VIDEO The Eternal Goal – The Necessity Of Enemies

The Eternal Goal

By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing…I will bless you… —Genesis 22:16-17

Abraham, at this point, has reached where he is in touch with the very nature of God. He now understands the reality of God.

My goal is God Himself…
At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.

“At any cost…by any road” means submitting to God’s way of bringing us to the goal.

There is no possibility of questioning God when He speaks, if He speaks to His own nature in me. Prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says, “Come,” I simply come; when He says, “Let go,” I let go; when He says, “Trust God in this matter,” I trust. This work of obedience is the evidence that the nature of God is in me.

God’s revelation of Himself to me is influenced by my character, not by God’s character.

’Tis because I am ordinary,
Thy ways so often look ordinary to me.

It is through the discipline of obedience that I get to the place where Abraham was and I see who God is. God will never be real to me until I come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ. Then I will know and can boldly proclaim, “In all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee.”

The promises of God are of no value to us until, through obedience, we come to understand the nature of God. We may read some things in the Bible every day for a year and they may mean nothing to us. Then, because we have been obedient to God in some small detail, we suddenly see what God means and His nature is instantly opened up to us. “All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen…” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Our “Yes” must be born of obedience; when by obedience we ratify a promise of God by saying, “Amen,” or, “So be it.” That promise becomes ours.

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


The Necessity Of Enemies

 

Power of Touch

Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. Mark 1:41 nlt

Dr. Paul Brand, twentieth-century pioneer medical missionary to India, saw firsthand the stigma associated with leprosy. During an appointment, he touched a patient to reassure him treatment was possible. Tears began to stream down the man’s face. An attendant explained the tears to Dr. Brand, saying, “You touched him and no one has done that for years. They are tears of joy.”

Early in His ministry, Jesus was approached by a man with leprosy, an ancient label for all types of infectious skin diseases. Because of his disease the man was required by the Old Testament law to live outside his community. If the sick man accidentally found himself in close proximity to healthy people, he had to call out, “Unclean! Unclean!” so they could avoid him (Leviticus 13:45–46). As a result, the man may have gone months or years without human contact.

Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. Jesus had the power and authority to heal people with just a word (Mark 2:11–12). But as Jesus encountered a man whose physical illness left him feeling isolated and rejected, His touch assured the man that he was not alone but accepted.

As God gives us opportunities, we can extend grace and show compassion with a gentle touch that conveys dignity and value. The simple, healing power of human touch goes a long way to remind hurting people of our care and concern.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the personal way You reached out to care for hurting people. Help me to follow Your example and extend compassion in my actions.

Caring for others may include a compassionate touch.

By Lisa Samra 

INSIGHT

After Jesus healed the leper, why did He warn him not to tell anyone? (Mark 1:44). The Scriptures don’t reveal Jesus’s motive, but what follows could provide a hint: “But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing.” The first priority was to show himself to the priest. Why? In ancient Israel, leprosy was seen as a physical disease with spiritual implications. Therefore, when the first symptoms were experienced, the afflicted person would go to the priest—not the doctor—to be diagnosed (Leviticus 13). If cleansing took place, the priest would need to confirm that healing. Additionally, the priest was required to offer a specific and unusually detailed sacrifice after a leper was cleansed (Leviticus 14). In the entire Old Testament there are only two recorded healings of lepers-Miriam (Numbers 12:10–15) and Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:1–14), and in neither case does the Scripture record that this specific, detailed sacrifice was made. Therefore, it’s quite possible that the first time this specific sacrifice was offered was in response to the healing described in Mark. But first the leper must “show [himself] to the priest” to have his healing confirmed.

Bill Crowder

The Spirit of the Antichrist

1 John 4:1-6

In the church, the word antichrist usually calls to mind the prophesied leader in power during the tribulation. But in the Bible, it more often refers to an anti-Christ spirit—in other words, demonic forces opposed to truth. Examples include false teachers (1 Timothy 4:1) and the negative influence of the world (see 1 Corinthians 2:12). John urged his readers to stand against enemies of the faith by using scriptural principles to evaluate their words and actions.

We are living in an “enlightened” age—or at least people think we are. Anyone with an opinion and a platform is welcome to share his or her version of truth. Subtly false messages come from places we might not expect, such as the business world, the entertainment industry, or the media. We could be tempted to think that these venues are separate from our faith. But just as our beliefs are to impact every aspect of our being, so a bit of poison injected into our professional life or leisure pursuits can contaminate other areas.

Believers, therefore, must be aware of the type of information and attitudes that enter the mind. We need a discerning spirit so we can look past a speaker’s charisma and eloquence and be able to rightly assess the message. But we will recognize an anti-Christ attitude only if we have a heart full of Scripture against which to compare it.

Your local bank tellers know when a counterfeit bill comes their way because they’ve memorized the details of a real dollar. In the same way, believers with sound biblical knowledge will recognize and discard an anti-Christ message or attitude when it reaches their ears.

Dead Works, deeds of the unsaved sinner

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and a faith toward God.” (Hebrews 6:1) 

The phrase “dead works” can be found only twice in the New Testament. In the first (our text), it refers to the deeds of the unsaved sinner from which he must turn away in salvation, while in the second, later in the same epistle, it refers to unprofitable deeds accomplished by the believer, from which we must also turn away (Hebrews 9:14).

Dead works are certainly not good works, but neither are they necessarily evil works. Rather, they are ineffective, useless acts that count for nothing. They are as different from evil or good works as wild fruit is from good fruit or bad fruit. In this analogy, while bad fruit looks unappealing and would never pass for food, wild fruit may have the appearance of good fruit but lacks flavor and nutritional value and would provide no useful function even if it were eaten. In just the same way, dead works, which may be of some humanitarian value, lack life—not stemming from proper motives and not being propelled by love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) and thus accomplish nothing of lasting value.

The non-Christian can pridefully indulge in such works, but this must be repented of at the point of salvation. Likewise, the Christian must replace his useless dead works with good works through the power of the Spirit of the living God. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).

May we continually submit all our efforts to Him, recognizing that service to the living God does not entail our dead works. JDM

The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work

2 Timothy 4

The chapter opens with a most solemn charge to young Timothy. Coming from one who was so soon to seal his testimony with his blood, Timothy must have felt the power of it as long as he lived. Aged believers should impress upon the young the value of the gospel

2 Timothy 4:1, 2

A minister is never off duty: he is not only to win souls whenever an opportunity occurs, but he is himself to make opportunities. Sound doctrine and seal must go together in equal proportions. Dr. Ryland well said, “No sermon is likely to be useful which has not the three R’s in it—Ruin by the Fall; Redemption by Christ; Regeneration by the Holy Spirit. My aim in every sermon is to call sinners, to quicken the saints, and to be made a blessing to all.”

2 Timothy 4:6

“I am already being poured out as a libation to God;” his sufferings had commenced, and he was ready to bear up under them even to death; yet how sweetly does he speak of his execution as a mere departure! He looked upon it only as a change of place, a removal to a better country.

2 Timothy 4:8

He looked on life as a battle, a race, and a trust, and having been faithful in all these he expected a gracious reward.

2 Timothy 4:10

As the leaves are gone in winter so do friends leave us in adversity.

2 Timothy 4:11

This proves that he had changed his opinion about Mark, concerning whom he had differed with Barnabas. The apostle was not like some who will never relent, he was as ready to praise, as once he was honest to censure.

2 Timothy 4:12, 13

Shivering in prison the poor and aged apostle needed his cloak. Desiring still to study the word of God he sent for his books and notes.

2 Timothy 4:14, 15

Paul spake as a prophet, not out of private anger, but because the man opposed the gospel.

2 Timothy 4:16, 17

Probably Nero, who well deserved this title. It was well for Paul that grace was given him under the terrible ordeal of facing such a monster of cruelly.

 

God hath laid up in heav’n for me,

A crown which cannot fade;

The righteous Judge at that great day

Shall place it on my head.

 

Nor hath the King of grace decreed

The crown for me alone;

But all that love and long to see

Th’ appearance of his Son.

 

The Ultimate Unity of All Things

For it pleased the Father… by him to reconcile all things unto himself… whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (Colossians 2:19-20)

If we are humble and sincere Christians, this should be one of the most welcome thoughts we have ever considered: the work of Christ in redemption will achieve ultimately the expulsion of sin, the only divisive agent in the universe!

When that is accomplished, God’s creation will once more realize the unification of all things. We who are men and women, though redeemed and regenerated, are submerged in time; therefore we properly say that prophecy is history foretold and history is prophecy fulfilled. But in God there is no “was” or “will be” but a continuous and unbroken “is.” In Him, history and prophecy are one and the same. God contains past and future in His own Being.

It is sin that has brought diversity, separation, dissimilarity. Sin has introduced divisions into a universe essentially one. We do not understand this, but we must let our faith rest on the character of God.

The concept of the unity of all things is seen in the Scriptures. Paul said that God will reconcile all things unto Himself, whether they be things in earth or in heaven!

 

God Never Forsakes

“For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.” Ps. 94:14

No, nor will He cast even so much as one of them. Man has his cast-offs, but God has none; for His choice is unchangeable, and His love is everlasting. None can find out a single person whom God has forsaken after having revealed Himself savingly to him.

This grand truth is mentioned in the psalm to cheer the heart of the afflicted. The Lord chastens His own; but He never forsakes them. The result of the double work of the law and the rod is our instruction, and the fruit of that instruction is a quieting of spirit, a sobriety of mind, out of which comes rest. The ungodly are let alone till the pit is digged into which they will fall and be taken; but the godly are sent to school to be prepared for their glorious destiny hereafter. Judgment will return and finish its work upon the rebels, but it will equally return to vindicate the sincere and godly. Hence we may bear the rod of chastisement with calm submission; it means not anger, but love.

“God may chasten and correct, But He never can neglect; May in faithfulness reprove, But He ne’er can cease to love.”

 

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