Commenting on Ezekiel 17:22-24 ~
Politics always proves to be a washout. Only the return of Christ offers any hope to this sin-drugged world.
MacDonald, William. Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. Ed. Arthur Farstad. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995. Print.
“For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:34-36 — Perhaps even so there were some in the crowd who still had a major objection: If Jesus really was King Messiah, where was there any evidence of his kingdom? When was he going to start putting an end to the problem of evil? And if he didn’t do that, how could he be the Messiah?
The question strikes us today with even greater force than it may have struck the Jerusalem crowd. Almost two thousand years have passed since Jesus’ exaltation. But where has there ever been any serious evidence that he has even attempted to solve the problem of evil? The twentieth century has in fact witnessed in the Holocaust, in Stalin’s purges, in the killing fields of Cambodia, and in a thousand atrocities besides, an out-flowering of evil greater perhaps than any previous century. Jesus has obviously not attempted to stamp out evil. How then is it credible that he is both Lord and Messiah?
Once more the psalm has the answer. It was never part of God’s programme that the Messiah should proceed, immediately upon his exaltation, to stamp out evil. The invitation was: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.’ There was to be an interval between his exaltation and the subjugation of his enemies, during which he would be seated at God’s right hand, awaiting the time of his second coming. Only then would his enemies be made the footstool of his feet.
And what a mercy it was that this interval was written into the programme, for the sake of us all, of course, but particularly for the crowd who stood listening to Peter. They had crucified God incarnate, and he was now elevated to the position of supreme power in the universe. What if there had been no interval and he had proceeded at once to stamp out evil? We are, Peter pointed out, already in the last days of this present age. The cosmic convulsions will occur soon enough, to be followed by the great and resplendent Day of the Lord and the dawning of the messianic age to come. But thank God for the present interval.
David W. Gooding, True to the Faith: The Acts of the Apostles: Defining and Defending the Gospel, Myrtlefield Expositions (Coleraine, Northern Ireland: Myrtlefield House, 2013), 78–79.
“Thus says the Lord…” Jeremiah 2:2 ESV
“I say to you…” Matthew 5:18 ESV
Throughout the long history of the Nation of Israel God sent many prophets to speak His words to the people.
A prophet was simply a human messenger. A mere mortal chosen by God to speak the words given to him by God. A prophet’s authority did not come from himself, rather it came from God. A prophet’s words did not come from himself, rather his words came from God. To underscore this truth, prophets often prefaced their prophesies with the phrase “Thus says the Lord.” In fact, this phrase is repeated well over 400 times in the Old Testament.
Then came the Lord Jesus Christ.
Not once did he ever utter the phrase “thus says the Lord.” Rather, He often prefaced His words with the phrase “I say to you.” Some 87 times He boldly proclaimed this astounding phrase!
Jesus Christ was not just another prophet. Jesus Christ was not merely a human messenger sent on behalf of God! No!
Jesus Christ was, and is God incarnate! Jesus Christ did not need to say “thus says the Lord” because He is the Lord! He is God! Every time Jesus Christ said “I say to you” He was boldly declaring that His words ARE God’s words.
“And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority.” Mark 1:22 ESV
Editorial note: Originally published May 3, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com
The Lessons Peter the Apostle Learned
1. HIS PERSON Jesus asked, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”
To some Jesus is just a famous Jewish carpenter – to others a prophet – to others a teacher of good – to some, a fearless reformer of a corrupt establishment – yet to others a moral example – to others a brave martyr who dared to die for a cause – and yet to others the ideal expression of love and compassion. Many try to follow Christ at one of these levels and consider themselves “Christian” in that sense.
But His followers get fewer when His deity is proclaimed. Jesus being God establishes His authority over us as well as His being the only Savior – since only God can save.
When the disciples witnessed Jesus’ miracles, Peter proclaimed with them, “What manner of man is this?” But later he confessed as a minority, after having the revelation of evidences from the Father, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Indeed the resurrection by the Father has declared Him to be the Son of God – the Lord Jesus Christ. The demons addressed Him as Jesus. Others called Him Master (teacher) or Rabbi – but Peter knowing who He was came to call Him “Lord.”
2. HIS WORK “Christ died for our sins…he rose again” and “maketh intercession for us.”
Yet there are many who acknowledge His deity that do not understand the work He accomplished for our sins on the cross. His sinless and pure blood sacrifice was a full redemptive payment for our sins. No works need to be added by the sinner to obtain a full pardon from God. And He is the only human mediator by which we come to God.
Now Christ’s followers get even fewer when His finished work for sin on the cross is presented as our means of total and eternal forgiveness apart from any human contribution. When the Lord spoke about eating His flesh (body) and drinking His blood (His sacrifice being appropriated in the heart by faith) to have everlasting life, then “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” John 6:66 KJV.
At first Peter didn’t understand His sufferings for sin. When the Lord told him that He would be killed and raised again, Peter said, “Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Yet later when Peter’s understanding was opened, he would write about the sacrifice of Christ and claim believers are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
3. HIS WORDS “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word…out of the mouth of God.”
The risen Jesus is Lord, Son of God, and the Head of the church, His body. He uses His authority over us to lead us in God’s ways of holiness and righteousness. Thus we see instructions and commandments from Him to us in the New Testament. The Lord said, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63 KJV). Paul stated: “the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 14:37 KJV).
Now when it comes to His teachings and commands for His church, the followers get even fewer yet. Some merely admire His example – others wisely bow the knee to Him as both the Son of God and Lord – and others also further glory in the grace of His cross (praise the Lord) that has saved them. But how many believers attempt through His Spirit to follow all of His teachings – an attempt which would significantly impact their life?
Peter saw others forsaking Jesus over His words (teachings). And then the Lord Jesus asked His disciples, “Will ye also go away?” “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:67, 68 KJV). Peter would later write: “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior.” (2 Pet. 3:2 KJV).
Here are some aspects of our lives on which the Lord gives us instruction in His Word.
His words on sin – “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man”, Mk. 7 KJV.
His words on language – “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying” (Eph. 4.29 KJV).
His words on love – “Love one another; as I have loved you” (John 13:34KJV).
His words on divorce and remarriage – “Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife” (1 Cor. 7:10, 11 KJV).
His words on the different roles between men and women – “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim. 2:12 KJV).
His words on church order – “And when they had ordained them elders in every church” and “For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn” (Acts 14:23 KJV / 1 Cor. 14:31 KJV).
His words on prophecy – “I will come again” and “The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (John 14:3 KJV / 1 John 2:17 KJV).
To the Lord, following His words is an expression of love to Him. He is not here to physically hug or walk along side Him. But to trust His Word and follow it – no matter what the cost –when the world doesn’t, demonstrates sincere love unto Him. Some say, “Don’t bother me with the details of the Bible, I just want to follow Jesus”. Well, that is impossible to do apart from the Bible for it reveals His person, work and will.
The Lord Jesus said, “If ye love me keep my commandments.” As Scripture says: “Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read” (Isa. 34:16 KJV). Peter once said, “Not so, Lord,” but later wrote, “desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” (1 Pet. 2:2 KJV).
How far will we go in our love for the Lord Jesus? “His name is called the Word of God.”
When I see Him in that glory, instead of seeing my sins, I see that they are gone. I have seen my sins laid on the Mediator. I have seen my sins confessed on the head of the scapegoat, and they have been borne away; Leviticus 16. So much has God been glorified about my sins (that is, in respect of what Christ has done on account of my sins), that this is the title of Christ to be there, at the right hand of God. I am not afraid to look at Christ there. Where are my sins now? where are they to be found in heaven or on earth? I see Christ in the glory. Once they were found upon the head of that blessed One; but they are gone, never more to be found. Were it a dead Christ, so to speak, that I saw, I might fear that my sins would be found again; but with Christ alive in the glory the search is in vain. He who bore them all has been received up to the throne of God, and no sin can be there.
John Nelson Darby, “The Accepted Man (2 Cor. 3),” in Collected Writings of John Nelson Darby, Vol. 12 (Evangelic), 337; electronic ed. accessed on 1/14/15 here: http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/darby/EVANGEL/12033E.html
Of which salvation the prophets…testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow, 1 Peter 1:10-11 KJV
Zechariah’s Biography of Christ ~ 518 BC
1. THE DONKEY (lowly) “Thy King cometh unto thee: he is just…lowly, and riding … upon a colt the foal of an ass, Zechariah 9:9. Messiah would not ride into Jerusalem on a glorious stallion, but on a donkey, revealing His meek and lowly character. (Matthew 21:5)
2. THE SHEPHERD “And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock”, Zechariah 11:7-17. A shepherd who would guide Israel with two shepherd staves called Beauty (favor) and Bands (to bind). But then because of rejection, He would break the staves and Israel would be judged and eventually be ruled by a false worthless shepherd who will slaughter them. (John 5:43 / John 10:11 / Hebrews 13:20)
3. THE SILVER (worth) “Give me my price… so they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver”, Zechariah 11:12,13. Israel was asked to place a value on God’s shepherd. They valued him at 30 pieces of silver (price of an injured slaved) and then cast it to the potter at the Lord’s house. Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus for that amount. (Matthew 26:15, 27:3-10)
4. THE SWORD “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered:..”, Zechariah 13:7. God’s judgment sword that had spared the sinners did wake up and fall – not on the nations nor on Israel – but on His shepherd who was His equal (fellow) but also a man. All forsook Christ and He was crucified for our sins as Savior! (Matthew 26:31, John 19:34)
5. THE PIERCINGS “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced…” Zechariah 12:10. When Christ Jesus returns to earth Israel will see their Messiah – and He will have the pierce marks of the cross. In stunned horror, they will finally repent of their national rejection of Him and go into deep national mourning – and be cleansed in His fountain of sacrificial blood-forgiveness from all their sins. (John 19:34, 20:20 / Revelation 1:7)
6. THE BRANCH (life) “Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH”, Zechariah 6:11-13. A branch is something living that grows from a root to bear fruit. The Lord took a priest, Joshua (NT Jesus), and crowned him to sit on a throne. A man would grow like a branch into a full king-priest; religion and state merged in one person. And Messiah-King will rebuild the temple of God on earth. Christ Jesus is called “the branch of the LORD” (God), Isaiah 4:2 – “the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David” (King), Jeremiah 33:15 – The high priest was told that God would bring forth “my servant the BRANCH” (priest), Zechariah 3:8 – and, “the man…The BRANCH” (human), Zechariah 6:12 (Hebrews 4:14 / Revelation 19:16)
7. THE WARRIOR “Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations”, Zechariah 14:1-11. When all nations are against Israel, then the Lord shall descend to Mount Olivet and save them from all their enemies with a worldwide judgment. Their Savior won’t be a politician but God – the glorious Lord Jesus Christ with the marks of the cross. He’s on a white horse this time with the armies of heaven. Then there will be “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”. (Revelation 1:7, 17:14, 19:11-16 / Luke 2:14)
The Florida Mens Bible Study is a time of rigorous Bible study ideally suited for serious minded brethren. This annual Bible study comes highly rated by prior participants. If you are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of God’s word this event is for you.
Who: Serious minded men
What: Intensive Bible study
Topic: The Book of Isaiah (first half)
Teachers: Randy Amos, Keith Keyser, Larry Price, Henry Sardiña
Where: Camp Horizon, Leesburg FL, USA
Why: To gain insight into God’s Word and increase our appreciation of God’s Son and God’s mind as revealed in Scripture.
When: January 4-8, 2016
Conference website: Florida Mens Bible Study
Referring to Isaiah 53:4-6 ~
Do not put yourself outside of the circle of those who crucified Him.
Beers, Tim. Sermon. North York Gospel Chapel, York, PA. May 31, 2015
O brethren, let us all seek to get nearer to Christ. Let us all take the eagle’s motto, ‘Superior.’ Higher, higher, higher; soar yet beyond. Let us seek to attain what we have not as yet known; and as for the things which remain, let us hold them fast that no man take our crown. ‘Whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.’ Let us not decline from our first love, but rather, ‘not as though we had already attained, either were already perfect,’ let us forget the things which are behind, and press forward to that which is before, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. The Lord bless his church richly…and make us all to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
C. H. Spurgeon, “Backsliding Healed,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 16. Originally preached on March 13, 1870. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1870), 156.
Jesus Christ as Shepherd
“the Good Shepherd” ~ John 10:11
“the Great Shepherd” ~ Hebrews 13:20
“the Chief Shepherd ” ~ 1 Peter 5:4
We live in a world filled with danger, uncertainty and temptations. Everyday the news is filled with reports of crime, violence, terrorism and wars. Regularly we are confronted with the evils of the world. Some of the evils we find repulsive, other evils secretly tempt us and lead us astray.
The hymn writer penned:
Let Thy goodness like a fetter bind my wand’ring heart to Thee:
Prone to wander—Lord, I feel it—prone to leave the God I love.¹
Like sheep we are prone to wander, prone to wander into danger. Yet we need not despair! There is a Shepherd! Not just any shepherd, but the Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd! The Lord Jesus Christ.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
He is the Good Shepherd because He laid down His life for the sheep. John 10:11
He is the Great Shepherd because He rose from the dead for the sheep. Hebrews 13:20
He is the Chief Shepherd because He will soon return to reward the sheep. 1 Peter 5:4
Lord, like a sheep I am prone to wander from the God I love. Thank you for providing for me a Shepherd – a Shepherd who is willing to leave the 99 for the one. Who is willing to leave the 99 for me. Thank you Lord.
 Osbeck, Kenneth W. Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996. Print.
Editorial note: Originally published March 9, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com