VIDEO The Submission of the Believer to the One Who Is Worthy

Our Lord never insists on having authority over us. He never says, “You will submit to me.” No, He leaves us perfectly free to choose— so free, in fact, that we can spit in His face or we can put Him to death, as others have done; and yet He will never say a word. But once His life has been created in me through His redemption, I instantly recognize His right to absolute authority over me. It is a complete and effective domination, in which I acknowledge that “You are worthy, O Lord…” (Revelation 4:11). It is simply the unworthiness within me that refuses to bow down or to submit to one who is worthy. When I meet someone who is more holy than myself, and I don’t recognize his worthiness, nor obey his instructions for me, it is a sign of my own unworthiness being revealed. God teaches us by using these people who are a little better than we are; not better intellectually, but more holy. And He continues to do so until we willingly submit. Then the whole attitude of our life is one of obedience to Him.

If our Lord insisted on our obedience, He would simply become a taskmaster and cease to have any real authority. He never insists on obedience, but when we truly see Him we will instantly obey Him. Then He is easily Lord of our life, and we live in adoration of Him from morning till night. The level of my growth in grace is revealed by the way I look at obedience. We should have a much higher view of the word obedience, rescuing it from the mire of the world. Obedience is only possible between people who are equals in their relationship to each other; like the relationship between father and son, not that between master and servant. Jesus showed this relationship by saying, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). “…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). The Son was obedient as our Redeemer, because He was the Son, not in order to become God’s Son.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The sympathy which is reverent with what it cannot understand is worth its weight in gold.  Baffled to Fight Better, 69 L


Revelation 5:6-10 Song “You are Worthy”

Apr 19, 2014

Revelation 5:6-10 (New King James Version NKJV)

6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”

Music Copyrighted 2010 by Esther Mui.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

Advertisements

Mightier than All

The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strengthPsalm 93:1

Iguazu Falls, on the border of Brazil and Argentina, is a spectacular waterfall system of 275 falls along 2.7 km (1.67 miles) of the Iguazu River. Etched on a wall on the Brazilian side of the Falls are the words of Psalm 93:4, “Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty!” (rsv). Below it are these words, “God is always greater than all of our troubles.”

The writer of Psalm 93, who penned its words during the time that kings reigned, knew that God is the ultimate King over all. “The Lord reigns,” he wrote. “Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity” (vv. 1–2). No matter how high the floods or waves, the Lord remains greater than them all.

Lord, I know that You are powerful and greater than any trouble that might come my way.

The roar of a waterfall is truly majestic, but it is quite a different matter to be in the water hurtling toward the falls. That may be the situation you are in today. Physical, financial, or relational problems loom ever larger and you feel like you are about to go over the falls. In such situations, the Christian has Someone to turn to. He is the Lord, “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20) for He is greater than all our troubles.

Lord, I know that You are powerful and greater than any trouble that might come my way. I trust You to carry me through.

Never measure God’s unlimited power by your limited expectations.

By C. P. Hia 

INSIGHT:Are there areas in your life that feel out of control? If so, you’re in good company. So many of the psalms were inspired by desperate feelings of fear and confusion. Yet they ended up as songs of hope in the God who has promised to never leave us or forsake us. But who is this God? The author of Psalm 93 identifies Him as the Lord (Yahweh). By contrast to legendary gods of war, fertility, weather, travel, or the hunt, He is the God who created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 2:4).

Consider the implications of such a Creator. Use the measure of modern astronomy. What kind of God speaks into existence billions of galaxies filled with trillions of suns far greater than our own? Yet even the cosmos is not the measure of His greatness. According to the New Testament (John 1:1–3, 14), the God of the Bible is the Lord who, in Jesus, showed that He is greater than our troubles by bearing our sins of indifference, neglect, and contempt. In the weakness of His crucifixion and by the power of His resurrection, He showed that even His love for us is greater than our sin. Mart DeHaan

Partners in Ministry

Acts 20:1-6

No one can dispute that the apostle Paul played a foundational role in the establishment of the early church. We generally think of him as the man who took the gospel to the ends of the civilized world of that era. But Paul never worked alone. Throughout the book of Acts and the Epistles, we catch glimpses of people who partnered with Paul in ministry.

In today’s reading, we meet a small missionary team—including Luke, the author of Acts—who accompanied Paul as he journeyed through Macedonia. Although we know little or nothing about most of them, each played an important part in the formation of the church. From God’s perspective, there are no insignificant people or ministries in the church of Jesus Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 12:1-31, Paul likens the church to a body, whose health depends on the proper functioning of all its various parts. The Holy Spirit gives each believer a special ability for service within the church. Although people like Paul, who have a more visible role, may seem more necessary, in reality every believer is essential. Behind-the-scenes services rendered by less visible people are never forgotten by the Lord.

To God, the issue is not who sees our service or knows what we’ve done; He’s interested in our obedience, attitude, and motive for serving Him. He doesn’t want us wallowing in self-pity or low self-esteem because our work isn’t noticed or appreciated. Instead, we should aspire to glorify the Lord and be faithful in whatever we do, knowing that He promises to reward our service and will not overlook our obedience.

Word Was Made Flesh

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

This is the definitive verse on the divine incarnation, when “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19), and the wealth of truth implied therein is beyond human comprehension. We can never understand how the infinite God could become finite man, but where the intellect fails, faith prevails.

It was the Word who “was God” and by whom “all things were made” (John 1:1, 3), yet He made His own human body, in the womb of Mary, and therein “dwelt among us” for 33 years. The Greek word here for “dwelt” is unusual, literally meaning “tabernacled.”

How could this be? “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). This is, indeed, a great mystery, “but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). God made a body for Adam; surely He could also make a perfect body in which He Himself could “tabernacle.” He was made “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3) and “was in all points tempted [i.e., tested] like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Since “God cannot be tempted with evil” (James 1:13), and since the Word, who was God, was merely tabernacling in the likeness of sinful flesh, this testing was to demonstrate to man (not to Himself) that He was without sin and therefore able to save sinners. Therefore, John could testify, “We beheld his glory!”

Jesus Christ is, indeed, true man—in fact, He is man as God intended man to be. Yet, neither in the womb of Mary, nor on the cross, did He ever cease to be God. HMM

“Flee from idolatry.”

Judges 17

Judges 17:1, 2

Very little was her blessing worth, since she had been so ready at cursing. Her silver was her god while it was in the form of shekels, quite as much as when it was fashioned into an image, or else she had not cursed because of the loss of it. Her son Micah, who became so ostentatiously religious, was a thief to begin with. A superstitious dread made him restore what his conscience did not forbid him to steal. The man was made of the right material to become a Ritualist.

Judges 17:3

An image was to be made contrary to the divine law, and yet it was to be dedicated unto Jehovah. Good intentions are no excuse for disobedience. Image-makers, now-a-days, tell us that they do not worship them, but worship God through them; if this be accepted as an apology, there remains no idolatry in the world. But God thinketh not so.

Judges 17:4, 5

Children imitate their parents. The mother makes one image, the son has a house-full of gods, and the grandson becomes a priest. If we once leave the spiritual worship of God, there is no telling how far we shall wander.

Judges 17:6

Which means that every man did what evil he liked.

Judges 17:10

It was but poor pay: two hundred shekels had been spent on an image, and now ten is thought enough for the priest. A rich idol they must have, even though the priest be poor as charity. The pay was worse when we remember that the Levite was selling his soul for the pittance. How degrading for a servant of the living God to be waiting upon dumb idols.

Judges 17:13

So superstition always talks. This was an ordained man and one of the regular clergy, therefore a blessing must attend his performances. Though the images and ephods were all forbidden, and the whole worship was a direct opposition to the Lord’s true worship at Jerusalem, yet they looked for a blessing because the priest was in the succession; even as in these days, those who set up crosses, and pictures, and altars—and so insult the Lord Jesus, nevertheless expect peculiar favours because of some imaginary apostolical succession. “God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Outward formalities and performances not commanded in Scripture, we ought not to sanction by our presence, but avoid them lest we partake in the sin of them.

 

Envyings, Murders, Drunkenness, Revellings

Galatians 5:19-21

When the Jewish leaders turned Jesus over to Pilate to be criminally tried in a court of law, Pilate knew they did it because they were jealous of the popularity that Jesus was gaining in the nation. Mark 15:10 says, “For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.”

The word “envy” in the above verse is the Greek word phthonos. It depicts a hostile feeling toward someone because that person has somethingan advantage, a benefit, a position—that the other does not possess but would like to have. The despicable feeling toward that person with a perceived advantage is so strong that the one who feels “envy” takes action to remove that person’s advantage in the hope that it will pass on to him. This kind of envy is evil, sinister, and full of maliciousness.

Mark 15:10 tells us that Pilate could see the real motives of the chief priests. Pilate knew the real issue: The chief priests felt threatened and insecure because of Jesus’ growing popularity. Pilate knew insecurity was driving the chief priests to demand that Jesus be charged with a criminal offense and that He be publicly declared guilty and crucified. Although the chief priests acted from a different pretense, the real issue was evident. They wanted to remove Jesus so that the publicity that had been focused on Him would shift back to the priesthood, where it had been before Jesus came on the scene. These horrible attitudes and appalling actions are communicated by the word “envy” in Mark 15:10.

Envy:

In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul included “envy” in the works of the flesh. As noted above, the word “envy” is the Greek word phthonos. This word implies a deeply felt grudge because someone possesses what a person wishes was his own. Because the person who feels envy has a chip on his shoulder, he begrudges what that other person possesses and is covetous of the person’s belongings, accomplishments, relationships, or titles in life. Every time he sees that other person, he inwardly seethes about his success. He deeply resents that person’s blessing and tries to figure out a way to seize it away from the person he envies in order to make it his own.

In the example given above, the chief priests were envious of the acclaim Jesus was gaining. To get rid of the competition, the chief priests therefore decided to kill Jesus. That is the way this type of envy reacts. It is so strong that it propels a person to take some kind of action—most often, some kind of evil action designed to do away with the person who has the advantage.

This may explain why the King James Version next mentions “murder.” The problem is, the word “murder” doesn’t appear in the Greek language! So we must ask, “Why did the King James translators insert the word ‘murder’ if it doesn’t appear in the original Greek?” The only possible answer is that they perceived this “envy” to be so strong that it would even drive a person to “murder” in order to get what he wants.

There are examples in classical literature where the word phthonos is also used to represent a person who uses others as stepping stones to get where he wants to be in terms of money, prestige, and power. This is an unscrupulous person who uses and abuses people so he might grasp the things he desires.

Perhaps you’ve seen this work of the flesh manifested at the office, your place of employment, or even at your church. Have you ever witnessed a moment when a fellow employee or believer tried to snuggle up close to you, but you found out later that this person was only feigning friendship? In reality, he didn’t want to be your friend; he just wanted to be close to you so he could befriend someone you knew. To get to that other person, he had to go through you. So he acted like your friend in order to gain his own advantage and then dropped you like a lead balloon.

Or perhaps someone acted as if he wanted to be your friend when in truth all he wanted was your job! This goes on in the secular world all the time, but it should not happen inside the church. Such behavior is hurtful, manipulative, and unkind. It wounds souls; it makes people feel like they have been abused; and it cheapens the concept of friendship. No wonder Paul calls envy a work of the flesh!

The next time you find yourself tempted to get envious over someone else’s blessing or position, call upon the Spirit of God to help you mortify that deed of the flesh. Put it to silence by deliberately choosing to rejoice when someone else gets blessed! What you sow is exactly what you will reap. If you sow anger, resentment, and bitterness, that negative harvest will come back to you in the future. But if you sow joy for those who have been blessed and who are ahead of you, a time will come when blessings will come back to you. Then people will rejoice with you about YOUR success!

Drunkenness:

The word “drunkenness” is from the word methe, which refers to strong drink or to drunkenness. The consumption of wine for the sake of intoxication was common in the first century due to many pagan religions that employed wine as a part of their religious practices.

For example, the religion of Bacchos (whom the Greeks called Dionysos) was centered around wine and intoxication. In fact, Bacchos was called the god of wine. Once the worshipers were completely inebriated due to their consumption of wine, they threw off all restraints and fully yielded themselves to every temptation of the flesh. Nothing was off limits. Plunging themselves into the most vulgar sexual excesses and unnatural acts, the participants attempted to breach every known moral code, committing the grossest extremes of sin possible in order to experience a realm of excess never before tasted or known to man. That was the deliberate goal of this religion; hence, the participants were drawn into perverted and shameless orgies. While under the influence of wine, the people fornicated as the priests beat drums and clanged cymbals, adding to the rage, emotions, and uncontrolled passion of the moment.

Often drugs were mixed together with the wine, which caused the participants to convulse or to dance in frenzied circles. This frenzied condition was called entheos—a compound of the words en and theos. The word en means in, and theos is the word for god. Thus, if a person was entheos, he was “in the control of a god.” Interestingly, this is where we get the word enthusiasm. It was believed that when a participant fell into one of these uncontrolled, frenzied moments, he had passed the moral barrier and was now caught in the control of a god or spirit. This entheos experience was the ultimate goal for those who participated in the religion of Bacchos.

The consumption of wine was a key factor in this pagan religion. But Bacchos was not the only religion that used wine. The use of wine was a widespread practice in nearly all the Greek and Roman religions. Recent archeological digs of ancient cities testify to the prevalent use of wine at that time. Great numbers of homes have been discovered with huge underground caverns designed to hold a vast supply of wine. In some of these sites, the houses were found to have openings in the floor through which a person could dip down into the massive wine supply below. The fact that this much wine was available to individual homes clearly demonstrates the major role that wine played in first-century society.

Paul knew that when flesh became absorbed with wine, a person lost his ability to think rationally, often leading to devastating excess. This is precisely why he told the Ephesian believers, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess…” (Ephesians 5:18). This word “excess” is the Greek word asotia, which when literally translated means one who has lost his ability to save or to spare himself. This is a person who wastes his life, squanders his money, or desecrates his body because he is drunk and cannot think straight. Due to a mind that has been altered by excessive alcohol consumption, this person thinks irrationally, acts irresponsibly, and commits acts of excess that would normally not even be a temptation.

The principal pagan religion of Ephesus was the worship of Artemis. This was another religion that employed vast amounts of wine in its worship. The Bible provides a strong indication that although the believers in Ephesus had been redeemed and delivered from the temple of Artemis, they were allowing the consumption of wine to remain a common feature in their lives. Paul urged them to stop this practice, telling them to put aside the wine and to “be filled with the Spirit” in its place. Paul knew that once these believers were under the influence of God’s Spirit, they would be positively affected! Under that influence, they would be so changed that they would start speaking to themselves in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).

A drunken state suppresses the mind’s ability to think correctly and releases the flesh to fully express itself. The believers in the first century were trying to walk free from the power of their flesh. The last thing they needed was to drink wine, inhibit their ability to think correctly, revive the flesh, and then do things that were sinful or damaging! So Paul urged them to leave the wine alone! The undisciplined consumption of wine only leads to the works of the flesh!

Revellings:

Last in his list of the works of the flesh is the word “revellings.” This interesting word comes from the Greek word komoi, which describes a festive procession or merry-making. Most who see the word “revellings” imagine that it refers to drunkenness, street fights, or those who run from one drunken party to the next. Is this what you thought this word means? Let’s look at it and see what it really means in the original Greek!

The word komoi (“revellings”) describes a person who can’t bear the thought of boredom and is therefore continually seeking different forms of amusement or entertainment. This person is actually afraid of being bored, so he constantly contemplates what he can do next to have fun or to be entertained. The word komoi can refer to a person who endlessly eats at parties or who seeks constant laughter and hilarity. Certainly there is nothing wrong with laughter; the problem with this person is that he is consumed with the need for comedy, light moments, fun, pleasure, entertainment, or constant eating. He lives for the next meal, the next restaurant, the next movie, the next vacation.

In Second Timothy 3:4, Paul prophesies that this kind of hedonism would be an especially prevalent problem in the last days. He wrote that in the last days, people would be “lovers of pleasures.” These words come from the Greek word philedonos, which is a compound of the words philos and hedone. The word philos means to love, and the word hedone means something that tastes sweet or something that is pleasant or enjoyable. In classical Greece, it denoted the exaltation of pleasure, especially signified by the freedom to sexually express oneself. Any sexual expression was permissible as long as the parties involved agreed. In other words, there was no moral standard when hedonism ruled ancient Greece. Of the five times where the word hedone is used in the New Testament, it is used in a bad sense to describe the unrestrained seeking of carnal pleasures.

By using the word philedonos (“lovers of pleasures”), Paul tells us explicitly that in the last days people will be obsessed with pleasure—with eating, partying, and entertainment. They will be preoccupied with new methods to alleviate boredom. Life will become so soft and luxurious that people will overeat, be lazy, take unwarranted time off work, exist on borrowed money, and permit questionable moral behavior—all the while thinking that this is a normal, acceptable way to live.

Now do you see why Paul included “revellings” in his list of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21? The flesh wants to escape responsibility, thrive on fun, and avoid the seriousness of life. If you let your flesh lead you, it will waste your time, your talents, and your energies on things that are not eternal. You’ll spend all your time watching television, going to movies, and eating at restaurants—and in the end, you’ll have nothing to show for it but tons of credit card debt. One day you’ll hold your credit card bills in your hands and realize that you are head over heels in debt because of a few fleeting moments of pleasure. Were all those fleshly pursuits really worth the slavery to debt that you now have to live with for the next couple of years?

You see, that is what the flesh wants to do to you. It says, “Come on, it will feel so good if you do this. It’s true that you probably shouldn’t, but just one more time won’t hurt. Besides, what else do you have to do? There’s nothing to do at home!”

The truth is, there is plenty to do at home! You could be reading your Bible; playing with your children; developing your relationship with your brothers and sisters; visiting your neighbors; volunteering to serve in some area of your church; mowing your yard; learning to cook; cleaning the garage; or reading a book and developing your mind. There is a host of things you could do that would be healthy for you and your family!

So the next time your flesh says “There’s nothing to do! It’s so boring!”—just take a look inside your garage; check the condition of your backyard; or peek into your clothes closet. I think you’ll see that there is plenty for you to do to keep from being bored! Your flesh may recoil from doing these things, but afterward you’ll feel like a champion! You’ll feel so good that you didn’t go into more debt for more stuff you don’t need. You’ll be so thankful you didn’t waste your precious time doing things that don’t matter. And you’ll feel so victorious for accomplishing something that has needed your attention for a very long time! Somebody say, “Amen!”

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, help me the next time I am tempted to get envious over someone else’s blessing or position. Help me to keep my head on straight and not to allow things in my life that will recharge my flesh and stir me up to do things that are sinful or wrong. Forgive me for thinking that I constantly have to be entertained. I’m so sorry that I’ve wasted so much of my time and thrown away so much money on things that don’t matter. I don’t want to be dominated by my flesh anymore. Today I am calling on You to help me break away from my past patterns so I can start on a new and higher path!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am not dominated by the flesh but by the Spirit of God. I am completely committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and to doing what pleases Him most with my life. I refuse to let my flesh lead me astray, and I have decided to take up my cross and follow wherever Jesus leads me. I am serious about life; I am serious about doing what God wants me to do; and I am a good steward of my time, resources, and talents.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. The next time you feel tempted to get envious over someone else’s blessing or position, what are you going to do about it? Remember—what you sow is exactly what you will reap!
  2. What changes do you need to make in your life to stop reactivating and recharging the power of your flesh? Is there any habit, hobby, preoccupation, or relationship you have that encourages you to think or to act wrong?
  3. The next time your flesh says, “There’s nothing to do! It’s so boring!” what are you going to do? Will you grab a newspaper so you can see what is being shown at the local movie theater, or will you decide to do something productive and edifying?

 

Going Through Some Tough Times?

Then consider Romans 8:28-39:

 

Whatever happens, I can trust God, realizing He is using life’s circumstances to conform me into Christlikeness:

 

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Vs. 28-30)

 

The fact that people are against me pales in light of the fact that He will furnish all that I need in life, including Christ Himself:

 

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Vs. 31, 32)

 

Accusations against me are meaningless in view of the fact that Christ is in constant communication with the Father on my behalf:

 

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Vs. 33, 34)

 

I can rest in the assurance of Christ’s love as He promises me complete victory in every situation:

 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Vs. 35-37)

 

No controlling factors in life can separate me from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus:

 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Vs. 38, 39)

 

 

%d bloggers like this: