Thursday, February 26, 2015

Not We Ourselves, But Jesus Supplies All Our Needs,

"24When thou comest into thy neighbour's vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.

"25When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn." (Deuteronomy 23: 24-25)
 
Why do we find this passage in Deuteronomy, and what does it reveal to us about Jesus and the New Covenant?
 
In the Old Testament, we learn that God instructed farmers and vine-dressers to leave gleanings for widows, orphans, and foreigners.
 
One of those widowed, orphaned strangers was Ruth the Moabitess, who later met her kinsman-redeemer Boaz:
 
"3And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech." (Ruth 2: 3)
 
then
 
"8Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: 9Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn." (Ruth 2: 8-9)
 
Today, we have a Kindsman-Redeemer who is  not just interested in meeting our daily needs, but He wants us to see Him as the source of all our needs and every other desire in our lives:
 
"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)
 
and
 
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12: 32)
 
and then
 
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8: 32)
 
and  also
 
"20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."" (Ephesians 3: 20-21)
 
Everything we have, every blessings we receive, is tied to our new life and standing in Christ Jesus. In no way does God our Father want us to begin by receiving His favor, then rely on our own efforts to supply and care for ourselves.
 
His blessings lead us to believe on Him for all things, just as God had commanded the Israelites to glean enough for themselves from day to day, not attempting to store up and rely on themselves for the  future.
 
Today, see Jesus supplying all your needs for all time. Grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and allow Him to supply every need.
 
 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Not Lambs to the Slaughter, But More than Conquerors in Christ

"36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

"37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (Romans 8: 36-37)
 
In the Old Testament, man was in sin and death reigned in him.
 
The hard times of this life welled up against him, as well, and routinely he found himself wondering how he was going to make it:
 
"
7For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.
8Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
9For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.
10The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." (Psalm 90:7-10)
 
This Psalm comes from the pen of Moses, who represents the Law and the Old Covenant, the set of standards which no one can keep, which ministers condemnation and death:
 
"7But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious." (2 Corinthians 3: 7-11)
 
Now, God found fault with the Old Covenant, in that we cannot keep it, and therefore promised a New Covenant:
 
"31Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31: 31-34)
 
We have  a New Covenant with God our Father because of Jesus, who died for all our sins (Colossians 2: 13) and thus we can rest assured that He will remember our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12).
 
In fact, Jesus was led to death at the Cross, like a lamb to the slaughter:
 
"6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
 
"7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." (Isaiah 53: 6-7)
 
Peter relates that this Lamb is Jesus:
 
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." (1 Peter 1: 18-21)
 
Jesus was the Lamb of God led to the Slaughter, so that today, we are more than conquerors in Him who loved us!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More Than a Day, Rest is a Person: Jesus!

"1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." (Genesis 2: 1-3)

God completed a perfect work on the Seventh Day. He rested not because He was tired, but because the work was finished, perfected, done:

"22The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
 
"23I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was." (Proverbs 8: 22-23)
 
and also
 
"Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding." (Isaiah 40: 28)
 
So, God completed a perfect work and invited Man to enjoy this work:
 
"15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2: 15-17)
 
In addition to giving Man a job, He also invited him to eat freely, except for one tree, so that Adam would acknowledge that God was fully in charge, taking care of everything for him.
 
If you notice in the above passage, there is the mention of the seventh day, but there is no mention of the seventh evening.
 
The Day of Rest was never supposed to end, but would endure.
 
Yet because man disobeyed God, and at from the forbidden tree, men left the rest of God, and became subject to troubles and tremors (Genesis 3: 14-17)

"3For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world." (Hebrews 4: 3)

Yet God still wanted  man to have this rest.

Today, we have it in Christ Jesus:

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17)

When we understand that He fulfills all things, then we can receive the rest which He is:

"28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11: 28-30)

The last mention of this rest occurs in Revelation:

"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." (Revelation 14: 13)

We rest from our own works, and allow the Spirit of the Lord to work in us.

"9There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Hebrews 4: 9-11)

Today, our rest is not limited to a day, but a Person: Jesus!
 
 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Established in Righteousness, Receiving it Evermore

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6: 33)

This commandment was never given to the Gentiles, and therefore it does not belong to you and me today, whether Jew or Gentile, living under the New Covenant.

Jesus was teaching his disciples the perfection of God's law, which is totally beyond any one of us to keep:

"1And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying," (Matthew 5:1-2)

Notice that even though there were multitudes who went up the mountain, the disciples came to him, and he taught them, i.e. the disciples.

Then:

"20For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 20)

and then

"48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5: 48)

Isaiah was crystal clear about our righteousness works:

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64: 6)

No one can be perfect, for no one is good, no not one (Psalm 14: 3)

So, how do we get His righteousness? It is a gift which is given to us:

"In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee." (Isaiah 54: 14)

and

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 54: 17)

We are established in righteousness; it is not something we establish in ourselves. This righteousness comes from God our Father, not from anything that we do.

How did God accomplish this work? Through His Son, Jesus!

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5: 21)

and thus

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 17)

Because of Jesus and His Work at the Cross, we are established in righteousness, destined to reign in life as we receive and keep receiving this wonderful gift.

Under law, Jesus had to instruct self-righteousness disciples to seek something which our efforts can never attain. Because of the grace of God, we recognize the full revelation, that righteousness is the gift of God, apart from works, fulfilled for us in the Finished Work of Jesus!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Jesus Our Perfect High Priest

16And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 17Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God."(Leviticus 21: 16-17)

While Moses instructed the priests of his day, and then to the people of Israel, about the required physical perfection of their priests, today we can come to God regardless of our perfections because of our perfect Great High Priest, Jesus:

"26For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. " (Hebrews 7: 26-27)

This High Priest offered Himself:

"18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:" (1 Peter 1: 18-19)

and also

"
5Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
6In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure." (Hebrews 10: 5-6)
 
Jesus was offered for all our sins, and declared without defect before:
 
"Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man." (Luke 23: 4)
 
Today, this same Perfect Sacrifice is our Perfect High Priest, in whom we are also perfected:
 
"11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. " (Hebrews 10: 11-14)
 
and
 
"And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all." (Acts 3: 16)
 
and also
 
"And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:" (Colossians 2: 10)
 
and thus
 
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corithians 5: 21)
 
So now we are all members of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2: 9) and we can come boldly to the throne of grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)
 
All of this we receive because of our Perfect High Priest, Jesus!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

In Christ, From the Prison to the Palace

"27And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison; 28And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon; 29And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life. 30And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life." (2 Kings 25: 27-30)

Throughout the Bible, we will find types and shadows of the Gospel.

When Jesus died on the Cross, He took us from dead in our trespasses to alive and seated in heavenly places in Himself:

"4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2: 4-6)

This wonderful transformation from death to life is presented to us in the Old Testament:

"7He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;
 
"8That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people." (Psalm 113: 7-8)
 
Now consider the scene above, in the last chapter of Second Kings. The Israelites have been driven out of the Promised Land because they exchanged gods, and they had refused to rest and let God work:
 
"27But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched." (Jeremiah 17: 27)
 
Then:
 
""For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place." (Jeremiah 29: 10)
 
And finally:
 
"To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years." (2 Chronicles 36: 21)
 
During Israel's sabbath, God moved the heart of Babylon's King Evilmerodach (Marduk's fool) and he repositioned Jehoikim (whose name means "the Lord appoints") as king above kings.
 
We see here the perfect pattern of what God our Father does for us through His Son Jesus:
 
"
5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." (Psalm 23: 5-6)
 
and of course:
 
"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)
 

Friday, February 20, 2015

God Rejoices in Grace, Not Sacrifice

"For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6: 6)

Hosea, whose name means "God Saves", revealed the true heart of God.

He is not interested in us going through the motions of devotion. He wants us to know that He is devoted to us.

He is not interested in what we can do for Him, but rather He is interested in our knowing what He can do for us.

Remember that the one major commandment given to the first man was to enjoy all that He created:

"15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:" (Genesis 2: 15-16)

Today, this command has been made even easier:

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6: 29)

We need to understand that God is about favoring our, and not interested in our fervor for him.

"5Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
"6The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me." (Psalm 116: 5-6)
 
and then
 
"12What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
 
"13I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD." (Psalm 116: 12-13)
 
We have to accept that we bring Him nothing:
 
"For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." (1 Timothy 6: 7)
 
and
 
"But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee." (1 Chronicles 29: 14)
 
Throughout the Old Testament, Israelites push past the law and appeal to the grace of God, and God hears those pleas.
 
The five daughters of Zelophehad would have lost their father's inheritance, just because they were women, but that did not stop them from asking the LORD for the inheritance.
 
"The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them." (Numbers 27: 7)
 
David prayed to God based on His grace, not the law:
 
"
5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities." (Psalm 51: 5-9)
 
God is all about grace, He is all about forgiveness, and He is all about providing all things for us.
 
How is He able to do this? Because of His Son Jesus!
 
"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)