Tuesday, December 23, 2014

JEWELS from the GOSPEL of JOHN - JN. 1:35-39 - The LEADER That Is The LAMB

The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.

JOHN 1:35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

John the Baptist identifies Jesus for the second time (the first in vs. 29, the day before) as the LAMB of GOD, presenting the very familiar idea of the sacrificial lamb upon the altar of sacrifice, yet this was a man, the God-Man and no mere Levitically approved animal to be slaughtered in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Scripture speaks abundantly of the Messiah of Israel Who would die for the sins of the people. Jesus proclaimed Himself as the Messiah (JOHN 4:25) and if one does a careful study of the Messianic Scriptures in the Old Testament, they clearly present the Messiah as both man and God. 

The disciples at this point are unaware of course, that this Man that John points out to them is God Incarnate, walking in their midst; but they know that this is the One that John has been preaching about, the One that the Baptist anticipated would come, the One that he was preparing the way for (ISAIAH 40:3). So these two follow Jesus and that is the wisest course of action that any human being can take - to follow Him. Yet are we not, as sinners, powerless to walk as He walked (1 JOHN 2:6)? These would soon learn that to follow Jesus in Truth, in the Spirit of Truth, would require the Spirit of grace - One and the same Spirit (JOHN 1:17) - indwelling them and empowering them to truly walk after Jesus in the spiritual sense of the word.

They merely ask Him where He is dwelling, perhaps at a loss of words for what to say. The LORD of Glory, whose glory they beheld as He lived His holy life before them (JOHN 1:14) responded with an invitation "Come and see" and yet as the LORD God, YHWH He could have easily declared:

Isaiah 57:15 
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

At this time of year we ponder the glory and wonder of the blessed event of the First Advent of the MESSIAH, the CHRIST, the LORD Jesus; what a mystery it is, beyond the human mind's capacity to comprehend that He Who inhabits eternity - that realm of reality that exists outside of the created continuum of space/time - stepped into this capsule of temporal existence and took on flesh and blood. Fully God and fully man - the GOD Man, the blessed bridge that would span the gap between the HOLY God and sinful man.
He took on this body, born of a virgin and thus without the taint of sin attributed to mankind, for He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit of God, and showed us the Father (by presenting Himself Who is One with the Father), and the way to Him (JOHN 14:6,9). 

That way would be known to the contrite and humble spirit, and such would be revived by the indwelling Spirit of Christ, Who would not only dwell in the high and holy place of eternity but also in the hearts of His disciples: temples all, of the Holy Spirit (1 COR. 6:19).

We as saints no longer have to go and find where Jesus dwells and fellowship with Him there; we have His Spirit dwelling within us and so fellowship is just a whispered prayer of worship away, and to partake of the Bread of Life, we break such together with our LORD as we commune in the Scripture, both corporately in the church and singly in our devotional times. 

We follow Him, our LEADER, our LORD, the LAMB of GOD in the way that He leads us - in knowing our nature that in its sinful state still requires mortification (putting to death); and in knowing Him, the Author of Life and partaking of His life in renewing our minds (ROM. 12:1-2) to become more like our LORD Jesus and walk with Him - in the way everlasting!

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

The next installment in this series will examine JOHN 1:41-42, entitled The SAND and STONE.

Friday, November 14, 2014


The definition of "identity" is as follows from Your Dictionary:

"The definition of identity is who you are, the way you think about yourself, the way you are viewed by the world and the characteristics that define you."

Here is another one from the same source:

"The condition or fact of being a specific person or thing; individuality; the characteristics and qualities of a person, considered collectively and regarded as essential to that person's self-awareness; the condition of being the same as a person or thing described or claimed."

We become self-aware at a very early age, even before we learn to talk. From those tender and few years of life the image of ourselves begins to develop. What molds that image are many varied factors such as those listed above.

Along with talents, abilities, and other things, is our personality which determines how we respond to those factors as they impact our lives will form our identity. We view ourselves as successful, capable, and winners or failures, incapable, and losers depending on all of these variables.

I have met people who in my own estimation have a competent level of intelligence, and yet they consider themselves to be stupid or morons - only because they've had such assertions drilled into them by their parent(s) or teachers or other persons of authority for years. The same goes for looks; I've seen attractive (even extraordinarily attractive) people who believe themselves ugly only because that's what they've been told since they were knee high. People often have a very low (and inaccurate) estimation of their abilities and strengths just because they heard mean-spirited and repetitious words spoken to them - like, "you're no good" and "you'll never amount to anything."

Or even if such words aren't ever spoken, some children simply never excel and are either content or not motivated enough as were their parents or siblings who have 'made something of themselves' and are living 'the American dream' of prosperity and live a life style of the upper class. As a result, the low acheiver may feel themselves to be worthless, inept, or that somehow something is wrong with them.

On the flip side of this, there are those who esteem themselves far too highly (self-esteem) and as far as our general feeling about ourselves go, we all more or less think too highly of ourselves. I love how Dave Hunt illustrated this:

He was having a discussion with someone who claimed that they hated themselves. Dave tried to assure them that they really didn't, quoting from EPH. 5:29. Yet they insisted that they really did hate themselves. "OK," said Dave, "why do you hate yourself?"
"Because I'm fat and clumsy and I never have anything intelligent to say, all sorts of reasons!"
"Well, that proves that you don't hate yourself," replied Dave.
"What?!" the person exclaimed.
"Did you ever feel bad because an enemy of yours, someone that you hate, was fat or clumsy or never have anything intelligent to say?" 
The person just stood there, non-plussed and thought deeply on the question.
"We really love ourselves so much, that we hate the fact that we are fat and clumsy or whatever, because we think it's unfair, that we deserve better!"

That's the truth! It's true that we believe things about ourselves that are untrue, such as the things we will go over today . . .

What helps us identify and discover ourselves for what we are, are those we can relate to and find that we have things in common; we also understand ourselves by those who are different in the way they think, act, and achieve goals by their abilities, talents and knowledge. We often group together with those of common interests and find a sense of belonging by such socialization.But there are those who never seem to fit in anywhere . . . they are loners or even outcasts.

When a person discovers the truth of the Bible and learns who they are through God's perspective, this may lead the person to salvation because they recognize that they are a sinner, unable to achieve God's standard of holiness, but that they are also someone that God loves, and desires to spare them from judgment for their sin, and further, to develop a relationship with them as a Father to a son (or daughter). Once such a person receives salvation through Christ by faith in the Gospel they are born again; they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. In a very real sense, they acquire a new identity. The personality remains intact, but in some ways is enhanced and 'enlivened' but the thinking begins to change as do motivations, goals and desires.

They no longer desire to live the sinful life styel that they previously enjoyed; they are hungry for God's Word the Holy Bible, they desire fellowship with the LORD and His people (the church); they want to please their heavenly Father and follow the LORD Jesus Christ by example. Such a person lives a life of fulfillment in that they are living in accord with the will of God Who created them according to His purpose - that is, to worship Him and experience fellowship with the Living Creator (What an astounding statement, isn't it?).

Still, there is a lot of 'baggage' that we carry into our new life from the old; many of the same ideas, attitudes and beliefs about self are still with us and impede us from becoming all that the LORD desires for us. We may still think of ourselves as unlovely in looks, or lacking in proper intelligence, or incapable in acheiving worthy goals.

Every Christian should be growing in their relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ, increasing in the knowledge and grace of He Who is our LORD and Savior (2 PET. 3:18); part of that growing is becoming more Christ-like in character. Just as He loves the unloveable, defends the weak and disadvantaged, encourages the disheartened, strengthens the weak, provides for the poor, the widows and the orphans so we who follow Him. The LORD always speaks the truth but with the motive of love and so too does the mature Christian. 

Yet we too often find ourselves struggling with the ingrained and established habit patterns and beliefs that defined the 'old man' (ROM. 6:6) - that which we were before we became children of God (JN. 1:12-13). How do we break such behavioral bondage and established habits?

We must learn from the truth found in Scripture that tells us who we are in Christ and by faith believe them, act on the truth expressed in those verses and submit ourselves to the LORD to conform us to the image of Christ (ROM. 8:29; 12:2).

Do you have some of that old baggage from your 'B.C. Days' that you find is hindering you in your walk with the LORD? Do you believe that you're a loser? That you will never amount to anything? Then let us go over some Scripture and by God's grace my prayer for you is that you will be greatly encouraged, gain a better and truer perspective and rise in the joy of the LORD with hope in your heart.

The LORD God has amazing and wonderful plans for you, which will be fully revealed in eternity, but the training for such begins now, in these every-day-life experiences and by which through His Spirit will bring us further along in this adventure of LIFE with CHRIST!

Each of us, I believe are granted by God our individual looks, personality, talents, emotional make up and so much more. While Adam was directly created by God, I believe He in His sovereignty selects the genetic information that builds each of us as human beings, as well as fashions our souls and minds.

ISAIAH 49:16
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

What the LORD God told Jeremiah (with the exception of course being a prophet of Israel) could well be said of all of us:

 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

God created us as individuals, and as such we are unique. Certainly others may mirror our own personality and, or looks, but there really is only one of 'me' in all the wide world. The value of things is based largely on scarcity; this is why gold is so expensive - there really isn't a lot of it, compared to wood, or sand.
You are even scarcer than gold however - you are the only one like you, and God fashioned you so! He is the One who gave you your eye and hair color; your personality, your talents. He lovingly formed you as His own handiwork and admires the work of His own hands. Every awesome parent loves their child, but in reality they are only stewards of the precious souls that God has given them charge over. As much as our parents may love us, God our Creator loves us more! Let that sink in!

God is broken hearted over the curse of sin that lies upon all of us, members of the (fallen) human race. He desires to liberate us from the death-saturated curse of sin and free us from its bondage (if you don't think "sin" is bondage, wait a while, you'll find out. The alcoholic and drug addict knows this; so do those who are addicted to porn or those who are enslaved in their hatred towards another, as well as those who are under the burden of bitterness, etc.).

Here is a verse that we all know - even those who watch football games:

JOHN 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

GOD loves you! Even if no one else in the whole wide world ever showed you any love at all, the very fact that the Eternal GOD, Creator of heaven and earth KNOWS and LOVES you is astoundingly good news! He has loved us so very much that He gave us the greatest, most supreme gift that He in all of His Almighty abilities could possibly give to us! Look at this!

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

You and I might be content to know the love of God for the full duration of our lives, but God isn't! He wants to have fellowship with us both now AND forever and ever in eternity! He rejoices when His children pass from this world and enters into glory where He then fellowships with them face to Face and not in a 'dim mirror reflection' as it were (See PS. 116:15; 1 COR. 13:12-13).

As a child of God, the LORD delights in revealing Himself and His Word of truth to us! See MATT. 11:25-26; also the parallel passage in LUKE 10:21. God has always shared His secrets with His beloved friends! See this other FMF article - SECRETS AMONG FRIENDS.

GOD has so thoroughly washed us from our sin, that He has seen fit to dwell in us as His very own temple! He is no longer content to visit people once a year in a temple made of stone, but is overjoyed to have intimate fellowship with His beloved by dwelling in our newly fashioned hearts (EZEK. 36:26; JN. 3:3; 1 PET. 1:23; ACTS 17:24-25; 1 COR.3:16; 6:19-20).

When God the Father looks upon us, His children (JN. 1:12-13) He sees us in the Person of Christ, and as much as He approves of His Son (MATT. 3:17), He likewise approves of us who are in Christ (1 PET. 2:5; 2 THESS. 2:13).

You are the light of God in this darkened world of sin - MATT. 5:14; PHIL. 2:15.

You are His ambassadors officially sanctioned and authorized to bring His Gospel to the lost - 2 COR. 5:20-21.

You have the Spirit of Christ in you so that by His power, not your own, you are able to do all that the LORD intends for you regarding His glorious plans tailor made just for you - 1 COR. 15:10; 1 TIM. 1:11-13; 2 COR. 12:9-10.

You are a priest of God who has the spiritual authority to pray for sinners and saints alike; by the blood of Christ you are privileged to enter into the HOLY of HOLIES (the genuine one located at the very THRONE of GOD!) and there experience fellowship with the glorious and awesome GOD of all creation! 

(On a side note (but not really 'on the side') I am blown away at the fact that I, a redeemed sinner am able to visit the throne of God and as His child in a sense, push passed powerful angelic beings who must cover themselves in their wings for all of the glories of God's majestic light and approach Him Who I call Abba - HEB. 4:16; ROM. 8:15.)

You are chosen of God as part of the generation of the righteous!
You are a member of God's Holy nation!
You are peculiar! - uh, well that's not what you think it means. Today, 'peculiar' means strange or weird. In the old English it means something highly valued and prized and therefore purchased (Although I do use this verse out of context sometimes with tongue in cheek as an excuse for my own peculiar weirdness, ha ha!)

1 PETER 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

You are a heavenly ruler in the making! The LORD God intends for us to rule and reign along with our LORD Jesus Christ, Who humbled Himself as the Supreme Servant, even providing the holy service as a sacrifice Lamb Who took away the sin of the world and because of this extreme humbling and servanthood, GOD highly exalted Him above all others! See PHIL. 2:5-11; REV. 1:6; 5:10.

NOTE: Being humble is not being self-denigrating ("I'm just the dirt under the toe nail of Christ" sort of thing); it is complete and transparent honesty before God and others. On the one hand we can humbly admit that we are sinners who in our own right are worthy of hellfire and damnation. Yet with equal humbleness we can say that we are children of God, beloved of the LORD, heirs of God and joint heirs of Christ (ROM. 8:17) by the grace of God.

If you have expressed faith in Christ and have witnessed a holy change in your life then by biblical definition you are an overcomer! - 1 JN. 5:4.

If we are considered losers as children of God, from the world's perspective; if we are rendered as worthless and such that will never amount to anything by family or (so-called) friends; if we find that we cannot do anything right, are always bungling things and see ourselves as inept - then so be it!

~ We have indeed LOST the death-saturated sins that once kept us in bondage by the grace of God!

~ We are in fact worthless to the kingdom of darkness and this fallen world of sin, both of which are on a collision course with GOD's HOLY JUDGMENT and will one day know destruction - by the way, you're in good company: this world looks at the prophets of God, the apostles of the LORD, and even JESUS Himself as worthless too!

~ If we find that we are weak, inept and never succeeding at anything we attempt, then praise GOD! We are only proving the Scripture true that in us, there indeed dwells no good thing (ROM. 7:18); may we therefore be encouraged to let the grace of GOD work through us instead of our own efforts and will power. His grace will do His work in us and HIS will be the glory as accomplished in our lives!

When it comes to godly ventures and missions of mercy and assigments of grace, PHIL. 4:13 holds true! 

PHIL. 4:13
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

So then, child of God, overcomer, prince or princess of the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords; you citizen of heaven, you royal member of GOD's exclusive priesthood - the next time you fall under your previous identity, reinforced by the estimation of this world or those around you, shake that off and put back on those robes of righteousness and consider the truth of God's Word that you have read today! Regard what GOD sees you as, and no one else, according to the Truth of Scripture and your identity in CHRIST!

For more on who you are in CHRIST, please read the following from The TRUTH Under FIRESHOW ME

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

JEWELS from the GOSPEL of JOHN - The LAMB and the DOVE

The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.

JOHN 1:29-34

29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

The Baptist saw Jesus coming unto him - 
Many times when the LORD comes to us, He comes to bring revelation of Himself. This happens when the Spirit of Christ visits us as we traverse the broad expanse of His Holy Word and discover in that Country of canon blessed knowledge of the Christ. May we pray this day as we open the pages of Scripture, that JESUS comes to us and reveals Himself in greater, deeper and more glorious ways by which our love for Him grows accordingly.

The Baptist had revelation of Jesus and proclaimed Him as the Lamb. This is vernacular familiar to the Jewish people. They understood what a lamb was for - sacrifice. Yet this was no ordinary lamb, but THE Lamb - of GOD!! See GEN. 3:15; HEB. 10:18; 1 COR. 5:7 and 1 PET. 1:18-19.
He Who would bear the sins of His people (ISAIAH 53:6, 8, 10) and also the sin of the entire world would He take away! GAL. 1:4; EPH. 5:2; TITUS 2:14; HEB. 9:26.
John the Baptist knew that Jesus was the eternal one, for He preceded Him, for "He was before me" that is, long before John was ever born, Jesus is the I AM. We all know that John and Jesus were cousins, and that John was the older of the two (by six months) and yet here he plainly states that Jesus was before him; thus we understand what the Baptist was saying - just as the LORD Himself simply declared to the Pharisees: 

JOHN 8:58
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

John testified of the nature of the Christ in JOHN 3:31 as well. Paul speaks of Him in COL. 1:17-18 as being the One Who is "before all things" and is Himself "the beginning" (He Who had no beginning, but is eternal). The author of Hebrews addresses the truth that the Son is not some high ranking cherub (a super-angel), but God Himself* (HEB. 1:8) Who dwells in eternity (ISAIAH 57:15).

* - For an in depth study on the Deity of Christ see the following TTUF article (part 1 of 5) here.

The Messiah was indeed manifested to Israel, just as prophecy indicated, as in the book of Malachi:

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

And based on this Scripture, John found authorization as the LORD's "...messenger [who would] prepare the way before Me..."
The Baptist recognized his cousin as the genuine, authentic Messiah of Israel when he saw the Spirit descend as a dove (note: the text doesn't say that the Spirit came down in the form of a dove, but as a dove) and in vs. 32 and 33 the writer of the Gospel of John (the apostle himself) states that the Spirit "abode upon Him" and "remaining" - this is wholly different than any other prophet in the OT, for they had the Spirit come upon them during separate occasions of anointed ministry, but then He would depart (and return again at other times). Not so with the Prophet of prophets and the Apostle of apostles:

JOHN 3:34
For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. (See also ISAIAH 61:1).

To examine someone who has the most powerful anointing, we need look no further than the LORD Jesus Christ Himself, and He must be the measure by which all other so-called ministers are compared. Too, too many preachers and televangelists who claim to have powerful anointings conduct their ministry and personal behavior contrary to the example of Jesus! If any claim that their anointing is of God, then let their conduct emulate that of the LORD Himself (not in the same measure necessarily, but in kindred quality at the least) for He is the baptizer of the same Holy Spirit with which He Himself is anointed!

Such chapters as 1 COR. 13 and GALATIANS 5, among many others, reveals just how one's conduct will prove out whether or not they are truly anointed. The LAMB anointed of God the Father with the Spirit who is seen "as a dove" are interesting as metaphors, because both creatures are known for their gentleness and peace. May we follow our LORD's example in being "gentle unto all men" (2 TIM. 2:24) and being "peacemakers" with "the Gospel of peace" (MATT. 5:9; ROM. 10:15) by which repentant sinners may find "peace with God" (ROM. 5:1) via Jesus Christ, the LAMB Who takes away the sin of the world!

This concludes this exhortation; the next JEWEL from the GOSPEL of JOHN will address JOHN 1:35-39, and is entitled: The LEADER that is the LAMB.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

JEWELS from the GOSPEL of JOHN - FIRE and WATER: JOHN 1:23-27

The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.

The prophets of old, born of the nation of Israel, and sent to the people were shown glorious things in visions of prophecy; many of which they didn't understand, and most especially in regards to the Messiah. Some of the visions and knowledge sent to them by God revealed the Messiah as a powerful, conquering King Who would lead His people Israel into victory and rule over the nations. Other visions showed the Messiah as meek, humble and suffering.

Such seeming contradictions were resolved in the Person of Jesus Christ Who fulfilled every prophecy made of Him as far as His First Advent is concerned; there are yet more prophecies to be fulfilled regarding His Second Advent, and so they shall be.

John the Baptist was honored above all prophets and seers of the Old Testament, in that he was the one chosen of God who would introduce the Messiah to Israel. The LORD Himself declared that of all the prophets (ALL! Including Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Daniel), there were none as great as John the Baptist! WOW, huh?

Recall his words concerning himself:

JOHN 1:23
23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

Just a voice, unseen and only truly heard by those who had an "ear to hear" - a humble prophet who was content to 'take the back seat' as it were, once the Messiah appeared and began His ministry (JN. 3:30). The Pharisees sent inquirers to this strange, camel-coated prophet who spent his time in the Judean deserts, and when John declared who he was, and dutifully baptized Jews who came to him in repentance, they asked him:

JOHN 1:24-27
24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;

27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

If only Christian leaders of today's world would follow John the Baptist's example of humility and his tender willingness to yield the center stage to the LORD Jesus! Televison abounds with programs where we see various so called ministers of Christ, with THEIR names emblazoned on the screen declaring THEIR ministry! They don't wear camel hair, they wear Armani suits. There hands are decked with costly gold and jewels, rather than rough hewn and calloused like those no doubt, of the Baptists. Their feet are covered with expensive, fine leather shoes while the Baptists feet were probably covered in mud.

Televangelists boast and brag about their bank accounts, of their wealth and prosperity, of their status as 'a god' and empowered by - not the Force, but by the power of Faith (as if faith in itself is a power!?) - not so with the Baptist, though he exhibited far greater and deeper faith than all those ego-driven celebrities put together!  The Baptist tells it true with no regard to his own station or promotion: "There is One here that you do not know, that I am not even worthy to be His slave who is bound to the most menial of tasks!"

How intent John was in exalting the LORD, debasing himself before others when he could have made a name for himself. He declares instead that He is "preferred before me..." 

As Christians we should follow the Baptist's example, whose method of ministry mirrors that of the Holy Spirit Himself: He never speaks of, nor draws attention to Himself, but resolutely and always points to Jesus! The Holy Spirit is invisible, unseen and is content to be so. Likewise this Voice that is the Baptist - willing to be 'unseen' as any voice is, and rather let people see CHRIST instead! Let us be "all about Jesus" and point others to Him and if we boast of anything at all - let our boasts be limited to these two things: How great is our God and how weak we are without Him!

Before we end this exhortation, lets turn to a parallel passage in Luke Ch. 3 . . . 

LUKE 3:16-17
16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

The Baptist used water to baptize; yet the LORD Jesus baptized His followers with the Holy Spirit and fire! And the Baptist declared that when He came, He would purge His floor - that floor being the land of Israel no doubt, and those purged would be His people dwelling on the land. Yet "not all are Israel that are of Israel" (ROM. 9:5-7) and those who are not Jews by spiritual faith are chaff, being merely physical descendents of Abraham, the father of the faithful. These will be purged and He will burn them with fire unquenchable! 
The same goes for the chaff that represents unbelieving Gentiles!
While humble and ever willing to take that place of humility, the Baptist didn't mince words, nor did he spare feelings, nor did he soft-soap his words! He declared the truth and warned people of the coming Judgment!

May we likewise not become slack and timid when it comes to such declarations and warnings towards those who are yet unbelieving and unrepentant! Even among our family members who might get upset with us for our boldness; even if we risk the anger of friends by telling them the Gospel truth

ALSO, something else to consider:

The ministry of WATER (The Word of GOD; EPH. 5:26) and that of FIRE (The Spirit of GOD; HEB. 12:29) are both to be employed by the child of GOD in reaching the lost! I recall these words from a teacher I had early on in my Christian walk:

"The Word without the Spirit - you dry up; the Spirit without the Word - you blow up; the Spirit with the Word - you grow up!"
Let us therefore "grow in the grace and the knowledge of our LORD Jesus Christ" (2 PET. 3:18) and meet the challenge of reaching this, our generation, with the Gospel of Salvation, with the FIRE and WATER! 


Next time we shall behold more JEWELS from the GOSPEL of JOHN, from the text of JOHN 1:29-34, entitled: The LAMB and the DOVE!

Sunday, August 31, 2014


Heroes. They are people we look up to, respect, admire, emulate and see as worthy role models. They are both real and contrived; we read about them in newspapers and watch them on television as well as follow their exploits in biographies and documentaries.
Then there is the notion of 'super-heroes' - those who stand above and beyond the normal, every day human being, endowed by one means or another with superhuman and or supernatural powers. However, whether one is talking about real life flesh and blood heroes or those of the graphic novel (comic book) super-heroes, they all share certain traits: bravery, strength, integrity, compassion, a strong sense of morality, courage, determination, fortitude and other traits besides.

We have witnessed a surge in the cinematic sensations of super-heroes in films for the past twenty years, plus; beginning with the film Superman starring Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman in 1978 and then eleven years later Batman with Michael Keaton and Jack Nickolson. Eleven years later the first X-Men film came out and then just two years later the first Spider-man premiered. 

Since then (and before) a vast score of super-hero films have been produced, some live-action and others animated. They all possess to one degree or another, the same traits as mentioned above. 

Yet how does one measure heroism? What sort of elements must a super-hero contain in order to rank one above another?

One might logically suppose that the bravest would rank highest. The most powerful could also be considered as the greatest. The one who took the greatest risk of self-sacrifice or actually committed the greatest act of self-sacrifice would seem worthy of the title of the greatest. Of course, in this criteria we can't forget to add: the one who saved the most number of lives would be rightfully thought of as the greatest.

One could consider Batman or Iron Man and their endeavors to save their respective cities (Gotham and New York) or Aquaman or Superman in saving the planet from certain doom. They could even risk much, even their lives to save the population of an entire city, nation or even the entire globe.

Among the strongest of these demi-god-like beings (Have you ever considered that the realm of super-hero legend and fandom can be likened to the Greek and Roman pantheon of the gods? Indeed, today's Super Hero films can be viewed as a kind of Americanized version of the pantheon) Superman would probably rank the highest; the only one with strength enough to actually move the planet Earth out of its established orbit. The Hulk would rank a close number 2, followed by the likes of Captain Marvel, Thor, and so on.

The likes of these fictitious characters would seem to vastly outshine any heroic exploits committed by their real life counterparts of mere flesh and blood humanity . . . with one certain and notable exception.

Someone who is most definitely human, through and through; Someone Who was born into this world, lived His life, and died . . . but didn't stay dead! Obviously from the picture in today's article and this last bit about coming back from the dead (Ever you noticed how many times characters in films these days actually come back from the dead? As if to minimize the extraordinaries of such a thing) you already know Whom I'm referring to.

Yet as we examine the very real Person of Jesus Christ, Who is fully 100% man and yet also fully 100% God, we can perceive all of these heroic traits but maximized to their fullest extent.

Here we have in One Person all of the traits mentioned before, and more besides! Considering intelligence and knowledge: He is omniscient - He possesses all knowledge and all awareness of everything that transpires in every domain in existence (whether heaven or earth or hell, or any regions in the midst of these).

He is omnipresent - other Super Heroes have to show up first in order to save the day; not so with Jesus, God the Son: since He has assumed His physically immortal state in a glorified body (one that we saints will also possess when once we inherit the fullness of the kingdom!) He is immediate in His locality where ever He may be needed. Long before dire need arises, He stands ready to lend aid and rescue the soul that cries out for help!

He is omnipotent - Superman, as has been said once by Russell Crowe who portrayed Jor-El, Superman's (Kal-El) Kryptonian father, is "at the top of the food-chain of all super heroes". And yet the Man of Steel cannot hold a candle to this Man from Nazareth; for all his super powers, Jesus exceeds him in every capacity to the same extreme as the heavens are above the earth! Superman might be able to budge the Earth a bit, but Jesus is the Creator of the entire universe, Creator of Heaven and Earth! THAT's power!

Those are just the considerations of His abilities, what about His nature and character?

His integrity was such that even His enemies, after scrutinizing Him for over three years couldn't find any fault with Him (JOHN 8:46)! Even Satan, for all his wiles and subtlety couldn't seduce Him into any sinful action (MATT. 4:1-11)!

His compassion was unequalled and indefatigable, bringing healing and relief to the sick, maimed, oppressed and all others that suffered in some way (MATT. 20:34; LUKE 7:13).

Considering His bravery, no one comes close to what Jesus displayed for all the rank and file of Satan's armies that stood against the Holy Son of God and for the sum total of sin of all humanity that would ravage His righteous soul while on the cross, that would shred His resolute bond of communion with the Father that existed since all eternity past and leave Him abjectly and forlornly alone during His greatest and deepest agony on Golgotha hill (MATT. 27:46)!

No one had a greater sense of justice than Jesus, for His standard was nothing like any such standard in all the world - it was the very Law of God, which He fulfilled entirely (MATT. 5:17). This reflects back on His flawless integrity as well.

When it comes to defending the victim, the underdog, the oppressed, no one excels like Jesus! He declared His meritorious mandate as the Messiah of Israel after reading a prophetic passage from Isaiah:

LUKE 4:17-19

17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

He is the absolute and incontestable title holder of the essence of "Savior" in that He not only saved His people (Israel) from their sins (MATT. 1:21), but also innumerable souls among the Gentiles (REV. 5:9); yet not only did He save people out of the time of His holy visitation on this Earth, but He also saved, and still is saving souls out of every generation from then until now! The resulting salvation of souls will enumerate vast incalculable billions of redeemed (REV. 7:9)!

And as far as self-sacrifice, any and every super-hero pales before the monumental and supreme sacrifice that Jesus made! Consider PSALM 22 and ISAIAH 53 and that just for starters; read through the following passages as well:

2 CORINTHIANS 5:18-21; esp. vs. 21

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

PHIL. 2:6-8

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Then consider what exactly Jesus saved people from: the eternal punishment and unimaginable destructive agony and torment of hell - there IS no greater peril that people potentially suffered in all the adventures of any super-hero any where in film or page that compares to this! 

ISAIAH 5:14 

Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

COL. 1:12-14

12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

REV. 20:11-15

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 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.
13 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.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Scripture clearly states that those who are classified as "overcomers" will not suffer the ravages of hell, but whose redemption from there is absolute and certain, as their names are recorded in the Book of Life (REV. 3:5). And who are the "overcomers"? Those who are "born of God" as spoken of in JOHN 1:12-13 and JOHN 3:3, 5:

1 JOHN 5:4

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Such faith as expressed towards Jesus Christ and His glorious Gospel is required for this spiritual rebirth, and once such faith has been committed to the Person of Jesus, believing on His Name, is drawn into the ranks of the overcomers!

So much more could be said in extolling and exalting the blessed and worthy Name of Jesus (ACTS 4:12; EPH. 1:20-21; PHIL 2:9-10), the Holy Son of God (LUKE 1:35), the Word made flesh (JOHN 1:14), LORD of heaven and earth, the Savior of the world - but for more on this, I refer you to the Holy Scriptures themselves for the sum total of these pages are written about Him (PS. 40:7).

Needless to say, JESUS CHRIST is most glorious and without equal in all the realms of reality or fantasy! This same JESUS is returning one day to save those whose hearts express life-changing faith in Him, even such salvation as rescuing this fallen world itself from the vile and devious plans that Satan has for this final age to come. 
I am referring to the time when the anti-Christ, the Beast of Revelation will reign over humanity for a short seven years, but whose reign will be cast down, destroyed and replaced with the Holy and Righteous reign of the LORD Jesus Christ where peace and life shall be prominent the globe over! Our Holy Hero will prevail!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014


We now continue in this third installment on MEEKNESS . . .
Walking worthily is walking in meekness (and lowliness) accompanied by longsuffering and forbearing one another in love. What does this “forbearing” mean? It's loving the unloveable for the sake of the LORD Who loves them. By grace, having the power to 'put up with' those that irritate and bother us, dying to self and expressing God's love towards them. Meekness is not weakness!
PHIL. 2:2-3
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
'Others-centered' is how some put this; someone once said that the secret of J.O.Y. is Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. The meek people are the joyful people, seeing God's will accomplished through their lives submitted only to the will of God.
1 TIM. 6:3-11
3 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;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Those who would not acknowledge the truth of Scripture, and Scripture alone but rather seek to supplement God's Word with their own wisdom, according to these verses is an ignorant fool! Those who are meek will not seek their own gain, by their own means, aggresively seeking their own promotion and betterment in life (such aggression will only lead to ruin according to vs. 9-10); but remain in a place of contentment with only the essentials of this life: food, water, raiment, a place to lay one's head down at night: common commodities and not overt opulance! 
2 TIM. 2:24-26
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Gentleness is the trademark of meekness and from such an attitude, one will find that others (generally speaking) are teachable, and even the unteachable will (or at least may) find themselves receiving instruction! The meek of the LORD will have compassion on the lost, foreseeing their spiritual condition, that is, ensnared by the enemy who victimizes them at his whim.
JAMES 1:21-22
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
The meek after receiving the engrafted Word, that is, making the truth of God's Word part of your heart and life, like the roots of a tree entering the soil and receiving its life-giving nutrients (PSALM 1:2-4). The meek will say, "Thy will in my life, not my will be done Oh LORD!"
1 PETER 3:4, 15
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear
Think of some costly heirloom you may have in your family, something highly valued and treasured, a thing of beauty and admiration. This is how the LORD sees the meek and quiet spirit! As a precious and costly ornament, highly valued by the Most High! 
Now that we have examined some of the New Testament passages, lets turn our attention to the One about Whom this Holy Book is all about (As it states in Psalm 40:7): Jesus Christ.
MATT. 11:28-30
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
What can we learn about our Messiah here and the meekness He exhibits?
We learn that He is approachable, for He says “Come unto me” - the meek are approachable, non-threatening, not intimidating or daunting. We learn that He is gracious, for this is God Himself bidding sinners to come! 
He calls out with a promise of rest; we labor and are heavy laden with the works and weights of sin (Romans 6:23 - “The wages of sin . . .”). We also labor in religious toil, desperately and hopelessly longing to find rest and relief from the curse of sin.
We also learn that God Almighty is willing to serve us and invites us to enter into servanthood with the attitude of meekness as a guide. The yoke is that oval shaped wooden device that collars a beast, usually a mule or more especially an ox to a plow for agricultural purposes. 
The four Living Beasts surrounding the very Throne of God represents the four-fold aspects of God the Son: the faces of the Eagle – denoting His deity; of the Man – denoting His humanity; of the Lion – denoting His Kingly office; and of the Ox – denoting His servant-hood (REV. 4:7).
In the LORD's invitation to take His yoke upon us, we understand that this is a double yoke, which is built not for one, but for two beasts. So if we accept this invitation, we are yoked together with the LORD, Who takes the brunt of the load in this ministry; thus His yoke is easy for us, and His burden is light. This is the blessedness of ministry, that we are welcome to partake of service with no one less than the LORD God made flesh, and in partnership with Him, learn of Him! 
What do we learn of Him? That he is meek and lowly of heart: such is obvious to us that know Him: He is the Holy and Almighty Creator God and yet here He deigns to lift up and slip over His neck, a yoke of servant-hood!
2 COR. 8:9
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich
PHIL. 2:5-8, 9-11
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
To the same degree that the Holy God the Son humbled Himself, by taking on the sins of the world, to that same degree God exalted Him!
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
MARK 9:33-37
33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?
34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
Humorous! The disciples were snagged! Caught in the act of bickering about who should be the greatest! BUT NOTE that the LORD doesn't rebuke them for their desire to be great; He merely instructs them HOW TO PROPERLY GO ABOUT IT! Note vs. 35!
The meek shall willingly be the servant of all, and count themselves as last! The one that demonstrated this the best is the LORD Himself which is why His is the Name above all names and exalted above all others! 
Meekness is not weakness, but GREATNESS in the KINGDOM of GOD! 
Three passages from ISAIAH for your own homework, then a couple more references and we are done here: write these references down:
ISAIAH 11:1-5; the 53rd and the 61st Chapter. 
*As you read these passages look for the attribute of meekness in the LORD's ministry, and knowing now what we do about meekness, look to see how these things could be accomplished WITHOUT meekness! Also look to see how we acquire meekness as a result of the LORD's ministry to us!*
JOHN 18:19-24
19 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
20 Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
22 And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
24 Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.
As far as I can tell this is one of the first times Jesus was physically struck by His enemies; or at least one of the very first times. 
Yet we are fully aware of the tremendous, the insurmountable, the inconceivable agonies that He endured: the multiple beatings, the scourging with the cat o' nine tails, the crown of thorns, the deprivation of food and water, the agonizing fear of finally having the sins of all humanity placed upon Him which would result in His being separated FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME IN ALL ETERNITY from His Father! 
Not to mention the full brunt of Holy wrath that God the Father poured out on His Son when once He became the sin-bearer for humanity!
Yet, never a protest, never any resistance from Jesus; always a compliant, yielded, willing, earnest and zealous response from our LORD to do the Father's will which He subsisted on the way that we subsist on food (JOHN 4:34). That is meekness! Great power in the Word made flesh Who fashioned the universe, wielding all the power necessary for its construction and yet He didn't ever use this power to defend Himself or deliver Himself from this fate! He trusted His heavenly Father in all things.
I spoke earlier of the culture of God's kingdom yet to come: how meekness will be an integral part of that culture and how such meekness is born in us, God's children by His Spirit. All the characteristics (not just meekness) of God's love as outlined in Galatians 5:22-23 is what God is looking to develop in our own character, in making us a godly and spiritual people.
As we look over the world, and we see how corrupt, how proud, how arrogant and selfish and uncaring the earthly rulers in our governments conduct themselves, we may ask the question: Who is worthy of the office that they hold?
Yet as we look at JESUS we see every single quality necessary for good and proper leadership; He is the Servant-King, the very One whose hands fashioned galaxies was the One that stooped down and with those hands washed dirty, smelly feet. The very One who fashioned the forests of all the world and all the mountains was the very One Who hung on a cross of wood fashioned from those forests and impaled with nails of iron forged from those mountains!
He Who humbled Himself to the death of the Cross, God has exalted above all as the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords! And this is one of the reasons why the LORD is working such character in our lives – to make us, His church proper and effective servant-kings who shall rule and reign with Him!
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
INDEED, Meekness is not weakness, but greatness fashioned in us by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in our yielded lives as we follow our LORD Jesus Christ from here to heaven! 
Below is a link to the second half of this teaching as delivered at The HOUSE of TRUTH Fellowship. This incorporates some of the last articles verses and teachings along with all the rest as seen here in part III.