Nov 25, 2016
The key to the missionary’s message is the propitiation of Christ Jesus— His sacrifice for us that completely satisfied the wrath of God. Look at any other aspect of Christ’s work, whether it is healing, saving, or sanctifying, and you will see that there is nothing limitless about those. But— “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”— that is limitless (John 1:29). The missionary’s message is the limitless importance of Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins, and a missionary is someone who is immersed in the truth of that revelation.
The real key to the missionary’s message is the “remissionary” aspect of Christ’s life, not His kindness, His goodness, or even His revealing of the fatherhood of God to us. “…repentance and remission of sins should be preached…to all nations…” (Luke 24:47). The greatest message of limitless importance is that “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins….” The missionary’s message is not nationalistic, favoring nations or individuals; it is “for the whole world.” When the Holy Spirit comes into me, He does not consider my partialities or preferences; He simply brings me into oneness with the Lord Jesus.
A missionary is someone who is bound by marriage to the stated mission and purpose of his Lord and Master. He is not to proclaim his own point of view, but is only to proclaim “the Lamb of God.” It is easier to belong to a faction that simply tells what Jesus Christ has done for me, and easier to become a devotee of divine healing, or of a special type of sanctification, or of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But Paul did not say, “Woe is me if I do not preach what Christ has done for me,” but, “…woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16). And this is the gospel— “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
Civilization is based on principles which imply that the passing moment is permanent. The only permanent thing is God, and if I put anything else as permanent, I become atheistic. I must build only on God (John 14:6). The Highest Good—Thy Great Redemption, 565 L
1 Peter 2:13-17
God gave the people of Israel the Old Testament to instruct them and to offer the nation hope. The Father’s commands were designed not to ruin His children’s fun, but rather to help them avoid harm.
In Deuteronomy 8:19, we see that God holds believers accountable: He will bless and protect them, but if they turn away, they can expect His judgment. Were He to operate in any other way, He would be permissive and unreliable. But we can trust the Lord to do exactly what He says, because the Bible records that’s just how He interacted with His beloved nation of Israel. In fact, Israel’s history was a continuous cycle of blessing, waywardness, judgment, repentance, and blessing. If God deals with the “apple of His eye” this way, what can we expect?
We can count on the Lord being true to His principles, no matter which country we call home. According to Romans 13, believers are to be respectful, responsible citizens because “all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God” (Rom. 13:1, Rom. 13:6-7 NLT). Those who observe His standards can anticipate blessing, just as repercussions await those who ignore biblical principles.
The Lord is long-suffering, but if we deliberately ignore His guidance, we can expect to deal with the consequences. 2 Chronicles 7:14 encouraged believers of that day to humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways. We must do the same if we want God to hear from heaven and heal our lands.
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
There were four thieves closely involved in the events surrounding the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. The first of these was one of His own disciples. “[Judas] was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein” (John 12:6). It was Judas, of course, who betrayed Christ, facilitating His arrest and conviction.
The second was not only a thief but also a revolutionary and a murderer. “Barabbas . . . who had committed murder in the insurrection . . . was a robber” (Mark 15:7; John 18:40). This convicted criminal, appointed to death, was released and Jesus condemned in his stead. Thus, Barabbas benefited temporarily from Christ, receiving an unexpected and undeserved liberty because Christ was willing to go to the cross.
“Then were there two thieves crucified with him” (Matthew 27:38). Their names are not given in the Bible, but their attitudes toward Christ, and therefore their ultimate destinies, were diametrically different. One of them berated Christ, saying, “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us” (Luke 23:39).
The fourth thief, on the other hand, believed Christ, and therefore heard His saving words: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
All were thieves, deserving punishment. One was a betrayer, ending his life in suicide; one was a beneficiary, though only for a time; one was a berater, destined for hell; but one was a believer, receiving salvation and eternal life. Jesus, who received the penalty for thievery, can save even the thief, for He came “that they might have life, and . . . have it more abundantly.” HMM
Solomon by his wisdom brought great prosperity to his tuition, and made the country the centre of trade and commerce. His royal establishment was conducted upon the most sumptuous scale.
1 Kings 4:22, 23
But what is this compared with the provision which loads the table of the King of kings, by whose bounty all the saints are fed?
1 Kings 4:25
So, too, where Jesus rules peace reigns undisturbed.
1 Kings 4:26
This was a forbidden luxury, for the Hebrew kings were commanded not to multiply horses. In this Solomon erred.
1 Kings 4:27-34
See how well the Lord fulfilled his promise. He gave him wisdom in no stinted measure.
1 Kings 10:14, 15
He built stations for the caravans, and received a toll of the merchants, besides gaining great wealth by purchasing the produce of the East, and selling it to the Western nations.
1 Kings 10:18-20
But how much mere glorious will be the throne of our Lord in the day of his appearing!
1 Kings 10:21-23
Thus again the promise was fulfilled, and wealth followed wisdom. Who would not trust so faithful a God?
Behold your King, your Saviour crown’d
With glories all divine;
And tell the wondering nations round
How bright those glories shine.
Infinite power and boundless grace
In him unite their rays;
You, that have e’er beheld his face,
Can you forbear his praise?
1 Peter 3:10, 11
Do you want a good marriage? Do you want to live a long and happy life with your spouse? If your answer is “Yes, that’s exactly what I want,” you need to pay close attention to the words of Peter recorded in First Peter 3:10, 11. It says, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”
Peter tells us that if a spouse wants to experience a full life and see good days together with his or her mate, that spouse must learn to “… refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” The word “refrain” is the word pauo, which means to pause. It means to take a break; to take a rest; or to cease from what one is doing. The word “evil” is the Greek word kakos, the word for something that is evil, vile, foul, or destructive. In this context, it implies ugly words that, when spoken, bring destruction and harm.
Can you think of a time when you got so angry that you exploded and spewed destructive words? Were you sorry later that you said those words? That is what Peter is talking about here. He is basically saying, “If you want to have a long and happy life together, you have to learn how to refrain from saying ugly, hurtful, and destructive things to each other. It’s time for you to cease from this behavior!”
Then Peter urges husbands and wives to make sure their lips “speak no guile.” The word “guile” is the word dolos, an old Greek word that carries the idea of trickery and manipulation.
Manipulation and dishonesty are destructive to a marital relationship. When a husband and wife manipulate, deceive, or lie to each other, they create an atmosphere of distrust that disrupts their ability to maintain a peaceful, harmonious home. Talk to any marital counselor, and he or she will tell you that deception and manipulation in a marriage is very destructive to the trust that is required to keep the marriage relationship strong. That’s why Peter urges spouses to stay out of the deception and manipulation business!
So if you want to have a good life and a happy marriage, you must learn to take a lifelong break from speaking evil. You must also determine in your heart that you will no longer play the manipulation game with your spouse! Peter says that instead of taking that wrong route, you must “eschew evil.”
The word “eschew” is the Greek word ekklino, from the word ek and klino. The word ek means out, and the word klino means to turn. When they are used as one word, it means to turn aside or to intentionally turn away from something.
This means that instead of following the volatile and destructive patterns that have been a part of the marriage for so long, a spouse who wants to change must determine to put aside these negative practices. There must be an intentional turning away from every destructive behavior pattern and an intentional turning toward those actions that build trust and make a relationship strong and healthy. This is why Peter goes on to say that spouses must “do good.”
The word “do” is the word poieo, the Greek word that means to do something. But as noted earlier (see January 15), the word poieo also carries with it the idea of creativity. In other words, if we can’t easily think of a way to do good to our spouses, we need to get creative and put some effort into thinking of ways to bless and to be a blessing to them!
The word “good” is the word agathos, a word that suggests actions that are good, profitable, beneficial, and virtuous. So if you want your marriage to be blessed, strong, long-lasting, and healthy, you must deliberately look for ways to be a blessing. Find ways to become a benefit to your spouse!
Peter tells husbands and wives to “seek peace” instead of constantly getting into conflicts with each other. The word “seek” is the Greek word zelos. It describes a fierce determination to have something or to become something. The Greek tense Peter uses when he writes the word zelos implies a constant and arduous seeking to obtain something, not just an occasional attempt. This person is straining forward with all his might. He is committed; he has a never-give-up attitude; and he will not stop until he finally obtains that which he deeply desires!
What is the treasure that Peter tells spouses to seek after? Peace! Anyone who has been successfully married for a long period of time will tell you that “peace” in a marriage doesn’t happen accidentally. If a husband and wife are able to live together in peace and harmony, they have achieved that goal through hard work, patience, understanding, and a never-give-up desire to have peace in their relationship.
Many events and misunderstandings can occur to disrupt peace in a relationship, so your desire for marital peace must be stronger than any of these other forces. If you’re not totally fixed on having peace with your spouse, the devil will find a way to constantly get in between the two of you.
Peter says that if you’re going to have this kind of peace between you and your spouse, you must “ensue” it. The word “ensue” is the Greek word dioko, an old Greek word that means to hunt, to chase, or to pursue. It was a hunting term used to illustrate a hunter who is so committed to getting his trophy that he goes out into the forest and begins to literally stalk that animal. He follows the tracks and the scent of the animal; he watches, waits, and strategizes. And because of the hunter’s careful planning and determined following of that animal, eventually he gets his game!
Isn’t it interesting that Peter would use this word to tell us how we should seek after peace? This means peace won’t come to us by accident. If we are going to have peace in our relationships—especially our marital relationship—we must put on our hunting clothes and develop a plan for peace! If necessary, we must be willing to stalk peace—following its tracks and its scent and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, strategizing on how to finally obtain peace in our marriage relationship!
Remember, we live in a day when marriages are quickly made and quickly dissolved. Therefore, if you see a healthy marriage that has lasted through many years, realize that this couple has worked very hard to have such a good relationship.
I urge you to take Peter’s words deep into your heart. Determine to do everything you can to make your marriage strong and healthy. It’s going to take hard work and commitment to make it happen. But if you want to experience a happy, fulfilling life with your spouse, every bit of that hard work will be well worth it in the long run!
Lord, help me to become more committed to my marriage. Forgive me for being a contributor to strife and conflict, and teach me how to refrain my tongue from speaking evil so I can bring benefit and blessing to my spouse. Open my heart and my eyes, Lord. Show me things I can do to encourage my mate. No one has more influence in my spouse’s life than I do, so I am asking You to help me to be the right kind of influence he (or she) needs!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I confess that I am a great encouragement to my spouse! I work hard on my marriage. I find ways to be a blessing. The Spirit of God is showing me the steps I need to take to obtain peace with my spouse. I am not a source of conflict, and I refuse to let the devil use me any longer. From this day forward, the enemy will not use my lips as his entryway into my marriage. I will do everything needed to make my marriage strong and healthy, just the way Jesus wants it to be!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Life is unfair: The righteous suffer while evil men prevail. Justice is capricious as life appears to unfold in random fashion: Innocent children are victims of war and flood, while piggish dictators ravage their people for personal gain. Good people get cancer and the brutish often live in wealth and enjoy good health into old age. (Ecclesiastes 3:11; 7:15; 8:14; Daniel 4:35; Job 11:7-9; 33:13; Romans 11:33, 34)
One could reason: If God is good, then He is weak. Otherwise He would stop the suffering and injustice. If He is strong and sovereign, then He is cruel or indifferent for allowing the carnage to continue. The book of Job however, shatters such thinking.
Here is the essence of Job: One day Satan, in conversing with God, accuses Job of following God because He is blessing him. In order to demolish his argument, God gives Satan permission to take everything of Job‘s except his life. As Job loses his health, children, and resources, his “friends“ argue that his suffering is due to his sin. In the end, God vindicates Job, and restores everything twofold.
FIVE CONCLUSIONS FROM THE BOOK OF JOB:
1. God reserves the right to use us for His glory as He so chooses:
“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth… Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself ?” (Exodus 9:16; Job 40:8) (See Isaiah 45:9; 64:8)
2. Job demonstrates the fact that it is possible, amidst extreme suffering to maintain one’s faith:
“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother‘s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.‘” (Job 1:20, 21) (See Job 1:22; 13:15)
3. Job’s counselors wrongly assumed that his tribulations were related to sin; that righteous people always prosper, while suffering is always our punishment for engaging in evil:
“If [the righteous] obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.” (Job 36:11)
4. Suffering deeply enhanced Job’s relationship with God:
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5)
5. God owes us no explanation for His actions. He gave Job none.”
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)