Jottings – Encouragement for Those Who are Despised, Illiterate, Ignoble, Unknown, Meek and Quiet in Spirit
Commenting on Titus 2:2-10:
The comment of Chrysostom on these verses is worth quoting: he says that ‘Greeks form their estimate of doctrines, not from the doctrine itself but from actions and life.’ God often gets highest honor from the godly life and testimony of those who are despised by men in general as being illiterate and even ignoble. The meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price, even in cases where a believer is little known or heard of. If slaves in those olden days could bring glory to the name of Christ by the faithful fulfillment of their work, so surely can those whose occupation is in more favored circumstances.
W. E. Vine, Collected Writings of W.E. Vine: Titus. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1996).
In the beginning, God created Genesis 1:1 ESV
Five very simple words– yet indescribably profound. Five very simple words that clearly answers today’s most hotly debated questions: Is there a God? Where did the universe come from? Where did I come from? Five very simple words that sets the foundation for all truth. If you can believe these five simple words you can believe all of the other words in the Bible that follow. If you believe these five simple words it will radically change your life, for it is these five simple words that introduces you to the all powerful creator God.
Really? Believing something so simple as these five words can radically change a person’s life? Yes! Jesus Christ said: “if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.”
Yes! Faith as tiny as a mustard seed moves mountains… faith as tiny as a mustard seed will even move the mountain of your life. Faith in these five simple words introduces you to the all powerful, eternal creator God. The only God– the creator and sustainer of all things– who profoundly loves you and desires a personal relationship with you. Do you believe these five simple words? If not, believe them today and meet the God of the universe!
Editorial note: Originally published October 9, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com
Pastoral ministry is not merely a building up, but also a tearing down. As Paul would say elsewhere, it involves tearing down every speculation and lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). To fail to do this is ministerial malpractice and harmful to God’s people.
“How to identify False Teachers,” accessed on 5/4/2016 here: http://www.dennyburk.com/how-to-identify-false-teachers/
You are a hiding place for me. Psalm 32:7a ESV
The key to winning a game of Hide & Seek is obvious: find the best hiding place! Of course, it helps to be small and limber enough to squeeze into tight hiding places and have the patience and self-control to remain quiet until everyone else is found.
When I was a child I excelled at Hide & Seek. Like a contortionist I could shoehorn myself into the best of hiding spaces– I even had the patience and self-control to silently remain frozen in time and space until everyone else was found.
Now that I’m older Hide & Seek has become much more of a challenge! Why? Well, I keep getting in my own way. I’m no longer small or limber enough to squeeze into most hiding spots. Nor do I have the patience or self-control to quietly hide for any length of time when I could be doing something much more interesting!
The key to living a victorious life is no different than the key to winning at Hide & Seek! You need a hiding place and there is no better hiding place than the Lord. Just, don’t let yourself get in the way!
Editorial note: Originally published October 3, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com
Christ was designed for the highest honours, yet in his first step he thus abases himself. Note, Those who would rise high must begin low. Before honour is humility.
Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1620.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! Psalm 34:3 ESV
When it comes to worship we enjoy a tremendous amount of freedom.
The New Testament Christian is not limited to a particular geographic location– we are free to worship Him regardless of where we are. The Christian is not limited by the calendar– we are free to worship Him regardless of the time or day of the week. Nor is the believer’s worship restricted by their surroundings– we are free to worship Him indoors or outdoors, in a city or a desert, in a cathedral or a shack, alone or with thousands of believers.
While we can (should!) worship anytime and anywhere there is something special when God’s people join together in corporate worship. David invited all who were willing to come and magnify the Lord with him. He desired to join in unison with others to exalt God’s name.
Today is the first day of the week– it is our opportunity to gather together and worship Him corporately. Yes! we can worship Him anytime, anywhere– but we should never abuse this wonderful truth by using it as an excuse not to meet with other believers.
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
Psalm 34:1-3 ESV
Editorial note: Originally published September 27, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com
Know thyself, O man, and that will make thee miserable; know thy God, O Christian, and that will make thee rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
C. H. Spurgeon, “Dilemma and Deliverance,” in The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 6. Originally preached on December 4, 1859. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1860), 9.
The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Luke 7:34 ESV
The enemies of our Lord Jesus Christ hurled at Him a seemingly endless barrage of insults and accusations. They accused him of overindulging in food and drink. “He’s a glutton and drunkard!” they shouted. They also accused Him of befriending societal outcasts– tax collectors and sinners!
They said these things to discredit Him. To shut Him up. To drive the common people of the day away from Him and His teachings.
Yet, what they failed to realize is their accusations were, in reality, ringing endorsements of Christ’s holy mission as the greatest of all liberators! A liberator? Yes! A liberator from the stifling, religious legalism of the Pharisees and the enslaving power of sin. Jesus Christ came to set people free so they might “have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10.
Are you enslaved by legalism and sin? Then allow the Lord Jesus Christ to set you free for “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36.
Jesus friend of sinners we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus friend of sinners the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to you but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided
Oh Jesus friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours*
*Jesus Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns. https://www.castingcrowns.com/music/lyrics/jesus-friend-sinners Accessed 9/21/2015.
Editorial note: Originally published September 21, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com
Whenever physical healing does not occur and suffering is prolonged, we should not minimize the pain but remember its eternal frame. This affliction is but for a moment of our eternity and works in us and in others a dependence on Christ that makes heaven’s promises surer and more precious.
Bryan Chapell, (2005-07-01). Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name (Kindle Locations 752-753). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Peter wrote to the Christians, “To stir you up by putting you in remembrance.” Many times we are encouraged by the Lord to go back to what He has already said and done to guide us in our walk forward toward the kingdom of heaven. We’re in a day when new ideas are being introduced continually to the church so she can be considered relevant and progressive. But is it time to go back to His Word alone in order to go on faithfully for the Lord? Following are seven examples of knowing and the valuing past.
1. Israel Ready to Enter the Promise Land. “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness … that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD …” (Deut. 8:2,3). Israel’s success in the Promised Land would come by following the Word of God, which, – they were to remember back – had guided them successfully through the wilderness.
2. Josiah’s Revival. “And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant” (2 Kings 23:21). King Josiah led the people back to observe again the old-time feast of Passover as it was written in the Word.
3. Hezekiah’s Revival. “He appointed … the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD” (2 Chron. 31:3). Similarly, Hezekiah went backward – to what was written in the book of the Lord. He restored the nation back to God, and back to His heart and ways.
4. Rebuilding of the Second Temple. “And builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God” (Ezra 3:2). Unlike their forefathers who built their own altars all over the place and introduced a new “great altar,” they now went back to God’s way – worshipping at THE altar of the Lord.
5. The Lord’s Supper. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor. 11:26). As we wait for the Lord Jesus’ coming (looking forward), we do so by remembering His historical death for us to save us (looking backward).
6. The Thessalonian Christians. “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle [written instruction]” (2 Thess. 2:14,15). As they focused on the coming Lord and glory, they were to hold (not let go) what they were already instructed.
7. The Church at Sardis. “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent” (Rev. 3:3). The church that was considered dead by the Lord was exhorted to look back in remembrance to what they had first heard and received in the beginning. This reminder John was to “write in a book” to the 7 churches (Rev. 1:11). The church also has a book (the Bible) in which we are to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
We do not to need to find some new truth to make the church more appealing in modern times. We simply need to trust and obey what has been once revealed and delivered to us by the Lord and His chosen apostles. Paul said, “The things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” So – “if it’s new, it’s not true, and if it’s true, it’s not new.”