Fear Is A Liar

Psalms 91:5-6 (ESV) You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

I don’t have much to say this morning other than the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the fear of man is a snare. When we “dwell in the shelter of the Most High,” and trust in Jesus as our “refuge and our fortress,” we will not fear.

I was blessed to have found this song last night by Zach Williams. Enjoy the SONG!

The Spirit Of Wisdom

Ephesians 1:15-23 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

I quit my job yesterday morning. I had just celebrated my sixteenth year with the same company, and have seen many changes. What once was a company that centered around people, now revolves solely around the bottom dollar. Changes like that are slow. When you are in the boat with your head down fishing, it can be hard to look up and ask the captain if he knows where we are, or where we’re going. Asking the question and waiting for an answer takes a Spirit of wisdom.

Christians need wisdom. The Apostle Paul, after he hears of the faith and love that the Ephesians have for one another, begins praying for them. They have faith in the Lord Jesus, and love towards other Christians; and Paul says, “yeah, there is evidence of true conversion; now I am going to pray that they might receive the Spirit of wisdom”.

The Spirit of wisdom comes from God. It is a kind of knowledge that enables us to know the riches of our inheritance, the hope of our calling, and the greatness of the Lord’s power towards us who believe. This wisdom enables the eyes of our heart to be enlightened. Simply put, the Lord tells wisdom to walk into the room of the Christians mind and turn the lights on. The eyes squint and water a bit, the pupils adjust, and the Christian sees something he or she did not see before. It can seem so natural, yet Paul tells us this wisdom is supplied by God and comes from one Christian praying for another Christian; of whom may or may not know the lights are off in the room.

My family has been in a continual season of trial and suffering over the past couple of years. Many people have been praying for us, and we are so thankful. But I have been failing to live in obedience to the exhortation from this text. I have had the lights off unable to see those around me who also need prayer. Someone, somewhere has prayed for me I am sure, that I may have the eyes of my heart enlightened to see. My first guess is she is still lying in bed upstairs while I write. What a beloved wife I have. Oh may the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give to each of us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation; so that we might see.

The Seal Of God

Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

The gospel of our salvation is the word of truth. It is a message that must be heard; and it is a message that must be believed. When a person hears the gospel, and believes upon Jesus, they are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

In ancient times, a sealed message was authenticated as a word of truth if it had a wax seal. The seal was the sign that the message was truly from the one who sealed it.

When a person hears the message of Jesus, and believes upon him; he or she is sealed with a stamp that is more authentic then a wax seal. The seal is none other than the Holy Spirit; the third member of the trinity. And when the third member sets his seal upon you; when he takes up residence inside your heart, you begin to take on the characteristics of the one who placed his seal upon you. You start to bear the fruits of repentance, the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self control), and bear the armor of God. The seal shows us that we are Gods. It shows others that we are Gods. And it one day will show Jesus at the last judgement that we belong to his Father.

Slavery To A Perfect Master

Ephesians 1:11-12 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Those of us who have trusted in Christ were predestined to obtain an eternal inheritance, reserved in heaven for us; the salvation of our souls, to the praise of God’s glory. The Holy Spirit was given as a gift, and a guarantee of this promised inheritance.

I tried numerous times before my conversion to trust in Christ. The idea of becoming a Christian was intriguing to me. I suppose I wanted the benefits of an inheritance, without the bondage of a master. But coming to Christ is a submission of self to Jesus as LORD and master. For if you “confess with your mouth Jesus as LORD, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead; then you will be saved.”

True freedom is becoming a slave to a perfect master. Slavery to a wicked master is bondage and death; while submission to a perfect master is freedom and life.

Unity Without Universalism: The Mystery Of God’s Will

Ephesians 1:7-12 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Redemption is the forgiveness of sin through the gospel of Christ. God made known to us this mystery simply because it brought him pleasure to do so. Verse ten tells us there is more to this mystery. It says “in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-in Him.” The mystery: total and universal unity in Christ. I do not take this to mean universalism is true; for Romans 9:22 and other places tell us God has not, and will not save all people, nor all spiritual beings. He has destined some people and some angels to bear his wrath for eternity. But I do take this to mean Christ will gather people from all time, and all backgrounds; he will gather things in heaven and things on earth; he will gather and unite into one all things. Or maybe it is better to say he will gather some of all things into one universal church.

During the sermon on Sunday we had a guest preacher named Joel; one of the seminary students. He was preaching on the subject of communion. He said something I found very insightful and encouraging. He said (from the last supper) he believed Jesus was in heaven right now fasting; fasting from the bread and the wine until the great wedding feast. The feast where he will prepare a table for us; a feast where every tongue and nation of people will be gathered to worship the lamb who was slain. Jesus will be there, and will break the bread, and drink the cup with those gathered; those who have trusted and believed upon the Christ who unites all things into one. I can’t wait for that day! What a feast that will be!

Matthew 26:29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

It Was God’s Good Pleasure To Make The Gospel Known To You

Ephesians 1:9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. Tonight we were going to have an amazing salad with avocados, grilled steak, and hot sauce. I stopped by Fleet Farm on the way home from work to get charcoal for the barbecue. As I walked through the front door, I saw some sparklers. I knew that our littlest children would love them, and so I put them in the cart next to the charcoal. I came home, started the barbecue, and brought the rest of the items into the house. I told my wife that I purchased sparklers for the kids. It was a mystery I was hiding from them, but would soon reveal when they were in the most need for some good news. I remember being quite eager to tell them, and throughly enjoyed the expressions of joy on their face when I told them at dinner that we had sparklers waiting for them after dinner.

Do you think of God as a good father who takes pleasure in telling his children good news? Ephesians 1:9 tells us that in Christ, he made known to us the mystery of his will. And this mystery he was hiding was good news. It was as if he was waiting for the perfect time when we were depressed around the dinner table to tell us the good news. It was his good pleasure to reveal the gospel to us; the gospel that he purposed in himself.

God throughly enjoyed making the mystery of the gospel known to you; how ought you to express the same good news to those you meet tomorrow?

The Gospel: An Abundance Of Wisdom And Prudence

Ephesians 1:7-8 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

Redemption comes to us through the blood of Christ. But redemption is more personal than simply being saved from sin. It is the act of God forgiving my sin. I am the one who has sinned, I am the one who sins, and I am the one who will still sin. And yet the blood of Christ forgives it all. There is no record of sin for me in heaven. Jesus has blotted it out with his blood. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Our hearts at times can become enthralled with riches. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. But there is nothing on this earth more valuable than the blood of Christ. It is a display of the riches of His grace. And it comes to you, and it comes to me through the simple telling and believing of the gospel; which is said to be here an abundance of wisdom and prudence.

He Saved Me Because He Wanted To

Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Salvation is quite an amazing work of sovereign grace. In a moment of time, it looked like a man attending church trying to understand who Jesus was and what it meant to be a Christian. It looked like a personal conviction to read the Bible every day until I understood what was true. It looked like being worn out trying to work full time and build my family a house to live in. It looked like a closing date on a house and my daughter needing to be in the ER for two weeks. It looked like 10 Christian men coming to my house while my daughter was in the hospital and selflessly serving me so that all the minor odds and ends could be completed for the final inspection of the house. It looked like an 80 year old woman coming to our house and sharing the gospel with my wife and me though the teaching of John MacArthur on Luke 9:23-24. It looked like a flood of conviction pouring out of my heart as memories of 30 years of past sin dumped out at Calvary. It looked like unearned and undeserved kindness. It looked like me wanting to follow Jesus.

Salvation is also an amazing work of sovereign grace when I see things before time began. It looks like a triune God standing before time, and before earthly foundations making some decisions. It looked like God the Father choosing to adopt a 30 year old man who would be born 6000 plus years later in a small town in Minnesota. This God knew the first man Adam would fall, and that I would be born depraved and destined for destruction. He knew I would have no hope and would be without God in this world. Yet for the purpose of himself being glorified, he choose to adopt me though his son Jesus Christ. He predestined me for adoption so that I would have a new father. He would do this, not because he foresaw I would do anything good or evil (Romans 9:11), but simply because he was pleased to. He wanted to, and that was that.

Salvation is quite an astounding work of amazing grace. It blesses my heart this morning to think the gospel came to me and my wife, the gospel was believed upon by us, simply because it pleased the Lord make it so. He wanted to, and that was that.

Glorified In Hide And Seek

Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.

I don’t quite know what it is about this verse that gets me. One of the cross reference verses is about Job where he says:

Job 29:16 I was a father to the needy, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.

In my little mind, I think something like this…

Before the world was created, there was just the triune godhead; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God was glorified it seems to me through the Spirit and the Son. Yet I don’t know how there could have been anything hidden or concealed in the godhead because all three persons are equally omniscient. In other words, I think there was more glory to be had, and it would come in time through his creation.

Ephesians 3:1-6 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Jesus Christ was a mystery. He was seen through the ages by some as they searched out the things God had concealed. Those who were content to leave the stones covered, did not get the glory of kings, nor gave glory to God in the way described in Proverbs 25. But the ones who turned over every stone saw glimpses of the mystery, and therefore received the glory of kings, and gave more glory to God than those content to look on the surface.

This morning my little girl Elsa was hiding from me. I looked around for her not knowing she was hiding. I walked from room to room searching for her and wondering why she was not where she should have been. I asked my wife and she did not know. Finally I had a suspicion she was hiding and called out her name. I then heard a snicker from behind the living room chair. As I went to see her she had a huge smile on her face. She said she was watching me go from room to room looking for her. She said she moved to multiple hiding places as she watched me search. I gave her a big hug and praised her for her ability to hide and conceal herself. She received more glory this morning because she concealed herself, and I searched her out. She received more glory, and I had the privilege of giving it to her. And as I gave her the praise, I also received a new level of joy by giving her what she deserved.

Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.

Integrity, Poverty, And Faith

Proverbs 19:1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

Some proverbs teach the general principle that hard work can tend toward prosperity, or financial security. Other proverbs teach integrity and wisdom can lead the same direction. I am not meaning by these statements I think God wants us healthy, wealthy, and happy. I am just acknowledging the scriptures do make general connections between hard honest work, and financial security.

But then there are proverbs like 19:1 which tell us honesty and integrity of speech sometimes lead to poverty. The encouragement from this text is a reminder. It is better to maintain honesty and truthfulness in business rather than crookedness and lies; even if it leads to poverty. The man who chooses to tell the truth with his business partners, and gets fired because of it, is better off than the man who participates in the lies and prospers in his bank account.

James 2:5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

James reminds us the important thing for us to be rich in is faith. Those who place their faith in Jesus become heirs of God’s eternal kingdom. And better is a poor person who walks in his integrity by faith, then those who are crooked in speech and have no inheritance after death.