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never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether
there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will
vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that
which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I
thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in
part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
church has grown up and that is what Paul meant when he says, "when
that which is perfect (or mature or grown up) has come." Paul lived
in the days of an immature church. He uses himself as an analogy in this
passage to explain what will happen when the church matures. He did
certain things as a child that he put away when he grew up. So it is in
the church. The infant church did things that the mature church does not
do. In the mature church there is a complete revelation of God. That
doesn't mean that we understand everything that has been revealed. In
the childish church, there is a tendency to believe everyone and
everything (Ephesians 4:13-14). But when the church becomes a
"perfect man" or a mature adult, there is full knowledge of
the Son of God. There is stability. There will be no more of the Lord
revealed when the church is grown up. We know all about the Lord in the
same way that the Lord knows all about us.
the immature church, it was necessary to speak in different dialects
miraculously so that the Jews would believe that God was the author of
all that had taken place in Jerusalem. The Jews still needed to be
convinced that Jesus was their Messiah since they had rejected Him as a
nation. The early church didn't have a complete revelation of God's will
so they needed apostles and prophets who could speak for God. The
apostles and prophets needed to convince the Jews that they were
speaking for God through these "sign gifts." But with the
writing down of the book of Revelation by John, the need for these
"sign" gifts ceased. The church had matured and now had
a mature church make for a spiritual church? Not necessarily. In the
churches of Revelation 2 and 3, Ephesus had zeal and love when they were
first established but later they "lost" that "first
love". By the time we get to Laodicea, they are half-hearted about
everything. They don't even recognize that the Lord is on the outside
and not on the inside of "His" church. How would the Lord
would rate our love for Him and our love for one another in our churches
today? Do we have a lot of mature knowledge while losing our
"heart," that is, our love for God and for His people?
am glad that I live in a day where we have a complete revelation of God
and His will. I am glad that God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide
and instruct us in understanding all that He has revealed. I am glad for
those who have provided dictionaries and histories that explain the
language and customs of those that wrote down the Bible. I don't know
how I would have preached the Gospel in the early church when they
didn't have a complete Bible and many didn't have the education
necessary to read the old testament that they had. It would have been
expensive to have a personal copy of any part of the old testament.
Since faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans
10:17), I am glad that I can take people to the Bible and show them what
it says. I couldn't have done that in the early church. But just because
we have the Bible, that does not mean that we have the love that is
always effective. Paul tells us to pursue that love (1 Corinthians
hope you love your Bible and that you read it expecting God to speak to
you through it. I hope that it is precious to you. I hope that you have
some understanding of the difference between the old testament and the
new testament and that you don't put yourself under the bondage of the
old testament law. But I also hope that you have faith enough to believe
God when He speaks directly to the church in the new testament.
who are believers today are part of a mature church. Let us also be part
of a faithful zealous church that loves the Lord and loves one another.
May we be grown up enough to pursue the love that is eternal and that is
for the week of October 4, 2009
those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the
son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Set
your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'"
an actual prophet were to tell us that we were about to die an early
death, we would probably see our lawyers so that we could leave a
current will. We would probably make funeral plans. We would probably
want to say goodbye to those that we love. We might get all the bills
paid up to date and we might even do some repair work on the house so
that our family wouldn't have to do that after we were gone. The problem
is that prophets have told us that we are going to die; however, none of
us believe that it is going to be today or tomorrow. Therefore we do not
make adequate preparation for that day.
the prophet told us that we were going to die but that we had a month to
get our houses in order, what would we do in that month? In addition to
those things already mentioned, some would travel, some would spend time
with friends and family, some would give away their money. Some would
want to make sure that they were right with God and with any in this
world that they might have wronged. Correcting wrongs might involve
making restitution for things that they had stolen or perhaps making
apologies for offenses that they had committed. Some would certainly be
searching the Bible to make sure that they were depending on the
promises of God for eternity rather than on the opinions of man.
are some sad statistics associated with death. So far as I know, nearly
100 percent of us die. There are only two records of people In history
that did not die. One was Enoch in Genesis 5:24. The other was Elijah in
2 Kings 2:11. The reason I have said nearly 100 percent of us die is
because these two men went to heaven without dying. Others died and were
raised from the dead but so far everyone who has been raised from the
dead has died again and so there are ONLY two that have not died. We who
are saved are looking for the Lord to take some of us directly to heaven
when He returns at the end of this age. Paul says in 1 Corinthians
15:51, " Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but
we shall all be changed--." Sleeping in the Bible is the way the
Lord describes the bodies of believers who have died. So not all
believers will die. That again will reduce the percentage of those who
die after they are born into this world.
thing is certain, all of us will have met our Maker in less than 100
years. Most of us will die, a few may be caught up directly into heaven
when the Lord returns. But in 100 years we will all be history. So
shouldn't we recognize that what the prophet said to Hezekiah, he also
said to us? Hezekiah got a 15 year reprieve, but he still died. We may
have a way to go as well, but we should set our houses in order for we
will die and not live unless we are believers when the Lord returns.
the challenge is, are we living today as though this might be our last
day on earth? Very few people really want to die. But we may die, and we
may die suddenly. Would we have our business affairs in order and our
funeral plans made? Would we have any unfinished business with God to
take care of if we knew our end was coming quickly? Would we know for
certain that we were "saved", "born again",
"forgiven", and "reconciled to God." Would we have
done everything humanly possible to make sure we were not leaving behind
unreconciled problems with our fellow man?
an unbeliever the best thing we could do to set our houses in order
would be to repent and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15). As believers
hopefully we would be confident that we had done everything possible to
live our lives being "kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving
one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)."
for the week of October 11, 2009
What Have we Come to believe?
Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" But
Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the
words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You
are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
have been following a conversation on the internet dealing with
President Obama's birth certificate. Some say the one produced in Hawaii
is fake and they have the "facts" to prove it. Some say the
one produced in Hawaii is authentic and they have the "facts"
to prove it. It has become painfully obvious to me that I will probably
never know which facts are the correct facts to believe. But it has also
become obvious to me that we tend to believe what we want to believe.
Those who like President Obama want to believe that the birth
certificate is authentic and those who do not like him want to believe
that it has been faked.
we come to Biblical truth, the same problem exists. Some have the
"facts" to prove that we are the product of lots of time and
chance. They believe "the scientific facts" produced by
evolutionary thinking. Then there are those of us who believe that
"the fact" that we were designed and didn't just happen is
self evident. Some of us believe that the Bible is the Word of God.
Others believe that it was produced by a number of different men over a
considerable amount of time and that it is the wisdom of man and not the
infallible Word of God. Some of us believe that the Lord died on the
cross and was buried and rose again the third day (1 Corinthians
15:3-4). We believe that there were over 500 witnesses to "the
fact" that the Lord was alive after His crucifixion (1 Corinthians
15:6). But there are some who still believe that the disciples came by
night and stole the body away (Matthew 28:11-15). What should we
believe? We don't want to be wrong, do we?
I believe that we all believe what we want to believe. We come from
different backgrounds and different points of view; but because we have
the nature of sin or unbelief about us from the day of our birth, we
find it hard to just believe God. That is why the Bible says that we
must repent in order to believe the Gospel. That is the
"facts" as I see them.
means different things to different people, but to me it just means that
we have to admit that God is right and we are wrong when we find
ourselves disagreeing with God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible.
I do not believe repentance is simply an act of the will. It takes the
Holy Spirit using the Word of God to change our minds. However, even the
Holy Spirit cannot change our minds unless we are willing to let to Him
do that. We must first be willing to believe and that is an act of the
will. Then we must let the Holy Spirit show us where we are wrong and
convince us of the truth of the facts in order for us to believe. The
problem is that we have a lot invested in believing what we believe even
if it is wrong. It is hard to be willing and humble enough to admit that
we just might be wrong so that God can show us through the Word of God
what is right.
personally feel that there are many good reasons for believing that the
Bible is true. I could give you reasons that archaeologists have found.
I could show you the miraculous fulfillment of the prophetic Word. I
could show you that God knows you better than you know yourself. I could
point out that if the Bible is true then nothing else matters and if the
Bible isn't true then nothing matters. However, as much as I wish I
could convince people to believe the "facts" as I understand
them, I can't. People believe what they want to believe.
I want to believe God.
for the week of October 18, 2009
The Living God compared to man's gods
Inasmuch as there is none like You, O LORD (You are great, and Your name is great in might).
Humans are a peculiar bunch. We would apparently rather make our own gods than believe in the God that made us. In this passage men make idols or gods that cannot see or hear or do anything, and then they bow down to them. Some of us are so filled with pride that we believe that we are God, and we don't even need idols. That way we become the ones to whom everyone and everything is accountable, and yet we can't even explain where that spark called life comes from. We can't control the day of our birth or the day of our death (unless we are suicidal), and yet we would like to believe that we are the all powerful ones. However, there really isn't any other god that can compare to the God who is worshiped as Jehovah in the old testament and as Jesus in the new.
Why is God so great? Well first of all He is great because He exists and the others do not. We have witnesses who have seen God. This would include Jacob (Genesis 32:30, Moses (Exodus 33:23), Manoah who was the father of Samson (Judges 13:22) and all who saw the Lord Jesus (John 1:18). I do not know of any witnesses who have seen the other gods because the other gods simply do not exist. All things that exist were made by the Lord Jesus (Colossians 1:16) so anything others think they see would have to be a created being who was made by the Lord. In addition, to being the ever existing one who created all things, why would the Living God of heaven be great?
He is great because He is love. He doesn't just love, He is love (1 John 4:16).
He is great because He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). The flip side of this is that He is Truth (John 14:6). He doesn't just tell the Truth, He is the Truth. We can depend on Him.
He is great because He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). The flip side of this is that He would have all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).
He is great because He died for us in order for us to be saved. We didn't have to die for Him (1Corinthians 15:3). Many have died for Him as martyrs, but they didn't do it to be saved. They did it out of devotion because they were saved, and they would not deny Him in order to live.
He is great because his promises and compassion were first and foremost to the downtrodden which included the poor, the oppressed, the discouraged, the lame, the diseased, and the imprisoned. Luke 4:18 says, "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” The powerful have no more claim on the promises of God than the weak in society.
1Corinthians 1:26 says, “ For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” Paul doesn't say “not any” but “not many.”
I think the Lord is great because He is my Savior. Others may ridicule and despise Him, but I find Him precious (1Peter 2:7). Others may think He is the cause of the world's problems, but I find Him to be the solution. The old hymn says it so well:
And when I think that God His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die--I scarce can take it in.
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee,
how great thou art! how great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee,
how great thou art! how great thou art!
Meditation for the week of October 25, 2009