are You, our Lord and God,
the glory and the honor and the power;
You created all things, and because of
Your will they exist,
and were created and
brought into being
O Lord our God,
you alone are
worthy of our praises
Father, we give you
all the glory, honor and praise
you deserve it
It is you Lord who created all things.
It is you Lord that made something out of nothing.
It is You alone Lord that
spoke creation into existence,
It is You alone that
we come to proclaim that we
WILL lift up
Your name high and praise you
You are the
beginning and the end
worthy to be praised
Father, as we enter your house on today,
we will enter with our hearts and minds set on you.
We will give you the
fruit of our lips in praise and worship on today Lord.
Thank You Lord for allowing us to be
called your people.
Thank you for another
to enter your house of worship
Lord, you alone
deserves our praise and worship.
We give you
ALL the glory, honor and praise on today.
Great is the Lord
greatly to be praised
People of God, lift up holy hands
on today in
praise and worship to the Lord your God
He alone deserves it.
My Hallelujah belongs to you!
knows that he or she has sinned and
refuses to ask God for forgiveness
or turn away from the sin.
The unrepentant show
for their wrongdoing and don’t feel the
need to change.
Unrepentance is the sin
willfully remaining sinful.
Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.
Repentance leads to life (Acts 11:18),
and it is a necessary part of salvation.
God commands everyone to repent and have faith in Christ
(Acts 2:38; 17:30; 20:21).
Unrepentance is therefore a serious sin with dire consequences. The unrepentant live in a state of disobedience to God, unheeding of His gracious call. The unrepentant remain unsaved until they turn from their sin and embrace Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote, “
Whoever remains stiff-necked after
many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy”
To be stiff-necked is to have a
stubborn, obstinate spirit
makes one unresponsive
God’s guidance or
The stiff-necked are, by definition,
The apostle Paul
warned of the consequences
“Because of your stubbornness and
your unrepentant heart,
you are storing up wrath against yourself
for the day of God’s wrath,
righteous judgment will be revealed.
God ‘will repay each person
according to what they have done.’
To those who by persistence in doing good
seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
But for those who are
and who reject the
and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil” (Romans 2:5–9; cf. Psalm 62:12).
There is a judgment coming.
The results of righteousness will be beautiful,
but the consequences
of unrepentance will be harsh.
The book of Revelation
inured to sin the sinner can be.
During the tribulation,
after three different
judgments of God, the wicked will
despite their great suffering
(Revelation 9:20–21; 16:8–11).
The tragedy is that, even as some people
the horrendous consequences of their sin,
continue in their state of unrepentance
Is there such a thing
become a Christian,
one must repent and believe;
believer in Christ
who has repented of sin
What, then, of professed believers
who live in
they are not saved;
they are mere professors, with
no work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.
The apostle John states it bluntly:
“If we claim
to have fellowship with him
and yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and
do not live out the
(1 John 1:6).
The other possibility is that people claiming to be saved yet living in unrepentant sin are saved but acting in disobedience—in which case their unrepentance is a temporary hardness of heart, and God will discipline them (Hebrews 12:4–13). There is a sin unto death for the believer (1 John 5:16; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:29–31), but, barring that extreme circumstance, God will eventually restore His disobedient child to fellowship (see 1 Corinthians 5:1–5).
The unrepentant sinner
needs to hear the good news
God’s goodness leads people to repentance (Romans 2:4), and He is a God of forbearance and longsuffering. Christians should confess their own sins, pray for the unrepentant, and evangelize the unsaved: “Opponents [of the truth] must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25–26).
BIBLE VERSE OF THE DAY:
Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” - Psalm 2:1-3 NKJV
Consequences of Rejecting
If you’ve ever been on a road trip with a toddler,
you’ve probably experienced the struggle of
trying to keep them buckled in their car seat for hours on end.
They don’t understand that the restraints are keeping them safe,
and that ultimately, you love them and know what is best.
So it is with mankind and their Maker.
From the beginning of creation until now, people have
tried to cast off every restraint placed on them by the loving hand of God.
Not willing to yield to the
perfect will of the Father,
rejected God’s authority
again and again.
Though the Lord remains faithful,
He also maintains
and there are consequences to
rejecting His authority.
Here are 3 of them listed in the Bible:
1. They get what they ask for.
They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul. Psalm 106:13-15 NKJV
Nations that disregard God’s counsel in favor of their own lusts eventually get what they ask for. Sadly, though their flesh is satisfied, their soul is parched like a dry and thirsty land with no water.
Let us come to the Fountain of Living Water—to the well that never runs dry—and drink to the full of God’s goodness and mercy! (John 4:10)
2. They suffer unnecessarily.
Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom will ascend like dust; because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the
Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 5:24
The horrendous aftermath of a wildfire may be an accurate word picture of the consequences that a nation without God will suffer. Consumed by their own falsehoods, those who reject the Word of the Lord will suffer unnecessarily.
However! The Lord is faithful and just to forgive. (1 John 1:9) He longs for us to return to Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. He longs to cover us with His mighty hand and be our Protector.
Let us repent and humble our hearts before Him that He might come and heal our land! (2 Chronicles 7:14)
3. They are left to their own devices.
Of the Rock
who begot you, you are unmindful,
and have forgotten
the God who fathered you.
And when the Lord saw it, He spurned them,
because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters.
And He said: ‘
I will hide My face
I will see what their end will be,
for they are a
perverse generation, children in
whom is no faith.
Deuteronomy 32:18-20 NKJV
Rejection of the Lord’s sovereignty and provision
only leads to a desolate ending.
Without faith in the One
who made us,
we are empty, lacking, and ultimately
left to our own devices.
Let us turn back to our Rock and remember our Maker.
Just like the father, who was
waiting at the window for the return of
his prodigal son,
so the Lord is waiting for us to return to Him!
“In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the
day of salvation
I have helped you
Behold, now is the accepted time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:2 NKJV
What is Unbiblical Preaching?
What is Salvation?
What is The Word of God?
God is the Author
Blasphemy The Works of Christ
False Doctrine is a
Synonyms of blasphemy
:The act of insulting or showing contempt or
lack of reverence
accused of blasphemy
of claiming the attributes of a
for a mere man to suggest that he was …
divine could only be viewed … as blasphemy--
irreverence toward something
sacred or inviolable
YOU are blaspheming the Lord Your God
The one and only unforgivable sin
What is Sound Doctrine?
What is the accurately dividing the
word of TRUTH
What is Blasphemy?
What is Anointing?
What is Honor?
What is Praise?
What does it mean to seek
Earlier in this letter to Timothy,
Paul wrote about the
in the Ephesian church,
as he generally described their
(cf. 1 Tim. 1:3–8),
several of the men
whom he had
disciplined by name
(cf. 1 Tim. 1:18–20).
Note, too, that Paul had earlier predicted that
false teachers would
arise in Ephesus,
as they do in almost every church
(cf. Acts 20:29–30).
Here in 1 Tim. 4, Paul further addresses false doctrine in Ephesus, as well as exhorting Timothy to combat the false teachers within the church. Paul writes the Holy Spirit teaches that “in the latter times, some will depart from the faith” (1 Tim. 4:1). In biblical terminology, “the latter times” are any time between Jesus’ first and second comings, which includes today (cf. 1 Pet. 1:20; 1 John 2:18).
Note, in the so-called Olivet Discourse,
Jesus had taught that the
present world will be
by sin and false teaching
(cf. Matt. 24:4–31).
In this passage Paul lists six marks or characteristics of the
false teachers in Ephesus.
These are: (1) submitting to deceiving spirits,
(2) espousing demonic doctrines,
(3) speaking hypocritical lies,
(4) having seared consciences,
(5) forbidding marriage, and
(6) imposing ceremonial food laws on the church.
Paul’s description here is a reminder, as he
had earlier written to the Ephesians, “
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of
this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness
in the heavenly places”
While it may seem odd at first,
it is not surprising that false teachers distort
the institution of marriage,
for marriage is
“a great mystery . . .
Christ and the church”
(Eph. 5:32). In other words,
marriage is meant
depict the gospel, thus
will always work to dim this revelation.
Spiritual Remedy (4:6–11)
By way of combating false doctrine, it was certainly necessary
for Timothy to be able to
identify theological and practical errors
to “instruct the brethren in these things” (1 Tim. 4:6).
Yet, Paul does not instruct Timothy to become an expert in various heresies—although some people are called to such ministries. Rather, Timothy was to focus on three things:
being a good minister of Jesus Christ,
feeding on the Word of God,
carefully following orthodox doctrine.
The idea here is that if a Christian is intimately familiar with
and has a vibrant relationship
then false teaching will be
and mature believers will be
equipped to resist such
theological and practical errors
Paul’s exhortation here highlights the
need for believers, especially
to remain in the
master their content.
At 1 Tim. 1:4, Paul had referred to the
false teachers’ espousal
of “fables and endless genealogies.”
At 2 Tim. 2:16 Paul similarly referred to erroneous
“profane and idle babblings”
and at Titus 1:14 he mentioned “Jewish fables.” Here at 1 Tim. 4:7
Paul instructed Timothy
reject profane and old wives’
So, although Paul does not give specific details about these false teachings, they apparently
involved stories, legends, or some other type of
Moreover, it seems these fables somehow were related to physical exercise
(cf. 1 Tim. 4:7–8),
which Paul states is profitable; yet, he writes that spiritual exercise is more valuable. At 1 Tim. 4:10 Paul notes that God “is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe.” However, in this passage Paul is not teaching universal salvation. Rather, he is referring to
God’s common grace upon all mankind.
Personal Exhortation (4:12–16)
As he had done at 1 Tim. 1:18–19, so here at 1 Tim. 4:12–16 Paul exhorts and encourages Timothy to continue on in the faith. Paul’s encouragement to Timothy is:
(1) to not be discouraged by those who would look down upon him,
(2) to be an example of Christian maturity—in word, conduct, love, spirit, faith, and purity—to the church,
(3) to pay attention to reading and to doctrinal development, and
(4) to remember his calling as a pastor. It is interesting that after giving this four-pronged exhortation, at 1 Tim. 4:15–16,
Paul again reminded Timothy about
the need to publicly display
his growing faith and to
pay special attention to doctrine.
In so doing, writes Paul, Timothy would
yourself and those
who hear you”
(1 Tim. 4:16).
The term “save” here
complete or to fulfill;
thus, Paul taught that pursuing orthodoxy would
Timothy and the church.
- In the past, what types of false teaching have you encountered? Given the breadth of false teaching, how can Christians resist practical and theological errors?
- Was Paul’s warning in Acts 20:29–30 about false teaching a specific prophesy for Ephesus or a general warning for the church?
- Why do false teachers oftentimes attack the institution of marriage? What are some other common doctrines distorted by false teachers?
- What does Paul mean in writing that God “is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe” (1 Tim. 4:10)? Will all men eventually be saved?
- What are some common reasons why pastors leave the ministry? How can we encourage those who serve over us as pastors and teachers?
Isaiah 55:10–11 says,
“As the rain cometh down,
and the snow from heaven, . . .
So shall my word be that
goeth forth out of my mouth:
not return unto me void”
The remainder of verse 11 explains what it means
to “not return void,”
saying that God’s Word
“will accomplish what I desire and
purpose for which I sent it.”
Rain and snow are part of a cyclical water process.
Precipitation comes upon the earth, drains into the land,
and produces great benefit in
the growth of crops,
the refreshment of souls,
sustaining of life.
Rain and snow come from above and do not
return back above
without accomplishing their purpose.
God compares His Word
rain and snow because,
like the precipitation,
always fulfills His good purposes.
When God says
that His Word will not return to
we can know that
an intention for
God’s Word is
He “breathed out” His words to us, and they were recorded in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16). Every word He gave humanity is purposeful and was given for a reason. Like the rain and snow, God’s words bring forth life (John 6:63) and produce good fruit in our lives. Through His Word, we know that God loves us and that Jesus died to free us from sin and death; we also learn how to live in light of those truths.
When God says that His Word will not return to Him void, we are encouraged to abide in His Word, allowing it to absorb into our lives, soaking it up as the ground soaks up the rain and snow. The truth will not return void as our hearts are changed. God’s Word rebukes us and corrects us when we are wrong, and it trains us in godly living (2 Timothy 3:16–17). His Word is a light guiding us in this dark world (Psalm 119:105). It is relevant to every pressing and practical problem. God’s Word will always accomplish what He desires, whether it is teaching, correcting, training, leading us to Him, revealing our sin, or some other good and profitable end.
When God says that
His Word will not return to Him void,
we understand that God is sovereign.
The promise is that
will accomplish what He wants it to,
necessarily what we want it to.
We may share the Word
with the purpose of changing someone’s mind--
and the person’s mind doesn’t change.
Was God’s Word void?
but our personal goals
may have been
different from God’s.
Like the wind that
“blows wherever it pleases,”
Holy Spirit moves
And God may use His Word in
at surprising times, and in surprising people.
We can’t predict exactly how God will use
any more than meteorologists
with certitude the rainfall and snowfall.
God’s Word will not return
It is too powerful.
When God said,
Let there be light,
the immediate result was that “there was light”
When Jesus said,
Peace! Be still!
the wind ceased and the sea calmed
God’s Word will always prosper;
God will succeed, and those who receive His Word
will be overcomers as well
(1 John 5:4).
First, the Holy Spirit does many things in the lives of believers.
He is the believers’ Helper (John 14:26).
He indwells believers and
them until the day of redemption--
this indicates that
The Holy Spirit’s presence
believer is irreversible.
He guards and guarantees the salvation
of the ones He indwells
(Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).
The Holy Spirit assists believers in prayer
intercedes for God’s people
with the will of God”
The Holy Spirit
regenerates and renews the believer
At the moment of salvation, the Spirit baptizes the believer into the Body of Christ (Romans 6:3).
Believers receive the
by the power of the Spirit
The Spirit comforts believers with fellowship and joy as they go through a hostile world (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14). The Spirit, in His mighty power, fills believers with “all joy and peace” as they trust the Lord, causing believers to “overflow with hope” (Romans 15:13).
Sanctification is another work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. The Spirit sets Himself against the desires of the flesh and leads the believer into righteousness (Galatians 5:16–18). The works of the flesh become less evident, and the fruit of the Spirit becomes more evident (Galatians 5:19–26). Believers are commanded to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), which means they are to yield themselves to the Spirit’s full control.
The Holy Spirit is also a gift-giver. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them” (1 Corinthians 12:4). The spiritual gifts that believers possess are given by the Holy Spirit as He determines in His wisdom (verse 11).
The Holy Spirit also does work among unbelievers. Jesus promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8, ESV). The Spirit testifies of Christ (John 15:26), pointing people to the Lord. Currently, the Holy Spirit is also restraining sin and combatting “the secret power of lawlessness” in the world. This action keeps the rise of the Antichrist at bay (2 Thessalonians 2:6–10).
The Holy Spirit has one other important role, and that is to give believers wisdom by which we can understand God. “These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10–11). Since we have been given the amazing gift of God’s Spirit inside ourselves, we can comprehend the thoughts of God, as revealed in the Scripture. The Spirit helps us understand. This is wisdom from God, rather than wisdom from man. No amount of human knowledge can ever replace the Holy Spirit’s teaching (1 Corinthians 2:12–13).
is mentioned in Mark 3:22–30 and Matthew 12:22–32. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter” (Mark 3:28), but then He gives one exception: “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven;
they are guilty of an eternal sin” (verse 29).
According to Jesus, the unpardonable or unforgivable sin is unique. It is the one iniquity that will never be forgiven (“never” is the meaning of “either in this age or in the age to come” in Matthew 12:32). The unforgivable sin is blasphemy (“defiant irreverence”) of the Holy Spirit in the context of the Spirit’s work in the world through Christ. In other words, the particular case of blasphemy seen in Matthew 12 and Mark 3 is unique. The guilty party, a group of Pharisees, had witnessed irrefutable evidence that Jesus was working miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit, yet they claimed that He was possessed by the prince of demons, Beelzebul (Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:30).
The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day committed the unpardonable sin by accusing Jesus Christ (in person, on earth) of being demon-possessed. They had no excuse for such an action. They were not speaking out of ignorance or misunderstanding. The Pharisees knew that Jesus was the Messiah sent by God to save Israel. They knew the prophecies were being fulfilled. They saw Jesus’ wonderful works, and they heard His clear presentation of truth. Yet they deliberately chose to deny the truth and slander the Holy Spirit.
Standing before the Light of the World,
bathed in His glory,
they defiantly closed their eyes and became
Jesus pronounced that sin to be unforgivable.
The unpardonable sin today is that of
There is no pardon for a person who
dies in his rejection of Christ.
The Holy Spirit is at work in the world, convicting the unsaved of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). If a person resists that conviction and remains unrepentant, then he is choosing hell over heaven. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6), and the object of faith is Jesus (Acts 16:31). There is no forgiveness for someone who dies without faith in Christ.
God has provided for our salvation in His Son (John 3:16). Forgiveness is found exclusively in Jesus (John 14:6). To reject the only Savior is to be left with no means of salvation; to reject the only pardon is, obviously, unpardonable.
Many people fear they have committed some sin that God cannot or will not forgive, and they feel there is no hope for them, no matter what they do. Satan would like nothing more than to keep people laboring under that misconception. God gives encouragement to the sinner who is convicted of his sin: “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8). “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Romans 5:20). And the testimony of Paul is proof positive that God can and will save anyone who comes to Him in faith (1 Timothy 1:12–17). If you are suffering under a load of guilt today, rest assured that you have not committed the unpardonable sin. God is waiting with open arms. Jesus’ promise is that “he is able to save completely those who come to God through him” (Hebrews 7:25). Our Lord will never fail. “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2).
To be spiritually
is not to see
and not to see Christ is not to see God (Colossians 1:15-16; 2 Corinthians 4:6). Spiritual blindness is a grievous condition experienced by those who do not believe in God, Jesus Christ, and His Word (Romans 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:12). Those who reject Christ are the lost (John 6:68-69). Being spiritually blind, they are perishing (2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Revelation 3:17). They choose not to accept the teachings of Christ and His authority in their lives (Matthew 28:18). They are blind to the manifestations of God as revealed throughout His Word and Jesus Christ (John 1:1; Acts 28:26-27). They are described as
“do not accept the things of
the Spirit of God,
for they are folly to him,
and he is not
able to understand them
they are spiritually discerned”
(1 Corinthians 2:14).
Peter spoke of such people as “scoffers [who] will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires” (2 Peter 3:3; see also Proverbs 21:24; Jude 1:18). Those who reject Christ and His Word are spiritually blind and cannot understand the truth of the Scriptures. The truth sounds foolish to them (Isaiah 37:23; 1 Corinthians 1:18). The Bible describes those denying God as fools (Psalm 14:1; Matthew 7:26).
Because of their blindness
and rejection of God and His Word,
they are in a
perilous, unsaved condition
(John 12:48; Hebrews 2:2-4)
The spiritually blind are simply unable to understand God’s Word
(Matthew 13:13; Deuteronomy 29:4).
Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:15-17). Paul echoed this when he told the believers in Rome, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him” (Romans 8:8-9).
Those outside of Christ are not of God because their lives are steeped in the things of the world with all its passions, their eyes blind to the Spirit of God. The Apostle John said, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” but that person’s love “is from the world”
(1 John 2:15-16).
The cause of spiritual blindness is made quite clear in the Scriptures: “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Paul refers to Satan as the “god of this world.” Extraordinarily evil (John 8:44), Satan destroys the flesh (1 Corinthians 5:5), masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and is the cause of all temptations (Luke 4:2; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Corinthians 7:5). He revels in scheming against and trapping the unbelievers (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:26). Satan’s goal is to devour the weak who fall prey to temptation, fear, loneliness, worry, depression, and persecution (1 Peter 5:8-9).
Without God and left to ourselves, we easily succumb to the devil’s schemes. We can become so mired in the affairs of this world and its moral darkness that, in the end, God turns us over to spiritual blindness and eternal condemnation (John 12:40; Romans 1:24-32).
As believers, we have the Spirit of God reigning in our lives to ward off the debilitating effects of Satan’s power and the world’s influence (1 John 4:13). John tells us, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15). Satan wars within and without us. His weapons are deceitful and crafty schemes to make us doubt and stumble (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 4:14). Yet God has provided us with powerful weapons to ward off his flaming arrows (Ephesians 6:10-18). As believers we can overcome the evil one and remain in the Light and never become spiritually blind. For, in truth, Jesus has given us His wonderful promise: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Veiled in Flesh: God Without Honor
(Matthew Sermon 66 of 151)
In the Gospel if Matthew 13
We've seen again and again the unifying theme is the kingdom of heaven, and specifically the King of the Kingdom of Heaven, and that is Jesus Christ, from the genealogy right at the beginning of Matthew 1, up until the end of chapter 13. We've seen much evidence that Christ is not only the Son of Man, but also Son of God, that He is God in the flesh.
We’ve seen that His works and His words are unlike any that's ever lived, and that the evidence for Him, being the king of the kingdom of heaven is sufficient. It is sufficient so that we will entrust our lives to Him; that we will in fact come to Him and take His yoke upon us and learn from Him because He is gentle and humble in heart, and that we can yield our stubborn, rebellious necks to His yoke. We can submit to His kingship; we can follow Him and His yoke because it is easy, and his burden is light. He will lead us into the visible face-to-face presence of God and the perfected Kingdom of Heaven. I'm yearning for that.
We've seen that, especially in this chapter 13, with the parables one after the other.
On a daily basis, I gather my family around something we call a family altar, and we read through books of the Bible as a family. The same thing I do here on Sunday morning is go verse by verse through books of the Bible. We go a little faster in the family, but that's alright. We're excited to learn whatever God would have for us. We took a poll with our kids about the next book after we finished the book of Hebrews, and they wanted to do two of them. The third is willing, and we're probably going to go to the other book that she wanted, the Book of Isaiah. But two of them wanted the Book of Revelation. I quailed and tremble and I said, "I don't understand that book, but I can teach you it at home long before I'll preach it to you. I will work on it at home and try to learn and try to understand, and that's what we're doing; we're moving through the Book of Revelation.
Revelation begins right at the start by saying, "The purpose of the book is that it is a book of Revelation. The word “revelation” is the English form of the Greek Word “apokalupsis”, an unveiling, a removal of a veil that we might pull back the veil which has veiled our sight and see what's behind it, what's truly there. But the Book of Revelation is not so much a revelation of the future as most people think it to be. It is not so much a revelation of heaven although there is so much of that. Not so much a revelation of all the worship, and the living creatures and the angels, all veiled in their sight, not so much a vision or a revelation of heaven, and not so much a revelation of the destruction of Satan, and of the anti-Christ and all of their vile forces and their work in this world. It's not so much a revelation of the end of the world and of Judgment Day and of heaven and hell and the final states. It is all of these things, and I'm getting excited. I might as well just go ahead and preach in Revelation this morning, but I can't do it. But it is all of these things, but it is so much infinitely more because Revelation 1:1, says "The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave His servants.” It's an unveiling of Christ. More than all of the other things."
Why did Jesus Christ need to be unveiled? What of him is hidden from our sight? We don't understand when every Christmas we sing the Wesley’s hymn, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, and in that he writes, “Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. Hail, the incarnate Deity.” Veiled in flesh. His flesh, his physical body in some way veils from our sight his true nature. He is veiled from us by His flesh.
Recently Steve & Vikki Cook wrote in a great song about this fathomless love. Speaking of the same thing, the song speaks of Christ, "Lord what moved your heart to love lowly man before any star could herald your praise. And why did you come abasing yourself veiled in a robe of frail human clay. Why would the adored become the despised to bear all the furious wrath that was mine?” This veil of human clay the veil of Christ, His incarnation; that the eternal God the Creator of the ends of the earth should take on a frail human form, a baby in a manger, that he should grow up like other boys in a neighborhood ,that he should have a regular family, and a regular family life, and that he should at some point present himself to his neighbors as God incarnate.
That is a stumbling block that is difficult to accept. The veil of flesh makes it hard and only the eye of faith can see Christ for who he truly is. It is faith alone that pulls back the veil that unveils Christ and sees not just a man, a Jewish carpenter, a great moral teacher or somebody worth studying, about whom there's been so much misunderstanding and mythology. No, it doesn't see that, it sees the incarnate God. It sees God in the flesh, and in seeing that, it believes for eternal life.
What Christ Gave Up, Temporarily
What did Christ give up when He came to this earth? What did He give up and what temporarily did He give up? He gave up the outward display of his glory and of heavenly worship. Soon, if God wills, we'll have an opportunity to look at Philippians Chapter 2. There it describes what I consider to be an infinite journey, a journey from the height of glory from the throne of glory in the center of heaven, all the way down past incarnation, all the way down even more, to death on a cross, a bloody cross from a throne of glory to a bloody cross — now that's an infinite journey. It says that, “Jesus being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man.”
He humbled himself and became obedient to death. Even death on a cross, and so here is Christ truly God, very God. A very God, begotten not made, this God, eternal God took on a human body, and He was worshipped constantly in Heaven, the glory of the pre-incarnate Christ.
We get glimpses of it in the Old Testament. For example, in Ezekiel Chapter 1, when Ezekiel had a vision, and he saw I believe the pre-incarnate Christ sitting on his throne. I think that Ezekiel 1, seems to me, stretches language almost to the breaking point, just like you get the sense in the Book of Revelation as well to try to explain what he saw. “I looked and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north. An immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light, the center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures, it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it, the creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning, beside the creatures were crystallite wheels, intersecting wheels, Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked like an expanse sparkling like ice and awesome.
When the creatures moved. I heard the sound of their wings like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings, then there came a voice from above the expanse, over their heads as they stood with lowered wings above the expanse. High over their heads, was what looked like a throne of sapphire and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire and that from there down, he looked like fire and brilliant light surrounded him like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.
This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord, and when I saw it, I fell face down.” That was a vision, I believe, of the glory of the pre-incarnate Christ, but actually not really of the Glory; a vision of the likeness of the appearance of the glory, because Ezekiel couldn’t handle the full glory and God wanted him to survive. So, God gave him just an appearance of the likeness of the image of the glory, so that he could survive the encounter. This is the glory of Christ pre-incarnate.
The worship of Christ is also described in Isaiah 6 with the seraphim, each with six wings. With two wings they cover their faces. They covered their faces, before Christ. With two wings, they covered their feet, and with two wings they were flying and calling to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory.” The apostle John says this of Christ in the book of Revelation. In John 12:41, it says, "Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about Him. This is the glory of Christ.” Did he give it up? Yes, he gave it all up. All the outward visible display of glory and the perfect worship of spiritual beings in heaven He gave up. What an infinite journey that was for him. To give that up and t come down to earth as a missionary really, the greatest missionary journey ever, the pattern of all missionary journeys, and that is the incarnation of Jesus Christ. No one, no one in history had as much to lose as Jesus.
I read recently about David Livingston, one of my missionary heroes, one of the great men of God, a missionary from England in Africa. His was a great adventure, but an adventure for Christ and for the gospel, and he suffered greatly. There were lots of difficulties in his life because of his calling as a missionary. He was often asked about this sacrifice of his life. People would come and say, "Talk to us about the sacrifices that you've made." And this is what he said, “People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called sacrifice, which is simply paid back, as a small part of the great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Away with such a word. Away with such a view and such a thought. It is emphatically, no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and sink. But let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory, which shall hereafter be revealed in us and for us. I never made a sacrifice." Let me say that again, I never made a sacrifice. We ought not to talk, when we remember the great sacrifice which He made, who left His father's throne on high, to give Himself for us." David Livingstone. "I never made a sacrifice."
This was a free, willing, clear-headed choice on Christ's part. He was not compelled; he was not forced. Gladly, for the joy set before Him, He endured incarnation and all that it meant right up to the cross. Gladly and even more amazing that the adored would choose to become the despised. Jeremiah at one point said "Lord, you deceived me, you didn't tell me everything that was involved in the job description. I didn't know I'd be despised so much that I'd be hated and persecuted, so much." Said Jeremiah, "You deceived me.” What a shocking moment in the life of the prophet. God is not a deceiver.
But the Second Person of the trinity was in no way deceived about entering the Earth He knew. He knew very well what He would face. He knew the prophecies, that He would be despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, that his own would not receive Him, but reject Him, that He would be handed over to be mocked and flogged and crucified. He knew all these things. He knew that his incarnation, itself would be dis-believed, that his mother would be dishonored, that He himself would be dishonored, He knew all these things. He knew that his person, would be rejected, and He knew that it would all end in being crushed at the cross. He knew that. And yet he did it anyway. Isn't that incredible? Clearly understanding and doing it anyway.
We see the veil of flesh.
He was veiled in flesh,
He took on a human body, the
hidden glory of the
This is, I believe, the central
our faith called Christianity.
He took on a human body that it might bleed and die on the cross as a sacrifice, and we have a hard time accepting this. The Jews of his day had a hard time accepting this. In John chapter 10, the great chapter in which he calls himself the Good Shepherd, the Jews don't understand, and Jesus says, "I and the Father are one, and again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them. I have shown you many great miracles from the Father, for which of these are you stoning me? No, we are not stoning you for any of these, but for blasphemy. Because you a mere man, claim to be God.” That's a stumbling block. How can a mere man make that kind of claim? Don’t believe what the liberals and what other modern scholars tell you that Jesus never claimed to be God. Oh yes, He did. His own generation knew very well. He used all the language. “Before Abraham was born. I am.” He used the language of deity. He knew that He was God and He proclaimed himself to be God. They rejected it, and it's been rejected by great minds ever since, and by not so great minds.
Leo Tolstoy, the great writer, said, "I believe that Christ was a man like us. To look upon him as God would seem to me the greatest of sacrileges." Oh, I grieve. I hope he repented of that unbelief. He was a mere man claiming to be God. He had a physical body. He had eyes, he had a face, he had hands, he had hair. He had all of the physical trappings, and actually had them, not just merely appeared to have them. He truly did have them. He had a normal development, from infancy through boyhood, young manhood and then to full adulthood. Normal development. He had normal family relations with a mother and while he lived with his stepfather, not his true father, but with Joseph, and also with brothers and sisters that are listed in the passage we're reading. He had normal physical issues, he got hungry and needed to eat, he got thirsty and needed to drink, he got tired and needed to sleep. He had physical limitations, He could only be one place at one time, and most difficult of all, he had death. The Jehovah's witness says, "If He's God, then God is dead, on the cross." Yes, he is God and He was dead on the cross. They just don't understand the Trinity, and they don't understand, "Father into your hands. I commit to my spirit.”
“Today, you'll be with me in paradise." They don't understand these things, but He was God, and He was, in fact,
dead on the cross.
Yet for those with faith, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, there is ample evidence of His deity. Not a small amount, but an ample, a feast of evidence actually. For example, his perfect moral character. He never sinned, He made it through 30 plus years in this alluring, enticing and attacking world without once sinning. No one else has ever done it, just Jesus. He spoke with a kind of authority and with an insight that we have been experiencing here in these parables and the Sermon on the Mount and his other great teachings that no one has ever even come close to. The perfection of teaching. He did miracles that cannot be accounted for humanly. He spoke to the wind and waves, and they obeyed Him. He spoke to dead people, and they came to life again, he spat on the ground and made mud and smeared it on blind eyes, and they could see. He put his fingers in deaf ears and breathed, and those deaf ears were opened. He could feed a huge crowd with a few scraps of bread. He could do anything, anything that power could do, He could do, and He had a supernatural knowledge of people's hearts and minds, He read their thoughts. There's ample evidence and even more, He fulfilled prophecy from cradle to grave from when He was born and all the way to how
He died and then through His resurrection, all of it covered with prophecy.
There's ample evidence for the deity of Christ if you have eyes to see. Christ's glory was there all along. It was always there; it was just veiled by the flesh. It was part of God's strategy that we should believe by faith the Word that's preached. But it was always there. You remember how he took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves and there He was transfigured before them, His face shone like the sun, His clothes became white as the light. They saw a brief glimpse of His glory. Did they see His full glory? We've already answered that earlier. No, they couldn't survive. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, they couldn't see His full glory, but they saw a brief glimpse of it, and they never forgot. The glory was still there, and it was there all long, and the glory can be seen also in the cross. If you have faith and a mind to understand what was going on there. The glory of the cross is unspeakable, it's incredible, I can't describe it. You see the attributes of God so perfectly displayed at the cross. His wrath and his justice in that he would rather have His son die suffering, than let any one of us sinners in heaven un-atoned for. That's His holiness, perfectly displayed at the cross. His love perfectly displayed in his compassion, in that the wrath and justice was poured out on a substitute, not on us. Poured out on his own Son, the glory of Christ could be seen, if you had faith to see it.
The dishonor therefore of Christ is only temporary. Isn't that glorious? His dishonor would only be temporary. And why? Because Christ made three great requests of his Heavenly Father in prayer. Did you know that everything that Christ asked for, he gets? He bats 1000 in His prayer life, to use a baseball analogy. Everything He asked for, He gets. Three great requests. John 17: 5, “Give it back, I laid it down. The work is finished, now give it back." Now that would be blasphemous if He weren’t the Second Person in the Trinity, because God said in Isaiah, "He will not share his glory with another." So, "Give me my glory back." That's the first request. The second, "Give me the nations as my inheritance." Psalm 2, "And I will rule them with an iron sceptre. I'll dash them to pieces like pottery. I will be King of Kings and I will be Lord of lords. All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me." Did Christ ask? Yes, he did. He asked, "Give me the nations." And the Father said, "Here they are, they're yours.”
He has all authority
heaven and on earth.
What's the third great request? "Give me my chosen ones, give me my elect, give me my sheep, that not one of them will perish." Has he made that request? Yes, he has. "Father, I want those whom you have given me, to be with me, where I am, and to see my glory. The glory you have given me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world." Is He going to have that? He will, it's just not finished yet. So, his glory is eternal, his dishonor was only temporary, and someday, He will return, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him and all nations on earth will mourn because of Him. They will see and they will know. The Book of Revelation makes it plain in Revelation 1, and in Revelation chapter 19, the second coming of Christ. There will be a great unveiling at that point. Faith will not be required. No need for faith at that moment. You'll see it. Every eye will see it, and you will see the glory of Christ. But all nations, it says, will mourn at that point. Now is the day of faith. Today is the day of salvation, this is the time of faith, now, hearing and believing a preached message and
thinking it's all true.
Christ Dishonored by Disbelief
But Christ, while he walked on earth, he was dishonored by disbelief. We're looking at Matthew 13, "And he visits his hometown." In verse 53 and 54 it says, "When Jesus had finished these parables, he departed from there, and he came to his hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished." They said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" Jesus' ministry base while he was on earth was Capernaum, but that wasn't his hometown. His hometown, the Greek word here is "Patris", his hometown was Nazareth, and He goes back there. This is where He grew up, this is where He lived his boyhood years, and He went back to His hometown and He began teaching them. This is what He always did. This was His ministry. He went into the synagogue, which was the centre of Jewish life, away from the temple. They only had to go to the temple three times a year, the rest of the weeks they spent the Sabbath studying the Word of God, receiving teaching in the synagogues.
Jesus went into the synagogue and began teaching them in their synagogue, and they were amazed. Jesus had earlier preached the Gospel, had preached the Kingdom, the message of the Kingdom in Nazareth, and the people had rejected him. It says that they were amazed. They're amazed, but unconverted. They're amazed, but unconvinced. It's the amazement, I believe, of unbelief. There are two great evidences to me to prove the deity of Christ. I would add a third, the sinless character and quality of his life. But the two great ones that He constantly refers to Himself is His teachings, His words, His works, and His miracles. These were the very things that they rejected here in the synagogue. They were amazed at his supernatural wisdom. They were amazed at his supernatural power. But it's actually a form of unbelief, because they launch a series of questions at Him, and none of them expect an answer. They're all rhetorical questions. Seven of them, one after the other.
Question one, "Where did this man get this wisdom?" Question two, "And where did he get these miraculous powers?" Question three, "Isn't this the carpenter's son?" Question four, “Isn't his mother's name Mary?" Question five, "Aren't all his brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?" And question six, "And what about all his sisters? Aren't they here with us?" Question seven, "Where then did this man get all these things?" And they took offense at Him. They're not wanting answers to the questions. They are, every one of them, a question of origin. They have the origin, what we've seen as his physical origin, his physical life here in this hometown. We saw that. But now, they asked, “What's the origin of these miraculous, supernatural powers?
What could it be?” They can't line up the two. They can't believe the incarnation. It's beyond them, they can't accept it. Jesus had grown up in a normal way in their hometown.
Don't believe those spurious pseudo-Gospels that have Jesus doing miracles before his public ministry, it never happened. I don't know if you've heard of any of these. For example, the Gospel of pseudo-Matthew, which says that while He was an infant, his mother was hungry and He commanded, as an infant now, a fig tree to bend over so that she could get something to eat, and it did. Isn't that remarkable? Or He was playing by a river and made some clay pots and all that, and a neighborhood bully, stomped on them and crushed them, and Jesus struck him dead with the word of his power. His mother then came and interceded, and said, "This is not good." So, He raised the boy back to life again, just because his mother asked him to. Oh, it makes for entertaining reading, but it's un-biblical because the first of Jesus' miracles He performed at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, displaying his power. None of those miracles ever happened. He grew up as a normal boy, except one thing. Normal boys, by my observation, are theologically sinful. I'm not giving any insights into my own family, but I'm just saying that normal boys and girls, they sin, and Jesus never did. But the townspeople were offended at him and could not connect with him. Familiarity had bread contempt here. The better they knew Him, the more they despised Him, and thought lowly of Him. But for the believer, do you know that's exactly opposite with Jesus?
The more you
the more you worship
The apostle Paul in Philippians 3, says, "I want to know him better, I want to know him that I might worship him better and better." It's just the exact opposite. But for these unbelievers, the better they knew Him, the more they had contempt for Him. The contempt is clear. Verse 57. "They took offense at him." We've already talked about the fact that Jesus had a family, that Mary was a busy mother of many. I don't know how many, because it doesn't list the number of sisters, but it says, "Aren't all his sisters with us?" I think that qualifies for at least three, probably more like four. That's a big family. Jesus had a family life. I would imagine that it was unlike any family that had ever lived before. That Jesus' perfection set the standard for his brothers and for his sisters. I've thought about this before. Why can't you be like Jesus? He never gives us a minute of trouble, except that we don't understand what He means when He says, ‘I must be about my Father's business.’ That's confusing, we're trying to understand, but He is morally pure and perfect. Why can't you be like Him?” I believe that, all humor aside, I believe that this was a stumbling block for his brothers. I think it was hard for them. Eventually they came to faith. Praise God they did.
The people took offense, and Jesus makes a pronouncement. Only in his hometown and in his own house, is a prophet without honor. Look at that phrase, “Without honor.” “You are stripping me of my glory." Long before Jesus' clothes were stripped from him and He was flogged by the Romans, His own people, even His own hometown, even His own family, stripped Him of His honor. "You dishonor me." Only in his hometown, in his own house, without honor. Christ is clearly stating here, "Your unbelief strips me of honor. In other places, I will be held in honor. Among the poor and needy sinners, the tax collectors, and the prostitutes I will be held in honor. Among the believing Roman centurions, who see me for who I really am, I will be by them held in honor. From people of every tribe, and language, and people, and nation. By them I will be held in honor, but in my hometown and in my own house, I'll be stripped of honor."
stripped him of honor.
It says in verse 58,
“He did not
do many miracles there
because of their lack of
There's a strong connection then between the faith of the people and the miracles. This has been made again and again in Matthew. In Matthew 9:22, "To the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, after she took the hem of his garment in her hand and was healed, Jesus said, ‘Take heart daughter, your faith has healed you.’” Later in that same chapter, Matthew 9, He touched the eyes of two blind beggars and said, "According to your faith, it will be done to you." To his discouraged disciples, after coming down off the Mount of Transfiguration, the other disciples being there, and not being able to drive out a demon, saying, "Why couldn't we drive it out?",
He said, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there and it will move, nothing will be impossible for you." Don't misunderstand. I think there's two errors you can make about this. Number one is that if there is no faith, Christ can do no miracles. That's an error, that's false. Christ can do anything He wants, any time He wants, whether you or I have faith at all. He doesn't need our faith to perform a miracle. Some of these health, wealth and miraculous ministries say, "If you don't have faith, Christ can't work." That is so false. Do you realize how many great things that Christ has done without your faith? How about, "Let there be light?" And there was light. Was there anyone to have faith at that moment?
That's a great accomplishment. How about creating the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that is in them, without your faith, He did all of that. Within the Gospel accounts, with many miracles, people had no faith for that miracle. Did his disciples believe that Jesus was about to still the storm? Absolutely not, they had no faith for that miracle. Jesus just did it. As a matter of fact, more often than not, there's no faith. Don't make the error of thinking, because there's no faith, Christ cannot do the miracle. Neither make the opposite error of saying that, "If there's an abundance of faith, Christ must do the miracle." Your faith doesn't compel God in any way, shape, or form. I believe that faith is essentially passive. It's like the eyesight of the soul. It receives what God is presenting to it. Without faith we're blind, but when we have our sight restored, we can see what God intends to do and receive it. Our faith doesn't compel God to do anything contrary to His will and plan.
Christ knew that it was by faith alone that we would be justified and that's what he sought , and because his neighborhood could not believe in Him, He'd only be heaping up burning coals of judgement on their head, by doing more and more miracles there that they would not believe, and so He stopped. He didn't do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. The real issue here is the shocking dishonor of their disbelief in Him. This morning as I was driving in with my kids, we were talking about one passage in Scripture, in John, chapter 8 when the Jews came to Jesus and said this. I want you to keep in mind that we're talking about, and they were talking to the same one that Ezekiel saw when he looked up high. The same one before whom the Seraphim veiled their sight. They said, "Jesus, aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon possessed?" Jesus said, "I am not possessed by a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me." It's about the only place I find that Christ stands and defends himself. He doesn't do it for long because He says in the very next phrase, "I am not seeking glory for myself, but there is one who seeks it, and He is the judge." He's referring to His father. If we will strip Him of His honor, we make God our enemy.
Veiled in Flesh, Unveiled by Faith
If we honor Him by belief, He will make us His children. If we can see in the incarnation, the glory of God we will become His children. John 1:10 says,
"He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, and his own did not receive him. But as many as did receive him, to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God."
Glorious! By simply accepting this, that the Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us, and we have seen His glory. John said, not that we will see His glory, but we've already seen it. The glory of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. We saw it in His physical life on earth.
We've seen His glory already and we believe in it."
Therefore, by faith we see the truth about Christ. Faith lives by truth, not by sight. Let me say that again, faith lives by truth, not by sight. We hear the truth of Christ, we believe, and we have faith, and we see Him as he really is, God incarnate. Faith therefore cuts through that veil. Faith understands the death of Christ, it understands the atoning sacrifice, and faith alone saves the soul.
Five years ago,
I had the privilege of preaching to you on Matthew 16, “The Revelation of Christ to Simon Peter.” Jesus asked them, "What do you think about the Christ?" They gave Him answers and He said, "What about you?
Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. You are the Christ, the son of living God."
Do you remember what Jesus said to him? "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not unveiled to you by a man, but by my Father."
When you have faith, God the Father unveils Christ in your mind's eye,
and you see Him as glorious,
the Second Person of the Trinity, even in the death on the cross,
and that becomes your salvation.
DISBELIEVING HIS CLAIM TO BE GOD
What application can we make for this? There are four ways that people dishonor Christ. The remedy is always the same, repent and believe so that you may honor Him. The first way is by disbelieving his claim to be God. That is the greatest dishonor anybody can ever due to Christ. Disbelieve that He is God in the flesh. I may today be speaking to some who don't believe that Christ, that God came to Earth in a human body, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He died on the cross in your place. I beg you, don't go on in disbelief, it dishonors him. Trust in him and believe. By disbelieving his claim, we dishonor Him, we strip Him of His glory. Repent and believe the good news. Come to faith in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
DISOBEYING HIS COMMANDS
The second way that people dishonor Christ is by disobeying his commands. Jesus asked very simply, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don't do what I tell you to do?" You can't believe that He is the King of the Kingdom of heaven and disobey Him. You can't believe that He's the King of the Kingdom of heaven and not submit your neck to His yoke. You must obey Him. We Christians do not dishonor Christ in the first way, but daily, we dishonor Him in the second way. We disobey His commands. The answer for us is repentance as well. Repent and turn away from sin, turn away from willfulness and rebellion and turn to Christ, and say, "You're my King, you're my Lord, my master. I honor you, I want to obey you, work obedience in my life."
DELIGHTING IN HIS COMPETITORS
The third way that people dishonor Christ is by delighting in his competitors. Delighting in his competitors? What does that mean? Christ wants your heart, He wants your affections, He wants your love, He wants the focus of your life to be on Him. Anything that takes His place as an idol, it's a competitor to Him. For you to delight in any worldly thing, even amoral things that are ordinarily blessings, so that they take the place of Christ in your life, you are delighting in his competitor and it strips Him of honor. Any time we sin, in effect, we're saying,
I wanted that more
than I wanted Christ,
it dishonors him.
DELAYING HIS COMING
The fourth way that I think, Christians especially,
I believe that the day and date of His coming is set and cannot be changed. But yet, in Second Peter it says, "What kind of life should we live? We should look forward to the day of God and speed it's coming." How do we do that? By aggressive, risk-taking, courageous evangelism. By activity and missions, by sacrifice financially, by being willing to cross the dorm-room hall, or the street of your neighborhood, or the workplace and witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and challenge them and say, "Do you believe that Jesus is God? That he took on a human body and then he died on the cross?" To share the words of the Gospel advances His Kingdom, speeds the day of His coming. If we don't do it, we're delaying His coming. Not in an absolute sense, that day is set and fixed, but within the sense that Second Peter meant when it said, "Look forward to the day of God, and speed its coming." I'm calling on all of us, every one of us to stop dishonoring Christ, in whatever way we've been doing. If you're an unbeliever, stop dishonoring Him by your unbelief. Believe that He is God in the flesh and come to faith today.
Don't leave this place without talking to me about your soul, or to somebody else. Say, "I want to know Christ." To you who are Christians, stop dishonoring Christ by disobeying his commands. Obey him fully. He is the King and Lord. Submit your life fully to him, and don't substitute some earthly treasure for Christ. Don't delight in his competitors. Delight in him, delight in Christ, and let this be the day of His coming. Let's not delay it by our laziness and our inactivity. Let's be faithful in prayer, faithful in missions, and evangelism, that He may get the glory.
Paul, in his first letter to Timothy,
had this to say:
For the love of money
is a root
of all kinds of evil.
Some people, eager for money,
wandered from the faith
” (1 Timothy 6:10).
Now this verse is often misquoted as saying
, “Money is the root of all evil.”
Notice how “money” is substituted for “love of money” and “the root of all evil” is substituted for “a root of all kinds of evil.”
These changes, while subtle, have an enormous impact on the meaning of the verse.
The misquoted version (“money is the root of all evil”) makes money and wealth the source (or root) of all evil in the world.
This is clearly false.
The Bible makes it quite clear that sin is the root of all evil in the world
(Matthew 15:19; Romans 5:12; James 1:15).
However, when we reflect upon the correct citation of this verse, we see that it is the love of money, not money itself, that is a source of all different kinds of trouble and evil.
Wealth is morally neutral; there is nothing wrong with money, in and of itself, or the possession of money. However,
when money begins to control us, that’s
when trouble starts.
With that said, let’s consider the question before us: Why is the love of money a root of all kinds of evil? To help us answer this, we must look at the passage in its greater context. Near the end of the letter (1 Timothy 6:2–10), Paul is exhorting Timothy regarding the need to “teach and urge these things” to his congregation, “these things” referring back to earlier material in the epistle. Paul then warns Timothy about false teachers who will seek to warp and pervert the content of sound doctrine for their own greedy gain (verses 3–5). Now notice what the apostle says at the end of verse 5: “Imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” These false teachers do what they do for the fame and notoriety they achieve, along with the financial rewards it brings.
Paul wants to steer Timothy away from that trap. In doing so, he tells him the real source of “great gain;” namely, godliness with true contentment (verse 6). Contentment, in a biblical sense, is the recognition that we come into the world with nothing and that everything we have is a gift from God’s hands (verses 7–8). Yet those who desire to be rich (i.e., those who have the “love of money”) are the ones who are led into temptation and fall into a snare (verse 9). Paul concludes the passage by telling Timothy that the love of money leads to all sorts of sin and evil.
Simple reflection on this principle will confirm that it is true. Greed causes people to do all sorts of things they wouldn’t normally do. Watch any number of TV courtroom dramas, and the crime under consideration is usually motivated by jealousy or greed, or both. The love of money is what motivates people to lie, steal, cheat, gamble, embezzle, and even murder. People who have a love for money lack the godliness and contentment that is true gain in God’s eyes.
But the Bible makes an even stronger statement about
the love of money.
What we have discussed thus far simply describes the
of the love of money.
In other words, we have only mentioned how the love of money
can lead one to commit greater sins against his fellow man.
But the Bible makes quite clear that all sin is ultimately against God’s holy character (Psalm 51:5). We need to consider the vertical dimension to the love of money.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24). This verse comes at the end of a passage in which Jesus tells us to “lay up treasures in heaven” (v. 19). Here, Jesus likens a “love of money” to idolatry. He refers to money as a “master” we serve at the expense of serving God. We are commanded by God to have “no other gods” before the only true and living God (Exodus 20:3; the first commandment). Anything that takes first place in our lives other than our Creator God is an idol and makes us guilty of breaking the first commandment.
Jesus had much to say about wealth.
His most memorable conversation about money is His encounter with the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16–30). The young man asks Jesus what he must do to obtain eternal life, and Jesus tells him to follow the commandments.
When the man tells Jesus that he has done all that, Jesus tests his ability to obey the first commandment and tells him to
sell all his possessions and give it to the poor and to
The young man couldn’t do this; his wealth had become an idol—it was his master!
After this encounter, Jesus turns to His disciples and says,
“Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty
will a rich person
enter the kingdom of heaven.
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go
through the eye of a
than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God”
This is a hard saying, especially for 21st-century people living in North America. Jesus is saying that wealth is one of the biggest obstacles to coming to faith in Christ. The reason is obvious: wealth becomes a slave master in our lives and drives us to do all sorts of things that drive us further and further away from God. The good news is that what is impossible for man, entering into the Kingdom of God, is possible with God (Matthew 19:26).
Satan’s fall from heaven is symbolically
described in Isaiah 14:12–14 and Ezekiel 28:12–18. While these two passages are referring specifically to the kings of Babylon and Tyre, we believe they also reference the spiritual power behind those kings, namely, Satan. These passages describe why Satan fell, but they do not say when the fall occurred. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, witnessed Satan’s fall, and He mentions it in Luke 10:18: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” We know that the angels were created before the earth (Job 38:4–7). Satan fell before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:1–14). Satan’s fall, therefore, must have occurred somewhere after the time the angels were created and before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Whether Satan’s fall occurred hours, days, or years before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden, Scripture does not say.
The book of Job tells us, at least in Job’s time,
Satan still had access to heaven and to the
throne of God.
“One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, ’Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the LORD, ‘
From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it’” (Job 1:6-7).
Apparently at that time,
Satan was still moving freely between heaven and earth, speaking to God directly and answering for his activities.
Whether God has discontinued this access is a matter of debate. Some say Satan’s access to heaven was ended at the death of Christ.
Others believe Satan’s access to heaven will be ended at the end-times
war in heaven (Revelation 12:7–12).
Why did Satan fall from heaven?
Satan fell because of pride. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God. Notice the many “I will...” statements in Isaiah 14:12-15. Ezekiel 28:12-15 describes Satan as an exceedingly beautiful angel. Satan was likely the highest of all angels, the anointed cherub, the most beautiful of all of God’s creations, but he was not content in his position. Instead, Satan desired to be God, to essentially
“kick God off His throne”
and take over the rule of the universe.
Satan wanted to be God,
and interestingly enough, that desire is what Satan
tempted Adam and Eve with in the Garden of Eden
How did Satan fall from heaven?
Actually, a fall is not an accurate description. It would be far more accurate to say God cast Satan out of heaven (Isaiah 14:15; Ezekiel 28:16-17).
Satan did not fall from heaven; rather,
Satan was pushed.
Psalm 22 is a prophetic psalm of David
Jesus Christ as the Savior who
laid down His life.
The psalm begins by portraying the rejection and abandonment Christ suffered on the cross (Psalm 22:1–2; cf. Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). Yet, immediately, the suffering Messiah makes a strong declaration of trust in God: “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel”
(Psalm 22:3, KJV).
As the bearer of humanity’s sins, Christ was destined to experience untold pain and anguish (Isaiah 53:4–6, 10; 2 Corinthians 5:21). In the seemingly endless silence in which God does not answer—perhaps the worst moment of torment Christ would ever know—the Son reminds Himself of God’s sovereign position: “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3, ESV). The word enthroned here describes the circumstance of sitting, remaining, or dwelling somewhere. (The phrasing God inhabits the praise of His people comes from the King James Version of Psalm 22:3.)
When the Messiah declared, “God inhabits the praise of His people” in Psalm 22:3, He expressed His absolute trust in God. No matter what was happening at that moment or how alone He felt, the Messiah knew that God was present and in control, ruling over His hour of greatest need (see 1 Peter 2:23). God the Father had not abandoned Him. God was working out His sovereign plan, and the Messiah would soon be delivered (see Psalm 22:4–5).
Many examples of God’s enthronement exist in Scripture. The psalmist urged, “Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!” (Psalm 9:11, ESV; see also Psalm 29:10; 102:12). “Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high” (Psalm 113:5). When Isaiah saw the Lord “high and exalted, seated on a throne” over all creation in heaven and earth “and the train of his robe filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1–6), the prophet was utterly undone by God’s presence.
The idea behind God inhabiting the praise of His people could be that God’s throne—His dwelling place—was the tabernacle, the place where praise was continually offered to Him. In Psalm 22, the Messiah in His suffering remembers the place and people of praise. He is not among those congregants, but He expresses with confidence that their praises are appropriate. Even in the extremity of His distress,
the Messiah trusts that God is holy and worthy of praise.
Heaven is a place where God is surrounded by praise, and it is described in the Bible as God’s temple (Psalm 11:4; Habakkuk 2:20). Yet the ultimate dwelling place for God is with His people: “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3; see also Revelation 21:22). Jesus Christ revealed that He is the Lord’s temple (John 2:19–21), and God’s presence now inhabits His body—the church (1 Corinthians 3:16–17).
Scripture repeatedly affirms that individual believers are “the temple of the living God” and “temples of the Holy Spirit” where God’s presence dwells (1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16). The whole church “is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord . . . built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit,” explains the apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:21–22. The church fits together like “living stones” being built into “a spiritual house” that offers “spiritual sacrifices” of praise to God (1 Peter 2:5).
The writer of Hebrews counsels, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15). The apostle Peter explains, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
God still inhabits the praises of His people.
No matter what our circumstances,
we know that God is holy and does all things right.
We can worship the Lord even in our distress.
Man’s highest aim should be to bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31), and this includes praying according to His will. First, we must ask for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). In asking for wisdom, we must also trust that God is gracious and willing to answer our prayers: “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt” (James 1:6; see also Mark 11:24). So, praying according to the will of God includes asking for wisdom (to know the will of God) and asking in faith
(to trust the will of God).
Here are seven biblical instructions
that will guide
the believer in praying according to
1) Pray for the things for which the Bible commands prayer. We are told to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44); for God to send missionaries (Luke 10:2); that we do not enter temptation (Matthew 26:41); for ministers of the Word (Colossians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:1); for government authorities (1 Timothy 2:1-3); for relief from affliction (James 5:13); and for the healing of fellow believers (James 5:16). Where God commands prayer, we can pray with confidence that we are praying according to His will.
2) Follow the example of godly characters in Scripture. Paul prayed for the salvation of Israel (Romans 10:1). David prayed for mercy and forgiveness when he sinned (Psalm 51:1-2). The early church prayed for boldness to witness (Acts 4:29). These prayers were according to the will of God, and similar prayers today can be as well. As with Paul and the early church, we should always be praying for the salvation of others. For ourselves, we should pray as David prayed, always aware of our sin and bringing it before God before it hinders our relationship with Him and thwarts our prayers.
3) Pray with the right motivation. Selfish motives will not be blessed by God. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3). We should also pray, not so our lofty words can be heard and we may be seen by others as “spiritual,” but mostly in private and in secret, so that our heavenly Father will hear in private and reward us openly (Matthew 6:5-6).
4) Pray with a spirit of forgiveness toward others (Mark 11:25). A spirit of bitterness, anger, revenge or hatred toward others will prevent our hearts from praying in total submission to God. Just as we are told not to give offerings to God while there is conflict between ourselves and another Christian (Matthew 5:23-24), in the same way God does not want the offering of our prayers until we have reconciled with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
5) Pray with thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2; Philippians 4:6-7). We can always find something to be thankful for, no matter how burdened we are by our wants or needs. The greatest sufferer that lives in this world of redeeming love, and who has the offer of heaven before him, has reason to be grateful to God.
6) Pray with persistence (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). We should persevere in prayer and not quit or be dejected because we have not received an immediate answer. Part of praying in God’s will is believing that, whether His answer is “yes,” “no,” or “wait,” we accept His judgment, submit to His will, and continue to pray.
7) Rely on the Spirit of God in prayer. This is a wonderful truth: “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Romans 8:26-27). We have the Spirit’s help in praying. At the times of our deepest depression or sorrow, those times when we feel that we “just cannot pray,” we have the comfort of knowing that the Holy Spirit is actually praying for us! What an amazing God we have!
What assurance we have when we seek to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh! Then we can have confidence that the Holy Spirit will accomplish His work in presenting our prayers to the Father according to His perfect will and timing, and we can rest in the knowledge that He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).
The man of lawlessness
in 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12 is the
who will come on the world scene at the beginning of the Day of the Lord. This Day, sometimes called the “end times,” starts after the rapture of the church in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11). It is good to note that the Day of the Lord is not a twenty-four-hour period of time; rather, it is an extended period of time that includes the seven-year tribulation, the return of Christ to put down all rebellion against Him, the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth, the final defeat of Satan, and the Great White Throne Judgment.
The Antichrist is given the
man of lawlessness
because he will oppose in every way the biblical God and His law. He will be completely lawless. Daniel 7 speaks of this man as a “boastful” king who will “try to change the set times and the laws” (verses 11 and 25). He will come offering a false peace to the world and will with his charismatic personality, incredible promises, and breathtaking miracles unite all nations politically, economically, and religiously under his leadership. At the same time, he will make a covenant with Israel for three and one-half years (cf. Daniel 9:27, where “seven” indicates seven years). In the middle of the seven years, the man of lawlessness will break his covenant with Israel, stop their sacrifices (Daniel 9:27), and enter the temple to set himself up as “god” and demand worship (2 Thessalonians 2:4). This is the “abomination that causes desolation” that Jesus spoke of in Mark 13:14.
Satan works through the Antichrist, for Satan himself is not able to become incarnate. By possessing and controlling the Antichrist, Satan is worshiped in the temple where the biblical God is to be worshiped. No wonder the Antichrist is called the man of lawlessness. To act as “god” is the ultimate rejection of the biblical God’s character and laws.
This action of the Antichrist will cause an upheaval in his worldwide kingdom, and forces from the East will gather to fight against him. But instead of fighting each other, the forces of the world unite to fight the King of kings and Lord of lords, who comes to put down the man of lawlessness and his allies in the great battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16; 19:19). Of course, the man of lawlessness loses that battle. He and his false prophet are then cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). The Word of God (Revelation 19:13), Jesus Christ, will be the Victor.
A quick observation of the happenings in our world today reveals that lawlessness is on the rise. Such lawlessness will continue and increase (2 Timothy 3:13), and when the man of lawlessness appears on the scene, he will be welcomed with open arms. Those who have rejected the true Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, will fall for the Antichrist’s empty promise of peace. It is vitally important that each of us is sure that we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and are living for Him. “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come” (Mark 13:33).
A true believer
of his faith
through his actions and attitudes,
but we should not determine our spiritual status based on our feelings, including the feeling of guilt. A Christian will naturally be sensitive to sin and willing to confess it (1 John 1:9), but feelings of guilt are not a true measure of one’s position before God.
Feelings are temporary and often irrational. They change frequently. Our salvation is a position of righteousness God places us into by His power (John 1:11–13) by indwelling us with the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:9–11). The level of guilty feelings or contriteness one experiences is too subjective of a barometer to gauge whether one has been regenerated by God’s Holy Spirit.
If we try to gauge the authenticity of our salvation by how guilty we feel about our sin, then we’re faced with a question: How much guilt is necessary for us to feel to guarantee our place in heaven? Even the most contrite person might not feel guilty enough—but who’s to say? The Bible is clear that faith in Jesus Christ is the only criterion for being counted as one of God’s children (John 1:12). Biblically, true faith will be accompanied by several godly attributes. Chief among those are the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). If you are questioning the genuineness of your faith, checking for that fruit may be a good place to start. Then, read the book of 1 John.
If you are largely unchanged in behavior and attitude since your conversion, you may need to reassess your sincerity concerning the faith you claim. The same is true if you never feel guilty about anything and can sin with impunity. But keep in mind that your salvation is God’s doing; it’s not a level of behavior you need to strive to attain (Ephesians 2:8–9).
Maturing as a Christian involves an increased sensitivity toward sin; we won’t want to sin (see Psalm 19:12–13; 39:1). As we become more Christlike, the Holy Spirit will shape us into useful vessels for advancing God’s kingdom on earth. Increasing our inhibitions against sinful behaviors and thoughts is facilitated by becoming intimately familiar with God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
At the same time, we need to make sure we are defining correctly what we call “sin.” It’s possible to categorize something as sin that is not sinful, thereby creating false guilt. Our view on this topic may depend on our background and who is currently influencing us. Some churches are legalistic in nature, and their leadership requires members to follow strict, extrabiblical standards to free themselves of guilt. The result is inevitably more guilt. We must rely on Scripture to define sin, and we must differentiate Old Testament requirements from New Testament principles. It is important to rightly divide God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15).
God wants us to bear the fruit of the Spirit. Love should be in our hearts, along with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We should not feel guilty over sins that have been confessed and forgiven. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). We will never be perfect in this life, but believers’ lives should be characterized by actions and attitudes that please God.
The Bible mentions rewards
that await the believer who serves the Lord faithfully in this world (Matthew 10:41). A “great” reward is promised to those who are persecuted for Jesus’ sake. Various crowns are mentioned (in 2 Timothy 4:8, e.g.). Jesus says that He will bring rewards with Him when He returns (Revelation 22:12).
We are to treasure the Lord Jesus most of all. When Jesus is our treasure, we will commit our resources—our money, our time, our talents—to His work in this world. Our motivation for what we do is important (1 Corinthians 10:31). Paul encourages servants that God has an eternal reward for those who are motivated to serve Christ: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23–24).
When we live sacrificially for Jesus’ sake or serve Him by serving the body of Christ, we store up treasure in heaven. Even seemingly small acts of service do not go unnoticed by God. “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward” (Matthew 10:42).
Some with more visible gifts (see 1 Corinthians 12) such as teaching, singing, or playing a musical instrument might be tempted to use their gift for their own glory. Those who use their talents or spiritual gifts coveting the praise of men rather than seeking God’s glory receive their “payment” in full here and now. The applause of men was the extent of the Pharisees’ reward (Matthew 6:16). Why should we work for worldly plaudits, however, when we can have so much more in heaven?
The Lord will be faithful to reward us for the service we give Him (Hebrews 6:10). Our ministries may differ, but the Lord we serve is the same. “The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor” (1 Corinthians 3:8).
The rich young man loved his money more than God in Matthew 19:16–30, a fact that Jesus incisively pointed out. The issue wasn’t that the young man was rich but that he “treasured” his riches and did not “treasure” what he could have in Christ. Jesus told the man to sell his possessions and give to the poor, “and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (verse 21). The young man left Jesus sad, because he was very rich. He chose this world’s treasure and so did not lay up treasure in heaven. He was unwilling to make Jesus his treasure. The young man was very religious, but Jesus exposed his heart of greed.
We are warned not to lose our full reward by following after false teachers (2 John 1:8). This is why it is so important to be in God’s Word daily (2 Timothy 2:15). That way we can recognize false teaching when we hear it.
The treasures that await the child of God will far outweigh any trouble, inconvenience, or persecution we may face (Romans 8:18). We can serve the Lord wholeheartedly, knowing that God is the One keeping score, and His reward will be abundantly gracious. “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
How WELL do YOU
If he was here today, as a pretty girl,
would you know him WELL enough to
During His earthly ministry,
Jesus often had large crowds following Him wherever He went,
and there were many people who saw and heard,
were healed by, and spoke with Jesus.
After His resurrection,
Jesus was also seen by His disciples,
Mary Magdalene, and over five hundred other people
(1 Corinthians 15:6).
Since His ascension, however, Jesus has been seated at the right hand of God.
When people today claim to have had a heavenly vision or say, “I saw Jesus,” we should respond with cautious skepticism.
A few select people have been granted visions of Jesus in His glory, such as Stephen (Acts 7:55–56) and John (Revelation 1:12–16). Paul encountered the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1–19). In this encounter, Paul saw a bright light and heard Jesus’ voice, but Scripture never says that Paul actually saw Jesus in the flesh at that time.
Jesus informed His disciples that He would no longer be in the world after His death and resurrection. In His High Priestly Prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus prays for protection for His disciples because He would “remain in the world no longer” (John 17:11). He knew that His time on earth was coming to an end and that He would no longer be physically present with His followers. Instead, He would send the Spirit to indwell them (John 14:17; 15:26) while He Himself would be seated in heaven with the Father.
If someone today were to actually see Jesus, it would require a divine vision or a heavenly revelation of some kind. The Bible gives no indication that such extra-biblical revelation is to be expected today, now that the apostolic age has ended. The canon of Scripture is complete (see Revelation 22:18). For this reason alone, when someone claims, “I saw Jesus,” a Christian should be skeptical. If a person truly did see Jesus today, nothing in his vision of Jesus would contradict the truth of the Bible, nor would it add anything to the revelation God has already given us in His Word.
Some who have claimed, “I saw Jesus,” have proceeded to lead many people astray. For example, in 1820 Joseph Smith claimed to have seen Jesus, and the result was Mormonism. In 1844 Ellen G. White claimed to have seen Jesus, and the result was Seventh-Day Adventism. Obviously, not everyone who says they have seen Jesus is on the side of truth.
Former Muslims sometimes tell stories of seeing Jesus in a dream, with the result that they left Islam and placed their faith in Christ. These reports are most common in “closed” countries, that is, places where access to the Bible and the gospel is limited. While we should exercise discernment regarding any claim of divinely sent dreams, and while it is unlikely that all such dreams are actual visitations from Jesus, we can allow the possibility that God could be bringing people to faith in Christ in such a way. “The arm of the LORD is not too short to save” (Isaiah 59:1), and the methods God uses to disseminate the gospel are up to Him.
The claim “I saw Jesus” should be met with a healthy dose of skepticism and prudence. If the “Jesus” who appears to someone differs in any way from the Jesus presented in the Bible, then the vision is to be rejected as false. If the “Jesus” who appears gives instructions that would lead anyone to sin, then the vision is false and must be discarded. If the one receiving the vision is aggrandized, or if the vision is a source of pride or financial gain, then the vision should be spurned. If the vision of Jesus results in less reliance on the written Word of God and more reliance on personal experience, then the vision is not of God.
In 2 Peter 1:16–18, Peter relates his own personal experience on the mount of transfiguration, where he had seen the glory of Christ firsthand. But, rather than use that experience as the basis for faith, Peter points his readers to the written Word of God: “We have the prophetic word [the Old Testament prophecies] made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention” (2 Peter 1:19, NASB). Miracles, dreams, and visions must take a secondary position to Scripture.
We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). We have the written Word. We have the Comforter. We have the blessedness of believing in Christ without having seen Him (John 20:29).
In 1 Corinthians 2:16,
Paul quotes Isaiah 40:13 and then makes a
statement concerning all
“We have the mind of Christ.”
Having the mind of Christ means sharing the plan, purpose, and perspective of Christ, and it is something that all believers possess.
Having the mind of Christ means we understand God’s plan in the world—to bring glory to Himself, restore creation to its original splendor, and provide salvation for sinners. It means we identify with Christ’s purpose “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). It means we share Jesus’ perspective of humility and obedience (Philippians 2:5-8), compassion (Matthew 9:36), and prayerful dependence on God (Luke 5:16).
In the verses leading up to 1 Corinthians 2:16, we note some
mind of Christ:
1) The mind of Christ stands in
to the wisdom of man
2) The mind of Christ involves wisdom from God,
once hidden but now revealed
3) The mind of Christ is given to believers
through the Spirit of God
4) The mind of Christ cannot be understood
by those without the Spirit
5) The mind of Christ gives believers
discernment in spiritual matters
In order to have the
mind of Christ,
one must first have saving faith in Christ
(John 1:12; 1 John 5:12).
After salvation, the believer lives a life under God’s influence.
The Holy Spirit indwells and enlightens the believer,
infusing him with wisdom—the mind of Christ.
The believer bears a responsibility to yield to the Spirit’s leading
and to allow the Spirit to transform and renew his mind
Colossians 2:8 ESV / 22 helpful votes See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Jeremiah 8:9 ESV / 21 helpful votes Helpful Not HelpfulThe wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, so what wisdom is in them?
Proverbs 14:12 ESV / 17 helpful votes There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
James 3:17 ESV / 15 helpful votes But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
1 Corinthians 3:18 ESV / 15 helpful votes Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
James 3:15 ESV / 14 helpful votes This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
Colossians 3:16 ESV / 11 helpful votes Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
1 Corinthians 1:18-21 ESV / 11 helpful votes For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
1 John 2:20 ESV / 9 helpful votes But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
Proverbs 3:5 ESV / 9 helpful votes Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
1 Corinthians 3:19 ESV / 8 helpful votes For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”
2 Peter 1:21 ESV / 7 helpful votes For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Proverbs 30:6 ESV / 6 helpful votes Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
Revelation 22:19 ESV / 5 helpful votes And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Revelation 22:18-19 ESV / 5 helpful votes I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Colossians 1:16 ESV / 5 helpful votes For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
Galatians 1:12 ESV / 5 helpful votes For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:13 ESV / 5 helpful votes And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
1 Corinthians 1:20 ESV / 5 helpful votes Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
Mark 16:15 ESV / 5 helpful votes And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
Matthew 24:35 ESV / 5 helpful votes Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Matthew 11:25 ESV / 5 helpful votes At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;
Psalm 119:160 ESV / 5 helpful votes The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV / 5 helpful votes You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.
1 John 5:9 ESV / 4 helpful votes If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son.
1 John 2:27 ESV / 4 helpful votes But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
2 Peter 1:20 ESV / 4 helpful votes Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.
2 Peter 1:3 ESV / 4 helpful votes His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
James 1:5 ESV / 4 helpful votes If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV / 4 helpful votes For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
2 Timothy 3:17 ESV / 4 helpful votes That the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV / 4 helpful votes All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16 ESV / 4 helpful votes All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
1 Corinthians 2:11-13 ESV / 4 helpful votes For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV / 4 helpful votes For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Acts 17:24 ESV / 4 helpful votes The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,
John 17:17 ESV / 4 helpful votes Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
John 16:13 ESV / 4 helpful votes When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Matthew 16:23 ESV / 4 helpful votes But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Matthew 15:14 ESV / 4 helpful votes Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
Isaiah 2:22 ESV / 4 helpful votes Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?
Psalm 146:3 ESV / 4 helpful votes Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
Psalm 119:99-100 ESV / 4 helpful votes I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.
Revelation 22:18 ESV / 3 helpful votes I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,
2 Timothy 3:15 ESV / 3 helpful votes And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 6:3 ESV / 3 helpful votes If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,
Ephesians 1:21-23 ESV / 3 helpful votes 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.
John 10:35 ESV / 3 helpful votes If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken--
John 6:63 ESV / 3 helpful votes It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
John 4:24 ESV / 3 helpful votes God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 3:31 ESV / 3 helpful votes He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all.
Jeremiah 10:23 ESV / 3 helpful votes I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
Isaiah 19:1-25 ESV / 3 helpful votes An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, each against another and each against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom; and the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out, and I will confound their counsel; and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers, and the mediums and the necromancers; and I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a hard master, and a fierce king will rule over them, declares the Lord God of hosts. And the waters of the sea will be dried up, and the river will be dry and parched, ...
Proverbs 30:5 ESV / 3 helpful votes Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Psalm 19:1 ESV / 3 helpful votes To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Jude 1:3 ESV / 2 helpful votes Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
1 Peter 4:11 ESV / 2 helpful votes Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
James 5:9 ESV / 2 helpful votes Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
James 4:11 ESV / 2 helpful votes Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
James 3:13 ESV / 2 helpful votes Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.
James 1:25 ESV / 2 helpful votes But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Hebrews 13:20 ESV / 2 helpful votes Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,
Hebrews 1:2 ESV / 2 helpful votes But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
Hebrews 1:1 ESV / 2 helpful votes Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
1 Thessalonians 4:15 ESV / 2 helpful votes For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
Colossians 4:12 ESV / 2 helpful votes Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.
Colossians 3:17 ESV / 2 helpful votes And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Philippians 3:20 ESV / 2 helpful votes But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Philippians 2:9-11 ESV / 2 helpful votes Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:1-4 ESV / 2 helpful votes So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Ephesians 3:3-5 ESV / 2 helpful votes 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.
Galatians 1:11 ESV / 2 helpful votes For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel.
Galatians 1:6-9 ESV / 2 helpful votes I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
2 Corinthians 10:18 ESV / 2 helpful votes For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
1 Corinthians 14:37 ESV / 2 helpful votes If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 13:8 ESV / 2 helpful votes Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ESV / 2 helpful votes If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; ...
1 Corinthians 12:12-14 ESV / 2 helpful votes For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV / 2 helpful votes No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 6:1-8:13 ESV / 2 helpful votes When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, ...
1 Corinthians 4:6 ESV / 2 helpful votes I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
1 Corinthians 4:2 ESV / 2 helpful votes Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
1 Corinthians 2:16 ESV / 2 helpful votes “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:10-13 ESV / 2 helpful votes These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
1 Corinthians 2:6-7 ESV / 2 helpful votes Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.
1 Corinthians 2:5 ESV / 2 helpful votes So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:23 ESV / 2 helpful votes But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
1 Corinthians 1:21-24 ESV / 2 helpful votes For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:21 ESV / 2 helpful votes For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:19 ESV / 2 helpful votes For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
1 Corinthians 1:17 ESV / 2 helpful votes For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
1 Corinthians 1:13 ESV / 2 helpful votes Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
1 Corinthians 1:12 ESV / 2 helpful votes What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:4-6 ESV / 2 helpful votes I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you--
1 Corinthians 1:1-31 ESV / 2 helpful votes Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— ...
Romans 10:12 ESV / 2 helpful votes For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
Romans 10:1-3 ESV / 2 helpful votes Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.
Romans 9:5 ESV / 2 helpful votes To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
Romans 1:25 ESV / 2 helpful votes Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Romans 1:20-25 ESV / 2 helpful votes For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, ...