Following Jesus Comes With Risks


THE RISK OF FEAR –

Many people today are refusing to acknowledge Jesus in their lives because of the fear of other people’s opinions.

They are ashamed to be associated with Christ Jesus in public but attempt to confess Him when they find a need for Him when chaos is breaking loose in their lives.  Jesus describes them in Matthew 15:8 – “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” [NIV]

Everyone who comes face to face with Christ (via media, radio, tv, internet, church, Preacher, blogger, etc.) must do one of two things concerning Him.  Either confess Him or deny Him.  There’s no neutral ground.

During the final few months of Jesus’ life, He traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem along with His followers where He was crucified.  On their journey, Jesus gave them some very important teaching regarding DISCIPLESHIP.

That brings me to our Bible study and the risks involved in following Christ.

LUKE 12:8-12 (NIV)

[8] “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.  [9] But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.  [10] And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.  [11] “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,  [12] for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

WARNING…NO HELMET SYSTEM CAN PREVENT CONCUSSIONS OR ELIMINATE THE RISKS OF SERIOUS HEAD OR NECK INJURIES WHILE PLAYING FOOTBALL…”

Schutt Sports, a major supplier of football helmets for the National Football League (NFL), on their website page has inserted a WARNING LABEL and goes on to give information on the symptoms for concussions and concludes with these words:  TO AVOID THESE RISKS…DO NOT ENGAGE IN THE SPORT OF FOOTBALL.

At least this company is honest about the RISKS involved in playing football.

Similarly, the Bible is honest about the RISKS involved in following Jesus.

Paraphrasing, the Bible says, “To avoid the risks of discipleship, don’t engage in following Jesus!”

DISCIPLESHIP IS GOING TO COST YOU!

Following Jesus means opening yourself up to opposition, ridicule, resentment, harm, injury, and even death!

During Jesus’ ministry, He experienced growing opposition and persecution even from His half-siblings–His own family (Mark 3:21).  He noticed that His disciples were becoming increasingly fearful–even standoffish in some cases as they saw what was happening to their teacher.

So, He used His disciples not to FEAR people, but instead to FEAR and REVERENCE God knowing that God cared for each one of them (Luke 12:47).

Then He urged His DISCIPLES to acknowledge Him before men.

I’ve found it interesting when pastors today give an invitation for accepting Jesus as their Savior at the end of Sunday Services with “every head bowed,” [‘no peaky’] and proceeds to encourage the hand raisers to “acknowledge Jesus as Savior before men”!

How does one do that?  And if they don’t do as suggested, what then?

The analysis of ACKNOWLEDGING Christ Jesus before others have both a positive and negative aspect.

I’ve always voted when asked for the “positive” first before the “negative”.

Jesus said in verse 8,  “whoever publicly acknowledges me before others…” 

Jesus puts our relationship to Him in an eternal perspective.  I like the way the Amplified Bible reads:

“Whoever declares openly [speaking out freely] and confesses that he is My worshiper and acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will declare and confess and acknowledge him before the angels of God.”

“ACKNOWLEDGE, DECLARE, PROCLAIM”…the point lies in doing it “before men”!  And if we acknowledge Him before others here on earth, then that will lead to Him acknowledging us before the tribunal of heaven.  WOW!

The Bible says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9 (NIV)

To DECLARE Christ Jesus before others mean that we do ALL THESE THINGS, whatever we do, whether it’s at work or at school or at home or at play, we do it ALL for Jesus.

Jesus’ PROMISE –

When we confess Christ before men, then He will declare us at the Last Day.

What a precious promise that is for every believer!

On the day we die, as we stand before Almighty God, everything about us will be revealed.  All our past sins–even those that are secret–will be exposed.  Each one of us will be condemned by God’s Law, condemned by our sin, condemned by our conscience, condemned by Satan himself.  We will stand before God without HOPE.

BUT…and this is a glorious “but”…if we’ve acknowledged Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior on earth, then Jesus will rise up in our defense!  He will tell the Father and all the angels that we belong to Him by faith.

He will tell the tribunal of heaven because of our FAITH in Him because we’ve received the gospel because we’ve acknowledged Him on earth.

He is acknowledging to all in heaven we belong to Him!

His MERIT covers ALL our faults, our iniquities, our sin and we must be accepted into heaven because of what He has done for us.

Not Acknowledging Christ Before Men Comes With Recompense.

This is the negative aspect of not declaring Christ before man.  Jesus said in verse 9,  “…he who disowns and denies and rejects and refuses to acknowledge Me before men will be disowned and denied and rejected and refused acknowledgment in the presence of the angels of God.”  [AMP]

What does it mean to “deny” Him before men?

It means that we don’t stand with or for Jesus.  It means that we don’t acknowledge that we’re Christians.  It means that when people speak against Christ and Christianity in our every-day-world, we remain silent, making excuses for all the reasons why we shouldn’t acknowledge Him.

“I don’t want them to think I’m a religious nut!”

You can add to this list, I’m sure.

Jesus says that if we don’t acknowledge Him we DENY Him!

And if we “deny” Him, He will “deny” us!

The Principles Laid Down In Acknowledging Christ Before Men –  (Luke 12:10)

VERSE 10 is a difficult verse to understand at first.  That said, I find TWO PRINCIPLES that come into play here.

There’s SIN that’s FORGIVEABLE (Luke 12:10 (a)).

I think Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College and author explains it best when he said, “To speak against the Son of Man is to speak against Jesus Christ without fully understanding who He is or what He has done.”  This isn’t the full and final denial as illustrated by Judas in verse 9.  Nevertheless, to speak a word against the Son of Man is SIN.  But…and here’s the good news…it is a SIN God can and will forgive.

Almost all Christians spoke a word against Jesus before coming to saving faith in Him.  But as soon as we fully understood who He was and what He did, we repented of what we said and received forgiveness from Him.

There’s SIN that’s UNFORGIVABLE (Luke 12:10 (b) ).

Here comes the “BUT”–“…but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”  This is where there’s been some misunderstanding.

What does it mean to “blaspheme” against the Holy Spirit?  What does this one particular sin, this one blasphemy, make it impossible to repent and be forgiven?  What about blasphemy against the Son of God, or God the Father, or angels, or Scripture, or the church?

Why only blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

I think it’s because of the unique and decisive role the Holy Spirit plays in our salvation.  If we look to God the Father and then turn from His glory and embrace sin, that’s bad!  If we look to His Son, Jesus, who He sent into the world and then have turned away from His glory and embrace sin, that’s doubly bad!!

But in either case, there’s hope–the Father has planned redemption and the Son has accomplished redemption.  This redemption is outside of ourselves and available to us as long as we repent of our sin and turn back to Christ in faith.

But it’s a unique and special role of the Holy Spirit plays in our lives to apply the Father’s plan and Son’s accomplishment of it to our hearts.

It’s the Holy Spirit’s work to open our eyes, to grant repentance, to make us beneficiaries for all the Father and Son have done for us.

John Piper gives this definition for the Unforgivable Sin:

The unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an act of resistance which belittles the Holy Spirit so grievously that He withdraws forever with His convicting power so that we are never able to repent and be forgiven.

Sometimes people worry they have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit and have committed a sin that’s unforgivable.  The fact that a person is worrying that he or she might have blasphemed is an indication that he or she hasn’t done so.

A person who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit is so vehemently opposed to Christ that he believes Jesus is from Satan.  And that sin will not be forgiven!  [See Mark 3:20-35]

The Risk of Hostility in Persecution – (12:11a).

“And when they bring you before the synagogues and the magistrates and the authorities…”

Jesus was preparing His disciples for persecution.  It was going to be inevitable that persecution was going to come.  In fact. this happened shortly after Jesus. death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven when Peter and John were arrested and hauled before the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts 4:1).  The apostles were often arrested for their faith in Christ Jesus.

But Help Is On Its Way! – (12:11b-12:12)

[11b]  “…do not be anxious [beforehand] how you shall reply in defense or what you are to say.  [12] For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour and moment what [you] ought to say”  (AMP).

Although Jesus’ promise was particularly directed to the apostles, it also applies in principle to ALL disciples (followers) of Jesus Christ.

We can trust the Holy Spirit to help us whenever we speak for Jesus. 

You may feel inadequate or ill-prepared or not very knowledgeable of God’s Word.  That’s not the point! It’s the matter of telling what you know about Jesus in a personal way and pray that the Holy Spirit will take what you say–however inadequate it may be–to do His saving work in other peoples lives.

Finally, Taking A Stand for Jesus Christ.

God is calling His disciples–that’s you and me–to take a stand for His Son Jesus!

Acknowledge Him, declare His name with your lips that He is Lord and Savior of your life.

He is calling you to live for Jesus and speak for Jesus in your home, in your office, in your playground, in your neighborhood, and in your school.

And remember, when you do so, you have the glorious PROMISE that Jesus will take a stand for you on the day you appear before God in heaven.

____________________________________________

CREDITS ~

Commentary:  The Power to Risk in the Cause of Christ/John Piper quote – Desiring God.com

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); or where noted in the text or images.

Photos/Images:  Google Image Search – copyrights may apply.

 

BELIEVE IT OR NOT

Who is JESUS, Really?

00022902_hHebrews 1:1-3 (Amplified Bible):

IN MANY separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets.

[But] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a ] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order].

He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high.

JESUS IS “BETTER” –

Jesus is BETTER, is mentioned thirteen times alone in the The Letter to the Hebrews— to show the superiority of JESUS to other religious systems.

  • Christ is “superior” than the angels (1:4).
  • Jesus brought a “better” hope (7:19), because He is the MEDIATOR of a “better” covenant…
  • Which was established upon “better” promises (8:6).

[Warren Wiersbe: “Be Confident” (Wheaton, Ill; Victor Books, 1982) p. 8]

THIS LETTER in Hebrews, is written to a group of people who are about ready to give up on their faith–

This group of Jewish Christians, who more than likely met together regularly, seemed to be at a standstill spiritually and in danger of going backwards (Hebrews 5:12).

They are urged strongly by the writer of the LETTER–take stock of what JESUS has to offer and not give into FEAR or DOUBT and stay the course:

“God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets, in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a ] Son…”  (verses 1 b. & 2 a.).

Ever since the world began, God has been speaking to His creation at different times and different ways; sometimes by direct communication, and sometimes through DREAMS & VISIONS.

But most of all, through His prophets.

IN BIBLICAL TIMES when a prophet of God spoke…His people listened.  The reason was simple:  When a prophet spoke, the people knew they were hearing from God.

The Apostle Peter says,

“For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it [to do so–it never came by human impulse], but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit”  (2 Peter 1:21).

During the Old Testament Period…

GOD SPOKE to His people through the prophets.  This self-disclosure was timely and partial in nature and was spread over a period of at least 10 centuries and…it was given in a variety of means.

Today, GOD’S MESSAGE is no longer spoken through the prophets but is spoken through God’s very own Son, JESUS.

The prophets of old were merely instruments in the hand of God BUT…

He was the VISIBLE presence of the INVISIBLE God–

Formally, the REVELATION OF GOD was fragmentary but now it is COMPLETE!

Formally, it was PARTIAL, and now it is PERFECT!

Formally, it was PREPARATORY, but now it is FULFILLED!

God did not entrust His FULL REVELATION to be given by man…

God took the initiative to DECLARE it Himself through His Son.

As John MacArthur states in his commentary, “Every religion is but man’s attempt to discover God.  Christianity is God bursting into man’s world and showing and telling man what He is like.”  [John MacArthur: MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary – Hebrews (Chicago Moody Press 1983) p. 3 ]

THE “SEVEN GOOD REASONS” THAT JESUS IS SO MUCH BETTER!

While reading the three verses in Hebrews in study, I wrote down the reasons I found in my study notebook.

VERSE 2 –  “Who He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of ALL THINGS, also by and through Whom He created the world…”

VERSE 3 –  “the sole expression of the glory of God…upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His word of power…”

FIRST, He is Heir of All Things! (verse 2)

Since Jesus Christ is the Son and particularly the ONLY Son of God, He is also the HEIR, the sole HEIR of ALL THINGS.

 He is the HEIR because and He is…

SECOND, He is the CREATOR of All Things!  (verse 2)

Colossians 1:16-17:

[16] For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him. 

[17] And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).

The Apostle Paul explains that ALL THINGS were created by Him and for Him.

John says, in the Gospel of John, that “All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being” (1:3).

Interestingly, it says in HEBREWS, “He created the worlds”.

The word translated “world” here is not the normal Greek word (kosmos), but rather (aionos), which means “the ages”.

JESUS not only made the universe but He brought SPACE, TIME AND MATTER into existence.

JESUS is He, Who was before history, at the beginning of history and will be at the end of history.

He is not only the OPERATOR of the Universe, but…

THIRD, He is the SUSTAINER of the Universe!  (verse 2)

Not only did JESUS “CREATE” ALL THINGS by His Word (John 1:1-5), but He also “UPHOLDS” ALL THINGS by the same powerful WORD.

“Consider…what instant destruction would happen if the earth’s rotation slowed down just a little.  The sun has a surface temperature of 12,000 degrees F.  If it were any closer to us we would burn up, it were any further away we would freeze.  Our globe is tilted on an exact angle of 23 degree, providing us with four seasons.  If it were not tilted, vapors from the oceans would move north and south and develop into monstrous continents of ice.  If the moon did not retain its exact distance from the earth, tides would flood the land completely, twice a day…If the atmosphere did not remain at its present density, but thinned out even a little, many of the meteors which now harmlessly burn up when they hit the atmosphere would constantly bombard us…How does the universe stay in this kind of fantastically delicate balance?  [MacArthur p. 17]

Photo by Chad Blotner @ Bass Pro Shop
Photo by Chad Blotner @ Bass Pro Shop

You can choose to “BELIEVE IT OR NOT”…But the evidence is laid out plainly in the Bible and that’s what I believe when the Word says, “Jesus maintains and sustains the balance of the universe.”

He is not only the SUSTAINER of the Universe, but…

FOURTH, He is the RADIANCE of God’s Glory!  (verse 3)

“He is the sole expression of the glory of God”

No mere prophet could ever make the claim.

FIFTH, He is the EXACT REPRESENTATION Of His Father!

“He is the PERFECT imprint and very IMAGE of [God’s] nature”

The word translated “IMAGE” (character) carries the idea that JESUS is the EXACTNESS of the very substance of God.  What we know of the CHARACTER OF GOD, we know through Christ Jesus!

At the beginning of the Gospel of John, an explanation is given to us clearly:

No man has ever seen God at anytime; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God,  Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has DECLARED Him…  (John 1:18).

The word translated “declared” is literally (exegeomai – Greek), meaning He “exegeted”, or “explained” (New American Standard bible – NAS) Him.

The goal should be for every Bible Teacher, myself included, is to “exegete” or explain the Scripture,  JESUS exegeted or explained God.

Later in the Gospel, when the disciple Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father, He replied, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father…”  (John 14:9).

There is not one feature of God’s character that JESUS doesn’t reveal.

He not only is the EXACT REPRESENTATION of God the Father, BUT…

SIXTH, He is the REDEEMER of All Men!

“Offering Himself…cleansing us from our sins…”

When JESUS went to the CROSS, He solved the problem of SIN…Forever, Once for all time!

The apostle Peter puts it this way in 1 Peter 1:18-19:

[18] “You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold.

[19] But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.”

JESUS is not only the REDEEMER OF MANKIND, but…

SEVENTH, He is RULER of the Universe!

“when He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high”

That phrase is ‘mind-blowing’ to me as I began to think and meditate deeply of its implications to all of mankind.

“He sat down.” 

Few other statements in the Bible are filled with such great importance.  In my research, I came upon the following noteworthy commentary by Marv Rosenthal:

“We know a great deal about the temple (in Jerusalem) and its furnishings, but fascinately, there were no chairs in this billion dollar building that took 48 years to complete.  There were no chairs because the priests of Israel never sat down.  They never sat down because their work was never done.  Their work was never done because the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin.  It was a stop-gap, it was temporary, it was incomplete.  And so, priest after priest, course after course, year after yer, century after century, with monotonous repetition, would come to the Temple and they would function, but they would never sit down.  They could never rest for their work was never done, the task was never complete”  [See Footnote [i]].

BUT JESUS once for all time paid the PENALTY FOR SIN!

And so Jesus offered Himself as the “once for all time” SACRIFICE for sin.

The work was  now completed and never gain to be repeated.  

“He sat down”–that the significance of Christ’s Words from the Cross when He shouted (telestai)

“It is finished” (John 19:30).

And then “He sat down”–His work is finished.  

“He sat down”–His position is fixed.

None of the angels held such a position of honor in heaven.

Seated in Honor JESUS remains SUPERIOR!

4_jesus-throne

 


FOOTNOTES & CREDITS –

Footnote [i] :  Israel My Glory: “He Sat Down” (April/May 1987) p. 4

Photo Credits:  Google Image, except where noted below photo.

Bible Translation Used:  Amplified Bible.

Commentaries used as note in the text.

Drinking the Cup of Wine, Top to Bottom!

Psalm 75:8-10:

[8]   For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine foams and is red, well mixed; and He pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth must drain it and drink its dregs.

[9]   BUT I will declare and rejoice forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

[10] All the horns of the ungodly also will I cut off [says the Lord], but the horns of the [uncompromisingly] righteous shall be exalted.

JOHN 3:16:

For God so greatly LOVED and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life  (Amplified Bible).

Most people recognize this Bible verse.  I remember a few years back when watching a football game on television, in the end zone crowds, someone would hold up a banner reading….JOHN 3:16.

I’m not sure why so much attention is given to John 3:16 and not so much to John 3:36:

“And he who believes in (has faith in, clings to, relies on) the Son has (now possesses) eternal life.  BUT whoever disobeys (is unbelieving toward, refuses to trust in, disregards, is not subject to) the Son will never see (experience) life, but [instead] the WRATH OF GOD abides on him; His indignation hangs over him continually.]”

Here is one idea.  It is much more palpable and sweet to discuss God’s LOVE and MERCY for sinners.  We appreciate sermons on heaven and what it might be like, but we don’t want our minds to dwell on HELL, at least not very long.

BUT what we need to get straight in our thinking about who GOD is…where there is LOVE, FORGIVENESS, and MERCY….there’s also anger and judgement.

I am not, in this POST, going to write for your reading all the aspects of hell.  But I am going to give some healthy attention to the judgement nature of GOD.

Psalm 75:8:  “For in the hand of the Lord there is a CUP…”

There are some 32 cups mentioned in the Bible, and 12 of these are symbolic:

4 deal with GOD’s JUDGEMENT…

4 deal with BLESSING and FELLOWSHIP…

And the others deal with…

REWARD or PUNISHMENT to those who side with the enemy (the devil).

Personally, I like to hang my hat, so to speak, on the idea that GOD is a GOD of LOVE, GOD is LOVE (1 John 4:8).  He would rather SAVE than JUDGE.

But to prove His love and mercy, He demands and carries out justice against sin.

THREE OF THE CUPS:

CUP OF WRATH
CUP OF WRATH

The CUP of WRATH:  “Upon the wicked He will rain quick burning coals or snares; fire, brimstone, and a [dreadful] scorching wind shall be the portion of their CUP”  (Psalm 11:6 AMP).

In my spirit, I’ve often asked in conversational prayer the question,  “With all that is going on around us Lord, what would cause Your judgement to be poured out on the disobedient, the ungodly?”  And as I patiently waited for answer, I was prompted by this thought; “when the innocent come under attack, God always responds”–when babies are killed by the millions in the name of abortion, GOD will respond!  When the aged are a “problem to society” and euthanasia becomes a solution, GOD will respond!

What is the SIGN of a Wicked Generation? 

Is it Drugs?  Is it Gang Violence?  Homosexuality, perversion?  It begins when the sign of a people, moving toward judgment of GOD has no ability to defend themselves.

GOD will pour out the Cup of Wrath–

If we listen carefully, we just might hear the blinded mob from Sodom and Gomorrah crying out from the pit of Hell,  “America Repent!”  

GOD IS a GOD of JUDGEMENT! 

His WRATH on Display:

God is a just God,   And God is angry with the wicked every day. ~ Psalm 7:11, NKJV

The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.  Then He rebukes them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath ~ Psalm 2:4, NIV.

Arouse yourself, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, who have drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of His wrath, who have drunk the cup of intoxication and staggering to the dregs. ~ Isaiah 51:17, AMP.

Then I took the cup from the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom the Lord sent me. ~ Jeremiah 25:17, NAS.

…to make her drain the cup of His furious wrath and indignation. ~ Revelation 16:19 b.  AMP.

And the RECIPIENTS of God’s Wrath:

For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against ALL UNGODLINESS and UNRIGHTEOUSNESS of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. ~ Romans 1:18, AMP.

Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them. ~ Romans 1:32.

The Cup of SALVATION:  “I will lift up the cup of salvation and deliverance and call on the name of the Lord”  (Psalm 116:13).

The BLESSINGS Salvation brings…

Assurance –  (John 6:37-40).

Joy – (Matt. 18:13; John 1:45).

Seasons of Refreshment – (Acts 3:19).

SALVATION CAUSES…

Heavenly beings to stand in amazement – (Ephesians 3:10-12).

SALVATION CHANGES THINGS…

Not just behavior but… (Romans 6:17-18).

SALVATION GIVES YOU…

A position of authority – (Luke 15:22-24).

An Abundant life…”I came that they [YOU] may have and enjoy life, and have it in ABUNDANCE (to the FULL, till it OVERFLOWS)”  (John 10:10 AMP).

Salvation gives you the PRIVILEGE of being chosen and appointed by GOD Himself ~ (1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:13).

SALVATION MAKES ONE WHOLE...Gives meaning.

“If we are being put on trial [here] today and examined concerning a good deed done to benefit a feeble (helpless) cripple, by what means this man has been restored to health”  (Acts 4:9).

Opens one;s eyes – (John 9:1-7).

Saves and hides a multitude of sins – (James 5:19-20).

Saves one to the “uttermost”  [completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity] – (Hebrews 7:25).

The Cup of BLESSING:

Psalm 16:5:  “The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion,  my cup;  You hold and maintain my lot.”

Psalm 23:5:  “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.”

1 Corinthians 10:16:  “The cup of blessing [of wine at the Lord’s Supper] upon which we ask [God’s] blessing, does it not mean [that drinking it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the blood of Christ  (the Messiah)? “ 

So there you have it.  THREE CUPS mentioned in God’s Word and the significance they have to all mankind.

BIBLICAL WINE DESCRIPTIONS AND THEIR MEANING:

Several years ago, my wife and I traveled to Central Texas to visit family and get my 98-year-old dad resettled in an assisted care facility.  And while we were there,  my niece’s husband Marc, took us to his place of employment at Inwood Estates Winery where they make wine from Texas grown grapes.

Texas Thanksgiving  trip 2010 Diannes camera 101

Marc took us all on a tour through the winery, explaining technical terms to wine making (storage at the right temperature, aging, color, fermentation process, etc.).  At the end of the tour, we all enjoyed a sampling from a wine storage tank.

And the wine is RED–Psalm 75:8–

The Hebrew word used here -chamar-may mean either to “boil up,” or to be red; from the idea of boiling or becoming heated.

The Septuagint (GREEK translation of the Old Testament); “and He pours out from it and all the earth must drain it”–describing that He draws it off, as is done with wine.

The true picture being revealed here is probably the fermentation process; that the meaning may be, the WRATH of GOD seems to boil, fermenting the liquor.

It’s full of mixture–verse 8–“well mixed”.

It was quite common in wine making of old, to mixed the wine with spices, increasing its strength…or as we might say, drugged.  This was done frequently to increase the intoxicating quality of the WINE presented.

So the Psalmist is giving us the idea of the WRATH of GOD, being poured out like WINE, whose strength or power of intoxication was increased in effect by DRUGS.

And He pours it out of a CUP, in order that His enemies may drink it, then stagger under the demonstration of HIS WRATH; as men stagger and pass out under the influence of spiced or drugged wine.

BUT the dregs–the “lees”–the settling s–

The “dregs”– is what remains after the WINE is racked off (Isaiah 25:6).  This would contain the strongest part of the mixture, the idea being, they would drink the WRATH OF GOD from the top to the very bottom of the glass.  To the very last drop!

Drinking from Wineskin        The Montreal Gazette

“drain it” or “wring them out” (AMP & KJV):

In Biblical times, WINE was poured out and kept in skins.  The picture, they would ring out these skins to get out “ALL” that was in them, leaving nothing remaining.  Then DRINK…not merely the WINE, but the “dregs”, the “lee”…all that there was!

Who are the “they s” in the verse?

All the Wicked of the Earth–

WICKED PEOPLE everywhere.  The expression, “The Wrath of God” is not confined to one nation, or one people, but where ever wicked people are found, He will punish them.

God is just in His dealings… to ALL PEOPLE.

Who are “ALL PEOPLE” the psalmist talking about?

The reference isn’t talking about Christian “backsliders”; believers who don’t go to church every week, drink a glass of wine, slip on spiritual banana peels on occasions.  Asaph [A Psalm of Asaph] is referring to the unrighteous, the non-believers, the ungodly in the world.

GOD “EXALTS” THE RIGHTEOUS  (Verse 9-10):

“…the righteous shall be exalted.”

Notice the language here.  It is the testimony of the singer (Asaph).  He is making a VOW…to testify forever…what God has done!  He is singing with JOY in the midst of what’s going on around him–“When the earth totters, and all the inhabitants of it, it is I Who will poise and keep steady its pillars.  Selah  [pause, and calmly think of that]!”  (Psalm 75:3).  

Who is the “I” referring to?  Not Asaph, but JESUS!  Remembering who is in control of what’s going on, certainly brings JOY to my singing!

The word DECLARE in verse 9, means to make oneself conspicuous of the message heard.

John the Baptist was very conspicuous; in his diet of bugs and honey; he wore a leather suit and his MESSAGE was simple and consistent. Because of whom he was, what he did, the world stirred.  Roman kings and religious priests came to him, confessing and repenting of their sin.

Cutting Off the Horns…(Verse 10).

Now the next phrase is really important.  God is going to break or cut off the horns of the wicked.  In my detective work this week, the description given certainly grabbed my attention.

I found in research, that dehorning animals is a tough process and it’s much easier to accomplish when the animal is very small.  Waiting until it’s older, the job is more difficult and risky to the life of the animal.  The animal has to be immobilized, holding the head very carefully.

Now on a younger animal that’s just beginning to grow horn buds, a hot iron is pressed around the buds, and the skin and cells are singed.  With the older animal the horns are carefully cut away and then cauterizing the exposed blood vessels.  Have you got a vivid picture with expression on your face?  I did while researching the process and the Spirit wants to make things clear to the reader.

So the term of DEHORNING is used in verse 10 because it is the ending of the wild nature of the people we are entrusted.  It means they will have to TRUST their care-giver for protection and not to be able to use deadly force on others.  It means that they will have to submit and not fight their shepherd.

On the other hand, the RIGHTEOUS will have their horns EXALTED.  If they have horns, they can keep them because they will be given the responsibilities of watching the flock.  When the horns grow, they are honored.  This demonstrates what’s happening in our lives today.

“WE GIVE praise and thanks to You, O God, we praise and give thanks; Your wondrous works declare the Your Name is near and they who invoke Your Name rehears Your wonders”  (Psalm 75:1 AMP).