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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.”

Eureka!, An Ideal City… With A Catch

SIH STSTA ICONEureka is a TV show currently being shown on the SyFy channel.  It’s unique plot line has made it my favorite show currently being aired. http://www.syfy.com/eureka/index.php  I would recommend it for all ages, it is an entertaining, and educational, family oriented show.  The show is about a city that was created by the US government to house all of the greatest thinkers of the day.   You have rocket scientists, brain surgeons, quantum physicists, all the best minds inhabiting one city.  You would think if there was one city that had all its problems handled it would be this one.  Because it is filled with geniuses, they should be able to handle any problem that comes their way.  The interesting thing is this… they actually create their own problems.  Many times, an individual scientist goes “rogue” and botches up an experiment that causes problems for the entire city.

And there is a real life lesson that can be learned from all of this…If a group is not unified in their goal… they are not unified at all.  How true this is in real life… and how true is it amongst many Christian groups today….

There is a clamoring for “unity” claiming the Bible teaches all Christian denominations (Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Brethren, Presbyterian, etc.)  should be unified in spite of doctrinal differences… this is called the “Ecumenical Movement”.

There is another movement called the “Interfaith Movement” that teaches that there should be unity between the different faiths of the world (Christian, Islam, Buddhist, Jewish, etc) to cooperate in promotion of better relations between each group. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecumenism

I would like to examine the Scriptures to see if that is really what the Bible teaches…. Should all religions unify in promoting spirituality, or, should all Christians unify in worship and service in the midst of doctrinal disagreements?

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Joh 4:23-24)

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  (Mat 15:7-9)

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.  (Eph 4:11-16)

THE STUDY:

There can be no doubt that one of the main goals of Christ’s work on the cross was to create a unified body of believers; note these quotations…

“he should gather together in one” – Joh 11:51-53;

“that they also may be one in us… that they may be one, even as we are one…” Joh 17:20-23;

“for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross… Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” Eph 2:11-22)

Yes, undoubtedly, the Lord desires for His followers to be unified.  The question isn’t “Should we all be unified?”  The real question is “Can we unify without holding to the same set of beliefs?”

Our set of scripture references addresses this question. Note that our Lord gives the parameters for true, Godly worship to take place….

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Joh 4:23-24) 

Here, He clearly states that a sincere spirit must be present with the truth of His Word for true worship to take place.  This is a real troublesome passage for those who believe that all denominations or religions should overlook their differences for the sake of unity.  The Lord clearly states that “the truth” must be sincerely held to for true worship to take place.

Let me give you two examples of truth versus error:

1.  Is it true that the Bible states that salvation can be found in Christ alone? (Act 4:10-12)

If so, every religion that exists, apart from Christianity, is teaching error.  Under this truth/error test can all religions gather and share in worship?

2.  Is it true that the Bible teaches salvation is by grace and through faith and not by the works of man? (Eph 2:7-9)

Again, let me ask… if this is the case, what about all the Christian denominations that mix works with salvation?  Can we all unite in the name of Christ and worship together when there is such great error being taught?

People are dying and going to hell by believing there is salvation in another besides Christ, or because they are relying on their good works to save themselves.  How can we be united in the promotion of error?  Folks, this should not be.

These are just two examples of many different MAJOR doctrinal issues that I could be presenting to outline the stark differences between the different religions and the different denominations.  The issue is clear… when an important doctrine (one that salvation hinges) is disagreed upon, there can be no unity in worship.

What would happen if we tried to unite?  Our second passage refers to this by stating….

 “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. “ (Mat 15:7-9) 

 This Scripture speaks for itself.  This is the end of all who choose to unite without a sincere belief in Biblical truth.

So what is the remedy for this?  Everyone must accept the truth first, and then, unite for the cause of Christ.  How do we do this?  Here’s where our third Scripture reference comes in….

 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”  (Eph 4:11-16)

We are to learn from Godly men who are proclaiming the truths of His Word.  As we learn we will come together in doctrinal unity, unified around the Word and not around the teachings of man.  This is God’s way of unification.  This is the type of unity that pleases our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The next obvious question is this… How can we know who is a teacher of truth and not a teacher of error?

We are to live like the Bereans…

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. (Act 17:10-12)

By searching the Scriptures in our own personal studies, to affirm what is taught to us by men, the Holy Spirit will lead us to teachers of the truth… This is our responsibility.  To compare what our teachers are saying with what the Word says.  This is the only way we can discern truth from error.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Any true Christian, when confronted with the truth of His Word, would choose to worship in “spirit and truth” as compared to worshipping the Lord in vain… this is the simple choice that is at hand for us all.

Will we take a stand for the truth and unite with other Bible believing and proclaiming Christians for the cause of Christ… or will we unite with all “religious people” and get unity for unity’s sake??  I’m afraid today, for the sake of numbers of followers, many are compromising the truth for the sake of acceptance and promotion among other groups.  Shame on us.  May the Lord be merciful to us as sinners.

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.”

Go To The Light… and it ain’t the Ghost Whisperer Talkin!

SIH STSTA ICON

Anyone who has watched the TV show Ghost Whisperer, has heard the phrase “Go to the light” at least two to three times an episode.  (see more about this here… http://www.youtube.com/show?p=yaJn4TCMqCQ&s=5&clips=1)

Why does she tell them to “Go to the light”?  According to the show, it is because it is only “in the light” that those who have died can find final peace, forgiveness and the resulting rest in the afterlife.  In the series, however, it is never clearly explained what “the light” is.

Similarly, in the modern day “near death experience”, going to a light, or seeing a bright light during an out of body experience is commonplace.  These accounts do not include any explanation of this light with few, if any exceptions.

I’m not going to look at the Scriptural implications of the “going to the light” idea, or all the events that make up a “near death experience;” that is for another day and time.  But, I would like to look at the Bible’s teachings on a “light” that will give us forgiveness, peace, and rest; in this life and in the afterlife as well…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  (Joh 8:12)

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (Joh 9:5)

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 5:15-16)

THE STUDY:

John 8:12:

Christ describes Himself as “the Light of the World”.  He then goes on to explain why He possesses that title.  He says that “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  In other words, if we are a follower of Christ, we will not be spiritually blind any longer, but He will open our blinded eyes, allowing us to be understanding of His words and in receipt of spiritual life now and throughout eternity.

John 9:5:

Christ makes it plain that He will be the Light of the World as long as He is present in this world.  But what then?…..

Matthew 5:15-16:

In the context, Christ is speaking to those who have placed their trust in Him as Lord and Savior, and are now followers of Him.   He says that, in His absence from the earth, we are now the Light of the World, shining forth His Word as a candle shines forth its light.  How do we shine forth that light?  Through our words and our works we reflect the light of Christ to this world, which results in His Father being glorified.

The above picture was painted by my wonderful wife, Eva Barkman.  Her picture of a lighthouse can represent our Lord Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who shines forth for all to see.  Her description reflects that thought….. “A lighthouse always reminds me of our great Lord, who is the light of the world to all who will see Him (the saved).  When things get dark and depressing, it’s a blessing to have the one true light of Jesus Christ to guide your way.”

(My thanks to Eva for allowing me to use her picture in this posting… Also the “Settled In Heaven” banner at the top of this page is a combination of her “Calvary” painting and her digital captioning.

If you would like a blessing… visit her website for more of her paintings and their Scriptural applications…. http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com/ )

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved, is your life reflecting Christ to the world?  Or, I could ask the same question in a different way…. When someone looks at our life, do they see Christ?  That’s what being a witness for Christ is all about.  By bearing the fruits of the Spirit (Gals 5:22-23, Eph 5:8), we are letting our light shine in the world.   This light then reveals Christ and glorifies the Father in the eyes of all those around us.

Stop and think about it…if we do not reflect the light of Christ into this world, who will?  Since Christ is now no longer physically in this world, it is an ABSOLUTE necessity that we reflect His light, and shine it forth in the midst of a sin darkened world. (Acts 13:47, 1 Ptr 2:9)

Do we have a loved one whose spiritual condition is a burden to us?  Have you been praying for an acquaintance to come to a saving relationship with Christ?  If you answered “yes” to either of these questions then my next question to you is this… Are you displaying Christ’s light to them through your words and actions?   You can do this by telling them what Christ has done for you; then, live a life before them that honors the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.   There is no stronger witness than to have a Godly life supporting the Godly message we are delivering… this is our Lord’s way to be an effective witness for Him.

I know in today’s time we have all the “modern” ways of evangelizing the lost around us. All I can say is this…. Our Lord’s way of evangelizing is the ONLY way to be an effective witness for Him…. He made that way clear by telling us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. To depart from this is to depart from the will and ways of our Father in heaven.

For those who have never been saved, “Go to the light”!   Not the way the ghost whisperer means it… but, in the way the Bible means it.  We are to experience His gracious intervention in our life, abhor our sin, fall at His feet and humbly seek the salvation only He can give.  (2 Cor 4:6, Eph 5:14)

(For much more information on this subject please read, with an opened Bible, the blog page entitled “salvation”.  On this page you will find various blog entries dealing totally with salvation.)

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.”

Oh, How Good It Looks… Oh, How Bad It Is For You

SIH STSTA ICONOne of my weaknesses is my desire for a cheeseburger.  I love cheeseburgers…. Burger King Whoppers with cheese to be exact.  But actually, how can anyone find fault with me?  Just take a look at this Burger King Whopper commercial…. (be forewarned, I don’t know how anyone can resist this!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pltp_xNrego

After having a mild heart attack about 5 years ago, it is for my good that I don’t make a habit of eating these babies.  It seems as if ever since I was told to “lay off the Whoppers” that I have only wanted them more.  We have all experienced something like this… temptation is universal, everyone has experienced it at one time or another.

Sadly, this universal experience is one of the greatest hindrances we face to living a faithful, obedient Christian life.  Why does temptation make such an impact in a Christian’s life?  How can we overcome such a strong influence?  Let’s see what the Bible has to say about temptation…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1Jn 2:15-17)

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Gen 3:6)

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. (Mat 4:1-11)

THE STUDY:

1 John 2:15-17

Here, we find the three basic areas of attack that temptation takes… the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.  These are the three types of sinful desires we all have within us.  These are the areas that temptation appeals to and to which we submit, producing sin in our lives. (James 1:13-15)

Genesis 3:6

Here, we read of the very first temptation of mankind.  Note the three areas attacked by Satan during his temptation of man:

the tree was good for food” (lust of the flesh);

it was pleasant to the eyes” (lust of the eyes);

a tree to be desired to make one wise” (the pride of life).

This is a consistent pattern throughout the Scriptures.  Every temptation that is enacted upon man is aimed at one (or more) of these three types of sinful desires we all possess.

Matt 4:1-11

In this account, we have the temptation of Christ brought into view. Notice that, again, temptation’s attack is in a three-fold direction:

command that these stones be made bread” – Christ’s hunger after His fasting (this would have appealed to His desires of the flesh)

If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down:… lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” – By doing this, Christ would be proving to everyone His divine origin (this would have appealed to His desire to exalt Himself or His pride of life)

The devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, …if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” – This was appealing to the sight of all the kingdoms of the world.  (By doing this the temptation involved the desires of His eyes)

In each case, a similar area of Christ’s life was being attacked (just like in the other two examples we looked at.)  However, in the case of Christ, we have a perfectly sinless response to these temptations.  Why?  Christ’s did not have a sinful nature that fallen mankind possesses.  This is one reason why Christ was perfectly able to resist these temptations.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

For our benefit, Christ clearly displayed the method in which to overcome any temptation that we may face.  Please notice, in each of the three attacks by Satan, the Lord used the Word of God to gain the victory over Satan.   “It is written”, “it is written”, “it is written”; was Christ’s constant refrain.

In each case Satan lied (John 8:44), in each case Christ refuted the lie by going to the source of all truth, God’s Word.

Satan can use our friends, our family, even our experiences to lie to us.  The only sure source of truth we can rely on is the Word of God.  If anything in our life leads us contrary to Scripture, we must put it aside, and follow the Scripture exclusively.

The example of Christ, once again, speaks to us concerning the importance of Bible study and memorization for the Christian.  It is truly the only offensive weapon we have to deflect Satan’s attacks against us. (Eph 6:14-17)

Another lesson from Christ’s example is the need to take special care when we see a weakness in any of these three areas in our life.  We should be constantly striving for control of our pride, control of our eyes and control of our fleshly desires.  When these begin to dominate us, we are headed for defeat.

For those who have never submitted to the Lord…

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. (Jas 1:13-15)

Without the forgiveness of Christ, spiritual, eternal death is the end result of temptations workings in mankind.  The only remedy for this is to look to Christ, the life-giver, who gave Himself on the cross so that we might share eternal life with Him. (2 Tim 1:8-10)

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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.”

The Year 2012, The 66 Ancient Books, and File 13… Or, How Does It All Affect Us? (Part #4)

 SIH STSTA ICONIn the previous parts to our study in Matthew 24, we’ve seen:

Part #1 – The Lord does not show the exact time of His coming to man, nor angels.

Part #2 – There are ten groups of signs pointing to His second coming in this chapter.  All of them currently exist today and many of them are increasing in frequency and intensity.

Part #3 – When Jesus comes back in the clouds, He will take His followers from the earth to live with Him.  Then, He will begin the final phase of His plans for earth; judging unsaved mankind and then bringing the world to an end.

Now in our final section of Matthew 24, we will be seeing the results to all of these events and our responsibility concerning them.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. … The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (Mat 24:32-51)

THE STUDY:

The Lord now begins to summarize and complete His teachings on the subject of His coming and the end of the world…

Vs 32-33 – The Lord uses the picture of a fig tree to describe how we are to use the signs of His coming.  Just like the leaves on a fig tree is proof summer is almost here; so, too His signs.  As we see His signs taking place around us, it is a clear certain indicator that His coming is drawing closer.

Vs 34-36 – The Lord emphasizes the truthfulness of all He has taught to us.  I am the first to admit some of these things are hard to grasp and imagine in our finite minds.  But by faith, we know these things will take place, just as He said, irregardless of the level of our understanding of it!

In these verses “this generation” is describing the “generation” that exists on the earth between His ascension and His second coming.  He is separating this one segment of time from all the other segments throughout history.  Why does He single out this segment of time?  That is the segment in which the signs of His coming exist.

Vs 37-39 – He compares the status of men in Noah’s day with the status of men in this generation.

Noah’s day is characterized by selfish living, centering on the fulfillment of fleshly desires; in other words, a big “party time”.   How did the Lord deal with this attitude?   He brought judgment upon an unsuspecting lost world after protecting His people.

In today’s time we see the same basic attitude of man.  How will He deal with this again?  He will once again, bring judgment upon a lost world after protecting His people!

Vs 40-42 – How will the Lord protect His people from the wrath to come?  He will take His people from the earth while He leaves the lost behind.  Our responsibility is to be watching the signs and to be always prepared for Him to come and take us home.

Vs 43-44 – The saved will take their responsibility to be ready very seriously. They will make sure their salvation is genuine; they will be ready for the Lord to come.

Those who neglected Christ’s coming by not taking care of their spiritual condition will suffer a loss when He comes.  In this way, His coming is much like that of a thief.  If the homeowner is not prepared, then the thief can come unexpectedly and cause the homeowner great loss.

Vs 45-51 – Salvation and living a faithful life is needed to live a prepared life.  Living a faithful life is wisely investing the time and the opportunity the Lord has given us.  This results in receiving rewards at His coming.

The unprepared believe His coming is far off, they will not trust Him, not serve Him with their lives. The reward they receive will be eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire.

The person who is prepared to meet the Lord is described as a “faithful and wise servant” for obvious reasons.  But, why would those lacking salvation and faithful service be called an “evil servant”?  How can he be called a “servant” of God?  He didn’t serve Him with his life. This is a very important principle…

By this, the Lord meant that all mankind is under His authority.  He is Creator and Lord of both saved and lost.  They are all held responsible to serve Him. In other words, they are His “servant”.  Are all men responsible to serve Him?  YES.  “Are all men fulfilling their responsibility to serve Him?”  NO.  Many choose to rebel and disobey Him. They are still servants but, just as He describes, they are “evil servants”.

SUMMARY:

So to close, let me first thank you for being willing to invest some of your time into reading this 4 part blog.  This series was much more in depth, and had much more detail in it, than any of my other blog entries.  The subject was so important, and the chapter held so much information, it was hard for me to “skim over it”.  Thank you again for your patience.

Next, I would suggest, you should go back and re-read any part that is unclear to you.  Also, I’ll be glad to try to answer any questions you may have, feel free to email me.

Thirdly, allow me to offer one question for all of us to answer honestly, and seriously, knowing we are in the presence of Almighty God….

If we would stand before the Lord today and answer for our lives; what title would we receive?  Would He say we are a “faithful and wise servant” or are we an “evil servant”?

I believe, after examining this chapter and looking at the world around us, we can see that His coming is closer today than ever before.  I see no reason why He could not come today.  We must be sure that we have this issue settled before it is eternally too late.  Remember, we have no promise of tomorrow.  There are some of us who may not see another day on this earth.

So what do we do?  How can we be sure that we are prepared to meet our God?    The Word of the Lord contains the answers for us and it makes clear that we must totally submit to the Lord trusting in Him, His Word, and His Work…

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”(Heb 12:2)

with Bible in hand, read the following passages…

(Isa 53:1-12, Acts 8:35-37, Acts 13:30-32, Roms 4:20-25, Roms 10:8-11, Eph 2:1-22, 1 John 5:1-4)

If you have any questions about salvation feel free to email me, I’ll be glad to help you any way that I can.  Or, you can go to any church that teaches God’s Word, they will be glad to help you as well.

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.”

The Year 2012, The 66 Ancient Books, and File 13… Or, The Signs Of His Coming (Part #2)

SIH STSTA ICONIn part number one of this series, we saw that the exact time of Christ’s coming and the end of the world would not be revealed to any man, nor angel, but only to God alone.  (Matt 24:3-6, Matt 25:13, 2Pet 3:10)  Also, because mankind will not be told of the exact time of Christ’s return, His return is described as if a thief was coming in the night. (1 Thess 5:1-11).

These teachings of God, bring into question the year 2012 theory for His return.  According to the most popular version of the theory, the world is coming to an end on Dec 21, 2012.  We know the Lord clearly says that He will not reveal the exact time of His coming; because of this the 2012 theory must be labeled unscriptural and, therefore, false.

We will now pickup with our Matt 24: study by looking at Christ’s teachings concerning the signs of his coming and the end of the world (Matt 24:3-28)

THE SCRIPTURE:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? …. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.  (Mat 24:3-28)

THE STUDY:

Matt 24:3 – The context of our study… Christ is answering the question, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

The 10 great groups of signs pointing to His coming and the end of the world’:

Sign #1 – Matt 24:4-5 – The appearance of men who will claim to be anointed by God, but they will deliver a false message, some will even claim to be Christ Himself.  (2 Cor 11:13-15, 2 Thess 2:3 )

Sign #2 – Matt 24:6- Wars will take place, combined with threatening of wars about to take place.

Don’t let these things surprise you, they are a part of God’s plan and must take place before the end. (Luk 21:9)

Sign #3 – Matt 24:7- Nations will oppose nations economically, politically etc.  Also, famines will take place with deadly diseases and earthquakes.  All of these things will take place in a variety of different, multiple places. (Ezek 14:21, Luke 21:11, 25-26)

Matt 24:8 – All the above signs (vs 4-7) are described as beginning of “sorrows”.  The Greek word for sorrows means “birth pains”.  The above signs are compared to birth pains, i.e. they will increase in frequency and intensity as the end times grow closer.  Much like a woman’s birth pains increase in frequency and intensity before the child is born.

Sign #4 – Matt 24:9 – This speaks of the persecution of the followers of Christ. This includes physical, emotional, social, and economic abuse of God’s people. (John 15:19-20, Rev 2:10, Rev 6:9-10)

Sign #5 – Matt 24:10 – Disagreements, legal disputes, hurt feelings, physical confrontations will take place between individuals.  These will stir up hatred for one another.  (Matt 10:21,35-36,  Matt 13:21)

Sign #6 – Matt 24:11 – Many men will teach a message of error, yet claim it is God’s Word. This is speaking of false religions that teach salvation is received apart from Christ. (1 John 4:1)

Sign #7 – Matt 24:12- Sin will be rampant as love for one another dwindles. Natural types of love will decrease (parents for child, man for woman, child for parents, etc.) Perverted, selfish lust will be on the rise. (Mark 13:12, Luk 21:16, Roms 1:26-32)

Matt 24:13 – One of the greatest marks of those who are saved is consistent service to Him. Perseverance in service to the Lord is one of the greatest proofs of genuine salvation.

Sing #8 – Matt 24:14- Worldwide gospel outreach by ministries of the Lord.

Sign #9 – Matt 24:15 – The Abomination of Desolation is Daniel’s account of the Hebrew temple being

defiled.  This was done by the Antiochus Epiphanes in 170 BC when he slew the pig on the Israelite altar. (see for more info – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abomination_of_Desolation) .

This ceremonial defilement of the altar is a picture of God’s worship being defiled today through false teachings and harboring of sin in worship.  This sign is about sin and error creeping into the Lord’s assemblies causing the true worship of Him to be defiled. (Daniel 9:-12:, 2 Pet 2:1-3, Rev 2:12-17)

Matt 24:16-20 – All of the above events will be unstoppable and world-wide, causing even God’s people to flee in terror, knowing that these things cannot be overcome by mankind’s efforts.

Matt 24:21-22 – At the completion of these signs, the Great Tribulation will be ready to commence.  The Great Tribulation would even destroy God’s people, but the Lord will intervene and take them home before the GT begins.

Sign #10 – Matt 24:23-28 – False accounts of Christ’s return will radically multiply as the end draws near. These false teachings will include Him physically coming back to the earth. These false claims about His return will give support to the rise of false Christs with miracle working powers coming on the scene.  They will be empowered through Satanic intervention deceiving virtually all men (with the exception of genuine believers. (2 Thess 2:9-11, Rev 13:13-14)

Only God’s people will reject these false teachings. Christ’s true followers will understand the Biblical teachings about His second coming.  They will understand He will come in the clouds and take His people to heaven to be with Him.  He WILL NOT return to the earth at this point in time.

(Note: I have included a few extra verses with each sign to supplement this study.  There are many, many more verses I could have included but the length of this study restrained me.)

THE SUMMARY:

By looking at the above list of signs of His coming and the end of the world, it is plain to see that we are living in the last days.  Every one of these signs has already appeared and many have become much more frequent and intense.

Although there is no way I can know exactly when he will come, I believe it will be soon… in any case, we all can echo Paul’s sentiments in Rom 13:11-14:

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

In the next part of our blog series we will be looking at our long-awaited event, the second coming of our Lord.

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.”

The Year 2012, The 66 Ancient Books, and File 13… Or, The End Of The World Revealed (Part #1)

SIH STSTA ICON2012… just four little numbers that in the past few years have become a BIG DEAL!  What used to be simply a descriptor, for a 12 month segment of time on coming calendars, has become synonymous with the end of all mankind.  How did this happen?  Well, to tell you the truth, I think it takes a Mayan scholar and historian to really get the answer straight; there is much controversy over the whole theory.  I can’t read the Mayan language, nor do I understand how the Mayans went about creating their calendar; so to be fair to supporters of this theory, I think I’ll leave the explanation of all this to them.  If you are interested this link may help you…  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon

As far as I’m concerned, the only area of interest for me is … “What does God’s Word say about the world ending in 2012?”   From my perspective, God’s Word (made up of 66 separate books, Genesis – Revelation) is the only reliable authority on this whole issue.  Therefore, if God’s Word teaches that the world ends in 2012… so be it, then that proves to me that the Mayan’s had it right all along; but, if God’s Word proves the 2012 theory is baloney…. that settles it for me… I’m placing my faith in my Lord, and His Word, and I’m delegating the 2012 theory to my trash can (file 13).  (If anyone is interested in why I count God’s Word as the ultimate authority in matters like this, please refer to my previous blog entry on the Bible and Science: http://bit.ly/bYDWbZ for more info)

THE SCRIPTURE:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? … But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only… Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  (Mat 24:3, 36, 42; see also Matt 25:13, 2 Pet 3:10)

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.  (1Th 5:1-11)

THE STUDY:

Matthew chapter 24 is a record of the teachings of Christ on the subject of His second coming and the events surrounding the end of the world:

Matthew 24:1-3…

If you notice, the question that initiated the Lord’s teachings of Matthew 24 is found in verse 3 …” Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

So clearly, the context of this chapter is the second coming of Christ and the end of the world.  To say otherwise is to deny the context of this chapter.

(Please note, the “things” being referenced in verse 3 was the destruction of the temple by Rome a few years later in 70 AD by Roman general Titus.  This brought an end to the Hebrew worship of Jehovah in Jerusalem and began the time period we call the “latter days”.)

Matthew 24:4-28

In these verses, the Lord describes the different events leading up to His second coming. An in-depth look at these signs will be presented in Part #2 of this blog series.

Matthew 24:29-31

The coming of Christ is described as he takes His followers to heaven to be with Him. A closer look at these verses will follow in Part #3 of this blog series.

Matthew 24:32-51

Here our responsibility to look for the signs and to be ready for His coming is brought into view.  These verses we’ll look at in detail in Part #4

Note in verse 36 and verse 42 …

He clearly says in verse 36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

And then in verse 42, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

In the context, watching the signs of His coming, He makes it plain that, as we watch, we should not expect the exact time to be revealed to us!   In other words, the signs are to help us know the basic time frame of His return, but we will not know exactly when He is coming.

He explicitly states that no man, nor angel would ever know the exact time of His coming.  Even Christ, while on earth, as a human, who did not exercise His divine attributes (Phil 2:5-8), did not know the time of His second coming.  (Just a note here…. I believe that since Christ is ascended and has begun to exercise His divine attributes and authority, (Phil 2:9-11) He now knows when the second coming will take place.)

This same principle is also brought out in the Scriptures in our other text, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

In other words, Paul did not need to write to the believers in Thessalonica about the times and seasons of Christ’s second coming because Christ had already addressed the topic.   But even though they already had teachings on the signs, there would be no specific announcement of when He would come.  In that sense, He would be coming as a thief, unannounced and unexpected by many.

SUMMARY OF OUR STUDY SO FAR:

So for this blog entry, it is important for us to see that Christ gave us signs marking a basic time frame of His coming.   However, the coming of Christ and the end of the world, will not be announced with any exact date. He specifically teaches that no man, nor angel will be shown the time of His coming.   It is a truth only known by the Triune God.

By the way, good old “2012 theory” is already rattling around in my file 13, and we are only one-fourth finished with our study!

My next blog entry will answer the question, “What are the signs of His second coming?” from Matt 24:4-28.

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.

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.”