BDCMINISTRIES                  HOME

 

MAY 2012

To leave comments go to http://bdcministries.com/

Back to Archived Meditations

 

The Hope of Eternal Life

 

Titus 3:7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

 

What does ETERNAL life mean to us? Surely it is a never ending life, but it is more than that. The unsaved die and exist for eternity, but the saved LIVE throughout eternity. Since God is the author of life, life is more than just existing just as death is not the end of existing. Death is eternal separation from God and involves punishment for rejecting the worship of the One True and Living God. That worship begins with an acknowledgment of our sins and then trust in the Lord Jesus Who died for our sins. Eternal life is a life that begins the moment we trust Christ and it continues forever. But it is also a life with a new quality as well The Bible says that He that hath the Son hath life (1 John 5:12). After coming to know Christ, eternity should motivate us, but does it?

We are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and the issues of life will be taken care of for us by our heavenly Father according to Matthew 6:33. I do not believe that the physical kingdom of God is present on earth today. I believe that it is coming after the Lord returns for the church. But I do believe that as Christians we enter into the kingdom spiritually the moment we are saved. Colossians 1:13 says that He has delivered Christians from the power of darkness and conveyed them into the kingdom of the Son of His love. No nation on earth today represents the kingdom of God. Israel is still in rebellion and unbelief and the Lord has not begun a reign of righteousness through them yet even though I believe that is coming. Some would like to believe that some of the nations of our Western Civilization are the new Israel and represent the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, there has never been a nation since the crucifixion that has submitted itself to Christ as King and that has judged sin in a righteous way. When the Lord reigns there will be peace and that is certainly not true in the world today. The immorality present in the Western Cultures would surely make us realize that presently Satan is the prince and the power of the air and that Christ is not on the throne of any earthly kingdom (Ephesians 2:2).

As Christians we can spend our time enjoying the present world and its kingdoms or we can spend our time promoting the eternal kingdom. When we promote and love the present world we usually try to change it into something that pleases God. I am confident we can't do that, but I am also confident that it can change us. We should separate from it instead of trying to change it. We should preach and live as strangers in it. We have no commission to change it and make it better. Instead we are admonished not to love the world. John says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:14)."

Our verse says that we are heirs. Usually an inheritance is something that we anticipate with joy. I am sure that is what Paul means when He refers to the hope of eternal life. We don't hope to have eternal life, but because we HAVE eternal life (John 5:24), we have something to anticipate with joy. Peter tells us that our inheritance is reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4). I don't think we will ever squander that inheritance or have someone else take it from us. I don't know all that is involved in that inheritance, but it has to be good enjoyable things that are associated with eternal life. Inheritances that we get in this life only last until we die, this inheritance lasts forever.

Often the Gospel is presented as a way to have a better life here on earth. While that may be the result for some people who have been living the life of a prodigal, that is not the reason for trusting Christ. Neither is it the reason for living and serving the Lord after we have trusted Him. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). We are not going to be able to change the world which is our enemy into a friend whose blessings we can enjoy. But as we preach the Gospel it will miraculously change people from lovers of the world to lovers of the Lord. However, our preaching will only be believable if people see that our motivation is "the hope of eternal life."

When we think about what is important, surely the long-term benefits of eternal life outweigh the short-run benefits that this world offers. What a joy it will be to enjoy the presence of the Lord and His blessings for eternity. But there is also a warning here because the consequences of rejecting eternal life will also be eternal.

 

Meditation for the week of May 6, 2012

Death in the Stew!

 

Then they served it to the men to eat. Now it happened, as they were eating the stew, that they cried out and said, "Man of God, there is death in the pot!" And they could not eat it. So he said, "Then bring some flour." And he put it into the pot, and said, "Serve it to the people, that they may eat." And there was nothing harmful in the pot.  (2 Kings 4:40-41)

 

In this miracle, Elisha was able to counter the deadly effects of the poison that had unintentionally been put into a pot of stew. The incident actually happened, and of course it happened for a reason. Obviously, the "sons of the prophets" who were eating the stew must have been convinced that Elisha was truly a prophet of the Lord unlike the so-called prophets of Baal and of other heathen gods. However, I wonder if this portion has a lesson or application for us today in new testament times?

Could the stew represent the spiritual food that we feed on? Could the wild gourds represent false doctrine that is being fed to people unintentionally by some who are well-meaning? Could the meal represent the moral perfections of the Lord Jesus? When we preach Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23) we can counter the poison of doctrines that are being popularized today. Some of these "taste good" but they are actually killers.

Doctrine or teaching is important in the Bible. Teachers are going to be held accountable for what they teach (James 3:1). Being sound in teaching is emphasized by Paul to both Timothy and Titus in his letters to them. Doctrine is one of the pillars of the church in Acts 2:42. The good news of the Gospel is one of the doctrines that must remain pure. Paul condemns the Galatians for turning away from the Gospel that he preached to another gospel which is not really another gospel. In Galatians 1:7 there were some who were intentionally perverting the Gospel of Christ. In this case they were trying to make Christianity a sect of Judaism and were saying that only those who kept the old testament law were truly Christians. Paul emphasizes that we are not saved by the works of the law but we are declared right with God by faith in Christ and by faith in Him alone (Galatians 2:16). When the Gospel is perverted, people are led astray and they do not believe in the Christ of the Bible. Instead they believe in some philosophical fantasy. What we think is right cannot save if our thinking is not Biblical, but what God says is right will save every time.

In order for the Gospel to be pure, we have to preach that Christ was in fact God made known in the flesh. We have to preach that He was sinless. We have to preach that He is the only way to heaven. We have to preach that He was crucified and then rose again the third day. We need to be clear that He lives and will return. These pure strains of the Gospel will never bring death but will produce life in those who have them become a part of their very fabric by faith as they feed or meditate upon Christ.

Today it is easy to get side tracked. While it is true that the works of the law do not save, yet Christians should be careful to maintain good works (Titus 3:8). These good works involve much more than the moral law embodied in the ten commandments, but moral behavior is certainly included. However, when we as Christians spend our time trying to make the unsaved live moral lives without pointing them to the Savior, we are perverting the Gospel. Much of what I read by well-meaning Christians seems to emphasize eliminating the moral evils of the world rather than telling people that they need the Savior of sinners. The name of the Lord Jesus is seldom mentioned in their well-meaning pursuit of righteousness in the world. But when the people whose lives have been reformed die, they still go to hell if they haven't trusted in Christ. We all need to be saved, not reformed.

Elijah was able to make that which was poisonous edible through the addition of some meal. We need to keep the sinless, crucified, resurrected Christ central in our preaching of the Gospel and in our desire to see the world saved. We need to be careful to keep the stew edible and pure so that we don't unintentionally poison those to whom we preach.

 

Meditation for the week of May 13, 2012

Sorry Gals, He's Mine!

 

What is your beloved More than another beloved, O fairest among women? What is your beloved More than another beloved, That you so charge us?  (Song of Solomon 5:9)

 

Expositors differ on the interpretation of this beautiful love poem. Some think Solomon is the man wooing the young lady in the poem, and they think that he has won her heart. Others think that she is in love with a shepherd but that Solomon is trying to win her love away from him. For various reasons, I believe that Solomon, the King who has brought her into his chambers, is the only man in the young woman's life and that she is totally in love with him.

When we come to chapter 5, the young woman is asked by the "daughters of Jerusalem," whoever they might be, "What is your beloved more than another beloved?" Apparently this gal would have been considered a "good catch" by any man. Why was she so sure that this was the man for her? She starts out describing him and as she looks across Solomon's army she says that nobody compares to him. He is the chief or the standard bearer among ten thousand. In other words, he is the standard by which others should be measured; and when they are compared to him, they all come up short. Now that is quite a heartfelt compliment. If Solomon had in any way been listening in on this conversation, can you imagine how it would have made him feel? I am sure that he would have stood just a little taller and would have felt greatly loved by this woman. There is no doubt that physical attraction is prominent in the relationship of these two, but physical attraction can sometimes turn to physical disgust after people get to really know each other and if they begin to feel used by their significant other. However, that would not be the case in this relationship. The physical beauty of this women would only be enhanced by her loyalty and emotional commitment to Solomon. As a practical matter, if husbands overheard their wives talking about them this way in situations where the wives were being "honest" with their girlfriends, can you imagine what this would do for the marriage? And of course, it would also be a beautiful thing if men talked this way about their wives on those men only fishing and hunting trips that they take.

While the story probably has an application to Israel as the bride of Jehovah, we in the new testament surely can apply these principles to the church in its relationship to the Lord Jesus. The church universal is a bride. How would we who are part of that "bride" answer those who would like to believe that there are other gods that are just as good as the one we love? Or how would we answer those who would seem to think that no god is as good as our God? What is our beloved more than another beloved? I could start enumerating the ways that He is better, but this is a meditation limited by space, so I will only mention a couple of reasons as to why no one else even comes close for me personally. No one else has been willing and able to totally and completely forgive my sins, both intentional and unintentional. The Lord has proven to be loyal to me even when I have not been totally loyal to him. Humans can't love the way He loves, it just isn't in them. Our love is always performance based in some way, His is unconditional even though I know that He loves it when we speak well of Him both by what we do and by what we say.

So when the question is asked, "What is your beloved more than another?," can we who are a part of the bride of Christ start at the Lord's head and end up at his feet describing His beauty? Would we say, "Yes, He is altogether lovely!" Or have we reached a point in our relationship with Him where we would admit that He has been good to us, but perhaps not as good as we would have liked. Do "the daughters of Jerusalem" see a bride that is totally in love with her bridegroom? Or do they see a bride who is less than loyal to the Lord?

This is a beautiful picture of what a relationship ought to be. If our relationship with the Lord was as intensely satisfying and beautiful as the relationship between Solomon and this young lady was, we would have lots of people asking, "What is your beloved more than another beloved?" We would have people scrambling to hear our answers. We wouldn't have enough preachers of the Gospel available to answer the questions of those who simply don't understand this kind of relationship, but who would like to have one like it. Fortunately, we don't have to say, "Sorry gals, He's mine!" We don't lose His personal love and loyalty when we speak well of Him and when we share Him.

 

Meditation for the week of May 20, 2012

Remembering!

 

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  (Matthew 24:6)

 

There are some things that I wish I could forget. My family and I made a trip to Gettysburg several years back and I wish I could forget what we saw and felt as we looked over one of the most famous battlegrounds in the Civil War. There was a sinister feeling to that place that even my children noticed. That was a place where Satan had worked his magic and many soldiers died. Relatives fought relatives. People who should have been friends ended up killing each other in that war. Gettysburg is a terrible thing to remember.

Obviously, while Gettysburg seems close and personal because the war was on US soil, all war is a testimonial to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. When Eve believed Satan's lie that God was holding out on her and she would know true happiness if she ate the "forbidden fruit," she set in motion the sorrows of men and women killing men and women from that time on. Her son Cain killed his brother Able. The earth was finally destroyed in the flood because of the violence on the earth.

That violence will continue until the end of this age. The disciples had wanted to know when the Lord was going to return to set up His kingdom and when the end of the age would occur. Apparently, the tribulation period that is described in this chapter is the end of the age after which the Lord comes to reign. That will be a brand new age. During that tribulation period there will be wars and rumors of wars that will be far worse than anything we have experienced thus far in the history of mankind. We have all heard of Armageddon. That war will be fought during this short period of seven years. Human beings will be intent on killing each other. And all of these wars will occur because of sin.

We like to remember the heroic feats of those who are willing to fight wars for us. Some make the ultimate sacrifice and give their lives. I wonder how many of those who have died end up in heaven and how many end up in hell. We know that only those who sins have been forgiven end up in heaven and that forgiveness comes about through faith in the death of Christ. But I suspect most of those who die in war have died unsaved. Satan is reaping his harvest in glee as soldiers and civilians by the millions have entered eternity unsaved as a result of war. Isn't it sad that we need to defend ourselves and our country against others just like us that the Lord has created? The ones we fight have souls and families and are loved by God just as much as the soldiers that we send to fight them.

We are all thankful for those who have been willing to protect us and our country in war. But as we honor and memorialize them on Memorial Day weekend, we need to remember that we are remembering that sin is real and that Satan is real. Even as we remember the Lord on the Lord's day with a cup of wine and a loaf of bread we are forced to remember that those who hated the Lord without a cause (John 15:25) were willing to murder Him because they envied Him (Matthew 27:18). Killing is in the nature of man because sin is the nature of man ever since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

I am glad that there is something better to remember than war and its depravity. King David could say:

Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore! Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth.  (1 Chronicles 16:8-12)

Remembering His marvelous works and His wonders is so much better than remembering wars that certainly make heroes out of our soldiers but which remind us of the dreadful consequences of sin.

 

Meditation for the week of May 27, 2012