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The Precious Human Life #5: The Minister And Witness Of These Things

SIH TOTT ICON

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

 

This is part of a series that is looking at the preciousness of life and the need for a more serious examination of the Scriptural validity of taking a human life under any circumstance.  Folks, our world has devalued the taking of human life to the point the loss of human life is “no big deal” and “JUST a part of the world in which we live.”

By God’s grace, as we continue through this series, my prayer is that the Lord would open all of our spiritual eyes and come to a more complete realization of the great value of human life.  Also, we need to carefully consider the results of our actions, and the circumstances surrounding the taking of human life, making sure that in each situation, the taking of life is Biblically justifiable and absolutely necessary.

Our devotional series will contain six daily devotions, all of which will emphasize the wondrous nature of the human creation and the loss inflicted upon mankind when a human life is taken from their midst…

  1. Thou Shalt Not Kill (Exo 20:13)
  2. The Glory and Honor Of Man (Psa 8:4-6)
  3. God’s Image & Likeness (Gen 1:26-27)
  4. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (Psa 139:14-16)
  5. The Minister and Witness Of These Things (Acts 26:16-17)
  6. Prepare To Meet Thy God (Amos 4:12)

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

The Minister and Witness Of These Things (Isaiah 6:8-12, Psalms 66:16, Acts 26:16-17, Romans 10:13-17)

Acts 26:16-17 KJV

“But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;   Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,”

 

Psalms 66:16 KJV

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.

 

Isaiah 6:8-12 KJV

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.   And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.   Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.   Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,   And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

 

Romans 10:13-17 KJV

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.   How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?   And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!   But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?   So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

 

Man, A Minister and Witness of The Lord and His Works For Us

In Acts 26:16-17 and Isaiah 6:8-12, we find the call to ministry of Paul and Isaiah respectively.  In both instances we see the ministry of these men involved telling others about the Lord and His work that was done on behalf of His people…

 

To Paul:  “to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;”

 

To Isaiah:  “Go, and tell this people,…”

 

This calling of men to the ministry of the Lord is shared by all men who have come to faith in Christ.  Although not all men are called to full-time ministry, all men who are saved are called to share the gospel message with those around them.   David, although not called to full time ministry as a minister of the Lord, understood and accepted this great responsibility…  “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.”

Folks, this responsibility given to saved mankind is of great importance.  Without the proclamation of the gospel message, the lost of this world are without hope with salvation unavailable to them…  “…and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? …  How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! …   So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

 

Folks, every human life that is taken from this earth is one who has, or is potentially one who has been given the responsibility to take the gospel into this world.  Whether they be saved, or potentially a future recipient of salvation, by taking away physical life, we are silencing one who may be used of God to accomplish great things in His service.

It is important to note that NONE of us can know whom the Lord will call to salvation.  Even the most wicked and vile of mankind can be called to salvation through the call of God.  Therefore, even when the life of a lost man is taken, from a strictly human standpoint, we can never know if he would have been saved and what he might have accomplished for Him.  The Apostle Paul is the perfect example of this type of individual (Acts 26:1-23).

Please note: I am a firm believer in the sovereignty of God in salvation… He will save those who are chosen and none will be lost (John 6:39).   However in matters of this nature, concerning man’s responsibility, we must look at things from man’s vantage point without regard for God’s unknown workings of providence.  More about this principle in our next devotional.

 

In our next devotional, we will be being looking at the preciousness of human life by examining man’s need to “prepare to meet thy God” during our lifetimes on earth.

 

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SIH’s Think On These Things: Isaiah 9:6d

SIH TOTT ICONand his name shall be called Counsellor

 

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”   (Luke 2:10-11)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.   (Isaiah 9:6)

Since this time of year has been set aside by the world to remember the birth of Jesus, I thought it would be good for us to take some time to consider Jesus, His person and His workings on our behalf.  For the next few brief devotions we will take a look at Isaiah 9:6 and see what we can learn about Jesus.  By God’s grace, this time in the Word will be a daily reminder for us to keep Jesus in the center of our holiday season.

For our devotion this morning, we will be looking at Isaiah 9:6 –and his name shall be calledCounsellor

TRUTH OF CHRIST EXPLAINED:

In the phraseand his name shall be called…Counsellor” , we find that Jesus is the One to whom we are to look for advice, counsel and leadership of life…

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;  In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  (Colossians 2:2-3)

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;  But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”  (1 Corinthians 1:23-24)

Why is Christ the source of all wisdom and knowledge?  It is because He reveals God’s mind to man as the living Word of God…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.  [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  (John 1:1-5,9-14)

In His absence, the Lord has left us with His written Word, the Bible, as today’s source of wisdom and knowledge as we continue to look to Him for advice and counsel …

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them];  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”  (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

SUMMARY:

In the phrase and his name shall be calledCounsellor   we can see that this same Jesus, the Word, God Himself, through His person and work revealed to us the very wisdom and knowledge of God. He is our Supreme Counsellor to whom we can look for our every need.

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;  was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:14-16)

May we all keep the Jesus our Great Counsellor in our minds this holiday season;  having joyful hearts knowing that we can always go to Him for leadership and wisdom, no matter what situation we may be facing in life.

 We will return to our daily devotionals from Proverbs on December 26th.

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Why Does Evil Exist? (Part #3)

SIH STSTA ICON“Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty, The Earth Is Filled With Thy Glory”

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].(Isaiah 45:7)

[Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:…” (Habakkuk 1:13) 

 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  (James 1:13)

In above set of Scriptures, we find one of the supposedly contradictory texts of the Scriptures.  On one hand, from the lips of the Lord Himself, He clearly states that “I create evil”.  Then later in the Scriptures we find Habakkuk, as he speaks concerning the Lord, says [Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:  then, to add confusion to our subject, James states clearly that God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

In this series of lessons, we will be looking into two basic questions, first, “What Is God’s Role In The Existence of Evil ?” and, secondly, “What Is The Purpose Behind The Existence Of Evil ?”

 

THE STUDY:

Before we begin this portion of our study, let’s pick up with the summary from our studies so far …
1.  “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2.  “Evil” can be referring to harm that is so severe, that it causes total destruction or uselessness
3.  “Evil” can, but not necessarily, involves moral wickedness
4.  “Evil” can describe sin or it can describe the results of sin
5.  “Evil” can describe the direct results of sin
6.  “Evil” can describe the indirect results of sin
7.  “Evil” can describe an act that is morally wicked
8.  “Evil” can describe, not the act, but the result of moral wickedness
9.  Evil is “the condition/act of sin, OR the direct or indirect results of sin, that are harmful, and potentially ruinous, to any part of God’s creation.”  
10.  Our Lord is in absolute control of all things, this principle is clearly presented throughout the Bible
11.  It is only because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in Him
12.  The Sovereignty Of God affects: His ability to aid us, His answering our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies to use
13. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance

We will now attempt to come to an understanding about the holiness of God and the origin of evil in this world….

Our Lord Is Perfectly Holy (Separated From Sin) 

When we speak of the holiness of God, we are simply saying that God is completely separated from sin.  He is absolutely pure in character, motives, thoughts and deeds.   His holiness was made manifest to the prophet Isaiah in Isa 6:…
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory.  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.  Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”   (Isaiah 6:1-5)

Notice the effects of Isaiah’s recognition of the holiness of God… “Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” 

The holiness of God is one of His attributes that clearly sets Him above all of creation.  Sin has affected every area of creation, however when Isaiah saw this vision of God he was humbled.  Why? It wasn’t God’s great power or His great majesty that brought Isaiah to his knees… it was the recognition of his absolute sinfulness in the face of the holiness of God.

The attributes of God that Isaiah recognized in his vision were also recognized by the Israelites when they were delivered from bondage in the land of Egypt…
Who [is] like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who [is] like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful [in] praises, doing wonders?”   (Exodus 15:11)

Again, we find the holiness of God being one of the main attributes that were recognized by the humbled nation of Israel.  Please note His holiness is so extraordinary, He is described as being “glorious in holiness.”  In other words, His holiness makes Him deserving of our worship, honor, reverence and submission.  It sets Him apart from all of the idolatrous gods of man and makes Him “shine” in comparison to them.

As a matter of fact, His holiness is so extraordinary that we find He cannot accept sin in His presence…
[Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:(Habakkuk 1:13) 

In the New Testament we have testimony of the Lord’s holiness as well…
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  (1 John 1:5)

Note how John emphasized the complete, absolute holiness of God… “in him is no darkness at all”.  The illustration that John uses is an interesting one indeed.  He uses the picture of light to describe the holiness of God, in comparison to darkness that represents sin (Acts 26:18).  Just as darkness CANNOT dwell in the presence of light, so too, sin CANNOT dwell in the person of God (2 Cor 6:14).

The holiness of God is not limited to the Father but is also exhibited in the person of Christ….
For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;”   (Hebrews 7:26)

What a blessing it is to know that the Lord that we serve is absolutely separated from sin.  He cannot do wrong, He cannot make “mistakes”, He cannot lie, nor can He treat anyone justly.

But also, getting back to our study, sin can in no way come from our God.  He cannot create it, nor can He be held responsible for its existence among man…
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”   (James 1:13-17)

James makes it crystal clear to us that, although the Lord is absolutely sovereign, He cannot be held accountable for the sinful actions of man. This is expressed in the first part of our above text…
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

But James goes farther and teaches us that the Lord cannot be held accountable for the origination of sin when he says …
Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

James helps us to understand that the ONLY type of gifts that proceed from God are “good” and “perfect” gifts.  These descriptions totally eliminate for us the possibility of sin proceeding from God.  To cover all the bases, James then reminds us that this holy God will continue to be absolutely holy throughout eternity…. Therefore, sin will never proceed from Him, nor will He ever be the author of it.

Folks, it is our great responsibility to recognize that, although the Lord included sin in His sovereign plan, and allows the occurrence of sin on a daily basis, He cannot be held accountable for that sin.  The responsibility for the existence of sin must be placed at the doorstep of Satan…
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”   (1 John 3:8)

 “Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”   (John 8:44)

Not only do we know that Satan is the originator of sin and a causative force for it in this world, we also find that the Bible teaches us that the responsibility for sin’s entrance into this world must be shared with Adam….
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.  But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.  And not as [it was] by one that sinned, [so is] the gift: for the judgment [was] by one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many offences unto justification.  For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)  Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”   (Romans 5:12-19)

 

In our study so far, we have now seen that the Lord is in control of all things.  Because we know He is sovereign we must come to an understanding that the sins He has included in His sovereign plan He allows to take place, all other sins He restrains.

We have also come to understand that, due to His absolute holiness, sin cannot proceed from God in any way.  Therefore, He cannot be the author, nor the originator of sin.  Although He has included sin in His plan for mankind, Satan and Adam are the ones responsible for the entrance of sin into God’s creation.

In our next lesson we will be answering the question… “If God, due to His holiness, cannot be the author of sin then what did He mean when He said “I create evil”?”

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

What we have seen in our study so far….

We have attempted to come to a very basic understanding of the term “evil” as used in the Bible.  We have come to see that:
1.  “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2.  “Evil” can be referring to harm that is so severe, that it causes total destruction or uselessness
3.  “Evil” can, but not necessarily, involves moral wickedness
4.  “Evil” can describe sin or it can describe the results of sin
5.  “Evil” can describe the direct results of sin
6.  “Evil” can describe the indirect results of sin
7.  “Evil” can describe an act that is morally wicked
8.  “Evil” can describe, not the act, but the result of moral wickedness
9.  Evil is “the condition/act of sin, OR the direct or indirect results of sin, that are harmful, and potentially ruinous, to any part of God’s creation.”  
10.  Our Lord is in absolute control of all things, this principle is clearly presented throughout the Bible
11.  It is only because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in Him
12.  The Sovereignty Of God affects: His ability to aid us, His answering our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies to use
13. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance
14. The Lord is perfectly holy and separate from sin.
15. Satan and Adam are the ones who are responsible for sin’s existence and entrance into this world

May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek His truth.

For The Free Study Guide For This Series:  .pdf format    .docx format

 

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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.”