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to Archived Meditations
Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at
the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are
temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word
of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do
seeing is believing. However, I do not believe that saying is really
true. If I had seen the Lord’s miracles, I am sure that I would have
tried to figure out what sleight of hand magic trick He was performing.
I know that when faith healers say that they are performing miracles
today, I usually assume that they are deceiving us in some way. So we
can see a thing and not believe it.
the other hand, there are many things that we do not see that we do
believe. For example, I have never seen my brain or heart or lungs but I
do believe in them. I have never seen George Washington or Abraham
Lincoln but I do believe they existed. I have never seen the north pole
or the bottom of the sea but I do believe they exist. In some cases, I
have seen pictures that others have taken, and I have heard others say
or write that these people and places exist. When I believe them, I am
believing in that which I have not seen. Why should it be so hard to
believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in the same way? We do not have
pictures of Him, but we do have witnesses that have written about their
acquaintance with Him. Just like the bottom of the sea must logically
exist, a creator God must logically exist since we didn’t just happen
any more than our cars or houses or clothes just happened. So it should
be easy to believe in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ.
that we do not see are probably more important than things we do see
since those things are often associated with eternity, spirits or angels
and God. In 2 Kings 6, when the King of Syria had the city that Elisha
was in surrounded, Elisha’s servant said, “What are we going to do?”
Elisha prayed that his servant’s eyes might be opened and, when they
were, he saw the Lord’s army of horses and chariots of fire
surrounding and protecting Elisha. When Daniel was praying in Daniel 10,
there was an unseen battle going on in heaven that hindered the answer
to his prayer for three weeks. Some of us have experienced these “three
week” delays. We are told in the new testament that Christians wrestle
against principalities and powers and wicked spirits in heaven
(Ephesians 6:12). But we who are saved are also told that we have angels
that minister unto us (Hebrews 1:14). Thank God for the unseen
ministering spirits that have been given to us just as they were given
have not seen heaven or hell but I believe in them. I have not seen
beyond the grave, but I believe in eternal existence. Believing in
things that are not seen helps me understand things that otherwise would
be very confusing. It helps me understand the depravity of the human
heart and why countries are constantly fighting rather than cooperating
with one another. It helps me explain death which seems like such an
ugly end to created beings that are so beautiful. It helps me understand
the love that God had for me, and it gives me a reason to believe that
the future is going to be better than anything we can imagine if we are
really trusting in the Lord’s blood to give us forgiveness of sins. It
also gives me a reason to preach the Gospel when I realize how bad the
future is for those who reject the Christ of God that they have not seen
with their own eyes.
for the week of October 1, 2006
Corinthians 2:17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God;
but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in
week, I met a young lady at a coffee shop who wants to go into Christian
ministry. I asked her if she understood that the Gospel was free and
that she shouldn’t charge for it. She said, “You have to, how else
can you make your living?” When I pointed out that if we were going to
do the Lord’s work we should probably do it His way, she agreed. She
then wanted me to give her the Scriptures that convinced me that I
shouldn’t charge for the Gospel. She indicated that no one had ever
talked to her about this aspect of Christian work.
made tents at times to provide some of his own funds and to set an
example for some who didn‘t want to work while they waited for the
Lord‘s return (See Acts 18:3, 20:34; and 2nd Thessalonians 3:8-9). But
ministries in the New Testament were also supported by individuals and
by congregations of Christians that wanted to be partners in this work.
In Luke 8:3, certain women are mentioned which helped to support the
Lord. Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, Suzzana and “many
others” are named. In 2 Corinthians 11:7-8, Paul made it clear he
never charged the Corinthians for his services. He “robbed” other
churches to serve them. Sometimes that is still the case today. Many
places that have the ability to help and who benefit from certain
ministries, do not have any desire to partner with those doing the work.
need to teach our children that our giving is to the Lord and that there
may be works that the Lord wants us to support besides the congregations
with which we are associated. The Lord commends remembering the poor and
the widows. He also promised to bless those who remembered Paul
personally, even when he was in prison (See Philippians 4: 16-19). But
as good stewards we need to know how the ministries that we support
handle their money.
many ministries are big business. Ministers live in fancy houses and
drive fancy cars and beg for money. They tell their donors that the Lord
will bless them by more than returning to them what they have given.
Unfortunately, that type of giving is not a gift. That is an investment.
While it is true that we reap what we sow and that we are blessed by
giving, the Lord never intended for us to give in order to get. He
intended for us to give because we want to be “partners” with the
Lord and with his workers in this important business of preaching the
Gospel freely. The Philippian epistle is really an acknowledgement of a
gift that the Philippians had sent to Paul. Paul considered them
partners with him and uses the term fellowship in that sense in
Philippians 1:5. They didn’t pay him for his services, they
participated in his work. This is something that the unsaved should not
do, and that is one reason why I personally have never taken a
collection when I preach the Gospel.
do have friends and congregations, however, that through prayerful
consideration have decided to partner with me in the work that I do.
They have made it possible for these meditations to be made available
without a charge. They know that making the Gospel available as a free
gift still costs and, out of devotion, they want to be partners in doing
the Lord’s work the Lord’s way.
know that salvation is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. We do
not DO to receive the gift of salvation. We just trust in the Living God
who gave His Son as the sacrifice for our sins. If we have enough
confidence in the Lord to save us in this way that doesn’t really make
sense to the natural man, it is only reasonable for us to trust that
same Lord to support His work in a way that also does not make sense to
the natural man.
for the week of October 8, 2006
34:16 Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read.
119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light.
preacher that I enjoyed listening to when I was younger always made me
wonder why I hadn’t seen some of the points he was making on my own.
His preaching was simple and informative. One day he told us that he had
been reading his Bible through every six months for over 30 years. Then
I understood why his preaching made sense. He knew the Bible in its
context and he was able to use the Bible to explain the Bible.
we are getting all kinds of messages about what the Bible says. The only
way we can sort these messages out is by reading the Bible. It takes
time and prayer and there is no short cut. Some people ask me, “What
Bible should I read?” I tell them there is only one Bible but many
translations of the original languages used to write the Bible.
Normally, I encourage them to read whatever version they are used to as
most are quite clear on the basic doctrines. I certainly have my
preferences and I know that some translations are simply not reliable.
However, I try to help people find a translation that they can
understand, and I encourage them to read it, rather than getting
technical about what is wrong with the translation they are reading. I
figure that if God can use what I say about the Bible, and what I say is
certainly not divinely inspired, then perhaps he can use a translation
that is not perfect either. We need to encourage and not discourage
regular systematic reading of the Bible.
I do personal evangelism, I used to try to figure out if I was talking
to a saved or unsaved person and then I tried to tailor my discussion to
what I thought I discerned. If I was talking to an unsaved person, I
tried to give them a clear presentation of the Gospel. While I still do
that if I can, today I spend more and more of my time trying to convince
people to read their Bibles. If they are saved, they will be blessed,
and if they are unsaved the Bible will convict them of that. I try to
convince people to read passages that will be helpful. I often ask them
Isaiah 53. It tells of the Lord’s sacrifice for our sins 700 years
before it happened. I don’t usually defend the Bible any more, I
present it and let God defend His own Word. But usually little defense
is needed if the reader can see that God planned the events at Calvary
years before they happened.
John 3. It tells us of a must that most of us do not understand when we
first hear about it. Ye must be born again. And that message was given
to a clean living religious man, not to a man who had lived immorally.
Romans 3. It tells us of this terrible thing called sin that has caused
us all to be separated from God. But it also tells us that God is just
and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus.
Ephesians 2. It tells of a people who were dead and are now alive
spiritually. It is the testimony of people who are saved. It tells how
they once walked and how they were saved by grace through faith in the
Lord Jesus. It tells how we are not saved by doing good, but that God
wants those who are saved to do good.
verse that convinces me that this is the right approach in a society
where people can read is Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by
hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” I try to read the Bible
through once a year and that has given me a wealth of information to
draw on when I preach. It has also slowly but surely clarified my
thinking on many topics that seem to be controversial today. It has
changed my mind on some things that I thought I knew, and it has given
me convictions where I didn’t have them before. Reading the Bible
continually reassures me that I am saved. There is no substitute for
getting light or understanding from the reading of the Word of God.
for the week of October 15, 2006
13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out
of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
enjoy sleeping. Sleeping is good if it isn’t done at the wrong time
and if it isn’t used to escape the realities of life including the
need to work.
a spiritual standpoint, it is possible to be sleeping when we should be
awake. We are in good company when that happens since Peter, James and
John slept when the Lord was transfigured, and they slept when the Lord
was agonizing in the Garden. Peter must have been a good sleeper since
he was also able to sleep when he was in prison in Acts 12:6. Most of us
would likely have been awake in that prison. Perhaps he could sleep
because the Lord had told him that he would die when he was old on a
cross (John 21:18-19) and not by a sword as had been the case with
James. Depending on God’s promises can bring a wonderful sense of
if the early new testament church was sleeping, then what about us
today? It has been nearly 2000 years since the Lord told His disciples
that if He went away, He would come again (John 14:3). This truth has
been the hope of the church since the Lord was taken up into heaven. It
has motivated the church to work in such a way that we might not be
ashamed at his coming (1 John 2:28). But today, many are trying to
explain away the literal coming of the Lord to save us from coming
judgment on this earth. When the Lord says our salvation is nearer than
when we believed, He is not referring to salvation from the penalty of
sin that we obtain upon believing in the work of Christ when He became
the sacrifice for our sins. No, He is referring to our being saved from
coming judgment. And judgment is coming. I wonder if we really believe
in the middle east are predicted as part of the judgment that occurs on
earth before the Lord sets up His literal kingdom that will last for
1000 years. So when wars start or when earthquakes and natural disasters
occur as predicted in Matthew 24, we tend to get excited for a little
while. And then we sink back into our comfortable recliners and go back
to sleep. The church seems to be asking, “Where is the promise of His
coming (2 Peter 3:4)?” This was supposed to be the question of
unbelievers. I have always believed that the Lord could return at any
time for the church, but now we are being taught that the church has to
go through some of the predicted events of the tribulation period. That
means that we don’t have to stand ready for His return because it
cannot occur until after some of the prophetic events of the book of the
Revelation are fulfilled. Of course, I still believe that the Lord could
return at any moment.
need to take heed to the warning that was given nearly 2000 years ago.
Otherwise, our churches may be well attended after the Lord’s return
with those who were not prepared. And while all who miss out on God’s
salvation will have only themselves to blame, yet some of these people
may sit in our church pews and never be warned because we don‘t really
believe in the truth that the Lord could return momentarily! It is
unlikely that the unsaved are going to get prepared for the Lord’s
return if we who claim to be saved are sleeping when we should be awake.
for the week of October 22, 2006
1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every
1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the
the Bible, the firstborn son got a double portion of his father’s
inheritance and became the leader of the clan when the father died. The
firstborn in a family wasn’t always the first to be born since this
became a title of honor and respect and that honor could be lost. In 1
Chronicles 5:1, we are told that Reuben’s title as the firstborn was
given to Joseph because of immorality on the part of Reuben. We know
that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew in Genesis
25:33. As a result, Jacob became the firstborn in that family even
though he was born second. Since I was born fourth in our family, I
never did like the idea that privileges in many families were given
based on birth order. But of course if you aren‘t the first born,
while you might not be the preeminent child, neither do you have the
responsibilities of the first born son. You don’t have to learn your
father’s trade, you don’t have to take care of your unmarried
sisters or your mother should she be widowed, and you don’t have to be
the clan boss.
Lord is the firstborn in the Bible. That means He is the preeminent one.
He is the one who leads the family of God that we become a part of by
the new birth. His responsibilities included creation as well as
redemption. He made us and then bought us back when we were sold into
sin. In this way He provided for the rest of us. As the firstborn of
creation, He did the creating. And all of creation was for his pleasure
(Revelation 4:11). He is the firstborn of the dead, that is, He is the
first one to be raised from the dead never to die again. Others were
raised from the dead but all of those before Christ died again. He is
the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). He is the preeminent
Son in the family of God.
of us have a problem with thinking we are preeminent while the Bible
says that Christ is preeminent or most important. We make decisions by
asking what is in it for us. And the Lord wants us to ask what is in it
for the Lord. Many are told to go to the church of their choice when we
should be asking where the Lord would have us to go. Often we hear that
doctrine is divisive and so we should avoid any doctrine that is
controversial. The Lord says that we should continue steadfastly in the
apostles doctrine since that is how we learn Who Christ is and how to be
pleasing to Him. I often hear that it really doesn't matter as to
whether and how one is baptized. God says it does since this is one way
we honor His firstborn. And again, we were created for His pleasure not
for ours. The Lord should have the preeminent place in our hearts and in
our families and in our congregational gatherings. Instead of us being
“me” oriented, we should be “Him” oriented. Instead of taking so
much to each other, we should spend more time talking to His Father
often act like two year olds who think that everything revolves around
them. In fact everything should revolve around the Lord. He created us
and He redeemed us when we failed. So He owns us twice. He deserves to
for the week of October 29, 2006