VIDEO The Offering of the Natural – Abraham’s Two Sons

The Offering of the Natural

It is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. —Galatians 4:22

Paul was not dealing with sin in this chapter of Galatians, but with the relation of the natural to the spiritual. The natural can be turned into the spiritual only through sacrifice. Without this a person will lead a divided life. Why did God demand that the natural must be sacrificed? God did not demand it. It is not God’s perfect will, but His permissive will. God’s perfect will was for the natural to be changed into the spiritual through obedience. Sin is what made it necessary for the natural to be sacrificed.

Abraham had to offer up Ishmael before he offered up Isaac (see Genesis 21:8-14). Some of us are trying to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God before we have sacrificed the natural. The only way we can offer a spiritual sacrifice to God is to “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice…” (Romans 12:1). Sanctification means more than being freed from sin. It means the deliberate commitment of myself to the God of my salvation, and being willing to pay whatever it may cost.

If we do not sacrifice the natural to the spiritual, the natural life will resist and defy the life of the Son of God in us and will produce continual turmoil. This is always the result of an undisciplined spiritual nature. We go wrong because we stubbornly refuse to discipline ourselves physically, morally, or mentally. We excuse ourselves by saying, “Well, I wasn’t taught to be disciplined when I was a child.” Then discipline yourself now! If you don’t, you will ruin your entire personal life for God.

God is not actively involved with our natural life as long as we continue to pamper and gratify it. But once we are willing to put it out in the desert and are determined to keep it under control, God will be with it. He will then provide wells and oases and fulfill all His promises for the natural (see Genesis 21:15-19).

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Defenders of the faith are inclined to be bitter until they learn to walk in the light of the Lord. When you have learned to walk in the light of the Lord, bitterness and contention are impossible. Biblical Psychology


J.R. Church: The Sons of Ishmael

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The Lord’s

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16

It doesn’t take much to notice that getting “inked” is very popular these days. Some tattoos are so small that one barely notices them. Others—from athletes to actors to everyday people—have opted to cover much of their bodies with multicolored inks, words, and designs. The trend seems like it’s here to stay, a trend that netted $3 billion in revenue in 2014—and an additional $66 million for tattoo removal.

Regardless of how you may feel about tattoos, Isaiah 44 speaks metaphorically about people writing something on their hands: “The Lord’s” (v. 5). This “self-tattoo” is the climax of an entire paragraph that speaks of the Lord’s care for those He had chosen (v. 1). They could count on His help (v. 2); and their land and descendants were marked for blessing (v. 3). Two simple, powerful words, “The Lord’s,” affirmed that God’s people knew they were His possession and that He would take care of them.

Those who come to God through faith in Jesus Christ can confidently say of themselves, “The Lord’s!” We are His people, His sheep, His offspring, His inheritance, His dwelling. These are the things we cling to in the varied seasons of life. While we may have no external mark or tattoo, we can take heart that we have the witness of God’s Spirit in our hearts that we belong to Him (see Romans 8:16–17).

Father, the expressions of Your love and care are all around me and Your Spirit lives within me. Thank You!

How can the truth that you belong to God impact how you live?

By Arthur Jackson 

INSIGHT

Isaiah was the most prolific of the writing prophets, but the great size of his book is eclipsed in importance by its content. Commentator John Gill wrote: “He should rather be called an evangelist than a prophet . . . certain it is that no one writes so fully and clearly of the person, offices, grace, and kingdom of Christ; of his incarnation and birth of a virgin; of his sufferings and death, and the glory that should follow, as [Isaiah] does.” Isaiah’s focus on Messiah and His mission was vital to preparing the way for Christ’s coming, for it provided Israel with critical identifiers of Christ and certain hope in His promised victory.

For more on Isaiah, check out Knowing God Through Isaiah at discoveryseries.org/sb151.

Bill Crowder

Trusting God’s Faithfulness

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Is there something God has told you to do that seems too difficult? If He has called you to carry out His will, you can trust that He’s faithful to accomplish it through His Spirit living and working in you. So if you tell Him, “I can’t do that, Lord—what if I fail?” you’re actually doubting that God keeps His word. And yet, our total expectation should be in Him—not in our own energy, ability, or experience.

When you doubt God’s trustworthiness, unbelief becomes a gap in your spiritual armor, and it is where Satan wants to attack you. You’ll begin to doubt other elements of God’s character, such as His goodness—and distrust will become baggage that’ll weigh you down in every area of life.

You might feel that you do not have enough faith to obey, but the Lord isn’t asking you to trust in favorable circumstances. He’s asking you to believe that He is who He says He is.

It’s easy to doubt God when you’re focused on the obstacles in front of you, but when you fix your eyes on Him and believe what Scripture says about His faithfulness, then you can do anything He requires. No matter what lies ahead, remember that God is not a liar, and He is faithful. You’ll be strengthened by your dependence on Him—whether a deluge of trials or a flood of blessings comes.

It’s actually when life gets rough that you’ll recognize the reality and sweetness of God’s faithfulness. As you walk through those storms in complete reliance on His strength, your trust in His character will become part of who you are and provide strength from within.

Man of God

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1 Timothy 6:11) 

There are just two places in the New Testament where a person is called a “man of God” (both of which are in Paul’s letters to Timothy), and they reveal the attributes which warrant us to call someone a man (or woman) of God.

The first occurrence, found in our text, tells us that such a person should, first of all, not be one who loves money and the material things money can buy, for “the love of money is the root of all evil” (see previous verse, 1 Timothy 6:10). Instead, his pursuit should be after personal righteousness and godliness, as well as stronger faith, more genuine love for others, more patience, and true meekness.

Speaking of meekness (not weakness), Moses was called “the man of God” in the very first use of this phrase in the whole Bible, and we are told that “the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Yet, he was able to lead two million Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and then through 40 years in the Sinai desert.

The second New Testament reference to the “man of God” is in reference to his use of the Scriptures. He will recognize that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God. . . . That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Thus, the essential characteristics of a true man of God will be a great desire for personal righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and strong meekness, accompanied by the avoidance of any taint of greed or covetousness. In terms of his Christian beliefs, he will have an unshakable confidence in the verbal inerrant truth and authority of the Holy Scriptures. HMM

Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ

1 John 1

The apostle John plunges at once into his subject, and begins to discourse upon the Word made flesh, in whom his soul delighted.

1 John 1:1-3

How strong are John’s expressions as to the certainty of our Lord’s having appeared in the flesh. He had been heard, seen, studiously observed, and actually touched; his appearing was no fiction or pious legend, but a sure matter of fact, and he who appeared was none other than Jesus, the eternal life.

1 John 1:4

Fellowship with Jesus and joy lie so closely together, that the apostle could aim at both at the same time.

1 John 1:5

These little words contain a mint of meaning. What a wondrous sentence,—”God is light!”

1 John 1:6, 7

Only in truth and holiness can we have fellowship with God, and to render this possible to such sinful creatures as we are, the precious blood of Jesus must purge us from sin. Have we all been cleansed by it?

1 John 1:8-10

God only acts according to the truth, he will meet us as sinners, for that is our true character; but if we claim to be innocent, he cannot admit that falsehood, and will not commune with us.

1 John 2:1-11

1 John 2:1

This one sentence is worth the whole of the kingdoms of the world.

1 John 2:2

He did not die for Jews alone, but to all races the way of salvation is opened by his atoning blood.

1 John 2:3

Our life and conversation are to ourselves as well as to others the best evidence as to our state.

1 John 2:7, 8

The love of our brother is in one sense an old command, for it is the substance of the second table of the law; but the gospel sets it in a new light beneath the cross, and binds us to keep it by new and powerful obligations.

1 John 2:9-11

Hatred is darkness, love is light; the revengeful man is an heir of eternal midnight. Let us purge ourselves from all anger, malice, and envy, for these are evils of the darkest dye.

 

It is said: Thus Saith the Lord

The Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)

In a time when everything in the world seems to be related to vanity, God is depending on His believing children to demonstrate that He is the great Reality; that we are made by God and for Him! The answer to the question, “Where did I come from?” can never be better answered than by the Christian mother who tells her child, “God made you!”

The great store of knowledge in today’s world cannot improve on that simple answer! The scientist can tell us the secrets of how matter operates, but the origin of matter lies in deep silence, refusing to give an answer to man’s question.

It is important for Christian believers to be able to stand firmly and positively in this declaration: “Thus saith the Lord!” Our chief business is not to argue or to persuade our generation. With our positive declaration of God’s Word and revelation, we make God responsible for the outcome. No one can know enough to go beyond this!

 

God Is Our Ally

“But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.” Exod. 23:22

The Lord Christ in the midst of His people is to be acknowledged and obeyed. He is the vicegerent of God, and speaks in the Father’s name, and it is ours implicitly and immediately to do as He commands. We shall lose the promise if we disregard the precept.

To full obedience how large the blessing! The Lord enters into a league with His people, offensive and defensive. He will bless those who bless us, and curse those who curse us. God will go heart and soul with His people, and enter in deepest sympathy into their position. What a protection this affords us! We need not concern ourselves about our adversaries, when we are assured that they have become the adversaries of God. If Jehovah has taken up our quarrel we may leave the foemen in His hands.

So far as our own interest is concerned we have no enemies; but for the cause of truth and righteousness we take up arms and go forth to conflict. In this sacred war we are allied with the eternal God, and if we carefully obey the law of our Lord Jesus, He is engaged to put forth all His power on our behalf. Wherefore we fear no man.

 

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