Christ

Christ’s Power Over Sin

by danparton on February 17, 2012 · 0 comments

Learning the Epistles – Study 169

from Pastor Dan Parton | Timberline Baptist Church | Originally presented February 2, 2011 |

Hebrews 2:5-18

Introduction:  Beginning at verse 5, the writer returns to his previous argument that Christ is greater than the angels.  The Jews offered one great objection to this argument.  They asked, “How could Christ be better than the angels since He was limited to a human body, and the angels were not?”  In Hebrews 2:5-18, we find the answer to this great objection.

 

The writer of Hebrews says that Christ, having a body of human flesh, does not make Him less than the angels; in fact, His body is one reason why He is greater than the angels.  How can this be?  It is easy to see when you realize the reasons why Jesus became flesh.  Jesus did not simply live inside of a human body, but He actually became flesh, “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” (Galatians 4:4); “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14)

 

Why then did Christ become flesh?  Five reasons are given in this passage:

 

2.             In order to have dominion over earth. – Hebrews 2:5-7

 

“For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.”

 

- When God created Adam in the Garden of Eden, He promised to him and to mankind that man would have dominion over the earth, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over…every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

- Because Adam sinned, he lost his right to rule.  Christ became flesh and lived a perfect life.  Because He did, He can now rule the earth as the perfect man.

- God’s promise to man of dominion over the earth will be fulfilled in Jesus when He returns to reign.

 

* “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28)

* “For our conversation is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

 

2.            In order to die for sinful man. – Hebrews 2:9

 

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

 

- It was absolutely necessary for Christ to shed His blood on the cross if men were to be saved.  This is found in Hebrews 9:19-22.

- Many passages declare that the shedding of blood was necessary for salvation, “…without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22)

- Of course, before the incarnation, God’s Son did not have a body of flesh and blood.  This is what the incarnation was all about, “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” (Hebrews 10:5)

- It is important also to notice the words “every man” in Hebrews 2:9; Christ died for “every man.”

- Many would have us to believe that, when Christ died, He only died for a selected or elected group.  The Bible abounds with proof that, when Christ died on the cross, it was for everybody, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

- Since Christ died for everybody, we can say with confidence, “Whosoever will may come!”

- Since Christ became flesh in order to die for us, certainly this does not make Him less than the angels.  No angel ever died for any man.

- Instead of lessening our love for Jesus, His willingness to become flesh should make us glorify Him even more!

 

3.            In order to be our Older Brother. – Hebrews 2:11-13

 

“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”

 

- These verses teach that all those who trust in Christ become a part of His family:  God is our Father, Christ is our Older Brother, we are His brethren.  The term “elder brother” is used in Mormon theology, but in this case is perfectly proper to say.

- This is certainly not to say that we are equal with Christ; on the contrary, the picture suggested here is that of younger children being entrusted to the care and supervision of their older brother.

- This is what is meant by Hebrews 2:13, “And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”

- Everyone who has ever been an older brother or sister has, at one time, been put in charge of the younger members of the family.  Many can remember their parents saying to the older brother, “While we are gone, you take care of your brothers.”  Many a parent has said to the younger sibling, “You be sure to mind your older brother.”  This is the illustration that God is using.  Christ cares for us and provides for us, and we, in turn, should obey Him.  After all, He is our Older Brother.

 

* It is interesting to note that older brothers are often ashamed of the younger members of the family.  Many little boys have set out to tag along with their older brother only to be rejected in an abrupt and rather ungracious manner.  Older brothers often do not want their little brothers hanging around.

 

- This is not true with Jesus, “…he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Hebrews 2:11)  Jesus is not ashamed of you; He gladly claims you as His own!  Don’t you think it would be good if we would desire to be with Jesus and to follow after Him as children following their older brother?

- Have you ever wondered what your Older Brother desires for you?  Read Matthew 12:46-50, and you will find the answer.  It is summed up in verse 50, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

- Our Older Brother does not abuse the authority He has over us.  Have you ever seen an older brother who did this?  He made the younger members of the family become his servants and forced them to do his work in order to make things easier for himself.

- This results in resentment between members of the family.  The right kind of older brother is concerned about only one thing:  seeing that the parents are obeyed!  This is Jesus’ concern; He wants us to do the will of our Heavenly Father.

 

4.            In order to defeat the Devil. – Hebrews 2:14-16

 

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.”

 

- Here, we find that Jesus became flesh that He might die, and He died that He might destroy the Devil.

- We need to realize that although the Devil is a powerful adversary, he is really a defeated foe.  Listen to the words of Christ:

 

* “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31)

* “…the prince of this world is judged…” (John 16:11)

 

- The Devil has no control over the Christian’s life; he cannot force a believer to sin.  God makes sure that no Christian is ever tempted beyond his ability to say no, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

- We need not live our lives in fear of the Devil.  Victory over the Devil is available to every Christian, because “…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4)

- This is certainly the meaning of James 4:7, “…Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.”

- In what way did Christ destroy the power of the Devil?  Hebrews 2:15 teaches that Satan enslaves the lost because of their fear of death, “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

- Every lost man is conscious of the fact that one day he must die and that thought terrifies him!  Many seek to escape the fear of death through liquor, drugs, and many other types of sin.  Because of his fear of death, the unbeliever becomes a slave to sin.

- Since Christ died and rose again, men need not fear death.  When a man trusts Christ, he is given eternal life (John 3:16) and never again must be afraid of death.

- This does not mean that the Christian is expected to enjoy death or to rejoice when a loved one goes to Heaven; it does mean, however, that in the midst of sorrow, the believer can have the hope of resurrection.

- This fact makes the Christian’s sorrow different from that of the world, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

- 1 Corinthians 15 is a key Bible chapter on the resurrection.  It should be read very carefully.

 

* Since I will live forever, I need not fear death.  I can view life with an entirely different perspective than I had before I was saved.  Since life will not end at death, I must invest my life in things of eternal value, not spend it seeking the pleasures of sin!

 

- There is a certain encouragement that comes from knowing that, while I am in Heaven with Jesus, Satan will be eternally condemned to Hell.

 

5.            In order to be our High Priest. – Hebrews 2:17-18

 

“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

 

- These verses teach us that Jesus became flesh that He might understand the temptations and trials that men go through.

 

* Keep in mind, it is because Christ suffered, and NOT because He sinned, that He understands our temptations.

 

- Jesus never sinned, but He understands temptation, because He suffered temptation and won the victory.

- When I need help, I would rather receive help from somebody who succeeded than from somebody who failed and never succeeded.

- Matthew 4 illustrates how Jesus conquered temptation and won the victory over the Devil.  The fact that Christ never gave in to temptation increases His value as our High Priest rather than decreasing it.

- There are three words in these two verses that are very important:  merciful, faithful, and succoured.

 

* The word “merciful tells me that my High Priest does not operate on the basis of what I deserve but on the basis of His mercy.  He does not limit His prayers for me to the times when I deserve His prayers, for then He would never pray at all.  He prays for me even though I don’t deserve His prayers.

* The word “faithful” tells me He always does His job; I am never without a High Priest to intercede for me.

* The word “succour” means “to help, to bring aid.”  This is the idea of an ambulance rushing to the scene of the accident in order to give aid.  It is the idea of firemen racing on their fire engine to the scene of a fire in order to help.

 

- I never have to fear that my High Priest will be unavailable when I need Him.  He is always available to rush to my side to help me have victory over sin.

 

Conclusion:  And so, we see that Christ is not only greater than the prophets, but he is also greater than the angels.  Yes, He was limited to a body, but that fact makes Him even greater than the angels!

Buen Consejo | October 24, 2011 | for http://www.baptist.org
 
What is the difference between Redemption, Remission and Forgiveness?  Did you even know that they are different?  Which one saves you?? Can you have one of the other two and still be lost?
Many people say that if you ask God to forgive your sins, you’ll be saved. That is not how it works. Forgiveness only restores the relationship that wasthere before.  If some neighborhood kid breaks your window with a baseball, then comes to knock on the door to apologize, you might forgive him.  But that will not make him your son. That will not fix the window. If a lost sinner asks God to forgive him, his life will improve. He will not become God’s child or have his sin washed away.
  Remission means to be covered up or retained to not spread, increase or be in the way. But it is still there. Like a cancer in remission is still a cancer.
  Redemption means to actually buy something and go pick it up.  That is what saves you. Jesus Christ died for  your sins to purchase you and own you. He will also one day come and pick us up.
Let’s look at some scriptural evidences-  First came preparation. Luke 1:77  “To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,”  Through remission of sin (to get it out of the picture, but not gone) the way is prepared to receive knowledge.  Jesus cleared the way for your understanding of salvation so you could chose it, if you want. Matthew 26:28  “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”  Acts 10:43  “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
Next he would actually offer himself to take away that sin. John 1:29  “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” He would pay the price to buy us out- redemption.  Leviticus 25:51  “If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for.”  Numbers 3:49  “And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites:”
  Romans 3:24  “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” Ephesians 1:7  “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”  Ephesians 1:14  “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (earnest means- down payment)
  We also get free forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:14   “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”   Romans 4:7  “Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”  Acts 5:31  “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”  Forgiveness is only in there because of the repentance that allowed you to submit to him for redemption.
  After salvation remission is irrelevant and redemption is permanently fixed, but forgiveness to maintain and sustain a close, blessed walk with the Lord is a continual process.  It has nothing to do with going to heaven or  hell. It has to do with the personal relationship between you and the Lord.  If you have a son and he behaves poorly (imagine that!), you might punish him.  If he wants a new bike, you might deny him that. If he needs help with something, you might not help him…. but does not cease to be your son.
  In your personal walk as a Christian forgiveness is a daily, if not hourly process, even moment to moment, depending on the individual. You will not receive forgiveness with blanket prayers like, “Lord, forgive my sins..”, “Lord, forgive me for not doing what I should have and for doing what I should not have, and where I failed you…bla, bla..” The scriptures are clear: 1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  You don’t ask for forgiveness. You confess your sins to the Lord.  Confessing sins means enumerating  them, that is, name and itemize them.  “Lord, I lied.”, “Lord. I knew I should read my Bible and did not.”, “Lord, I felt I should talk to that person about you, but chickened out.”  This way, when you have agreed with the Lord that these items are sin, you get forgiveness and can’t claim next time that you did not know it was sin.
Summary:  Remission prepares the way for you to receive the knowledge of salvation.  Redemption gives you the actual salvation. Forgiveness is thrown in to start the relationship at a new beginning.  

 September 23, 2011 | Buen Consejo | for  http://www.baptist.org

Faith or Works?

Romans 4 says Abraham was justified by faith without works. Yet James 2 says Abraham was justified by works. Both refer to the same incident. They are both right and they both agree. How can that be?

Now, this issue of James’ verses has many theological britches on a knot.  It is so simple that people miss it.  Firstly, in order to not miss what the scriptures teach, one must not approach reading with fears and religious prejudiced.  Between the Catholics making people fear unless they have good works and the Baptists swinging the pendulum so far from works many feel they must choose sides.  Well, both are imbalanced views.

Number one method for a prayed-up Christian to understanding scriptures:  Re-read it, don’t re-write it.  Don’t change it, it changes you.  Let’s read it:

James 2:20-26  “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?   Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

First a basic understanding of faith and works in a generic definition:  If I had faith that this post would write itself, it would not.  I would have to put work to it.  If I assume by faith I will go to be with the Lord when I die, what is the work or function to bring me there?   In this case it is simple.  The post did not write itself.  I did the work and hoped God would lead the knowledge and give direction, being his work (especially with such a poor vessel).  In salvation Jesus supplied the work when he died, was buried and rose again.  Then, he did more work in presenting his risen body to the Father.  So, faith and works together saved me.  My faith… his works.

As to James’ verses specifically;  he is not referring to what most people claim he is.  Here’s the thing and the proof:   He said: “…Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? …”   Right away every insecure, religious person jumps up and cries out that he can’t be justified before God without works!   Yet James said, “….And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness..”  So you have to weasel, twist and, as Peter said, wrestle the scriptures to your own destruction to connect this to our eternal salvation.   2 Peter 3:16  “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

Ok, ok, Proof?  Let’s look at scripture compared with scripture in the light of scripture: Romans 4:1, 2  “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?  For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.”    Did you catch that?  “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.”

Attempting to be justified before God by works is foolish and it won’t happen: Romans 4:4-8  “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.   Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

So then, what is James saying?  As Paul said: “…”What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?…”  John 3:6  “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”   “…he hath whereof to glory; but not before God…”  That would leave…. before men.

James said, James 2:18  “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”  You show me, I show you.  That’s what James said.  James is talking about showing your faith to other people and being justified before people that your faith is real.  “pertaining to the flesh… not before God.”

Wanna do the works of God?  Listen to what Jesus said to do: John 6:28, 29  “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

James and Paul are on the same team and on the same page.

September 8, 2011 | Buen Consejo | for http://www.baptist.org  |

Faith statements?  What is your faith in the Lord about?  Or, whom is it about? Him.. you..?  Do you serve God?  Or does he serve you?

So many Christians make statements of faith in the Lord (concerning their daily lives) that sound like these: “The Lord will take care of me.” “The Lord will meet my needs.”  “The Lord loves me, even if ya’ll don’t.” “I know the Lord will heal me.” and so forth.  Most of the statements of faith are about what the Lord can or will do for them.  Though there are times and places for that, such statements indicate a lack of faith. That’s why you have to remind yourself about promises he has for you. Instead, if you actually believe he will meet your needs, go on and do for him.  Proverbs 30:15a “The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give.”

Of the great statements of faith that I see in the scriptures I offer you these:  Do you remember Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Dan 1:6)? OK, maybe you don’t. They are the Hebrews known more commonly by their Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  OK, now you remember.  Nebuchadnezzar, the evil king, was going to throw them into a fiery furnace if they would not bow down to his idol.  Their statement faith is my first and personal favorite.  Daniel 3:16-18  “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”  They said, God can deliver us, but if he doesn’t, that’s fine too. We still will not bow down to that thing.

Job offers another great statement of faith: Job 13:15  “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”

These statements do not say, God will make it easy, God will make sure I win! I’m a prince or princess before God, he’ll make sure I have a rich, smooth path!  God will see that I’m treated worthy of my position as God’s child!  These statements say that whatever the Lord has decided to put me through or have happen to me.. that’s fine. Just so long as I please him. It’s about the Lord, not about us.

Modern day christianettes, who listen to sermonettes, while smoking their cigarettes or briefly taste a tiny bit of devotional thought, looking for a gem or gold nugget to make them feel good and don’t dig into real deep scripture study wind up being a part of Generation Entitled, too quickly. Faith is not about God making your life easy, pain free or wealthy. God is not a genie in a bottle or a wishing well for you to get what your flesh wants.  We are to be living sacrifices for his service, not put God to work to serve us. Romans 12:1  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”  A sacrifice is not dominated by what it wants for itself.

Do what is right because it’s right. Not for reward or to avoid chastisement.  Look for what you can do for God, not what he can do for you.  Selfishness is the fastest route to misery.

Let’s shed some light on this!
 September 7th, 2011 | Buen Consejo | for http://www.baptist.org/ |
What do you really need to learn from the Bible?  What is the goal of all of the knowledge in it?  What should be the meter that tells you that you are getting the message?  Read on and see >>
   A lot of people learn Bible facts. Many learn Bible doctrines. Doctrines are sets of teachings on an issue. There are man-made doctrines and God-made doctrines.  Focusing on doctrines is not bad, in and of itself.  Many people see the scriptures as a historical data base. It tells us historical information that is relevant and applicable.  The scriptures are relevant scientifically and accurate way past modern standards of science.  There are good recipes for foods.  There are diet advise and teachings that could have prevented all of the health problems plaguing our societies. The scriptures are so full of information on all subjects pertaining to life that it is unmatched by any library!  However, that is not the main purpose of the scriptures.
   The main purpose of the scriptures is for us to know the author of them. Jeremiah 9:24  “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”    “that he understandeth and knoweth me”
  Everyone I’ve ever heard speak on it thinks that God made Adam for the purpose of hanging out with him in the garden of Eden, however, man fell into sin.  That is not correct. Yes, the LORD was planning on visiting and eventually seeing if man would grow into a person to fellowship with, but it was not the original plan.
  Here’s the proof: God makes man> Genesis 2:8  “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”  Next, before Adam had even sinned > Genesis 2:18  “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”  Let’s also clear up another fable; there is no such thing as a “help-mate” nor a “help-meet”.  The word “meet” in English also means “appropriate, applicable” or “fitting”. It means God would make a “help” meet for him (appropriate for him).
   Back to the proof >  “It is not good that the man should be alone”.  God was planning on leaving the man alone. Why?  Amos 3:3  “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”  How does a righteous, holy God walk in fellowship with a man who is a child with no understanding of right and wrong? How does God fellowship with a little man that doesn’t know how to stick to principals, push through issues, deal with life and maturity?  God can visit, be like a visiting God and Father, but walk together with a man that has no understanding, made a little lower than even the angels?  Psalms 8:4, 5  “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.”
  So, the plan was to facilitate man (make a facility in which he could learn).  The devil was already made and evil was already present on the earth. Now man could learn and grow by reason of the liberty and beautiful freedom to make mistakes and screw things up royally!  And that he did.
  To be fair, now you understand why salvation is free. As a good Creator, GOD knew that it was his facilitation that allowed Adam to sin at no cost to you and me, so GOD gives the free gift of his Son Jesus Christ to save us with no cost to us.
Romans 5:18, 19  “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”  God made a plan that started you as lost without consulting you, so he made a plan to save you, without consulting you. You just decide if you want Jesus or hell. A lack of deciding for Jesus is a decision for hell.
  So, since salvation is a free gift to take and that’s done, religion is out the window. No struggling to find God or a righteous walk through commandments and ceremonies.  Now you are free to do what he wants you to, learn of him! Matthew 11:28-30  “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  “and learn of me”
  So, when you read your Bible read it to learn about God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t read it to gather facts, history and information first.  First priority: Learn about God.
  Isaiah 55:6  “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:” 
Jeremiah 29:13  “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

Genesis chapters 22-24

John 8:56: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.”

Introduction

No doubt Abraham had many tests of faith from the time in Ur of the Chaldees, when the true God spoke to him as he lived there among his people, who made and worshipped idols. Monotheism, while once known and practiced in the days of Adam, had diminished as Paul describes in Romans from the worship of the Creator God to a worship of the creature more than the creator, exhibited in the worship of gods of wood and stone. In Abraham’s day the godly line of Abel had about died out, until God in his sovereignty chose to speak to Abraham. The Scriptures declare that Terah, the father of Abram, was a maker of idols. Abram’s revelation of the one true God was an act of sovereign grace as no preacher or missionary imparted it to him, and God’s choice of Abram to receive the revelation cannot be described any other way.

The revelation set Abram on a new course and called for a new direction in which he looked for a city, whose builder and maker was God. Abram’s faith was imperfect, growing, learning and we see this exhibited in his taking with him from Ur his father and his nephew Lot, both in direct violation of the command of God to get away from his kinsmen. So they came to Haran and there they stayed until Terah was dead, and this event seems to have once again spurred Abram to action.

But of all the stories we could cite of Abram’s journey of faith, and in light of the statement of Christ concerning Abraham’s revelation of Jesus Christ himself, we have to ask the question—where in Abraham’s life did he come to understand the truth that as Savior—Jesus Christ himself was coming into the world to die? I believe Abraham was taught this truth in the offering of Isaac. Those of us who look at Bible Typology understand that God would sometimes teach great truths by allowing them to be lived out in a story. There is none greater than the story of Isaac’s sacrifice. Of course, a type is never perfect and as we know, Isaac did not die, but what is portrayed in the account certainly allows us a great look into the heart of God and showed Abraham a glimpse of the coming of which Jesus declared that “Abraham rejoiced to see my day and was glad.” Let’s pick up the great story and see what Abraham saw so many years before the advent of Jesus Christ on the earth.

Genesis 22 begins with God testing Abraham and asked him to offer his son, Isaac. The King James word is “tempt” and requires that we think beyond how we usually define the word “tempt.” The Holy Spirit in the Holy Writ is careful to tell us that Isaac was Abraham’s only son. The writer of Hebrews says that in Isaac resting all the blessings and promises of God not only to Abraham himself, but those who would come after him. And the Holy Spirit reminds us also in 22:2 that Abraham loved Isaac. We get a glimpse in type here of a heavenly Father foreshadowed in Abraham, and his love for his son who was about to become a sacrifice.

Notice first the significance of the place of sacrifice. It was on the peaks of Mt Moriah. This was not accident. In later years this is where the Temple would be placed. In fact, even in the mosque which today covers the site is a large stone used in the sacrifice of all the animals and you can still see the drilled holes were the blood of more than one million lambs would drain off the altar and out into the Kidron Valley during the Passover celebration. But there is one other point worthy of consideration here. Calvary, the place of the Lord’s offering was also on the same peak. God ordered Abraham to offer Isaac on the same hill top that later his Son would hang and die for the sins of the world.

Abraham arose early the next morning and taking wood, and two of his young men and with Isaac when to the place God had appointed. Beginning in verse 4 the transaction of sacrifice began. First, it says they traveled three days and there Abraham stopped and left the two young men. Now, it might be stretching typology, but it seems the significance of three days is no accident of inspiration. Why was Jesus three days and three nights in the grave? Abraham leaves the two men there. If you will, think for a moment of the cross. There were three men there as well, but the two thieves never entered into the transaction of what God was doing there. In fact, the transaction was so private that God put his handkerchief over the sun and darkness ensued for three hours while Jesus paid the debt and make an end to sin forever.

But look in verse 5 at the faith of Abraham. “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Do you see that? Abraham had already given Isaac up in his heart. Isaac was already dead and yet Abraham is talking about both of them returning. Hebrews 11:17 (remember that the Scriptures are always the best commentary on themselves) tells us that Abraham already believed that if God was to take Isaac that he would raise him up from the dead—because in the son were all the promises of God.

But then notice the next verse of our text. Genesis 22:6—Abraham takes the wood (which is a picture of sin—remember Jesus died on a cross of wood) from off the back of the donkey (which is a picture of the sinner) and places it on the back of the son. Abraham (a picture of God the Father) takes the fire in one hand (the judgment of God against sin) and the knife in the other—and “they went both of them together.” This great phrase in the KJV is mentioned twice here (verses 6, 8) underlining as it were the importance that the sacrifice to come was agreed upon by both the father and the son. I remind you of the Biblical phrase which says that “Jesus was slain from before the foundation of the world.” Jesus’ death was not accident. He was not a martyr. He did not get killed trying to reform the world. He died willingly, purposefully for you and me and he carried our sins and nailed them to his cross. God the Father and God the Son in the eons of eternity past before the first mudsill of this world was ever laid and worlds spoken into existence, God knew that if he made man that man would sin and require a Savior and Jesus stepped up and said—Father, I will go and redeem them! What love it this? What great grace? What sovereign power? He loved us even when we were unlovely.

Verses 7-8 are some of the greatest verses of the Bible. Isaac says to Abraham—but dad—where is the sacrifice. Abraham replies—“My son, God shall provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” How interesting that Abraham should use those words—a burnt offering some 1,000 years before Moses and the Tabernacle would institute a burnt offering for sin.

And of course you know the rest of this story. Abraham builds an altar and laid the wood and tied his son and was ready to plunge the knife before stopped by an angel. God provided a substitute, and atonement was made, but there is a final point of the story to be made. Isaac came down off that mountain that day on resurrection ground. Hebrews 11 says that he was as good as dead in Abraham’s mind and Abraham believed that if he died God would raise him up. But it was the resurrected Isaac who became the reason in Genesis 24 for the searching out of a bride. Because of the resurrection of Christ the need for a bride, composed of the body of Christ—those Christians from Jesus’ death and resurrection up until that last soul saved before the Rapture are part of what the Bible calls the bride of Christ.

We will leave Genesis 24 for another day to talk of those things, but I believe it was here that Abraham saw His day and rejoiced and was glad. Thank God for the cross and the sacrifice and the redemption, prefigured in Isaac and consummated in Isaac’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus.

New fellowships will ‘preserve the harvest’ of new Christians.

Interview by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra | posted 10/18/2010 09:40AM

Craig Culbreth, the director of partnership missions for the Florida Baptist Convention, has been visiting Haiti for the past 12 years and working with the country’s more than 1,000 Baptist churches. After his most recent visit, Culbreth spoke with reporter Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra about his work.

  • Countless churches lost property in the January earthquake.  How many new churches have been started since January 12?

Since January, 215 brand-new Baptist churches have been started. None of these churches meet in a building. I wouldn’t even call them

Many churches were destroyed by the January earthquake that hit Haiti.

tents. There are no walls. A piece of plastic has been put up over wood or frames to get them out of the sun and rain.

  • What are the long-term prospects for these congregations?

Very good. Our plan involves Bible training, working with established pastors for encouragement, and small salary supplements for pastors. We believe everything rises and falls on leadership.

  • Why should planting new churches be a priority over housing or education?

You have to be on similar tracks that run together. You have to provide for them spiritually, or we’ve become just another relief agency.

  • Has there been a net gain in Baptist churches?

Yes. We had 891 before the earthquake, and now we have about 1,105.

  • Were many people in these congregations previously active in a church?

No, just the opposite, in fact. We are finding many new converts from the earthquake experience. We have records of 162,314 conversions since the earthquake. We believe our new churches are made up of these converts. We are after a relationship with Jesus Christ, not a nation that has religious people.

  • What are the differences between these new churches and the ones that existed before the quake?

All are under plastic tarps versus fixed buildings and full of new believers, so all are eager to learn. Their pastors are leaning heavily on God for everything. The pastors have no American supporters, which is not so bad.

  • How do church-planting methods change in times of disaster?

The church-planting movement in Haiti is a result of the harvest of believers. We did not seek to start church plants to reach people, but to start churches to preserve the harvest. Big difference. During a disaster, we push for people to come to Christ. When that happens, we seek to start a church with new believers.

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