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Monthly Archives: March 2012

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 5: Conclusion

Mat 5:3-12  – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (4)  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (5)  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (6)  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.  (7)  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.  (8)  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (9)  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (10)  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11-12)  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

In our previous devotions, we have seen that there are several marks of someone who is blessed of the Lord leading to their genuine, and permanent, happiness and peace.  Some of these marks included: an absolute need of the Lord; Godly sorrow for sin; Spirit led control of self; sacrificial longing for Godly living; desire to forgive others indebted to us; submission to Lord’s will from a heart of appreciation; sharing gospel with lost through words and actions; a love-driven willingness to suffer for Christ.

Are these characteristics of our lives?  If so, we can be assured that we are forgiven of our sins, members of God’s family, and have a blessed eternity in the Lord’s presence awaiting us.  What wonderful peace and comfort comes along with recognition we are Christ’s!

If, after honest reflection, we do not see these indicators in our lives, we can be certain that we have not received the Lord’s grace in our lives.  If you desire to be blessed of the Lord with forgiveness and a promise of eternal life with Him, turn from your sin and look to Christ as your Lord.  Trust in Him (His work on the cross) to make full payment for your sins, past, present and future. This is the very essence of the good news of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/

SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

Christian Love For The Family Of God

SIH STSTA ICONThe greatest display of love found in the Bible is Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of His people. ( 1 John 3:16, Rom 5:8, Eph 5:2, Rev 1:5)

Likewise, throughout the Apostle Paul’s ministry, he risked his life to take the gospel to the lost around him.  (2 Cor 11:23-28, Acts 14:19, 2 Cor 4:10-12).  This risking of “life and limb” is a wonderful living display of the love that Paul held for the lost. (1 Thess 2:13-16, Rom 10:1, Rom 9:1-3)   Being willing to die for those we love is the ultimate display of love.  (John 15:13)

Even though to be willing to die for another is the supreme display of love, in Rom 1:9-15, we find several other demonstrations of love being discussed.  Let’s take our time and study love on display based on Roms 1:9-15 …

THE SCRIPTURES:

Rom 1:9-15 (KJV)

9) For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;  10) Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. 11) For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 12) That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. 13) Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. 14) I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.  15) So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

 THE STUDY:

In these few verses, Paul shows us several indications of his true Biblical love for those in Rome.

1.     “without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;” – praying for others is a sign of our love for them.  Keep in mind, if we really love someone, we will ask the Lord to intervene on their behalf keeping them physically safe and making them spiritually secure and prosperous. (Matt 5:44, Rom 10:1, 2 Cor 5:20, Phil 1:4-6 etc etc)

2.    “I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.” –  being willing to give of our time and effort for others is a sign of love (Eph 5:2, 2 Cor 5:15, Matt 20:28)

3.    “For I long to see you” – wanting to be physically present with someone… missing them when we aren’t with them. (Phil 4:1, Phil 1:8, Gen 31:30, 1 Thess 2:17-18, 1 John 3:14)

4.    “that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;” – giving of ourselves for others to promote their spiritual growth and strength (1 Cor 4:14-16, 2 Pet 3:1-2, Roms 1:7)

5.    “that I may be comforted together with you”– wanting to give comfort after loss to others that we love (Gen 24:67, Gen 37:31-35, Job 42:10-11, Phil 2:1-2, Col 2:1-2)

6.    “by the mutual faith both of you and me.” – desiring to share our spiritual faith in the Lord which then allows fellowship among the brethren. (2 Cor 13:14, Eph 2:18-22, 1 John 3:23-24)

7.    “that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.” – desiring to bear spiritual fruit (being a good witness and testimony) to others is a sign of biblical love. (1 Cor 13:4-8, Eph 5:2)

8.    “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise” – seeing ourselves as indebted to the Lord and, therefore, to others, needing to do them right and help them. (Phil 2:25-30, Roms 12:1, 1 Tim 5:4, Eph 5:25, 1 Tim 2:1-3, 2 Cor 5:13-14)

9.    “I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” – Wanting to share the gospel with others. (Matt 5:43-48, Phil 1:7-8, Phil 1:16-17, Eph 4:1-15)

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

To summarize our study…. A true Biblical love is shown by:

  1. Desiring      to pray for those we love
  2. Desiring      to sacrifice ourselves for those we love
  3. Desiring      to accompany those we love
  4. Desiring      the spiritual growth of those we love
  5. Desiring      to comfort those we love during times of loss
  6. Desiring      fellowship of the truths of God with those we love
  7. Desiring      to bear spiritual fruit in the sight of those we love
  8. Desiring      to help those we love during times of trial and need
  9. Desiring      to share the gospel message with those we love

Are we exhibiting a Scriptural love to those who are around us?  This should be our daily desire.  If we find our love weak toward other Christians, it could be that we are forgetting that we are members of the same spiritual family.  We have the same Father, the same salvation, and the same eternal home.  Spiritually we are one with Christ.

Remember our love for others is a very important proof that our salvation is genuine (1 John 2:9-11)  If we cannot find love in our hearts for other Christians, it is a clear indication that we have never been saved nor adopted into Christ’s spiritual family.

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

A Biblical love is a God-given grace. Withour Christ we cannot show love in our lives.   For us to receive the many graces of God, we must first come to a saving knowledge of Him.  Have you ever seen your need of salvation?  If so, have you turned from your sin and come to Jesus Christ?  Have you ever trusted in Him as your Savior and then submitted  to Him as your Lord?

If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

Please visit the “Settled In Heaven Ministries” homepage –

http://www.settledinheaven.org

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 5:11-12

(Mat 5:11-12) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

In our previous beatitude, we saw that one reason to be happy in persecution is that it is proof that Christ is reigning in our lives and that we will, someday, enter into His eternal presence and kingdom.   In this beatitude we are told of two other reasons we should consider ourselves blessed when we face suffering for His sake.

Here, we are told that when we are mocked (reviled), pursued (persecuted), and lied about (shall say… falsely), due to our stand for Christ, we should be happy because: firstly, we will receive rewards that will honor Christ throughout eternity; and, secondly, we will be included with those like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel who, in times past, have suffered for faithfully proclaiming His Word.

What a blessing it is to know that when we bear our “cross” for Christ, He will not forget.  He will reward us and include us with others who have been willing to give of themselves for Him!

This is one mark of a person who has been blessed by God and is living a happy life in Him. Does today’s verse describe your life? Do you have lasting peace and happiness in Christ? If not, trust in Christ and follow Him. He makes us a promise “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/

SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 5:10

(Mat 5:10)  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Those who are happy in Christ can find themselves abused, tormented, and ignored by those who oppose the cause of Christ.  How can it be that we can find happiness in being mistreated for our Lord?  Persecution is evidence that we are one of Christ’s.  It shows that we are willing to put Jesus ahead of ourselves, our comfort and our well-being.  It exposes the King of Kings as the ruler of our hearts and actions. Our membership in His Kingdom is proved by His reigning in our lives.

When He reigns in us, we can rest assured He is our King.  We are a part of His kingdom now and will enjoy being a part of His perfect Kingdom in eternity future.  This is the source of a Christian’s joy in the midst of persecution for His name’s sake.

This is one mark of a person who has been blessed by God and is living a happy life in Him. Does today’s verse describe your life? Do you have lasting peace and happiness in Christ? If not, trust in Christ and follow Him. He makes us a promise “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/

SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

The Sacrifice Of Love

SIH STSTA ICONJohn 3:16 is arguably the most familiar verse found in the Bible….

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

In 1 John 3:16-19 we find another set of verses that contains the same basic theme…

“Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.”

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

“And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”

Let’s take a few minutes to study these two verses that address the Love of God which is shown to us by His acts of unselfishness and self-sacrifice…

THE SCRIPTURES:

John 3:16;  1 John 3:16-19;  Ephesians 5:1-2 ; 1John 4:9-11;  Mark 12:28-34; 1 Cor 13:4-12

THE STUDY:

Does God really love me?  This most important question has been asked by a multitude of people throughout the history of our world.  How can we really know if God loves us and cares about us and our needs?  The Bible gives us a clear proof of God’s love for us…. the sacrifice that He has made on our behalf.  Note our two texts….

John 3:16 ….

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

In our first text, please note that the God’s LOVE was displayed through the GIVING of His Son, a true act of self-sacrifice on behalf of God for His people.  Why is the birth of Christ such an important and special act of God?  It is a clear display of His love on behalf of sinful mankind.

Please note our second text:

1 John 3:16-19 …

Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?   My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

Here, we find that the way we can “perceive” (be aware, to see, to know assuredly) that God loves us is found in His act of self-sacrifice in giving of His life for His people.  Also, please note that in this second text, we find the Biblical mandate to make sacrifices for others in order to show our love for them as well.

True love involves self-sacrifice… a “love” that is selfish and demands only to receive is no love at all. Putting ourselves first, and others second, is turning love on its head, perverting the very nature of love.

Lets look at 1 John 4:9-11….

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

In this set of verses the word “manifested” means to “to take the cover off” or “ to reveal”.  How did God “take the cover off” His love for us?  By sending of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth.

Then Christ showed His love for us by giving His life for us.  He did this so that we, as sinners, could receive spiritual life.  The result of receiving God’s gift of love in our life, should be the showing of our love to others.

Ephesians 5:1-2 gives us more information about what Christ did for us…

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Here, we are told that the death of Christ was motivated by His love for us.  We are also told that His death for us was both a “sacrifice” and a “offering”.  It was a “sacrifice” in the sense that He gave of Himself (to the point of death).  It was an “offering” which tells us He willingly gave His life for us.   Oh what great love… to be willing to partake of death so that others could escape eternal death.  In these verses, we are once again reminded to follow this great example of self-sacrificial love.  How are we to do this?  By loving others as Christ loved us… with a self-sacrificial love.

Mark 12:28-34 (KJV)

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment.  And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him [any question].

Here we find the importance of love being clearly defined.  Our love (willingness to sacrifice ourselves) to God is described as the first and great commandment.  The commandment that should be our second priority is the command to love (be willing to sacrifice ourselves) for our neighbor.  Upon these two commands all the other laws are based.

If we love God and others as we should we will keep all the other commandments of God.  For example, if we love God as we should we will not take His name in vain nor would we worship other Gods,  if we love others as we should we would not steal from them nor would we lie to them.  This basic principle (supremacy of love for God and others) applies to all the commands of God.

Finally in 1Cor 13:4-12 (KJV)

Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;   Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake 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 through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Please note, in the “love chapter” of the Bible, we find that every manifestation of love is an act of self-sacrifice.  Some examples of this include…. Patience, humility, contentment the list goes on and on.  In each of these cases, all of these flow forth from a heart of love and sacrifice willing to put others first and ourselves second.

Truly, the display of love, is based upon acts of sacrifice on behalf of others around us.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

We are to appreciate the love that God has shown to us.  In doing so, we should be willing to follow His example and love others with a self-sacrificial type of love.

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

Please study the Bible to learn more about the great love that God the Father has shown to us in the sending of His Son to the earth.  Then learn more about the love of God the Son, as He gave his life on the cross so that we all might receive the forgiveness of our sins.  (to learn more about the way of salvation, you are welcome to read my blog page “How to have a relationship with God”, or you  can email me with your questions.  Also you can find any Bible-believing church in your area and contact them… I am sure they would be happy to help answer any questions you might have.

What great love…. What great self-sacrifice!  What a great Lord that we serve!

————————————————————————

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 5:9

(Mat 5:9) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Those who are happy and blessed of the Lord are those who actively work to bring peace into the lives of others. There are many different types of peace; there is peace between nations, peace between families, and even peace between individuals.  The peace being spoken of in this beatitude is peace between sinful man and a holy God.

When we are adopted into God’s family (at our salvation) we begin to experience a burden to share the life changing gospel message with our loved ones and acquaintances. When we share the gospel with others and then they turn from their sin to Christ, they are brought into peace with Him.  As we work for peace between God and man, this is an indication that we are a part of God’s family, and as such, are the joint-heirs of a glorious eternity with Christ.

This is one mark of a person who has been blessed by God and is living a happy life in Him.  Does today’s verse describe your life?  Do you have lasting peace and happiness in Christ?  If not, trust in Christ and follow Him.  He makes us a promise “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/

SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 5:8

(Mat 5:8)  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

In this beatitude, those who are truly happy and blessed of God are described as being “pure in heart”.  This is in stark comparison to hypocrites who may be outwardly pure, but inwardly sinful.

Those who are “pure in heart” are those whose sins have been covered by the shed blood of Christ, they have become a new creature in Him.  Although still burdened down by their sinful flesh, they are sincere and dedicated in their pursuit to glorify and honor their Lord.  Their heart’s longing is righteousness in their thoughts, desires and actions.

Those whose heart has been changed through the work of Christ are those who have their eternity guaranteed to them.  It is these who know, without doubt, that they will spend eternity in the company of their Lord and Savior, their God, Jesus Christ.

This is one mark of a person who has been blessed by God and is living a happy life in Him.  Does today’s verse describe your life?  Do you have lasting peace and happiness in Christ?  If not, trust in Christ and follow Him.  He makes us a promise “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/

SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 5:7

(Mat 5:7)  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Do we show compassion to others who are indebted to us?  Are we willing to forgive the debt of those who are undeserving of our forgiveness?  Mercy is willing show goodness to those who have wronged us or done us harm.

The ability to authentically, and completely, forgive others is a grace given to us from our Lord.

If we possess the spiritual fruit of mercy (goodness), we can be certain the Holy Spirit is indwelling us. If the HS is indwelling us, it is proof we have been forgiven of our sins by Almighty God, and thus, are assured of receiving mercy from Him at the final judgment.

This is one mark of a person who has been blessed by God and is living a happy life in Him.  Does today’s verse describe your life?  Do you have lasting peace and happiness in Christ?  If not, trust in Christ and follow Him.  He makes us a promise “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/

SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

The Prison of our Sin

SIH STSTA ICONHave you ever listened to a song without really paying attention to the lyrics?  Sad to say it happens to me all the time.  I hear a new song, enjoy it’s music and even begin trying to sing along with it, without understanding the meaning of the words.

“My Own Prison” a song by the group Creed, is one example of a song that I’ve listened to repeatedly, without ever really understanding all the lyrics. Basically, the song is telling how we have made a prison for ourselves with the sins we have committed.  Our only hope is to look to the cross of Jesus Christ as the remedy for our situation.  If you would like to hear the song, while reading the lyrics, take a look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP4G8_alAT4

Did you know that the concept of building a prison with our own sins is a Biblical concept?  Let’s take a look at Zechariah 5: and see what the Lord has to say about making ourselves the prisoners of our own sins.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Zech 5:5-11 (KJV)

5) Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what [is] this that goeth forth.

6) And I said, What [is] it? And he said, This [is] an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This [is] their resemblance through all the earth.

7) And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this [is] a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.

8) And he said, This [is] wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.

9) Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind [was] in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.

10) Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?

11) And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.

THE STUDY:

In our text, the prophet Zechariah is receiving a series of visions from an angel sent from the  Lord. These visions, when understood as as a whole, are showing Zechariah the sinful condition of the nation of Judah (the southern tribes of Israel) and their impending judgment.   (see Zechariah 1:1-6 for more details about the content and purpose of this series of visions)

The vision found in Zechariah 5:5-11, is teaching Zechariah two basic truths about the sinfulness of Judah:

First of all, it shows that Judah’s condition is of their own choosing, being the result of the sins that they have willfully committed.

Secondly, it is explaining that Judah’s sin will result in punishment at the hands of Almighty God.

I. The Introduction to the Vision

5) Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what [is] this that goeth forth.

This verse separates the vision of the flying roll (vs 1-4) from the vision we will be looking at in verses 5-11.  Along with this being a point of separation, these verses also help us to understand the origin of the vision we are looking at.  Clearly, this vision is being presented to Zechariah by an angel.

Who is this angel?  We are told more about him in Zechariah 1:12-14.  Here, the angel is described as “The Angel of the Lord” (12) clearly declaring he is sent from the Lord.  Notice that the angel is in communication with the Lord, delivering the words of the Lord to the prophet Zechariah (vs 13-14).

As the angel instructs Zechariah to “lift up now thine eyes” and “see what is this that goeth forth” , we can clearly see that it is the Lord’s desire for Zechariah to place his attention on this next vision.  Why?  It will be filled with truths about the subject at hand… the sinfulness of the nation of Judah and it’s results….

II. The Prison of Our Sinfulness

6) And I said, What [is] it? And he said, This [is] an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This [is] their resemblance through all the earth.

7) And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this [is] a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.

8) And he said, This [is] wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.

The vision opens with an ephah.  This was a measuring basket used by ancient Judah.  It is believed that this basket was large enough to hold between one and three bushels of grain (depending on which historical source you use).

Apparently, there is a large piece of lead (about 125 pounds) covering the mouth of this ephah basket.  As the angel lifts up the piece of lead, Zechariah looks inside the basket and sees a woman sitting in the middle of the basket.

The angel reaches down pulls up the woman out of the basket and says “This is wickedness” and then casts the woman back into the basket.  Then the angel places the lid of lead upon the basket’s mouth.

To properly understand this vision we have to remember the basic message of this series of visions… the sins of Judah and it’s affects upon the nation.

Judah, in her current condition of Zechariah’s day, was filled with sin and rebellion.  As the angel lifts up the woman, he is displaying Judah, and her sins for Zechariah to see.  He then casts her back into the “prison”  that is made up of the ephah basket covered by the lead plate.    This is illustrating the results of the sin of Judah…. they were encased and imprisoned within the powerful grasp of sin.  Their sin had become their prison.

Please keep in mind, the ephah was used almost exclusively to measure grain.  If this is the case, perhaps this ephah also had grain within it.  If this is so, the picture even becomes clearer.  In Zephaniah 1:12 sinful Judah is spoken of …

12) And it shall come to pass at that time, [that] I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

Being settled on their lees, is describing Judah’s contentment in their sinful condition (sitting upon their sins), not desiring to change their ways and not expecting judgment from God.

This woman, sitting upon the grain of her sin, is reminiscent of this same attitude of Judah in the days of Zechariah.  They were sinning… they knew they were sinning… and they no longer cared.  They had no concept of the judgment of God that would be swiftly coming upon them.

For a nation, or an individual, the affects of our sin nature, linked with the commission of sin is much like constructing a prison that slowly encases, and then holds and restrains for the judgment of God.  It is as if sin against God places us in a “holding cell” awaiting our final judgment and punishment from the Lord.

III.  The Judgment of God

9) Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind [was] in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.

10) Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?

11) And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.

Zechariah now turns his attention from the basket to two other servants of God… the two winged women.  What do these women do?  They pick up the ephah (which contains the woman and is covered with the lead plate) and lift it up into the sky.

Why do they remove the basket of sin from the earth?  To purify the Israelite land so that God can once again be honored and worshiped throughout the land.

What does all of this mean?  The two women are shown as servants of God, doing the bidding of God, by purifying the land of its sin.  It is really important to note that women are pictured as the servants of God.

In case anyone is offended by saying that, symbolically, a woman is used to represent a sinful Israel, it is important to note that the servants of God are pictured by women as well.  There is no gender bias with the Lord.  Just as women sin, so also they can be great servants of God.

Why does the Lord describe Israel as a sinful or adulterous woman?  It is simply to emphasize their sinfulness as an unfaithful nation who has rejected the God after pledging their faithfulness, love and support.  They were like an unfaithful wife in rebellion against their husband and the marriage vows they had taken.

What about the women’s stork wings?

1. In Jeremiah 8:7 – the stork’s wisdom is being emphasized, this helps us to understand that the judgments these women are bringing upon Israel is an act of Divine wisdom… The Lord always does what is wise and right when He deals with sinful nations and men.

2. In Psalms 104:17 – the stork is used to illustrate how the Lord meets the needs of His creation.   The sinfulness of the nation of Judah was placing the nation as a whole into a great spiritual poverty.  When the Lord removed the rebellious inhabitants of Judah from their land, He would be meeting their needs, by allowing them to be blessed once again.

3. In Leviticus 11:19 and Deuteronomy 14:18 – The stork is included in a list of animals that the Lord commanded Israel to not eat.  This helps bring to our mind that the punishments of God  should be avoided.  By a nation submitting to their Almighty God, they will be avoiding the types of judgment these women are bringing to pass.

4. In Isaiah 40:31 – wings and flight are used as pictures of strength and deliverance by God. These judgments are the results of God’s sovereign strength as He was delivering His nation from the bonds of sin.

Because of Judah’s lax attitude about their sin, they would be punished.  This punishment would involve their removal from the land.

This vision would be historically fulfilled when the sinful nation of Israel would be overtaken by the invading Greek and, later, Roman empires.  Following their captivity, there would be the various dispersions of the Jews from Israel during the times of the Book of Acts.  This led to a proclamation of the gospel throughout the world, and the eventual worship of Jehovah among the Gentiles. This is partially the meaning of the reference to worship of the Lord taking place in the land of Shinar, a Gentile land.

However, this prophecy is also a reflection of the fact that God will eventually do away with ALL sin and rebellion in this world and will replace it with a world-wide worship of Him.  This is why the land of Shinar is mentioned specifically.

Shinar is located in the nation of Babylon, the seat of the false religions of this world.    Someday, as the Lord purifies the world of her sin, He will restore true world-wide worship even in the very seat of idol worship, Babylon (or “Shinar”). In the future yet to come, during the Great tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon, the Lord will eliminate sin from the world and establish a world-wide worship of Himself.

These two prophetic references are linked together with the symbolism of “the woman”.

In the futuristic prophetical writings of Revelation, the followers of the Lord (spiritual Israel) are pictured as a woman (Rev 12:) while the sinful powers of the world is pictured as a harlot  (Rev 17:). Also, we find physical historic Israel described as a feminine character (an unfaithful wife)  throughout prophetic Scripture. (Isa 54:5-7, Hosea 2:19-20 etc).

The images of the sinful woman being judged brings the truths about God’s past judgment of the physical nation of Israel (Judah) together with the future worldwide judgment of the sinful worldwide “Harlot” of Rev 17:.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Based upon the outward events taking place in our nation, it is very clear to me that our nation is simply “sitting on death row” awaiting it’s execution at the hands of a sovereign, holy God.  How did our nation get in the condition it is in?  By us allowing sin to gradually enter into our family and personal lives.  Then, as we became hardened in our sin, our nation began to slowly decline into sin as well.  I truly believe that what we see taking place in our nation is only a reflection and result of the sin that has entered our personal and family lives.

We, as Americans,  are building a prison of sin for ourselves and our nation.   As time progresses, we will continue to see the results of our sin being manifested by acts of judgment by Almighty God.  If we fail to see the handwriting on the wall, and we continue in our sin, I believe we will cause God to take us “out of the picture” entirely.   And we will become irrelevant as a nation.  We are already beginning to see this take place.

If you have any questions about salvation, I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.

If you continue to have questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvation with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 5:6

(Mat 5:6)  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Does our love for the Lord cause us to long for living a life of righteousness?   Righteousness, here, is referring to a life that is in alignment with His laws (both our outward actions and our inward thoughts, desires and motives).  When we think of who He is, and what He has done for us, our love and appreciation for Him should overwhelm us.  When this occurs, the greatest NEED of our life becomes our obedience to Him.

Here the Lord promises that, for His people, we have an eternity awaiting us that will be marked by our sinless submission to His will and ways.  There will be no more temptation, no more acts of sin, nor sins of omission.  We will find ourselves in perfect harmony with His desires for our lives.

This is one mark of a person who has been blessed by God and is living a happy life in Him.  Does today’s verse describe your life?  Do you have lasting peace and happiness in Christ?  If not, trust in Christ and follow Him.  He makes us a promise “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/

SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 5:5

(Mat 5:5)  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

To be “meek” involves several ideas… patience, self-control, and gentleness make up the basic ideas behind being meek.  Meek NEVER implies weakness or inability.  It always involves being competent in the keeping our strengths, abilities and authority under the control of the Holy Ghost… always channeling them in the right direction and using them for the honor and glory of God.  Our Lord set the perfect example of meekness for us by being “meek and lowly of heart” (Matt 11:29)

For those who have been graced with meekness what is the blessing awaiting them? It is the promise of inheriting the New Heavens and Earth throughout eternity.  This inheritance allows us to live on the sinless, newly created Earth.  However it doesn’t stop there. It also involves our exercising dominion over the New Earth.  Much like the dominion over God’s creation that Adam and Eve enjoyed before the fall in the garden of Eden.

This is one mark of a person who has been blessed by God and is living a happy life in Him.  Does today’s verse describe your life?  Do you have lasting peace and happiness in Christ?  If not, trust in Christ and follow Him.  He makes us a promise “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

 May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/

SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

The Great Mission

SIH STSTA ICONAs Christians, we are all given the responsibility to tell others about our Lord an all He has done for us. (see Mark 5:18-20; Psa 66:16)  However, the Lord has given His local assembly of believers added responsibilities as we minister for Him.  What are those responsibilities?  How important are they?

In this lesson, we all be looking at the mission the Lord has given to His local assemblies on earth.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Matt 28:16-20 (KJV)

16) Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

17) And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

THE STUDY:

As we begin our study of the responsibilities given to the local assemblies of Christ, it is important to notice to whom the Lord is speaking…

Matt 28:16-20 (KJV)

16) Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17) And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

Here, we find the eleven apostles (the twelve minus Judas) meeting with the Lord.  They were meeting with Him on the mount, separated from the great multitudes that had been following Him.  These apostles, were the very beginning foundation of the Lord’s local church with Jesus, Himself, being the cornerstone of that assembly.

Our Lord clearly taught this principle in the writings of Paul to the local church at Ephesus…

Eph 2:19-22 – “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

(see also Matt 21:42-45; Roms 9:33; 1 Pet 2:7-8)

18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

As the Lord begins to address the very beginnings of His local assembly on earth, He reminds us that He is the one that possesses the power (authority) of God Himself.  The word for “power” does not speak of physical strength… it speaks of authority.  Jesus possesses all authority over both the physical and spiritual creation of God. (1 Peter 3:21-22)

Our Lord Jesus has the right to tell us what He would have us to do for Him.  He is our Creator (John 1:1-4), He is our Redeemer (1 Pet 1:18-21) and, therefore, He is our Master (Rom 9:20-21, 1 Cor 6:19-20).

The Lord now turns our attention to the three great responsibilities He has given to His local assemblies….

19) Go ye therefore,

Here, we are told to “go”.  This sums up the local church’s responsibility.   We should not expect the lost world to come to us and join us in the cause of Christ.  We are to go forth into the lost, and spiritually dead, world fulfilling the great responsibility we have been given.  (Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47-48)

As we go into the world we should be going with the authority, power and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ… our warfare is to be by Him, and for Him, not through the carnal means of a sinful world (2 Cor 10:3-5)

As the local church ministers among the lost world their goal should be three-fold:

and teach all nations,

The word for “teach” here is a Greek word that means “to evangelize”, in other words to take the gospel message to those who are unsaved.

The first goal of the local assemblies is to take the gospel to the lost (through our words and actions), (Rom 10:13-17; Rom 16:25-26; Acts 26:16-18) and then pray for them, that Christ might bring them to Himself. (Psa 68:20, 2 Tim 2:24-26).

baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Following their receipt of salvation, we are to immerse in water those who have believed.  This is the public declaration of what the Lord has done for them. It pictures the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  It also pictures the believer’s death to sin and new life in Christ. (Rom 6:3-5, Col 2:12-15)

Once baptized, the believer is eligible to become the member of the local assembly.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:

The word for “teach” in this verse is a word that means “to indoctrinate”, or “to teach”.  This local church responsibility involves instructing those who are members of the church.

We are to teach church members the practical and doctrinal truths of God’s Word.  This involves teaching the Word in its entirety.  (2 Tim 4:1-5, 2 Tim 3:16-17)

Note this instruction involves the practical application of His Word to member’s life (“teaching them to observe…”)

and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

The Lord is promising to accompany the local church as its ministers for Him on earth.  (Matt 18:20, Rev 1:11-13)  It is only through His enabling and intervention that the church can fulfill its mission for Him. (Matt 10:16-20, 1 Pet 1:12, 1 Cor 1:18-24, Rom 1:16)

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

As believers, our Lord would desire for us to be scripturally baptized and then to join a Bible believing church.  During our time of church membership, we are to be instructed from His Word, and then to live out these truths as faithful servants of Christ.

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

If you have never trusted in Christ as your Savior… the first priority of your life should be to search the Scriptures, recognize your sin and the True Savior, Jesus Christ.  Turn from your sin, trust in Christ and His work as the basis of your salvation and accept Him as Lord of your life.  It is only after you have trusted Christ that you can follow Him in baptism, church membership and faithful service to Him.

If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page, you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

Please visit the “Settled In Heaven Ministries” homepage – http://www.settledinheaven.org

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 5:4

(Mat 5:4)  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

To “mourn” is to suffer pain due to a loss. Do we ever look at our lives with sadness because we have failed our Lord and brought shame to His name?

The type of sadness I am talking about is NOT a feeling of regret because we were caught in our sin; NOR is it a feeling of torment because we are feeling the results of our sin.  It is a sorrow that is motivated by a knowledge that we have sinned against the One how gave His life for us.  We have spit in His face, mocked His faithfulness to us and, in a sense, actually placed Him on the cross.  Remember, it is for these same sins that He suffered and died.

If this is the type of sorrow that we feel, all hope is not lost.  It is a Godly sorrow that leads us to repentance. It is repentance that leads to our forgiveness. And it is forgiveness that gives comfort to a morning heart.

Truly, blessed are those who sorrow with a Godly sorrow, for they will be forgiven and their broken heart will be healed.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/

SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 5:3

(Mat 5:3-12)  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

To have a “poor” spirit is to recognize that we are a very needy people.  It is an attitude of humility and reliance.  It is a spirit that says… “We have nothing, and are nothing, without Christ.”  This type of attitude motivates us to recognize His blessings and inspires us to consistently look to Him for guidance and the supplying of our needs.

What does this modest attitude indicate about us?  The Lord is reigning in our hearts.  We are willingly submitting to the leadership of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are a part of His spiritual nation and will reign with Him throughout eternity.  This is His kingdom.

This is one mark of a person who has been blessed by God and is living a happy life in Him.  Does today’s verse describe your life?  Do you have lasting peace and happiness in Christ?  If not, trust in Christ and follow Him.  He makes us a promise “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

 May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.