Monday, March 22, 2010

Six Things The Lord Opened

1) He opened the tomb to prove that sin's debt has been paid, and the Saviour has risen after being three days and nights in the grave, just like He said He would do.

Luke 24:1-9 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered His words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

2) He opened the Old Testament Scriptures to show what they taught about the Messiah (Jesus Christ Himself) that would come.

Luke 24:13-27 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. And He said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto Him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And He said unto them, What things? And they said unto Him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and have crucified Him. But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not His body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that He was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but Him they saw not. Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.

Psalms 119:18 Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.

3) He opened up their eyes to see the risen Christ.

Luke 24:15-16, 28-35 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him… And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and He made as though He would have gone further. But they constrained Him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And He went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread.

4) He opened their understanding to understand the Scriptures.

Luke 24:36-47 And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and my feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have. And when He had thus spoken, He shewed them His hands and His feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He took it, and did eat before them. And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Ephesians 1:17-18 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: 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.

5) He opened their mouths so that they would be witnesses of Him.

Luke 24:46-49 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Psalms 51:15 O Lord, open Thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise.

6) Has the Holy Spirit opened your heart to see your need of the Saviour (by convicting you of your sins and showing you that Jesus Christ is the only one that can save you from them and give you a home in Heaven)?

Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

7) Will you open the door of your heart to receive the Saviour?

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.

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:

October 5th, 2004
Jerry Bouey

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Story Of Four Gardens: The Garden Of Gethsemane

The Story Of Four Gardens:
Part Two - The Garden Of Gethsemane


In Genesis 3, we have the true account of Adam and Eve's temptation in The Garden of Eden (see part one of this series of studies). Due to their heeding the Devil's lies they disobeyed God's clear command and brought sin into the world. As a consequence, God's punishment fell upon them and their descendents (all mankind):

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 thou shalt return.

From the above passage, we can see that the consequences of their fall brought, among other effects, a curse on the world, sorrow, thorns, sweat, and death (unto dust thou shalt return). But the Lord God also left them (and their descendents) a promise of the coming Redeemer (Messiah) who would pay the ransom needed to save the souls of all who would put their faith in Him for salvation. This Saviour would be the virgin-born Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. On His way to the cross, He would encounter all of sins' effects, and then would shed His sinless blood and die for the sins of the world.

This takes us to the second of four gardens in the story of Redemption, the Garden of Gethsemane.

John 18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples.

Matthew 26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

"This place was called 'Gethsemane' = 'the oil press.'

Originally among the olive trees there must have been an oil press to press out the oil from the olive berries. The name remained even though the press may have no longer been there. The name remained because under the providence of God it is going to have spiritual significance.

Here in this garden the Lord will labor in prayer and spiritually press out the oil from the olive which will become for many a wounded lamb and sheep.

Adam was placed in a Garden and he learned about disobedience and its consequences.

The Second Adam voluntarily went to a Garden and He learned obedience by the things that He suffered. The victory was won in the Garden for Christ departs victorious. The actual defeat of Satan was not accomplished, of course, until Calvary.

Adam hid himself from God in the Garden; Christ agonized before the Lord in another Garden.

It was in the Garden when man lost his right to live, and it is in a garden when Christ gained His right to resurrection: 'Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared' (Heb. 5:7)."

(Taken from The Six Trials Of Christ by John W. Lawrence)

1) Sorrow.

Isaiah 53:3-4 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

In facing the cross, Jesus was overwhelmed and was heavy in spirit knowing what He would soon endure in dealing with the sins of mankind. It wasn't the physical pain and suffering He knew He would face that discouraged Him, but the spiritual suffering that He would soon go through: taking the cup of God's wrath upon Himself for our sins; He who knew no sin would have all our sins placed upon Himself; and be separated (while on the cross) from God the Father, who could not look upon sin (see Habakkuk 1:13). From all eternity there had never been any separation of any sort between the members of the Trinity, but now there soon would be when Jesus hung upon the cross, bearing the sins of the world upon Himself. That is what He faced within a matter of hours. No wonder the sinless Son of God was heavy in spirit! (See Mark 14:33)

Matthew 26:36-39 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me. And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.

Thus He petitioned His heavenly Father three times to take away the cup of His wrath - but there was no other way for Jesus to pay for the sins of the world and to redeem mankind than for Him to go to the cross. (See Matthew 26:42-44) If there was any other way to save fallen man, Jesus could have done it - but there wasn't. This shows the Lord's great love for us in that He was willing to go through all that it took to save our souls! The next time someone asks to see proof of God's love for them, tell them to Take A Second Look At Calvary! (See Romans 5:8)

2) Sweat.

Luke 22:43-44 And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

The following account is of benefit in understanding a bit more of the spiritual struggle that Jesus went through in the Garden Of Gethsemane - the struggle that He went through to save us:

"One phrase in particular, which is found in Mark's account, is of terrible import. This is it: 'He... prayed that... the hour might pass from Him.' He who had set His face as a flint to go up to Jerusalem for this very hour, now prays that it might pass away from Him. He had constantly spoken of 'the hour,' and it was vividly in His consciousness. To the owner of the upper room He had sent the message, 'My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with My disciples.' Luke says, 'When the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.' John says, 'Jesus knew that His hour was come; . . . having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.' Just before Gethsemane, according to John, Jesus had said, 'Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour.' And just after His discourse in the upper room, in His high-priestly prayer, He had turned to His Father with the words, 'Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify Thee.'

I do not suppose the human mind can grasp the import of the prayer that the hour might pass away from Christ. This was the hour for which He had left His throne and come into the world. This was the hour to which the eternal counsels of the Almighty had pointed when the Lamb had been slain from the foundation of the world. This was the hour of the redemption of God's whole creation, the central hour of the ages, the hour when the holiness of God would meet the sin and unholiness of a rebel world, and redeem it from destruction. But when the hour actually comes and its force strikes against Him, Jesus falls to the ground and prays to His Father that the hour might pass away from Him.

What if the hour had passed away from Him! What if the cost had proved too high! What if He had not been willing to drink the cup! The heart can hardly conceive the infinite loss and disaster that would have come to mankind if He had been saved from that hour, if the very hour for which He had come into the world had been allowed to pass from Him, and He had been unable to drink the cup. And Jesus knew this. Then what was facing Him in that hour that caused such a prayer? What did that cup contain to make the strong Son of God shrink from it in sorrow and amazement and horror?

(Jerry's Note: The author then goes on to relate his own experience with a nervous breakdown, where he endured such unspeakable thoughts and mental horrors for about two years.)

...How could I forget such an experience? How shall I ever forget! But it was that experience which helped me to understand to some extent Christ's agony in Gethsemane. When my mind grasped a little of the impurity and the wickedness and the foul loathsomeness which He faced in that hour when He bore our sin, my question was answered; and it changed to deep, adoring wonder that He had been willing to face that cup for our sakes. I found myself exclaiming, 'Father, if He had not shrunk from that unspeakably detestable cup, if His soul had not been filled with sorrow even unto death, and with infinite aversion and abhorrence when 'the hour' brought before Him the shame and impurity and wickedness and iniquity of 'us all' that was 'laid on Him,' then He could not have been Thy most holy Son, sharing Thy holy nature.'

...Gethsemane's prayer is Love's agony in the face of Sin!"

(Taken from Gethsemane by Robert W. Cummings)

Hebrews 12:2-4 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

Here we see that Jesus' struggling and striving against sin (and the temptation to bypass the cross) was so intense that He literally sweated out great drops of blood in His agony. But He was completely submissive to His Father's will, and got up from His knees strengthened and determined to endure the cross - for us! (See Hebrews 10:5-7, 10)

3) Suffering.

Within moments of arising from His fervent praying, Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss and He is led away by the multitude, while all His disciples fled for their lives. During the course of that night, He faced mock trials with false witnesses, was whipped and beaten, was spit upon and scorned. And then the soldiers cruelly mocked Him:

Matthew 27:28-30 And they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head.

John 19:5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate said unto them, Behold the Man!

Matthew 27:31 And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him and put His own raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

4) Sin-Bearer.

On the cross, Jesus bore the sins of the whole world, and there He bore our curse.

Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

Here we see the reason why it was so important for the Jews to take Jesus down off the cross before the night was upon them. Not only did Jesus bear the curse of the cross, He bore the curse of our sins being placed upon Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Isaiah 53:5-6, 11 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. 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. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.

1 Peter 2:24 Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

5) Substitute.

On the cross, Jesus bore the judgment and wrath which we deserved when He died in our place. While there is some overlap with the point above, I will also add a quote from the Apostle Paul in this regard:

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

The Lord Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, took our punishment upon Him, and died in our place. He did this by the grace of God! We could never deserve salvation, but God the Father, by His grace alone, provided a sinless Substitute in the person of His Son - a Substitute who bore our sins and experienced the death and separation from the Heavenly Father that we deserve because of our sin. By the grace of God, we are offered something we could never deserve: a Saviour to save us, a Substitute to die in our place, our sins forgiven, a home in Heaven, an inheritance in Christ, and most of all, reconciliation and fellowship with God whom we have offended and sinned against. Someone has well defined Grace by this acrostic:

God's
Riches
At
Christ's
Expense.

Praise the Lord for His grace!

6) Sunset.

Matthew 27:57-60 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

John 19:41-42 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

This is the third garden in the Biblical story of Redemption, The Garden With The Empty Tomb, which will be the next study in this series.

7) Sealed Tomb.

Matthew 27:62-66 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

For further reading: Consider the following short devotional from Days Of Praise, Make It As Sure As You Can. Though I read this several years after this study was originally preached and written, this devotion definitely adds to this part of the study.

Ah, but what could a sealed tomb and armed guards do to stop Jesus from rising? If He was a mere man, there would not have even been a need for a sealed tomb and guards...

Psalms 2:1-3 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

- but because He is the Son of God, even the attempts of the whole world set in array against Him could never succeed!

Psalms 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

8) The Saviour.

For anyone who knows their Bible or has any familiarity with the life of Jesus, you know that the story doesn't end there.

Acts 2:23-24 Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.

Psalms 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.

Romans 1:3-4 Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

Death couldn't hold Him!

The Devil couldn't defeat Him!

After three days and three nights in the tomb, Jesus arose victorious over the grave!

Our sins were completely paid for!

All who look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation will be saved. Have you received Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour? If not, the Shepherd is seeking to save you! Why don't you turn to Him today?

1 Peter 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

The Ninety And Nine
(Lyrics: Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1868)

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold.
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer: “This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me;
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep,

I go to the desert to find My sheep.”

But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.

Out in the desert He heard its cry,
Sick and helpless and ready to die;
Sick and helpless and ready to die.

“Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way
That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They are pierced tonight by many a thorn;
They are pierced tonight by many a thorn.”


And all through the mountains, thunder riven
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of heaven,
“Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”

Study written November 9th, 2004/Edited October 31st/05
Jerry Bouey

The Story Of Four Gardens:
Part One - The Garden Of Eden
Part Two - The Garden Of Gethsemane (above)
Part Three - The Garden With The Empty Tomb (coming soon)
Part Four - Paradise, The Garden Of Eternity (coming soon)

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Story Of Four Gardens: The Garden Of Eden

In 2006, I preached a series of three messages on three main gardens of Scripture: Eden and the fall of man; Gethsemane and Jesus Christ going to the cross; the garden with the empty tomb and Christ's resurrection. I wrote up the first two messages, but somehow never got the third one written, then ended up losing the notes I had for it. A couple of years later, I preached these messages again.

This year, as we are getting closer to Easter, where the thoughts of many Christians and the religious world turn towards the cross and Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, I wanted to cover these messages again. But this time, I was thinking of a fourth garden - Paradise (which means "garden"), referring to the third heaven, the dwelling place of God.

Lord willing, this time I will get the third and (now) fourth studies written up. I plan on covering one per week until Easter (plus, a supplemental message from Days Of Praise devotionals: Make It As Sure As You Can).


The Story Of Four Gardens:
Part One - The Garden Of Eden


In Genesis chapter one, we have the account of Creation. Adam, the first man, was created on day six. God then created a garden eastward in Eden and placed man there in this perfect, sinless environment. Eden means “delight, pleasure.” There, all Adam’s needs would be met, and it would be a peaceful, blessed existence.

Genesis 2:15-17 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Only one command that Adam must not disobey, one command to test his love and obedience to the Lord God.

Then God made Eve, the first woman, from the rib of Adam. They were now one flesh, united together, walking in daily fellowship with the Lord… Until the serpent came along.

1) The Devil.

Genesis 3:1a Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.

The New Testament clearly teaches that it was the Devil that was speaking to Eve through the serpent. (See Revelation 12:9; John 8:44) Subtil means “cunning, crafty.” Martin Luther made this statement: “Satan’s first appearance was under the tree of knowledge.” It is also interesting to note that Satan’s first words were ones of doubt and distrust in what God had already clearly stated.

2) Doubt.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

“Did God really say? Did God really mean it? Can you really trust God?” These were some of the doubts the Devil was attempting to sow into Adam and Eve’s hearts. As an angel of light, a messenger (but not of God), he was creating confusion and deception. (See 2 Corinthians 11:3, 14; 1 Corinthians 14:33) Eve should never have hearkened to that voice.

Genesis 3:2-3 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

Here Eve does something good: she quotes the Word of God. But then she adds to it! God said “don’t eat of the tree”; He did not say “don’t touch it”. Once you start questioning the Word of God and moving from its solid mooring (by adding to, subtracting from, or twisting it), then you are on a dangerous, slippery slope. (See Revelation 22:18-19; 2 Peter 3:16)

3) Deception.

Genesis 3:4-5 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Here, we see the Devil outright contradicting God (ye shall not surely die), and enticing Eve with forbidden knowledge. Basically he is stating, “God is withholding something from you. He really doesn’t have your best interests in mind. Why not try this fruit yourself – and you can determine whether it is really good or not. Instead of having God rule over you, telling you what to do and not to do, you can be your own gods, be your own authority.” While most may not fall for the religious lie that they can literally become gods (as taught in Mormonism, the New Age religion, and various cults), many do fall for the lie that they can be their own gods – controlling their own lives, using their own fallen wisdom to direct themselves, instead of letting God and His Word be their guide and final authority.

First doubt, and then deception. The slippery slope was becoming less firm, sloping ever downwards. The road to Hell started with questioning God, but it didn’t end there. The temptation to partake of what God clearly commanded against was becoming more and more appealing. And the consequences became less and less intimidating… If death really wouldn’t come, then it really couldn’t hurt to eat of this fruit.

4) Disobedience.

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

"Hm, this does look like a good tree, not really much different than all the rest that we’ve been eating from. Actually, this fruit is quite pleasant looking, quite appealing – can’t be all that bad." And then the clincher: and a tree to be desired to make one wise. Not only was she listening to the serpent, she was now believing his word instead of God’s! There was no way the appearance of the fruit would have caused her to think that it could make her “wise”, but the Devil had planted those seeds of doubt, and now they took root.

For a more in-depth look at the temptation of Eve, please read my study, Three Avenues Of Temptation.

She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat. She disobeyed God’s clear command and ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In her deception, she probably was thinking, “I didn’t drop dead immediately – the serpent must have been telling the truth!”

And then here comes one of the saddest notes of the Scriptures: and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Adam was with her all the time! And he didn’t step in and rebuke Eve for listening to the serpent, nor did he chase it away. Instead he observed, and then partook after Eve did. Despite the lies and deception, the consequences of rebellion against God still took effect – just as God said would happen.

5) Death.

Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Their eyes were opened! But not in the way that Satan promised. They now did know good and evil, but it was no longer knowledge from a state of innocency, but from a state of guilt! And it was knowledge without the means to apply it - they no longer had the power to do good, but were enslaved to the evil. Notice the contrast between Genesis 2:25 and 3:7. Sin brought shame. They needed to cover this up somehow – hence the aprons made of fig leaves, something they themselves put together. But religious works can never truly cover or deal with the sins of man.

And death had come. Not physical death at first (though the process was now begun and they would eventually die physically) – but spiritual death, which is separation from the Lord God. We will see this clearly in the next part of this study.

6) Disrupted Fellowship.

Genesis 3:8 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.

Now instead of fellowshipping with the Lord like they had been doing every day since they were created, here they sought to run and hide from Him.

Genesis 3:9-10 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.

God knew where Adam and Eve were, He knew what they had done, and He knew how their sin created shame and fear in their hearts. His words were intended to draw them out of hiding and to bring a confession of guilt from them.

Genesis 3:11-13 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

At first, Adam and Eve are attempting to play the blame game, blaming others for the sin they have committed. However, they do acknowledge their own guilt and part in what had transpired: and I did eat. What Eve had spoken was true, she was deceived by the Devil. (See 1 Timothy 2:14) This is not an excuse that God would accept, however, as she needed to accept the blame for herself. If she had not been listening to the Devil, she would not have been confused and led astray by his lies!

7) Distressing Judgement and the Promised Deliverer.

Genesis 3:14-15 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.

Before sin entered into the world, God had His plan prepared. Now it was time to set it in motion. Judgement was pronounced on the serpent for being the willing instrument that Satan used. And judgement was threatened to the Devil for his enticing Adam and Eve to turn from the Lord and do evil.

There was also a promise given in several parts:

1) There would be enmity between the Devil and the woman.

2) Enmity between the seed of the Devil (physically-born children of man) and the seed of the women (spiritually-born children of man - born again of God).

3) A promised Redeemer – the seed of the woman. He would be the virgin born Son of God. This Deliverer would one day be bruised on the heel – implying a temporary wound that He would recover from (this was fulfilled when Jesus was crucified on the cross for our sins, died, was buried, and arose three days later), and the Devil would be bruised on the head – this was to be a mortal wound (fulfilled when Jesus defeated him by His death on the cross, and one day would completely bruise Satan underfoot – see Hebrews 2:14-16 and Romans 16:20).

Genesis 3:16-19 Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 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.

Here Adam and Eve are faced with the consequences of their distrust and disobedience to the Lord God: Sorrow, the curse, thorns, sweat, death. As the head of the human race, it was Adam’s disobedience that brought death into the world and upon all his descendents. The first Adam brought sin and death upon all mankind, the last Adam would one day restore all that was lost in the first Adam’s fall. And this Promised Deliverer would deal with each of the effects of the curse, but that will have to wait until our next study, The Garden Of Gethsemane.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 For since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:45-47 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second Man is the Lord from heaven.

8) A Determined Note Of Faith.

Genesis 3:20-21 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

The Lord clothed Adam and Eve with coats made of the skins of animals – this meant an animal had to shed its blood to cover their sin and had to die to clothe their nakedness and shame. All these animal sacrifices were a picture of and a prelude to the Lamb of God who would one day shed His blood and die upon the cross of Calvary to take away the sins of the world. (John 1:29) This plan was made before the foundation of the world, and would eventually be carried into effect about 4000 years later. (See 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:18-20; Revelation 13:8) As time went on, more was revealed about this Promised Deliverer, but the basics were already given: Someone would come and save them from their sins; this Messiah would be their righteousness (the covering for their sins)

Genesis 3:22-24 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of Us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Adam and Eve were now banished from the Garden of Eden into a sin-cursed world. The toil, sweat, and sorrow that they now faced would remind them of what it was once like in the Garden, and cause them to look for and long for the coming Messiah, who would remove all of sin’s curse.

It was doubt in God’s Word that initially brought disobedience, sin, and death into this world – and it would be faith (trust) in God’s Word and in the coming Messiah which would bring salvation to those who believed.

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

October 30th, 2004
Jerry Bouey

The Story Of Four Gardens:
Part One - The Garden Of Eden (above)
Part Two - The Garden Of Gethsemane
Part Three - The Garden With The Empty Tomb (coming soon)
Part Four - Paradise, The Garden Of Eternity (coming soon)

The Touch Of Faith

Matthew 9:12-13 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Matthew 9:20-22 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Mark 5:25-34 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

A crowd surrounded Jesus as He went about preaching that day. So many people pressing in around Him - yet only one in that crowd touched Jesus; one woman, with an issue of blood, reached out to touch the hem of His garment; only one was made whole.

This Jewish woman had been sick for twelve years with an issue of blood - according to the Mosaic Law, she was considered unclean, and would therefore have been shunned or avoided by others. No doubt she heard of Jesus' claims to be the Great Physician and the Messiah. Would He be the one to heal her when all else failed?

There are many religious people going through the motions today - following their rituals, whether they be seeking church, meaningless repetition in prayer, baptism, communion, good works, following the Law - but never personally seeking the Saviour.

Here was a woman who was willing to seek the Saviour. She had spent all her money on the physicians, but they could not help her. Only the Great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ could. She got to where she decided she must touch Him. Regardless of the mass of people surrounding her, regardless of the difficulties and trials in seeking Him, she must go to Him - she must touch Him. Jesus was her only hope!

She was unclean, unworthy. Faint (from weakness resulting from her continual loss of blood), fearful (Luke 8:47 says she hid herself after she touched Him), faltering, but her sense of need compelled her to go to the Saviour.

She touched Jesus secretly (no doubt wondering how He and His disciples might react), tremblingly, hurriedly - BUT she touched Him by faith!

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

How about you? Have you realized your need of the Saviour? Reaching out by faith will bring Jesus' touch of healing on your life, your heart, your soul. He will make you whole. It might not be God's will to heal you physically of some affliction, but it is always His will to heal you spiritually!

Whatever your sins, whatever your past - touch the Saviour and He will heal you. Your touch of faith will bring God's touch of healing and forgiveness.

Like He had compassion on this sick woman in the crowd, He will have compassion on you. Won't you turn from your sins to the Saviour today?

I read this poem to close:

The Touch Of The Master's Hand

‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it was scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folk?" he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?
"A dollar - a dollar - then two, only two -
"Two dollars, and who'll make it three?

"Going for three" but no -
From the room far back, a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "NOW what am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars - and who'll make it two?
"Two thousand - and who'll make it three?
"Three thousand once - three thousand twice -
"And going - and gone," cried he.

The people cheered, but some cried,
"We do not understand what changed its worth?"
- Quick came the reply,
"The Touch of the Master's Hand."
And many a man with his life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned off cheap, to a thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.

A "mess of pottage - a glass of wine,
A game" - and he travels on:
He is going once - and going twice -
He's going - and almost gone!
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Can never quite understand,
The worth of a soul, and the change that's wrought,
By the Touch of the Master's Hand.

Poem written by Myra Brooks Welch

Preached on Friday April 1st/05
Jerry Bouey

Some of the points and thoughts in this devotional were gleaned by this message preached by Charles Spurgeon:

Real Contact With Jesus

Three Avenues Of Temptation

1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

In this passage we see Satan's three main avenues of temptation:

1. The lust of the eyes
- means forbidden longing or desire, covetousness, following after the sight of the eyes.

2. The lust of the flesh - means carnal desires, fulfilling the appetites of the flesh; fulfilling physical appetites outside of the will of God.

3. The pride of life - means selfishness, self-seeking; self-advancement.
pride = (Strong's #213) boasting, bragging, (by implication) self-confidence.
life = bios, physical life (as opposed to spiritual life, zoe).

Contrast the pride of life with charity (love) in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

We see Satan using these three main avenues of temptation in his temptations of Eve and Jesus:

Eve


Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The tree was good for food - the lust of the flesh.
It was pleasant to the eyes - the lust of the eyes.
A tree to be desired to make one wise - the pride of life.


Eve disregarded the Word of God (the command given previously to Adam) and gave in to the temptation.

Jesus

Matthew 4:1-3 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

Temptation to turn the stones to bread - the lust of the flesh.

Matthew 4:5-6 Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Temptation to tempt God and endanger Himself - the pride of life, ie. you are so important God won't let you hurt yourself recklessly.

Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Temptation to worship Satan to receive the kingdoms of the world - the lust of the eyes.

Jesus overcame all these temptations by continually meditating on and submitting Himself to the Word of God.

Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Matthew 4:10-11 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.

"Viewing the Old Testament in its unity, and the Messiah as the apex in the column of its history, we admit - or rather, we must expect - throughout points of correspondence between Moses, Elijah, and the Messiah. In fact, these may be described as marking the three stages in the history of the Covenant. Moses was its giver, Elijah its restorer, the Messiah its renewer and perfecter. And as such they all had, in a sense, a similar outward consecration for their work. But that neither Moses nor Elijah was assailed by the Devil, constitutes not the only, though a vital, difference between the fast of Moses and Elijah, and that of Jesus. Moses fasted in the middle, Elijah at the end, Jesus at the beginning of His ministry. Moses fasted in the Presence of God; Elijah alone; Jesus assaulted by the Devil. Moses had been called up by God; Elijah had gone forth in the bitterness of his own spirit; Jesus was driven by the Spirit. Moses failed after his forty days' fast; when in indignation he cast the Tables of the Law from him; Elijah failed before his forty days' fast; Jesus was assailed for forty days and endured the trial. Moses was angry against Israel; Elijah despaired of Israel; Jesus overcame for Israel." (Alfred Edersheim, The Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah, Volume 1 Page 295.)

There is another aspect of these temptations I would like to look more in-depth at later: the questioning and doubting of the Word of God, but will save that for another study.

I will end on this neat observation that the Lord pointed out to me this morning in my studying.

Look at the comparison between these two passages:

Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Revelation 21:10-11 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

The first passage deals with the kingdoms of the world, the temporal glory of them, and the temptation to turn aside to gain that "glory". The second passage deals with the Kingdom of Heaven, the eternal glory thereof - and we know for a fact that this city shown here is the Lord's! Jesus did not have to compromise to gain it! In fact, had He done so, He would have lost it for Himself and for us! Praise the Lord that the Son of God was faithful and did not give in to the temptations of the Devil!

Written September 6th, 2004
Jerry Bouey

Sunday, March 07, 2010

A Look Back

Today: For 2 1/2 years, I posted Daily Devotionals (from July 2004 to October 2006) on several websites and my mailing list. I have these Devotionals also posted on Eagle's Wings Ministries, but somehow never got around to posting the month of October 2006 - perhaps because it was only half a month. Then my new job at the Gospel Mission took up a lot of my time and I was no longer able to send out Devotionals on a daily basis after that point.

Some of the Daily Devotionals were links to my own studies, some short(er) Devotionals of mine as well; plus, links to excellent books, articles, and studies gleaned from solid Bible study sites on the Web. Unfortunately, over time many of these links became outdated - some of these boards and study sites went out of Internet existence - and I was not able to keep up with updating the links. Some of the best blogs and study sites I have found that are currently available are now in my Links bar on the side of this blog.

I am re-posting some of these studies and articles here and on my other study blog (with sound articles by others), Faithful Men Of God. Some of these books can still be found on Baptist Bible Believer's Website. I also wanted to include the entry for October 1st/2006, as a look back at where I was when I started at the Mission. Then, Lord willing, I will later post an updated testimony of the Mission now.

October 2006:

Wow - September sure was one busy, hectic month for me! God was stirring up some things in my life and getting me to leave the nest I was in - so that I would be ready to move into the new sphere He wanted me to be a part of now. (See Deuteronomy 32:11-12) I am no longer working full-time at the hotel (though the door is still open for me to work shifts here and there), but am now working at the Gospel Mission where I have been preaching once (sometimes twice) a week for over 2 1/2 years, and have done several years of volunteer work on top of this.

I have been praying for ways to get more involved in the lives of the people there - and all of a sudden this job opportunity came up (the senior evening position in the Mission), and the job was basically dropped in my lap. Because of the work the Lord was doing in my heart prior to this point in time, I knew this was exactly where the Lord wanted me to be. A lot of things fell into place - including His peace like a blanket covering my heart and mind. I am finished with the full-time graveyards at the hotel, and am adapting to the days at the Mission now...

It will be 4 days on, and 4 days off (plus whatever odd shifts I might still get at the hotel - no set schedule there though). That will give me plenty of time to work on studies, my websites, my blogs, etc. and still work on my messages at the Mission. I was thinking that if I had to preach up to 4 days in a row that would mean I would have to shorten my messages and not have as much time as needed to develop them - but even will a full hectic week last week, the Lord still gave me two messages - the second one (Pharaoh's Four Proposals) actually went a little longer than planned, but it sure had everyone's attention! Praise the Lord for His grace - especially for this step into greater ministry opportunities, for a day job that will allow me more time to get involved in church soulwinning times (could not easily do that before with full-time graveyards), for being able to be around the people at the Mission throughout the week (not just on the day I was to preach), and for more opportunities to preach the Word of God (which gives me more experience in this area too - not just more opportunities to get the Word of God out to those in the Mission) - also, I am looking foward to being able to do more series and build upon prior messages (which I can easily do if I am preaching two to four days in a row).

My message today (linked above) is what I preached on Sunday - the basic idea is not new to me, as someone has pointed out these four passages in a message I have read before (though theirs dealt with Satan trying to hinder us from being involved in our local church - attempting to hinder us from worshipping God in the manner and place He has designated - and using work as one of the main hindrances from assembling together with other believers). Using the same four passages as my springboard, I took it in another direction, aimed at presenting the Gospel to the lost at the Mission.

October 1st/2006
Jerry Bouey

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Psalm Of Guidance (Psalm 25) - Part One

This is the first of seven Acrostic Psalms (see also Psalms 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145), where each verse (or each section of eight verses in the case of Psalm 119) begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Psalms 25:1 A Psalm of David. Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.

The Bible, especially the Old Testament, refers to various people lifting up their hands, their eyes, their voices, but here we have the Psalmist lifting up his soul to the Lord. Instead of choosing to focus on the vain things of this world (see Psalm 24:4), David resolved to focus only on the Lord. Truly, that is the secret of finding out God's will for your life – having a heart and soul focused steadfastly on the Lord.

“With poetic passion, David cried out to God how that he laid his very soul before the Lord. Truly, this is fervent prayer. His heart was bared. His soul was offered up in prayer to God. God pays heed to such prayer.” (David Sorenson, Understanding The Bible, Job Through Psalms, page 265.)

“...In worshipping God we must lift up our souls to him. Prayer is the ascent of the soul to God... With a holy contempt of the world and the things of it, by a fixed thought and active faith, we must set God before us, and let out our desires towards him as the fountain of our happiness.” (Matthew Henry.)

Psalms 86:4 Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

Psalms 143:8 Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

Lamentations 3:41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.

Let us lift up our hearts and voices to the Lord in praise, our hands in service and in holy prayer, and our souls in worship - looking unto Jesus.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Psalms 25:2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.

This is the first of three verses in this Psalm that speak about being ashamed or not ashamed. Notice that it is our trust in the Lord God that will ensure that we are not ashamed. The Apostle Paul had that same idea when he penned these words:

2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

God's enemies will be ashamed, but those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and commit themselves unto Him will have nothing to be ashamed about on the day of judgment when the Lord returns for His own.

Psalms 25:3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.

To trangress, according to Webster's 1828 Dictionary, means: "1. To pass over or beyond any limit; to surpass. 2. In a moral sense, to overpass any rule prescribed as the limit of duty; to break or violate a law, civil or moral. To transgress a divine law is sin."

Those who rebel against the Lord will have cause to be ashamed, but those that wait on Him in faith will be blessed and rewarded. When studying the Bible, it is always good to pay attention to any repetition of words, phrases, or ideas. There are three references to waiting upon the Lord in this Psalm. When God repeats Himself in His Word, we need to listen and hearken. In the context of God's guidance, this verse may very well be indicating that God will bless those who wait upon His leading, but woe to those who rush ahead of the Lord and run headlong into sin. (See Isaiah 50:10-11) Wait upon the Lord!

Psalms 25:4-5 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

“When the believer has begun with trembling feet to walk in the way of the Lord, he asks to be still led onward like a little child upheld by its parent's helping hand, and he craves to be further instructed in the alphabet of truth... Patience is the fair handmaid and daughter of faith; we cheerfully wait when we are certain that we shall not wait in vain. It is our duty and our privilege to wait upon the Lord in service, in worship, in expectancy, in trust all the days of our life. Our faith will be tried faith, and if it be of the true kind, it will bear continued trial without yielding. We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us.” (Spurgeon, Morning And Evening.)

“What he desired to learn: 'Teach me, not fine words or fine notions, but thy ways, thy paths, thy truth...' God's paths and his truth are the same; divine laws are all founded upon divine truths. The way of God's precepts is the way of truth, Ps. 119:30. Christ is both the way and the truth, and therefore we must learn Christ... What he pleads, (1.) His great expectation from God: Thou art the God of my salvation. Note, Those that choose salvation of God as their end, and make him the God of their salvation, may come boldly to him for direction in the way that leads to that end. If God save us, he will teach us and lead us. He that gives salvation will give instruction. (2.) His constant attendance on God: On thee do I wait all the day. Whence should a servant expect direction what to do but from his own master, on whom he waits all the day? If we sincerely desire to know our duty, with a resolution to do it, we need not question but that God will direct us in it.” (Matthew Henry.)

It is God's ways, God's paths, and God's truth that David longs to know. Is this what you long for? There are seven direct references in this Psalm to God's guidance: teach (5 times), lead, guide. According to Psalm 23:4, if the Lord is your Shepherd, it is up to Him to lead you in the paths of righteousness, and up to you to submit to that leading and follow the Good Shepherd. We don't need to run ourselves ragged trying to "figure out" what the Lord would have us to do; we just need to obey what He has already revealed to us, and He will show us the next step we are to take when it is truly needed - in His time.

"Do what you know, and God will teach you what to do. Do what you know to be your present duty, and God will acquaint you with your future duty as it comes to be present." (Samuel Annesley, Treasury Of David.)

Psalms 25:6-7 Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD.

A.) Remember.

Three times in these verses we see the word remember (once it is remember not). To remember something in a Biblical sense means to act on it. For example, when the Bible states that God remembered Noah, it means that God acted on Noah's behalf, that God did something for Noah or about his situation. (See the linked study for more on this theme.) Here the Psalmist is pleading with the Lord to actively show mercy, lovingkindness, and goodness to him.

On a side note: Psalm 13:1 (and similar passages such as Psalm 42:9; 77:9; Isaiah 49:14; Hosea 4:6) had puzzled me until recently when I recalled the Biblical usage of remember, in contrast with God forgetting something (ie. not actively working on behalf of that person or situation - or even actively working against someone; see Jeremiah 23:39 and Lamentations 2:1). How could true, faithful believers think that the Lord God had completely forgotten about them? Surely their faith could not be that small or falter that much when they are striving to focus on the Lord!

Psalm 13:1 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

The Lord God cannot forget about His people (in the sense we use the term today); however, sometimes we can get discouraged when it seems He is not actively working on our behalf in a given situation. In Psalm 13, David was lamenting that he could not see the Lord at work, and in Psalm 25, he is crying out to this effect: Lord, let me see Your lovingkindness and mercy at work in my life, let me see You at work in this situation that has me distraught.

B.) For Thy Sake.

...according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake...

It is a blessing to note that in the Psalms, there are five different aspects of God's character and nature that the various Psalmists plead as reasons for God to help them: because of His mercies' sake, His goodness' sake, His truth's sake, His righteousness' sake, and His name's sake (five is typical of God's grace). God is merciful, good, righteous, and truthful. He is the only source of truth - He is Truth. He is also the only source of righteousness for man.

There are seven times the book of Psalms refers to the Lord doing something for His name's sake (seven is typical of the Lord's perfection/completion). His name - Jesus, which means "the Lord is salvation/Saviour" - represents who He is and why He came. When He does something for His name's sake, it is a reflection of His character as Saviour.

It is wonderful to see the grace offered to God's children, and how He will perfect the work He has begun on the behalf of those who trust in Him.

Psalms 6:4 Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake.

Psalms 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Psalms 25:7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD.

Psalms 25:11 For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.

Psalms 31:3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.

Psalms 31:16 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake.

Psalms 44:26 Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies' sake.

Psalms 79:9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake.

Psalms 106:8 Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.

Psalms 109:21 But do thou for me, O GOD the Lord, for thy name's sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me.

Psalms 115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.

Psalms 143:11 Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.

The references in the Psalms to His name's sake (and their surrounding context) all have to do with deliverance from trouble (including deliverance from enemies) and forgiveness of (deliverance from) sins. Jesus' name means "Saviour," and deliverance (both physical and spiritual) is what being a Saviour is all about!

C. Remember Not.

Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions...

Here is the first of three references to forgiveness of his sins in Psalm 25. Strong's Concordance gives this definition of sins: “from 2398; an offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness).” He also gives this for 2398: “properly, to miss; hence (figuratively and generally) to sin.” In other words, to “miss the mark” of God's will for our lives in that area. The New Testament equivalent would be the Greek word, hamartia, from a root meaning: “properly, to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize), i.e. (figuratively) to err, especially (morally) to sin.” Picture a game of darts, where each contestant is striving to throw their darts at the dartboard. The target is the bullseye. It does not matter how much each person misses the target, if they miss it by a millimeter or by a mile, they have still missed the mark and will not share in the prize. All of mankind has missed the mark of God's perfect will for their lives because of their sin and rebellion against Him, and has forfeited the prize of eternal life. But, praise the Lord, the story does not end there! What mankind could not do (ie. perfectly fulfill the will of God, perfectly obey the Law of God), the Lord Jesus Christ did. He lived a perfect, sinless life, and by His death, burial and resurrection - by His completed work of redemption, by His payment for our sin on Calvary - salvation is freely offered to all!

Transgression means “The act of passing over or beyond any law or rule of moral duty; the violation of a law or known principle of rectitude; breach of command.” Basically, going beyond the bounds commanded by God and sinning; ie. the Lord commands us not to do something or go somewhere, and we do it or go there anyway.

As stated already, to remember something Biblically means to act on it. To remember not something would be the exact opposite. In this context, to not remember our sins means that the Lord is not holding them against us; He is not acting against us because of our sins. When we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone to save us, when we place our faith in Jesus and His finished work of redemption, then God forgets our sins (not in the sense that He no longer has knowledge of them, but in the sense that He is no longer actively holding those sins against us). This is an example we can follow - we may not be able to stop a past sin from coming to mind, but we can choose not to hold those sins against someone.

Psalms 79:8 O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.

Isaiah 64:9 Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.

Here are two passages that illustrate what it means to remember our sins:

1 Kings 17:17-18 And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

Jeremiah 14:10-12 Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins. Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ for His New Covenant provided by His shed blood and death upon the cross for our sins!! The following two passages show us God's promise to remember [our] sins no more:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Hebrews 10:14-18 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

"'Remember not the sins of my youth; that is, remember them not against me, lay them not to my charge, enter not into judgment with me for them.' When God pardons sin he is said to remember it no more, which denotes a plenary remission; he forgives and forgets.” (Matthew Henry.)

We know the Lord will never forget His children - but we can praise Him forever for forgetting our sins!

Basic outline preached February 27th/2010
Study written March 4th/2010
Jerry Bouey