God’s Word, Bible Study and Traditions

GOD’S WORD, BIBLE STUDY, & TRADITIONS

Mark 7:6-13 – He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

“The keeping of human commands always leads to the neglect of the divine.” – Charles Spurgeon.

Verse 9:  “Full well” – Jesus is rebuking them here by saying in effect “Are you not acting in a most self righteous and pious manner, by preferring human traditions to God’s commandments?” The guilt and foolishness of the scribes and Pharisees are exposed by this condemnation. It is a terribly sinful thing to put the traditions of men on a pedestal higher then God’s Word. It is a terribly sinful thing to establish rules of governance in a local assembly based just on traditions of men and not the Word of God. It is a terrible and sinful thing to put in effect things that will alter men’s futures and their capacity to serve God and all the while those things are based more in the traditions of men then the Word of God. – Always make sure everything is based in God’s Word. Research things out for yourself, dig deep into the Scriptures’, and come to conclusions and convictions for yourself, and do not just rely on what you have always heard; but own those beliefs for yourself by careful and exhaustive Bible study.

INTRODUCTION: We need to create the good habit of daily Bible reading. We either have good habits or bad habits. If we have not developed the good habit of daily Bible reading then we have developed the bad habit of NOT reading the Bible daily! Time is a factor in daily Bible reading. Lots of people say they do not have the time. Let’s look at the reality of time. James 4:14 says “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” As you see James teaches us that our time on earth is brief, but a vapor in comparison to eternity. If we do not develop the good habit of daily Bible study our time on this earth will catch up with us. We will have spent our life on earth not utilizing the time we had for Christ. Many Christians will meet God never having read his Word through once. Wouldn’t that be a shame; to meet God, to meet Christ, knowing everything that was done for you, because He loved you, and you never having bothered to completely read His love letter to you?

WHY IS GOD’S WORD SO IMPORTANT? – Because it contains God’s mind and will for your life, because it is the only source of absolute truth in the world, and because it is the Divine authority for your life. (II Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.) God inspired men of old with His Holy Spirit from time to time, influencing them to speak or write His will to men. (II Peter 1:20-21 – Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.)

  • God’s Word is infallible in its entirety. (Psalm 19:7 – The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.) – The written Word of God is perfect for our faith and practice, it is perfect in making all who follow it wise unto salvation; it is perfect to trust, it is perfect to accept and it is perfect in its demonstration of the atonement, the righteousness, and the intercession of Christ on behalf of man.
  • It is inerrant in its parts. (Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.) – God’s Word contains no errors or mistakes. There are erroneous versions of the Bible out there, but God has preserved for English speaking people a Bible we can rely on and use with confidence- and that is the King James Version of the Bible.

Adam Clarke speaking about these verses in Proverbs said “Everything that God has pronounced, every inspiration which the prophets have received, is pure, without mixture of error, without dross.”

  • It is complete. (Revelation 22:18-19 – For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.) – These verses are a solemn warning to those who would seek to tamper with and alter the Word of God. It is dire condemnation to them proclaimed in these verses if they add unto or they take away words from the Holy Scriptures.
  • We need to examine and review some of the changing (the adding to and taking away) of God’s Word that is happening today. There are over 64 thousand less words in the other versions of the Bible compared to the King James Version.
  • In 1611, the King James Bible translation was finished. It took 54 scholars 6 years to translate the Bible into English. That is how careful and serious they took their work. We can rest assured that the King James Version of the Bible is the complete Word of God for us today.
  • People were warned not to alter God’s Word some 2,000 years ago in this passage in the book of Revelation. God takes His Word very seriously and He expects us to take His Word very seriously as well.
  • It is authoritative and final. (Psalm 119:89 – For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.) – Although things may happen on earth that go contrary to His Word; in Heaven it is firmly settled and kept pure for eternity.
  • It is totally sufficient for our needs. (Psalm 19:7-9 – The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.) – “The law of the LORD is perfect” – the Hebrew word translated as “perfect” means perfectly complete, full and whole. So the Word of the Lord is perfect, complete, and whole. It is all sufficient to meet any and every need that arises. God’s word is sufficient to transform people completely from the inside out. This begins with our salvation and continues with our sanctification.
  • It will accomplish what it promises. (Isaiah 55:11 – So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.)

The great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon had these thoughts of this verse “So we are invited to trust in an effectual gospel which can by no means fall to the ground.  We have no cunningly devised fable put before us, but the infallible truth of God who cannot lie.  All things else may fail, but the promise of God will be fulfilled as surely as God is God.

THE GOAL OF COMPREHENSION– We need to do more than just topical studies in the Bible. A topical study is looking up all the relevant passages to a certain topic and studying those. This is not a bad way to study the Bible, but we also need to study the Bible book by book, chapter by chapter, and verse by verse as it was written. Why work at studying the Bible as whole and not just topical studies? Because with topical studies you risk taking or applying a verse out of context; we need to consider all that God has revealed to us in His Word. (Psalm 119:160 – Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.) 

“The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.” – A. W. Tozer 

“The Bible is a harp with a thousand strings. Play on one to the exclusion of its relationship to the others, and you will develop discord. Play on all of them, keeping them in their places in the divine scale, and you will hear heavenly music all the time.” – William P. White 

  • Study and learn the Bible both privately and at church. Come to Sunday School and Wednesday night Bible study. The Bible warns us on this subject – “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” II Peter 1:20.
  • Some study only at church and none at home. Others only study at home if they study at all and neglect church services. (Hebrews 10:25 – Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.)
  • Those that study only at home by themselves are more likely to get a false understanding of passages, along with false application of passages. They are more likely to fall for false teachings and false teachers.

BASIC BIBLE STUDY TOOLSSome suggestions for some tools to use as you study the Bible to help and get the most out of your Bible reading/study time. We are told to study God’s word, and we need to study it as efficiently as possible. (II Timothy 2:15 – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.)

First you need to make sure you are using the right Bible. The King James Version is the Bible English speaking people should be using. Some Bible’s have a paragraph layout instead of a verse layout. The paragraph layout helps you get the complete thought of the writer but can be difficult to use.

  • Dictionaries, maps, study Bibles are also good tools to have as you read and study your Bible. You use these to look up the meaning of words, geographical information, and comments to help explain the meaning of the passage. Make sure you are getting a good reliable study Bible. Consult your Pastor’s opinion on one.
  • Markup tools. Such as colored pens, highlighters, a straight edge to use in aiding underlining of verses. Write notes in the margins of your Bible about what you learned from that passage.

LEARN TO LOOK FOR A BIBLICAL VIEW ON ISSUES – AND NOT JUST A TRADITIONAL VIEWTitus 1:9 says “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” Notice the verse says “by sound doctrinenot by tradition of men but by well thought out, researched, studied and reasoned teaching based on God’s Word and God’s Word alone.

We always need to be thinking toward a Biblical view and not just a traditional view. (Mark 7:8a & 13) To get a proper view on any subject we must take into account both God’s terrible holiness, and His gracious forgiveness in view of the sinfulness of man.   To find the Biblical position on issues, we must:

  • Approach the Scriptures open-mindedly. We all have the tendency to believe what we’ve always been taught, without looking at our views critically to see if they are consistent with Scripture. The person who desires to know God’s mind must always come to the Word with a pure heart and an open mind, leaving prejudices and preconceived ideas behind. What is most important is that we find out what God’s Word says not what our traditions or culture say.
  • Look at all of Scripture as a whole on a subject. We cannot just rely on those verses which support our cherished positions.  That is how we so often argue Scripture.  For a view to be Biblical, it must fit every Scriptural text into the view without denying or doing interpretive violence to any position. Scripture must agree with Scripture.
  • Look at each Scripture in its context. The context of a passage will never change the meaning of a verse, but it will clarify the meaning. Each text must be studied on its own, faithfully understanding it in context.  Then, we seek to put all the verses together into a unified and consistent whole.  If the Bible is God’s Word, then every verse’s clear meaning will fit just like a puzzle piece perfectly in the whole of His Word.
  • C.I. Scofield had a great thought on the proper interpretation of scripture ““Never use a doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear and positive one and never use an if to contradict a verily.”

Seek Biblical answers not just traditional answers, not just good sounding answers, not even at first glance what would appear to be “Biblical” answers, but seek to actually examine the Scriptures for what they truly and actually say. Scripture cannot contradict Scripture and remember and keep at the forefront of your mind that our Lord strongly condemns placing mans traditions above His Word. Learn to always make sure the position you are taking or the stand you are making on an issue is based on God’s Word and not just mans tradition. (Mark 7:6-8a & 13 – He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.)

WHAT SHOULD BE MY REPSONSE TO THE WORD OF GOD? – Because the Bible is so important to us, because it is so important to learn and heed its teachings and truths, the Bible teaches us that our response to it should consist of the following:

  • Believe it. (John 6:68-69 – Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.) – Do you really believe the Bible? A lot of Christians will say they believe the Bible; but you could not tell it by how they are living their lives. Live your life in such a way it is obvious to all those around you that you actually believe every word of the Bible.
  • Honor it. (Job 23:12 – Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.) – Are you honoring the Bible with your actions? Are you honoring the Word of God with your attitude?
  • Love it. (Psalm 119:97 – O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.) – If you love something, it will be very important to you. You will want to spend lots of time with it. You will make it a priority. Do you really love the Word of God like you should?
  • Obey it. (I John 2:5 – But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.) – Are you obeying all the Word of God or just certain parts of it? We are commanded to keep the whole Word of God. Do you have pet sins you allow to stay in your life that go against teachings in the Bible?
  • Guard it. (I Timothy 6:20 – O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:) – We need to be guarding the Word of God and not being flippant with it, but being sincerely thankful we have such easy access to it as we do.
  • Fight for it. (Jude 3 – Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.) – Sometimes, now it seems more often than not, we will need to take a stand and fight for what we believe the Word of God teaches. If the world comes into conflict with God’s Word, the Bible makes it clear what we are to do “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29.
  • Study and teach it. (Ezra 7:10 – For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.) – This is something we all need to be doing. We all need to be diligently studying the Word of God and we all have someone within our influence who knows less about the Word of God than we do that we could be teaching His Word to.

IN CONCLUSION – For the person willing to study the Bible carefully, there is great reward. (Psalm 1:1-3 – Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.) We need to create the good habit of daily Bible reading. Many Christians will meet God never having read his Word through once. Wouldn’t that be a shame? This is why we need to develop the habit of Bible reading and study and keep it up the rest of our life. You need to make reading the Bible a pleasurable experience in order to make it a habit and keep it up. Don’t make it like work, start out small and with the New Testament, Genesis, Psalms and Proverbs then progress to the rest of the Bible. Make use of Bible study aides, make sure you study in context, and make sure you study in church and at home. Most importantly make sure you are studying out of the correct Bible so you can trust you are learning correct doctrine and teaching and not missing others that are left out of the wrong versions of the Bible.

Why is studying the Bible so important to us and “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” The Bible is so important because it contains God’s mind and will for our life, because it is the only source of absolute truth in the world, and because it is to be the Divine authority of our life. The Bible can cleanse our way because it is infallible, because it is inerrant, because it is complete, because it is all sufficient, and because it provides assurance for our salvation.

The Bible is the source of absolute truth, it is the source of victory, it is the source of spiritual growth, it is the source of power and it is the source of guidance. In God’s Word, a genuine Christian may have unlimited confidence. We can wash our minds and our souls by the studying of, meditating on, and praying over the Word of God. The Word of God is of extreme importance in our life. The Word of God is essential to the cleansing of our soul, minds and spirits.

Because of what the Word of God is, what it does, and how it benefits us, we need to respond to it appropriately. We need to first of all simply believe in it as the living Word of the all powerful, omnipresent, omniscient God. We need to honor it, we need to love it, we need to obey it and when necessary, be willing to fight for its truths and teachings. Most importantly we need to be sharing it with others. We need to be witnessing from it to others in order to bring more into the household of faith. What are you doing with the Word of God? Are you neglecting it? Are you not honoring its teachings? Do you need to recommit yourselves to God and His Word? Do you need to put God’s Word back into the proper place in your life? Make that decision and make that commitment to God to make His Word paramount in your life.

 

Why are we not Happy?

The Immanence of God

One of God’s attributes is the attribute of Immanence. This is closely related to His attribute of Omnipresence. God is immanent. This means you do not have to go great distances to find God. He is in everything, He is right here, right now with us. God is omnipresent, which means God is everywhere. God is also immanent, which means God penetrates everything. God is omnipresent and immanent, penetrating everything even as He also contains all things. A good definition of this attribute was given by A.W. Tozer, he described it this way:

God is above all things, beneath all things, outside of all things and inside of all things. God is above, but He’s not pushed up. He’s beneath, but He’s not pressed down. He’s outside, but He’s not excluded. He’s inside, but He’s not confined. God is above all things presiding, beneath all things sustaining, outside all things embracing and inside of all things filling. That is the immanence of God.[1]

God does not have to travel to get anywhere. We may say a prayer something like this, “God, please come and help us,” or perhaps, “please be here with us,” we mean this of course in a spiritual way or a psychological way, but in reality God does not have to “come” anywhere to help us, because there simply is not anywhere or any place that God is not.

So, Why are we not Happy?

Why aren’t all Christians the happiest, the most at ease, the most content people in the world? The main answer is we seek to have or seek to make our own rest, our own happiness, and our own contentment. We seek this from that which is so small, so trivial, so temporal, when we are designed to seek our happiness in that which is eternally immanent.

What is it that makes you happy? What is it that lifts your spirits? Is it your job? Is it your house? Is it your car? Is it a vacation? Is it getting favorable reactions to a social media post? Is it your marriage? Is it your location? Is it your friends? Just what is it exactly that brings you joy?

Perhaps we are not happy people because we have our minds set on things, we are looking around us, we are looking in the mirror, we are comparing ourselves to others, many of us are not happy like we should be or as happy as we could be, because we have our minds set on small things. We beautify things, we obtain more things, we put our confidence in things and God, we put our confidence in our job and God, we put our confidence in friends and God, we put our confidence in our home and God, we put our confidence in our ambition for the future and God; so we are putting God as a plus one to all things in our life, when He should be The One in our life.

Where is your Confidence?

We are putting our confidence in so many different things and not just in God. We focus so much of our life and so much of our effort and so much of our attention on the small things, and so little of it on the Immanent One. We multiply, we increase and we are still anxious, we still fret, we still stress, and we remain ever unsatisfied. Why? – Because all that is beneath God will not satisfy, will not bring true and lasting happiness. We are made in the image of God, He imprinted a need for Him in our hearts, we cannot get around that. God did not make the horse in His image, He did not make the butterfly in His image, He made man in His image.

God only made man in His image, no other creature on earth was made in His image but man, so nothing short of God will truly satisfy you. You will find over the years, that you are not content with “all things plus God,” to get true contentment, true happiness, true joy you will have to rework that formula to be stated this way “God minus all things.”

It is not wrong to have things, and have nice things, but as soon we set our hopes on those things instead of God or make God a plus one to those things we lose something out of our heart. We lose the proper place of God in our heart, He is the Immanent God, we are designed with the need to give Him the utter preeminence in our life and heart. If we depend on things and God, people and God, location and God, situation and God, job and God, family and God, possessions and God, for our happiness, we have lost our way and are destined to be frustrated and irritated with life. It must always and only be God and nothing else that we depend on for our happiness.

Whatever else God sees to bless us with, hold that at arm’s length while also holding it dear for Jesus sake. We can love things for His sake, but things are not necessary for our happiness. If there is anything necessary for your eternal happiness and joy but God, you are not yet the kind of Christian you need and ought to be. For only God is the true rest, only in God is true happiness, only in God is true joy. That is how we are designed, with a God shaped hole in our heart, we need Him to have the immanence in our life, not things and Him, but just Him.

Conclusion:

Why are we not happy? – We are not allowing God to have the penetrating presence in our life like we need, and like He desires to have. We need the immanence of God practically manifested in our day to day life, we need it practically manifested in our priorities, we need it practically manifested in our dreams and plans, and in all parts of our life to live truly happy in this world.

*** Is the Immanence of God being practically applied in your life?

Colossians 1:15-18 “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

*** Does God have the Preeminence over all things in your life?

[1] (Tozer, 2007)

Murmurings & Disputings

“MURMURINGS & DISPUTINGS”

(Philippians 2:12-18)

Philippians 2:12-18 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.”

INTRODUCTION 

The Bible tells us in verse 14 to do all things without murmuring and disputing. This means we are to do all things without a complaining and confrontational spirit. We are to do all things with a good attitude. We are to work willingly, happily and with a servants heart for our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:7 – With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:) When we work for someone or serve in the church, do it as if you are reporting directly to Christ himself, because in a way, you really are.

Let’s look at the definitions of these words:

Murmurings – means to grudgingly grumble about something.

Disputings – means a doubtful discussion, consideration or debate about the purpose, reasoning or thought.

So you could say the verse this way – “Do all things without grudgingly grumbling about it and without doubtfully considering or debating the purpose or reasoning behind your instruction to do it.”

I would say it this way “Follow the leadership you are under whether that be Christ or your boss or your Pastor. Without having an attitude about what you are told or asked to do, without constantly complaining about everything and without doubting and debating the request or command.”

Look at verses five to eight. We need to have a servant’s heart like the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:5-8Let 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.

MURMERINGS AND DISPUTINGS 

We need to not have murmurings and disputing toward things we do for God and our Church or for things we do at our secular jobs. (I Corinthians 10:31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.) We are going to examine about three areas where we need to watch our attitudes or our “murmurings and disputing”.

Secular Job

  • We need to maintain a testimony where we work. Especially since we are Christians and hopefully those you work with know you are a Christian.
  • We need to maintain a good testimony of having a good attitude and not complaining about everything at work, because we represent Christ. If people we work with see a negative complaining, insubordinate attitude from us, they are not going to want anything we have. We will turn them off to Christ and that may end up sending them to a Christless eternity.

Church life

  • We need to have a good, a non complaining attitude in things we do for Christ and in our church life. Constantly complaining about things is a sin. A very discouraging sin to the leader that has to hear it all the time.
  • We need to support and enthusiastically follow the leadership of our Pastor. God put him in the leadership position in our church “for such a time as this.” God gives him the vision and we need to follow and support the vision God has given him.
  • Of course if the leadership of the church is leading in an unbiblical path we are not obligated to follow it in those circumstances, nor should we. We should follow the biblical guidelines given in those circumstances as found in Matthew 18:15-17. Our ultimate allegiance should be to God and His word.

To the brethren

  • The Bible warns us over and over again about causing problems among the brethren. Of the seven things listed as what the Lord hates in Proverbs chapter 6:16-19 the last one mentioned and considered an “abomination” is “he that soweth discord among the brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16, 19 – These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:, vs.19 – A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.)
  • Don’t be guilty of what the Lord considers an abomination!
  • How do you sow discord among the brethren? – With murmurings and disputings. With a complaining attitude. With an attitude of seeing just how much you can get away with or trying to get special treatment for yourself.
  • Don’t be guilty of this sin, the Lord says is an abomination. We are commanded in the Word of God to mark those which cause division among fellow Christians and to avoid them. (Romans 16:17 – Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.) – Don’t make fellow Christians have to avoid you.

WHY SHOULD WE NOT BE GUILTY OF MURMURINGS AND DISPUTINGS? HOW DOES NOT COMPLAINING BENEFIT US?

Philippians 2:15a – “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke,”

Four Specific Benefits are listed in the first part of verse fifteen:

  • “Blameless”So we will not have any guilt, or be the one to blame because of problems within the church or in the world. Make sure you are never the source of “discord among the brethren.” Instead seek to be the solution to that discord.
  • harmless” – Never be the one guilty of causing harm or hurt feelings to other Christians or other people in general. Strive to live a life that does not cause harm to others. The Bible tells us to cut out the murmurings, disputing and the gossiping in order to cut out the harming of others.
  • “sons of God” – We are Christians, if we are saved we are the “sons of God.” We should want to act like our Heavenly Father and live and set a good example and not act like the father of this world the devil.
  • “without rebuke” – If we don’t let ourselves murmur, dispute, or gossip about things we will have no rebuke coming to us.

WHY SHOULD WE WORRY ABOUT BEING BLAMELESS, HARMLESS, SONS OF GOD AND WITHOUT REBUKE? – THAT IS ANSWERED IN THE NEXT PART OF THE VERSE 

It is because we livein the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” Verse 15b.

  • We are to be a light to the world that we live in. How can we be that light if we are complaining, gossiping, murmuring and disputing? We need to be the lights we are commanded to be. (Matthew 5:15-16 – 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.)
  • The world we live in needs our witness. Paul says we live in the “midst of a crooked and perverse nation”I think that accurately describes our nation today. So because of that, more than ever, we need to be living right as Christians and not murmuring or disputing. We need to be setting the example on how to live right not being an example of how to live wrong and sinfully.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO BECAUSE WE ARE A LIGHT IN THE WORLD? – VERSE 16a TELLS US WE SHOULD BE – “Holding forth the word of life”

What is the “word of life”? – The Gospel is called the “word of life” because it reveals to us eternal life and shows us how to have eternal life. It is called the “word of life” because it has the answers to all of life’s issues and problems. If you can’t find the answer keep looking. Sometimes the answers come as a result of the hours you spend in study and prayer in the looking for them.

  • Holding forth the word of life” – are you holding forth the word of God? Are you doing as we all are commanded to do in Acts 1:7-8 – “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
  • Are you “Holding forth the word of life” by obeying what the Lord commanded in Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
  • Are you “Holding forth the word of life” by obeying what the Lord said in Luke 14:23 – “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”

CONCLUSION

Why should we not be murmuring, complaining and disputing? – because of the benefits God’s Word tells us we will receive in verse fifteen  to be “blameless, harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke”

We should not be murmuring, complaining and disputing because we live in a “crooked and perverse nation” that needs a light, a light of hope, a light of love, and light of victory through the saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We should not be murmuring, complaining and disputing because we are commanded to hold “forth the word of life” – the gospel to the world.

We should not be murmuring, complaining and disputing so we can say as Paul did in the last part of verse sixteen “that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” So we can have joy at His appearing and know we have not lived in vain and to know that are labor has counted for Him and for eternity.

Character for the Crossing

Character for the Crossing

(Exodus 14:10-18)

Exodus 14:13-14 “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Moses and the Israelites in Exodus chapter 14 learned an important character lesson of living by trust and faith in God, versus living by sight or living by their own logic or thinking. They learned, along with many other truths through this perilous event, that if you trust God wholly and completely He will not let you down.

INTRODUCTION

“That they go forward:” They needed to go forward with their lives, not faint in their present circumstances, not dwell on the past, but trust God and move forward. Exodus 14:15. We will look at several character truths learned both by Moses and the Israelites in this account, found in Exodus chapter 14, of their crossing of the Red Sea; which we can apply to our lives, so that we too can “Go forward” or move forward in the direction God has for us. We will examine how living by sight contrasts with living by faith.

 Do we live a faith filled life or do we live a sight filled life?

Are we going forward in our life, or perhaps are we just treading water and not trusting God to see us through to the other side of the situation?

THE SETTING

The setting of this text is when the Israelites, led by Moses, have finally left Egypt and are being chased by Pharaoh. They are on the edge of the Red Sea, and the Egyptians are at their back, and the Red Sea is in front of them. They appear to be in a no win, no alternatives situation. The Israelites at this moment, along with Moses, are going through an extremely stressful and difficult time, as you can imagine. We will learn some principles from God’s Word from this passage to help us to make it through our own hard times and difficulties.

LIVING BY SIGHT

Exodus 14:10a – “And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them;”

The Israelite’s were living by sight; and what they saw was on one side the Egyptian army marching toward them, and on the other side was the Red Sea. As far as they could see they were in a no-win situation.

But are we to live by our sight, are we to live by our vision? – No, we should just trust in the Lord by faith to see us through all of our no-win situations, and watch Him miraculously snatch victory time and time again, from the jaws of defeat.

Instead of living by sight, we are to live by faith. (II Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight:) To walk by faith, is to live in the confident expectation of things that are to come to pass just as the Lord wills them, and at just the moment He wills them. The Lord is always on time. Those that don’t live by faith are only influenced by things they see, they will live for wealth, for personal honor or gain, for acquiring objects or for friends. The Christian on the other hand, is to have a firm conviction of the reality of an unseen God, of a Savior, of a God that holds the whole world in His right hand; and we are to live by this faith, and not by our sight of temporal things, but by our faith in our eternal God and His love and care for His children.

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 1 – God may mean for you to be right where you are. Sometimes obedience to Christ puts you in the middle of the trouble. (Acts 7:54-60)

WHAT DOES LIVING BY SIGHT AND NOT BY FAITH LEAD TO?

FEAR (Exodus 14:10b -and they were sore afraid:) –  Fear is a result of living by sight and not living by faith. If we are living by sight, we will have fear because:

  • we do not trust our circumstances to God and His control
  • we cannot see things from His perspective.

The Bible tells us the spirit of fear does not come from God. (II Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.) If God does not give us a spirit of fear, then who does? A.B. Simpson, an old Canadian preacher from early 20th century, said this about fear, “Fear is born of Satan, and if we would only take time to think a moment we would see that everything Satan says is founded upon a falsehood.”

If you have a problem with fear and worry take it to the Lord, He can help you overcome that spirit of fear. (Psalm 34:4 – I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 2 – Remain calm and stay confident in the situation you find yourself in and give God time and room to work. (Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.)

(WHAT DOES LIVING BY SIGHT AND NOT BY FAITH LEAD TO?)

COMPLAINING (Exodus 14:10c – and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.) – Having a complaining spirit is a result of living by sight and not by faith.

  • Having a complaining spirit displeases God. (Numbers 11:1 – And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.)
  • If you have a complaining spirit, you need to examine yourself and repent of this sin and turn back to the Lord. (Lamentations 3:39-40 – Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 3 – We need to be more concerned with God’s glory in the situation than complaining about our current circumstances in the situation. (Psalm 148:13Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.) We are to give God glory, bring God glory and direct glory to God in all we do, even in going through difficult, seemingly no-win situations. (I Corinthians 10:31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.)

(WHAT DOES LIVING BY SIGHT AND NOT BY FAITH LEAD TO?)

DOUBTING GODLY LEADERSHIP THAT IS IN OUR LIFE (Exodus 14:11And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?) – Doubting Godly leadership can be a result of living by sight and not living by faith.

The Bible tells us that people who have doubting spirits are unstable in all their ways. (James 1:6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.)

This doubting by the Israelite’ of Moses’ leadership took a sarcastic and disrespectful tone. Living by sight can not only lead someone to doubt the Godly leadership in their life but to also start disrespecting that Godly leadership as well.

This doubting of Godly leadership will lead to ungratefulness and forgetfulness of what that leader has done in our life. Once one lets this sin of doubting and questioning Godly leadership in their life, it can be hard to get a lasting victory over it. It may plague you again and again. (Exodus 16:2 – And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 4 – Acknowledge our true enemy, of which Godly leaders are not, and keep our eye on God. Don’t let the sin of doubting God or doubting those who are trying to help us creep into our life. We need to be on guard for that. (Romans 8:31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?)

(WHAT DOES LIVING BY SIGHT AND NOT BY FAITH LEAD TO?)

THINKING OUR WISDOM IS BETTER THAN GODS (Exodus 14:12Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.) – Thinking we know better than God on how to handle a situation is a result of living by sight and not by faith.

We need to learn to trust in God’s wisdom and quit thinking that we know better. If God is leading us in a certain direction, trust Him and go in that direction. Don’t think you thought of something God must not have considered or He would not have led you in that direction. Nothing ever surprises God, God knows all the facts of the situation. Nothing ever slips His mind.

If God is leading, just simply submit and follow. (Proverbs 3:5-8 – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.)

Living by sight means we are relying on our own flesh; and the flesh can be impatient and not willing to wait for God’s timing of deliverance. We will not be able to understand God’s timing or God’s reasons as to why things seem delayed or not answered them the way we would like. (Isaiah 55:8-9 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon had this comment on Exodus 14:12:

“This unbelief was both unjust and cruel.  Had they not seen the Lord’s works in the great plagues?  Could they not believe that he who had wrought such marvels could and would deliver them?  They were smitten with panic, and were willing to return to bondage; whereas true freemen never debate which of the two to choose, slavery or death.”

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 5We need to make sure not to think that we know better than God, we need to just trust God to deliver in His own unique way and in His own timing. God’s timing and God’s way is always best. (Romans 11:33O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!)

SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?

A LACK OF FEAR (Exodus 14:13aAnd Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not,) – Moses was living by faith, and he knew with God on their side there was no need to fear. So Moses exhorted the Israelites to not fear their current circumstance.

Psalm 23 tells us to what extent we are to not have fear as long as God is with us. (Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.)

If you think about it for a moment, we really have nothing to fear as a Christian. We are, if we are saved, in God’s hand, and what can man do to us, that God has not ordained to happen, if we are in God’s hand. (John 10:28-29 – And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.)

And if God has allowed it to happen, or caused it to happen, we know that it is a good gift for us, even though we may not see how it is good, from God’s perspective it is. (James 1:16-17 – Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 6 – We need to learn to exercise faith, and when we are not sure, we should just take the next logical step, trust God and go forward.

(SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?)

CONFIDENCE IN YOUR POSITION (Exodus 14:13b – stand still) – Moses told the Israelites to stand still. Moses was confident in their position as long as they had God on their side. As long as they were living by faith they could have confidence of their position or confidence in God in their circumstance. Moses was trying to give them confidence by showing his own confidence in the Lord.

If you are living by faith you need to testify of the confidence you have in your position and circumstance to your family, to your friends and to all those around you. You need to do what you can to influence others to have this confidence in God as well.

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 7 – Envision God’s presence with you in your current circumstance, and have confidence in your position with Him, and demonstrate this confidence to those around you who don’t yet possess it. (Matthew 28:20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.)

(SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?)

SEEING THE HAND OF THE LORD WORKING IN OUR LIFE (Exodus 14:13And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.) – Seeing God at work in our life, and seeing answers to prayer are both the results of living a life of faith and not a life based on our sight.

God’s hand is at work in your life. Have faith and trust His sovereignty over your life. (Philippians 2:13 – For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.)

Moses and the Israelite’s were about to see the Almighty hand of God at work on their behalf, on a monumental scale. It is an exciting thing to see God at work in your life. You need to make sure you are living by faith; you do not want to miss out on a mighty blessing from God.

God is our Heavenly Father and we need to stand still and have confidence in His ability to do anything or meet any need we may have. (Philippians 4:19 – But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 8 – Living a life by faith gives us the opportunity to see firsthand God at work in our life. A result of seeing Him at work is that we get more energized and more encouraged to keep living a life of faith for Him. (Jeremiah 33:3Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.)

(SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?)

THE LORD WILL FIGHT OUR BATTLES FOR US (Exodus 14:14a – The LORD shall fight for you) – Don’t try to fight your own battles with circumstances, with others or with the flesh, call on God and He will fight those battles for you and with you. This fact is a great result of living by faith and not living by sight.

The Lord will be with you in the heat of the battle. He will fight for you in the battles of your life on your behalf. (Deuteronomy 20:4 – For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.)

With the fact that the Lord is fighting for you, we need to remember to give Him the glory for victories, because it was not us, it was Him that did it. Point all glory to God.

Never was a Hebrew leader ever been tried as much as Moses was at this point. He was exposed to the danger coming quickly at them from Pharaohs army, he had no obvious or visible way of escape or defense, he had the multitude under him getting very frightened, they were questioning God’s leadership and his leadership. Can you imagine the stress Moses was under at this point; but he did not lose hope, he did not get discouraged, instead he confidently rallied his people and told them that deliverance was coming.

Why did he not get discouraged? – He had the presence of God and he was living by faith in God and trusted God for deliverance though neither he nor anyone else could see any possibility of it coming at that moment. We too can keep from living in discouragement by living the faith life.

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 9 – You will be greatly tested, you will be greatly stressed, just make sure to not lose your faith and confidence in God.

How do we do that? – We use the small situations as faith builders to help us with the next one and with the next one, till when we face the giant of a faith testing circumstance we have already learned to always and confidently trust in God for deliverance. (Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. & Romans 4:20 – He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;)

(SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?)

PEACEFULNESS (Exodus 14:14The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.) – A sense of peace that passes all understanding, even in the midst of great trial and stress, is what comes from living a life by faith and not by sight. (Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.)

MOVING FORWARD IN OUR LIFE WITH THE LORD AND FOR THE LORD

Exodus 14:15 – “And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:”

The end result of living a life of faith in God is moving forward with and for the Lord.

  • The Lord wants us to be constantly moving forward in our walk with Him, and He wants us to be constantly growing in Him.
  • He does not want us to rest and be content where we are at in our walk with Him, but he wants us to be maturing in our knowledge and walk with Him. The Lord desires for us to move past the milk of the Word and unto the meat of the Word. (Hebrews 5:12 – For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.)
  • We should always be striving to conquer new challenges and take new ground for His Kingdom.
  • We should never come to a place where we think we have arrived as a Christian; because if we do we are no longer living by faith, we would be living by sight.

We need to make sure we are always growing in the Lord, always moving forward in your Christian walk, and seeking the things of the Lord; we should not ever quit trying to become more like Christ. (Colossians 3:1 – If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.)

speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:” – Are you going forward for the Lord?

CONCLUSION

God performed a great miracle in the parting of the Red Sea and Moses and the Israelites went over on dry ground. Pharaoh and his army were destroyed. God can perform a great miracle in our life too.

  • We need to commit to living a life by faith and not living a life by sight.
  • We need to commit to developing Godly character.
  • We need to commit to “going forward” for Christ.

We should not give God any excuses or reasons why He cannot use us; instead we need to be living by faith now and watch just how God can use us in so many different ways, different ministries, and different circumstances in the future.

We should always keep in our thinking that the Lord is in control of our life. He sometimes may bring circumstances or trials in our life for a purpose or for a reason. God controls a chain of events from start to finish with the goal in mind to help His children to be constantly doing one thing for Him; He will bring about events so “That they go forward” like it says in the last part of verse 15.

Are you going forward for Christ? Are you letting God lead you, are you letting God develop you so He can use you in a particular ministry in the future?  

Samson – Pleasure of Sin & Destruction

Samson – Pleasures of Sin & Destruction

(Judges 16:1-5, 18-21)

Judges 16:16-17 “And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

Samson gives in to Delilah’s constant nagging of him to tell her the secret to his power. Could he not perceive she had his ruin in her mind? By telling Delilah the secret to his power he not only betrays himself but God also.

Someone made this observation about Samson in this passage – “The weakness of Samson’s heart in the whole of this history, is yet more astonishing than the strength of his body.” What is the condition of your heart, Christian? Is it strong through the reading and meditating on the Word of God? Or is it weak, like Samson’s was, and susceptible to falling for the temptations of the world, due to neglecting to feed it daily with the Word of God. Do you want to keep yourself from destroying your life with foolish decisions? – Then keep yourself well-fed with with the Word of God.

Samson has trouble staying on the straight and narrow. In fact, it seems he was seldom on the straight and narrow. He had a great weakness to the sins of the flesh. He seems to be forever giving in to the slightest of enticements of the sins of the flesh. This weakness in his character keeps pulling him to the enticements of the Philistines, the oppressors of Israel, and into a whole lot of problems.

DEFILEMENT OF THE HARLOT (Judges 16:1-3)

“Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.” Judges 16:1. At the close of Samson’s twenty years as a Judge of Israel he intentionally goes to Gaza and shames and defiles himself with a harlot. God’s Word was as clear back then as it is now that we are not to do what Samson did in Gaza “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Deuteronomy 20:14. Instead of being like Joseph when he said “how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9. Samson intentionally seeks out this great wickedness against God. Again, Samson’s lack of character to the sins of the flesh is on full display.

We need to establish clear convictions and set clear standards when it comes to these sins of the flesh that Samson was prone too. If he had done the same and asked God to help him with these weaknesses of his, imagine how different the account of Samson would be. (I Corinthians 6:18-20 – Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.)

After Samson traveled to Gaza, and stays at a harlot’s house, his enemies wait at the gates of the city to ambush him, but he tears the gate from its very hinges and puts them “…upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.” Judges 16:3. Again we see displayed the great strength of Samson, which was given to him from God, where all power comes from. (Matthew 28: 18 – And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.)

DELILAHS ENTICEMENTS (Judges 16:4-19)

He then falls in love with Delilah. The Philistines approach Delilah and entice her with 1,100 silver coins to find the secret of Samson’s strength so they can get rid of it and capture their enemy.

Samson refuses to reveal the secret and teases her, telling her that he will lose his strength should he be bound with “seven green withs” She does so while he sleeps, but when he wakes he “brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire.” She persists, and he tells her that he can be bound with new ropes. She ties him up with new ropes while he sleeps, and he snaps them, too. She asks again, and he says that he can be bound “If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.” She does so with similar results “And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.” Judges 16:14.

He finally tells her the secret to his strength. (Read Judges 16:15-19) – Eventually, after much nagging from Delilah, Samson tells Delilah that he will lose his strength with the loss of his hair. God supplies Samson’s power because of his consecration to God as a Nazarite, symbolized by the fact that a razor has never touched his head. Delilah calls for a servant to shave Samson’s seven locks. With this, Samson, sadly, has finally broken the last tenet of the Nazarite oath.

Lessons learned

Delilah’s approach is far from subtle: “Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee” Judges 16:6. She asks Samson to reveal the secret of his power so that he could be rendered powerless. What does he think she will do with this information? After his earlier experience with his wife, his groomsmen, and the riddle, one would think that Samson would have wised up in this area.

  • Samson is not dumb. I believe that Samson is arrogant due to all of his previous escapes from the Philistines, Samson at this point may really even think that he is invincible. It appears that Samson is toying with Delilah and enjoying every moment of it.
  • Notice though, Samson’s confessions get closer and closer to the real truth, but yet they become more and more ludicrous.
  • Finally, Delilah wears Samson down, and he tells her the truth about his strength. I think that Samson still believes that he is invincible because he does not intend to let anyone cut his hair.
  • The sad reality is that Samson did reveal the secret of his power, his hair was cut, and he was now deprived of his supernatural power. He was no stronger than any other man. Sadder yet is the fact that initially Samson didn’t even realize that his power was gone.
  • Samson kept playing with sin, dabbling with sin; jumping head long into sin without giving it a second thought. The Bible does tell us there is pleasure in sin for a season, well Samson’ season is now up, he is going to reap what he has sown, he is going to start suffering the consequences to all that playing, dabbling and jumping into sin he has done. So sad, such potential for the Lord squandered! –  Learn this lesson from Samson, don’t waste your potential for the Lord on the “pleasures of sin” – IT IS NOT WORH IT!!! (Galatians 6:7-8 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.) – The principle of the preceding verse is true, do not ever think it will somehow not apply to you, it applies to everyone, we will reap what we sow.

DEPARTING OF THE LORD

Judges 16:20 – And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

God will not allow us to escape the consequences of our sin; what we sow we will reap. Even though God’s will is unstoppable by us, Samson still had to face the consequences of his sin. Delilah begged for him to tell her the secret of his strength, and when he did, the last part of his Nazarite vow was broken. “All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.” Numbers 6:5.

  • Even after his hair was cut off ,Samson still at first expected God to be with him (Judges 16:20). Samson had gained confidence from previous violations, but when he broke this last part of his vow to God he had to face the consequences of his actions.
  • The lessons we can learn from Samson’s life are that if we willingly and repeatedly walk into temptations, which lead to sin, we will suffer the consequences of our disobedience, even though God can still use us to accomplish His will.

DETAINMENT IN GAZA (Judges 16:21-25)

In the midst of this tragic situation, the author of Judges supplies the reader with a faint word of hope. Samson’s hair began to grow back. (Judges 16:21-22 – But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.) – The great thing we can learn from this is – With God, don’t ever doubt, don’t ever despair too long, because with God there is and always will be HOPE!

Who knows why the Philistines didn’t take note of his hair growing back, or why they did not keep his head shaved. But for whatever reason, they did not take Samson seriously any longer. It was over for Samson, they thought, and all that was left was ample opportunity for them to humiliate him. Now they would make him pay for all he did to them.

There are many valuable lessons we can learn from the account of Samson and Delilah:

  • Though born with unbelievable potential, Samson forfeited his life because of sin. The lesson for us is that, the deeper we allow ourselves to be influenced by the enticement and allurement of sin, the more blind we become.
  • This extraordinary account tells us that Samson was spiritually blind long before his eyes were gouged out (Judges 16:21). We must accept the reality that sin can seep deep into our lives.
  • We must know that sin has a blinding, numbing impact upon us. Otherwise, we find ourselves enslaved by it, just as Samson did.
  • All sin, especially sins of the flesh of which Samson kept falling into, come with their own dire and sometimes deadly consequences.
  • Sin binds us, then it blinds us; then it slowly grinds away at us (Judges 16:21).
  • Sin will take us farther than we may intend to go. It will hold us longer than we intend to stay. Sin will cost us more than we intend to pay.
  • We must heed the warning found in Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Think of all that could have been if Samson had lived by the thought of this verse.

DOOM AND DESTRUCTION (Judges 16:26-31)

The Philistines wanted to celebrate their victory over Samson with a heathen worship ceremony, one that included bringing Samson in to further humiliate him. If Samson was not willing to give credit for his power to the God of Israel, these Philistines were eager to give their god, Dagon, credit for Samson’s defeat. In so doing, they were proclaiming Dagon’s superiority to Yahweh, the God of Israel. This is not the first time other nations would praise their god as superior to the One True God, nor will it be the last. But we should not expect Yahweh to remain silent in such circumstances. Nor would I want to be a part of a nation that is guilty of mocking God, and it is sad to say but right now many are doing so in our own nation.  (Judges 16:27 – Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.)

Samson’s humiliation was cruel, but fitting.

  • It was Samson’s eyes that got him into so much trouble. Now Samson’s eyes are gouged out.
  • Samson’s strength was used for his own purposes and glory; now his enemies mock him, and he is powerless to do them harm as he had once done.
  • Samson took pride in being invincible; now he is in chains, grinding grain.
  • Samson was inclined to indulge the flesh, enjoying illicit pleasure; now he is being paraded about only partly clothed, much to the delight of a mocking crowd.
  • Samson is finally paying a high price for his sin.

It would seem that Samson now sees things more clearly than he has ever seen them before in his life. Samson came to trust in the God of Israel. He now prays, calling “O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes” Judges 16:28. He prays that strength may return to him one last time so that he might get his revenge against the Philistines. Is this a model prayer, the kind that others should be encouraged to repeat? I don’t think so. This prayer falls short of the ideal, but taking the words of the writer of Hebrews seriously, I believe this is the point in time when God acknowledged Samson’s faith.

God answered that prayer. Samson was positioned in such a way as to be able to exert pressure on both main supports. When these two supporting columns gave way, the entire building collapsed. The roof and supporting beams, along with the 3,000 people standing on the roof, came crashing down upon those assembled below. While Samson sacrificed his life in order to destroy the building and its inhabitants, more Philistines were killed through Samson’s death than he killed during his life.

And these were not your “everyday,” “run of the mill” citizens. These were the cream of the crop. These were the top political and military leaders of the nation. For all of these leaders to die in one place and at one time would have thrown the Philistines into confusion and chaos, which would render the nation powerless for years to come.

Judges 16:31 “Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.” – This last verse in Judges 16 could be called “family reunion”. It is interesting to note that Samson had a family beyond his father and mother. This verse informs us that Mrs. Manoah did not remain barren after the birth of Samson. Samson had brothers and perhaps sisters as well. When they learned of Samson’s death, they went to Gaza to remove his body and bury it in Israelite territory in the tomb of his father, Manoah. This means, of course, that Manoah had died before his son, Samson. At long last, Samson was restored to his family and to his country. Fitting for a man who is to be found in the hall of faith. (Hebrews 11:32-33 – And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,)

CONCLUSION

With the Spirit of God upon him, Samson was a powerful man with supernatural strength. We also find he was very intelligent with an unusual sense of humor. While he had almost unlimited potential to deliver his people from the Philistines, his story ends in needless tragedy. He not only failed to deliver his people, but killed himself. The words disobedience, defeat, disgrace, and destruction could be used to describe his life, but the Bible also uses one more word to describe him and that is faith.

Despite all of Samson’s weaknesses, he did turn back to God before he died (Judges 16:28–30). God in His grace used Samson to fulfill His purpose. In reality, Samson’s death did much to stop the oppressive actions of the Philistines. Samson’s destruction of the temple of Dagon was a major factor in their downfall at Mizpah by Samuel and the children of Israel some 100 years later (I Samuel 7:7–14).

Perhaps the greatest lesson we learn is that God desires to forgive and give grace.  In the end, God saw Samson as a man of faith. This is evidenced by the fact that he’s listed among those in the hall of faith (Hebrews 11:32). When we read through the list of names recorded there, we find that no one in the “hall of faith” was perfect. Samson was the strongest man to ever live, but it was God who gave him the strength. More importantly, Samson let himself be used by God. In fact, God could have used him without making him the strongest man. He’s willing to meet us right where we are, right now and to take us where He wants us to be if we will let Him (James 4:8a – Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.).

There is only one way to understand the story of Samson and that is from a divine point of view. We should not attempt to make Samson a model for Christian men and boys. Samson is a man who illustrates the warnings of Scripture, particularly those we find in the Book of Proverbs. He is a man who lived his life in the pursuit of fleshly pleasures, a man who cared too little about God and about his divinely-given gifts and calling. Samson is a study in how not to live the Christian life.

We should strive to have the faith that Samson had at the end of his life and live to avoid all the mistakes he had in his life as he let his flesh lead him instead of letting God lead him. Decide and determine that you will follow the leading of God in all areas of your life to live in the spirit in fellowship with Christ and not follow the leading of Satan and live in the flesh. (Romans 8:5-8 – For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.)

Picture credit: https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-d809-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Taking our Problems to Jesus

Taking our Problems to Jesus

Luke 5:12-13 “And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.”

A man full of leprosy – This man had a problem. He had a big problem. He was full of leprosy the Bible tells us. It was the task of the Jewish priest to examine people to determine whether they were lepers (Leviticus 13). Infected people were isolated and could not return to normal society until declared “cleansed.” Leprosy was used by Isaiah as a picture of sin (Isaiah 1:4–6), and the detailed instructions in Leviticus 13—14 would suggest that more was involved in the procedure than maintaining public health. Like sin, leprosy is deeper than the skin (Leviticus 13:3) and cannot be helped by mere “surface” measures (Jeremiah 6:14). Like sin, leprosy spreads, and as it spreads, it defiles. Because of this defilement, a leprous person had to be isolated outside the camp (Leviticus 13:46. People with leprosy were looked on as “dead” (Numbers 12:12), and garments infected with leprosy were fit only to be burned in the fire (Leviticus 13:52).

An Insurmountable Problem

His problem was insurmountable without direct intervention from the Lord. He had a problem that no matter how hard he worked at it, or his friends and family helped, that he could not overcome, he could not get victory over it. Do you have any problems today? Do you have a seemingly insurmountable problem, a problem too big, too serious, too beyond your control to do anything about? – Then you need to do what this man did.

Facing the Insurmountable Problem with Jesus

We are going to examine the many things this man did, when faced with an impossible problem, a problem that was impossible to get victory over in his own power, please take note of the following points:

Behold seeing Jesus – He took his problem to the right person. He went to the one who could help him. He knew Jesus could help him. He knew Jesus could help solve this insurmountable problem, this incredible and tragic crisis and circumstance in his life. He knew Jesus had the answers he needed and the Almighty power to do something about it. (Matthew 28:18 – And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.)

fell on his face – He humbled himself before the Lord, He did not feel worthy to ask anything of Jesus, he put himself into a position of complete and total submission to the Lord. Notice he did not complain about his problem. Notice also, He did not hesitate to take it to Jesus.

Do we sometimes hesitate to take our problems and concerns to Jesus? We may think, I can take care of this by myself, or we may be ashamed of our actions that may have led to the problem, and therefore hesitate to take it to Jesus; well Jesus tells us to take all our problems to Him, and He does not put limitations or qualifications on what problems we can take to Him. We can take Him all our burdens whether they are self-imposed burdens or not. (Matthew 11:28-29Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.)

and besought him – the leper importunately pleaded with the Lord for help. This was not just a simple “can you help me?”, this was an earnest, impassioned, importunate cry for Jesus to help him with his problem. Is this how we bring our problems to Jesus?

  • Do we bring our problems to Jesus?
  • Do you remember to pray about your situation and your cares?
  • Or do you just complain about them, vent them to others, while never taking them to the Lord in prayer?
  • Are you passionate about your problem with the Lord?
  • Are you persistent in your prayer to the Lord for what you are seeking Him out for?
  • Do you plead with Him, do you beseech Him as this man did for an answer to your prayers?

It is the consistent and importunate prayers to our Savior that He answers. It says in Luke 11:8 “…yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth”, and in Luke 18:1-8 the importunate widow eventually gets justice as a result of her importunate pleading. We need to pray with importance when we make petitions of the Lord, have passion and seek Him out early and often for your need and for your big problem.

saying Lord – He acknowledges Jesus Lordship of his life. You may be saved, but is Jesus sitting on the throne of your life, or are you? Are you living your life according to your wants, your desires, your priorities or are you living your life seeking to do what Jesus wants you to do with your life? Do you desire the Lords will for your life? Is God’s priorities your priorities?

It is important to make sure Jesus is the Lord of your life if you want Him to answer your prayers, we need to make sure we have confessed our sins to Him, repaired our relationship with Him, if we expect to petition for His help with our problem. For the Bible says our prayers will not be answered if we regard iniquity in our hearts. (Psalm 66:18If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:)

If thou wilt – notice he asks according to the will of God. Is this how we petition the Lord, do you preface your prayer request as to be according to the will of God? Do we say “If it be your will Lord” this or that request, or do we approach God like He is our servant and dictate commands to Him, instead of coming humbly to Him as the servants we are to be and then ask for things to be done in accordance to His Will? (I John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.)

Submission to the Will of God – Notice by his statement “If thou wilt” he is also implying that he was willing to accept the continuation of his problem and circumstances if it were not God’s will to heal him.

  • Do we have this kind of heart attitude when it comes to our problems?
  • Are we willing to accept the continuation of them, and let the Lord know that, if it is His will?
  • Are we in complete submission to the will of God; whether that will is all sunshine and good weather, or be it storms and darkness, are we in complete submission to the will of God?

Thou canst make me clean – He had faith Jesus could take care of his problem. He believed if it was God’s will, that Jesus could heal him and remove this problem from his life.

  • How is your faith?
  • Do you pray in faith?
  • Do you have faith that Jesus could take that problem away from you?
  • Do you have faith Jesus, if He so chooses in accordance to His will, can even remove all traces of that problem from your life?

He can give you complete victory over that problem, but we need the faith on our part to allow it to happen. We need to live a faith life, and seek to live out the Lords will in our life. He believed Jesus could do the seemingly impossible for Him, do we believe Jesus can take care of the seemingly impossible problem in our life? – He can, seek Him out, and grow your faith in Him.

Jesus took care of the Problem

Verse 13 – Jesus took care of the problem. Jesus removed that impossibly big problem from his life according to His divine will. Jesus had great compassion for this man and his big problem. Jesus has great compassion for all of us and all of our problems, Jesus loved us all so much He came to earth and died for our sins, so we could have the opportunity to accept Him as our Savior and go to Heaven one day. Jesus is the all-sufficient Savior and was completely capable of healing this man. He is completely capable of healing any problem, no matter how big it is, if it is in accordance to His perfect will. We need to turn our problems over to the Lord, give them to Him, make sure we are in right relationship with Him and trust in Him.

Conclusion

When we are faced with a problem in our life we need to acknowledge the existence of the problem, then we need to seek Jesus out, we need to run to Him with our problems and concerns, and He will gladly receive us, and gladly help us. We need to seek the Lord out with the proper attitude. We need to go to Him in complete submission to Him and completely surrender to His will, whatever that means. We need to approach Jesus with faith, it takes faith in the Lord to petition Him effectively, it takes sincerity to petition Him successfully, and it takes importance as we continually and passionately seek Him out for help with our problems. Jesus can take away our problem no matter the size or complexity of it, if it is in accordance to His Divine and sovereign will; and we need to be willing to accept the continuation of our problem if that is what God so chooses to allow to happen. Give your problem or concern to the Lord, and let Him help you, with relief from it, or help you with strength to endure it, and either way remember to always give the glory and honor to the Lord to whom all glory and honor is due. (I Timothy 1:17 – Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.)

Forgiven Much? Love Much!

Luke 7:41-43There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

This parable speaks of Jesus Himself, for He it is that forgives and is beloved by the debtor. We learn here:

1.) That sin is a debt, and sinners are debtors to God Almighty. Debts eventually will need to be paid in full. (Romans 6:23a – For the wages of sin is death;…)

2.) That some are deeper in debt to God than others, by reason of their sin.

3.) That whether our sin debt be more or less, it is more that we could ever hope to pay ourselves. We could never pay our sin debt on our own. (Mark 2:10aBut that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins,)

4.) That the God of Heaven is ready to freely forgive poor sinners, who are heavy laden with the debts and guilt of their sins, He will forgive their debt according to His terms He has set forth in the Gospel, no matter the size of their sin debt. (Ephesians 1:7 – In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;)

5.) That those who have their sins forgiven are obliged to love Him that has pardoned them; the more that is forgiven them, the more they should love Him for what He has done for them. This should also motivate us to allow Jesus love for us to flow through us and to others. Our sin debts being paid by Jesus should also motivate us to seek out other sinners, with sin debts that need to be paid, and tell them about the One that can forgive all their sin debts. (Ephesians 4:32 – 5:2 – And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.)

Luke 7:48-50 “And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”

6.) The debtors (sinners) faith in Christ is what allowed Jesus to forgive her sin debt. It takes sincere faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God for us to be saved from our sin debt. We can do nothing to pay our sin debt, we cannot even pay a fraction of our sin debt on our own. It is by no work of ourselves that we can be forgiven of our sin debt; it is only through our faith in the Lamb of God, and His shed blood and death on the cross that we can seek and get forgiveness of our sins. It is by faith we get saved, through the blood. (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.)

 

Getting to “KNOW” You

GETTING TO  “KNOW” YOU

Philippians 3:10a “That I may “KNOW” him….”

Genesis 18:19a “For I “KNOW” him….”

It is so important to get to really “KNOW” someone ~ not just “KNOW” about someone, but to “KNOW” someone. “KNOW”ing about someone=impersonal knowledge “KNOW”ing someone=personal knowledge. There is an active element in getting to “KNOW” someone.

The communication between two people makes “KNOW”ing them meaningful. When you start a relationship with someone, you usually want to get to “KNOW” that person. “KNOW”ing someone takes time, takes EFFORT!! Just because someone tells you information about someone does not mean you “KNOW” him, you “KNOW” about him. To get to “KNOW” that person will take time and effort on your part.

When my husband and I met, we wanted to get to “KNOW” each other. We sought to “KNOW” one another ~ Psalms 119:10a “With my whole heart have I sought thee..” We communicated by phone, by text, by mail, by email, whatever means it took to talk and “KNOW” each other, we sought that means out. We truly got to “KNOW” each other. This should be like our relationship with the Lord. Do you “KNOW” the Lord? Do you seek to “KNOW” him? Do you make that effort to “KNOW” him? Praying and reading God’s Word are great ways to start to get to “KNOW” 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.” I encourage you, get to “KNOW” the Lord. Oh how better your life will be. You’ll be so fulfilled😊. Do you “KNOW” someone who may be quiet or distant? Take the time out to get to “KNOW” that person. Deep inside, I’m sure they are not quiet at all. It may be once you start talking to them, they may never stop ~ that person may have just what you need to encourage you or help you out. A lot of times, it seems the one you’ve checked off your list, is just the one you need in your life. The one to encourage you or help you along in your life.

It’s like getting to “KNOW” the Lord, He’s ALL we need but you may never “KNOW” that until you take the time and effort to get to “KNOW” Him. I married a quiet man, or so I thought, until I got to “KNOW” him. I’m so glad I did 😊. I can’t tell you how many times he’s helped me along the way, even before we got to “KNOW” each other. He’s a wealth of knowledge. The Lord has given to him because my husband sought to “KNOW” the Lord. He takes the time and the effort to “KNOW” Him.

So many people are too comfortable with their “circle” of people, it’s an inconvenience to try to get to “KNOW” other people. Often times the ones you don’t take the time to talk too, are the ones that could be the biggest blessing in your life. To get to “KNOW” someone you simply must take the time and effort to “KNOW” them. Start today. Get to “KNOW” the Lord, truly seek Him out. Make the effort to have a personal relationship with Him. Why not take a little extra time to get to “KNOW” that coworker, or the one who is always alone. You could just be what that person needs, and hey, that person could be just what you need. Always take the first step, get to “KNOW” people, get to “KNOW” Jesus. Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly; and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

Obedience Brings Blessing

Obedience to God brings blessing (Luke 11:28 – But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it) – Blessings come through believing God’s Word (Lu 1:45) and doing God’s Word, for we must be doers and not hearers only of the Word of God (James 1:22) Blessed are they, that hear the Word of God, and do carefully and conscientiously retain, observe, and practice it.

Obedience to God brings long life (I Kings 3:14 – And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.) – Obedience to God is conducive to health, long life, and the greatest enjoyment of our life on earth. It is also conducive to the greatest usefulness, and is, through divine grace, a sure preparation for heaven.

Obedience to God brings happiness (Psalm 112:1 – Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.) – Blessed or happy is the man that obeys the Word of God. The most joyful person, is the person who is in closest oobedience to the Lord and His commands and teachings. Do you want joy and happiness in your life? – Then surrender to the Lord, repent of all known sin, and commit to living out His Word in all parts of your life.

Obedience to God brings peace (Proverbs 1:33 – But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.) – From fear of evil; from sinful and tormenting cares and fears. And as a wicked man’s mind is often full of anxiety in the midst of all his outward prosperity and glory, so the mind of a good man is filled with peace and joy, even when he is in the midst of many troubles.

Obedience to God brings a state of well-being (Jeremiah 7:23 – But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.) – That it may be well unto you: this shows what would be the good effect of obedience (Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 5:29,33), which is a state of well-being in life, for those who “obey my voice” the Lord says. God promises us a state of well-being in life, if we hearken to keep His Word and live by its commands and teachings. Conversely this implies that our sufferings in life, can be in part, as a result of our own perverseness and sinfulness, and lack of obedience to God in our life.

Obedience to the Lord is the key to this present life for the Christian. Imagine how much better, and more joy filled all of our lives would be, if we just obeyed God in all areas of our life, if we were in complete submission to all of His Word, if we lived out our life, seeking to live as closely to His plan for it as we possibly could. Obedience to God is the key to a happy, joy filled, and successful life.

 

 

BY ANY MEANS… THE WILL OF GOD! – PART 2

Romans 1:9- 10 “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.”

Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.” “What is God’s will for my life?” – Most Christians have asked a question like this. It may often be asked pertaining to mundane things or more significant things like one’s career, where to live, etc.

 “Making request” – has the meaning of begging, Paul was desperate to know and to do the will of God for his life. – How about you? Are you desperately seeking God? Are you desperately begging God to know and to do His will with your life?

if by any means” – Paul was willing to whatever it took to fulfill God’s will for his life. – ARE YOU!?

now at length” – no matter how long it took to know and do God’s will, Paul was willing to wait. How about us? Do we willingly wait on the Lord, as the Bible commands us?

I might have a prosperous journey” – Paul prayed for the Lord to bless his efforts for Him. – How about us? Do we have the kind of prayer life that we should have?

the will of God” – Are we sincerely seeking the Lords will in all facets of our life?

“If by any means…. The will of God”! – Do we live by this thought, do we live by this statement, could this be considered the motto of our life?

So how can we live in harmony with the will of God? – Paul mentioned his desire to live in harmony with God’s will as he made plans to visit his brethren in Rome and as he prayed regarding such plans. Paul sought to find a way “by the will of God”. Paul’s comments in verse ten provide an opportunity for us to consider some thoughts related to the will of God, especially on how to determine God’s will for our lives.

“By any means…. The will of God”! – We should always seek to live by this thought and statement. “By any means… The will of God”!

FACETS OF GOD’S WILL

You have God’s proclaimed will – God has made His will known in many respects. (I Thessalonians 5:18 – In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. & I Peter 2:15 – For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:)

God has proclaimed His will through revelation by sending inspired prophets, by sending His Son, and by having the Spirit guide the Apostles in their writing and ministry.

That which is essential for us to know God has proclaimed through Scripture. (II Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.)

Then you have God’s Providential will – God acts providentially in our lives and that is implied in our text. (Romans 15:32 – That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.)

God shapes events, He moves events, He arranges circumstances, He gives us opportunity’s all by His will, in His timing.

  • For such a reason we are to pray regarding our future plans. (James 4:13-15 – Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.)
  • Our prayerful petitions are answered as it may suit the will of God. (I John 5:14 – And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:) We are to always pray to God and petition God according to His will and not our will or wants.
  • Isn’t this how our Savior prayed? Isn’t this how Jesus prayed, according to God’s will? The least we can do, is to follow His example and pray the same way.

Then there is God’s permissive will – God allows things to happen that are not necessarily according to His desired will. This can also be looked at in the fact God has given man a free will, God wants us to do right and live right and follow Him, but He will not make us do that.

People are allowed to sin and even hurt other people; this does not mean God is OK with it. God will eventually judge all men according to what they have done. (Acts 17:30-31 – And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.)

God allows people to do things that are indifferent to Him. This is again an example of allowing us to exercise our free will.

FINDING GOD’S WILL – How do we find God’s will?

  • We need to focus on the proclaimed will of God. We need to diligently study and learn what God has already revealed to us in His Word.
  • If we do not embrace and practice the revealed will of God how can you ever discover God’s specific will for our life?
  • There is much value to be gained by focusing on the already revealed will of God for our life. By focusing on it and diligently learning it, we will not be ignorant of what is essential for us to know and to do.
  • By focusing, learning, knowing and applying the already proclaimed will of God we will avoid tragic sinful mistakes and missteps in our life.
  • Seek the advice and pray of others. Proverbs 11:14 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” & Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” If you want to make foolish decisions that go against God’s will don’t seek godly counsel; but if you want to make wise decisions in accordance with God’s will then seek out godly counsel. LISTEN TO GODLY COUNSEL! We need to also consult the wisdom that is found in the Bible; especially in books like Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
  • Ask God for wisdom – we need to be praying diligently for the ability to discern wisely what God’s will is for us. (James 1:5-8 – If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.)
  • Wisdom is that God given spiritual insight that enables you to evaluate situations clearly, and helps utilize what options and abilities you have.
  • We need to be using such wisdom to eliminate what appears less acceptable; we need to choose the great instead of just the good.

COMMITTING OUR WAY TO THE LORDWhatever we do we need to be doing it for the Lord’s sake. (Psalm 37:5-6 – Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.)

  • Make your plans subject to God’s will, both proclaimed and providential. (James 4:15 – For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.)
  • Give God permission to close the door you may be choosing if that is His will.
  • If God closes the door of your choice look to be providentially led to another door, eventually God will give you the desires of your heart and you will overwhelmingly desire to do that which is God’s will. (Psalm 37:4 – Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.)

SOME OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER – God is not like a train; He is able to run on more than one track. A choice may not be between good and bad, but between good and better. God can use us in many different ways.

  • Don’t think you need to choose right away, learn to wait on the Lord and learn to wait on His direction and will for your life. Learn to wait on the Lords timing, we may be in a rush sometimes, but we just need to submit and wait on the Lords timing and wait on the Lord to work it out His way and in His time. (Psalm 27:14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.)
  • If by any means…. (even if that means waiting) the will of God”!
  • Whatever you find to do for the Lord in your current circumstances, do that with all your might. Do not be lazy in any area of your life!! (Ecclesiastes 9:10 – Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.)
  • If you were once called to do something specific for the Lord and you think you might have blown it already, stop thinking that way. The Bible teaches us in those situations that we have a God of the second chance, a God that delights in using those people the world or other Christians might dismiss as worthless or unusable. Moses, Jonah, David, Paul among many others God miraculously used for His will and His service. God can and God will use anyone to do anything for Him. Don’t put limits on God and what God can do and who God can use. (Romans 11:29 – For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.)
  • We serve a mighty and all powerful God – God can and God will! God can do anything!
  • Do not limit God with your opinions, do not limit God with your traditions, do not limit God with your thoughts, do not limit God with your fears, Do not limit God! – God can and God will!
  • Trust the Almighty all powerful merciful loving God and eagerly submit to His will for your life!
  • By any means… the will of God”!

Matthew Henry said this concerning verse Romans 1:10 and will of God “As in our purpose, so in our desires, we must still remember to insert this ‘if the Lord will’

CONCLUSION: Our goal for our life should be to “…. stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12 and by any means pursue the will of God with our life! Our goal should be this, especially as this pertains to the proclaimed will of God and as much as possible to the providential and permissive will of God. We should keep the Words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ constantly in the fore front of our minds “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10. Remember Jesus also set the example for us and prayed “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. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” Matthew 26:39 &42. Are you seeking “by any means” to find and then to do the will of God?

By any means” – Find and Do the Will of God!

By any means… the will of God”!

Put your will, your wants, your desires on the altar today and live by this thought and this motto “By any means… the will of God”!

Part 1 – By Any Means… The Will of God

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