In 1970 Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell released a colossal hit titled, “Ain’t no mountain high enough”. It is a song that has transcended time, genres, generations, &c. This song is secular in origin, and has secular meanings. But even some secular songs touch upon some deep, spiritual, biblical truths. In Romans 8, Paul wrote thusly…. “for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor messengers, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things about to be, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, that [is] in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(vss 38,39 YLT)
In the Gaye and Terrell song it states, “there’s no mountain high enough, valley low enough, river wide enough, to keep me from you.” This is the way God is with His children. The Psalmist wrote, “A Song of the Ascents. Those trusting in Jehovah [are] as Mount Zion, It is not moved — to the age it abideth. Jerusalem! mountains [are] round about her, And Jehovah [is] round about His people, From henceforth even unto the age.” (Psalms 125:1,2 YLT) There is no mountain that is able to keep Him from us. In 2 Kings chapter 6, Elisha and his people are about to be attacked by the Syrian people in the city of Dothan. Elisha’s servant had gotten up early one morning only to find the Syrian army compassed about the city. He was afraid and asked Elisha what should they do? Elisha told him to not be worried because there were more for them than the Syrians. He even prayed to God to open his servant’s eyes to see this. This is what the bible said happened; “And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”(vs 17b YLT) Even King David said this so eloquently; “A Song of the Ascents. I lift up mine eyes unto the hills, Whence doth my help come?”(Psalms 121:1 YLT) And Solomon stated, “The voice of my beloved! lo, this — he is coming, Leaping on the mountains, skipping on the hills.”(Song of Solomon 2:8)
Then the song says, “there’s no valley low enough.” We know that when we get down in the valley, and I mean way down low, we know that He is there with us. Solomon stated in Song of Solomon 2:1, the Lord is “as a lily among the thorns.” Then probably the most famous and favorite chapter in all sixty-six books of the bible, the Psalmist wrote, “also — when I walk in a valley of death-shade, I fear no evil, for Thou [art] with me, Thy rod and Thy staff — they comfort me.”(Psalm 23:4 YLT) The Psalmist also wrote in Psalm 139, “Whither do I go from Thy Spirit? And whither from Thy face do I flee? If I ascend the heavens — there Thou [art], And spread out a couch in Sheol, lo, Thee! I take the wings of morning, I dwell in the uttermost part of the sea.”(vss 7-9 YLT) Even if David was to have made his bed in hell…sheol…grave, the Lord was there. There is no place too low for Him not to be there for, and with, us. In John 11, a fellow that Jesus loved, named Lazarus, had died and had been buried 4 days. Jesus came and was grieved in His Spirit because of the lamentations of the ones who loved Lazarus. They took Jesus to his tomb and when Jesus yelled with a loud voice, “Lazarus come forth!!”,(vs 43) lo and behold here he came out of the tomb alive. We can even read of an event that happened to Elijah in 1 Kings 17. Elijah had went to a widow’s house, because God told him He had commanded her to feed him. There came a time when this widow presented her son unto Elijah dead, without breath in his body. Elijah took him into the loft where he slept and prayed unto God three times saying, “O Jehovah my God, let turn back, I pray Thee, the soul of this lad into his midst.”(vs 21 YLT) God hearkened unto his Elijah’s voice and Elijah brought the widow’s son back to her alive.
I will now close after the last portion of the song where it says, “there’s no river wide enough to keep me from you.” In Exodus 14, Moses, by God’s strong hand, had brought Israel out of Egypt’s bondage. They were on their way to the promised land, but Egypt, and especially Pharoah, were hot on their trail wanting to bring them back under bondage unto them. The Israelites had come to the Red Sea and this is where God told Moses to hold out his rod. When he did this, the Lord parted the sea and allowed the Israelites to walk across on dry ground. As soon as the last Israelite made it safely across, God told Moses to stretch his hand over the sea and when he did, the waters covered the Egyptians, killing them all, including Pharoah, in the depths of the Red Sea. Then in Joshua 3, Joshua was taking the Jews unto Jericho to destroy it and take possession of the land, because God had given it unto them for their possession. As they were heading that way, they came unto the river Jordan. God commanded Joshua to have the Levites, they were the ones responsible for carrying the Ark of the Covenant, to stand in the Jordan. As they stepped in, the water parted, and the Jews walked safely across. Then after those which handled the Ark stepped out of the Jordan, the river came back together. Oh what a God we serve, seeing that nothing is too high, too low, or too wide for Him to get to us! Nothing will separate us from Him!
Jesus stated this in John 12:24…”verily, verily, I say to you, if the grain of the wheat, having fallen to the earth, may not die, itself remaineth alone; and if it may die, it doth bear much fruit;”(YLT)
In nature, a seed has to germinate, in other words die, before it can produce any fruit. In this germination, the seed’s outer shell must break open after it’s been planted in ground, After this happens, it begins to grow upwards, and it’s roots start growing outward and downward, firmly placing itself in the ground. It has to have a solid foundation for any growth to take place. It also has to be fertilized, weeded, and watered to help it grow. As Apostle Paul so poignantly stated…”I planted, Apollos watered, but God was giving growth; so that neither is he who is planting anything, nor he who is watering, but He who is giving growth — God.”(1 Cor. 3:6,7 YLT)
Now, you may think that this is the most obvious of titles I could use, but I want to make this a personal matter. I know, and so do you, dear reader, that the grain of wheat Jesus was speaking about was concerning Himelf, and His resurrection that was to follow three days after His death on the cross. You can read verses such as….”and we also are found false witnesses of God, because we did testify of God that He raised up the Christ, whom He did not raise if then dead persons do not rise;”(1 Cor. 15:15 YLT), and, “and if Christ hath not risen, vain is your faith, ye are yet in your sins;”(1 Cor. 15-17 YLT). If Christ was still buried, we would still be without hope in this world. Yet, Christ overcame the world, and satan also, when He sprung forth from the grave. We are victorious because He is victorious and fought and won the battle for us…a battle we could not win versus satan on our own.
Now on to what I am hoping to convey to you. I had a ‘head knowledge’ of Jesus Christ pretty much all my life. I was raised in a non-christian home, but we were ‘taught’ about God, and what Jesus did. We were raised to be respectful of others, and especially christians. If we would have mocked a christian, dad would have ‘dusted’ our britches pretty good, and deservedly so. But this ‘head knowledge’ wasn’t profittable to me whatsoever. This knowledge is carnal, and the carnal minded is at enmity with God, and is not subject unto His laws, and neither indeed can be.(Romans 8:7) The flesh, the natural man, does not receive the things of the Spirit because they are foolishness to him, and he can not know them because they are Spiritually discerned(1 Cor. 2:14) It takes something much deeper than that to truly realize the work that Christ did, in which this power saves sinners. You have to truly realize that Christ died for you, and this must first be sown in the heart of a sinner, in what is called regeneration. When God began drawing me, I truly realized that God sent His Son to die for some wretch such as I, one who was self-loving, wanted nothing to do with Him, ran the bars, chased the women, &c. I ‘knew’ with my cranium that Jesus died for me, yet it hadn’t been truly sown in the heart. It was when I came to this realization, His Seed had already been sown in my heart, this seed died, germinated, took root and raised in my heart. It then began producing the fruits of the Spirit such as faith and repentance.
Jesus spoke in Matthew 13 about the sower and the seed, the seed being the words of the gospel, even able to save the soul. In four places the seed was sown, yet in only one place did it bring forth fruit. It was the soil that had been toiled and became good ground. The seed was just as good in the wayside, the stony ground, and the thorns, yet those grounds would not allow it to take root and produce fruit. It takes God to plow through a sinner’s stony heart, to ‘turn the soil’, and then, and only then, can that seed take root and produce fruit.(Matthew 13:1-23) John also wrote in John 1….”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; this one was in the beginning with God; all things through him did happen, and without him happened not even one thing that hath happened.”(vss 1-3 YLT) Jesus was, and is, the Word that was made flesh and dwelled amongst us.(John 1:14) He was made of the seed of Abraham.(Hebrews 2:16) This Seed died a little over 2,000 years ago, yet He must die, germinate, in your heart personally, take up root and spring forth, which will bring forth fruit worthy of repentance.(Matthew 3:8 & Luke 3:8)
Now to back up some in Matthew 13 before closing. Jesus stated something after He had told them the parable…YLT uses the word ‘simile’…and before He explained that parable/simile to His disciples, He stated thusly…He who is having ears to hear — let him hear. Now, why did He said this? It’s easy. He had sheep there, and they were the ones He would reveal His parables/similies to. It was they who had ears to hear with, the others were tone deaf to the voice of God. Any sinner who comes to God, biblically speaking that is, they must have eyes to see with, ears to hear with, a heart that has received the seed, to be truly able to come to God in faith and repentance. This Seed, Christ, must die, germinate, take root, and raise in their heart to be saved.
I will leave with with this….”Be not led astray, my brethren beloved; every good giving, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the lights, with whom is no variation, or shadow of turning; having counselled, He did beget us with a word of truth, for our being a certain first-fruit of His creatures. So then, my brethren beloved, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the wrath of a man the righteousness of God doth not work; wherefore having put aside all filthiness and superabundance of evil, in meekness be receiving the engrafted word, that is able to save your souls; and become ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves, because, if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, this one hath been like to a man viewing his natural face in a mirror, for he did view himself, and hath gone away, and immediately he did forget of what kind he was; and he who did look into the perfect law — that of liberty, and did continue there, this one — not a forgetful hearer becoming, but a doer of work — this one shall be happy in his doing.”(James 1:16-25 YLT)
Faith and repentance are gifts of God, as I already posted from James 1. Also, these gifts are without repentance…in other words, we’re not able to turn them down. All this starts in a sinner’s life after that Seed dies, germinates, takes root and raises in their heart.
Willis Fletcher, Jr.
Pretty much everyone in christendom knows that Aaron, the brother of Moses, was the first high priest. God placed him in that place to be the one who would make sacrifices for the people of Israel. In Exodus 28 you can read all the instructions God gave Moses on Mt. Sinai of how Aaron was to be attired when he entered the “the holiest of holies”. I want to address some of the attire he was to wear as he entered the sanctuary.
Here in Exodus 28 I want to address….
“And these [are] the garments which they make: a breastplate, and an ephod, and an upper robe, and an embroidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle; yea, they have made holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and for his sons, for his being priest to Me. And they take the gold, and the blue, and the purple, and the scarlet, and the linen, and have made the ephod of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen, work of a designer; it hath two shoulders joining at its two ends, and it is joined. And the girdle of his ephod which [is] on him, according to its work, is of the same, of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen. And thou hast taken the two shoham stones, and hast opened on them the names of the sons of Israel; six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the second stone, according to their births; the work of an engraver in stone, openings of a signet, thou dost open the two stones by the names of the sons of Israel; turned round, embroidered [with] gold, thou dost make them. And thou hast set the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod — stones of memorial to the sons of Israel — and Aaron hath borne their names before Jehovah, on his two shoulders, for a memorial.”(Exo. 28:4-12 YLT)
In this passage, the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written into the shoham stones. Six names were written in one stone, and six on the other stone. These stones were placed on Aaron’s shoulders to bear before God. Doesn’t this sound familiar to what Jesus did for us? Sure it does. Some may disagree with me here and that’s fine. I believe in what is called “Covenant Theology” and that God made a covenant with His sheep. The Jews were chosen as a people who would bring the Messiah to all His people, to give them eternal life. Once the Messiah came, He then extended the same blessings to the Gentiles as He had already given to the Jews(Gal. 3:14). So I am not into “Replacement Theology” because the NT church did not replace Israel, but was an extension of the Covenant of Grace that would be extended to both Jews and Gentiles through Christ.
In John 6 Jesus stated thusly; “all that the Father doth give to me will come unto me; and him who is coming unto me, I may in no wise cast without, because I have come down out of the heaven, not that I may do my will, but the will of Him who sent me. And this is the will of the Father who sent me, that all that He hath given to me I may not lose of it, but may raise it up in the last day; and this is the will of Him who sent me, that every one who is beholding the Son, and is believing in him, may have life age-during, and I will raise him up in the last day.”(vss 37-40 YLT)
Pay very close attention to what He stated. Jesus stated “all that the Father doth give to me”, so when were they, and consequently us, given to Jesus by the Father? In Romans 8, we can easily find that answer. It states in vss 28-30….“And we have known that to those loving God all things do work together for good, to those who are called according to purpose; because whom He did foreknow, He also did fore-appoint, conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be first-born among many brethren; and whom He did fore-appoint, these also He did call; and whom He did call, these also He declared righteous; and whom He declared righteous, these also He did glorify.”
And also in Ephesians 1…”Blessed [is] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who did bless us in every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, according as He did choose us in him before the foundation of the world, for our being holy and unblemished before Him, in love, having foreordained us to the adoption of sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He did make us accepted in the beloved.”(vss 3-6 YLT)
The choosing of His sheep, and giving them to the Shepherd was before the foundation of the world. That in this election, He would be their Surety, suffering in their stead. He bore their/our names on His shoulders before the Father when He hung, bled and died on the cross at Calvary.
Now further in Exodus 28 we can read…”And thou hast made a breastplate of judgment, work of a designer; according to the work of the ephod thou dost make it; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen thou dost make it; it is square, doubled, a span its length, and a span its breadth. And thou hast set in it settings of stone, four rows of stone; a row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle [is] the first row; and the second row [is] emerald, sapphire, and diamond; and the third row [is] opal, agate, and amethyst; and the fourth row [is] beryl, and onyx, and jasper; embroidered with gold are they in their settings, and the stones are according to the names of the sons of Israel, twelve, according to their names, openings of a signet, each by his name are they for the twelve tribes.”(vss 15-21 YLT)
You can see that God told Moses to have the breastplate of judgment with stones in it. Not just any stones, but precious jewels. I am reminded of these two verses…”Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.(Malachi 3:16,17 KJV) I used the KJV here because it gives a better illustration of what I am conveying here. All of Aaron’s works, from the adorning of his apparell, to his priestly work, all were in the stead of Christ. He was the mediator betwixt man and God, as was the other high priests, until Christ came.
“And thou hast made on the breastplate wreathed chains, work of thick bands, of pure gold; and thou hast made on the breastplate two rings of gold, and hast put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate; and thou hast put the two thick bands of gold on the two rings at the ends of the breastplate; and the two ends of the two thick bands thou dost put on the two embroidered things, and thou hast put [them] on the shoulders of the ephod over-against its face. And thou hast made two rings of gold, and hast set them on the two ends of the breastplate, on its border, which [is] over-against the ephod within; and thou hast made two rings of gold, and hast put them on the two shoulders of the ephod, beneath, over-against its front, over-against its joining, above the girdle of the ephod, and they bind the breastplate by its rings unto the rings of the ephod with a ribbon of blue, to be above the girdle of the ephod, and the breastplate is not loosed from the ephod. And Aaron hath borne the names of the sons of Israel in the breastplate of judgment, on his heart, in his going in unto the sanctuary, for a memorial before Jehovah continually. And thou hast put unto the breastplate of judgment the Lights and the Perfections, and they have been on the heart of Aaron, in his going in before Jehovah, and Aaron hath borne the judgment of the sons of Israel on his heart before Jehovah continually.”(vss 22-30 YLT)
Christ bore our judgment for us. He was the only One who could do this for us. If we bore it, we’d die eternally lost, cast headlong into the lake of fire. It took Christ to do that which we couldn’t…atone for our sins. I can read…”for even the Christ did not please himself, but, according as it hath been written, The reproaches of those reproaching Thee fell upon me;”(Romans 15:3 YLT) Then the Psalmist wrote…”Many bulls have surrounded me, Mighty ones of Bashan have compassed me, They have opened against me their mouth, A lion tearing and roaring. As waters I have been poured out, And separated themselves have all my bones, My heart hath been like wax, It is melted in the midst of my bowels. Dried up as an earthen vessel is my power, And my tongue is cleaving to my jaws. And to the dust of death thou appointest me, For surrounded me have dogs, A company of evil doers have compassed me, Piercing my hands and my feet.”(Psalm 22:12-16 YLT) Then the Hebrews’ writer wrote…. “For such a chief priest did become us — kind, harmless, undefiled, separate from the sinners, and become higher than the heavens, who hath no necessity daily, as the chief priests, first for his own sins to offer up sacrifice, then for those of the people; for this he did once, having offered up himself; for the law doth appoint men chief priests, having infirmity, but the word of the oath that [is] after the law [appointeth] the Son — to the age having been perfected.”(Hebrews 7:26-28 YLT) Aaron and any other high priest, when they were performing the mediatorial works, had to also offer up a sacrifice for themselves. Christ, being sinless, offered Himself to be sacrificed, and in His sacrifice, He also bore our judgment for us. He who knew no sin became sin for us.(2 Cor. 5:21)
I will close with this passage in Hebrews 8…”And the sum concerning the things spoken of [is]: we have such a chief priest, who did sit down at the right hand of the throne of the greatness in the heavens, of the holy places a servant, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord did set up, and not man, for every chief priest to offer both gifts and sacrifices is appointed, whence [it is] necessary for this one to have also something that he may offer; for if, indeed, he were upon earth, he would not be a priest — (there being the priests who are offering according to the law, the gifts, who unto an example and shadow do serve of the heavenly things, as Moses hath been divinely warned, being about to construct the tabernacle, for `See (saith He) thou mayest make all things according to the pattern that was shewn to thee in the mount;’) and now he hath obtained a more excellent service, how much also of a better covenant is he mediator, which on better promises hath been sanctioned.”(vss 1-6 YLT)
The Hebrews’ writer was stating that the pattern which was given to Aaron by God through Moses was the very same pattern that Christ used, and still is using. He is now our High Priest, our Advocate(1 John 2:1), our Mediator(1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 8:6, 9:15, & 12:24), our saviour, and our King.
I pray that this feeble attempt will uplift someone in their walk with God.
Willis Fletcher, Jr.
Dear reader, I am sure you are wondering why I would word by blog post title in the manner I have. This is a topic I have pondered on for a few days, and I will attempt to show you what I meant by “The God of Nothing”. I will start by telling you a joke that conveys what the essence of this blog post is all about.
Once there were these scientists who approached God and began telling Him how they no longer needed Him(this joke came out right after they had cloned a sheep, btw). They began telling Him all they could do, even cloning a human. When they reached down and took a handful of dirt, God smacked their hands and told them to make their own dirt. They couldn’t(theorhetically) make a man without something of substance; in this case, dirt. They had to have something to work with, iow.
See, anything we make, we have to have materials at our disposal before we can get started. The most exotic sports car had to have rubber for tires, metal for the frame, glass for the windshield, &c. These materials came from substances already in existence. The most luxurious mansion had to have wood for the framework, concrete for the foundation, glass for the windows, metal for their 10-car garage, &c. Again, they had to have something of substance before that mansion could be built. God used nothing and made everything we see with our eyes; and even that which we can’t see, seeing how expanse this universe is.
Let us go to Genesis 1 for starters. “In the beginning of God’s preparing the heavens and the earth – the earth hath existed waste and void, and darkness [is] on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God fluttering on the face of the waters, and God saith, `Let light be;’ and light is.” (vss 1-3 YLT) In the beginning, we see the heavens and earth being made, and God speaking light into existence. In this case, this is natural light, not the Light, which the Triune God has always posessed. So, before there was “In the beginning”, there was nothing there. There was nothing there tangible to the eye. Yet, when God spoke, it came into existance. It was by His Words that things we see came into existence. Apostle Paul wrote this in Romans 1:20; “for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world, by the things made being understood, are plainly seen, both His eternal power and Godhead — to their being inexcusable.” Look at what I put in italics…are plainly seen. The invisible God, God who no man can look upon His face and live(Exodus 33:20), made everything we see! How awesome is the God we serve?
Then in John 1, John wrote this; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; this one was in the beginning with God; all things through him did happen, and without him happened not even one thing that hath happened.” (vss 1-3 YLT) John was supporting everything that had happened in the creation. The invisible, Triune God, invisible to see, yet no man can look upon His face and live, spoke everything into existence. He took nothing and made a universe so large, so expanse, that no human can ever see it all, let alone, cover it all in travel.
Then in Job 26, Job wrote this about how powerful God is; “Stretching out the north over desolation, Hanging the earth upon nothing.” (vs 7 YLT) God hung this earth upon nothing! Wow. I’ll use this for a visual. You come home from work in the winter. As you step inside, you take your coat off and hang it on the coat rack next to the front door. For you to be able to do this so that it wouldn’t hit the floor, you had to have that coat rack. Without that coat rack, if you tried to hang it up with nothing there, it will hit the floor every time. Yet, God made the earth, called it ‘good and very good’, and hung it upon nothing. Again, how awesome, how wonderful, had amazing is God we serve?
Some may wonder how I can reconcile the title of this blog post with Ephesians 5:25, but by His grace, I will. This verse says, “The husbands! love your own wives, as also the Christ did love the assembly, and did give himself for it.” Look closely at that which I placed in italics……and did give Himsef for it. Christ came and laid His life down for His bride, the church. If you notice, down throughout the annals of time, you can see many ugly people who make up the bride of the Lamb. In 1 Corinthians 6, Apostle Paul states, “have ye not known that the unrighteous the reign of God shall not inherit? be not led astray; neither whoremongers, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, the reign of God shall inherit. And certain of you were these! but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were declared righteous, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.” (vss. 9-11) In all this, Paul wrote, “And certain of you were these!” There are many people in the body of Christ that were ugly in their sinner days. The bride of Christ is composed of those who were once liars, thieves, murderers, molesters, rapists, idolators,homosexuals, &c. I will now show you some biblical people who fit into this category.
First off, let’s start with Moses. Moses was raised by the Egyptians, yet he was an Israelite by birth. When the time came, he saw an Egyptian being rough with an Israelite and he killed him. He hid the body and fled and wondered in the wilderness for fourty years, until God revealed Himself to Moses in a burning bush(Exodus 3). God used this man to bring the Israelites out of Pharoah’s bondage. In Numbers 20, he smote the rock twice when God told him to speak to it. He rebelled, paid for it by not being allowed to cross over into the promised land, yet he is at rest with God.
Then there’s Samson(book of Judges). He was to never have a razor touch his head. His strength was in the length of his hair. He killed 1,000 men with the jawbone of an ass. Yet he dealt roughly with people at times. He then told Delilah the secret of his strength and when he woke up his hair had been cut off. Yet, after it grew back out, he killed the Philistines and himself when he tore down the building they were dwelling in.
In the book of Joshua, you can read of a harlot named Rahab. She made a covenant with the Israelites that they would spare her when they would take over Jericho. She lied when some men came in to search for the two spies who were sent to spy out the city. She was a harlot who also lied, yet her name is mentioned in the “hall of faith” chapter of Hebrews 11.
David was a man after God’s own heart. He took over after Saul had rebelled against God’s commands given to him by Samuel. Yet, David slept with a married woman(Bathsheba), had her husband(Uriah) killed, and seem to continuely struggle with sin as he wrote in the Psalms.
Then there was David’s son Solomon. In the latter days of his life, he had wives and concubines that were idolators. He gave them his support and also worshipped with them, if I’m remembering correctly. Yet it was Solomon who God gave wisdom to to lead His people. It was Solomon who God told David his son would rebuild the temple for His people to worship Him in.
In Luke 7, there was a woman who came unto Jesus whilst He was at Simon’s, who was a Pharisee, house. She sat down at His feet and began to kiss His feet, and washed them with the tears she shed, and dried them with her hair. This Simon said “This one, if he were a prophet, would have known who and of what kind [is] the woman who doth touch him, that she is a sinner.” Then Jesus told him a parable about two people who were fogiven their debts. One owed a lot more than the other, yet both were forgiven. He then asked Simon who would love the one who forgave their debt the most? Simon said the one who he forgave the most. Jesus told him he answered correctly. However, He then mentioned to him, “Seest thou this woman? I entered into thy house; water for my feet thou didst not give, but this woman with tears did wet my feet, and with the hairs of her head did wipe; a kiss to me thou didst not give, but this woman, from what [time] I came in, did not cease kissing my feet; with oil my head thou didst not anoint, but this woman with ointment did anoint my feet; therefore I say to thee, her many sins have been forgiven, because she did love much; but to whom little is forgiven, little he doth love. And he said to her, Thy sins have been forgiven;” Simon was a Pharisee, and most of them thought they kept the Law and were safe. They thought they had no need of being saved. Yet, Jesus rebuked them many times, even saying to them that if they believed Moses’s writings, they’d believe in Him, because Moses wrote of Him. They were self-righteous, and this is a form of vanity. Sinners who are being drawn by God, know how vile they are before Him. They see their true ugliness. Sinners who are not being drawn, do not think of themselves as being lost. They think their good works, if they outweigh the bad, will get them to heaven.
I will close this with one of the most wicked people I have ever read about….one Saul of Tarsus. Here was a man who was the Pharisee of Pharisees. He was consenting to Stephen’s death when he was stoned in Acts 7. He had letters in his hand to go to Damascus to persecute the christians and have them thrown into prison. He had beaten, inprisioned, mocked, tortured them who called upon Christ’s name. yet, in His time, God shined the Light about him and three days later, Ananias healed him of his blindness, and he went and preached Christ. He wrote many of the NT books we so cherish now. He was even willing to lay down his life for Christ, the one he was so opposed to to begin with.
I know there are many more I could write about, but you get the picture. To save people, you have to first get them lost. I read that somewhere, but can not remember who coined that phrase. People have to see themselves for how ugly they truly are before God. Our righteousness is as filthy rags before Him. Our sins have seperated us from Him. God can not stand to look upon sin, let alone, dwell with it. We, as sinners, were ugly. But God sees us through Christ, having chosen us in Christ from before the foundation of the world.
Christ married us when we were ugly, when we saw ourselves as worthless, deserving of hell, no one wanting anything to do with us. He married us because it was His will and good pleasure to do so. It made Him happy to marry an ugly wife. Praise be to His name!!!
***I took this from an old song that has the words “If you want to happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife.” As I was listening to it, this blog post popped into my head. I pray that this was of God, and not of myself.
In this day and time, you will come across a myriad of people in the local churches. You will find good honest christians who do all they can to support their church, feed the poor, visit the sick and homeless, have church meetings in prison, &c. You will find the alternative lifestyle in the more radical ones. You will find those who profess to live the christian life, but in time, their works will eventually manifest themselves and show who they really are. Then there are those I wish to focus on…the self-righteous Pharisees. This last sunday…9-14-2014…I went to a church that is about 1.5-2.0 miles from my house. My grandmother was a member of one of the sister churches in this United Baptist Association. This last sunday was the weekend of their annual association meeting. For those of you who may not understand what I mean, let me explain. Each year, these associations such as the United Baptists, Old Regular Baptists, Primitive Baptists, and even Free Will Baptists(FWB’s call their’s conferences), meet to have church and also do churchwork. The churches in each of these associations will decide during the year if they want to letter-up again with the association they’re in. If they decide to, they send delegates and a letter expressing desire to maintain correspondence with that association. They have this every year at the same appointed time. Friday and saturday they do churchwork as well as preaching. Sunday’s meeting is solely a worship service. I decided to go there for their sunday worship service. I knew quite a few there, and a bunch of them are my cousins. At the end of the service, people were singing songs, so I sang one. There was a man shouting and rejoicing, and others came up and shook my hand. Suddenly, there was this old man came up and snatched my wrist and said he wanted to speak to me privately. We walked outside whilst he held to my wrist. I didn’t shake loose, because I didn’t want to cause a scene in the church, and was quite shocked by this, too. He then asked me who I thought I was by coming in and acting the way I did. I then asked him what did he mean? He then said that I wasn’t in their correspondence. Furthermore, he asked me what I thought that gave me the right to do what I did? I apologized three or four times, and told him I meant no harm. But I saw a hatred in that man…I refuse to call him a “brother”…unlike any I’ve ever seen. At the end of it, he said I could come back in if I wanted to…yeah, right. I told him, no, and that I had caused enough harm as it is. I left, and will never darken another door of one of those six United Baptists churches ever again. These United Baptists have tore into each other so much, it’s pitiful. In the mid-1970’s, a UB association called Paint Union split over taking in people divorced/remarried. Old Paint Union formed from this division. Then Old Paint Union split, and Original Old Paint Union formed from it. Then there was the New Hope Association of UB’s. They split so many times, I don’t think anyone could keep up with all the associations that formed. The last I heard, they were down to four churches. The the Tri-State Zion UB’s split tiwce that I know of. Union Bethlehem split two or three times until they disolved that association. One side of the split is still functioning with 5-6 churches. They’re like a bunch of game roosters who will fight the very moment the see each other. They put me in mind of the Ishmaelites and the prophecy Abraham told Ishamel and that his people will have a war-like spirit. Don’t get me wrong, they’re many wonderful members in that association, but that old man ain’t one of them.
Now, this man was the same sort of people John the Baptist and Jesus Christ rebuked throughout the four gospels. John the Baptist called them a “brood of vipers”(Matt. 3:7) and Jesus called them that in Matt. 12:34 and 23:33. These pharisees were resting in the Law and the fact that they were born naturally a Jew. When Jesus came to set up a new and living way, they scoffed at Jesus’ notions. They were holding to the traditions of the elders. That is what this man does, and also that association. They are down to 6 churches and ~300 members, but most of them are old and feeble. How can they fulfill the Great Commission and “preach the gospel to every creature”?(Mark 16:15) If one of their preaching Brothers preaches outside of one of those 6 churches, they are in deep trouble. Again, how can they fulfill the Great Commission? They’re at odds with the record of God right there. They take the passage of 1 Thess. 5:12 way out of context where it says, “And we ask you, brethren, to know those labouring among you, and leading you in the Lord, and admonishing you.” That isn’t talking about correspondence. It is talking about knowing them by the fruit they bare. I know many people’s labours who are not in my Old Regular Baptist associaton by their fruits. I believe they are good christian people. If we can’t fellowship and worship here on earth, then how can we when Christ comes to gather us? Are they in the UB association going to sing awhile and then dismiss and let other’s sing? As we are shouting praises, will they wait for us to be silent so they can then proceed to shout? This is the ignorance they wallow in…and they’re proud of the “old time way”. Sad part about this is those who were actually in the “old time way”, most of them couldn’t read their names in box car letters if they tried(I’m talking about their ancestors here). But, that pharisee is following right along where his ancestors stopped…and they probably couldn’t read or write.
Now, getting back to the hatred I saw in this man eye’s and the way he talked to me like I was a dog. The bible calls this man a murderer. Why would I say this? It’s found in 1 John 3:15, “Every one who is hating his brother — a man-killer he is, and ye have known that no man-killer hath life age-during in him remaining.” The KJV calls a “man-killer” a murderer, and that’s what he is in Gods eyes, imo. Then the bible says also in 1 John 4:20, “if any one may say — `I love God,’ and his brother he may hate, a liar he is; for he who is not loving his brother whom he hath seen, God — whom he hath not seen — how is he able to love?” It’s impossible to love God, who he hasn’t seen, when he showed such hatred towards me. A man such as this has no business preaching, and needs to be saved, imo. If I am wrong about this pharisee, I pray that God will forgive me. However, Jesus said we shall know them by the fruits they bare.(Matt. 7:16) This man showed me some rotten fruit.
Here’s why I said what I did. God is God of Unity, Harmony, Love, Peace, Joy, &c. Satan, the adversary, he only comes to kill, steal and destroy. After I had settled down…at first it really hurt me that I caused them to feel uncomfortable about what I did…I began to think how much in the wrong he was. Sure, if I knew it would have came to this, I would have never sang that song to begin with…I did it in ignorance. However, he sought to lambaste me over it with a rather crude, rude, and crass manner. He could have came up to me after church had ended and explained to me how things went in that church and association and I would have apologized just the same. But noooooo, he had to take the authoriataive approach. And he’s not even an officer in their asociation, iirc. Officers are Moderator, Asst.-Moderator, Clerk, and Asst-Clerk. But he had to get his “smooth on” I guess. So this man has all the makings of a tare, self-righteous pharisee, ravening wolf sent to scatter the sheep, &c. I honestly hope I never see this man ever again….
In the book of Exodus, you can find where Moses has been on the lam for close to 40 years after killing an Egyptian, when he comes upon a burning bush. He is amazed that it is burning, but it is not consumed. As he approaches it, he hears the voice of God, and tells him to take off his shoes because he is on holy ground. As they converse, God tells him to do something, and Moses tries to come up with an excuse as to why he can not do it. I want to focus upon this one thing, however. When Moses asked Him,”Lo, I am coming unto the sons of Israel, and have said to them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, and they have said to me, What [is] His name?” what do I say unto them?‘(Exodus 3:13) God told him this; “I Am That Which I Am;’ He saith also, `Thus dost thou say to the sons of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.'” (Exodus 3:14) Now, focus in on “I AM that which I AM”. What would be the significance of the way God spoke that. It all boils down to God’s immutability. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.(Hebrews 13:8) Jesus affirmed this on a few occasions of being the I AM of the bible.
In John 11, Lazarus is sick, nearly dead, and his sisters, Mary and Martha, send word unto Jesus that Lazarus is nearly dead and that they needed Him to come and heal him. Jesus tarried for two days and then made the travel. To make a long story short, He conversed with Mary and told her that Lazarus would live again. Mary said he would live again on the resurrection at the last day. To which Jesus said, “I AM the rising again! and the life; he who is believing in me, even if he may die, shall live; and every one who is living and believing in me shall not die — to the age.”(John 11:25,26) Jesus is the rising again of all them that are in Him. Both saint and sinner will rise again at His coming in the Cloud, but only those who are His shall never taste the second death…the lake of fire. He is the firstfruit of them which sleep.(1 Cor. 15:20) If Christ were to have spoken this, He could have said, “I AM the Firstfruit of them which are sleeping.” The dead in sin are dead, but the saints who died, never truly died, but are asleep. What do I mean by that? Look at Stephen for instance. In Acts 7, after he is stoned, and has seen Christ standing on the right hand of God, and after he said to lay not this sin against them, the bible says Stephen fell asleep. To be dead is to be seperated from God, whether whilst a sinner walking around, or buried. The body of both the saint and sinner dies, but the souls of the saints never die. The body, at the point of salvation, was not cleanesed, only the soul. The soul has “risen again”, because the “I AM the Rising Again” has done the work within them that only He could do. They go back to be with Him, and when He returns to judge the world in righteousness, He will bring back the souls of them that died in Him and they will reunite with their bodies that come forth out of the ground. Their bodies will rise again. The “I AM”, the “Rising Again”, will bring them forth when He comes with a shout, with a voice of the Arch Angel, and with the trump of God.(1 Thess. 4).
Then in John 14, Jesus told them that He had to go away and prepare a place for them, and conversely, us. He told them also that if He went away, He would come again and receive us and take us to be with Him. Oh what a precious promise this is! Thomas, in verse 5, asked Him, “`Sir, we have not known whither thou goest away, and how are we able to know the way?’ Jesus then told Thomas in verse 6, “`I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” It is amazing at all the “I AM” references you can find in the bible.
In John 15, Jesus told them, ” I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” We who abide in Him, and who produce fruit, He will purge/prune it, that it will produce more fruit.
In John 10, Jesus stated, ” I am the door of the sheep; all, as many as came before me, are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them; I am the door, through me if any one may come in, he shall be saved, and he shall come in, and go out, and find pasture.”(vsts 7-9) He then went on to say, “`I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd his life layeth down for the sheep; and the hireling, and not being a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, doth behold the wolf coming, and doth leave the sheep, and doth flee; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep; and the hireling doth flee because he is an hireling, and is not caring for the sheep.I am the good shepherd, and I know my [sheep], and am known by mine, according as the Father doth know me, and I know the Father, and my life I lay down for the sheep, and other sheep I have that are not of this fold, these also it behoveth me to bring, and my voice they will hear, and there shall become one flock — one shepherd.”(vss 11-16)
There is no other way to get to heaven than through Jesus. As I have showed you, Jesus is “the way, the truth, the life, the ‘Rising Again’, the True Vine, the Door unto the sheepfold, and the good Shepherd of the sheep. He’s not, “I used to be the good Shepherd”, or “I am going to be the good Shpherd”, but He has always been the good Shepherd, He has always been the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He has always been the Door into the sheepfold, that we may go in and out and find pasture. He has always been the “Rising Again”. He has always been all of this. He is immutable and waivers not.
So in closing, I just wanted to show that God is “I AM”. What I am driving at is this. God being “I AM” is nothing akin to saying “I am going to be”, or “I used to be”, but God is always “I AM”. He will always be “I AM”. He never changes. We must be the ones who change if we are to be in Christ. However, He is the One who makes the change in us.
I will close with these few verses:
For to Abraham God, having made promise, seeing He was able to swear by no greater, did swear by Himself, saying, `Blessing indeed I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee;’ and so, having patiently endured, he did obtain the promise; for men indeed do swear by the greater, and an end of all controversy to them for confirmation [is] the oath, in which God, more abundantly willing to shew to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, did interpose by an oath, that through two immutable things, in which [it is] impossible for God to lie, a strong comfort we may have who did flee for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before [us], which we have, as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and entering into that within the vail, whither a forerunner for us did enter — Jesus, after the order of Melchisedek chief priest having become — to the age.
Jesus Christ yesterday and to-day the same, and to the ages.(Hebrews 13:8)