FIRST BLOOD

In 1982, an American action film hit the box office, “First Blood”.  It was co-written by Ted Kotchheff and starred Sylvester Stallone who became known to most of us as “Rambo”. 

It was based on David Morrell’s 1972 novel of the same name.  I remember a line in the movie that plays into the movie’s title when he said to his pursuers, “You drew the first blood” and as odd as it may seem, while I was reading in my Bible, the Letter to the Hebrews, this movie theme played in my head as I studied and took notes for this study, FIRST BLOOD.

First blood in the Bible – Genesis 4:4; (Genesis 3:21).

[4] And Abel also brought an offering–fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.  The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering…

It was a sacrificial lamb. 

His brother Cain’s offering was far more attractive than Abel’s was, but Abel’s was what God wanted.

Abel’s offering anticipated the coming Lamb of God.

There’s only one way to approach a holy God and that’s through shed blood (Hebrews 9:22).

It’s an echo of Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”

While the first blood shed by Abel was prophetic and pointed forward to that which was to be, the blood of Jesus, on the other hand, it declares the whole work of salvation is finished.

This brings us to our study in the New Testament in Hebrews 9:10-28

The Blood Covenant

JESUS is in heaven right now and seated at the right hand of the Father, guaranteeing the promise of the COVENANT with two aspects:

  • LEGAL GUARANTEE
  • LIVING GUARANTEE

Hebrews 9:11-15 (NIV)  First Blood vs. The Blood of Christ

[11] When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.  [12] He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves, but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.  [13] The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.  [14] How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!  [15] For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Jesus has shed His blood for us on Calvary 2,000 years ago and now appears in Heaven to plead for us.

Hebrews 9:16-22 (AMP)

[16] For where there is a [last] will and testament involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.  [17] For a will and testament is valid and takes effect only at death, since it has no force or legal power as long as the one who made it is alive.  [18] So even the [old] first covenant  (God’s will)  was not inaugurated and ratified and put in force without the shedding of blood.  [19] For when every command of the Law had been read out by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of slain calves and goats, together with water and scarlet wool and with a bunch of hyssops, and sprinkled both the Book (the roll of the Law and covenant) itself and all the people.  [Leviticus 14]

[20] Saying these words:  This is the blood that seals and ratifies the agreement (the testament, the covenant) which God commanded [me to deliver to] you.  [21] And in the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and all the [sacred] vessels and appliances used in [divine] worship.

[22] [In fact] under the Law almost everything is purified by means of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sin.

COVENANT is an agreement, but it also means “last will and testament.”

The thing about a “will” is that it doesn’t come into effect until a person dies.

In order for the terms of the New Covenant to come into play, Jesus had to physically die on the Cross.

Luke 22:20 (NIV)

[20] In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Even the Old Covenant was established on the basis of the ‘first’ blood so to speak, but the blood, fire, water (Num. 31:21-24) couldn’t change a person’s nature.  (The altar, ark, people didn’t change when the blood was put upon them, but it did change God’s relationship to it).

The reason why blood was such a big variable in the Old Covenant was that God required BLOOD to be shed before sin could be forgiven (Lev. 17:11).

The Old Testament saints were saved the same way we are with the finish work of Christ Jesus.

People before Christ’s death on the Cross were promised a Messiah/Redeemer by God, they died believing/trusting that God Promise would be fulfilled, however, this is really important…they died with the promise unfulfilled.

One of the first accomplishments of Jesus’ death was to REDEEM all those who had believed in God under the Old Covenant (Christ’s atoning death was retroactive).

In the financial world, redemption is “a removal of a financial obligation by paying off a note, bond, etc.” [Dictionary.com]

In a way, the believers of the O.C. were saved on “credit” or a “note,” and Jesus was the actual payment, “redeeming” the note.  The only way a person could come to God was to have the penalty of his SIN paid for and Jesus provided it for everyone who trusts Him.

He was the bridge!

With Jesus dying on the Cross, He legally died and His Last Will & Testament was legally enacted.

Our inheritance is primarily spiritual in nature. Forgiveness, spiritual gifts/fruit, the changing of our nature.

When Jesus died, what all the ‘first blood’ that had been offered up until that time couldn’t do, Jesus accomplished.

The Howard Hughes Story

One of the richest men in the world when he died in 1976.  His fortune, which he accumulated as an aviator, inventor, engineer, filmmaker, had an estimated worth in the billions when he died.  In the final years of his life, he spent them as a recluse in a Las Vegas hotel as his OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) took its hold.  Upon his death, it was discovered that he had no WILL made.  All his wealth was divided by the State to 22 cousins.

When Jesus died on the Cross, His last Will and Testament came immediately into force.  He designated all His wealth, power, authority to His children…us!

How foolish we are to fail to claim our inheritance in Him!

A Living Guarantee (vv. 23-26).

OUR LORD BECAME THE SACRIFICE FOR OUR SIN.

He is the better sacrifice, a final sacrifice.

Hebrews 9:23, 25-26 (NIV)

[23] It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

[25] Nor did He enter heaven to offer Himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.  [26] Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world.  But now He has appeared once and for all at the end of the ages to do away with the sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

His final Will & Testament was notarized on Calvary’s Hill.

If you’ve ever had to get an official transcript from a school, or an official copy of your birth certificate, it had to have the official seal on it to be valid.  A notary public will authenticate your signature on an important document by stamping it with his/her seal.

Even so, God’s Spirit is the SEAL on every true believer, showing that you are no longer your own.  He bought you with the blood of Christ and now you belong to Him.  No one can take you from Him!!!

He died, but He lives again!

He’s alive to serve as His own executor of His own estate!

He can enforce the PROMISE of His Will and His Will is incontestable because He lives in heaven as our guarantee!

When we come to God we must go through Jesus.  There’s no other way.  Jesus satisfies the Father, therefore no one comes to Him except through His Son, Jesus.

The idea that God accepts us as we are is unbiblical.  We come to Jesus just as we are, BUT…He doesn’t present us to the Father just as we are.  We are a 100% unpresentable as we are.  [God is holy, and SIN cannot be in His presence.]

When Jesus presents us to His Father, He presents us in Himself, as He is.

So when God sees us, He sees Jesus instead; He sees Jesus’ sacrifice instead of our SIN.  His BLOOD PAYMENT for our sin instead of the penalty we deserve for our iniquities.

Hebrews 9:24 (AMP)

[24] For Christ (the Messiah) has not entered into a sanctuary made with [human] hands, only a copy and pattern and type of the true one, but [He has entered] into heaven itself, now to appear in the [very] presence of God on our behalf.

Jesus has taken us into the real Holy of Holies with Him through His SACRIFICE of BLOOD on the Cross.

Hebrews 9:27-28

One person said: Man’s life is made up of 20 years of his mother asking him where he’s going.  50 years of his wife asking him where’s he been, and one hour at his funeral where everyone wonders where he’s gone.

I know where I’m going because I’m in the Will.

The only way we get into the Will is to be placed into the death of Christ Jesus and say, “God, I’m a sinner.  I place myself into the death and resurrection of your Son.  Be satisfied with me for His sake.”

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CREDITS:

Howard Hughes Story – Wikipedia.

“FIRST BLOOD” – Wikipedia.

Video:  First blood Instrumental YouTube.

Photos:  Google Image Search, Settings Advance search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); other translations as marked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are “Sanctuary Cities” Supported By the Bible?

TEXT:  THE BOOK OF NUMBERS 35:2, 6, 11-29, 31-34; Joshua 20

By now, I think most of us are familiar with the term “Sanctuary Cities”, in communities which openly pledged a place where undocumented immigrants may be safe without fear of apprehension and deportation by federal officers.  There are even “Sanctuary Churches” that have been established in our communities.

I’ve listened to Christians and non-Christians alike, who claim that they were inspired by or heard from others that the ancient “cities of refuge” found in the Bible substantiate their support.  Supporters argue biblical precedent for sanctuary cities.  As Vogue magazine puts it, “Now approximately 300 American cities are carrying the torch first lit by those sacred altars.”

So are today’s “sanctuary cities” a modern biblical expression of the Bible’s “cities of refuge?”  No, not even close!

HISTORY (Numbers 35)

Just before Israel entered the land of Canaan, God told Moses to choose 48 cities for the Levites’ priestly tribe (Num. 35:7), since they would have no land while all the other tribes did have land, but each of the tribes would supply a place for them.

Though the TEMPLE be in Jerusalem only, the LEVITES would be everywhere to minister the Word of God to the people.

SIX OF THOSE DESIGNATED CITIES would be CITIES of REFUGE.  Three on the east side of the Jordan River and three on the west side of the Jordan River.  They were designed for the people who accidentally MURDERED someone–to save them from being killed by kin of the murdered victim.  They would then live in the city of refuge until the trial where they would stand and be judged.  If a man intentionally killed another, he then could reside in the city, but at trial be charged “GUILTY” and worthy of death by the avenger.

But if a man unintentionally killed a person, after the trial, when he was proclaimed innocent, the man could live in the city of refuge and remain there.  If he went out of the city of refuge, he would risk being killed by the avenger.  The avenger wouldn’t be judged because the “murderer”, though innocent, should have stayed in the city of refuge.  And he would have to live in that city of refuge until the High Priest died.  When the High Priest died, he was free to leave the city and was free of his GUILT.  The AVENGER had to respect the fact that the man was innocent of all that he committed.

REASONING FOR LAW – BLOOD defiles the land.

The KILLER, even though innocent, couldn’t return to his land UNLESS the DEBT of Murder was paid even though it was a mistake that the DEATH occurred.  There could be no “satisfaction”, or ransom money paid from some kind of ‘trust fund’, to free the man from guilt.  The only thing that could free the man from GUILT was the death of the murderer.  The BLOOD of the murderer alone cleansed the land of the BLOOD of the victim.  But when the High Priest died, the man could return to the land.

The DEATH of the High Priest REDEEMED  a man from guilt, freed him from the debt to pay for by his own blood.

The Picture of the High Priest Dying is Significant –

Instead of the unintentional murderer, a perfect picture of JESUS, the Great High Priest dying on the Cross instead of us.

The wonderful thing is all of this is that our own High Priest died and then rose again from the dead.  And the unintentional murderer could return to the land where his home is.

And the Bible said that this land where his home was, is also the land where the LORD dwelt.  [Come on!]

Notice the idea presented here of returning to the place of home, or his possession – Numbers 35:28 (AMP)

[28] Because the manslayer should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest.  But after the high priest’s death, the manslayer shall return to the land of his possession.

God gave the Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis for the land of our possession.  But our SIN drove out, and the only thing that would pay for the crime is our own blood.  That meant our own deaths.

No other means would PAY for our SIN other than our own blood.  But what good would that do for us?  We couldn’t enjoy the land again for we would be dead!

Numbers 35:31 (AMP)

[31] Moreover, you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer guilty of death; but he shall surely be put to death.

Numbers 35:33 (NIV)

[33] “Do not pollute the land where you are.  Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on  which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it.”

No other “satisfaction” (KJV) or ransom money or ransom payment of any kind would do.  The only other recourse was death by the high priest (Numbers 35:22).  That meant if no other payment besides his death could remove the GUILT OF BLOOD IN THE LAND, and…the high priest’s death accomplished the same thing, then the BLOOD of the high priest was as good as the BLOOD of the slayer.

A Time for Notable Comparisons–

The Cities of Refuge references in our Bible, first of all, were LEGAL–Sanctuary Cities are not!  

Cities of Refuge were authorized under the Mosaic code to serve as part of Israel’s justice system–Sanctuary Cities, in contrast, are ILLEGAL and outside the justice system altogether and do not exist to protect due process.  They exist to enable the GUILTY to escape punishment altogether.  The mere presence of an illegal alien on American soil is an illegal, criminal act subject to proper law enforcement.

Those, no matter how well-meaning they are, who help others avoiding the LEGAL consequences of criminal conduct, are subverting the system of justice by not cooperating with it.

  • A City of Refuge worked with law enforcement.
  • A Sanctuary City works against it.
  • A City of Refuge served to guarantee that a man had his day in court.
  • A Sanctuary City works to prevent the accused from ever facing a day in court.
  • A City of Refuge existed to ensure that every man received a fair trial.
  • A Sanctuary City exists to enable a man to avoid a fair trial altogether.

As you can clearly see by the above comparison there is no similarity supported by the Bible.

BIBLE APPLICATION:  Hebrews 6:18-20 (ESV)

HEBREWS 6, in the New Testament, mentions the fleeing for refuge, which brings us back into the picture the LAW of the City of Refuge has for the manslayer. 

But it mentions something else–the elements from a totally separate LAW in the above verses (Heb. 6:18-20).

The Law of Atonement and the Law of the Cities of Refuge.

ASPECT OF THE VEIL (“curtain”)

The Day of Atonement had a High Priest enter the holiest; the VEIL, where God’s presence dwelt, so long as he had the BLOOD of a spotless LAMB.

Now putting both aspects together, you have a man out of his home where God dwells, but meeting DEATH should he try due to his SIN not having been paid for.  And the only way he can return is when the high priest dies removing his SIN and cleanses the land.

And we have THE HIGH PRIEST, carrying BLOOD past the VEIL into the holiest where God dwells, removing SIN.

Put the two together and you have a picture of returning to the Garden of Eden where Man and God dwelt together in the Garden.

But Man’s sin DEFILED the land and he was driven out (Genesis 3:24).

So the Garden Story brings together the elements of the CITY OF REFUGE LAW AND THE VEIL ASPECT OF THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.

  • MAN became a prisoner outside of his true home, and one who is confined from his home is a PRISONER.

BUT GOD HAD A PLAN!

And that PLAN provided MAN, not just any prisoner, but a prisoner of HOPE!

A man couldn’t return, for he would have died to try.  There standing at the entrance to the Garden was a flaming sword.  Just like the avenger of blood, the flaming sword was there to kill him should he return home.

But one day, in the future, since Adam was driven from home, there was going to be a High Priest that was to die.  And that DEATH allows the SINNER to return to home.

ADAM=MAN

So ADAM waited as a PRISONER OF HOPE for centuries, UNTIL…THE HIGH PRIEST JESUS CHRIST CAME AND DIED…AND MAN COULD RETURN HOME AGAIN.

EDEN means PARADISE or HEAVEN in English.

The Apostle John saw HEAVEN opened and he saw what occurs in Heaven, the true Holiest of Holies:

Revelation 5:6 (KJV) –

And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a LAMB as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Revelation 5:8-9 (KJV) –

[8] And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints.

[9] And they sang a new song, saying,  Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.

THE LAMB is the HIGH PRIEST, as well.  His death REDEEMED us ALL to God.

Why Are Two Old Testament Stories Involved In This Story?

The only flaw I see with the Old Testament picture of the HIGH PRIEST was that you couldn’t find a man who could be killed and bring his BLOOD into the Holiest of Holies showing that the SINNER’S BLOOD could be paid for by the High Priest’s own blood.

And in another picture, the DEATH of the High Priest allows the slayer to return home.

Put them together, the High Priest, JESUS, dies, and takes His own BLOOD into Heaven to pay for our SIN, and allows us to go to our eternal home into HEAVEN, behind Him.

And that’s what Hebrews 6 said.

Isn’t it wonderful when all is said and done, God looks at us as PRISONERS away from home, but not only PRISONERS BUT PRISONERS OF HOPE!

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CREDITS & SOURCES –

The American Family Radio (AFA);  “Sanctuary Cities…Cities of Refuge” – March 27, 2017.

Photos:  Google Image Search – Settings, Advance search…

Bible Translations used:  Amplified Bible (AMP); English Standard Version (ESV); New International Version (NIV); King James Bible (KJV).

Bible Dictionary:  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.

 

The Door Is Opened With A Glimpse of Heaven – Part Three

The TEXT for PART THREE:  Read Revelation 4:1-11

“AN OPEN DOOR” – Revelation 3:20:

JESUS speaking,  [20]  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.”

The conversation continues, but with John speaking – Revelation 4:1:

AFTER THIS I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven!  And the first voice which I had heard addressing me like [the calling of] a war trumpet said,  “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place in the future.” (Amplified)

ENTERING THE THRONE ROOM –

Picture-Of-GOD-On-Throne-In-Heaven-Bible-Verse-Revelation-4-2-3-HD-Wallpaper-1024x656

 

Understanding Spiritual Things…

People today have an unprecedented longing to understand spiritual things by going to “mediums” or spiritualists and paying thousands of dollars in attempting to touch the supernatural.

Despite all these claims of going to heaven and the Lord, the person returning with a message from “God” are in contrast with REVELATION 4 and the rest of the Scriptures depicting the THRONE OF GOD.

To claim that someone has gone to see “God” in His highest heaven is not only wrong, unscriptural–NO ONE has seen God at anytime, even those who saw the THRONE ROOM.  They didn’t see GOD in His full glory!

That said, I do believe people can have visions and dreams that should be tested purely with Scripture and not with our own reasoning, or logic, but solely based on the Word of God.

CHAPTER 4 Looking Through the OPEN DOOR…

Past What Was Said In the Letters to the Churches:

The Apostle John’s writing style spins the story ever wider and wider until you get a full picture of what he sees.  He does this throughout his Epistles, and Gospel, and now in this letter of Prophecy as well.  It is so the reader, you and I, can have no disagreement who JESUS is in the midst of our own lives.

THE PURPOSE OF REVELATION…as we find ourselves drawing closer to JESUS…we’re not afraid of the images and symbolism portrayed on the pages in the upcoming chapters.  Sure, the events are unnerving at times, even scary, but “the FEAR of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; Psalm 111:10). 

Drawing near to JESUS during our study is the objective, NOT CLOSER to what you want, but closer to who He is!

REVELATION 4 & 5 

In chapters 4 and 5 are found the greatest descriptions of HEAVEN in the whole Bible.  G.K. Beale, one commentator’s scholarly opinion said,

“The main point of chapters 4-5 is God’s punitive and redemptive purpose for the world beginning to be accomplished through the death and resurrection of Christ, through whose reign God’s purpose for creation will be consummately executed and divine glory accomplished.  The pastoral purpose is to assure suffering Christians that God and Jesus are sovereign and that the events that the Christians are facing are part of a sovereign plan that will culminate in their redemption and the vindication of their persecution.”  [See Footnote [i] ]

Our First Glimpse Into the THRONE ROOM – Revelation 4:1:

The Lord specifically commanded John “to come up here,” which refers to heaven.  This is in contrast to the “so-called” visions that people have had today in being transported to heaven.  Scripture clearly teaches, only two human beings have been to heaven while here on earth, the Apostles John and Paul in the third heaven and live to continue their life on earth.

Some may see this “coming up” to refer to THE RAPTURE of the church, however, this verse doesn’t describe the church ascending to heaven in resurrected glorification, but John going to heaven to receive glorification.

Who IS on the THRONE?

John plainly tells us who’s ON THE THRONE–

What is going on around the throne–

What comes from the throne–

What stands before the throne–

Who is in the center and around the throne and…

What is directed toward the throne.

Verse 4:2 Amplified Bible:

At once I came under the [Holy] Spirit’s power, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with One seated on the throne! [Ezek. 1:26 for reference].

Four times in the Book of REVELATION, John says he was “in the Spirit” [1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10].

“AT ONCE I CAME UNDER THE [HOLY] SPIRIT…” means, he was immediately transported from where he was to where he finds himself, at the THRONE in heaven.

This means he stood face to face right in the middle of the throne room, right where our Lord and Savior dwells and someone is sitting on it.

THRONE=Rule and Authority

The THRONE is a symbol of God’s sovereign rule and authority [Psalm 11:4; 103:10 and Isaiah 66:1].  

The use of the THRONE here, emphasizes that although God’s realm is separate from the earthly, He is nevertheless in control over earth’s affairs.  Regardless of the circumstances of how rampant evil seems to run causing God’s people to suffer, they can know that His hand controls everything for their good and His glory.

The Picture Revealed in REVELATION 4:3 NIV:

“And the one who sat there had the appearance of JASPER and CARNELIAN.  A RAINBOW, resembling an EMERALD, encircled the throne.”

GOD SITTING on His throne is in contrast to the posture of REST displayed by Christ (Hebrews 1:3; 10:12; 12:2)–the act of Jesus sitting initiates, while the work of redemption has accomplished judgement and is about to take place.

GEMSTONES and the RAINBOW Significance–

“JASPER”

"CLEAR" JASPER/QUARTZ
“CLEAR” JASPER/QUARTZ

John’s description of He Who is sitting on the throne–as being as brilliant as GEMSTONES–JASPER as clear, because Jasper is used first in the list.  

This is KEY in understanding the importance, because JASPER stone is used in Revelation 21:11 describing the latter-day city as the GLORY OF GOD–JASPER STONE, shining like crystal and reflecting the “unapproachable light”; hence the GLORY surrounding God Himself with light.                (1 Timothy 6:16; Psalm 104:2)

“SARDIS” or “CARNELIAN”

SARDIS, from which the city got its name, is a fiery-ruby red color.  The gemstone expresses the shining beauty of God’s glory, and it may also symbolize God’s blazing wrath about to be poured out on the sinful rebellious world (Chapters 6-19). 

“A RAINBOW”

The RAINBOW is significant and demonstrates God’s serious in showing His mercy, despite the fact the great judgment is rapidly approaching.  This MERCY is undeserved and unmerited on His part, but shows further, how serious He is for us.

The PRECIOUS STONES surrounding the THRONE with the RAINBOW is the initial hint; not only that this vision eventually will issue a NEW CREATION, but it already portrays the beginning of the new creation in heaven: Precious Stone in Revelation 21:10-11, 18-23.  All are part of a depiction, “A RAINBOW” in the first revelation in Genesis of a new creation that emerged after the Noahic flood.

24 THRONES – Revelation 4:4

“Twenty-four other thrones surrounded the throne, and seated on these thrones were twenty-four elders, arrayed in white clothing, with crowns of gold upon their heads.”

WHO ARE THE “ELDERS”?

They are 12 Tribes from Israel in the Old Testament and 12 Apostles in the New Testament.

In this VISION, collectively, probably represents… ALL the REDEEMED of God for ALL time (both before and after Jesus’ death and resurrection).

They represent all those–both Jews and Gentiles–who are now part of God’s family.  The TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS shows all the redeemed of the Lord worshipping Him.

The fact they were clothed in WHITE is also symbolic:  Symbolizes Christ’s given righteousness to believers at SALVATION.

Also, the number 24 in Scripture is used to speak of completion and representation.

REVELATION 4:5 (NIV):

“From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.”

SCRIPTURE and the phrasing in it, without a doubt, identifies God as the source of the later judgments to take place.  This means those who suffer for their FAITH can be rest assured, that those who deal out the punishment here on earth, God has not forgotten them.  He will surely JUDGE them with fire (19:20; 20:9-10; 21:8). 

In Revelation, LIGHTNING and THUNDER are connected with significant events in heaven.  They remind us of the lightning and thunder at Mount Sinai, where God gave the people His Law (Exodus 19:16).

Also, His POWER and MAJESTY are reflected (Psalm 77:18).

The “seven spirits” = another name for the Holy Spirit.

REVELATION 4:6 (NIV):  

At the FRONT of the THRONE–

“Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.”

At the front of the throne is where John finds himself.  A front row seat with no one blocking the view.

The “SEA” is metaphorical since there is no Sea in heaven.

John saw at the base of the THRONE was a vast pavement of glass, shinning brilliantly like sparkling crystal.

REVELATION 4:7 (Amplified Bible):

Four Living Creatures
Four Living Creatures

“The first living creature (being) was like a LION, the second living creature was an OX, the third living creature had the face of a MAN, and the fourth living creature [was] like a flying EAGLE.”

The descriptions view the four CHERUBIM (“four creatures”) in relation to the created world–

THE LION= Strength.

THE OX= Domestic animals.

MAN= The height of creation.

THE EAGLE= Flying creatures.

Symbolically…the LION represents strength; the OX, is service; the MAN, reason and the EAGLE, speed.

REVELATION 4:8 (NIV): 

The FOUR LIVING CREATURES never stopped saying…

“Holy, holy, holy–

is the Lord God Almighty,

who was, and is, and is to come.”

The repetition of holy, holy, represents God’s attitudes.  And it’s at the core of who God is… is His HOLINESS!

HOLINESS is the essence of Who God is–

The theme of God’s holiness, as been displayed in Revelation 4, and is the PRAISE for God’s HOLINESS specifically demonstrated through His JUDGMENT.

Being HOLY, God hates sin and pours out His wrath on it.

The Lord Almighty…

The three words above is a distinction of who He is.  It shows His…POWER, STRENGTH, HIS UNCHANGING CHARACTER, HIS CONQUERING POWER.

Because God IS ALMIGHTY, He effortlessly does whatever His Holy Will purposes to do.

— WHO ALWAYS… was described that He was before time…

— WHO IS…describing that He exists outside of time and out of our understanding.

— WHO IS…still to come; describes the reference to the fact that He is coming again for His people.

GOD IS TO BE GLORIFIED – Revelation 4:9-11 (NIV):

[9] Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and Who lives for ever and ever, [10] the twenty-four elders fall down before Him Who sits on the throne, and worship Him Who lives for ever and ever.  They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

[11] “You are worthy, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for You created all things,

and by Your will they were created and have their being.”

These hymns direct us to the main point of the VISION and the whole of Chapter 4: God is to be GLORIFIED because of His Holiness and Sovereignty.

The bowing down of the elders is significant by the manner in the way they addressed the One on the throne.  And that is significant for us, because they understand that it was not them worshipping them, but the One Who deserved the worship.

The TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS specifically represent the purpose of the redeemed humanity, which is to PRAISE and GLORIFY God, and this purpose is actually carried out not only by them in heaven, but also by the true community of FAITH on earth.

The BASIS OF FAITH is two-fold:  

One, God’s creation is based solely on His will and proceeds from it–and two, God’s POWER is revealed through creation, as demonstrated by the PRAISING recognition of His created beings.

The verses signify once again, depicting ALL that is going to happen in the coming future, and that He is absolutely HOLY; we can WORSHIP Him because He knows all that is going to happen.  As He is under control, we can worship Him in the “right now” as the result of knowing this.

In this case then, express who you are, to Who He is and allow Who He is to radiate who you are.  He created everything for His divine pleasures and that includes you reading this.

This glimpse of HEAVEN should remind all of us today, that ultimately, everything in this life is fleeting away.  But, in pursuit, we come to know that life is everlasting.

*Part Four to follow next week in Revelation Chapter 14:  “Rapture Ready”


 Footnotes, Credits, and Photos:

Footnote [i] – Exposition of Revelation (MP3 Series) by G. K. Beale at http://www.monergism.com

Photo Credits:  “JASPER” the revelation painting journals wordpress.com/; Revelation 4:2-3 God’s Throne Room courtesy of http://www.neverthirsty.org. ; Four Living Creatures, Google IMAGES.

Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living Like KINGS In This Life!

ROMANS 5:17  (KJV):

“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.”

When I study and meditate on God’s Word through the Scriptures, I love to look at bible verses in different translations.  It gives on perspective.  Although  in my library, I am fortunate to possess many different translations to compare, I also use the Internet to broaden my search, sites such as Bible Gateway or Bible Hub.

So in saying, let me give you a translation, of the same verse, from the Weymouth New Testament:

Romans 5:17  (WNT):

“For if, through the transgression of the one individual Death made use of the one individual to seize the sovereignty, all the more shall those who receive God’s overflowing grace and gift of righteousness reign as kings in Life through the one individual, Jesus Christ.”

THE IMPACT OF GOD’S WORD:

The apostle Paul, who wrote the Letter to the Roman church–inspired by the Holy Spirit–gives us a comparative look:

1.  The CONDEMNING ACT of Adam–

2.  The REDEMPTIVE ACT of Christ Jesus.

Adams sin (transgression), brought universal death to all of mankind (Romans 3:10, 23) when he accepted Satan’s lie:  “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

However, Jesus’ sacrifice brought salvation to those who believe (John 3:16).  Jesus’ one act of redemption was immeasurably greater than Adam’s one-act of condemnation.

HOW MUCH IS “ABUNDANCE”?

Romans 5:17 b…all the more shall those who receive God’s abundance of grace…

Did we get just enough to get by when we were saved by believing in Jesus?  Is that all there is?  Did we get just a teacup full of “grace”?

As some of you who follow my blog know, my favorite verse in the New Testament is John 10:10:

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.  I [JESUS] came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”  [Amplified Bible]

Having “ABUNDANCE” till it overflows!

Given without a hitch, without strings attached, without measurement.  It’s like the Eveready Battery commercial: It keeps on giving every moment of the day throughout our entire lives!

Unlike Adam’s Act In Genesis…

Christ’s Acthas and will–accomplish exactly what He intended.  He called us as Christians TO “REIGN!” : That is a period during which something or somebody is dominant or powerful, has authority.

GOD’S ORIGINAL PLAN:

Genesis 1:27, 28, 30 b:

[ 27]  “So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.    [28] And God blessed them and said to them,  Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion (authority, dominance, power) over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.  [30] –to everything in which there is the breath of life–“

“Reigning in Life” (Romans 5:17):

Living like Kings
Living like Kings

The word “REIGN”  here, means to reign in life as a KING (not just in the masculine sense), to have kingly rule…possess kingly dominion as God originally intended before Adam’s act

Reign in circumstances…

Based on the authority of God’s Word, you are destined to “reign in life” as a king; “kingly dominion” over all your challenges and circumstances.  The time has come for us to stop “ABDICATING” our right to rule in life!  Remember, God has positioned us through His Son, to reign!

Ephesians 2:4-6  (AMP):

[4]  But God–so rich is He in His mercy!  Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us. [5] Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses,  He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are SAVED (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).  [6] And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the anointed One).

NOTICE VERSE 4:

But God, who is RICH IN MERCY, because of His great LOVE with which He loves us; yet we were Spiritually Dead, but God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love…

SALVATION IS FOR GOD’S GLORY!

GOD took you and I who were Spiritually Dead, gave us His boundless mercy and love.

IN VERSE 5:

Spiritually speaking here in verse 5, “at your best, you were dead in trespasses.”

Salvation brings Spiritual Life to the Spiritual Dead…

Remember, the POWER that raises the BELIEVER out of death, is the same POWER that brought you to life and it’s the same POWER that energizes every aspect of our Christian living–our circumstances, our trials, our doubts.

ALSO VERSE 6:

When we are SAVED from eternal death, we are raised up together; made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  Your physical body is still on earth, but your spiritual body…you get the picture here I hope.

The tense of “RAISED” and “MADE” indicates that these are immediate and direct results of SALVATION!

Verse 6 says, in the HEAVENLY PLACES in Christ Jesus.  It is the supernatural realm where God reigns.

LIVING IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM:

The SPIRITUAL is as real as the PHYSICAL world–BUT…it is different because it cannot be seen and tested.  Though the body itself is in the PHYSICAL REALM, the life within the body comes from the spirit.  [i] –See footnotes.

The Bible states clearly, we are to REIGN in life through Christ Jesus and… RECEIVING two important things from Him:

1.  The ABUNDANCE of Grace

2.  The GIFT of RIGHTEOUSNESS   (He declared you “righteous” at the Cross).

Worldly Thinking By Man–

Man’s thinking goes like this:  For God to BLESS him/her, he needs to DESERVE, EARN and MERIT God’s favor.  Man thinks that God’s blessings are based on his performance and good works.

God’s Way–

God’s way isn’t about ACHIEVING, but about RECEIVING!  (We are to receive!).

The WORLD’S SYSTEM Regarding SUCCESS in Life–

The SYSTEM is driven into our heads from the time we are children, through the teenage years, and emphasized through our working years.  All built on SELF EFFORT and DILIGENCE.

How many times did my parents advise and direct my paths?  “Quit being a procrastinator…a lazy teenager!”  Continue with your schooling; with the idea of being successful in life.  Now that IS good advice, don’t get me wrong.  However, a stigma can sometimes arise in a impressible child growing up:  “If I keep at this thing…due diligence will lead to my success!”  We can be sometimes find ourselves on the deserted island of “I”  (I did it).

We are driven to “do, do, do,” forgetting that Christianity is actually “done, done, done.”  [ii] See Footnotes.

k5929537The Question of “CHAIRS” and “SITTING DOWN”:

I’m a very visual person when reading and studying God’s Word and the Bible can certainly give us a picture of the believer, resting in finished and completed work of JESUS.

Hebrews 10:12, 14:

[12]  “Whereas this One [Christ], after He had offered a single sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] for ALL TIME, sat down at the right hand of God.”

[14]  “For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy.”

VERSE 14 once more–

DECLARING that you were PERFECTED FOREVER!

Our works, self-efforts, will, and can rob us of REIGNING in life by His grace.  You cannot earn your SALVATION, your HEALING, your FINANCIAL breakthrough by your own efforts.

GOD has called the REDEEMED to REIGN!

Revelation 1:6  (Young’s Literal Translation):

6  and did make us kings and priests to his God and Father, to him [is] glory and the power to the ages of the ages!  Amen.

So if that’s you, reach out to Him in your spirit and RECEIVE your DESTINY…your AUTHORITY!  How do you reach out?

YOU PRAY…Lord, your Word is true and I believe it!  I’m tired of trying to be worthy in your eyes and everyone elses.  I was made worthy when your Son’s blood was shed on the Cross for my sins.  I am the REDEEMED in Christ.  I am worthy to RECEIVE the gift of kingship and to receive my destiny.  Have Your Holy Spirit empower me to take dominion over my life.  In JESUS’ Name I pray.  AMEN.

 

Footnotes and Photos:

Photo Inserts:  Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Courtesy of Starpulse.com and Disney Productions & Foto Search.

[i] – From ChristWords.com–Christ’s words in Ancient Greek.

[ii] – Quote from a Howard Strickland sermon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Why Go to Church?” (Part 2)

WHY I LOVE THE CHURCH
WHY I LOVE THE CHURCH

TEXT:  Psalm 84:1-4, 10 (see Part 1):

“How Lovely Are Your Dwellings”–

[1]  HOW LOVELY are Your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!  [2] My soul yearns, yes, even pines and is homesick for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out and sing for joy the living God.  [3] Yes, the sparrow has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young–even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.  [4] Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence; they will be singing Your praises all the day long.  SELAH [pause, and calmly think of that]!  [10] For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand [anywhere else]; I would rather be a doorkeeper and stand at the threshold in the house of my God than to dwell [at ease] in the tents of wickedness.”

IT IS A Place Of  A PERMANENT DWELLING–

(v. 3 a) – This verse says that the sparrow has found a house; found a permanent place of residence; set down roots and dwell in.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord), knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose]”  (1 Corinthians 15:58 AMP).

IT IS A Place For The Pilgrim–

(v. 3 b) – While the sparrow is more of a permanent resident, the swallow is a pilgrim.

Pilgrim Swallows
Pilgrim Swallows

In the town of San Juan Capistrano in Southern California, the swallows would return to their home on or around March 19th every year after leaving in the Fall.

I just read that the annual event, that everyone looked forward to every year, just might be in jeopardy.  Because of the bird-mess in the town to clean up, they decided to remove the swallow’s dwelling place and now the wandering birds have apparently decided to go somewhere else since the swallow is a wanderer!

Yet at the TABERNACLE, the pilgrim swallow has found a place of shelter in the midst of his journey.

*Note the word “nest”.  It gives the idea of something temporary; a place for a season!  What a blessing!

The CHURCH is a great gift from the Lord, not needed forever!  One day, the journey we are all on will end and those who believe in JESUS will go to our eternal home–our dwelling place in Heaven.

IT IS A Place For The Young–

(v. 3 a) –  The Bible tells us that the swallow had found a place to raise her little ones.  What a great lesson for us all!  The church is the place to raise our children!

Here they can hear about JESUS and the plan of salvation.

It is in the House of God where they can learn how to worship with respect; of who He really is.

To praise the name of the Lord in song.

In the company of the REDEEMED is a good place for children to be brought up.  In fact, if raised in the right atmosphere at church and with the right example at home, they will usually (eventually)  find their way back to the nest.

“When you go, they  [the words of your parents’ God] shall lead you; when you sleep, they shall keep you; and when you waken, they shall talk with you”  (Proverbs 6:22).

It Is A Place For The Weary–

The word “nest” implies a place of rest.

I think the church is a place of rest.  A place where we can come to lay down our burdens, cares of life ALL (not “some”) at the feet of Jesus; where we find peace to worship the King of kings.

When I was singing in Southern California with a men’s Gospel trio in the 70’s, one of my favorite songs to sing was Learning to Lean, made popular by The Blackwood Brothers.  I had a solo part on the verse, where the words have remained with me to this day.  Went something like this:

Sad broken heart-ed at the altar I knelt,

I found peace that was so serene

And all that He asked for was a child-like trust

and a heart that was learning to lean.

I’m glad the Lord has provided the opportunity for His people a haven of rest!  A PLACE in learning to lean on Him.

Not All The Birds That Fill The Heavens Could Have Dwelt At The TABERNACLE!

The Eagle – He is too ambitious!eagles3

The Vulture – He is too foul!

The Hawk – He is too war-like!

The Barnyard Foul – They are too dependent on man!

The Owl – He is too fond of darkness!

The Mockingbird – He is too filled with himself.

HOWEVER, the sparrow and the swallow are lowly and little–not filled with self, but are aware of their needs.  They simply appropriated by FAITH that which the Lord provided for them at the tabernacle!

So it is with the REDEEMED!  All we did was appropriate by FAITH the provisions of the Lord in our Savior Jesus Christ.  We saw Him as our shelter and we moved right in!

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, that no one should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”  (Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB).

THEREFORE, we have found a place available for perfect peace and rest in the TABERNACLE of the soul: JESUS!

IT IS A Place To inspire–

(v. 10 b) – David tells us he would rather serve at the TABERNACLE as the man who opened the door than waste his time-serving the world and the devil.doorkeeper

THE CHURCH IS A PLACE where we can exercise our gifts in the Lord.  There is a job for every BELIEVER!

He SAVED US to serve Him:

“…that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]”  (Ephesians 2:10 b AMP).

“But someone will say [to you then], You [say you] have FAITH, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] Faith apart from any [good] works  [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you MY FAITH”  (James 2:18).

You see, when the Lord SAVED your soul, He gave you certain SPIRITUAL GIFTS (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Romans 12:4-8).  He has given you a special gift (s) that I don’t possess and vice versa.

For the church to be effective in the community as it should be, every participant (member) must determine what their gift (s) are and use them for the glory of the Lord and not for their own glory.  After all, you don’t want to be a Mockingbird (“filled with self”) do you?

THIS IS A Place where you can serve and be effective in your doing…if you DESIRE!

There aren’t many who are looking for a place of service in the House of God.  Most in our day are looking for a FREE RIDE–want to be a part of the church but don’t want to have a part in the church.

I’ve given you just some of the things that make the House of God a special place.  I wonder while reading this particular POST, has the Lord spoken to your heart about your relationship to the church?  If the church doesn’t hold the elevated place in your heart that it deserves, then you’ve just lost the DESIRE to be a part of the Assembly.

Come before the Lord, tell Him your heart’s desire and your relationship to His church and be honest!  God knows you better than you think.  He just waiting for your response to His calling.

“I DO DECLARE!” – More than an Expression

FIRST, LET ME START WITH A DEFINITION:

“To DECLARE is defined as to state or announce something publicly; to say positively or emphatically”  (Your Dictionary).

So, with that definition in mind, for us to DECLARE something–we are going to have to open our mouth and SPEAK–to “say so”.

“Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that JESUS is LORD and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”  (Romans 10:9 AMP).

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God’s power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes…”  (Romans 1:16).

“And He (JESUS) said to them,  Come after Me [as disciples–letting Me be your Guide], follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!”  (Matthew 4:19 AMP).

SECONDLY, TO CONSIDER OUR REDEMPTION BEFORE DECLARING:

Psalm 107:2

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has delivered from the hand of the adversary.”

It is evident that the Psalmist considered the mercy of God and the delivery of Israel from the hand of the enemy, of such extent, that those who had been redeemed were to DECLARE their redemption by God’s hand so that they all might know God’s POWER, LOVE and MERCY.  Their redemption was something about which one could REJOICE, PRAISE GOD, and DECLARE–tell others.

When you consider that their redemption was a physical redemption from the hand of another nation, by contrast the magnitude of our spiritual redemption in Christ Jesus becomes paramount.

The apostle Paul stated that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law and the blessing of Abraham might come upon us (Galatians 13:13-14).  He further taught that those who lived under the Law were redeemed by JESUS; where they might receive the adoption of sons and daughters and become heirs of God (Galatians 4:4-7; Hebrews 9:15, 11:39-40; Romans 8:16-17).

So then, if the physical deliverance of Israel was considered sufficient cause for them to DECLARE their redemption, how much more should the greatness of our redemption cause us to SHOUT about our redemption from the roof tops (Matthew 10:27; Luke 12:3).

Declaring of the Redeemed
Declaring of the Redeemed

Can you imagine some of your neighbors conversing in the middle of the street about the ‘religious crank’, shouting on top of their roof,  “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is God’s power working unto salvation to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

It’s More Than Just Knowing the Spiritual Facts–

If the people of God today were made to realize the greatness of God’s love, mercy, and goodness toward them in Christ Jesus, their mouths couldn’t be muzzled; kept from declaring to others what God has done for them and keeps doing for them.

God so designed His kingdom to be dependent upon the REDEEMED of the Lord–the born again believers–the SAVED in Christ Jesus; not to just know it; think about it; demonstrate it by good deeds and that’s all good!  But it comes down simply to… the “saying so”.

GOD HAS GIVEN THE REDEEMED A RESPONSIBILITY:

A “responsibility” of PREACHING and TEACHING the Gospel of His Son.

To DECLARE and "Say So"
To DECLARE and “Say So”

To the REDEEMED, Jesus said to His disciples “Go then and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy spirit.  Teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you…”  (Matthew 28:19-20).

Paul said that “For when the world with all its earthly wisdom failed to perceive and recognize and know God by means of its own philosophy,  God in His wisdom was pleased through the foolishness of preaching [salvation, procured by Christ and to be had through Him], to save those who believed (who clung to and trusted in and relied on Him)”  (1 Corinthians 1:21 AMP).

REDEMPTION PRODUCES DISCIPLES AND TO DECLARE:

In preparing for this POST, I ran across article by the Author Tim Stevens, entitled Three Points On Discipleship:

#1.  A DISCIPLE has his feet pointed toward JESUS and is moving.

#2.  A DISCIPLE-MAKER is intentionally taking someone else along for the journey.

#3.  A MATURE DISCIPLE doesn’t require anyone else to continue taking steps with and toward JESUS.

The Responsibility of “Preaching” or “Teaching” God’s Truth is that Man May Be Saved–

Sorry to tell this to the Church, but this responsibility isn’t placed in the hands of predetermined clergy of the community you live in.  The New Testament knows of no clergy distinction.  Every Christian is to grow in GRACE and KNOWLEDGE of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ          (2 Peter 3:18); to sanctify–set apart–the Lord God their hearts and to be ready always to give an answer to every man or woman who asks them a reason of hope that’s inside of them (1 Peter 3:15).

Paul scolded Christians who by reason of time…should have been teachers–“mature disciples” but who had not grown in knowledge.  Rather than being “disciple makers”, they still needed someone to teach the elementary principles of the Gospel (Hebrews 5:12).

When Christians were dispersed from Jerusalem because of persecution “they…went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).

Paul instructed Timothy, saying “And the [instruction] which you have heard from me along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust [as a deposit] to reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to teach others also”  (2 Timothy 2:2).  The REDEEMED of the Lord are to “say so.”

THERE ARE MANY REASONS THE “REDEEMED” DON’T SAY SO:

Some are lacking LOVE for the Lord.  JESUS said,

The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me…(John 14:21). 

And verse 24 continues with:

Anyone who does not [really] love Me does not observe and obey My teaching.  And the teaching which you hear and heed is not Mine, but [comes] from the Father Who sent Me.

Since the Lord JESUS has placed the responsibility of DECLARING the MESSAGE of REDEMPTION upon the REDEEMED, a failure to “say so” indicates a lack of love of the Lord and others; our neighbors.

Still others are ashamed of the Gospel.  They will talk to others about everything but their redemption (Romans 1:16).  After an unscientific observation, men in particular are guilty of this remission.  I’ve particularly noticed how men will stand congregated before and after a Sunday worship service discussing the weather, tractors (I live in a rural community),  politics and the world while the their wives discuss Book Clubs, ministering to the needy, upcoming Bible studies, etc.  Why is that?

Many put other things first and make no arrangements of time or opportunity to teach God’s plan of redemption to others [making disciples–“fishers of men”].

Many others are worldly (1 John 2:15); not interested in spiritual things, consequently are not really personally concerned with those who are not saved; redeemed.  Since the Body of Christ is called the CHURCH–a body must have feet, so we better start walking; quit leaving the results to the “visitation pastor”.  “Say so” yourself!

Truthfully, the redeemed of the Lord should lay aside every hindrance, to be busy DECLARING GOD’S MESSAGE (Hebrews 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 5:7).

Have We Mislaid the Importance of “Declaring the Word” and “Disciple Making” in our Churches?

Churches today are so focused on getting “new-comers” placed in a ministry first, “Disciple Making” from “Disciple-Makers” have disappeared.  Oh, I know, I’ve read the official church statement on the bulletin–“what we BELIEVE”–often quotes Matthew 28:19-20, but who are the DISCIPLE-MAKERS in the Body of Christ?  Where did they go?

WHO ARE THE “DISCIPLE-MAKERS”?

A disciple-maker is someone who God brings into your life, who you intentionally enter into an up-close personal, life-long relationship with.  I’ve heard Christian physiologist say, “you will probably on have two or three ‘up-close personal, life-long relationships’ in a lifetime.”  Let me say, “It only takes ONE!

The purpose of this Holy Spirit inspired relationship is “teaching them to observe all things that Jesus commanded you”. 

OBEDIENCE here is not to the disciple-maker, but to the Word of God.  It’s learning to agree with someone else’s directions, yielding your contrary opinions, in favor of the written Word (Romans 12:2).

It is not blind, unquestioning obedience with everything a disciple-maker says, even in decisions related to making purchases, where to go on vacations, or changing jobs.

The New Testament teaches the necessity of discernment (1 John 4:1), mutual submission (Rom. 12:10; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 5:21), and accountability to God (Rom. 14:21; Gal. 6:5).  BOTH disciple and disciple-maker are transformed in the process.  BOTH are a various points along the journey, but the marks of the seasoned disciple-maker’s life can be evidenced by greater depths of fruit (Gal. 5:22-23).

“Declaring” and “Discipling”–A Lot “Under the Hood”–

There is SIMPLICITY here in the announcement:  If you are waiting on, relying on the church to feed you spiritually, you are probably NOT a mature disciple.

Accounting For Different Relationships–

The church can only be a PART of the equation.  DISCIPLES, in declaring God’s Word, must have a personal relationship with JESUS (up), as well as relationships with other people in church (in), AND… relationships with people far from God (out).  Each set of relationships has a purpose in the life of a DISCIPLE–a follower of JESUS.

Philips, Craig and Dean bring to the forefront the thought of DECLARE IT–TO SAY SO in a popular song “Let the Redeemed”–

Let the redeemed declare it

Look what God has done

Tell of his endless mercy

And His everlasting love.

Let the redeemed declare it

Name above all names

Lift high this King most holy

Lavish Him with praise

Let the redeemed.

Now is the TIME FOR THE REDEEMED TO “SAY SO”–TO DECLARE WHAT HE HAS DONE and become MATURE DISCIPLES under Holy Spirit’s guidance!