Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Blessed Contrasts In Scripture

1) The Lord is our crown of glory, and we are His.

Isaiah 28:5 In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His people,

Isaiah 62:3-4 Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

2) Jesus is the Light Of The World, and we are light in Him.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (See also John 9:5)

Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

3) The Lord is our portion, and we are His.

Lamentations 3:24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.

Psalms 142:5 I cried unto Thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.

Deuteronomy 32:9 For the LORD'S portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.

4) The Lord will sing to us, He will give us a song, and He is our song.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.

Psalms 42:8 Yet the LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation.

5) The Lord will give us strength, and He is our strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Habakkuk 3:19 The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.

6) The Lord will give us light, and He is our light.

Psalms 18:28 For Thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

Micah 7:8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.

7) The Lord Jesus Christ will give us peace, and He is our peace.

Numbers 6:24-26 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Ephesians 2:14 For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

8) Our hope is in the Lord, and He is our hope.

Psalms 39:7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in Thee.

1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;

9) God's way is perfect, He makes our way perfect, and He is perfecting us.

Psalms 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.

Psalms 18:32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

Psalms 138:8 The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of Thine own hands.

10) God's Word is our shield, and God Himself is our shield.

Psalms 91:4 He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Psalms 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.

11) Christ gives us life, and He is our life.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. (See also Deuteronomy 30:20 and Philippians 1:21)

12) Jesus gives us wisdom, and He is our wisdom.

Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

1 Corinthians 1:30 But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

13) Jesus taught the way to life, prepared the way to the Father in Heaven, and He is the way.

Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Hebrews 10:19-20 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh;

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.

14) The Lord knows those who are His, He knows those who are trusting in Him, and eternal life is knowing Him.

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

September 11th/04
Jerry Bouey

In going through this older study, I realize that some of the passages and ideas that intrigued me in 2004 were later developed into fuller studies. Please click on the links (in the title of some of the sections) if you are interested in digging deeper into the Bible on that theme.

The Simplicity Of Salvation

2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Salvation is so simple that even a child can understand it. The Bible teaches that there is a simplicity in Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 11:3) The Lord never intended salvation to be hard.

You must realize that you are a guilty, condemned sinner in need of a Saviour, and that you can't save yourself. Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, is the only Saviour that can save you. In fact, He has done all that is needed to save you from the penalty of your sins (eternity in Hell) when He shed His blood and died in your place upon the cross, was buried and rose again on the third day. It is now up to you to repent of your sins and trust in His finished work of redemption. Nothing could be simpler.

Here are ten ways the Bible describes the simplicity of salvation in Jesus Christ:

1) Having a childlike trust.

Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Suffer means allow or permit. Jesus is saying, "Let the children come to Me! Don't forbid them!" It is interesting to note that we are told to compel the adults to come to the Saviour (Luke 14:23), but children have a willingness to turn to Christ. It is simple childlike trust. "I am a sinner and Jesus is the Saviour. I need Him to save me then!" Nothing complicated there! We make it complicated.

A simple childlike trust, childlike faith - that simply accepts what the Bible says because it is God who says it. God said it, that settles it!

Simply trusting. Like the child who jumps off a table into his father's arms because he trusts his father to catch him. No holding back - complete, childlike trust.

2) Believing.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

1 John 5:11-13 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Simply putting your trust, your confidence, your reliance upon what Jesus Christ has done for your salvation. But you must believe in your heart to be saved.

3) Hearing.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Simply hearing the preaching of the word, hearkening to what you read in the Bible, and embracing what it says! Hear the Gospel and live!

4) Tasting.

Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.

Simply tasting what the Lord has done for you. This means experiencing it for yourself, experiencing the benefits of the goodness of God. It is the goodness of God that leads a sinner to repentance. (See Romans 2:4)

5) Drinking.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.

John 4:13-14 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Revelations 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Simply drinking from the well of salvation (Isaiah 12:2-3), drinking water from the Rock Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4) and letting Him quench that spiritual thirst within you. (See John 7:37-38)

6) Hungering and eating.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Isaiah 55:1-3 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.

7) Looking.

Isaiah 45:22 Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Numbers 21:8-9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

This serpent on the pole represented Jesus Christ on the cross, bearing our sins and our judgement. (See John 3:14-15) We just need to look to His finished work at Calvary and live. Simply look to Jesus. By the way, that is the secret to the victorious Christian life as well - just keep looking to Jesus! (See Hebrews 12:1)

8) Turning.

Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

That is what Bible repentance is: simply turning from your sin to the Saviour. (See Acts 20:21) This change of mind will result in a change of conduct.

9) Receiving a free gift.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:

Salvation is as simple as receiving a free gift - you cannot do anything to earn it or to pay it back, simply receive it. Jesus paid the debt you could never pay for your sin. Salvation is simply receiving Him as your Saviour and His free gift of salvation. Grace is unmerited favour that is offered to us because of what Jesus has done! An acrostic for GRACE: God's Riches At Christ's Expense.

10) Opening a door.

Revelations 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.

Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart. His Holy Spirit is pleading for you to come to Him for salvation, to believe in and receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour. It is as simple as opening the door of your heart to Him. (See Ephesians 3:17)

If you have never turned to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, and want to understand more about what the Bible says on this important issue, please read God's Simple Plan Of Salvation.

I leave you with this final promise:

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Written August 3rd/04
Jerry Bouey

Friday, December 21, 2007

Have You Any Room For Jesus?

It is almost Christmas once again. Looking forward to time we will spend with family and friends. All too often we forget the meaning behind this holiday - the meaning we say we are celebrating Christmas for!

In the book of Luke, we see how their Heavenly Father worked out all things so that Jesus would be born of a virgin and be born in Bethlehem, in fulfilment of prophecy.

Luke 2:1-5 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

But all was not as rosy as it appeared. After travelling for days to get to Bethlehem, the married couple could not find anywhere to rest for the night.

Luke 2:6-7 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Just like in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, even today the world doesn't have any room for Jesus. Yes, we have time for a holiday, to think about a little baby and what happened that long ago night - but all too often we don't think about the reason Jesus came to Earth as a baby: in order to one day die for our sins, He needed to become one of us. This baby was born, so He could grow up and one day be crucified. The world doesn't like to think about that part. The world is guilty before God, and in need of a Saviour, but the world would rather just think about the cute little baby.

Thirty three years later, Jesus did die on that cross for the sins of the world; He was buried; and He did arise physically from the grave after three days and nights. He is the Saviour that the Bible prophesied about and clearly proclaims that He is - rising from the dead is proof positive of who He is and the fact that He did pay the complete penalty that we deserved for our sins.

Yet, the world still has no room for Jesus. How about you? Is there any room in your heart and home for the Saviour this Christmas season (and all year round)?

We often think of Christmas gifts that we give to our loved ones. God gave the greatest gift we will ever need. You can turn to Him today and receive His free gift of salvation. It is a gift that cannot be earned, it must be received by faith. That means believing and trusting what God has already said in His Word - that Jesus will save all those who turn from their sins and turn to the Saviour. He offers you the gift of forgiveness, eternal life, a home eternally in Heaven with Him.

But just like any other gift, it must be received to be yours.

Will you receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Do you have any room for Him?

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.

Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

Have You Any Room For Jesus?
(Words adapted by Daniel W. Whittle)

Have you any room for Jesus,
He who bore your load of sin?
As He knocks and asks admission,
Sinners, will you let Him in?

Room for Jesus, King of Glory!
Hasten now His Word obey;
Swing the heart's door widely open,
Bid Him enter while you may.

Room for pleasure, room for business,
But for Christ the Crucified,
Not a place that He can enter,
In the heart for which He died?

Have you any room for Jesus,
As in grace He calls again?
O today is time accepted,
Tomorrow you may call in vain.

Room and time now give to Jesus,
Soon will pass God's day of grace;
Soon thy heart left cold and silent,
And thy Savior's pleading cease.

Written December 16th, 2004
Jerry Bouey

You may also appreciate these poems:

Christmas Once Again

O Save Us Now

Born To Die

Christmas Without Christ

God's Gift

Christmas Without Jesus - by Angela Trenholm

What Does Christmas Mean To Me?

Christmas Without Jesus - by Theresa Woods

Christmas In Heaven

Ready For Christmas

And this story: Christmas Love

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Eye To Eye And Faith To Face

This is a message I tackled last week at the Gospel Mission. I was intrigued by a phrase in Isaiah, which reminded me of other similar phrases - and it turned into a neat message (at least to me). I added more verses to flesh this study out.

1) Eye To Eye

Isaiah 52:8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.

The watchmen of Zion were to preach about the coming Messiah, to lift up their voice, to even sing about Him. And then we come across this little phrase: for they shall see eye to eye.

The preachers of the Gospel would see eye to eye - they would all be gazing at the same glorious object.

Isaiah 52:10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

In the New Testament, we have the life of Christ written down by four different authors, from four different perspectives, yet the message of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the same. They saw eye to eye and recorded for all time their eyewitness accounts of the Saviour.

2) Grace For Grace

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:16-17 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ - in fact, He was full of these two attributes. To be filled in the Bible means "to be controlled or influenced by" something; therefore we see that not only was Jesus the source of grace and truth, everything He did was influenced by these two characteristics.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

One little phrase above intrigues me: grace for grace.

Grace is God's unmerited favour; it is God giving to us what we can never earn or deserve. This starts with grace for salvation:

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

But it doesn't end there. We need God's grace every day for living, for serving, even for dying.

Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

In Christ, grace is available for the asking - whatever we need, God's grace is there for us: whether strength, comfort, power, provision, and anything else we need to do God's will for our lives - we simply need to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord and seek Him for it. If we are too proud to ask for His help, we will not receive the measure of grace He has for us that day.

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Grace for salvation, grace for living - grace for grace. Someone has used the illustration of waves upon the shore - before the first wave ends, the next wave is already coming in and overrunning the first one. God's grace is like that - grace upon grace - a never ending supply.

3) Faith To Faith

Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Saving faith and living faith - we are to grow from one to the other, day by day. If you have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation - if you have placed your faith in Him - don't stop there. Learn to trust Him more day by day. Get into the Word of God and watch your faith grow - then take what you have learned and apply it to the situations you face each day.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

One verse used to puzzle me until I realized why God was repeating Himself:

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

With the same exercising of belief and faith that you originally trusted Christ to save you, now believe and trust Him day by day. Go from faith to faith.

4) Face To Face

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

I believe that the primary context of this passage is referring to seeing the Lord Jesus Christ face to face in the Scriptures (see this study for an explanation of this: 1 Corinthians 13:8-12), with all the Old Testament types and prophecies opened up to our view, in light of the New Testament. Though now I want to make a secondary application that one day we will see Jesus face to face in Heaven, face to face in the flesh (so to speak).

It is interesting to look at some of the other passages where this phrase is used:

Genesis 32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

Judges 6:22 And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.

When OT believers saw the angel of the Lord, they were seeing an incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself - they saw the Lord God face to face, but only temporarily.

Exodus 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

Deuteronomy 34:10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,

Both Moses and Joshua dwelt in the Lord's presence. Imagine the joy they had fellowshipping with Him face to face.

Numbers 14:14 And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.

Ezekiel 20:35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.

In the tribulation period, God will speak to the nation of Israel face to face, and call them to Him, pleading out of love for them to repent and turn to Him.

2 John 1:12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

If the Apostle John considered it joy to speak with his brethren face to face, what a fulness of joy will be ours when we see Jesus!

5) Glory To Glory

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

As we gaze steadfastly into the Word of God, digging into it, studying it, peering closely into its sacred pages, we see the Lord Jesus Christ - and as we receive His Word and let it renew our minds, the Holy Spirit will take and transform us into the image of Christ, conforming us more and more to be like Him.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

As we see the glory of the Lord, we are transformed and changed - from glory to glory.

6) Seeing Jesus' Face

Revelation 22:1-4 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

In the new Heaven and new earth, there will be no more sin to mar our fellowship with our Saviour. We will see Him face to face, walk with Him, and be like Him. We will be with Jesus forevermore! What a day that will be!

What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
(from the hymn, What A Day That Will Be by Jim Hill)

But for now, we are living from faith to faith, looking forward to when we will see Jesus face to face.

Faith To Face

Looking through a glass darkly,
I find many things hard to explain,
But as I steadfastly gaze within God's Word,
The Lord makes all things plain.

Faith to faith is what I'm living.
Day by day, I learn to see,
In a life that's so uncertain,
I know that Jesus still walks with me.

Faith means I learn to trust Him
And forget walking by sight.
As I'm filled with His peace and wisdom,
God's Word lights up the night.

Faith to face, it's a tiring journey,
Walking through this pilgrim land.
Though I cannot see around every corner,
I'm clinging tightly to my Saviour's hand.

He's preparing me for service,
Enabling me to walk through open doors;
I fight the battles that Christ gives me,
Knowing that He's already won the war.

Face to face, the day of His return is coming,
Until then, there are mountains to climb.
I will keep looking for that blessed hope -
Someday soon - It's just a matter of time.

Faith to face, I look forward to seeing Jesus -
What a glorious day that will be.
It will no longer be by faith,
Because, face to face, my Lord I will see.

Faith to face.

Poem written November 23rd/02
Study written December 13th/07
Jerry Bouey

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

References To Genesis In The Book Of Job

At the Gospel Mission, I have been preaching my way through the book of Job - mostly tackling it by chapters/sections, but some messages have been by themes. Job certainly is an interesting book, and it serves the purpose of reminding us to keep our eyes upon the Lord when we are going through trials in our lives. As has been stated in various ways by others: the book of Job is more concerned with Who, though it does address many of the reasons why we go through trials and what the Lord is bringing out of them.

One theme that has intrigued me recently is the multiple references to past events by the various speakers in Job. I have read many articles defending the literal history found in the book of Genesis, especially the first eleven chapters, by showing how the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (God manifest in the flesh) and the various New Testament writers (ie. the apostles, their associates, and Jesus' half-brothers) often quoted these passages as literal, historical events. I believe the book of Genesis can stand on its own - but it is worthwhile to see how all the rest of the Bible (and its writers) refers to and comments upon these events/passages.

My belief is that the author of the book of Job is Elihu, one of the eyewitnesses of what transpired during this difficult and troublesome time in Job's life. Consider how Elihu refers to himself in the first person - this was not something spoken during the conversations between Job and his friends, but stated by the person recording them:

Job 32:15-17 They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking. When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;) I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.

Earlier in the same chapter, we read this about Elihu:

Job 32:2 Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.

Elihu, being a Buzite, would have been a descendant of Nahor, Abraham's brother.

Genesis 22:20-23 And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor; Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram, And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother.

The reference to being the kindred of Ram (assuming it is the same Ram that is in the lineage of Abraham), implies that he (or his family) intermarried with Abraham's line (Ram being Judah's great-grandson):

Ruth 4:18-22 Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

1 Chronicles 2:9-10 The sons also of Hezron, that were born unto him; Jerahmeel, and Ram, and Chelubai. And Ram begat Amminadab; and Amminadab begat Nahshon, prince of the children of Judah;

Nahshon was the prince of the tribe of Judah during the Exodus and the years of wandering in the wilderness; therefore we have the events of the book of Job occuring sometime between the time of Jacob (and his children) and the time of Moses. A studying out of the lineage of the other principal characters in the book of Job will also clearly show that they lived during the time of the patriarchs (see also Job 1:1; 2:11; Genesis 25:2; 36:11, 28; and Lamentations 4:21).

I believe that Job was familiar with the history of Abraham's family - including that of Jacob - because of the following passage, spoken by him:

Job 31:35-37 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book. Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me. I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.

In a passage about pleading/contending with God (ie. praying to Him and presenting his case before the Lord), Job compares himself to Jacob and his time of wrestling with the Angel of the Lord (a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ):

Genesis 32:24-30 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

The references to this and other past events in the book of Job are spoken of as common knowledge - Job and his friends knew these things as part of history - not as fables - as their arguments are in part based on the FACT and certainty of each of these things having happened (notice in all their disputing with one another, these events were not questioned, but used as the basis for some of the points they were making).

For ease of study, I have decided to cover each of these events in the order they occur in the book of Genesis.

1) God laying the foundation of the earth (on day three), and ALL the angels rejoicing together (thereby indicating sin was not yet in the universe):

Stated by God Himself: Job 38:4-7 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

I believe the passage quoted above actually gives us the order of events, as they happened at creation. We can see this by comparing the following two passages:

Genesis 1:9-10, 13 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good... And the evening and the morning were the third day.

Psalms 104:1-5 Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

Notice that the light was created first (day one), the separation of the waters (day two), the creation of the angels (day two or three), then the foundations of the earth were laid (day three). I know many people have their tradition that the angels were created BEFORE the earth, and that Satan fell before the creation of the earth or in between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis chapter one - but the Scriptures DO NOT bear that out. And shouldn't the Bible be where we get all of our doctrine from, after all?

Reasons why I believe the angels were created on day two or three of the creation week, and why they did not fall until sometime AFTER that point in time:

A) The Bible teaches that all that is in the heavens and the earth were created and made during that time - and that includes angels - see Exodus 20:11; Nehemiah 9:6 (note especially the last clause); Genesis 2:1 (host in the Bible can refer to either stars, angels or both - I believe both are referred to here).
B) Angels were created to be ministers to mankind; therefore it does not make sense for God to create them untold years before creating the world He would place man on - see Hebrews 1:7, 14.
C) Satan/Lucifer fell sometime after the creation of water, stars, and the Garden of Eden (which was created on day six of creation week!) - see Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:13-17.
D) Seven times in Genesis one, God's Word states that "God saw that it was good," but the seventh time, the Bible says this in verse 31: And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Seven represents fullness, completion, perfection - God's finished work of creation was perfect, with no sin or blemish anywhere in it to mar it - then He rested.

2) God directly, personally creating man out of the dust of the earth, breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, and placing him in the Garden of Eden:

Spoken by Job: Job 10:8-13 Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.

Mix some water with a bit of dust/earth - and voila, clay!

Spoken by Elihu: Job 33:6 Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay.

Genesis 2:5-7 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Spoken by Job: Job 12:9-10 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

Job 27:3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;

By Elihu: Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

Job 33:4 The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

Spoken by Zophar: Job 20:4 Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth,

Genesis 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

3) Satan and 1/3 of the angels rebelling against God (though not recorded in Genesis, this would have happened between Genesis chapters 2 and 3 - sometime shortly after the creation of man):

Job chapters 1-2 start off with the assumption that Satan was a fallen creature, an adversary to God and to His people, though in the book of Job we are not told how he became that way.

Spoken by Eliphaz: Job 4:17-19 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?

Job 15:14-16 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

Revelation 12:7-9 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

4) Adam's sin and his hiding from God:

By Elihu: Job 31:33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:

Genesis 3:8-10 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

5) Man (ie. his body) going back to the dust when he dies, as part of God's curse upon sin:

Spoken by Eliphaz: Job 4:19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?

By Job: Job 7:21 And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.

Job 10:9 Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?

Job 17:16 They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.

By Zophar: Job 20:11 His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust.

By Job: Job 21:25-26 And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure. They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.

Job 34:14-15 If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.

Genesis 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

6) Abel's blood crying from the ground:

Spoken by Job: Job 16:18-19 O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place. Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.

Genesis 4:8-10 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

The blood of Abel cried for vengeance; Job desired his blood to cry for justice; but the New Testament shows us something better than both of these:

Hebrews 12:22-24 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Jesus' blood cries for forgiveness and grace.

7) A worldwide flood destroying the wicked inhabitants of the earth:

Spoken by Job: Job 12:15 Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.

Spoken by Eliphaz Job 22:15-17 Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood: Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?

By God: Job 38:8-11 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?

Genesis 6:5-7 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Genesis 7:11-12 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

Genesis 7:17-23 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.

2 Peter 3:5-7 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8) The promise from God to man that He would never destroy the whole earth again with a flood:

By Job: Job 28:11 He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light.

Genesis 8:20-21 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

Genesis 9:8-11 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

Psalms 104:5-9 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

I hope this study was a help and blessing to you - and that it strengthened your faith in God's Word. It is wondrous to see that the Bible is all one grand Book, where each portion fits together like clockwork, and each part upholds the others.

December 11th/07
Jerry Bouey

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Our Walk In Ephesians - Part One

In the book of Ephesians, we see seven passages where our walk is referred to. The order of each of these passages is interesting and worth meditating upon.

1) Our Walk Without Christ

Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

When we did not know the Saviour and had not trusted Him for salvation, we walked according to the course of this world - we walked like the lost world walked, following the world's philosophies, pursuing the world's pleasures. We followed Satan, who was working through us - as he works through all the children of disobedience. The word for disobedience here means "disbelief (obstinate and rebellious)." When we did not know the Lord, we "willfully and perversely" went our own way, sought our own will, pursued our own rebellious course in life!

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

The word conversation in the King James Bible means our "manner of life." In our lost state, we lived to fulfill the lusts of our flesh and the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Not only were we children of disobedience, we were by nature the children of wrath. Because of our sin and rebellion, because of our unbelief in the Lord Jesus Christ, God's wrath was upon us all.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 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.

The word for believeth not in John 3:36 means "to disbelieve (wilfully and perversely)."

Praise the Lord, the story did not end there!

Sitting Together With Christ:

Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

This passage describes the change that took place when we trusted in the Lord to save us from our sins and the punishment that we are guilty of: eternity in Hell, separated from God forever.

If you have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you, then consider these wonderful facts:

We are no longer dead in sins, but alive in Christ Jesus - quickened together with Him! The Holy Spirit took each one of us children of wrath that had placed our faith in Jesus, transformed us, made us partakers of the divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:3-4) and new creatures in Christ Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), and raised us up together with Christ - we are now in Christ. Because of our faith in His finished work upon the cross of Christ, the Holy Spirit has united us with Him in the Heavenly places.

I find it interesting that before God tells us how to walk, He first shows us where we are sitting!

Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

We are sitting in Heavenly places in Christ, with Christ - where He is sitting at the right hand of the Father.

Ephesians 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Our Victory In Christ:

We are seated above this world, given victory over it, victory in and through Jesus Christ - a victory that we must learn to live out and apply in our daily lives. See Paul's prayer in chapter 1:15-23.

John 16:33 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.

Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

1 John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Habakkuk 3:19a The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places...

Who We Are And What We Have In Jesus:

Part of that victory will include knowing what we have now in Jesus:

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

What our Heavenly Father is doing for all those who are in Jesus:

Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Who we are in Jesus - ie. adopted as children of God:

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

What He has already done for us - made us accepted and forgiven us:

Ephesians 1:6-7 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

What He has laid up for us in Heaven/eternity:

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

The absolute assurance we have in Christ that He will keep His promises and finish what He has begun in us (see also 4:32):

Ephesians 1:12-14 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

And the power that is available to us through the Holy Spirit - the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead:

Ephesians 1:19-20 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Oh, The Riches That Are Ours In Christ!

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Ephesians 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Ephesians 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

The Contrast Between The Lost And The Saved:

Acts 14:15-16 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Are you walking in darkness or in the light of God's Word? Are you walking according to the course of this world, or walking in newness of life?

October 17th/07
Jerry Bouey

Studies in this series of Our Walk In Ephesians:

Part One - Our Walk Without Christ
Part Two - Walking In Good Works
Part Three - Walking Worthy Of Our Calling
Part Four - Walking In Newness Of Life (Coming Soon)
Part Five - Walking In Love (Coming Soon)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Expositional Studies

For those who are interested in reading the studies in this blog that comment on particular passages of Scripture (ie. are expositional studies) or are mostly based on a particular passage, you might find this Table of Contents helpful (rather than having to rely on the Label tags).

Eight Things God Requires Of Man (Deuteronomy 10:12-13; Micah 6:8; Ecclesiastes 12:13)

A Psalm Of Guidance (Psalm 25) - Part One
Comfort And Strength From Psalm 27
My Hiding Place (Psalm 32)
Grace To Fret Not (Psalm 37:1-11)
Psalms 42-43
Sevenfold Praise - Part One: Seven Ways To Praise God (Psalm 100)
Sevenfold Praise - Part Two: Seven Reasons To Praise God (Psalm 100)
Psalm 107 - Part One
Psalm 107 - Part Two
All Our Tomorrows (Psalm 139:1-12)
The Lord Thinketh Upon Me (Psalm 139:13-18)

Hidden Treasures From Proverbs 2

Arise, And Come Away (Song Of Solomon 2:13-17)

Lessons In The Valleys: The Valley Of Trouble (Hosea 2)

The Children Of Your Father (Matthew 5:43-48)

The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:14-24)

John 3:16 - The Gospel In A Nutshell
Earthen Vessels (John 9)
Given By The Father To The Son (John 17)

Romans 5:3-5
Be Ye Transformed (Romans 12:2)

Why I Am An Ambassador For Christ (2 Corinthians 5)

Our Walk In Ephesians - Part One (Our Walk Without Christ) (Ephesians 1-2:9)
Our Walk In Ephesians - Part Two (Walking In Good Works) (Ephesians 2:10-22)
Our Walk In Ephesians - Part Three (Walking Worthy Of Our Calling) (Ephesians 4:1-16)
Our Walk In Ephesians - Part Four (Walking In Newness Of Life) (Ephesians 4:17-32) - Coming very soon
Our Walk In Ephesians - Part Five (Walking In Love) (Ephesians 5:1-2) - Coming soon
The Armour Of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part One: The Preacher And His Preaching (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part Two: The Preacher And His Living (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part Three: The Preacher And His Graduation (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part Four: The Preacher And His Victory (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

For A Season (1 Peter 1:6)

Precious And Growing Faith (2 Peter 1:1-11)

Exhortation To Ephesus (Revelation 2:3-4)
Exhortation To Smyrna (Revelation 2:8)
Laodicea, The Lukewarm Church (Revelation 3:14-22)
Revelation 12:11

Monday, September 03, 2007

What Is His Name?

1) Genesis 32:24-31 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.

The Angel of the Lord was a pre-incarnate appearance of the Messiah - but it wasn't time yet to reveal His name.

2) Judges 13:15-23 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee. And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour? And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.

3) Proverbs 30:4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?

4) Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

According to Matthew 1:23, Immanuel means "God With Us."

Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

5) Matthew 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

The name Jesus means "Saviour."

6) Acts 4:8-13 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

7) Philippians 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The name of Jesus - the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Saviour!

Is His name important to you?
September 9th/06
Jerry Bouey

Friday, August 31, 2007

Day 60 - 3 Steps To Christ In A 2-Fold Way

As we draw our series on Bible Numbers to a close, it is most fitting to end it with how the unbeliever can find Christ and how the believer can draw closer to Christ. I've always felt that God is a very economical God. He blesses many people with the same verses but in different ways and for different reasons. As I was searching for just the right thing to write about, I was drawn to Matthew 11:28-30 this morning. My spirit needed encouragement and these were the first verses I had memorized as a new believer and I turn to them frequently.

Matthew 11:28-30, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (28) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (29) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (30) As beautiful and comforting as these verses are to the believer, they are equally as beautiful and comforting to the unbeliever. I noticed that Christ stated that there are three things one must do to come to Him. Three symbolizes the godhead - the Trinity. How fitting that these three steps are depicted in this light.

1. Come unto Jesus - Jesus is the only way to Heaven for the lost. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Joh 14:6) There is no other way - there is no other person (dead or alive) who can claim this. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:12) No matter what any religion preaches, the fact of the matter is that Jesus is the only way to Heaven - not your good deeds, not Allah, not Buddha, not John Smith!

To the born-again believer, this statement confirms that we can continually go to Jesus for all our needs, all our future sins, all our problems and all our concerns. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (1 Ti 2:5) We have no need to pray to Mary or pray to the saints - we can go straight to God Himself, Christ Jesus! Furthermore, when we sin, we can go to Christ Himself, not some priest in a confessional. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (1 Jo 2:1) Jesus is our attorney, if you will, who defends us before a Righteous and Holy God. God demands payment and justice for sins. Jesus stands before His Father as your Attorney and says, "Father, I have paid the penalty for my child with My Blood." The Father sees our sin no more but only the blood of His Son. No priest, no saint or anyone else for that matter can fill these shoes, my friend. Praise God that we can still come to Jesus!

2. Take His yoke upon you: Have you ever seen a yoke? Notice that there are two openings. Jesus is telling the unbeliever that the sinner is in one part of the yoke and Jesus is in the other part. Again, Jesus is the only way to Heaven. I love how a yoke is placed between the head and the heart! How symbolic that is to me. One needs to hear the Gospel and believe it with his heart before he can be saved. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Rom 10:10) One can only be righteous if he puts on the righteousness of Christ.

For the believer, we can look at the yoke and see that Christ carries our burdens with us. We are not alone in our walk on this earth. He is there right along side of us - like the beautiful Footprints story. Furthermore, when you look at the yoke, you can see that if one turns to the right, the other must turn to the right. We are guided by the Holy Spirit of God Himself! What a blessed portrayal of God's love for us!

3. Learn from Him: It is so sad that mankind turns to self-help books, to gurus, to religious leaders instead of to Jesus' Word. Jesus said to learn from Him! Jesus provided us with the Bible, His very words, whereby to learn and grow. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17) Notice that Rom. 10:17 does not say faith comes by a self-help book, or Dr. Phil, or John Smith. It says that faith comes by the Word of God. Jesus is the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Joh 1:1) and For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 Jo 5:7) Christ provided the written Word of God so that we would be able to find true salvation through Him. What more does one need?

To the believer, we are encouraged to learn from Him. Don't substitute man-written books and devotionals for God's Holy Word. It is the Word that will cleanse us. It is the Word that convicts us and grows us. It is the Word that prevents us from being misled by false doctrine. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Ti 2:15)

As a result of coming to Christ, we are promised rest. The unbeliever finds rest through salvation and the born-again believer finds rest because he is not alone in his pilgrimage on earth. Jesus said that His yoke is easy. Have you ever tried to lift a yoke? I have! It is not light at all. In fact, I could barely lift it. But Christ says His yoke is easy and it is light. That means that the burden of sin has been taken on by Jesus and that this burden is not on our shoulders any longer. We also know that although He has taken on the burden of our sins, He also carries our burdens in life, right along side of us.

This is a beautiful depiction of how the Saviour not only delivers us from sin but continues to carry our burdens with us so we are not alone. ... and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Mat 28:20b)

Dear God...
Thank you for this series these past couple of months. What a blessing they have been to my soul.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Day 59 - The God Of Second Chances

This is the story of a young man that failed the Lord miserably, and was later given a second chance.

In Acts chapter 12, the apostle James was captured and beheaded by king Herod, and Peter was also imprisoned, facing a similar fate within a matter of days. But the Lord had other plans. He sent an angel to release Peter from prison, and Peter went to the house where the early church was having a prayer meeting on his behalf:

Acts 12:12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.

As most reading this no doubt know that the apostle Paul (first called Saul) is a very prominent figure in the New Testament. Much of the book of Acts is taken up with him and those who were involved in his three missionary journeys. He was in Jerusalem with Barnabas. When they left there to head back to Antioch, Barnabas' nephew went with them:

Acts 12:25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.

From Antioch, Barnabas and Saul were sent on their first missionary journey to Asia Minor:

Acts 13:2-3 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

It is interesting to note that the Word of God refers to their ministry as work. God didn't call them in order for them to take it easy and relax - He had some work He planned for them to do.

Acts 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

They took young John Mark with them to be their minister. The word used in this passage indicated that Mark was their assistant - possibly brought along to carry supplies, help with the menial tasks, etc.

But before too long we read this sad account:

Acts 13:13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.

This verse in itself doesn't explain what happened, other than to let us know Mark no longer went with them, that he turned back to Jerusalem. But in Acts 15, we read:

Acts 15:38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.

The word for departed here is a stronger word used than in chapter 13, and means "to remove, i.e. (actively) instigate to revolt; usually (reflexively) to desist, desert, etc." Mark deserted them in the ministry! He abandoned the work! Perhaps he found it too hard, perhaps he got a glimpse of some of the hardships that they might have to endure in the ministry, perhaps it was just too much work after all - something which he may not have had in mind when the idea of travelling and preaching to far off locations originally presented themself to him. Either way, he abandoned ship, and left Paul and Barnabas, and headed home where the way was much easier for him.

The first missionary journey started approximately in AD 46 or 47 - now three or four years later, Paul and Barnabas travelled back to Jerusalem to give their accounts of the wonderful works God had done through them in the years they were gone. After that, they headed back to Antioch to preach and teach the Word of the Lord. Then Paul started to think again about the churches he had planted and the new believers that he had come to know:

Acts 15:36-40 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

Barnabas wanted to take his nephew along with them - and Paul flatly refused. Perhaps this verse came to Paul's mind:

Proverbs 25:19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

Perhaps Paul's refusals went like this: "John Mark is simply not reliable; we can't take him along; he will just fail us again! No, he is NOT going with us! We do not need to have someone tag along who is just not committed to the ministry. If he deserted us once, he will do it again. I will not take that risk!" The disagreement over this young man was so strong, that they went their own separate ways, and Paul travelled on his second missionary journey with Silas instead.

That is the last we hear of both Barnabas and John Mark in the book of Acts - and perhaps Mark would have faded completely off the scene if it wasn't for the grace of God - the God of second chances!

In Peter's first epistle, we hear about this man again:

1 Peter 5:13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

John Mark was now with Peter in Babylon - and Peter wanted to let them know that his spiritual son greeted them as well.

In approximately 62 AD, we hear Paul making mention of Mark in several of his prison epistles:

Philemon 1:23-24 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.

Hm, Mark was now a fellowlabourer with Paul, working together with Paul - involved in the work once again...

Colossians 4:10-11 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.

Paul was now telling them to look out for Mark if he came their way, to receive him and take care of him. Some things had changed - both in Mark's committment to the ministry, and in Paul's impression of him. Now, Paul was saying Mark was a comfort to him - someone who came alongside and gave him strength!

But what touches me most are Paul's final words about John Mark. In what was probably his last letter written before he faced his own martyrdom at Roman hands, his thoughts went out to this man whom he now considered a friend and partner in the work:

2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

Mark had learned the lesson he had failed before. Now, he knew what it meant to be a servant, ministering to the needs of others, ministering faithfully - being used by the Lord!

Timothy, bring Mark with you. Oh, he has been such a help and a blessing to the ministry - I can really use him here!

Praise the Lord for His forgiveness - for His grace - for His second chances!

One final note I want to end on, which ties this devotional together directly with Behold: A Fivefold Picture, and the reason why I wanted to include it as my last devotional in this series:

John Mark - the man who failed the ministry, failed his fellowlabourers, failed in the work and turned back in defeat - learned at last what it meant to be a servant...

Mark 10:42-45 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

...And was used by God to write the Gospel that truly presented the Lord Jesus Christ from the perspective of a Servant.

John Mark - who by the grace of God (which is what John means: "Gift or grace of God"- see 1 Corinthians 15:10) - became a faithful servant and was used by the Lord to teach us about what servanthood really means, from the perspective of the Greatest Servant of all time:

Behold My Servant!

Preached August 26th/07
Written August 30th/07
Jerry Bouey

Isn't it amazing how the Lord will emphasize certain things in our lives - reinforcing something He is trying to teach us?!

When I was working on the two part devotionals Behold: A Fivefold Picture, I kept running across articles that referred to one of those five verses/statements! Then, the last half week or so, the Lord has been reinforcing Mark's Gospel and its emphasis on Jesus being a servant (and His example to us) - again, I kept coming across articles, studies, etc. that focussed on this theme. By coming across them I mean I was not searching for them in any way, but just continuing on in my regular studies, following a link in my email, reading the next sermon outline in a series I have been reading online, etc.

God is sure trying to teach me something! And it is neat to have that continual reinforcement so I learn the lesson. I just find it amazing and awe-inspiring when the Holy Spirit does this to me - and I am sure there are times He does this to His other children too.

I hope you are blessed by this character study on John Mark. I always love the theme of forgiveness and new beginnings - but am strengthened spiritually by having it tied together with the theme of being a servant.

I didn't comment on this in my studies, but when looking for verses on Mark's theme, one of them I came across was this one:

Mark 14:36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

It is one of the three places in the New Testament where God is referred to as "Abba, Father" - Daddy - indicating the closeness we can have with Him...

...And the context was in submitting completely to His will, in the Gospel that deals with being a servant.

Hm, I am beginning to see something here! ;)

And what a wonderful lesson to learn!!