Sunday, June 29, 2008

Out of Pawn

Monday, June 30, 2008: Galatians 3:11–14

But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Background: The letter to the Galatians was to explain that we are not bound to live the Law, but to live by faith.
What is the CURSE of the law? We were under its penalty. Christ has paid the price for us. We don’t have to pay the penalty and have the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008: Galatians 4:1–7

Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

What is the problem of being under the LAW? We have the presence of the Law above us. Christ has removed the presence of the Law from us. No longer slaves, we are sons of God. Ours is now the Law of Love!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008: Ephesians 5:15–20

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Colossians 4:5–6

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one

What does redeeming the time mean? We spend our time earning money; with this we buy things. If we need money in an emergency, we pawn our possessions and buy them back when we can. Redeeming time is a metaphor: if we are wise, we make use of time by doing what God wants us to do. The opposite of this is getting so deep in debt that we take a second job just to meet payments, but have no life left.

Thursday, July 3, 2008: Isaiah 52:3

For thus says the Lord: “You have sold yourselves for nothing, And you shall be redeemed without money.”

Hosea 13:14

“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.
O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes.”

What does redeemed w/o money mean? The price paid by Jesus Christ for our sins was His death on the cross. His being raised from the dead implies that we are no longer under the penalty of death.

Friday, July 4, 2008: 1 Corinthians 15:51–57

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

What is this mystery? Not all believers in Jesus Christ will suffer death. At the last trumpet, we shall put on incorruptibility and immortality!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hnshackled Automatically!

Monday, June 23, 2008: Acts 12:3–5
And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.
Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.

Background: The Lord has risen from the dead and ascended to heaven. He has left His apostles the Great Commission of spreading the gospel. The Jews still reject the gospel of Jesus Christ. Herod probably wanted to finance a project and needed favor with the Jewish leadership. He had arrested James, the brother of John and put him to death. Seeing that it pleased the Jews, he now he arrests Peter.

What was the restriction imposed on Peter? Peter was under arrest and given to four squads of soldiers to guard personally around the clock in prison.
What was the conspiracy to release Peter planning? The believers in the early Church prayed constantly to God for Peter’s release.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008: Acts 12:6–8
And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.”

What was Peter’s condition that night? He was asleep, chained to two soldiers, with prison guards at the doors of the cell.
What miraculous events took place? An angel stood by peter, a light (invisible to others) shone, and his chains fell off.
In spite of these miracles, what was Peter to do? He was told to get dressed and follow the angel. He did.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008: Acts 12:9–10
So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.

Did the prison have an automatic iron gate as main door? At that moment, yes, it did. The words ‘of its own accord,’ is automatic, an original Greek word!

Thursday, June 26, 2008: Mark 4:13–14, 26–29
And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word.
And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Background: The Lord Jesus Christ spoke to His people, the Jews in parables about the Kingdom of God. It was a spiritual Kingdom and a parable was a heavenly story with an earthly meaning; an analogy to understand spiritual things with earthly examples. The seed is the Word of God, the Bible.

How does a seed become a plant? Automatically! The words ‘by itself,’ is automatic, an original Greek word!

Friday, June 27, 2008: Daniel 4:35–37
All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.

Background: Daniel foretells the pride of the King and its consequences. The warning is forgotten. After spending seven years in a brutish fashion, the King recognizes God as sovereign. Recognizing Gods heavenly kingdom, the King repents of his pride and receives his understanding back.

Why should we pray instead of fighting our battles? Because only the hand of God cannot be restrained.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage!
All words in red come from the same word in Greek, ἀνάγω; an-ag'-o; to lead up; by extension to bring out; specifically to sail away; depart, launch, lead, loose, offer, sail, set forth, take up.
Monday, June 16, 2008: Luke 2:22
Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.
Background: A firstborn male, the baby Jesus is redeemed as required by the law in Exodus 13:15.
Why was this redemption by sacrifice needed? It was to remind Israel that God (not Moses) had brought Israel out of bondage (a picture of sin) by the 10th plague, the death of Egypt’s firstborn. The terrible price paid was to be epitomized of God giving His own son to be sacrificed for mankind’s sin.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008: Matthew 3:17-4:1
And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
… and Luke 4:5
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
Background: Before Jesus Christ launched forth on preaching the gospel, he underwent baptism by John the Baptist. He allowed Himself to be taken (or instantly transported) first by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness and next by the Devil to strategic locations.
Why was Christ tempted? To please God, one must be obedient to Him in all respects. This was to prove Christ as one tested by temptation.

Wednesday, June 18, Luke 22:66–67a
As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying, “If You are the Christ, tell us.”
Background: These are the events that followed Christ’s late night arrest. After He preaches the gospel flawlessly, the administrators fault Him before the leadership of the Jews.
Is the question asked an accusation? No, it is an attempt to build a case by self-incrimination. This has never been correct procedure but a blatant miscarriage of justice.

Thursday, June 19, 2008: Romans 10:6–9
But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Background: In Romans 10, Paul is concerned about his own people, the Jews, attempting to get right before God by what they do. He emphasizes that it is faith in what Christ has already done that makes us right before God.
What do the two questions mean? These rhetorical questions are simply saying that you can’t do the impossible: only Jesus Christ has done this and God has raised him from the dead.

Friday, June 20, 2008: Hebrews 13:20–21
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Background: This is almost the end of the letter to the Hebrews. It’s a blessing and contains a profound concept: it is not what you do, but what God does in your surrendered life.
How does the concept ‘great Shepherd of the sheep’ fit in? Jesus Christ shed His blood as a sacrifice for the sin of mankind. After His death, God brings Him up from the dead and declares Him as the one who has brought His sheep into eternal protection.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Heavenly Father

The Heavenly Father
Monday, June 9, 2008: John 8:28–29
Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
Background: The gospel of John, the son of Zebedee and the brother of James, was also known as the disciple whom Jesus loved. His beginning clearly expresses Jesus Christ as God.
What does ‘lifting up the Son of Man’ refer to? It is the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ that was done in obedience to the Father’s will.
Did the Father ever forsake Jesus or leave Him alone? No, He did not. God did forsake Him when He bore the punishment for our sin during three hours of darkness on the cross. Jesus Christ said so: ‘My God, why have you forsaken Me?’ But the Father never forsook the Son, for He sai, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend My Spirit!’
Tuesday, June 10, 2008: Matthew 26:28–29
Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
Background: Matthew, also named Levi, was a hated tax collector for the Romans before he became a disciple.
Is ‘this is My blood,’ a miracle, a simile or a metaphor? One of the latter choices because of the following line that clearly identifies it as fruit of the vine, not blood. Note clearly that there is going to be a celebration in the coming kingdom of our heavenly Father.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008: Matthew 26:39, 42
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
What was in the cup? Even though we are not told specifically, it is reasonable to state that this is the cup of the sin of mankind. Christ drank what was repugnant to Him to fulfill the will of His Heavenly Father.
Thursday, June 12, 2008: Luke 2:48–49
So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Background: Luke was a Physician and a companion of Paul. It is possible that he was not a Jew but a Gentile.
Why was the carpenter’s son teaching in the Temple at a young age? He was the Son of God and Joseph, the carpenter, was His stepfather.
Friday, June 13, 2008: Philippians 2:9–11
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Background: The Assembly at Philippi was first established during Paul’s second missionary journey in AD 51; the letter was written in AD 61 during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome.
What will happen in Glory when the name Jesus is mentioned? First, everyone will bow the knee. Second, everyone will say Lord Jesus Christ. It is fitting for us to do so even now.
We are the only group that address God as our Heavenly Father.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Bottomless Pit

The Bottomless Pit
ἄβυσσον; ab’-us-on, without depth, depthless, bottomless (pit) [G12.]
Monday, May 2, 2008 Luke 8:30-31
Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.
Was the man answering the Lord Jesus, or was it the demons? The demons. Next, they plead with the Lord NOT to be consigned to the bottomless pit.
Are there demons loose today? There is no biblical reason to rule this out: I believe there are some demons loose today but have not had personal experience.

Tuesday, May 3, 2008: Romans 10:6-9
But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
What does the doubter say? Nothing will bring the Messiah down from heaven to suffer and enter the bottomless pit for us, because who will bring Him out of the abyss of death
What does the faithful say? I say Jesus Christ is (not was) Lord and believe that God has raised Him from the pit! I am saved!

Wednesday, May 4, 2008: Revelation 9:1–2, 11
Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.
And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.
What did the star who came from heaven to earth at the sound of the 5th trumpet do? The angel unlocked and opened the bottomless pit, unleashing thick smoke. In this smoke was a pestilence of locusts who had a king over them named Abaddon or Apollyon.

Thursday, May 5. 2008: Revelation 11:6-8
These (my two witnesses) have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
What happens to the two witnesses? After their work is done, the BEAST who ascends out of the bottomless pit kills them and their dead bodies lie in the streets three days. Later verses point to their coming to life again.

Friday, May 6, 2008: Revelation 20:1-3
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
Who is the serpent of old (Genesis 3)? He is clearly identified in these verses as the dragon, the Devil who is Satan. The Angel who has the key to the bottomless pit shuts Satan in the pit and seals the deceiver for 1,000 years.