at first appointed to distribute the charity of the church, and to manage its concerns, yet pastors and evangelists were among them. The deacons had a great trust reposed in them. They must be grave, serious, prudent men. It is not fit that public trusts should be lodged in the hands of any, till they are found fit for the business with which they are to be trusted. All who are related to ministers, must take great care to walk as becomes the gospel of Christ.

Summary

JA”>Paul now moves to discuss elders, who do have the role of issuing authoritative teaching in the local church. Eldering is a noble task  which requires the elder to have a developed Christian character . Deacons also are to be “worthy of respect” and demonstrate maturity in the faith . The church of God is such a special fellowship, the very household of the Lord, that people must conduct themselves in it correctly . Surrendering to the wonder of it, Paul introduces another brief poem which may be one of the earliest creedal statements of the church .

JA”> 

 

The Truth of the Gospel , A Pray For Vera

A Pray For Vera , She recovering and doing Ok at this    time Sleeping Thanks to the Lord . Lots Of Pray

The Truth of the Gospel (Evangelism Lesson)

1 Timothy 1:3-7,12-20                                        February 3 2013

 The Gk. word gnesios means “genuine.” Timothy had faithfully served with Paul and proved himself ( Phil. 2:22 ).

These are most likely the “Jewish myths” mentioned in Titus 1:14 . Religious literature of the period shows many treated the O.T. genealogies as a source of symbolic truth having to do with the apocalypse. This approach stimulated endless arguments and drew the speculators further and further from the true meaning and intent of Scripture.

 Paul’s command to stop false teachers is intended to restore an emphasis on Gospel truths. Commitment to truth purifies the heart, cleanses the conscience, and produces unhypocritical faith—and this results in love for God and others. Don’t brag about your doctrine. Unless that doctrine has changed you from within, you’ve missed its meaning.

 Paul’s point is hard to miss. Law says “You shall not. . . .” Yet we only say “Don’t” when a person is already doing something wrong. If no one committed adultery, for instance, why pass a law against it? So law is directed against sinful people and has no relevance to the truly good who never do such things anyway.

Paul’s point is that the Gospel works an inner transformation, and its “sound doctrine” directs us into a lifestyle of holiness and love. Why then become involved in those endless discussions about the Law that marked 1st-century rabbinical Judaism and characterized the false teachers who sought to distract believers from a healthy focus on Christ?

Proper use of law . Paul defines the proper use of law in Rom. 3:1-20 ; law is to convict sinners and demonstrate their guilt.

  Paul notes that he was “faultless” as far as keeping Moses’ Law was concerned . Yet here he admits that he was also a violent (hybristes) person. Perhaps Paul is remembering how he “consented” to Stephen’s death. We don’t have to actually strike another person to be hostile, hating, and thus violent. Even though his persecution of the church let him express his violence in a “lawful” way, Paul now sees within himself all the corruption that marks society’s lawbreakers. Clearly in his own case the Law was no help in making him good. It only helped him conceal his sinfulness from himself.

If we keep on trusting and keep on doing what is good, we like Timothy will realize our potential.

1.    The apostle salutes Timothy.  (Timothy 1:1-4)  

Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith:Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

Jesus Christ is a Christian’s hope; all our hopes of eternal life are built upon him; and Christ is in us the hope of glory. The apostle seems to have been the means of Timothy’s conversion; who served with him in his ministry, as a dutiful son with a loving father. That which raises questions, is not for edifying; that which gives occasion for doubtful disputes, pulls down the church rather than builds it up. Godliness of heart and life can only be kept up and increased, by the exercise of faith in the truths and promises of God, through Jesus Christ.

2.The design of the law as given by Moses. (Timothy 1:5-11)      

Timothy 1:5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

Whatever tends to weaken love to God, or love to the brethren, tends to defeat the end of the commandment. The design of the gospel is answered, when sinners, through repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ, are brought to exercise Christian love. And as believers were righteous persons in God’s appointed way, the law was not against them. But unless we are made righteous by faith in Christ, really repenting and forsaking sin, we are yet under the curse of the law, even according to the gospel of the blessed God, and are unfit to share the holy happiness of heaven.

3.    Of his own conversion and call to the apostleship.

(Timothy 1:12-17)      

 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

The apostle knew that he would justly have perished, if the Lord had been extreme to mark what was amiss; and also if his grace and mercy had not been abundant to him when dead in sin, working faith and love to Christ in his heart. This is a faithful saying; these are true and faithful words, which may be depended on, That the Son of God came into the world, willingly and purposely to save sinners. No man, with Paul’s example before him, can question the love and power of Christ to save him, if he really desires to trust in him as the Son of God, who once died on the cross, and now reigns upon the throne of glory, to save all that come to God through him. Let us then admire and praise the grace of God our Saviour; and ascribe to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three Persons in the unity of the Godhead, the glory of all done in, by, and for us.

4. The obligation to maintain faith and a good conscience.

(Timothy 1;18-20)      

Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

The ministry is a warfare against sin and Satan; carried on under the Lord Jesus, who is the Captain of our salvation. The good hopes others have had of us, should stir us up to duty. And let us be upright in our conduct in all things. The design of the highest censures in the primitive church, was, to prevent further sin, and to reclaim the sinner. May all who are tempted to put away a good conscience, and to abuse the gospel, remember that this is the way to make shipwreck of faith also.

Summary

Paul addresses this letter to Timothy, a young coworker he has sent on a troubleshooting mission to Ephesus . Timothy’s mission: to silence false teaching so that the Gospel’s truth might produce its fruit of love . Too many would-be teachers of the law prattle on without knowing what they’re talking about. They fail to realize that laws are passed against sins—and thus are irrelevant to the good men who would not break them anyway!

As for Paul, he is eternally thankful that God saves sinners and transforms them into His servants . In fact, Paul sees himself as history’s clearest example that God’s mercy reaches the worst of sinners, a source of hope for others wanting to believe and receive eternal life . No wonder Paul breaks out in a doxology of praise! As for Timothy, he must hold on to faith and a good conscience and so fulfill his promise .

Haggai; A Message of Hope

 

Haggai ; A Message of Hope   

Haggai 1:2-9;2:1-9,10-19,20-23                            January 27 2013

The precise references to dates in the reign of King Darius, well known from secular history, allow us to date Haggai’s ministry in 520 B.C. . The prophet briefly sketches the struggle of the little Jewish community to exist during the 18 years since their return from Captivity and yet criticizes them for self-centeredness. They build their own houses, but let the temple, the house of God, remain a ruin . God’s word is clear and simple. The economic difficulties they have experienced are a message from God, a warning to put God first in their lives .

The response of the governor and high priest and of all the people is immediate. They obey and within three weeks the whole community is hard at work, intent on completing the temple of the Lord .

1. Haggai reproves the Jews for neglecting the temple.

(Haggai 1: 2-9)      

Haggai 1:2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built. 3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? 5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. 9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.

Observe the sin of the Jews, after their return from captivity in Babylon. Those employed for God may be driven from their work by a storm, yet they must go back to it. They did not say that they would not build a temple, but, Not yet. Thus men do not say they will never repent and reform, and be religious, but, Not yet. And so the great business we were sent into the world to do, is not done. There is a proneness in us to think wrongly of discouragements in our duty, as if they were a discharge from our duty, when they are only for the trial of our courage and faith. They neglected the building of God’s house, that they might have more time and money for worldly affairs. That the punishment might answer to the sin, the poverty they thought to prevent by not building the temple, God brought upon them for not building it. Many good works have been intended, but not done, because men supposed the proper time was not come. Thus believers let slip opportunities of usefulness, and sinners delay the concerns of their souls, till too late. If we labour only for the meat that perishes, as the Jews here, we are in danger of losing our labour; but we are sure it shall not be in vain in the Lord, if we labour for the meat which lasts to eternal life. If we would have the comfort and continuance of temporal enjoyments, we must have God as our Friend. See also Luke 12:33 . When God crosses our temporal affairs, and we meet with trouble and disappointment, we shall find the cause is, that the work we have to do for God and our own souls is left undone, and we seek our own things more than the things of Christ. How many, who plead that they cannot afford to give to pious or charitable designs, often lavish ten times as much in needless expenses on their houses and themselves! But those are strangers to their own interests, who are full of care to adorn and enrich their own houses, while God’s temple in their hearts lies waste. It is the great concern of every one, to apply to the necessary duty of self-examination and communion with our own hearts concerning our spiritual state. Sin is what we must answer for; duty is what we must do. But many are quick-sighted to pry into other people’s ways, who are careless of their own. If any duty has been neglected, that is no reason why it should still be so. Whatever God will take pleasure in when done, we ought to take pleasure in doing. Let those who have put off their return to God, return with all their heart, while there is time.

2. Greater glory promised to the second temple than to the first.

(Haggai 2:1-9)      

Haggai 2:1 In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying, 2 Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, 3 Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? 4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts: 5 According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. 6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. 9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.

Those who are hearty in the Lord’s service shall receive encouragement to proceed. But they could not build such a temple then, as Solomon built. Though our gracious God is pleased if we do as well as we can in his service, yet our proud hearts will scarcely let us be pleased, unless we do as well as others, whose abilities are far beyond ours. Encouragement is given the Jews to go on in the work notwithstanding. They have God with them, his Spirit and his special presence. Though he chastens their transgressions, his faithfulness does not fail. The Spirit still remained among them. And they shall have the Messiah among them shortly; “He that should come.” Convulsions and changes would take place in the Jewish church and state, but first should come great revolutions and commotions among the nations. He shall come, as the Desire of all nations; desirable to all nations, for in him shall all the earth be blessed with the best of blessings; long expected and desired by all believers. The house they were building should be filled with glory, very far beyond Solomon’s temple. This house shall be filled with glory of another nature. If we have silver and gold, we must serve and honour God with it, for the property is his. If we have not silver and gold, we must honour him with such as we have, and he will accept us. Let them be comforted that the glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, in what would be beyond all the glories of the first house, the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord of glory, personally, and in human nature. Nothing but the presence of the Son of God, in human form and nature, could fulfil this. Jesus is the Christ, is He that should come, and we are to look for no other. This prophecy alone is enough to silence the Jews, and condemn their obstinate rejection of Him, concerning whom all their prophets spake. If God be with us, peace is with us. But the Jews under the latter temple had much trouble; but this promise is fulfilled in that spiritual peace which Jesus Christ has by his blood purchased for all believers. All changes shall make way for Christ to be desired and valued by all nations. And the Jews shall have their eyes opened to behold how precious He is, whom they have hitherto rejected.

3. Their sins hindered the work. (Haggai 2:10-19)      

Haggai 2:10  In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. 13 Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. 14 Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean. 15 And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD: 16 Since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. 17 I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD. 18 Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD’S temple was laid, consider it. 19 Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.

Many spoiled this good work, by going about it with unholy hearts and hands, and were likely to gain no advantage by it. The sum of these two rules of the law is, that sin is more easily learned from others than holiness. The impurity of their hearts and lives shall make the work of their hands, and all their offerings, unclean before God. The case is the same with us. When employed in any good work, we should watch over ourselves, lest we render it unclean by our corruptions. When we begin to make conscience of duty to God, we may expect his blessing; and whoso is wise will understand the loving-kindness of the Lord. God will curse the blessings of the wicked, and make bitter the prosperity of the careless; but he will sweeten the cup of affliction to those who diligently serve him.

4.The kingdom of Christ foretold. (Haggai 2:20-23)      

Haggai 2:20And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, 21Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; 22And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. 23In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.

The Lord will preserve Zerubbabel and the people of Judah, amidst their enemies. Here is also foretold the establishment and continuance of the kingdom of Christ; by union with whom his people are sealed with the Holy Ghost, sealed with his image, thus distinguished from all others. Here also is foretold the changes, even to that time when the kingdom of Christ shall overthrow and occupy the place of all the empires which opposed his cause. The promise has special reference to Christ, who descended from Zerubbabel in a direct line, and is the sole Builder of the gospel temple. Our Lord Jesus is the Signet on God’s right hand, for all power is given to him, and derived from him. By him, and in him, all the promises of God are yea and amen. Whatever changes take place on earth, all will promote the comfort, honour, and happiness of his servants.

Summary

The chapter contains three encouraging messages Haggai gave the returned exiles during the months of work on the new temple. The first message was a promise that, despite its smaller size and less expensive decoration, the glory of the new temple would surpass that of Solomon’s . This prediction surely came true, for Jesus Himself walked and taught in this “second temple,” enlarged by Herod.

The second message is in the form of a lived parable. Haggai asks the priests a technical question about the Law. The question and its answer drive home the fact that the mere presence of a holy place among the people does not make them holy. In fact they are defiled by sin and indifference. Yet now that they have put God first, the Lord will bless .

The final message is addressed to Zerubbabel, who represents David’s royal line. When God shakes the nations at history’s end, the One whom Zerubbabel stands for, the Christ, will exercise God’s authority on the earth .

Habakkuk:A Message of Faith

Habakkuk: A Message of Faith                  

Habakkuk 1:1-3,5-6,13;2:1,4-6;3: 2,17-19            January 13 2013

Habakkuk

    The subject of this prophecy is the destruction of Judea and Jerusalem for the sins of the people, and the consolation of the faithful under national calamities.

    1.The wickedness of the land. The fearful vengeance to be executed. (Habakkuk 1:1-3,13;Habakkuk 2:1)

Habakkuk 1:1 The  burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw. 2 O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. 3 Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises.13 You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours A person more righteous than he?

Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand my watch. And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected. The Heb. concept of “listen” means more than simply hear. There “to listen” implies “to respond.” Habakkuk knows that God hears his complaint. What he cannot understand is why God does not act in response to his plea.

        In this case God explains to the prophet—for our instruction. You and I typically will not know just why when there seems to be no answer to our prayers. But we can be sure that God does hear and has reasons for any apparent delay.When these terms are used in the O.T. without reference to some specific foreign enemy, they typically characterize conditions among God’s people. Despite Josiah’s religious reforms, there had been no moral and social transformation. Habakkuk has been driven to a conclusion that we should remember: Conversion with transformation is imitation.Habakkuk determines to wait until God answers his second complaint . And answer God does!

     2. Habakkuk must wait in faith.(Habakkuk:1:5-6;2:4-6)

Habakkuk 1: 5 “Look among the nations and watch— Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days  Which you would not believe, though it were told you. 6 For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation. Which marches through the breadth of the earth,To possess dwelling places that are not theirs.

Habakkuk 2: 4 “Behold the proud,  His soul is not upright in him;  But the just shall live by his faith. 5 “Indeed, because he transgresses by wine,He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as  hell, And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, He gathers to himself all nations. And heaps up for himself all peoples. 6 “Will not all these take up a proverb against him, And a taunting riddle against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases.What is not his—how long? And to him who loads himself with  many pledges’?

When tossed and perplexed with doubts about the methods of Providence, we must watch against temptations to be impatient. When we have poured out complaints and requests before God, we must observe the answers God gives by his word, his Spirit, and providences; what the Lord will say to our case. God will not disappoint the believing expectations of those who wait to hear what he will say unto them. All are concerned in the truths of God’s word. Though the promised favour be deferred long, it will come at last, and abundantly recompense us for waiting. The humble, broken-hearted, repenting sinner, alone seeks to obtain an interest in this salvation. He will rest his soul on the promise, and on Christ, in and through whom it is given. Thus he walks and works, as well as lives by faith, perseveres to the end, and is exalted to glory; while those who distrust or despise God’s all-sufficiency will not walk uprightly with him. The just shall live by faith in these precious promises, while the performance of them is deferred. Only those made just by faith, shall live, shall be happy here and for ever.

  3.His firm trust in the Divine mercy.(Habakkuk 3:2,17-19)

    Habakkuk 3:2 O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy. in the stalls—

    Habakkuk 3:17 Though the fig tree may not blossom,  Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail,  And the fields yield no food;  Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The Lord God is my strength;  He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.

    When we see a day of trouble approach, it concerns us to prepare. A good hope through grace is founded in holy fear. The prophet looked back upon the experiences of the church in former ages, and observed what great things God had done for them, and so was not only recovered, but filled with holy joy. He resolved to delight and triumph in the Lord; for when all is gone, his God is not gone. Destroy the vines and the fig-trees, and you make all the mirth of a carnal heart to cease. But those who, when full, enjoyed God in all, when emptied and poor, can enjoy all in God. They can sit down upon the heap of the ruins of their creature-comforts, and even then praise the Lord, as the God of their salvation, the salvation of the soul, and rejoice in him as such, in their greatest distresses. Joy in the Lord is especially seasonable when we meet with losses and crosses in the world. Even when provisions are cut off, to make it appear that man lives not by bread alone, we may be supplied by the graces and comforts of God’s Spirit. Then we shall be strong for spiritual warfare and work, and with enlargement of heart may run the way of his commandments, and outrun our troubles. And we shall be successful in spiritual undertakings. Thus the prophet, who began his prayer with fear and trembling, ends it with joy and triumph. And thus faith in Christ prepares for every event. The name of Jesus, when we can speak of Him as ours, is balm for every wound, a cordial for every care. It is as ointment poured forth, shedding fragrance through the whole soul. In the hope of a heavenly crown, let us sit loose to earthly possessions and comforts, and cheerfully bear up under crosses. Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry; and where he is, we shall be also

Summary:

Habakkuk, who calls himself “the prophet,” may also have been a Levite who eagerly participated in Josiah’s reforms, but was troubled by the moral laxity that he continued to observe. While his work is not dated, his reference to the unexpected emergence of Babylon as a great power even then taking place persuasively suggests he ministered during Josiah’s reign. Habakkuk retreated to one of the mountaintop stations from which guards watched for the approach of enemy armies. But Habakkuk looked back over his own nation’s countryside, determined to explore the reasons why God permitted the injustice that was rife in Judah’s society. We too need to take time out to meditate and to struggle with life’s important issues.

Robert G OHaver
deacon@ohaver.net
cudeacon@gmail.com
deaconrob33@earthlink.net
    ><((((°>

A Message of God’s Judgment

"Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy."
Nahum:

                                           A Message of God’s Judgment

Nahum 1:7-9, 12-13; 2:8-13;3:18-19                              January 6 2013

This prophet denounces the certain and approaching destruction of the Assyrian empire, particularly of Nineveh, which is described very minutely. Together with this is consolation for his countrymen, encouraging them to trust in God.

  1.The overthrow of the Assyrians.(Nahum 1:7-13)

Nahum 7 The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. 8 But with an overflowing flood He will make an utter end of its place, And darkness will pursue His enemies. 9 What do you conspire against the Lord? He will make an utter end of it.  Affliction will not rise up a second time. 10 For while tangled like thorns, And while drunken like drunkards, They shall be devoured like stubble fully dried. 11 From you comes forth one. Who plots evil against the Lord, A wicked counselor. 12Thus says the Lord:  “Though they are safe, and likewise many,  Yet in this manner they will be cut down  When he passes through. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more; 13 For now I will break off his yoke from you,And burst your bonds apart.”

Nahum’s first chapter focuses not on Nineveh but on God. He describes Israel’s “jealous and avenging God” , and then pictures Him as a warrior striding over the land, terrorizing His enemies but bringing relief to those who trust Him . Only now does Nahum introduce the Assyrians, portraying them as plotting evil against the Lord . God will destroy this nation which has afflicted His people ; a destruction which will be celebrated in Judah as a harbinger of peace .

2. The true cause, their sinning against God, and his appearing against them. (Nahum 2:8-13)

Nahum 2:8 Though Nineveh of old was like a pool of water, Now they flee away. “Halt! Halt!” they cry;  But no one turns back. 9 Take spoil of silver! Take spoil of gold! There is no end of treasure, Or wealth of every desirable prize. 10  She is empty, desolate, and waste!      The heart melts, and the knees shake; Much pain is in every side,      And all their faces are drained of color. 11 Where is the dwelling of the lions, And the feeding place of the young lions,  Where the lion walked, the lioness and lion’s cub, And no one made them afraid? 12 The lion tore in pieces enough for his cubs, Killed for his lionesses,  Filled his caves with prey, And his dens with flesh. 13“Behold, I am against you,” says the Lord of hosts, “I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall be heard no more.”

The kings of Assyria had long been terrible and cruel to their neighbours, but the Lord would destroy their power. Many plead as an excuse for rapine and fraud, that they have families to provide for; but what is thus obtained will never do them any good. Those that fear the Lord, and get honestly what they have, shall not want for themselves and theirs. It is just with God to deprive those of children, or of comfort in them, who take sinful courses to enrich them. Those are not worthy to be heard again, that have spoken reproachfully of God. Let us then come to God upon his mercy-seat, that having peace with him through our Lord Jesus Christ, we may know that he is for us, and that all things shall work together for our everlasting good.

  3. Its utter destruction. (Nahum 3:18-19)

Nahum 3:18 Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; Your nobles rest in the dust.Your people are scattered on the mountains, And no one gathers them.19 Your injury has no healing, Your wound is severe. All who hear news of you Will clap their hands over you, For upon whom has not your wickedness passed continually?                   

        Strong-holds, even the strongest, are no defence against the judgments of God. They shall be unable to do any thing for themselves. The Chaldeans and Medes would devour the land like canker-worms. The Assyrians also would be eaten up by their own numerous hired troops, which seem to be meant by the word rendered “merchants.” Those that have done evil to their neighbours, will find it come home to them. Nineveh, and many other cities, states, and empires, have been ruined, and should be a warning to us. Are we better, except as there are some true Christians amongst us, who are a greater security, and a stronger defence, than all the advantages of situation or strength? When the Lord shows himself against a people, every thing they trust in must fail, or prove a disadvantage; but he continues good to Israel. He is a strong-hold for every believer in time of trouble, that cannot be stormed or taken; and he knoweth those that trust in Him.

Summary

Little is known of the Prophet Nahum, or of his home. Most believe it was located in Galilee, which experienced the brunt of the initial Assyrian invasions. We can place his writing with some accuracy: He wrote before the collapse of the Assyrian Empire in 612 B.C. and after the destruction of Thebes, which took place in 663 B.C. . It is not unreasonable to assume that the book was written shortly after the overthrow of the Northern Kingdom and the exile of its population.

Robert G OHaver
deacon@ohaver.net
cudeacon@gmail.com
deaconrob33@earthlink.net
    ><((((°>

Jesus Our Shepherd

 


Jesus Our Shepherd

John 10:7-16                                            December 30 2012                 

          He that entereth not by the door—Christ assures us, John10:7 , that he is the door; whoever, therefore,  enters not by Jesus Christ into the pastoral office, is no other than a thief and a robber in the sheepfold. And he enters not by Jesus Christ who enters with a prospect of any other interest besides that of Christ and his people. Ambition, avarice, love of ease, a desire to enjoy the conveniences of life, to be distinguished from the crowd, to promote the interests of one’s family, and even the sole design of providing against want—these are all ways by which thieves and robbers enter into the Church. And whoever enters by any of these ways, or by simony, craft, solicitation, etc. deserves no better name. Acting through motives of self-interest, and with the desire of providing for himself and his family, are innocent, yea, laudable, in a secular business; but to enter into the ministerial office through motives of this kind is highly criminal before God.

1. Christ the Door.  (John 10:7-10)      

John 10:7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came  before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Many who hear the word of Christ, do not understand it, because they will not. But we shall find one scripture expounding another, and the blessed Spirit making known the blessed Jesus. Christ is the Door. And what greater security has the church of God than that the Lord Jesus is between it and all its enemies? He is a door open for passage and communication. Here are plain directions how to come into the fold; we must come in by Jesus Christ as the Door. By faith in him as the great Mediator between God and man. Also, we have precious promises to those that observe this direction. Christ has all that care of his church, and every believer, which a good shepherd has of his flock; and he expects the church, and every believer, to wait on him, and to keep in his pasture.

2.Christ the good Shepherd.  (John 10:11-16)      

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Christ is a good Shepherd; many who were not thieves, yet were careless in their duty, and by their neglect the flock was much hurt. Bad principles are the root of bad practices. The Lord Jesus knows whom he has chosen, and is sure of them; they also know whom they have trusted, and are sure of Him. See here the grace of Christ; since none could demand his life of him, he laid it down of himself for our redemption. He offered himself to be the Saviour; Lo, I come. And the necessity of our case calling for it, he offered himself for the Sacrifice. He was both the offerer and the offering, so that his laying down his life was his offering up himself. From hence it is plain, that he died in the place and stead of men; to obtain their being set free from the punishment of sin, to obtain the pardon of their sin; and that his death should obtain that pardon. Our Lord laid not his life down for his doctrine, but for his sheep.

Summary

Jesus speaks of familiar things as He describes Himself as the Good Shepherd, willing to give His life for the sheep . The leaders again express frustration: How can they explain Jesus and His words away?  When they insist Jesus tell them plainly if He is the Christ , Jesus tells them, “I did tell you!” Jesus again restates His claims. Rather than believe, the furious leaders intend to stone Him for blasphemy!  In view of the leaders’ utter hostility, Jesus goes back across the Jordan, and many follow to hear His teaching .

 

 

 

Yahweh Our Righteousness

 

                               Yahweh Our Righteousness

Jeremiah 23:5-6;Romans  3;21-25;10:1-4,9-19   December 16 2012

            In these chapter the prophet, in God’s name, is dealing his reproofs and threatenings,  Among the careless princes, or pastors of the people , yet promising to take care of the flock, which they had been wanting in their duty to . Among the wicked prophets and priests, whose bad character is here given at large in divers instances, especially their imposing upon the people with their pretended inspirations, at which the prophet is astonished, and for which they must expect to be punished . Among the profane people, who ridiculed God’s prophets and bantered them . When all have thus corrupted their way they must all expect to be told faithfully of it.

1.The restoration of the Jews to their own land. (Jer.23:5-6)

Jer.23:5 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness. A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 6 In His days Judah will be saved,  And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called:

Woe be to those who are set to feed God’s people, but take no concern to do them good! Here is a word of comfort to the neglected sheep. Though only a remnant of God’s flock is left, he will find them out, and they shall be brought to their former habitations. Christ is spoken of as a branch from David’s family. He is righteous himself, and through him all his people are made righteous. Christ shall break the usurped power of Satan. All the spiritual seed of believing Abraham and praying Jacob shall be protected, and shall be saved from the guilt and dominion of sin. In the days of Christ’s government in the soul, the soul dwells at ease. He is here spoken of as “the Lord our Righteousness.” He is so our Righteousness as no creature could be. His obedience unto death is the justifying righteousness of believers, and their title to heavenly happiness. And their sanctification, as the source of all their personal obedience is the effect of their union with him, and of the supply of this Spirit. By this name every true believer shall call him, and call upon him. We have nothing to plead but this, Christ has died, yea, rather is risen again; and we have taken him for our Lord. This righteousness which he has wrought out to the satisfaction of law and justice, becomes ours; being a free gift given to us, through the Spirit of God, who puts it upon us, clothes us with it, enables us to lay hold upon it, and claim an interest in it. “The Lord our Righteousness” is a sweet name to a convinced sinner; to one that has felt the guilt of sin in his conscience; seen his need of that righteousness, and the worth of it. This great salvation is far more glorious than all former deliverances of his church. May our souls be gathered to Him, and be found in him.

2. It is owing to the free grace of God, through faith in the righteousness of Christ, yet the law is not done away. (Rom.3:21-25)     

Rom.3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all  and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

Must guilty man remain under wrath? Is the wound for ever incurable? No; blessed be God, there is another way laid open for us. This is the righteousness of God; righteousness of his ordaining, and providing, and accepting. It is by that faith which has Jesus Christ for its object; an anointed Saviour, so Jesus Christ signifies. Justifying faith respects Christ as a Saviour, in all his three anointed offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King; trusting in him, accepting him, and cleaving to him: in all these, Jews and Gentiles are alike welcome to God through Christ. There is no difference, his righteousness is upon all that believe; not only offered to them, but put upon them as a crown, as a robe. It is free grace, mere mercy; there is nothing in us to deserve such favours. It comes freely unto us, but Christ bought it, and paid the price. And faith has special regard to the blood of Christ, as that which made the atonement. God, in all this, declares his righteousness. It is plain that he hates sin, when nothing less than the blood of Christ would satisfy for it. And it would not agree with his justice to demand the debt, when the Surety has paid it, and he has accepted that payment in full satisfaction.

3.The apostle’s earnest desire for the salvation of the Jews. (Rom.10:1-4) 

Rom.10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

The Jews built on a false foundation, and refused to come to Christ for free salvation by faith, and numbers in every age do the same in various ways. The strictness of the law showed men their need of salvation by grace, through faith. And the ceremonies shadowed forth Christ as fulfilling the righteousness, and bearing the curse of the law. So that even under the law, all who were justified before God, obtained that blessing by faith, whereby they were made partakers of the perfect righteousness of the promised Redeemer. The law is not destroyed, nor the intention of the Lawgiver disappointed; but full satisfaction being made by the death of Christ for our breach of the law, the end is gained. That is, Christ has fulfilled the whole law, therefore whoever believeth in him, is counted just before God, as much as though he had fulfilled the whole law himself. Sinners never could go on in vain fancies of their own righteousness, if they knew the justice of God as a Governor, or his righteousness as a Saviour.

4: The Gentiles stand on a level with the Jews, in justification and salvation.          (Rom.10: 9-19)     

Rom.10:9 if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who  preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.”19 But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: “I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation,  I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.”

There is not one God to the Jews, more kind, and another to the Gentiles, who is less kind; the Lord is a Father to all men. The promise is the same to all, who call on the name of the Lord Jesus as the Son of God, as God manifest in the flesh. All believers thus call upon the Lord Jesus, and none else will do so humbly or sincerely. But how should any call on the Lord Jesus, the Divine Saviour, who had not heard of him? And what is the life of a Christian but a life of prayer? It shows that we feel our dependence on him, and are ready to give up ourselves to him, and have a believing expectation of our all from him. It was necessary that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles. Somebody must show them what they are to believe. How welcome the gospel ought to be to those to whom it was preached! The gospel is given, not only to be known and believed, but to be obeyed. It is not a system of notions, but a rule of practice. The beginning, progress, and strength of faith is by hearing. But it is only hearing the word, as the word of God that will strengthen faith.

Summary

The apostle, in this chapter, carries on his discourse concerning justification. He had already proved the guilt both of Gentiles and Jews. Now in this chapter,  He answers some objections that might be made against what he had said about the Jews . He asserts the guilt and corruption of mankind in common, both Jews and Gentiles . He argues thence that justification must needs be by faith, and not by the law, which he gives several reasons . The many digressions in his writings render his discourse sometimes a little difficult, but his scope is evident.

Paul has shown righteousness has always been a gracious gift, sovereignly bestowed by God on those who have faith . Now he argues that God has not rejected His covenant people. They have rejected Him.

Paul cares passionately for his own race. He admits their religious zeal . But he knows their problem well: they “disregarded” God’s righteousness and tried to establish their own, even though the two are totally different in nature . Whether Jew or Gentile, one must be saved by faith .

But now we sense another objection. How can the Jewish race believe, not having heard this stunning message? But, Paul says, the Good News was preached. Israel simply did not believe. “Hearing,” which in biblical thought implies responding appropriately, requires first a message, but then requires understanding and acceptance by those to whom the message is given. Even in Old Testament times Israel did not understand and refused to accept what God cried out to them through Moses and the prophets . The message of salvation by faith has echoed throughout history—and been ignored.

Robert G OHaver
deacon@ohaver.net
cudeacon@gmail.com
deaconrob33@earthlink.net
    ><((((°>

Yahweh our Father

 

Yahweh our Father

Psalm  103:2-6,8-13,17-18                         December 9 2012

       This psalm calls more for devotion than exposition; it is a most excellent psalm of praise, and of general use. The psalmist, Stirs up himself and his own soul to praise God for his favour to him in particular , to the church in general, and to all good men, to whom he is, and will be, just, and kind, and constant , and for his government of the world . He desires the assistance of the holy angels, and all the works of God, in praising him . In singing this psalm we must in a special manner get our hearts affected with the goodness of God and enlarged in love and thankfulness.

A psalm of David.

1.    1.An exhortation to bless God for his mercy. (Psalm 103:2-6)  

Psalm 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,  So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The Lord executes righteousness . And justice for all who are oppressed.

By the pardon of sin, that is taken away which kept good things from us, and we are restored to the favor of God, who bestows good things on us. Think of the provocation; it was sin, and yet pardoned: how many the provocations, yet all pardoned! God is still forgiving, as we are still sinning and repenting. The body finds the melancholy consequences of Adam’s offence, it is subject to many infirmities, and the soul also. Christ alone forgives all our sins; it is he alone who heals all our infirmities. And the person who finds his sin cured, has a well-grounded assurance that it is forgiven. When God, by the graces and comforts of his Spirit, recovers his people from their decays, and fills them with new life and joy, which is to them an earnest of eternal life and joy, they may then be said to return to the days of their youth, Job 33:25 .

2. And to the church and to all men. (Psalm 103:8-12)      

Psalm 103:8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. 9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.11For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.

Trul         God is good to all: he is in a special manner good to Israel. He has revealed himself and his grace to them. By his ways we may understand his precepts, the ways he requires us to walk in; and his promises and purposes. He always has been full of compassion. How unlike are those to God, who take every occasion to chide, and never know when to cease! What would become of us, if God should deal so with us? The Scripture says a great deal of the mercy of God, and we all have experienced it. The father pities his children that are weak in knowledge, and teaches them; pities them when they are froward, and bears with them; pities them when they are sick, and comforts them; pities them when they are fallen, and helps them to rise; pities them when they have offended, and, upon their submission, forgives them; pities them when wronged, and rights them: thus the Lord pities those that fear him. See why he pities. He considers the frailty of our bodies, and the folly of our souls, how little we can do, how little we can bear; in all which his compassion appears.

           3. For the constancy of his mercy. (Psalm 103:17-18)      

Psalm 103:17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting  On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children,18 To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

How short is man’s life, and uncertain! The flower of the garden is commonly more choice, and will last the longer, for being sheltered by the garden-wall, and the gardener’s care; but the flower of the field, to which life is here compared, is not only withering in itself, but exposed to the cold blasts, and liable to be cropped and trod on by the beasts of the field. Such is man. God considers this, and pities him; let him consider it himself. God’s mercy is better than life, for it will outlive it. His righteousness, the truth of his promise, shall be unto children’s children, who tread in the footsteps of their forefathers’ piety. Then shall mercy be preserved to them.

Summary:

Celebration of Deliverance

David praises God for the many mercies  that unveil the compassion of Him and lead all beings everywhere to praise the Lord .

Forgiveness is the prime expression of God’s compassion for a needy humanity. These verses explain the nature of the forgiveness we enjoy as well as any passage in the O.T. or N.T.

God’s greatness is displayed in the Creation He shaped and sustains. This powerful psalm weaves praise for God through its graphic description of majestic elements of creation which show God’s power and the compassionate elements which show His concern for living creatures . No wonder the psalmist’s heart, and ours, are filled with wonder and praise .