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“The Kingdom Of Christ, Of God, Of Heaven” – Displays Of His Ruling Authority Throughout Time

SIH STSTA ICON

 

 

To begin our study we need to understand what the Bible means when it speaks of a “kingdom”.  The word translated Kingdom in the NT is the Greek word “basileia”.  This word has two basic ideas behind it:

  1. The first idea is the AUTHORITY to rule that a King possesses (Luke 1:33, Luke 17:20-21, Matt 12:28 etc)
  2. The second idea is the REALM that is ruled over by a King. WhenBasileia is used in this way it can speak of either:
    1. the land area and physical possessions that a King rules over (Mat 4:8, Mark 6:23,  Heb 11:33 etc)
    2. the group of people over which a king rules. (Rev 1:9, Col 1:13, 2 Pet 1:11, etc)

Based upon the above Scriptures we can see that these three titles are describing the same event and will be used as such in this study.

Although we cannot visibly see His authority, we certainly can see His authority at work in the world around us.  By His grace, He has displayed for us His authority, throughout the Scriptures, in many different ways.

Let’s take a look and see the God’s authority to rule displayed for all to see throughout the Bible…  

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

The Kingdom of Christ:

Eph 5:5,

 

The Kingdom of God:

Matt 6:33, 12:28, 19:24, 21:31, 21:43;

Mark 1:14, 1:15, 4:11, 4:26, 4:30, 9:1, 9:47, 10:14, 10:15, 10:23, 10:24, 10:25, 12:34, 14:25, 15:43;

Luke 4:43, 6:20, 7:28, 8:1, 8:10, 9:2, 9:11, 9:27, 9:60, 9:62, 10:9, 10:11, 10:20, 12:31, 13:18, 13:20, 13:28, 13:29, 14:15, 16:16, 17:20, 17:21, 18:16, 18:17, 18:24, 18:25, 18:29, 19:11, 21:31, 22:16, 22:18, 23:51;

John 3:3, 3:5;

Acts 1:3, 8:12, 14:22, 19:8, 20:25, 28:23, 28:31;

Roms 14:17;

1 Cor 4:20, 6:9, 6:10, 15:50;

Gal 5:21;

Col 4:11;

2 Thess 1:5.

 

The Kingdom of Heaven:

Matt 3:2, 4:17, 5:3, 5:10, 5:19, 5:20, 7:21, 8:11, 10:7, 11:11, 11:12, 13:11, 13:24, 13:31, 13:33, 13:44, 13:45, 13:47, 13:52, 16:19, 18:1, 18:3, 18:4, 18:23, 19:12, 19:14, 19:23, 20:1, 22:2, 23:13, 25:1, 25:14

 

In the NT the Bible describes the Kingdom of the Lord using three different descriptive phrases, “The Kingdom of Christ”, “the Kingdom Of God”, and “the Kingdom of Heaven”.  All three of these titles are describing the same Kingdom.

Please note:

The Kingdom of Christ is only used in Ephesians 5:5 and is clearly speaking of the perfect reign of Christ that will take place throughout eternity.  In this text, it is equated with the Kingdom of God because both Christ and the Father will be reigning throughout eternity. (Rev 22:3-5; see also Rev 21:7-8, Rev 21:24-27)

Also “the Kingdom of God” and “the Kingdom of Heaven” are equated as well.  Please note the following references which show that, in many cases, these titles are used synonymously…

Matt 4:17 – Mark 1:15;

Matt 5:3,10- Luke 6:20-22; Matt 8:11-Luke 13:28;

Matt 10:7-Luke 9:60;

Matt 11:11-Luke 7:28;

Matt 11:12-Luke 16:16;

Matt 13:11-Mark 4:11;

Matt 13:31-Mark 4:30-31; Matt 13:33 – Luke 13:20-21; Matt 19:14-Mark 10:14;

Matt 19:23-Mark 10:23;

Matt 25:14-Luke 19:11-13.

 

THE STUDY: 

It is important for us to understand that the Lord displays His authority to rule in different ways that will vary throughout time.

In the Old Testament, some of the major ways He displayed His authority to rule was in:

  1. His sovereign rulership over creation (including mankind)…

And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation:  And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”   (Daniel 4:34-35)

 

  1. His rulership over the fledgling nation of physical Israel during the times of the judges…

Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 

And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.  But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 

And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.  According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.  Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.”  (1 Samuel 8:4-9)

 

  1. His rulership over the unified and divided nation of physical Israel during the times of the Kings…

Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed [be] thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.

Thine, O LORD, [is] the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all [that is] in the heaven and in the earth [is thine]; thine [is] the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.  Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all.

Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.”  (1 Chronicles 29:10-13)

 

  1. His rulership in the heart of the Old Testament saints, which included both Jews and Gentiles (the spiritual nation of Israel)…

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart.”  (Psalms 40:8)

Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.”   (Haggai 1:12)

 

 

In New Testament times, He displayed His authority to rule in very similar ways….

  1. His sovereign rulership over His creation (including mankind)…

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”  (Acts 17:24-28)

 

  1. His rulership in the heart of the lives of the New Testament saints, which included both Jews and Gentiles (the spiritual nation of Israel)…

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 

[Whereof] the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,  This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 

Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.”   (Hebrews 10:14-18)

 

  1. His rule over His local assemblies…

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.

For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell;  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.”   (Colossians 1:13-20)

 

Into eternity future, the Lord’s ruling authority will be shown. The following is an incomplete list of His sovereignty on display during the end-time events…

  1. His taking of His saints…

For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.  Then [cometh] the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  The last enemy [that] shall be destroyed [is] death.  For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under [him, it is] manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”  (1 Corinthians 15:21-28)

 

  1. His punishment of the powers of darkness of this world…

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;  That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all [men, both] free and bond, both small and great.

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.  And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.  And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”  (Revelation 19:17-21)

 

  1. His millennial reign (the first part of His eternal reign)…

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”  (Revelation 20:4) 

 

  1. The final judgment…

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”  (Revelation 20:12-15)

 

 

  1. His rulership throughout eternity…

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:  And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads.

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”   (Revelation 22:2-5)

 

As you can see, throughout history from eternity past and proceeding into eternity present, we find the Lord consistently revealing to mankind…

The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.”  (Exodus 15:18)

 

In the NT the Bible describes the Kingdom of the Lord using three different descriptive phrases, The Kingdom of Christ, the Kingdom Of God, and the Kingdom of Heaven.  All three of these titles are describing the same Kingdom.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: 

What a wonderful blessing it is to be able to know that our Lord truly reigns over all things.  Without His wondrous displays of sovereignty, we would live in doubt about His control over all, but because of His many displays of rulership we can say as the Psalmist…

“But our God [is] in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”   (Psalms 115:3)

Because of this, there is no reason for worry or fright… no matter what may take place in this life, OUR GOD IS IN CONTROL!  And we have a consistent source of proofs that this is so!

To Love As Jesus Loved: “Charity Rejoiceth In The Truth”

SIH TOTT ICONAnd though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

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…  

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)

 

 

 

As we continue looking at events in the life of Christ that set a wonderful example for us of Scriptural love. In this devotional, we will see Christ’s great desire for sincerity and the proclamation of the truths of God…

 

Christ’s Life:

 

The Characteristic of Scriptural Love: Desires Sincerity and The Truths Of God

 

The need for sincerity in Christian service is very closely related to the need to proclaim the Truths Of God to others. Both are necessary for an effective Christian witness.

 

A sincere belief motivating the proclamation of error is false teaching.

Insincerity in the proclamation of truth is, simply, hypocrisy.

The only effective, Godly witness involves the proclamation of truth about God that flows from a genuine heart of belief.   This is a mark of true love toward the Lord and those around us.

 

Christ gave us the perfect example of this type of divine witness as He lived His life among us…

 

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 truthFor the law was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].(John 1:14, 17-18)

 

In this section of Scripture, we see that Christ was the epitome of a perfect, divine witness. He was “full of … truth” (ie perfectly sincere) while living a life that “declared” the truths of God the Father to those around Him.

In other words, Christ was a very genuine, sincere, Revealer of the truths of His heavenly Father.  In doing so, He was opening the channel of both grace and truth to a lost and spiritual dead world… “[but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

 

Christ, in His teachings emphasized the importance of the Word of God as the singular source of revelation for the salvation, sanctification and adoption of those who come to Him in saving faith…

 

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”   (John 17:17-23)

 

Not only did Christ reveal the importance of truth for the lives of those around Him, but He also clearly revealed His hatred for hypocrisy and insincerity in His address concerning the Pharisees…

 

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.   Therefore when thou doest [thine] alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. (Matthew 6:1-8)

 

 

Our Lesson To Be Learned:

 

Folks, Do we love our Lord? If so, let us shun all false teachings and hypocritical attitudes as we honor Him though presenting His Word to others through our words and actions.

 

Do we love others? If so, we should have a genuine desire to present the truths of God to them, knowing that it is only through a knowledge and faith in these truths that a person can come to salvation, entrance into His family and entrance into eternity in the very presence of God…

 

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.”   (Romans 10:13-17)

 

 

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To Love As Jesus Loved: “Charity Thinketh No Evil”

SIH TOTT ICON“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
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…  
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.
(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)

 

As we continue looking at events in the life of Christ that set a wonderful example for us of Scriptural love. In this devotional, we will see Christ’s hatred of sin on display…

Christ’s Life:

The Characteristic of Scriptural Love: Does Not Plan Or Desire Evil

Christ, the perfectly holy One, hated the commission of sin. We can clearly see this in the account of Christ cleansing the temple of those who were using the worship of His Father for personal monetary gain…

14) And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15) And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;
16) And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
17) And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
(John 2:14-17)

What was the sin that was taking place in this account? “found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:”  In other words, there were men who were making an unjust profit from the sale of animals to be used as sacrifices to Jehovah and from exchanging foreign money to that which was acceptable as an offering to Jehovah. Both of these “services” were being offered to those who had to travel long distances and in most cases came from outside of Israel.

Please note… Christ was not angered at making the animals and proper currency available to those who arrived to worship. His anger was pointed towards taking advantage of the faithful worshippers of Jehovah by making an unjust gain from these transactions. In other words, they had turned a place for true worship into a “house of merchandise”

How did Christ display His anger? It was through the exercise of physical force as He drove the exchangers out of the temple area… “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables
 
This event had been prophesied in the Old Testament scriptures in Psalms 69:7-11. This Scripture is not only the historical account of the sufferings of King David, but it is also a prophetic Scripture revealing to us truths concerning the ministry of Christ during His first coming…

Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
When I wept, [and chastened] my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them. (Psalms 69:7-11)

 

 

Our Lesson To Be Learned:

What a tremendous display of Godly anger! Folks, don’t ever think (not even for a moment) that all anger is wrong. We are to consistently hold a Godly anger against the acts of sin that are taking place all around us. Then, we are to allow this anger to motivate us to stay away from these sins and take a stand against them. This is the principle Paul presented to us in Ephesians 4:26… Be ye angry, and sin not:…”

 

How is this type of anger a display of love?

1. It shows our love, and respect, towards our Lord as we recognize His attitude towards sin and the harm that sin does to His glory and the cause of Christ.
2. It shows our love for others, as we recognize the harmful effects of sin in the lives of those we love.

This anger should also motivate us to earnestly desire and fervently pray that “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

What a day that will be, when we are dwelling in New Jerusalem with our Lord on the New Earth and know that sin, and its effects, will be permanently done away.

 

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
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SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:13f

(Mat 6:13)  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Our Lord is ETERNALLY the King of Kings, the All-powerful Lord over all, who deserves all of our praise and devotion.  He always has been, and always will be, the unmatched God of all creation.

His person, His work, and His Word will never change.

Rejoice in Him knowing that we serve an unchanging Lord, who will always work for His glory (and our good) by being faithful to the promises of His Word.

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/

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SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:13e

(Mat 6:13e)  For thine is … the glory

The Lord’s “glory” speaks of His person (who He is) and His reputation (His revelation of Himself).

Our God stands out exceedingly far above all mankind. He is the Almighty, Creator, King and God of this Universe. He knows all things, is everywhere present and His perfectly sinless and just.  He is our loving, heavenly, Father who has given His all for us. This is why He is worthy of all of our reverence, worship, obedience, and attention.  He deserves to be at the very center of our lives.  This is His “glory”.

As we enter our day, let’s think about how His majesty and greatness.  Let’s take a moment to dwell on who He is.

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/

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SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:13d

(Mat 6:13d)  For thine is … the power…

The Lord is all-powerful.  The Greek word for “power” is the word from which we get “dynamite”.  It describes the type of power that can accomplish any given task.  No matter how great the need; no matter how difficult the situation; no matter how great the temptation… our Lord can intervene and graciously give us the victory.  What a wonderful Lord we serve!

Are you facing a trial that seems impossible to get through?  Be patient and wait on Him. He will do what is for our good.  When we are unable… He is always able!

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 6:13c

(Mat 6:13c)  For thine is the kingdom,…

The Lord Jesus is truly our King.  We are His kingdom.  He is our Ruler… Why?  He has purchased us with His own blood on the cross…

1Pet 1:18-20 (KJV)  “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold…19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

Let’s remember the great price He has paid for us and our need to allow Him to reign in our hearts.  We are His kingdom and owe Him our everything!…

1Cor 6:20 (KJV) “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

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/

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SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:13b

(Mat 6:13) but deliver us from evil:…

As fallen mankind, our lives are imprisoned by our own evil sinfulness much like an explorer is trapped and held by quicksand. We are facing eternal, spiritual death and cannot remove ourselves from this horrible situation.  Our only hope of deliverance is found in the Lord.  He is the One that can reach down and pull us out of sin’s punishment, power and even its very presence (in eternity).

Let’s come before the Lord in a spirit of helplessness and submission, realizing, without His intervention in our lives, we are ensnared by our own sinful desires and awaiting eternal ruin.

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

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                              Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                     SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:13a

(Mat 6:13) And lead us not into temptation, …

We know that the Lord brings temptation upon no man (James 1:13-14).  In other words, in this section of Scripture, we are saying “Please do not allow temptation to overcome me today.”

Two wonderful principles is brought out by this request:

  1. The Lord is watching over us and protecting us from Satan and His temptations.
  2. Our Lord is in control of the tempter (Satan, demons, and this sinful world) and the temptations that we face.  He will never allow a temptation to come our way that we cannot resist through His grace. (1 Cor 10:13)

Let’s thank Him today for His protecting hand upon us!

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

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                     SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:12

SIH TOTT ICON(Mat 6:12)  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Our willingness to forgive the debts of others is an indication of the Lord’s forgiveness of our sin.  After all, if the great debt of our sin has been forgiven by God… how easy it is to forgive the small debts owed to us by others.

Have we ever experienced God’s gracious forgiveness?  If so, forgive those who are indebted to us.  It is one of the greatest ways we can display Christ and His love to those around us.

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

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                            Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                  SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:11

SIH TOTT ICON(Mat 6:11) Give us this day our daily bread.

We are a needy people. We need our spiritual bread (an understanding of His Word) supplied to us every day. Because we possess a physical body, we need our daily physical bread (food, clothing and shelter) provided to us as well.

As we enjoy, and benefit, from the daily blessings… Do we recognize they come from our Lord? Do we partake of them with thankful hearts? By taking the time to request these blessings from Him, we are showing a recognition of our need, an understanding of His grace and appreciation for His divine supplies.

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

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                          Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                  SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:10b

SIH TOTT ICON(Mat 6:10) Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

God’s will is perfectly fulfilled in heaven.  What a different world this would be if we all flawlessly obeyed His will on earth!  No more murder, no more thefts, no lying nor deceit, the list goes on and on.

Let’s all pray that His will be done here on earth…. beginning with our own life.

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

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                    Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:10a

SIH TOTT ICON(Mat 6:10)  Thy kingdom come.

Do we desire for God’s kingdom to come?  If so, we are telling Him that we are willing to submit to His will and desires for our life.  We are saying, Lord, I desire for you to be the King of my life and reign in the world around me.

Are we willing to follow His leadership, as the Lord speaks to us through His Word?

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

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                       Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:9c

SIH TOTT ICON(Mat 6:9c) Hallowed be thy name.

The term “hallowed” refers to “one that is set apart from all others”. Jesus is stating that the “name” of our Heavenly Father is so pure, and special, it is set apart from all others.

The name “Heavenly” reveals to us that He finds His origin in heaven.  He is not of this earthly, sinful world.  His existence is that of eternal perfection far above all mankind.

The name “Father” teaches us that He is the Beginning (Creator) of all.   Also, it helps us to understand that God possesses a love for all which is demonstrated by His care of all creation.  This is in addition to His greater redeeming love He holds towards those he has chosen to save.

Today, let’s praise our Lord for being who He is … our perfect loving Creator who reigns from the heavens!

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

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                     Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                  SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:9b

SIH TOTT ICON(Mat 6:9b) Our Father which art in heaven….

Remember, when we pray, as Christians, we pray to our Heavenly Father who loves and  genuinely works on our behalf AT ALL TIMES…. He will always give us what is best for us.  If the request is not received, it is only because it would harm us.  If the request is postponed, it is being delayed for our benefit.

As we pray, let’s always remember we are praying to One who has a perfect love for us… we can rest knowing He is in control, He knows what is best for us, and He will always bring it to pass.

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

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                           Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:9a

SIH TOTT ICON(Mat 6:9a)  After this manner therefore pray ye:…

As our Lord begins to instruct us on the content of our prayers, He makes it certain we understand that His instructions are not to be repeated word for word in a vain routine.  The Greek word for “manner” puts forth the idea of “following this pattern” or “in this fashion”.

In the preceding verses, He especially emphasizes this principle by saying …”But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”

As we enter into our day and come before Him in prayer, let’s always keep in mind that our prayers should be sincere and personal, flowing from our hearts in an individualized fashion.

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

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                   Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

All That Debate

SIH STSTA ICONHave you ever watched political debates?  Debates take place in the Presidential primary races, the United States Senate and House of Representatives.  Did you ever watch these debates on TV?   These debates can be very amusing and, if I watch long enough, infuriating.   It amazes me to hear how they stand and argue their point of view about any given issue.  In many cases, it is as if they like to hear themselves talk.  They repeat themselves, contradict themselves, make statements they cannot substantiate, and, at times, make no sense.

Do you know what is really sad? It is that this type of behavior isn’t limited to politicians only, but is, and always has been, a part of religious discourse.  The Word of God makes it clear that we have the responsibility to declare and defend His truth to those who are sincerely seeking His Word.  We are to be willing to give our all for the sake of reaching out to those who need and are open to the gospel message.

But there have always been those who, in the guise of seeking the truth, set out to defeat the Word through debate and a humanistic, fleshly understanding of Scripture. How are we to handle those who have already rejected the truth, have closed their mind to the truth, and now want to publically defeat the truth through dialogue, debate and the proclamation of error?

God’s Holy Word has the answer to this question….

THE SCRIPTURE:

 1Tim 6:3-6 (KJV)  If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;  He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,  Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Mark 6:10-11 (KJV)  And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.   And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Matt 7:6 (KJV) Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

THE STUDY:

As we serve our living Lord and Savior, it is so important that we are willing to share the truths of God’s Word to all men, through our lives and our actions.  The Lord describes His followers as the light and salt of this world. (Matt 5:13-16)  By this, He meant that we were living testimonies that showed the light of Christ to a sin darkened world.  We are the salt that makes this sinful world a desirous place in which to live. We are to withhold the truth to no one.  But, what happens when after ministering to others, they close their ears to Christ’s message, devalue His Word, and choose to work for the destruction of the truths that we are attempting to share?

In Matthew 7:6, we are told to cease sharing truth with those who devalue it… “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”  Here, we are given two reasons why we are to cease our ministering to them:

  1. They do not treat the Word with the respect it deserves
  2. They can harm our ministry, and render it useless, by wasting our time ministering to those who it will not benefit.  Also, they can harm our testimony and ministering by using sinful methods to discredit us (lies, false accusations, etc).  It is dangerous to continue to minister to those who have stubbornly determined to oppose the Word at any cost.

(Please Note: These teachings only tell us to cease handing the truth to those who do not want it.  It does not say cease praying for them or loving them etc etc.)

In Mark 6:10-11, the Lord gave His followers specific instructions on dealing with those who reject and oppose the truth that they had proclaimed to them.  His instructions were three-fold…

  1. when ye depart thence,” – no longer minister directly to them begin ministering to others who are in need and more receptive to your ministry.
  2. shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.” – don’t allow the memory of their rejection and treatment of you discourage you.  Leave it all behind and go forward in your next place of ministry, proving that they have not hindered your ministry.
  3. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”  – Remember they are facing God’s wrath, they need a softened heart toward the gospel and its ministers…continue to pray for them, when possible show them your love etc.

Those who hear the truth, and then actively oppose it through their teachings, is described in 1 Timothy 6:3-6.

  1. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

Note those who “consent not” and “teach otherwise”, in other words, we are talking about those who reject and work against the truth.

  1. He is … strifes of words,”

Here, those who oppose the truth are described in detail.  The Lord says that they:

are “proud”

“know nothing”

are “doting questions and strifes of words”  – (plagued with questions and seek to quarrel over the truth we have revealed to them.)

  1. whereof cometh envy… godliness:” – Here we find the results of the questions and quarrels that these men… they produce:

“envy”

“strife” (arguing)

“railings” (speak evil of God)

“evil surmisings” (wicked conclusions)

“Perverse disputings” (twisted and bitter, disagreements)

They are described as :

“men of corrupt minds” (minds that are becoming worse, minds that are decaying)

“destitute of the truth” (total lacking truth)

“supposing that gain is godliness”: (temporal earthly gain can bring about godliness)

  1.  “from such withdraw thyself”.  – Again, a very plain declaration to remove ourselves from ministering to them and proceed to others who will receive the truth we speak.  We cannot force anyone to be saved.  If someone rejects the truth and works against it, we need to commit him into the hands of God and move on.
  2. But godliness with contentment is great gain” – There is no true gain in arguing, twisting God’s Word and cause disagreements about God’s Word… true gain is found in living a life of Godliness, showing God to the world by our words and actions.

This helps us to understand why we are to cease ministering to them and direct our ministry to others

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

Have you been sharing the Word with someone who refuses to accept it?  Do you ever find yourself trying to “force” someone into receiving the truth that they have already clearly rejected?

If this is the case, give them over to the Lord, pray for them, love them, but push them no longer.  Allow the Lord, through His Spirit, to soften their hearts and make them receptive to the truth.  You can save no one…  “Salvation is of the Lord”.

For those who have yet to be saved…

Have you rejected the Word of God that someone has graciously shared with you.  Have you settled in your heart that the Word is untrue and of no benefit to you?   If so, you are treading on very dangerous ground.  There is no guarantee that you will continue to be graced with God’s Word.   Be thankful to those who are sharing His Word with you and receive it knowing that it is meant for your good.

Look to the Lord, believe His Word and trust in Him.   He will not reject those who come to Him.

John 6:37 (KJV) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

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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.”

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Who’s On First, Who’s In Space … or What did you say? (Part #2)

SIH STSTA ICONIn our previous study, we examined the Lord’s teachings on The Proper Preparation for Prayer. (Matt 6:5-8)  We will not begin looking at The Makeup of Our Prayers. (Matt 6:9-13)

THE SCRIPTURE:

And when thou prayest, … For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Mat 6:5-13)

THE STUDY:

After this manner therefore pray ye:

Please note the Lord never said to recite this prayer.  He makes this plain earlier in the context of this prayer. (Matt 6:7-8 – Please see Part #1 for a further explanation).

If we study the phrase “after this manner” we find that the Greek word for this phrase means “in this way” or “following this pattern”.  It does not mean to “use these words” or “repeat after me”.   He is giving us a “pattern” for us to follow as we pray.

As we pray we should express… 

#1 – Our Reverence Of Him

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

We need to recognize His greatness and express that greatness and what it means to us.  In this example Christ is centering on the Father’s greatness by expressing the need for His name to be treated as higher than all other names. “… Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. “  (Neh 9:5)

#2 – Our Desire For His Will To Be Done Above All Else

 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

These two phrases are simply repeating the same point twice:

“Thy kingdom come” – let your kingly rule take perfect control of all things.

“Thy will be done… heaven” – His will is being done perfectly in heaven… we are to desire the same here on earth.

 This has two implications as we pray…

First, we are to desire His will to be done in any issues we bring to Him.

We should follow the perfect example of Christ, who prayed as He sought for the crucifixtion to be taken from Him… “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. “ (Mat 26:39)

Secondly, we should be willing to do whatever He may reveal to us as we seek His guidance for our lives.

Again, we are to follow Christ’s perfect example for us… “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (Joh 4:34)

 #3 – Our Physical Needs

Give us this day our daily bread.

We are to bring all of our physical needs before Him;  our financial, health, and vocational needs, to name a few.

 #4 – Our Spiritual Needs

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

We are to bring before Him our need of forgiveness and our need to treat others as the Lord would treat us.   Repentance for known private, and public, sin in our lives should be dealt with during our prayers. Also, the need for others should be addressed in our prayers.

 #5 – His Leadership For Our Life

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

Acknowledge His sovereignty over all events in our lives and the activities of Satan and demons.  Especially, seek to avoid situations of temptations, relying on His leadership to detour us.

 #6 – Verbally Praise and Glorify Him

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Our prayer is to be made with God’s glory in mind.  Everything that a Christian does is to be done in faith, for God’s glory.  (Roms 14:23, Roms 11:36)  This is the main difference between the sinful moral acts of a lost man and the God pleasing acts of His saints. (Isa 64:6, Eph 2:2)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Prayer is not as complicated as we want to make it… it is simply, honestly, recognizing His greatness and then, by grace, speaking to Him by opening up ourselves and seeking to hear and follow His instructions.

Prayer should be more like approaching a King who is our brother or father.  Approach Him with reverence as God and King, but knowing He is sympathetic towards our every fault and need.

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. “ (1Pe 5:6-7)

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.

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.”

Who’s On First, Who’s In Space … or What did you say? (Part #1)

SIH STSTA ICONAbbott and Costello, the legendary comedy team of the 40s and 50s, was the most famous comedy team of their time, and perhaps, of all time.  Their performance of “Who’s On First?” has passed the test of time, still being enjoyed by all. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfmvkO5x6Ng  “Who’s on First” is an example of a failure to communicate clearly to others .

SETI, The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, originating in the early sixties, is man’s attempt to communicate with aliens from another planet.  After almost 50 years of trying, SETI has, to date, yielded no proof of alien communication with earth, nor the existence of alien life.  It seems to be a serious waste of much needed capital, which could be used to fund many other fields of scientific exploration.  http://www.seti.org

How about the day to day communication that should take place between husband and wife? Most polls indicate that a failure in communication is one of the top three reasons why marriages end in divorce.   Here, a lack of communication causes a rupturing of the family unit and the breaking of marital vows.  This is an extremely serious problem that leads to the ruination of lives.

But there is one other type of communication failure that brings about even worse results… a person’s inability to communicate with Christ.  In the case of the unsaved, his communication ruptured by his sinful condition. (Isa 59:2) The only remedy to restore that communication is God’s forgiveness. (1 John 1:6-10)

However, the Christian can also experience a loss of communion with the Lord.  Christ presents a lesson on communion’s hindrances and remedies for those who are saved and seeking a closer walk with Him….

THE SCRIPTURE:

And when thou prayest, … For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

(Mat 6:5-13)

THE STUDY:

In Part #1 of our study we will be looking at Our Preparation For Prayer. (Matt 6:5-8)

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.   But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Here we find our Lord presenting to us five different principles…

Principle #1 –  We should prepare our hearts to be sincere in our prayers. We need to be SINCERE.   

The Greek word for “hypocrite” is a word that means “to play a role” or “ to be an actor on a stage”. Our prayer life we are not just putting on an act or going through the motions; trying to impress Him or others?  True, Scriptural prayer is entering into sincere communion with our Lord.

Principle #2 – We should enter into our communication with Him as a secret act between Him and us alone.  We need to be SELFLESS

Our heart prepared to meet with Him and Him alone.  This is done by confession of sin and thinking upon His Word.  Also we should have His Word open in front of us as we pray, awaiting to hear from Him during our communion time.  We should be ready to read His Word during this time, knowing He reveals His will for us through His Word.

Principle #3 – We should prepare our heart making sure our motive for prayer is not personal gain but humbling wanting to seek His face and then submit to the His revealed will for our lives. We need to be   SUBMITTED

As His will is revealed to us, we must have a heart prepared to follow His leadership.  As His will is revealed we should place any hindrances aside (no matter what the cost) and immediately seek to align ourselves with His desires.

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Principle #4 – We should be desiring to communicate with the Lord not impress Him.  We need to be SEARCHING

The Lord does not desire for us to be repeating any prayer verbatim, including His model prayer in the following verses.  He desires sincere communication that is simply being transparent and speaking the truth from the heart.  Which would mean more to our spouse… having a friend of ours write a poem  of love that we could read , or for us to simply open our heart and proclaim our love in our own words?

 Principle #5 – We should be dwelling on His greatness, His knowledge of all things and His ability to change any circumstance if it is His will to do so.  We need to be SEEING

 As we enter into prayer our hearts should be filled with a knowledge of His greatness.  In prayer, we are coming before the Sovereign Lord of all.  We should be in awe and appreciation for His wanting to meet with us.  We should be joyful knowing He is the One who can truly meet every need in our life.  Nothing is too hard for Him.

As we pray, our heart should be:

Sincere

Selfless

Submitted

Searching

Seeing

In Part #2 of our study we will be looking at The Makeup of our Prayers. (Matt 6:9-13)

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.

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.”

Is God Impressed With Our Impressions?

SIH STSTA ICONI have always been “impressed” with impersonators.  The first person that I saw do impressions was Rich Little; the man is fabulous.  To this day, I think he is, perhaps, the most talented impersonator to ever live.  (You can see a small sampling of his work here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= 78sSn3E_Vvc)  Many others have tried to follow in Rich’s footsteps, and I’m impressed with most of them, but in my opinion none have excelled like Rich.

Well, there may be one exception to that, a man by the name of Frank Caliendo.  I think that, just maybe, he’s got what it takes to be the next Rich Little.  (If you have never seen Frank’s performances, here’s a sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uc1FBGEUGs&feature=related)

Anyhow, as entertaining as impressions can be, pretending to be someone we are not, has no place in our spiritual lives….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward…. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward…. (Mat 6:1-7)

THE STUDY:

It is only natural for us to want to receive the approval of others around us.  As children, we were naturally inclined to want to please our parents and other adults around us.  Because of this innate desire, we have a big choice to make… be ourselves or be an impersonator.

As a child I could chose honestly, and openly, to obey my parents by submitting to their desires. By doing this, I would be pleasing them.  My other choice was to do an impression of an obedient child, while disobeying them behind their back. In this case, their approval was not legitimate, but coerced by me.

I’m afraid many of us, as “religious” people, are living like the disobedient child.  We are outwardly, appearing to others as if we are “spiritual” servants of God; while, in reality, we do not have a true faith-based relationship with the Lord of the Universe.  We are leaving a “spiritual” impression on the people by being “religious”, while secretly in our hearts, we are not right with God.  [There is a tremendous difference between being “religious” (ie performing outward acts of worship) and being “spiritual” (ie having a personal relationship with God)].

The perfect examples of this are the “religious” Pharisees of the scriptures.  Note in our text, they were doing public acts of worship and prayers that made them look “spiritual”, appearing as if they have a relationship with God.  They were, probably the best impersonators of their day.

Their impersonations fooled many people into thinking they were “spiritual” giants.  But do you notice the One that was not fooled by them?  It was the Lord who searches the hearts of all men (Jer 17:10).

Note His response “ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven”; and He goes further to explain that their only reward they will receive is the earthly praise of other men.  The Lord knew exactly what the Pharisees were doing… they could fool other men, even themselves, but certainly not their God.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

All mankind will stand before their Lord someday (Hebs 9:27) … because of this, we all need to make certain that we have a valid relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  There are many individuals who are on perilous spiritual grounds; they have impersonated being a follower of Christ until they have not only fooled others, but have also fooled themselves.  Note our Lord’s account of what will take place at the final judgment to those who have deceived themselves through the performance of religious acts…

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Mat 7:22-23)

So what are we to do?  How can we avoid such an end?  The Lord makes it clear what He desires to see in each of our lives…

… what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? (Deu 10:12-13)

He desires to see a person that is fully trusting and loving Him with all their heart and soul.  When this type of heart-felt love and trust is present, you will see it manifested by acts of outward obedience.  In other words, true faith and love produces acts of willful obedience in the life of true children of God. This is unlike the Pharisees whose outward acts did not spring from faith, but from deceit with a motive to mislead and impress.

Are all outward acts of worship sinful?  Of course not, the Lord is pleased with our outward acts of worship, when they are based upon love for Him and a desire to set a proper example for others.  It all comes down to the “thoughts and intents” of our hearts.  So my final question for each of us to consider today is not…. “Do we pray?” or “Do we attend church?” or “Have we walked down an aisle?” or “Have we been baptized?”  or “Do we read our Bible” or  “ Do we receive our churches’ sacraments?”  or “ Have we said the sinner’s prayer?”   My final question for us to consider is …“Is our heart right with God?”

“…as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes…”  (1Ki 14:8)

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.

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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.”