In the book of Exodus, we see many major biblical themes developed for the first time in scripture: Deliverance from bondage by sacrificial blood and by the power of God, the introduction of The Divine Law as a testimony of the holiness of God and as a standard of human government, the dwelling place of God among the people in the form of a tabernacle, and finally the approach to God on the basis of sacrifice offered through a separated priesthood.
These major themes can be broken down into three main divisions of the book: (1) The Exodus, chapters 1-18 (2) The Law, chapters 19-24 (3) The Tabernacle, chapters 25-40. There is a type of spiritual progress revealed in these three divisions. The progress is one which begins with deliverance and leads to worship. In the Exodus, or departure from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, we see God’s people being delivered with power, the power of the blood of sacrifice (in the Passover, Ch. 12) and the power of the Red Sea crossing (a type of baptism 1 Corinthians 10:1-2). This is similar to the mighty deliverance we experience today by the blood of Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb. It is a deliverance from the penalty of sin (justification) and a deliverance from the bondage of sin (sanctification) by our association with the death and resurrection of Christ in our baptism. We are declared “not guilty” of sin’s penalty through the redemption of Christ’s blood; we are declared “at liberty” from sin’s dominion over our lives by our death and resurrection with Christ. See Romans chapters 5 through 8.
Next, in the giving of the law, the people are introduced to the righteousness of God and the standard by which human righteousness and sin is judged. As the people hear the word of the Lord, they confidently state “All that the lord has spoken we will do,” Ex. 19:8. But it soon becomes apparent that they, within their own power, are not able to meet God’s standard of righteousness - see Ex. 32:1-6 with Acts 7:38-43. In Romans 7:7-13 and Galatians 3:19-24, the Apostle Paul speaks of the law as a tool in God’s hands to bring us to our need for a Savior. “The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ.” He also speaks of his inability to become a righteous man by keeping the law in Romans Ch. 7 when he said, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do... O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?” The Lord’s desire in giving His people the law was to bring them to an understanding of their need before Him as well as to help them know His just and holy character. We may not approach God on the basis of obedience to law but on the basis of shed blood, on the merit of a sacrificial substitute. We are cleansed and forgiven by the debt paid by another to take the penalty for our sin against the law. This leads us to our final section of Exodus, the worship of God and the Tabernacle.
As the focal point of our salvation is our relationship with God and the worship of God, so the focus of the book of Exodus is the presence of God within the Tabernacle. Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:10, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink’, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” Putting this statement in the context of Exodus, the Lord could well have said to the Israelites, “If you only knew the gift of My presence among you, and who it is who says to you, ‘Serve Me by keeping My commandments,’ you would have asked of Me and I would have given you forgiveness and mercy in the land of promise.” King David understood this when he approached God in humility and need and wrote, “Purge me and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out my iniquities. For You do not require sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit (grieved over sin), a broken and contrite heart (crushed because of unfaithfulness). These, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:7-9, 16-17.
The Tabernacle was the centerpiece within the encampments of Israel, the tents of all twelve tribes surrounding it, and it was the source of all common life and direction for the newly born nation. All of God’s design and influence over His people eventually led to the courts of the House of God. It is very similar for us as New Testament saints. The power of His blood to pardon us, the strength of His death to free us from the control of sin, and the giving of His word of truth, all lead us to His courts of sacrifice and praise. The great privilege we now have as New Testament saints is that we may enter the most holy places by the blood of Jesus Christ, directly into the very presence of God (Hebrews 6:19 and 10:19-22). In fact, as His people, we become the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19), where He lives His life in us and through us by His Holy Spirit. Aware of our failures, we come to our Lord of grace and mercy, sacrificed for us, to receive “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,” Isaiah 61:3.
We trust that as we continue our study of the book of Exodus, the Lord will help us understand how He prepares His people to walk more closely with Him in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering.
WAREHOUSE CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES
THE BIBLE IN FOCUS
The Book of Exodus
In the first section of Exodus, chapters 1-18, the Lord reveals His power toward Israel to protect them from judgment, release them from bondage, and to provide for them on their pilgrimage to the land of promise. As we look at the chapter-by-chapter development of the exodus from Egypt, we begin to see an interesting progression of the Lord’s deliverance that will help us understand how God deals with His people in every age.
Chapter one opens with the children of Israel’s hard bondage at the hands of their Egyptian taskmasters. The Lord is setting the stage for deliverance by increasing the need among the people. Deliverance must be desired before it can be effective. The door of freedom, if opened too soon, would be refused by those who had become pacified by a semi-comfortable Egyptian lifestyle. The waters of affliction need to get a little hot before we begin to realize the wretchedness of being lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-22).
As things are heating up for Israel, God’s provision for deliverance is born in chapter two. Moses matures under God’s watchful eye, and he begins to take notice of the oppressive burdens of his people. As he witnesses an Egyptian taskmaster beating one of the Hebrew slaves, he kills the Egyptian and hides him in the sand. He sees the need for deliverance, but taking matters into his own hands and relying on his own judgment instead of on God’s wisdom, he created a problem both for himself and his people. Moses was forced to leave Egypt for a period of forty years. Time was needed to temper him as God’s chosen instrument, and the people also apparently needed more time to develop the desire for deliverance, see chapter 2 verse 14.
Next, we have the miraculous appearance of God as He speaks to Moses from the burning bush. In this first meeting with Moses, we see God’s faithfulness in the keeping of His covenants, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” God’s promises are never laid aside, and it is that same covenant of Abraham that gives us the basis for the doctrine of salvation by faith rather than by performance (see Romans 4 and Galatians 4:21-31). Moses was assured that God had not forgotten His promises to Abraham and his descendants and was about to bring them out of bondage and into the blessed liberty He had promised to Abraham over four hundred years earlier (Genesis 15:13-14). We also draw great comfort in the Lord’s words to Moses in Exodus 3:7-8, “I have seen the oppression of My people...and have heard their cry...for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them.” How this reminds us of the comfort we receive from the gospel, “And you He made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins...and were by nature children of wrath. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). (Ephesians 2:1-5). The Israelites were helplessly in bondage as we were hopelessly in sin. As He came down to deliver them by the blood of the Passover Lamb, He has now come down in the person of the Son to purchase our freedom by the shedding of His own precious blood. We were dead in sin, but now through Him we have been made alive to God in the righteousness which is by faith in Jesus Christ!
In chapter four we are introduced to the three signs or miracles that Moses was to perform so the children of Israel would believe that he was sent by God. The signs are 1) Moses’ rod that became a serpent, 2) his hand which became leprous and was then healed, and 3) the water taken from the Nile River which became blood when poured out on dry ground. There is an interesting parallel between these three signs and the truths of the gospel as presented to us in the New Testament.
Satan, our spiritual adversary, is likened to a serpent or snake in scripture (Genesis 3, Revelation 20:2). New Testament scripture makes clear the fact that Satan is the enemy of our souls (1 Peter 5:8), and if we question the existence of our enemy, we may also question our need for a savior (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Those who are unaware are the ones most easily blinded or fooled. An awareness of the presence of the enemy helps us to draw closer to the One who has defeated him, Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:15, Ephesians 6:10-18).
Next, was the sign of leprosy. Leprosy is a deadly disease that separates man from man and man from God (Leviticus 13 & 14 and 22:2-4). We have another disease common to all of us, the spiritual disease of sin, separating us from God and from each other. An acknowledgement of our sin state is absolutely necessary before we can receive healing from our Great Physician and Deliverer. We must have a heart toward repentance if we are to have eyes to see and ears to hear the truth (2 Timothy 2:25, John 1:31). John came with a message of repentance so Jesus would be revealed to Israel, and in 2 Corinthians 3:16, the veil of blindness is removed when we turn away from sin and turn toward God.
The last sign was of water and blood. Moses was to take some water from the Nile River and pour it out on dry ground. As it was poured out, it became blood. This sign reminds us of what the apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:6, “This is He who came by water and blood - Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood...” The final sign Moses was given to convince the Israelites that God had truly sent him is the same final testimony for us that Jesus Christ has truly been sent of the Father for our deliverance from sin and reconciliation to eternal life. He came by water, His association with us in His baptism, though He was without sin. He came also by blood, His precious blood shed upon the dry ground of our hearts to bring streams of living water (Isaiah 35:6b and John 7:38) and give us life from death (Ephesians 2:4-5). Thus we receive the signs of His testimony that He indeed has been sent by God as the eternal Son of God for our deliverance!
After the testimony of Moses was received by the people, a problem developed that Moses hadn’t counted on. God told him that Pharaoh would resist letting the people go, but the Jews themselves began to reject Moses as Pharaoh began to put pressure on them to make the same amount of brick as they had made before, only without being supplied the straw. Moses and Aaron were suffering rejection from both Pharaoh and the children of Israel. To the prayer of frustration that Moses spoke in chapter 5 verses 22 & 23, God responds saying , “Now you will see what I will do...” As we exhaust our resources and face impossible situations, our Lord delights in helping us with His great love and power and to show Himself strong in behalf of those who trust in Him and wait for His help (2 Chronicles 16:9; 20:3-17; 2 Kings 18:17-19:37; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Notice the power in the Lord’s promise in verses 6 through 8 of chapter 6. There are three “I am’s” and seven “I will’s.” “I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage. I am the Lord.”
God’s promises are absolute and their fulfillment depends not on our strength but on His power. Our responsibility is to submit to His lordship over our lives and place our faith in His ability to complete the promises He’s given to us. God’s desire for the Israelites was to bring them to the point of surrender to His will and to confidence in His power. This is His desire for all His people in every age, and in the next paper, we’ll discover how He deals with us to build and strengthen our faith, the faith that eventually enters the land of promise.
WAREHOUSE CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES
THE BIBLE IN FOCUS
In the last paper, we learned of the certainty of God’s promises to His people (Exodus 6:1-8). In this paper, we’ll discover how God prepares His people for the faith and courage to step into those promises.
Immediately after the victory of the Red Sea crossing, the people sang praises to the Lord, “The Lord is my strength and song and He has become my salvation. He is my God and I will praise Him...,” Exodus 15:2. Within a few days afterward, the Lord brought them into the wilderness (the Lord was the One who determined where Israel traveled by the movements of the “pillar of cloud” Exodus 13:21-22). They traveled three days without finding any water. And when they finally came to a place where there was some water, it was too bitter to drink. As the people began to murmur against Moses and complain about their circumstances, the Lord instructed Moses to cast a certain tree into the water, making it fit to drink. In this, God “tested” Israel.
Next, in chapter 16, we find the Israelites running out of food in their journeys further into the wilderness and they said to Moses and Aaron, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt...For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” The Lord then met their need with manna, literally “bread from heaven,” that He again might “test” them to see if they would walk in His ways or not (Exodus 16:4). The main idea associated with God testing the people was to refine their character that they might walk more closely in His ways and to humble them, allowing them to experience hunger that they might know “that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord,” Deuteronomy 8:2-3. The Lord wanted them to know that the word of God was more reliable than what man could produce on his own. Reliance on the word of God is faith - “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” Romans 1O:17. God wanted to strengthen their faith through the testing or trials in the wilderness. They would need to be strong of faith to enter and take the land of promise, and God’s desire was to prepare them.
The same concept of building faith and character through testing and trial is found in 1 Peter 1:6-9; 4:12-14 and James 1:2-4. Peter compares the testing of our faith to the ancient process of purifying gold in 1 Peter 1:7. As Kenneth Wuest so aptly puts it in his “Word Studies in the Greek New Testament,” “The picture here is of an ancient gold-smith who puts his crude gold ore in a crucible, subjects it to intense heat, and thus liquefies the mass. The impurities rise to the surface and are skimmed off. When the metalworker is able to see the reflection of his face clearly mirrored in the surface of the liquid, he takes it off the fire, for he knows that the contents are pure gold. So it is with God and His child. He puts us in the crucible of Christian suffering, in which process sin is gradually put out of our lives, our faith is purified from the slag of unbelief that somehow mingles with it so often, and the result is the reflection of the face of Jesus Christ in the character of the Christian. This, above all, God the Father desires to see. Christlikeness is God’s ideal for His child. Christian suffering is one of the most potent means to that end.”
We see from this analogy that our Lord tests us not for the purpose of acceptance or rejection, but for the purpose of and a view toward approving and improving our faith and our character. He knows the spiritual depths of the promises He has given us and the spiritual warfare necessary during the process of those promises being fulfilled in our lives (Ephesians 6:10-18; Hebrews 6:11-12, 15; Hebrews 10:36). For this reason, He puts us to the test so that when the time comes to “cross the River Jordan” so to speak and enter the land of promise, we’ll be strong enough of faith to withstand the intimidations of the enemy and possess the promise.
It is clear from scripture that God uses adverse circumstances to build our faith as one might use weights of resistance to build muscle. The first generation of the Israelites delivered from Egypt never really learned to look to God and to depend on His faithfulness. And the result of their resistance to His faith-building methods cost them heavily (1 Corinthians 10:1-13). In Psalm 63, we have a unique opportunity to look at the heart of a man of faith during his time in the wilderness. The man is King David in the wilderness of Judea. “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus will I bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.”
What a contrast to the grumbling and murmuring of the Israelites in the Sinai! See Numbers 11:4-6. David’s soul was beautifully satisfied with marrow and fatness in his closeness with God while the great company of the Exodus complained that their “whole being was dried up” because they didn’t have the food of their fancy. But as the Psalmist noted in Psalm 106:15, “He gave them their request but sent leanness to their soul.” He filled their mouths and emptied their souls! They “limited the Holy One of Israel,” Psalm 78:41. Notice that David’s heart, by contrast, longed to be near God more than to be comforted physically, because he treasured the Lord’s loving kindness more than life itself. As David turned to God in faith, he was wonderfully and powerfully rewarded with God’s presence and God’s strength to go forward and live the life of victory that he is known for. May we also be known as people of faith, godly desire, and victory as we surrender to His lordship and yield to His faith-building ways. This was David’s blessed attitude of heart. Let it be ours!
Warehouse Christian Ministries
THE BIBLE IN FOCUS
The Book of Exodus
The second section of the book of Exodus, chapters 19 through 24, introduces us to The Law. The development of laws to preserve social order and governmental stability is crucial to any society. But for the nation of Israel, it was also crucial for them to know the character of their God as well as the character and nature of man as revealed through His law.
There were, therefore, three main purposes in the giving of the law: 1) To provide a standard of righteousness. The righteousness of God was revealed that the people might know the difference between the holy and the profane, what is consistent with God’s character and His desires and what is not (Exodus 18:20, Nehemiah ch 8 and Ezekiel 44:23). “Be holy for I am holy.” The standard of righteousness is nothing less than the character and righteousness of God. 2) To expose and identify sin. As any solid object becomes dark when placed against a bright background, the sinfulness of man’s nature becomes apparent when placed against the luminous backdrop of God’s righteousness. As the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:7-8, “...I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’ Sin, taking the opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law, sin was dead.” See also Romans 3:20, 5:20, and Galatians 3:19. 3) To reveal the holy character of the person of God. As privilege without responsibility leads to a careless disregard for others, knowing only of the love of God without an understanding of His fiery holiness and perfect justice leads to a casual view of God’s word. “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God” on those who fell (by rejection of their Messiah through unbelief), severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.” (Romans 11:22). “Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men...” (2 Corinthians 5:11). See also Hebrews 10:26-31 and 12:25-29.
“It is not without significance that the Biblical revelation, considered as a whole, presents first the power of God (as seen especially in the creation, the Flood, the Babel dispersion, the overthrow of Sodom, the Exodus); then the holiness of God (as seen in the Mosaic Law and the subsequent Divine dealings with Israel); and then the love of God (as seen in the Gospel of Christ); the truth being at once suggested that the revelation of the love of God must be safeguarded by a due recognition of His awful power and holiness.” J. Sidlow Baxter in “Explore the Book”. It is also important to realize that God’s law is consistent with and an expression of His love:
“...From His right hand came a fiery law for them. Yes, He loves the people...” Deuteronomy 33:2-3.
It was also God’s intent to make a covenant, or agreement, a conditional agreement, with Israel through the law, “If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is mine,” Exodus 19:5. The blessing was conditional upon the obedience of the people. The conditional nature of the legal covenant, however, was not intended to replace the unconditional covenant of promise given to Abraham over four hundred years earlier, see Genesis 12:1-3 and Galatians 3:15-18. The law was given to intensify the need by making the sin nature of man more apparent and leading us to the great solution to the sin problem, Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected, Romans 7:18-25. The nature of a legal conditional covenant does not have the power to change our sin nature (Hebrews 10:1-4), but it is useful in making us hungry and thirsty for the salvation that only God can provide (Psalm 119:5,81-83,123; Isaiah 55:1; Matthew 5:6; Revelation 21:6).
With the Abrahamic covenant as well as the New Testament covenant, the security and power of the promise as given unconditionally by God is the force behind a change of character and lifestyle, “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace,” Romans 6:14. We are no longer under the emphasis of performance under the law, but under the power of the promise under God. In the New Testament covenant as well as the Abrahamic covenant, the position of man is directly under God, with God speaking directly to Abraham and directly to us - sons of Abraham by faith (Romans 4:16 and Galatians 3:7). In the legal covenant under Moses, the people were not dealing directly with God but with a legal code given to them through an intermediary (Moses). This distinction is made in Hebrews chapter 12 verses 18-24. We have not come to physical Mount Sinai, where the people were forbidden to touch the mountain or come close to God. But we have come to spiritual Mount Zion and the heavenly Jerusalem (Galatians 4:25-26; Revelation 21:9-27). Under the old covenant, those who drew near would die physically (Hebrews 12:20); under the new covenant, those who fail to draw near by faith die spiritually (Galatians 5:1-4 and Hebrews 10:19-22, 38-39). The major difference between the two covenants, then, is the position of man as he relates to God as follows:
Covenant of Law Through Moses
Man – relating to God based upon
performance under the law, Ex 19:5
Covenant of Grace Through Christ
Man – enjoying nearness to God
provided by the sacrifice of Jesus
Christ and immediately receiving
the promises of God without the
condition of performance, Ephesians
The Law – fulfilled by man through
a change of life which came from his
direct contact with God, Matt 5:17 &
Our approach to God is greatly simplified and our lives greatly empowered under the New Testament covenant of grace, and great are the benefits and promises stemming from the cross of Jesus Christ! “Therefore, having been justified (declared not guilty) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” Romans 5:1-2.
Our godly response to the law, therefore, is to let it convict us of sin, to agree with God that we have fallen far short of His righteousness, and to say “amen” to the death sentence it proclaims against our self-righteousness Philippians 3:1-9. As we agree with God that “There is none righteous, no, not one” Romans 3:10, we can say with the apostle Paul, “I through the law died to the law that I might live to God,” Galatians 2:19. Being condemned to death by the law, we are raised with Christ to righteousness by faith!
WAREHOUSE CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES
THE BIBLE IN FOCUS
The Book of Exodus
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill,” Matthew 5:17. The study of the law is important for two reasons, 1) to discover the true character of man apart from the grace of God and 2) to understand the just and holy nature of God. The law not only reveals the nature of our sin, but also reveals the nature of our God. “...I would not have known sin except through the law...” Romans 7:7. “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith,” Galatians 3:22 and 24.
The Ten Commandments (The Decalogue) are the foundation and core of all Old Testament law. They are, according to Jewish tradition, “the pillars of the law and its roots”. We do not secure our righteousness through obedience to the law (Romans 3:2O), but we do see in the law a righteous standard consistent with the work that the Lord desires to do within us through the Holy Spirit. We recognize the work of His Spirit within us by our actions being in conformity to His law.
In Exodus Ch 20, we find the first mention of the Ten Commandments as spoken by God directly to the people. It was later that they were written on tablets of stone by the “finger of God”, Exodus 31:18. The following is a brief commentary on each of the Ten Commandments and how each one may pertain to our New Testament relationship with Jesus Christ:
1. You shall have no other gods before Me. The main meaning of this first and highest commandment is to have no object of worship other than God Himself. The great driving force or master passion in our lives should be to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment”, Matthew 22:37-38. And the practical demonstration of our living out this commandment is shown in our obedience to the second great commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”, John 13:34, 14:21, and 1 John 4:20-21.
2. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. The whole concept behind idolatry was to bring the person of God and the blessing of God into the hands or control of the worshipper, each person having his or her own personal “god” for personal blessing. To make an image of God is to try to bring Him down to our own level of understanding and under our own sphere of influence. The Egyptians were famous for their worship of many gods in the form of different animals, and Jehovah judged the idolatrous nation of Egypt as a testimony to the futility of all such false worship. The apostle Paul writes in Romans ch 1 that idolatry stems from the rejection of God as creator of all things and exchanging the truth of God for the lie, namely, the worship of self or any other created thing as God. God desires our worship in spirit and truth, that we might be free from all spiritual counterfeits and that our character might rise to the likeness of Him who is invisible. See Psalm 115 for the ultimate end of those who worship anyone or anything less than God, the creator of all things.
Seneca (a Roman statesman of the first century) says of the Romans of his own day, “They pray to these images of the gods, implore them on bended knee, sit or stand long days before them, throw them money, and sacrifice beasts to them, so treating them with deep respect, though they despise the men who make them.”
This commandment is not against all artistic expression for even the Tabernacle had cherubim embroidered on its curtains. There was also beautiful artistry in the articles within the Tabernacle including the Menorah and the Ark of the Covenant. But none of these things were objects of worship among the Jewish people. Whenever the physical becomes the object of worship the second commandment is violated.
In this commandment the Lord shows that He does not want His likeness to be attached to anything physical. The Egyptians had physical representations for all of their several gods and goddesses. They are depicted everywhere among the ruins of ancient Egypt. They worshipped the creature rather than the creator (Romans 1:25). In Deuteronomy 4, Moses warned the people to “Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire…Take heed when you lift your eyes to heaven and see the sun, moon, and the stars…that you feel driven to worship them and serve them which the Lord has given to all peoples as a heritage.”
“Idolatry is the worship of anything that ought to be used [or appreciated], and the use of anything that ought to be worshipped.” Augustine
Idolatry could also be defined as any frame of physical reference to indicate the favor of God’s presence. When Moses went up on the mount, the people missed his presence and began to wonder if he would ever be back. They became impatient and had Aaron fashion a golden calf and proclaimed that it was the god who brought them out of Egypt! (Exodus 32)
Early in Israel’s history as a nation, they were being defeated in a certain battle with the philistines (1 Samuel 4). They decided to call for the Ark of the Covenant, the holiest article in the Tabernacle, to be brought out to them in the battlefield. They thought that “it would save them” from their enemies. Even the Philistines were concerned that, “God had come into the camp!” But the presence of the physical can never make up for the absence of the spiritual, and they lost a decisive battle. But the Lord Himself spoke for His Ark, and the Philistines returned it in an attitude of repentance!
When Elijah was running from Jezebel who sought his life, He came to the region of Mt. Sinai and hid in a cave. The Lord brought him out to the mouth of the cave and showed him a rock-ripping wind, a mighty earthquake, and a consuming fire. But scripture says that the Lord was not in any of these things. Then the Lord spoke to him in a “still, small voice.” That, the Lord was in. His presence was in His word! He doesn’t liken Himself with anything physical: “I am the earth, the sky, the stars, the trees, etc.” But He does liken Himself His word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
When we approach God, we must approach by faith (Heb 11:6). But faith cannot exist in a vacuum; it must have a word from God. Faith is a response to God’s word to us. Faith is the substance of things hoped for… The substance of faith is the very Person of God in His word that comes to us. When we worship God in spirit and truth, we worship Him in the word he gives to us. By His word He creates, by His word He redeems and gives us life! By His word we enter into a love relationship with Him. See Psalm 40: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire. My ears You have opened; burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the Book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.”
God wants a relationship not supported by physical props but with, and only with, His Word. When we respond to Him this way, our lives are pulled into scripture itself and we see in scripture our lives played out there (“in the fullness of the Book it is written of me…). This speaks preeminently of Christ of course. But in that we are in Christ, our lives lived for Him relate to His word as well.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. The vain use of the Lord’s name includes both the concept of swearing falsely as in perjury and also the meaningless, worthless, or empty use of His name in casual conversation. All of our Lord’s several names are to be held in the highest reverence, Jehovah, Elohim, Adonai, El Shaddai, El Elyon, El Olam, etc. And, of course, Jesus, the only eternal Son of God whose name has been given to us as the only “name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37. “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” Philippians 2:10-11. It’s amazing how much we hear the name Jesus Christ taken in vain in these last days. Could it be that the influence of an unseen enemy is behind such vanity and profanity? See 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 and 1 John 5:19.
HALLOWED BE THY NAME
ELOHIM: Mighty One, God of strength, Genesis 1:1. Plural form of Eloah (Hebrew) and Elah (Aramaic). It is used with singular verbs, adjectives, and pronouns indicating one God yet with a plurality of form and majesty. He is one God manifested in the Persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is not an exclusive term for God since it is also used in scripture to describe the angels (Psalm 8:5), children of God (Psalm 82:6), judges (Exodus 21:6), and Abraham as a mighty prince (Genesis 23:6).
ADONAY: Sovereign controller/Master-owner. This is a respectful name used when addressing the Lord in recognition of His dominion over all things, Genesis 15:2 Lord God (Adonay Yahweh).
YAHWEH (JEHOVAH): Self-existent or eternal One. The Lord who has always
been in existence, and who guarantees His personal presence with us. Exodus 6:1-8, notice the three “I am’s” and the seven “I will’s” in verses 6-8. The English name “Jehovah” comes from the Hebrew “Yahowah” which actually has very little resemblance to what is believed to be the original Hebrew name for God. In ancient times, the Jews deliberately removed the vowels from the Lord’s personal name (Elohim and Adonay were more descriptive names than personal names, similar to Christ as a descriptive title while Jesus is the Messiah’s personal or “first” name). The Jews did not want His name pronounced in order to avoid any possibility of blasphemy. The consonants used for His name were YHWH. To this, the Jewish scribes eventually added the vowels in the name Adonay to come up with the combination name “Yahowah”. Scholars now believe that the most probable form of the original Hebrew name for God is Yahweh. The name “Yahowah” was first introduced in the Masoretic Text compiled in the tenth century A.D.
EL SHADDAI: God Almighty. To be burley, powerful, mighty. Genesis 17:1, 28:3, the mighty God of covenant and blessing.
EL ELYON: The Most High God. Lofty, supreme, most high, over all, possessor of heaven and earth. Genesis 14:18, Psalm 91:1.
EL OLAM: The Everlasting God. Vanishing point, concealed, mysterious, eternal and unsearchable. Genesis 21:33 (see what follows in chapter 22, the mysterious command to sacrifice Abraham’s only son, the son of promise!) The Lord’s ways truly are not our ways, Isaiah 55:8. See also Isaiah 40:27-31.
EL ROI: The God Who Sees Me. He is mindful of us and our condition. Genesis 16:13.
JEHOVAH JIREH (Yahweh Yireh): The Lord Our Provider. The God who will “see to it.” Genesis 22:14, the Lord will see to it that the final provision will be made for mankind on the mount of the Lord - Moriah (literally “seen of Yah”), where Christ was crucified!
JEHOVAH NISSI: The Lord Our Banner. An emblem of victory proudly displayed for all to see. Exodus 17:15, the Lord is our victory.
JEHOVAH TSIDQENUW: The Lord Our Righteousness. Jeremiah 23:5-6. Jeremiah foretold that the coming Messiah’s name would be “Jehovah Tsidqenuw, The Lord Our Righteousness.” The name Jesus means “Jehovah is salvation”. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
JEHOVAH RAAH: The Lord My Shepherd, Psalm 23:1. See John 10:1-18.
JEHOVAH RAPHA: The Lord Who Heals. I am the Lord who heals you, Exodus 15:26.
JEHOVAH SHALOM: The Lord My Peace/safety/well-being, Judges 6:24. Also see Philippians 4:6-7.
JEHOVAH TSABA: The Lord of Hosts. The Lord of a mighty army prepared for battle. He is a strong defender who prepares the way of victory, Zechariah 4:6,9. Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts.
JEHOVAH SHAMMAH: The Lord Is There, Ezekiel 48:35. See also Revelation 21:22-23. Now we are the temple of the Lord. His very presence is within us by the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is truly Jehovah Shammah to us!
To this, we might add the names of our Messiah Jesus Christ: Immanuel (God with us), Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, The Root and The Branch of King David, The Son of God, The Son of Man, The Word of God, The Bread of Life, The Way, The Truth, The Life, I AM, The Alpha and the Omega (The First and The Last), The Bright and Morning Star. “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.” Truly, Lord, hallowed be Thy name!
“There are many ways in which a man may break this Commandment. Most people immediately think of the use of profanity. Certainly this is a terrible habit. The one who uses profanity does not know God and is often blind to what he is doing. It always causes me inward pain to hear the name of my Lord profaned. Yet many times I find myself feeling sorry for the man who does it. Sorry because he is so carelessly using the name of the best friend one could have. Sorry because he has not yet found the joy of knowing God. But this is not the only way men take His name in vain, nor is it the most important.
Actually, this Commandment is aimed primarily at those who believe but do nothing about it. If our belief in God is not to be in vain, then it must be total belief, total allegiance. Elton Trueblood has pointed out that "there is more difference between one and two than between two and a million." This is significant in our loyalties. We cannot give complete allegiance to two nations. We cannot give complete loyalty to two wives. If our allegiance to God is not to be in vain, if it is to be a valid allegiance, then it must be total and complete. This is the only kind of Christianity the Bible teaches. Lip service to Christianity is but to take His name in vain.
What is dangerous in our age is not atheism, but a very mild form of Christianity. It is not outright rejection that is most dangerous, but a meaningless form of acceptance. This is to take His name in vain.
The wonderful thing is that this negative Commandment also contains a positive truth. When a man in all sincerity and reverence takes God into his personal life, it will NOT BE IN VAIN. God will bless his life and will give it purpose and meaning.” Chaplain Jim Robinson hiswayministries.org
Matthew 5:33-37 Avoiding the name of the Lord to keep from profaning His name – see Leviticus 19:12 You shall not swear falsely by My name nor shall you profane (to bring down, make common, or use in vain) the name of your God.
Matthew 6:5-8 Hypocrisy in prayer – also vain repetition (the use of the name of the Lord in an empty, vain sense
Matthew 26:69-74 Peter’s denial – Peter cursed and swore – literally to take an oath, bringing curses down on yourself: “May God kill me and damn me if I’m not telling the truth.”
1 Corinthians 11:26-31 Receiving communion in vain
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work. The Sabbath day command has the longest explanation of any of the Ten Commandments and may also have the greatest implications for us as Christians. First of all, it is important to note that the New Testament church is not under obligation to observe certain “days, months, seasons, or years,” Galatians 4:9-11. See also Romans 14:5-6 and Colossians 2:16-17. But the fact remains that the Sabbath command, as well as all the other commands, must not be laid aside but rather fulfilled by those who walk with Christ. How can the Sabbath law be fulfilled without observing a certain day, Saturday, as the Jewish Sabbath or Sunday, as the “Lord’s Day”? In the Old Testament, the Sabbath day is associated with God’s finished work of creation in Exodus 20:11, God’s redemption of Israel from the bondage of Egypt in Deuteronomy 5:15, and God’s work of sanctification of the people in Exodus 31:13. Scripture makes it clear that Jesus Christ is the substance and fulfillment of Old Testament law, Colossians 2:17 and Romans 10:4. If we are in Christ, therefore, we fulfill the Sabbath rest by our reliance upon the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross, John 19:30, to transform us into a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17, to redeem us from the bondage of sin and unrighteousness, Romans 3:21-26, and to sanctify us (to separate us from the world by transforming us to His own righteous character) by the power of His shed blood and the gift of His Holy Spirit, Hebrews 9:13-14. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” In Christ, we find the true rest for our souls as we, by faith, lay aside the work of self-righteousness under the law and embrace the finished work of the Person of the Son of God to set us free to worship Him in the comfort and assurance of His eternal rest. “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest...,” Hebrews 4:10-11. See also all of Hebrews chapters 3 and 4.
Nine of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the NT for believers to observe (be guided by as an indicator of our spiritual life). The only one we need not observe now is the one most detailed of the ten - #4 keeping the Sabbath. It is also interesting to note that the OT Sabbath rest comes after six days of work, while the NT “Lord’s Day” comes at the beginning of the week of work. Coming at the end represents working toward something or earning something. Coming at the beginning of the week in the NT represents the grace of God giving us what we need up front that all our work may be done with His life of rest and peace within us. The Sabbath rest for us now is more that just a day of the week, it is a continual life style we can live every day of the week!
Of the summaries of the law given in the New Testament, not one of them mentions the Sabbath: Matthew 19:16-20, Mark 10:17-20, Luke 18:18-21, and Romans 13:8-10.
The Sabbath was made for (to bless) man not man for (to serve) the Sabbath. Jesus never violated the Sabbath, He fulfilled the purpose for which it was given.
Key scriptures: Romans 14:4-8; Galatians 4:9-11, Colossians 2:8-17
Romans 7:6 we are to serve in the newness of the Spirit not in the oldness of the letter.
Possible references to Sunday as the day the believers chose to meet and break bread: Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 (meeting on the first day of the week). Note also that the Holy Spirit came to the disciples at Pentecost on a Sunday (see Leviticus 23).
But the New Covenant, which fulfills the Old Covenant, makes it quite clear that the Sabbath rest of the Lord is not about certain days of the week, but about a quality of His rest being with us as we are in Christ. It’s a matter of Spirit led and Spirit filled lifestyle as opposed to observing a certain day of the week. Jesus said, “…Come to Me and I will give you rest.” We don’t come to a certain day to find rest, we come to a certain Savior who gives us the life of redemptive rest! As Isaiah said, “In returning and rest you shall be saved. In quietness and confidence shall be your strength,” Isaiah 30:15.
So the first day of the week, Sunday, is not our new Sabbath! It is just a convenient day of the week to meet as established by tradition – a tradition which does not violate the law of God.
But how can we change the day that we come together to honor the Lord without violating His Sabbath law? If He commands us to worship Him on a certain day, and we, because of our traditions arbitrarily change that, wouldn’t He count that as sin on our part? He would! But if the New Covenant says that it doesn’t matter anymore which day we come together, why doesn’t it matter? And why wouldn’t God count that as high-minded transgression on our part? Isn’t the Sabbath important anymore? After all, it’s one (indeed the longest in terms of verbiage) of the Ten Commandments!
We may gain some insight by determining the following:
1. The purpose of the Sabbath
2. Comparison between the Sabbath law and the law of circumcision
3. How Christ fulfilled the Sabbath and the circumcision (“I did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.”)
1. The purpose of the Sabbath
It is a sign (or evidence) of sanctification
It marked them out as separate from other nations who didn’t follow or know the Lord. Be holy for I am holy – it marked them as belonging to God.
It was for their refreshment and blessing in memory of God’s creation work and His rest from it
It was also an everlasting (eternal) sign of the covenant that could never be changed or set aside
2. Similarity between the Sabbath law and the law of circumcision
It is a sign (evidence) of the covenant
It was also an everlasting (eternal) sign of the covenant that could never be changed or set aside
No male could be part of the covenant of God without being circumcised
3. Christ is the fulfillment of the both the Sabbath and circumcision!
Circumcision is both a sign and a seal (stamp of approval) – Romans 4:11
For Abraham, circumcision was the evidence that God counted him a righteous man. He didn’t do it to become righteous, he did because he already was righteous in the eyes of God.
In that same way, God now puts His own stamp of approval on the believer by sealing him with the Holy Spirit – See Ephesians 1:13-14.
The believing Jews in Jerusalem were not fully accepting the Gentile believers who were not circumcised until Peter’s ministry encounter with the Gentile Cornelius, Acts 10. These uncircumcised Gentiles received the seal of the Holy Spirit – the “stamp of approval” that they were counted as righteous as a circumcised Jew!
The gift of the Holy Spirit fulfilled and replaced the physical sign of circumcision. The shadow was replaced by the substance and the law of circumcision is met by those who walk in the life of the Holy Spirit as a sign that they belong to God.
So the everlasting covenant of circumcision is completed rather than scrapped or set aside by some other tradition.
The same is true for the Sabbath. They ceased from their work to honor God on a certain day – Saturday. Now, the fulfillment in Christ is that we no longer have to work under the law to become acceptable to God. We can rest in His redemptive work for us.
The evidence or “sign” of the Sabbath is in our rest and peace with God who now receives us through the blood of Christ. The confidence we have in Christ is what separates (or sanctifies) us from the world.
In Philippians 3:3 Paul said that we are the circumcision – not we have been, but we are! Could we then say also that we are the Sabbath? We are the temple and we embody His presence and His rest!
See Hebrews.doc file for the true Sabbath rest…
5. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. This is the first commandment with a promise, Ephesians 6:1-3. It is also the first commandment that strikes at the heart of sin, which is rebellion against authority. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness,” 1 John 3:4. Jesus spoke of a time when lawlessness would abound and the love of many would grow cold, Matthew 24:12. The apostle Paul also spoke of such a time in the “last days” when people would be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers (speaking evil of God or putting self in the place of God), disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, etc., 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Strong resistance to parental authority is one of the characteristics of the last days, and the building of respect for authority in our children is a crucial building block in their learning the reverential respect for God. “The eye that mocks his father, and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it,” Proverbs 30:17. In scripture, the eye is sometimes used to signify depth of wisdom and understanding (Job 42:5). Learning respect for parental authority early in life can spare that “eye” of understanding against the blindness of the world and remain open to the wisdom of the Lord. See Proverbs Ch 4 for the connection of a father’s instruction to wisdom and understanding and the promise of a long life. Note also Proverbs 20:20, “Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.” In keeping with the spirit of this command, the intent, of course, is not to subject the child to ungodly physical or sexual treatment. But neither is the command automatically negated if the parents do not follow in the ways of God. Scripture records the command in Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” The phrase “in the Lord” refers back to the word “obey” rather than the word “parents” (Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Vol. 1). It defines the quality of obedience rather than the quality of the life of the parent. Again, the main purpose of the command is to develop a right or godly response to authority.
Respect for authority is connected with faith
Just speak the word… Matt 8:8-10
It is also connected with submission to God
1 Peter 2:9-21 honor the king (Nero was in power at the time)
See also Romans 13:1-7
But not to do something unbiblical – scripture is the highest authority
Acts 5:29-32 “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Also Acts 4:19
But see 2 Kings 5:17-19 Naaman – “May the Lord please pardon your servant in this thing.”
Wisdom nuggets from Proverbs 3:
Keep mercy (lovingkindness) and truth (honesty
Trust God and His ways, not your own understanding of things
Do not be wise in your own eyes
Let the fear of God keep you from evil
Honor God with your possessions – the firstfruits of your increase
Do not resist or despise His chastening
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due
Do not strive with your neighbor without cause – argument for the sake of argument
Do not envy the oppressor, choose none of his ways
The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools
6. You shall not murder. God alone has the authority to give life and to take it away. The hand of man may be used to take it, but the decision to do so belongs to God alone. It’s interesting that scripture treats the issue of life and death in broader terms than we might expect. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge it shall eat the fruit of it (for death or life),” Proverbs 18:21, Amplified Bible. “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and whoever murders will be in danger of judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of judgment...” Matthew 5:21-22. “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and we know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him,” 1 John 3:15. Also read Proverbs 1:10-19 in the light that malicious gossip could qualify for lying in wait to slay some unsuspecting soul. Heart attitudes are most important to the Lord, for out of the heart “spring the issues of life,” Proverbs 4:23.
Jesus focuses on the internal (Matthew 5:21-48)
All the ways of man are right in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives – Proverbs 16:2. I search the heart and test the mind – Jeremiah 17:10
Jesus taught that murder (as well as all other sins) starts in the heart and mind, Matthew 15:19. “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer,” 1 John 3:15.
Anger: Jesus said that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. When Jesus expressed anger, it was at any injustice done to others. He was never angered at the injustice done to Him. When He healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath day, He looked around at them with anger, being grieved at the hardness of their heart (Mark 3:1-5). His anger was not from bitterness but grief because of their withholding kindness to the man on the Sabbath day.
Another good example of righteous indignation is when Stephen was before the Jewish council (Acts 7:51-53) and then when he was being stoned he said, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” His indignation was from a godly love to try and save them. Such is the indignation of God.
Raca: Addressing someone with arrogant contempt – malicious abuse – slander, calling someone a “brainless idiot.”
Fool: To condemn someone’s character as godless and wicked, to ruin their reputation, spoken from a bitter vengeful heart. Jesus spoke to the Pharisees that they were “fools and blind,” Matthew 23:17. But He spoke it from a desire to save them not to destroy them. See John 5:34, “I say these things [to you] that you may be saved.” Plus even if He did say it as a judgment against them, He has that right as the sole judge of the living and the dead.
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth the good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned,” Matthew 12:34-37. See also James 3:1-12.
A judge speaks some words and a guilty prisoner is taken to a cell on death row. A gossip makes a phone call and a reputation is blemished or perhaps ruined. A cynical professor makes a snide remark in a lecture and a student’s faith is destroyed.
Never underestimate the power of words. Millions of people died in World War II because of the words written in Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, (“My Struggle” – a political manifesto that became the “bible” for National Socialism - Nazism). Solomon was right: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21). No wonder James compared the tongue to a destroying fire, a dangerous beast, and a deadly poison (James 3:5–8). Speech is a matter of life or death.
When you summarize what Proverbs teaches about human speech, you end up with four important propositions: (1) speech is an awesome gift from God; (2) speech can be used to do good; (3) speech can be used to do evil; and, (4) only God can help us use speech to do good.
You Shall Not Commit Adultery
You shall not commit adultery. The marriage union is precious in the sight of God, and is intended to demonstrate the relationship of care, intimacy, and trust available between man and God, Ephesians 5:22-33. Any disruption in marriage fidelity not only hinders the demonstration of what is available in the gospel, but also strikes at the very root of fidelity and trust in society as a whole. If there is no honest loyalty at home, where else could we expect to find it? Adultery is presented in two forms in scripture, physical and spiritual. The physical form of this sin, of course, deals with the relationship between the husband and the wife. The spiritual form deals with the relationship between the Lord and His people. The marriage covenant between God and His people is well documented in scripture (Isaiah 54:5, 62:5, John 3:29, and 2 Corinthians 11:2). It is also well documented in scripture that if we seek anything or anyone else to satisfy the desire of our heart, we have become spiritually adulterous (James 4:1-5, Ezekiel 16:15-34, Hosea 2:1-13). Physical adultery is really a symptom of spiritual adultery. If we were looking to God alone for the love and provision to meet our needs, there would be no reason to look to anyone else. Notice that the prevalence of divorce, mentioned in Malachi 2:13-16, is preceded by an attitude of contempt for the Lord and His word, “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence?” Malachi 1:6.
Note the issue of a divorced woman who remarries commits adultery. Also a man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery, Matthew 5:31-32. Jesus was driving home the point that under the law, no one is sinless! They had their neat little reasons for divorcing their wives, and they thought that they were clear from guilt under the law. But Jesus clarified for them that none of them was innocent. “There is none righteous before God, no not even one,” Romans 3:10-20. Even the innocent wife who was falsely abandoned by her husband commits adultery if she remarries. If that is the case, who can be righteous before God? No one! That’s the point; we need righteousness to come to us another way. In fact, we were all sinners before God before we committed a sinful act – we inherited our sin nature and sin condition before God from our first parents, Adam and Eve. See Romans 5 (federal headship). But, the good news is that if we inherited our sin nature, we may also inherit our nature of righteousness! We begin to understand that it is not by our earning, but by our receiving that we are made right with God. The disciples once said to Jesus, “Then who can be saved?” Matthew 19:25. Jesus responded that with men it is impossible! But with God all things are possible. What is impossible under the law becomes possible with God under grace!
But the words of Christ need to be taken seriously here. The impact of any divorce includes the sin of adultery in the case of remarriage. If this cannot be avoided, is it a sin that God just overlooks? God takes all sin seriously! Is remaining single the only way to avoid sin after a divorce? If a wife is abandoned, is she free to remarry in the eyes of the Lord? See 1 Corinthians 7:15 in context with verses 10-16. There appears to be an instance where there may be a remarriage without sin. If the sin of adultery ends a marriage, is remarriage forever forbidden for the one who sinned? These and other difficult questions surround this issue. Repentance and restoration are available for all who sin, yet there remain the reaping and sowing consequences for our actions. God is the only one who determines those consequences. I believe there may be times when the Lord would permit remarriage and times when He would not. The issue is more relational than legal. What is God calling me to do? Can I in good conscience and good faith remarry before the Lord? If our relationship with God is more important than justifying another marriage, we are much better able to discern the will of God in the matter. If remarriage is most important to us, we may well miss the will of God for our lives.
1 Corinthians 7:10-16
Title: Diary of Deceit (from the website: sermons.org)
On May 3, 1987, the story of Gary Hart's fling with blond model and actress Donna Rice finally erupted into a national scandal.
As it unraveled, the tale included accounts of her visit to his townhouse in Washington, a boat trip to Bimini, off the coast of Florida, as well as assorted reports about the promises he had allegedly made to her about their future together.
Gary Hart showed no remorse.
On May 5, he admitted he'd made a "big mistake" but insisted he had done "nothing immoral."
On May 8, Hart announced he was withdrawing from the Presidential race.
On May 25, Hart's picture with Donna Rice sitting on his lap appeared on the front page of a national weekly -- along with an account of their overnight trip to Bimini.
On Sept. 22, Hart told Ted Koppel on ABC-TV's Nightline that he had not been "absolutely faithful" throughout his marriage.
On Dec. 15, Gary Hart announced he had decided to re-enter the Presidential race.
On Jan. 9, he told a newspaper in Des Moines, Iowa, that, if elected, he "wouldn't be the first adulterer in the White House."
By Jan. 13, he had received almost $1 million of taxpayers' money for his campaign.
On Jan. 15, at the Democratic Presidential candidates debate in Iowa, he maintained that "there is a difference between public morality and private morality."
-- The Star
See: Rom 16:18; Gal 6:7
Estimated percentage of men who have committed adultery 25-33%, women 17-25%
It is as high in the church as it is in the world
It goes beyond the act into the condition of the heart, Matthew 5:27-32
Note the seriousness of the sin and the opposition we should take to it
Truth – sin shall not have dominion over you… Romans 6:14
Decision – those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh
Bold prayer against sin in our lives, 1 John 1:9
Accountability to others
Spiritual adultery – Hosea 2
Physical adultery is a symptom of spiritual adultery, see James 4:1-10
Submit to God
Draw near to God
Cleanse your hands
Purify your heart
8. You shall not steal. This command is broadened in Leviticus 19:11, “You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.” In addition to dealing with the concept of taking something that does not belong to you, the Hebrew word for steal (gaw-nab’) is also used to describe the act of deception (2 Samuel 15:6), where it is said that Absalom stole or deceived the hearts of the men of Israel. Under this expanded definition, one wonders how the Lord may view some of our “prudent” business dealings or sales methods, some of which deliberately mislead or deceive the buyer. The Lord makes it clear that He hates deceptive practices to enhance personal gain (Leviticus 19:36, Proverbs 11:1), and there are dire consequences for disobedience in this area (Amos 8:1-8). Pilfering, or taking items of small value, is also included in this eighth command. Paul writes in Titus 2:9-10 that servants (employees) should be obedient to their masters (employers), not pilfering but showing all good fidelity.
The best antidote for theft is contentment:
Phil 4:11 I have learned to be content in whatever state I am
1 Timothy 6:8 If we have food and clothes, with these we shall be content. The best gift for the man who has everything is a burglar alarm. J
Heb. 13:5 Let your character be free from the love of money and be content with what you have, for He Himself said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
1 Tim 6:6 Godliness with contentment is great gain
Stealing includes deception: Prov 11:1 A false (deceptive) balance is an abomination…
See Zechariah 5 and Amos 8:1-8 for the curses pronounced on those practicing deceit.
Who may ascend His holy hill… Psalm 24:3ff.
Stealing also includes pilfering – taking items of small value, Titus 2:10. Note the story of the newly hired stock boy who found a twenty-dollar bill in the bottom of a trunk he was told to clean out. We may never know when we are being measured for a larger place.
See Malachi 3:8ff covering the withholding of what is due to the Lord as robbery.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. This command is also amplified in Leviticus chapter 19, “You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord. You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor (speak to him face to face rather than behind his back), and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:16-18. To bear false witness against someone could apply to giving a false testimony in a court of law as well as to spreading false rumors in private conversation. Scripture teaches us to go directly to a brother or sister when problems arise or sins are committed (Matthew 18:15:17, Galatians 6:1, James 5:16). One of Satan’s favorite ploys is to get Christians gossiping about one another. The name “Devil” literally means “slanderer”, and Satan stands as the great “accuser of the brethren.” Accusations and lies are the enemy’s standard fare and we must seriously avoid anything that even remotely resembles his character. See Proverbs 11:12-13, 20:19, and 26:20,22. Note the connection between a talebearer and the one who is devoid of wisdom, unfaithful, a flatterer, and one who causes strife and division among the brethren.
Matthew 18 – going to your brother
The motive for the rebuke should be restoration. Do it sooner rather than later to avoid a hardened condition by the offender and bitterness by the one offended. Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Peter was corrected publicly by Paul, rather sharply. But Peter later referred to Paul as His “beloved brother” 2 Peter 3:15.
When we go to a brother or sister who has offended us or sinned against us, three things should be kept in mind:
The restoration of the offender
Maintaining the purity and integrity of the church
The glory of God
Going to the sinning brother or sister also may include ministering to someone who has not sinned directly against you. When we are aware that a brother or sister is in some sin, the Lord would have us go to that one in a spirit of gentleness that they may be restored, Galatians 6:1-5 with James 5:19-20. Sometimes we trade purity for a superficial calm. “Love that winks at sin or that is more concerned for superficial calm in the church than for its spiritual purity is not God’s kind of love. Love that tolerates sin is not love at all but worldly and selfish sentimentality.”
“To preach love apart from God’s holiness is to teach something other than God’s love. No awakening or revival of the church has ever occurred apart from strong preaching of God’s holiness and the corresponding call for believers to forsake sin and return to the Lord’s standards of purity and righteousness. No church that tolerates known sin in its membership will have spiritual growth or effective evangelism. In spite of that truth, however, such tolerance is standard in the church today-at all levels.”
Matthew 18 is one of the great remedies against gossip:
Prov 11:12-13 He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor. But a man of understanding holds his peace.
Prov 20:19 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets (is unfaithful). Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.
Prov 26:20, 22 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out. And where there is no talebearer (whisperer), strife ceases (sowing discord).
Prov 26:22 Words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost being.
See also Psalm 15
A gossip is one who talks to you about others; a bore is one who talks to you about himself; and a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself.
I was riding along a highway the other day and saw a sign, "Dirt for sale." I said, "They ought to hang that over every rack of paperbound books in the drug stores of America." Not since Manhattan Island was sold for $24 has there been so much dirt available for so little money as now.
-- Vance Havner in On This Rock I Stand. Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 11.
2 Ti 3:1-2.
I once formed a mutual encouragement fellowship at a time of stress in one of my pastorates. The members subscribed to a simple formula applied before speaking of any person or subject that was perhaps controversial. T -- is it True? H -- is it Helpful? I -- is it Inspiring? N -- is it Necessary? K -- is it Kind? If what I am about to say does not pass those tests, I will keep my mouth shut! And it worked!
-- Alan Redpath in A Passion for Preaching. Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 11.
15 ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against (bear false witness against) the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.
17 ‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Commandment #9 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Giving false testimony in court
Spreading false rumors in private conversation
One of the devil’s favorite ploys is gossip
The word “devil” means slanderer or accuser of the brethren
Accusation and lies are the enemy’s standard fare
Prov 11:12-13 He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor. But a man of understanding holds his peace.
Prov 20:19 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets (is unfaithful). Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.
Prov 26:20, 22 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out. And where there is no talebearer (whisperer), strife ceases (sowing discord).
Prov 26:22 Words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost being.
See also Psalm 15
Who may abide in Your tabernacle, who may dwell in Your holy hill?
He who does not backbite with his tongue or take up a reproach against his friend…
A gossip is one who talks to you about others; a bore is one who talks to you about himself; and a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself.
I was riding along a highway the other day and saw a sign, "Dirt for sale." I said, "They ought to hang that over every rack of paperbound books in the drug stores of America." Not since Manhattan Island was sold for $24 has there been so much dirt available for so little money.
-- Vance Havner in On This Rock I Stand. Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 11.
Alan Redpath – fellowship for mutual encouragement in the ministry
One rule for their conversation: T H I N K
Is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind ?
The motive should be for restoration
Ephes 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other…
Go directly as soon as you can
Avoids hardening in the offender and bitterness by the offended
Peter corrected publicly by Paul
Peter referred to Paul as his “beloved brother”
Also, Galatians 6 – seeing a brother or sister in sin – go in the spirit of humility
Restore in the spirit of gentleness
Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ
Sometimes we trade purity and holiness for a superficial calm
“No awakening or revival of the church has ever occurred apart from strong preaching of God’s holiness and the corresponding call for believers to forsake sin and return to the Lord’s standards of purity and righteousness. No church that tolerates known sin in its membership will have spiritual growth or effective evangelism.” John MacArthur
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s. To “covet” is to have a strong longing or heartfelt desire for something or someone. This tenth commandment is unique, because it is the only one that deals with the thought-life of the individual. “Here the Mosaic law takes a step enormously in advance of any other ancient code. Most codes stopped short at the deed; a few went on to words; not one attempted to control thoughts. ‘Thou shalt not covet’ teaches men that there is One who sees the heart; to whose eyes ‘all things are naked and open’; and who cares far less for the outward act than the inward thought or motive from which the act proceeds,” The Pulpit Commentary. Our lives can be free from covetousness when we realize the extent that God cares for us. “Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,’” Hebrews 13:5. And in Matthew Ch 6, Jesus warned that no one can serve two masters (God and riches), “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on...But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” We are confident that the One who sees the heart will also give us the desires of our hearts as we learn to trust in Him, Psalm 37:4.
As we look into the holy law of God, which shall never pass away, we have a greater appreciation for the power and extent of the work of Jesus Christ who “became sin who knew no sin that we might be the righteousness of God in Him.” He lived sinless under the righteous commands of the law, but He died a sinner’s death under the righteous demand of the Father to receive in full the wages of our sin.
Covetousness / Idolatry – Using God to get what you want.
Because it places selfish desire above obedience to God, greed amounts to idolatry. Covetousness is the root cause of all sin. William Barclay wrote, “It is, therefore, a sin with a very wide range. If it is the desire for money, it leads to theft. If it is the desire for prestige, it leads to evil ambition. If it is the desire for power, it leads to sadistic tyranny. If it is the desire for a person, it leads to sexual sin” (The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians [Louisville, Ky.: Westminster, 1975], p. 152).
Covetousness is idolatry and stems from a low view of God. “The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him,” (See comment by A.W. Tozer in Hebrews.doc file). Covetousness says in effect, “God is not enough.” “What would it profit a man to gain the whole would at the cost of his soul. What would he give in exchange for his soul?”
The purpose of law:
Provide a standard of righteousness
Be holy, for I am holy
Identify (expose) sin
I would not have known about my covetousness except for the law, which said “You shall not covet.”
Sin, taking the opportunity through the commandment, produced in me evil desire.
A white backdrop reveals the extent of darkness
Reveal the holy character of God Himself – not only what He desires for us, but also what He Himself is like
In 2 Corinthians 3, the apostle Paul said that we may see the glory of God through the word of God as in a mirror – and that we are transformed by the glory that we see there. How then can we behold as in a mirror the glory of God in the face of the Ten Commandments?
What we have not poisons what we have--. Our urge to acquire things is due less to the passion to possess them than to the vanity of feeling superior to those who envy our possession of them--. Envy transmutes other people's base metals into gold--. Our envy is the yeast that swells the fortune of others--. No form of hatred is as keen as envy. It magnifies the importance of our enemy--and belittles our own. [See Psalm 73]
Covetous men must be the sport of Satan, for their grasping avarice neither lets them enjoy life nor escape from the second death. They are held by their own greed as surely as beasts with cords, or fish with nets, or men with chains. They may be likened to those foolish apes which in some countries are caught by narrow-necked vessels. Into these corn (grain) is placed, the creatures thrust in their hands, and when they have filled them they cannot draw out their fists unless they let go the grain. Sooner than let go they submit to be captured. Are covetous men then like animals? Let them ponder and be ashamed.
-- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold
As we look into the holy law of God, which shall never pass away,
we have a greater appreciation for the power and extent of the work of
Jesus Christ who "became sin who knew no sin that we might be the
righteousness of God in Him". He lived sinless under the righteous
commands of the law, but He died a sinner’s death under the righteous
demand of the Father to receive in full the wages of our sin.
Teaching notes: Sunday August 24, 2003
You shall not covet
Needs Another Hundred Thousand
The first assignment I give to my classes in Basic English is a composition on “What I Would Do If I Had a Million Dollars.” My students are a delightful potpourri of Americans of all ages and colors, including immigrants from five continents, and young foreign students.
The latest class was pin-drop quiet for 30 minutes, while the students struggled to express their dreams in English. Then a ponderously built senora stalked up to my desk and flung down two pages of crossed-out and written-over figures.
“Not enough, teacher!” she proclaimed in disgust. “I gotta have another hundred thousand!”
Covet: to desire enviously
Only command – thought life (different from ancient codes which dealt only with actions rather than including the motives which led to them)
He is the only one who sees the heart – Jesus, knowing their thoughts…
Covetous men must be the sport of Satan, for their grasping avarice neither lets them enjoy life nor escape from the second death. They are held by their own greed as surely as beasts with cords, or fish with nets, or men with chains. They may be likened to those foolish apes which in some countries are caught by narrow-necked vessels. Into these corn (grain) is placed, the creatures thrust in their hands, and when they have filled them they cannot draw out their fists unless they let go the grain. Sooner than let go they submit to be captured. Are covetous men then like animals? Let them ponder and be ashamed. -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon
1 Timothy 6:6-11
Godliness with contentment – great gain
Brought nothing in – take nothing out
Having food and clothing – content
Desire to be rich – temptation and snare – pierced through with many sorrows
Luke 12:13-21 Parable that brings home the point
[we will either love people and use things or love things and use people]
[Idolatry is the worship of anything that ought to be used and the use of anything that ought to be worshipped - Augustine]
No life in possessions because:
No security there
Build greater barns, store all my goods
He thought that his future was secure (had it made)
He thought he could be totally independent (needing no one)
But absolute autonomy and independence leads to loneliness and insecurity
Solomon – nothing new under the sun
We are designed to be dependent on the One who created us and on one another
No rest there
“Soul, take your ease”
No real substance – God is substance of things hoped for…
No confident assurance of eternity – that’s what rest is
Rest connected to faith
Rest connected to the presence of God
His works are finished from the foundation of the world
Preplanned, Predestined, Prepared
No Treasure there
Lay up your treasure in heaven…
Tony Shelton’s testimony in last Sunday’s paper
During one of his episodes, he said he saw his life passed before his eyes “like a movie.” “I didn’t like some of what I saw.” He then told of ignoring his daughter to spend more time on his business ventures.
The real treasure is that which is eternal
People are eternal – either eternally lost or eternally saved
Jesus said we couldn’t love and serve God and money
Therefore don’t worry…
Look at the birds and the flowers…
Quote from “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard (mini-faiths :o)
Won’t insulate from God’s judgment
The great cure for it
An eternal perspective – See Psalm 73
WAREHOUSE CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES
Exodus 24-25:9 Hebrews 9:11-28
Our final study in the book of Exodus, chapters 25-40, takes us to the building of the Tabernacle. “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them,” Exodus 25:8. The Lord’s desire was to live among His people and to instruct them in the way He must be approached. The Tabernacle was the vehicle through which His people could draw near to His presence and gain understanding of how an unholy people must relate to an infinitely holy God.
As a vehicle of access, the Tabernacle offers a strong type teaching for the New Testament gospel which promises that we may “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith...” Hebrews 10:22. Our approach to God is no longer through the law and the Tabernacle but is now through faith in the One who “dwelt (or tabernacled) among us,” John 1:14. The law now stands as a type or a shadow of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us in His flesh. As we consider the significance of each of the seven furnishings of this Old Testament house of worship, you will notice that each one proclaims a facet of the life of Christ. Taken as a whole, the Tabernacle tells a beautiful story of the redemption and mercy offered us through the Son of God through whom we now “draw near.”
The Brazen Altar
Of Sacrifice (Ex 27:1-8)
The Brazen Laver
(large wash basin) (Ex 30:17-21)
Table of Showbread
(Bread of the Presence)
The altar of Incense
Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22). “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13.
Purging and cleansing of ungodliness.
Titus 3:5, Hebrews 10:22, John 15:3.
Communion with God in those things He has provided. A testimony of His care for our physical needs. Matthew 6:25-33. Also Jesus said “I am the bread of life”, John 6:35,51.
Illumination or spiritual understanding given to those in darkness. John 8:12 and Isaiah 9:2.
Intercession, petitioning God for others. Jesus is always praying for us, Hebrews 7:2
The Ark of the
Covenant (Ex 25:10-16)
The Mercy Seat
Symbolized the holy nature of God’s covenant or agreement with His people.
Contained the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s dead staff which miraculously blossomed and bore ripe almonds in one night, Numbers Ch. 17, and the golden jar of manna as a testimony of God’s miraculous care for the people in the wilderness. Note that Jesus said He came to fulfill the commandments, Matthew 5:17, that He was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead (as Aaron’s dead staff which came to life), Romans 1:4, and that He was the bread from heaven, John 6:32-33.
Symbolized the very presence of God and His mercy to accept the blood of a substitutionary sacrifice instead of the blood of sinful man, Ephesians 2:4-5.
The House of God
(Psalms 65:1-4 and 84)
The Brazen Altar
As we enter the House of God through the Gate, we are entering a refuge of rest. To be a doorkeeper for one day in the house of the Lord is better than a thousand spent anywhere else. “A day in Your courts is better than a thousand,” Psalm 84:10. See also 2 Chronicles 6:41 “Arise, O Lord God, to Your resting place… Let Your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let Your saints rejoice in goodness.” And Psalm 65:4 “Blessed is the one whom You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple.”
After the gate, the first piece we come to is the brazen altar of sacrifice, an instrument of sacrifice and death. Note the five types of sacrifice in Leviticus 1)Burnt offering, 2)Peace offering, 3)Grain offering, 4)Sin offering, and 5)Trespass offering. Guilt is brought in with us as we enter the gate. Before we can proceed any further, guilt and shame for the past must be permanently dealt with and put away. See Hebrews 9:13-14. If worry is weed seed, guilt is the hardened traveled path where the seed does not penetrate at all. 1 John 1:9 He is faithful and just to forgive. He stayed true to the law and completed the sentence under the law – the sentence of death.
Jesus fulfilled the laws of sacrifice for our redemption. There is only one nonredemptive sacrifice that remains, the sacrifice of ourselves. See Romans 12:1, 2, Galatians 2:20, Philippians 2:17, and Colossians 1:24. We are to be a living sacrifice, bringing about a life of community and relationship within the body of Christ. True unity in the body of Christ is brought about as a product of a fiery baptism.
Fire is a great purifier. It leaves behind the more permanent substances and consumes the rest. It is the remedy for a lukewarm condition: “Buy from Me gold refined in the fire,” Revelation 3:18.
We become one with our Lord and with each other at this altar. This altar is designed to burn away selfish purpose.
William Barclay - Paul’s secret of life: “He was well aware that if a man would share the life of Christ, he must share His risks, that if a man wishes to live with Christ he must be ready to die with Him. Paul knew and accepted the inexorable law of the Christian life, ‘No Cross, No Crown.’”
Others were being led to the light through Paul’s sufferings. Note the Boulder Dam project - a plaque commemorating the names of those who lost their lives in the building of the dam reads, “These died that the desert might rejoice and bloom as the rose.”
Trials - ship’s ballast and the kite’s string.
Who now rejoice in My sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. . . . Col. 1:24.
The Christian worker has to be a sacramental ‘go-between,’ to be so identified with his Lord and the reality of His Redemption that He can continually bring His creating life through him. It is not the strength of one man’s personality being superimposed on another, but the real presence of Christ coming through the elements of the worker’s life. When we preach the historic facts of the life and death of Our Lord as they are conveyed in the New Testament, our words are made sacramental; God uses them on the ground of His Redemption to create in those who listen that which is not created otherwise. If we preach the effects of Redemption in human life instead of the revelation regarding Jesus, the result in those who listen is not new birth, but refined spiritual culture, and the Spirit of God cannot witness to it because such preaching is in another domain. We have to see that we are in such living sympathy with God that as we proclaim His truth He can create in souls the things which He alone can do.
‘What a wonderful personality!’ ‘What a fascinating man!’ ‘Such marvellous insight!’ What chance has the Gospel of God through all that? It cannot get through, because the line of attraction is always the line of appeal. If a man attracts by his personality, his appeal is along that line; if he is identified with his Lord’s personality, then the appeal is along the line of what Jesus Christ can do. The danger is to glory in men; Jesus says we are to lift Him up.
Filled with the Holy Spirit:
Quote from Watchman Nee, found in C:\Revival1\Dw (Message on Mary pouring the whole vessel of costly perfume on the Lord), John 12.
May I tell you something? One thing some of us have come to learn is that in the divine service the principle of "waste" is the principle of power, whereas the principle of "usefulness" is the very principle of scattering. The real usefulness in the hand of the Lord is "waste." The more you think you could do, the more you employ your gifts to the very limit--and perhaps beyond the limit--that you will find to be the principle of the world, and not the principle of the Lord. I knew a sister in the Lord, now in His presence, who was very greatly used of Him. But my first concern about her was that she did not seem to be being used. Every time I said to myself: Why did she not get out and take some meetings, get somewhere, do something? It was a waste to live in a small village without anything happening. Sometimes when I went to see her, I almost shouted at her: "No one knows the Lord as you do. You know the Book in a most living way. Do you not see the need all around you? Why don't you do something? It is a waste of time, a waste of energy, a waste of money, a waste of everything, just sitting here and doing nothing!" But she was the one who helped me most of all. The highest thing is not just to be moving about. I do not mean to say that we are going to do nothing, but the first thing is the Lord Himself, not the work. That is what He is after.
Once more let me repeat. The whole question for us is simply this: It seems that I am giving too much for too little. That is waste. Others appear to far better advantage than I, though they have given up none of the things that I have. As for me, I seem to meet with all the difficulties. Continual trial and suffering is what comes my way. Now, am I not wasting my time? If I consecrate myself enough for the blessing, but not enough for the trouble; if I consecrate myself enough for the Lord to use me, but not enough for the Lord to shut me up, it will be all right! Are we not found thinking thus at times? But the principle of waste is that which satisfies the heart of the Lord Jesus. You can get something for yourself out of your consecration, but often real satisfaction can only come to the heart of your Lord when you seem to be "wasting" yourself on the Lord, giving too much and getting nothing back for yourself. [The Old Testament burnt offering was like this.]
Now the breaking of the alabaster box and the anointing of the Lord filled the house with the odor, with the sweetest odor. Everyone could smell it. Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered, been limited, gone through things for the Lord, willing to be imprisoned by the Lord, just being satisfied with Him and nothing else, immediately you scent the fragrance. There is a savor of the Lord. Something has been crushed, something has been broken, and there is a resulting odor of sweetness. The odor which filled the house that day still fills the Church; Mary's fragrance never passes away.
Friends, we cannot produce impressions of God upon others, impart the sense of the presence of God, without the breaking of everything, even the most precious things, at the feet of the Lord Jesus. The Lord would have us here, not first of all to preach or to do work for Him, but to create hunger in others. No true work will begin in any life apart from a sense of need. We cannot inject that into others, we cannot drive people to be hungry for God. Such hunger can be created only by those whose lives convey vital impressions of Him.
A Living Sacrifice
Dedication – (surrender)
“In these closing moments of this age, the Lord will have a people whose purpose for living is to please God with their lives. In them, God finds His one reward for creating man. They are His worshippers… The Lord takes them farther and through more pain and conflicts than other men. Outwardly, they often seem ‘smitten of God and afflicted’ (Isaiah 53:4). Yet to God, they are His beloved. When they are crushed, like the petals of a flower, they exude a worship, the fragrance of which is so beautiful and rare that angels weep in quiet awe at their surrender. They are the Lord’s purpose for creation.” Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds, Pg 72.
Not conformed to the world. Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.
Stop masquerading as a worldling when you’re really a child of God.
Be unfashionable in spirit, thought, and values by the world’s standards.
1 Corinthians 4:8-14
Renewing of your mind by the Holy Spirit through the Word and prayer:
Word: We are partakers of the divine nature through the promises of God, 2 Peter 1:2-4. Beholding as in a mirror His glory and being transformed by it, 2 Corinthians 3:18. “You are cleansed (prepared and pruned to bear good fruit) by the word I have spoken to you,” John 15:3. The word wounds (prunes) before it heals (transforms). The three main types of grafting are: the cleft graft, whip graft, and the nail graft. These are the three main wounds of Christ! We can only be grafted into Him as we partake of His sufferings.
Prayer: Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication (humility before God), WITH THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God. And the PEACE OF GOD, which passes understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:6-7.
“Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.” Philippians 2:17
The benefits of suffering, per John MacArthur’s commentary on Romans 12:
Brings us closer to Christ (Philippians 3:10)
Assures us that we belong to Christ (If the world hated Him, it will also hate you), John 15:18
The Spirit of glory will rest on you if you suffer because of Him, 1 Peter 4:14.
It brings a future reward. If we suffer with Him, we will be glorified together, Romans 8:17-18.
Our suffering can result in the salvation of others, Galatians 4:13-15, Phil 1:12.
Our joy in suffering frustrates Satan’s plans, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Phil 1:12-18.
The Brazen Laver
The priests were to wash their hands and feet before entering the holy place and before offering sacrifices to the Lord, lest they die, see Exodus 30:17-21. It’s possible that the priests were washed completely for their initial consecration to the Lord, Exodus 29:4. But after the initial consecration, the priests washed only their hands and feet before entering the holy place, the deeper things of service and communion with God.
Note the fact that the original laver was constructed of mirrors, Exodus 38:8: “These women sacrificially gave that which reflected their outward beauty to help fashion a device that would cleanse the priests, who in turn offered sacrifices to cleanse the inward parts of their nation.” Mark Hanby, The House That God Built, page 67.
While the altar of sacrifice represented a purging by blood, Hebrews 9:21, 22, the laver represented priestly holiness and separation from the unclean.
We are sanctified (separated from the unclean) by the washing of the water of the word, Ephesians 5:26. We are cleansed, and prepared to bear fruit, by the Word, John 15:3.
John 13:4-7 Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. The context of this was, “a new commandment I give to you, that you should love one another as I have loved you.” In this sense, the laver is a labor of love. “Let us Labor to enter that rest,” Hebrews 4:11.
Sanctification: A life attachment to Jesus Christ
Surrender to His life and authority
Sanctification is an impartation not an imitation (Chambers)
1 Corinthians 1:30 – He is our sanctification…
Look for the blessed hope – His glorious appearing
Titus 2:11-14 and 2 Peter 3:11-14
See also 1 Peter 1:13-21 and 1 John 3:1-3
Colossians 3:1-4ff, Colossians 1:3-5, Hebrews 11:13-16
Our present sanctification depends on our eternal hope. If our hope is centered on this world, our sanctity won’t have the purity of heaven. The nature of our hope determines the quality of our sanctification.
Our faith is not really tested until God asks us to bear what seems unbearable, do what seems unreasonable, and expect what seems impossible. Whether you look at Joseph in prison, Moses and Israel at the Red Sea, David in the cave, or Jesus at Calvary, the lesson is the same: We live by promises, not by explanations.
Choose to believe the promises
2 Peter 1:2-4 by these (promises) we may be partakers of the divine nature
After sanctification, it is difficult to state what your aim in life is because God has taken you up into his purposes.
Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
Are we prepared for what sanctification will do? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth and an immense broadening of our interest in God.
Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
"Now I have given up on everything else I have found it to be the only way.
To really know Christ and to experience the mighty power that brought
Him back to life again, and to find out what it means to suffer and to
Die with him. So, whatever it takes I will be one who lives in the fresh
Newness of life of those who are alive from the dead." Cassie Bernall –
written two days before her death at Columbine High School
This is the will of God, even your sanctification. 1 Thess. 4:3.
The Death Side. In sanctification God has to deal with us on the death side as well as on the life side. Many of us spend so much time in the place of death that we get sepulchral. There is always a battle royal before sanctification, always something that tugs with resentment against the demands of Jesus Christ. Immediately the Spirit of God begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle begins. “If any man come to Me, and hate not . . . his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
The Spirit of God in the process of sanctification will strip me until I am nothing but ‘myself,’ that is the place of death. Am I willing to be ‘myself,’ and nothing more—no friends, no father, no brother, no self-interest, simply ready for death? That is the condition of sanctification. No wonder Jesus said: “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” This is where the battle comes, and where so many of us faint. We refuse to be identified with the death of Jesus on this point. ‘But it is so stern,’ we say; “He cannot wish me to do that.’ Our Lord is stern; and He does wish me to do that.
Am I willing to reduce myself simply to ‘me,’ determinedly to strip myself of all my friends think of me, of all I think of myself, and to hand that simple naked self over to God? Immediately I am, He will sanctify me wholly, and my life will be free from earnestness in connection with everything but God.
When I pray—‘Lord, show me what sanctification means for me,’ He will show me. It means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus Christ puts into me: it is Himself in me.
Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us. . . sanctification. 1 Cor. 1:30.
The Life Side. The mystery of sanctification is that the perfections of Jesus Christ are imparted to me, not gradually, but instantly when by faith I enter into the realization that Jesus Christ is made unto me sanctification. Sanctification does not mean anything less than the holiness of Jesus being made mine manifestly.
The one marvelous secret of a holy life lies not in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfections of Jesus manifest themselves in my mortal flesh. Sanctification is “Christ in you.” It is His wonderful life that is imparted to me in sanctification, and imparted by faith as a sovereign gift of God’s grace. Am I willing for God to make sanctification as real in me as it is in His word?
Sanctification means the impartation of the holy qualities of Jesus Christ. It is His patience, His love, His holiness, His faith, His purity, His godliness, that is manifested in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy; it is drawing from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him, and He manifests it in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is on a different line. In Jesus Christ is the perfection of everything, and the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfections of Jesus are at my disposal, and slowly and surely I begin to live a life of ineffable order and sanity and holiness “Kept by the power of God.”
The position of our sanctification in Christ:
Hebrews 10:10, 14
1 Corinthians 1:2, 1:30, 6:11
The ongoing process of our sanctification through the Holy Spirit:
Philippians 2:12, 13; 3:12
2 Peter 1:1-14
You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine that when others see your good works, they will glorify your Father in heaven, Matthew 5:14-16.
If you love one another, they will know you are My disciples, John 13:35
Zechariah chapter 4 – the menorah was fired and fed by two anointed ones…
Light — the offspring of the divine command (Gen. 1:3). “All the more joyous emotions of the mind, all the pleasing sensations of the frame, all the happy hours of domestic intercourse were habitually described among the Hebrews under imagery derived from light” (1 Kings 11:36; Isa. 58:8; Esther 8:16; Ps. 97:11). Light came also naturally to typify true religion and the felicity it imparts (Ps. 119:105; Isa. 8:20; Matt. 4:16, etc.), and the glorious inheritance of the redeemed (Col. 1:12; Rev. 21:23–25). God is said to dwell in light inaccessible (1 Tim. 6:16). It frequently signifies instruction (Matt. 5:16; John 5:35). In its highest sense it is applied to Christ as the “Sun of righteousness” (Mal. 4:2; Luke 2:32; John 1:7–9). God is styled “the Father of lights” (James 1:17). It is used of angels (2 Cor. 11:14), and of John the Baptist, who was a “burning and a shining light” (John 5:35), and of all true disciples, who are styled “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). Easton’s Bible Dictionary.
Walk in Light Ephesians 5:8-14
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
Also 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
“Some years ago a magazine carried a series of pictures that graphically depicted a tragic story. The first picture was of a vast wheat field in western Kansas. The second showed a distressed mother sitting in a farmhouse in the center of the field of wheat. The accompanying story explained that her four-year-old son had wandered away from the house and into the field when she was not looking. The mother and father looked and looked all day but the little fellow was too short to see or be seen over the wheat. The third picture showed dozens of friends and neighbors who had heard of the boy’s plight and who had joined hands the next morning to make a long human chain as they walked through the field searching. The final picture was of the heartbroken father holding his lifeless son who had been found too late and had died of exposure. The caption underneath read, “O God, if only we had joined hands sooner.”
“The world is full of lost souls who cannot see their way above the distractions and barriers of the world and cannot find their way to the Father’s house until Christians join together as salt and light and sweep through the world in search of them. Our work is not simply as individual grains of salt or as individual rays of light but as the whole church of Jesus Christ.” John MacArthur, commentary on Matthew 5:13
“Christians are to be pure; they should add a certain attractiveness to the gospel; they should be true to God’s Word even when it stings; and their living should create a thirst for God in those who do not know Him. Christians are a preserving influence in the world; they retard moral and spiritual spoilage. When the church is taken out of the world at the rapture, Satan’s perverse and wicked power will be unleashed in an unprecedented way (see 2 Thess. 2:7-12). Evil will go wild and demons will be almost unbridled. Once God’s people are removed it will take only seven years for the world to descend to the very pits of hellishness (see Dan. 9:27; Rev. 6-19). MacArthur.
Philip Yancey writes:
Not long ago I addressed the topic “Culture Wars” before a large gathering that was tilted toward the liberal Democratic persuasion and included a strong minority of Jews. I had been selected as the token evangelical Christian on a panel that included the presidents of the Disney Channel and Warner Brothers, as well as a college president and a well known attorney.
After the panel, a television celebrity came up to me whose name every reader would recognize. “I’ve got to tell you, what you said stabbed me right in the heart,” he said. “I was prepared to dislike you because I dislike all right-wing Christians, and I assumed you were one. I don’t follow Jesus—I’m a Jew. But when you told about Jesus forgiving his enemies, I realized how far from that spirit I am. I fight my enemies, especially the right-wingers. I don’t forgive them. I have much to learn from the spirit of Jesus.”
Woodrow Wilson told the story of being in a barbershop one time. “I was sitting in a barber chair when I became aware that a powerful personality had entered the room. A man had come quietly in upon the same errand as myself to have his hair cut and sat in the chair next to me. Every word the man uttered, though it was not in the least didactic, showed a personal interest in the man who was serving him. And before I got through with what was being done to me I was aware I had attended an evangelistic service, because Mr, D. L. Moody was in that chair. I purposely lingered in the room after he had left and noted the singular affect that his visit had brought upon the barbershop. They talked in undertones. They did not know his name, but they knew something had elevated their thoughts, and I felt that I left that place as I should have left a place of worship.”
We become what we behold – 2 Corinthians 3:16-18.
Hidden Sin 1 John 1:5-10
Hatred - Disgust 1 John 2:8-11
Similarity with 1 John 2:15-17
Exposure - Willingness to be seen for who we really are
Self Realization - In my flesh dwells no good thing
Faith - Attachment to the unseen
Love not the world
Lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, the pride of life
From Ruth Paxson’s book, “Life on the Highest Plane”
“Anything which feeds or pampers the flesh, the animal part of man, whether it results in gross sensuality, or in taking the bloom from heart purity, or merely in soft self-indulgence and self-ease, is worldliness. Anything that stains the heart, soils the hands, stings the conscience and separates one from the joy and sweetness of communion with Christ, is worldliness. It is the ‘lust of the flesh.’”
“Anything that caters merely to the fashions of this world, that stimulates desire for possession and property, that aims merely to please men and gain their approval, that keeps the eyes fixed on the lowlands instead of on the heights, on the seen rather than on the unseen, anything that puts a cloud between Christ and the Christian and shuts Him out from one’s vision is ‘the lust of the eyes.’”
“Anything that exalts self, that fosters pomp and pride, that clips the wings of the soul so that it grovels in the dust of earth instead of soaring heavenward, that sets the affections upon the wealth, the fame, the honors of earth rather than upon the treasures of heaven, that robs the Christian of his possessions and privileges in Christ, is ‘the pride of life.’”
Table of Showbread (The bread of the presence)
Significance of terms used:
Psalm 23:5 Victory in the presence of an enemy
Proverbs 9:2 Part of what God’s wisdom provides
Luke 22:30 Freedom in God’s presence – “You may eat and drink at My table.”
Acts 2:46 Fellowship – breaking bread from house to house
John 6:35 Communion – I am the bread of life
To feed on, consume, devour. Also to set in battle array (Heb 6186 which is a root of the primary word for showbread, Heb 4635). “We get the sense that when we care for each other, when we provide for one another, that we actually do battle and prevail over our common enemy.” Hanby. Case in point – Acts 6.
Made of fine flour. This stems from a word that means to grind as well as to strip clean. Fine flour was made from the kernel of wheat without any chaff (Heb. 5560). Regular flour comes from a word that means only to grind (Heb 7058 translated “meal”) As He is the Bread of life, we become in Him bread for the lives of those we serve in His name. When Jesus fed the 5,000, He broke what little there was available. In the breaking, the bread was multiplied to where even in the leftovers there was twelve times as much as the initial offering.
Covered in frankincense – flammable and fragrant – Philippians 4:18. A ready and fragrant willingness to be expended for the blessing of others, see 2 Corinthians 12:15.
John 6:26-40; 47-58 The Living Bread
To believe is to consume, to eat and to drink
The Living Bread is:
Dependable – It never fails
Anyone who comes to me, I will by no means cast out
Everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life
Satisfies Every Need:
The one who comes to Me will never hunger
He who believes in Me will never thirst
God is more than enough
To be Totally Consumed and Continually Eaten
Those who feed on Me will live because of Me
To eat with someone means that you share in the same substance that gives life to you both. The table of bread with its drink offerings signifies the provision available to us to share in the life substance of the Son of God. The life He has He gives to us. The bread is the word of truth; the drink is His Holy Spirit. See Isaiah 55:1-3 and John 17:6-11, 20-26.
The Altar of Incense
18 inches square by 3 feet tall
Fire from off the brazen altar of sacrifice (morning and evening)
Bronze censors were used daily – a golden one was used on the Day of Atonement.
Incense: Four ingredients (three aromatic gums mixed with frankincense for combustion)
Stacte, Onycha, and Galbanum were combined in equal portions with frankincense, Exodus 30:34. Galbanum by itself gives off a strong offensive odor – some suffering and trial is necessary for the fragrance of Christ to emanate from our lives.
What it stands for:
Symbol of worship along with other dimensions of prayer (petition, intercession, praise, thanksgiving). It is the point of entrance into the Holy of Holies. It must be brought in first before the priest offers the blood on the Mercy Seat on the Day of Atonement, Leviticus 16:12-13.
Contributions to minister to the saints – Philippians 4:18
What it means for us:
Worship and prayer is a significant part of the believer’s life. Let my prayer be set before You as incense and the lifting of my hands as the evening sacrifice, Psalm 141:2.
Prayer is the God appointed vehicle through which He moves. Without prayer, nothing is accomplished spiritually. Ask, seek, and knock.
Prayer is the God appointed link we have with the life of God. It is the point of entrance into the Holy of Holies
Prayer is the God appointed means of personal surrender
Not my will but Thine be done
The bitter mixed with the sweet (galbanum)
Beaten small (incense)
Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice, Psalm 141:2
Now when He had taken the scroll, mthe four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the nprayers of the saints, Revelation 5:8
When aHe opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 bAnd I saw the seven angels who stand before God, cand to them were given seven trumpets. 3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with dthe prayers of all the saints upon ethe golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And fthe smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And gthere were noises, thunderings, hlightnings, iand an earthquake, Revelation 8:1-5
D. Martyn Lloyd–Jones wrote, “our ultimate position as Christians is tested by the character of our prayer life.” A person may be a Bible school or seminary graduate, a pastor or a missionary, but his deep knowledge of and relationship to God are measured by his prayer life.
God’s greatest desire, and our greatest need, is to be in constant fellowship with Him now, and there is no greater expression or experience of fellowship than prayer.
Types of prayer: worship/communion, supplication, intercession, thanksgiving
On supplication and intercession:
Supplication – empathy, sympathy, making request
Ezra 8:21-23 Ezra asking for the Lord’s protection on their way back to Jerusalem
2 Kings 20:1-6, Hezekiah praying for an extension on his life (Isaiah 38)
Psalm 50:15 call upon Me in the day of your trouble…
Intercession – being an advocate before the Father (God-given authority)
Prayer as a mediator, one in the middle between God and the people
One who stands in the gap from a place of spiritual authority as given by God
Moses petitioning God for the people – Ex 32:30-32, Numbers 14:11-19
Abraham interceding for Lot - Genesis 18:23-33
Moses and the raised staff – Exodus 17:8-16
On worship – see Worship.doc file
The True Heart of Worship
By Derek Prince (December 2002)
I want to suggest to you the fruit of true worship, which I believe is rest. I think you will agree there is one scarce commodity in the United States these days, it is rest. How many people really know what it is to rest? “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness an assurance forever.” Isaiah 30:15 and 32:17.
Read Psalm 95 - It is unusual to have a psalm that ends with such a negative statement as that, but I believe it has a special emphasis.
Three things are closely associated: thanksgiving, praise and worship; yet they are distinct. I would liken them somewhat to the colors of the rainbow that are distinct but blend into one another. Very simply, I would say that we thank God for what He does, particularly for what He does for us. We praise God for His greatness. But worship relates us to God in His holiness.
Of all the attributes of God, and they are many, the hardest for the human mind to understand is holiness because it has no parallel on earth. We can talk about the wisdom of God, and we know wise people. We can talk about the greatness of God, and we know great people. We can talk about the power of God, and we see demonstrations of power. But apart from God there is no demonstration of holiness; it is something that is unique to God and those who have received it from God. I believe worship relates us specifically to God's holiness.
Because it is hard to understand God's holiness, it is hard to enter into worship. But I believe there are steps we can follow. In Psalm 100, it says we should "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise." Those are two steps of approach to God. You come into the gates with thanksgiving, and then you move farther into the courts with praise. But neither of those is worship. Thanksgiving and praise are essentially utterances of our mouths.
Every word in the Bible, Old Testament and New, that means "worship" or is translated "worship" is always descriptive of an attitude. I think this is what God has been speaking to me about, that worship is primarily an attitude. There are also certain specific postures associated with worship all through the Scripture, bowing the head, bowing down the upper part of the body and, in particular, extending the arms with hands reaching upwards.
There is also one other posture spoken of many times in Scripture: falling on our faces before the Lord. I question whether any man who has never been on his face before God has ever been very close to God. You would be hard pressed to find any of the really key men of the Bible who had not been on their faces before God. For myself, I practice it not as a matter of legalism or ritual, but from time to time when I feel I need security. The most secure place I know is on my face before God. John Bunyan said, "He that is down need fear no fall." When you are on the floor, there is no lower you can go. Jesus said that everyone who humbles himself shall be exalted; likewise, everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled (see Matt. 23:12).
Isaiah had a vision of heaven and the glorious creatures of heaven and the throne of the Lord in Isaiah 6. He saw worship conducted in heaven. The particular creatures that he focused on were called the seraphim. The Hebrew word seraph is directly related to the word for fire. The seraphim are the fiery creatures that are very close to the throne of God. It says there that each one of them had six wings in three pairs. They were crying day and night, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord." What has always impressed me is what they did with their wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet and with two they flew. I interpret covering the face and feet as worship, and flying as service.
Notice the order and the proportions. First of all, worship comes before service. I have often wondered whether our service is ever truly acceptable unless it is preceded by worship. And look at the proportions. Out of six wings, four were used for worship and only two for service. I believe that's a correct proportion. Worship, I believe we can safely presume, is twice as important as service.
Let's look in Psalm 95 at what I believe is a pattern for entering into worship. The first two verses speak of exuberant praise and thanksgiving.
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
I believe it is hard for God to accept half-hearted praise. Scripture says, "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised" (Ps. 48:1). Psalm 95 definitely gives ample room for loud, vocal, excited, exuberant praise: "Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song." That's what I call the entrance into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. That is the way of access, and I don't believe there is any access without it.
Verses 3-5 give us reasons why we should praise God:
For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. As we look at the whole created universe, we witness the wisdom and the greatness of the Creator. That should elicit a response of thanksgiving and praise from us.
Having approached by these steps of thanksgiving and praise, we still haven't arrived at worship. In verses 6 and 7, the mood of Psalm 95 changes, and we get to what I believe is the heart of the matter. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
As I see it, this purposeful worship isn't the type of loud boisterousness that has become the norm; it is quietness. Then in verse 7, we are given two reasons why we should worship the Lord. “For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”
The first reason to worship God is because He is God, and He is our God. He is the only being in the universe actually worthy of worship. We can praise men and women, but we must never worship men and women. Worship is the most distinctive way we have to relate to God as God. [ My note: Worship includes the gift of our total selves to Him in absolute surrender. As he said, we can thank and praise others, but we may worship only Him – it is truly unique. ]
I have become convinced that whatever we worship gains control of us. The more we worship it, the more like it we become, and the more it gains power over us. If we don't worship God, how much is He really our God? See Psalm 115:1-8.
The second reason given that we should worship Him is that we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care. Worship is the appropriate response to God's care for us. It is the way we recognize Him as our God; it is the way we respond to His care for us – [and give ourselves to Him].
It is significant that the psalm doesn't end there. It ends with a solemn warning:
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, Exodus 17:1-7. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, "They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways [because they didn’t know Him]." So I declared on oath in my anger, "They shall never enter into my rest [knowing, hearing, obeying, and loving Him]."
This sets before us two alternatives: choosing to enter into true worship or choosing not to. In worship we hear God's voice. Upon hearing God's voice and obeying it, we enter into rest. The inescapable condition of this is the importance of hearing God's voice. In Jeremiah 7:23, God says to His people: But this is what I commanded them, saying, "Obey My voice, and I will be your God."
That is one of the simplest statements I have ever read of what God requires. "Obey My voice and I will be your God."
Deuteronomy 28 lists all the blessings of obedience and all the curses of disobedience. The blessings begin, "If you diligently obey [hearken] the voice of the Lord your God . . . all these blessings shall come upon you". The curses begin, "If you do not obey [hearken] the voice of the Lord your God . . . all these curses will come upon you." The watershed is listening, or not listening, to the voice of the Lord. I believe worship brings us to the place where we can hear God's voice.
I don't want to shock you, but it is not enough simply to read your Bible. Look at John 10:27.
"My sheep hear My voice, and [hearing My voice] . . . they follow Me."
He said His sheep "hear His voice." You cannot follow Jesus if you don't hear His voice. It is important to read the Bible, but it is entirely possible to read it without hearing the voice of the Lord. I believe worship is the appointed way to come into that attitude and relationship where we really hear God's voice.
In hearing God's voice, we enter into His rest. I believe worship is the way to rest. Only those who really know how to worship can really enjoy rest. As I said before, rest is very rare among contemporary Americans.
Look now at Hebrews 4:9.
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
Again the Scripture brings out the fact that because of disobedience they failed to enter into rest. The Scripture says, "There remains, therefore a Sabbath-rest for the people of God." I am not talking about observing the Sabbath or making Sunday the Sabbath or any of that, but there still is something there we can miss if we are not careful. I believe God can do something in your heart that will cause you to naturally keep His divine, eternal, unchanging laws. God is doing something in my heart about Sabbath-rest. I have come to believe that I am not pleasing God if I am busy every week, seven days a week. Furthermore, I'm sure to be endangering my own health.
Consider these questions as you meditate on this study: Are you making the best of your time? Do you really know what it is to rest? Are you capable of disciplining yourself to stop doing things and even doing them mentally? Can you ever lie down and stop thinking about what you ought to be doing?
So, when are we going to rest? Well, I have experienced something new in learning to worship and learning to rest, and I find they are very close together. I believe in thanking God and praising Him out loud, even dancing, clapping, singing. But there comes a time when I'll put my wings over my face and my wings over my feet and I'll hear what God says.
Today, if you will hear His voice; don't harden your hearts, don't miss His rest. God bless you.
The Speaking Voice
By A. W. Tozer
From the book “The Pursuit of God”:
The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." The life is in the speaking words. God's word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God's word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book.
When God spoke out of heaven to our Lord, self-centered men who heard it explained it by natural causes: they said, "It thundered." This habit of explaining the Voice by appeals to natural law is at the very root of modern science. In the living breathing cosmos there is a mysterious Something, too wonderful, too awful for any mind to understand. The believing man does not claim to understand. He falls to his knees and whispers, "God." The man of earth kneels also, but not to worship. He kneels to examine, to search, to find the cause and the how of things. Just now we happen to be living in a secular age. Our thought habits are those of the scientist, not those of the worshipper. We are more likely to explain than to adore. "It thundered," we exclaim, and go our earthly way. But still the Voice sounds and searches. The order and life of the world depend upon that Voice, but men are mostly too busy or too stubborn to give attention.
Whoever will listen will hear the speaking Heaven. This is definitely not the hour when men take kindly to an exhortation to listen, for listening is not today a part of popular religion. We are at the opposite end of the pole from there. Religion has accepted the monstrous heresy that noise, size, activity and bluster make a man dear to God. But we may take heart. To a people caught in the tempest of the last great conflict God says, “Be still, and know that I am God,” and still He says it, as if He means to tell us that our strength and safety lie not in noise but in silence.
It is important that we get still to wait on God. And it is best that we get alone, preferably with our Bible outspread before us. Then if we will we may draw near to God and begin to hear Him speak to us in our hearts. I think for the average person the progression will be something like this: First a sound as of a Presence walking in the garden. Then a voice, more intelligible, but still far from clear. Then the happy moment when the Spirit begins to illuminate the Scriptures, and that which had been only a sound, or at best a voice, now becomes an intelligible word, warm and intimate and clear as the word of a dear friend. Then will come life and light, and best of all, ability to see and rest in and embrace Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and All.
I believe that much of our religious unbelief is due to a wrong conception of and a wrong feeling for the Scriptures of Truth. A silent God suddenly began to speak in a book and when the book was finished lapsed back into silence again forever. Now we read the book as the record of what God said when He was for a brief time in a speaking mood. With notions like that in our heads how can we believe? The facts are that God is not silent, has never been silent. It is the nature of God to speak. The second Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Word. The Bible is the inevitable outcome of God's continuous speech. It is the infallible declaration of His mind for us put into our familiar human words.
Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them. Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, "Speak, for thy servant heareth." Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart. Let me get used to the sound of Thy Voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking Voice. Amen.
The Holy of Holies (see Hebrews 6:13-20 and 10:19-25)
No natural light in the Holy of Holies – only the glory of God – the shekinah.
Shekinah is an extra biblical term which derives from a Hebrew word that means to dwell.
The carnal mind does not understand what’s behind the veil: The two stone tables written on by the finger of God, the golden jar of manna which did not spoil, the rod of Aaron that bore almond buds, blossoms, and ripe almonds, the glory of God shining between the cherubim above the mercy seat! God desires that we would depend on and live in the miraculous. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”
The place where God desires to meet and commune with us – see Exodus 25:22.
To meet – yaw-ad’ Heb 3259 To fix upon, to summon, direct, engage for marriage, agree, appoint, betroth, gather.
To commune – daw-bar’ Heb 1696 To subdue, answer, appoint, command, declare, destroy, give, name, promise, pronounce, teach.
Cherubim looking down upon the blood sprinkled there
It is His love and mercy that places the law within us
How do we see Him? Demanding ruler or merciful Father. See Psalm 40 for how David saw Him.
We may now drape ourselves across the mercy seat and receive His very life within us!
Ark of the Covenant
The Law – The gift of righteousness, Galatians 5:16-26 and Philippians 3:1-14
“I’ve met thousands of men who have surmounted the power of personal and societal uncleanness, of profanity, of mental impurity or foul habits. And they didn’t accomplish it by the grit of self-imposed efforts or stringent discipline. They found purity through the power of being in God’s presence.” Jack Hayford
The Jar of Manna – Experiencing inner strength, feeding on Christ, John 6
Aaron’s Rod – Displaying His resurrection power, Numbers 17. Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the resurrection of the dead. It was God’s chosen evidence for Jesus being our High Priest. It is also His chosen evidence for us as children of God. See Romans 6:4, 8:19ff.
Also called the oracle (prophecy, vision, revelation): Ex 25:22; 30:36; Lev 16:2
The Significance of the Tabernacle
Furnishings as Expressed in
The Gospel of John
The Brazen Altar of Sacrifice - John 1:29 “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John spoke of Jesus Christ as the sacrificial lamb who would die as a substitute offering for mankind. Our approach to God must begin with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ or we can go no further.
The Brazen Laver - John 1:31 “I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing in water.” The water John spoke of is the water of repentance, an outward act signifying an inward desire to live separated from the world and its ways. Also see John 2:16 when He cleansed the temple saying, “Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
The Table of Showbread - John 6:5 “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” Our Lord miraculously fed the five thousand, then later said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35.
The Lampstand - John 8:12 “I am the light of the world, He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” And in chapter 9, Jesus heals the man who had been blind from birth!
The Altar of Incense - John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me.” “Then, in chapters 14-16, there came those wonderful new lessons about praying in the name of Jesus, and we find ourselves at the golden Altar of Incense, offering prayers as a fragrance at the breathing of that Name which, above all others, is dear to the heart of God.” (Baxter)
The Ark of the Covenant - John 20:17 “...I am ascending to My Father and Your Father, to My God and your God,” Jesus entered the most holy place of the heavenly tabernacle with His own blood to be sprinkled on the Mercy Seat above the Ark (Hebrews Ch 9). He is the fulfillment of the law (Matthew 5:17 & Romans 3:31), He is the hidden manna (Revelation 2:17), and He is the chosen One of God as demonstrated by His resurrection, even as Aaron’s rod demonstrated life out of death (Romans 1:4).
The Mercy Seat - John 20:21-22 “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you...He breathed on them and said ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” They received the very life and light of God as they received His Spirit. The very presence of God would appear as the bright “shekinah glory” which appeared above the mercy seat as Moses would go in to talk with God. That very glory and presence of God now rests within our hearts as we receive the fullness of Him who said “I am the resurrection and the life”!
(1) “Explore the Book” by J. Sidlow Baxter Note: The concept of the comparison of the tabernacle with the Gospel of John was taken from the above referenced book.
The Brazen Altar of Sacrifice
The Brazen Laver to cleanse, sanctify, separate
The Table of Showbread
(the Bread of the Presence)
The Altar of Incense
The Ark of the Covenant
The Mercy Seat and Shekinah Glory
John 1:29-34 Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Without the shedding of blood...
John 1:31 I came baptizing in water that He should be revealed to Israel
John 3:5 Unless one Is born of water and the Spirit he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 2:16 “Take these things away. Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!
John 6:5 Where shall we buy bread that these may eat? He fed the 5000 and then said “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
John 8:12 I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.
John 20:17 I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God. The essence of the covenant making us one with God
John 20:21-22 Peace to you...
Our High Priest
The High Priest’s garments – “For glory and beauty”
Tunic – inner long garment
Robe – long seamless – blue linen – embroidered pomegranates and gold bells
Ephod – apron-like – onyx stones on shoulder straps
Breastplate – 18 in. doubled over for 9 in. square – four rows of gem stones – fastened to the ephod with pure gold chains and blue cords
White linen turban
Holy Crown – Pure gold plate – “Holiness to the Lord” – the priest would wear this that they may be accepted (we are accepted in the beloved – Ephesians 1:6)
The High Priest bears the people on His shoulders (strong), His heart (tenderness), and His mind (watchfully attentive).
We shine like precious stones before Him in Christ
If you think you’re a pebble, you’ll live like one!
While Aaron and the people waited down below Mt. Sinai, they didn’t know about any of this. Had they known, they wouldn’t have fallen in dissipation with the golden calf!
The Lord tests our hearts in the wait. When we don’t see the fullness of what’s coming. But we do have His word of promise which tells us what is ahead for us if we hang on by faith!
NT scripture references: Hebrews 9:6-14; 19-28
He brings us into the Holy of Holies with Him (it’s not “You go in for me, I’ll stay out here in the outer court.”)
It’s not who you are, but whose you are (Mike’s son Zach on the train: “I’m with him!”)
High Priest – Creator turned Redeemer
Passed through the heavens twice – once to present the Father perfectly to us and again to present us as perfect before the Father.
He doesn’t meet us half way but all the way to take us all the way home! God came all the way to Abraham through the split pieces of the sacrifice to bring him the promise, Genesis 15:17.
Glenn’s conversation with his friend the Jehovah Witness: His friend believes that when he dies, he’ll go down rather than up. And he hopes that in the end Jesus will find it in His heart to raise him to some blissful state on earth. His only hope is if he had done enough good things to merit that blissful state.
But the gospel doesn’t leave us in that doubtful state. The work is finished in Christ and we are perfectly justified by His shed blood! There is no guesswork; He has come all the way through to us, not half way.
We can now approach clean, confident, and covered:
Clean – no reproach or condemnation
Laodicea – behold I stand at the door… those I love I rebuke
The adulterous woman in John 8
Confident – absolute assurance, help and forgiveness
Me running away from home when I was 5
My mother offered to pack me a lunch; I refused and assured her that I could take care of myself. I knew of a walnut tree down at the corner house – there would be plenty there to sustain me.
When I got sick of eating walnuts, I had the confident assurance that I could go home to my welcoming Mom to have a nice dinner.
The little prodigal knew where he could find some comfort and forgiveness!
The OT priest entered the Holiest finally (after much adherence to law and sacrificial ritual). Now anyone who receives the gospel of Christ goes into the holiest initially. New converts received the Holy Spirit as soon as they confessed their sin and believed the Savior. We go in initially then we work our way out experientially and practically as we demonstrate the life of Christ – in prayer, as the light of the world, in feeding the saints, etc.
The new covenant is not man-centered, but God-centered. Paul said that he wasn’t ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God to all who believe… for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith…
By law is the knowledge of sin
By grace is the knowledge of God
Being under law is like reading a menu without ever getting anything to eat!
By covenant through death – Hebrews 9
By death, the scriptures become a last will and testament
If we were told that our name appeared in the last will and testament of someone very wealthy, we would make sure we were there for the reading! Our name is in there (Ephesians 1:3-6), and our Lord is wealthy in eternal blessings!
We can be more mindful of Him than we are of our sin
Luke 7:36-50 the woman cleansed of all her sin. She was much more mindful
of Jesus and His forgiveness than she was of her sin.