Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let Us Love, and Sing and Wonder

Let us love, and sing, and wonder, Let us praise the Savior’s name!
He has hushed the law’s loud thunder, He has quenched Mount Sinai’s flame;
He has washed us with his blood, He has brought us nigh to God.

Let us love the Lord who bought us, Pitied us when enemies,
Called us by his grace, and taught us,
Gave us ears and gave us eyes:
He has washed us with his blood, He presents our souls to God.

Let us sing, though fierce temptation threaten hard to bear us down!
For the Lord, our strong salvation, Holds in view the conqueror’s crown,
He who washed us with his blood, Soon will bring us home to God.

Let us wonder; grace and justice Join, and point to mercy’s store;
When through grace in Christ our trust is, Justice smiles, and asks no more:
He who washed us with his blood, Has secured our way to God.

Let us praise, and join the chorus of the saints enthroned on high;
Here they trusted him before us, Now their praises fill the sky:
“Thou hast washed us with thy blood; thou art worthy Lamb of God”

Monday, October 27, 2008

Memorization Monday

Each Monday we are learning or reviewing verses from the Navigators Topical Memory System. If you would like these verses emailed to you, please let me know.

This week’s category is: The Christian Life – The Word

Acts 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Curses and Blessings 11

In case you’ve gotten lost working through the series on Curses and Blessings, here is a summary statement of what I believe God says about this. If this sounds interesting or far out, go back and read through the previous posts and the scriptures that are given to determine for yourself what the Bible is saying. I believe these truths are very powerful in delivering us from defeat and bringing us into victory in our walk with Christ.

In the Old Testament, God gave statements of blessing and cursing. Those who keep all of the law are blessed. Those who fail in any of it are cursed.

There are two ways of living – under the law or by faith.

Those who are under the law are under that curse that God gave.

Abraham believed God and God blessed him and his seed.

The law that came later could not annul that promised blessing otherwise God is guilty of breaking his contract.

If we too believe God and accept His word of salvation through Christ, we are Abraham’s seed according to the promise and therefore recipients of the blessing that cannot be revoked.

Christ lived a perfect life and yet died on the cross and therefore was cursed because anyone hung on a tree is cursed. He bore the curse that was due to us.

The law cannot bring reform to our lives because with it comes the curse. It also stimulates sin and gives sin its power.

The law was in charge before the time of Christ, but now we are in an adult age when those who are Christ’s are adopted as adult sons into his family and are no longer under the guardianship of the law to keep us in line as though we were children.

God begs us not to look to the law as the answer to our sinful and fleshly ways. He reminds us that we, just like Isaac are children of promise and should live our lives in that light.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Curses and Blessings Part 10

We are coming to the conclusion in this series on blessings and curses. If you have not read through the entire line of thought, please go back to the first post on this issue and read the posts in sequence.

In Galatians 4:21 Paul asks us to look at the picture provided by Abraham’s two sons. One was of the freewoman and one was of the bondwoman. The one born to the bond woman was of the flesh. He came into existence because of the scheming of people. Isaac, the child of the free woman, was a child of promise. These are symbolic of two covenants – one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage and the other corresponds to Jerusalem. Sinai of course was the place where the law was given.

Paul concludes by saying this in verse 28, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise…. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.’ So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Curses and Blessings Part 9

Does God through the Apostle Paul beg us not to put ourselves under the law? In Galatians 4, Paul said that when we were children (i.e. before Christ came) we were in bondage under the elements of the world. What does he mean, elements of the world? If we look in verse 9 he says, “But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?” What are those? Verse 10 tells us. “You observe days and months and seasons and years.” These are the kind of rules and law that Paul calls beggarly elements.

In Colossians 2:8, Paul writes, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Then in verse 20 he says, “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, (there’s that expression again) why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations – do not touch, do not taste, do not handle.” The interesting point here is that he finishes up this thought in verse 23 by saying, “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” In other words, it doesn’t work to set up these rules for yourself to try to stifle the flesh.

So my question was, “does God beg us not to put ourselves under the law?” Look at verses 11-16 of Galatians 4 and see what you think. God is serious about this. He uses expressions like “I urge you…” and “I’m afraid for you….” The answer we need to trying to live a godly life is not in more law. It is in our recognition and accepting by faith the fact that we are new creatures in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit within us and we need to yield to His leadership in our lives.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Curses and Blessings Part 8

Last time we saw that one of the purposes of the law was to confine all under sin. The next purpose of the law is to keep us under guard until the faith came. To be honest with you, I’m not sure what that means. Perhaps it means that the law keeps people under control in sort of an artificial way until the reality of faith comes.
The third purpose is to be a tutor to bring us to Christ so that we can be justified by faith. The important point here is that Paul goes on to say that once faith comes, the tutor is no longer needed! Galatians 3:25. The question I have is when did faith come? Does that mean when we trust Christ and are saved? Let’s continue reading.
So the law is like the parent or guardian to an under-aged child. Galatians 4:1-3 says just as much. A child, Paul says, is not much different than a slave even though he is the heir of everything. He is under the rule of his parent until he comes of age. In the same way, when we were children we were in bondage under the elements of the world. My question is still the same – when were we children and when did adulthood come?
Paul answers that question in Galatians 4:4. He says, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Verse 7 goes on to tell us that if we are a son then we are an heir of God. Think about what that means! We are adult sons, not children. We are heirs of God with all the rights and privileges of being an adult son. The guardianship of the law has ended. It ended when Christ came.
Please don’t interpret any of this to say that we are free to live in any way we like. I’m talking about the role of the law and its place in our lives. The reason this is important is that many Christians put themselves under the law in order to try to please God in the sense of making Him happy with their level of obedience. Another motivation sometimes is to try to use the law to get their lives in order. The problem is that the law brings a curse as we have seen. In fact in Romans 7:8 that sin takes the opportunity in the law to produce all sorts of evil desire. 2 Corinthians 15:56 tells us that the strength of sin is the law. Life requires self-discipline, but putting oneself under the law doesn’t work and in fact God pleads with us not to do that. More on that next time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Six Week Review

We’ve been working at this for six weeks now and I thought it would be helpful to summarize what we have learned.

The Christian Life – The Life in Christ

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Colossians 2:6, 7a “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him.”

Colossians 2:9, 10 “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”

The Christian Life – Christ the Center

John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 NKJV

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Let’s spend some time this week reviewing these and making sure that we can remember them when we think of the outline point.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Memorization Monday

Here is part 6 of our memorization Monday series.

This is verse 3 in the following outline point.

1. The Christian Life, B. Christ the Center

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.