Archive for June, 2014

Keep Sinning?

What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid.  How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Romans 6:1-2

All of the grace that we find in the previous chapter might lead some to think that they can just go on sinning, because “…where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”  Verse one of this chapter asks the question “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?”

God’s grace is great enough to cover our sin.  In fact, the image that the previous chapter gives us is that it is enough to overwhelm our sin.  But just because His grace is sufficient for us, doesn’t mean that we should go on sinning.  In fact, the next verse begins with the simple statement, “God forbid.”

When we come to God, He saves us from our sin.  He doesn’t want us to keep sinning.  He frees us from sin, and He doesn’t want us to go back and pick up our chains once again.  When a person is cured of a terrible disease, they don’t go back and dabble around with what gave them the disease.  That would just be ridiculous.  And it is just as ridiculous to keep on sinning after the Lord Jesus has saved you and freed you from sin.

This is not to say that a Christian will never sin.  We are going to sin.  We are going to stumble.  None of us are perfect and none of us are going to live perfect lives.  But just because we are going to sin at some point doesn’t mean that we should sin. None of us should want to sin.  In fact, we should try to avoid sin.  After all, we have been set free from it and have been given the Holy Spirit to help us avoid it.

What is our attitude toward sin today?

Sin vs. Grace

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.  But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:20-21

Verse 20 of this chapter tells us that “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”  Verse 21 gives us a similar thought – “…as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness…”

Until Jesus came, sin reigned.  And when sin reigned, it brought death.

But then Jesus came.  Jesus brought grace, and when grace reigns, you have righteousness and eternal life.  The contrast could not be more clear.

So many people are deceived by the Devil into thinking that living a life of sin is “really living.”  They are deceived into thinking that serving their own flesh will make them happy and give them a good “life.”  But all sin brings is bondage and eventually, death.  When sin rules in a life, the result is death.

But when we allow the grace of God to reign in our lives, we find His righteousness.  We find eternal life.  We find abundant and joyful life.  And we find all of those things in “Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There is no overstating what Jesus Christ has done for us.  He took our sin, bondage and death; and gave us in their place grace, righteousness and life.  What a wonderful, merciful and gracious Saviour we have!

Brethren Dwelling in Unity

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;  As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for everyone.

Psalm 133

Reading this passage makes me think of how wonderful it is when brethren do “dwell together in unity.”  Think of how great a church could be if all of its members were on the same page.  Think about how much could be accomplished for the Lord if churches spent their time working for Him and not competing with each other over insignificant things.

How many churches have problems because of gossip?  How many friendships have been ruined because of gossip?  Gossip is the opposite of “dwelling together in unity.”  If we are going to experience the blessings of dwelling together in unity, we are going to have to mind our own business.  We are going to have stop the gossiping.

How many churches have problems with people forming “cliques?”  How many people in today’s churches play childish games of “you can’t be my friend if you are going to be their friend?”

There are so many blessings that can come from brothers and sisters in Christ having some unity.  Sometimes we are going to have to put the needs and desires of others above our own needs and desires.  Sometimes we are going to have to act like adults and not like small children.  Dwelling with anyone takes work.  It’s not always easy to be a friend to many people.  But the blessings of dwelling in unity are too many to ignore!

Tempting God

And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.  Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?  Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also?  can he provide flesh for his people?  Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation…

Psalm 78:18-22

The Israelites were wandering in the wilderness.  God provided for them.  He provided for them and led them every step of the way.  He performed miracle after miracle on their behalf.  He provided water when they were thirsty.  He provided food for them when they were hungry.  And he did all of these things in a miraculous way.  But all they could do was complain.  All they could do was murmer against the Lord.

This complaining tempted the Lord.  He “was wroth… and anger also came up against Israel.”  Not being thankful for all the things that the Lord has done for us brings His chastening.  Complaining about what He has given us or not given us brings His chastening.  The children of Israel found this out the hard way.

Verse 24 tells us that He “had given them of the corn of heaven.”  Verse 25 tells us that “man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full.”  He gave them everything.  But they still weren’t thankful.  They still complained.

They didn’t believe in God and they didn’t trust in Him or His salvation.  They were punished for those things.  Do we believe in Him?  Do we trust Him?  Do we trust in His salvation?  Or are we constantly complaining about the way things are?  Thankfulness is important.  We had better make sure we have it.

Consumed in Vanity

For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.  Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.

Psalm 78:32-33

The context of this passage is a brief retelling of the history of the nation of Israel.  They went through cycle after cycle of rejecting and rebelling against the Lord, repenting and turning back to Him, being forgiven and restored, and starting the cycle once again.

They just kept sinning and they just kept not believing.  Verse 33 tells us what they received for their rejection of the Lord.  “…their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.”  That phrase struck me.  How many people today are living that verse?  How many Christians today are living that verse?

Think of the sadness of a life “consumed in vanity.”  Think of how terrible it would be to live a completely pointless life, filled with trouble.

How many people today live their lives, day by day, with nothing to show for it at the end?  How many people spend their time, effort and money on things that don’t matter in way?

It is a sad existence in which everything we do is, more or less, pointless.  It is the way of the transgressor.  It is the way of the man who refuses to acknowledge the Lord.

We don’t want our lives to be consumed in vanity and nothingness.  We want our lives to count for something, even if it is something small.  In order to find that, we need to follow the Lord.  We need to trust in Him.  We need to obey Him.  It is only through Him that we can avoid this life of vanity.  It is only through Him that we can live a life that counts for something and matters.

Precious Name (Hymn)

Precious Name
Lydia Baxter (1870)

Take the Name of Jesus with you,
Child of sorrow and of woe,
It will joy and comfort give you;
Take it then, where’er you go.

Refrain

Precious Name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of Heav’n.
Precious Name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of Heav’n.

Take the Name of Jesus ever,
As a shield from every snare;
If temptations round you gather,
Breathe that holy Name in prayer.

Refrain

O the precious Name of Jesus!
How it thrills our souls with joy,
When His loving arms receive us,
And His songs our tongues employ!

Refrain

At the Name of Jesus bowing,
Falling prostrate at His feet,
King of kings in Heav’n we’ll crown Him,
When our journey is complete.

Refrain

I like all hymns that glorify the name of Jesus, and this one does a great job.  His name truly is a “precious name.”  It will give us joy and comfort.  It is a shield from every snare and temptation.  And it will be the name at which every knee shall bow.  What a glorious name, the name of Jesus!

Psalm Saturday (6c)

O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.  Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed.  My soul is sore vexed: but thou O Lord, how long?  Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.  For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

Psalm 6:1-5

In this Psalm of contrition, forgiveness and mercy, we come to verse 6.  “For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?”  I think that there are several things we can take from this verse.

First, those are true statements.  We understand that, even after death, we will be praising and thanking the Lord in Heaven, but that’s not the point of this thought.  The point here is that, once our race on Earth is done, it’s done.  If there is something that we want to get done, we need to get it done, which brings me to the second point.

If we want to thank the Lord for something, we need to thank Him for it now.  If we want to praise Him for something, we need to praise Him now.  If we want to thank another person for something or do some good deed for someone, we need to do it.  We have no idea how long we have left on this Earth, and those things can’t be finished in the grave.  We need to get busy now.

Thirdly, I think we can give an answer to the question at the end of the verse, “in the grave who shall give thee thanks?”.  If we lead our families in the right direction, they can and will continue to thank the Lord.  If we help lead someone to the Lord, they will continue to thank the Lord.  In that way, by leaving a legacy of godliness, we can continue to thank Him, even from the grave!

Wisdom From Small Things, Pt. 5

I will be away from the computer this week, so feel free to comment, but I won’t be able to respond until next week.  Thanks for reading and God bless.

There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.

Proverbs 30:24-28

We have looked at several small, seemingly insignificant creatures in this series and have seen that a creature’s small size does not mean that they are small in wisdom.  The last thing we see is the spider.

“The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.”

Have you ever had one of those days where you work hard all day long, and at the end of the day, something happens and it just destroys everything you worked for?  Well, spiders have one of those days every day.  The spider spends her entire day carefully constructing her web.  Then, some well meaning person comes along and knocks it down.  But the spider doesn’t stop.  It just keeps right on going.

That is a great lesson for us.  No matter what happens to us in life, we need to just keep going.  If we get knocked down, we need to get up, dust ourselves off and just keep going.  The spider does that, and “is in kings’ palaces.”  Not even the army of servants that are found in palaces can keep every spider down.  They just refuse to quit and they just keep coming back.  That should describe us.  We should have that kind of perseverance!  Just keep coming back!

Wisdom From Little Things, Pt. 4

I will be away from the computer this week, so feel free to comment, but I won’t be able to respond until next week.  Thanks for reading and God bless.

There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.

Proverbs 30:24-28

In our look at this passage, we have seen that even some little and insignificant things have great wisdom.  We look at the hard working, forward looking ants and we looked at the wise conies, who understand that they are weak and helpless and hide in the rocks.  Today, we look at the locust.

The locust is described as having “no king.”  Groups of locusts swarm in different parts of the world.  There can be thousands or even millions of locusts in these swarms and they can do great damage to crops and other vegetation.  Locusts aren’t particularly big or threatening by themselves, but the entire swarm of them is an awesome sight.

There is no leader of all of the locusts, yet “go they forth all of them by bands.”  They have the ability to work together and get things done without having one “king locust” telling everyone what to do.  Do we have that ability?  Can we find what we are supposed to do and just do it?  Or do we have to be begged, prodded, or guilted into doing something?  We can gain wisdom from the locust in that he doesn’t need someone standing over him constantly telling him what to do.  Do we?

Wisdom From Little Things, Pt. 3

I will be away from the computer this week, so feel free to comment, but I won’t be able to respond until next week.  Thanks for reading and God bless.

There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.

Proverbs 30:24-28

Yesterday, we looked at the first of the little things that are described as being “exceeding wise.”  We looked at the ant and we saw how he works hard and has the wisdom to understand that he will not have the opportunity to work forever.  Today, we will look at little creatures called “conies.”  The Biblical “conie” is likely the rock hyrax of the mountains of Syria and Lebanon.

This creature is, as the Bible describes it, “a feeble folk.”  They kind of look like a fat rabbit with regular sized back legs.  They don’t run too fast, they don’t jump too high, they’re not particularly strong and they don’t have sharp claws or teeth.  They really are rather defenseless.

But they have the wisdom to understand that they are weak and feeble and they “make their houses in the rocks.”  That is great wisdom for us to follow.  We should understand just how weak and feeble we really are.  When we understand that, we will want to make our home in the rock – the Lord Jesus.  David described Him as his “Rock” many times.  When we abide in Him, we are safe – even though we are weak and defenseless.  And we can get all of that wisdom from the little conie!