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Psalm 100
A Psalm for giving thanks.
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

 

The purpose is established: to bless His Name! And who are they who will bless Him through thanksgiving and praise? According to this psalm, it shall be all the earth.  Not that every living being will do so for Scriptures do portray that there will be those who would call upon the mountains to fall upon them when the Lamb of God – Jesus Christ, shall return as King of the Ages to rule with an iron rod upon the nations who raged against Him (Rev. 6:15-16; Psalm 2:8-9). But this term ‘all the earth’ shall be those described in verse 3: the people belonging to Him, the sheep of His pasture.  Psalm 100 is termed as a “psalm of ascent”. It was meant to be sang as the believers stream towards the temple of God upward to Mount Zion where God has appointed to meet His people that they might worship and serve Him.  Although God is omnipresent, He has nevertheless appointed the temple at Jerusalem to be the place He will meet His people. Although this psalm, at the time it was being penned, strongly suggests a gathering of Jews and non-Israelite proselytes who worship the Lord (YHWH) at an appointed occasion in the annual Jewish calendar, it legitimately points forward to a time appointed by God when His Son, Jesus Christ, will be gathering  all who believe and trusted in Him, mediated by the Holy Spirit, into His  heavenly temple  for a grand assembly of redeemed to give thanks and praise….to bless His Name!

Jesus Christ is the type of that temple. In Him alone will God meet us. John the apostle wrote that when the Son came into the world in human form by means of the virgin birth, He dwelt among men (John 1:14). The Greek word for ‘dwelt’ is eskenosen, an old verb that means to pitch a tent (in the past tense). The term ‘pitched tent’ refers back to the first tabernacle (tent of meeting) designed by God and handed to Moses. From this began God’s gracious condescension with His people on a regular basis to instruct them, lead them, receive their worship and offerings, to bless them and be glorified among His chosen people. In John 14:6, Jesus plainly said that no one comes to the Father except by Him. He is God’s Tent of Meeting – the tabernacle or temple – where man is given the only means to reach, meet, commune with God and nowhere else. Repentance and faith in Christ alone are the only Holy Spirit-given graces for us to possess the right to enter into a relationship with God through Christ Jesus (John 1:12-13).

Jesus Christ describes His sheep as those who listen to His voice, those whom He knows and these are they who follow Him (John 10:27). He differentiates His sheep from those who are not – John 10:26 – these are those who do not believe Him.  And it is the believing flock that is referred in the psalm on both sides of the time-space history continuum in relation to the cross at Calvary.  This shall be flock that will enter finally into the presence of God forevermore at the return of Jesus Christ when time ceases to be and eternity begins for all the sheep of His pasture. On that day, there will be

 …no more temple for the Lord Almighty and the Lamb [Jesus Christ] shall be the temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day – and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.  But nothing unclean will ever enter it, not anyone who does what is detestable of false, by only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” – Revelation 21:22-27

As each sheep of the Lord looks forward to that day of grand assembly in the presence of the Almighty, His steadfast love and faithfulness are continually proclaimed today, as in the past, to all generations. First, as an ongoing reminder among the redeemed to keep their hearts undivided and thankfully serving the One who saved them. Secondly, as the Gospel to the rest of humanity, so that they may know that  the day of reckoning shall one day finally come. And before that day, the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins in the Lord Jesus Christ – who died on the cross and rose again from the grave on the third day –  is available still to all who will repent and turn to Him in faith. This is the good news and the testimony of God’s unchanging love through His only begotten Son. Blessed be His Name, both now and forevermore!

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Just a few days ago I wrote my post entitled ‘Inspiration For A Song’ and a part of it is where the psalmist said that he will declare God’s steadfast love in the morning (Psalm 92:2).  Well, this is what happened to me today, as I set myself – mind, heart and body – to read the Scriptures, particularly Psalm 94 which was the next on my list.  With some concerns troubling my soul, I prayed and read the Scripture, and as I go through the entire Psalm, God’s steadfast love flooded my soul through what is written:

When I thought, “my foot slips,” your steadfast love O Lord held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” – Psalm 94:18-19

After laying my petition to God for the people I pray for daily as well as my own needs, I stood up as a man who has entered into the Lord’s peace for He has truly comforted me.  I am assured of facing the day in His victory; in fact, this has sustained me all through the day even when oppositions faced my way.  Just like the psalmist who knew the enemies of the Lord will not prosper, I went through the troubles of the day unscathe.

As I sit now again during the night watch at my home while rummaging through the events of the day in my mind, I praise the Lord for His faithfulness (Psalm 92:2) for even before the tumult of the day, He has sent His Word for my comfort. Blessed be the Name of my Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Consolation of my heart and of those whose trust is in Him. Amen and amen.

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Psalm 92 
(a Song for the Sabbath)
1 It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
2 to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
3 to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
4 For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
 5 How great are your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very deep!
6 The stupid man cannot know;
the fool cannot understand this:
7 that though the wicked sprout like grass
and all evildoers flourish,
they are doomed to destruction forever;
8 but you, O Lord, are on high forever.
9 For behold, your enemies, O Lord,
for behold, your enemies shall perish;
all evildoers shall be scattered.
10 But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox;
you have poured over me fresh oil.
11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants. 
12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
15 to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Inspiration

The psalmist begins by an intention springing from his heart that sings, “it is good to give thanks to the Lord”. Through this inspiration, the elements of the song are brought together. Realities that has happened to him permeates the song, but more so, are these realities understood as the works of the One who sustains him at all times – the LORD.

Men today draws inspiration from many places, situations, things and memories. You only need to listen to a lyricist or musical composer or even a poet, whenever they reveal their sources – from the mundane to the esoteric. Not so with the psalmist;  in verse 2, God’s unchanging love and faithfulness displayed in  His work are manifested in the psalmist’s experience. Today, we have the Holy Spirit-inspired Psalm 92  as part of the Scriptures for us. God’s specific deeds in focus are scrolled out in the succeeding verses:

  • Verses 5 – 9:  God’s sovereignty even over wicked men and the wrath reserved for them at the appointed time.
  • Verses 10 – 15:  In contrast to the preceding verses, we read God’s sustaining grace and kindness on the psalmist even to old age.

These have become the contents for the inspired song which he purposed to be sang on the Sabbath, a day that  God’s people are commanded to take rest from their labors and meditate upon the Lord and His work.  Today, a type of Sabbath is entered into for those who trust and obey the Lord Jesus Christ who has given us eternal rest by His salvation through His finished work on the cross and resurrection.  In Jesus alone, we have peace with God – in Him we have entered God’s rest by faith.

As it is written:

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.  For we who have believed enter that rest…” – Hebrews 4:1-3

For this reason, we join the psalmist in his declaration of praise to God:

For you have made me glad by your works; at the works of your hands, I sing for joy”- Psalm 92:4

Rest from enemies

The enemies still surround and perhaps are still plotting evil against the psalmist but  he knows that God is his enemies ultimate foe, and they will never prosper, whether in the immediate or in the future. In the Lord he finds his rest.  Rest is not the absence of trouble, but rest is knowing that all events at all times are in God’s hands and those who take refuge in Him are safe.

Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” – Exodus 14:13-14

When God, through His servant Moses, was about to deliver the Israelites from the hands of the Pharoah, He sent His word of comfort and assurance for the people, that they may not be overwhelmed and be witnesses to the hand of God that brought down destruction upon their enemies.  Moses is a type of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In the Lord, salvation and reprieve from enemies is assured, whether physical or spiritual.  The term ‘you only have to be silent’ is another way of commanding them to trust in Him. And to trust means to be believe what He said and be assured of the fulfillment His promise.

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” – 2 Corinthians 1:19-22

Our arch enemy, Satan, is already defeated at the cross and we are realizing this day by day in our lives as the Lord sanctifies us through His Word through the active working of the Holy Spirit. And on God’s appointed day of Christ’s return, this enemy alongwith all wickedness will be cast into the lake of fire.

The psalmist identifies the enemy as stupid and foolish (v. 5-6) for they do not know that they are against God who has anointed him (v.10). Strong evidence points the authorship of the psalm to David despite the absence of any direct attribution to him. He wrote in an earlier psalm that many are his foes and at the time he penned this, he is still plagued by them.  This time though, he writes with his eyes set on God’s greatness, bringing him strength and assurance of God’s steadfastness.

Longevity

David now reflects on the longevity of life marked with fruitfulness that God has blessed him (v.12-14). It does not effectively say that he is already old by the time he wrote this, but it conveys to the reader his confidence of God’s sustaining grace (v. 15).

Indeed the Lord has given many of His people long life, not only during biblical times but also today.  Yet, as God is sovereign, not everyone who trusts in Christ Jesus may live long, but every child of God is given the assurance of a full life – full of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness.

Someone said that it is not the years in our life but the life in our years. In Jesus, we may not necessarily count scores of years, but we can be sure of recounting His sufficient and abounding grace each day.  And in the end, the more we know Him through His word and work, the more we are grounded in the security we find in Him. Of His sheep, He confirmed,

I know them, and they follow me and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish,and no one shall snatch them out of my hand” – John 10:26-27.

You see my dear reader, the psalmist speaks of God’s judgment on the wicked. Truth is, we are all God’s enemies and as indicated in the psalm, our days are counted and fiery judgment awaits us in the end.  Our sin has earned us the wrath of the Almighty. Jesus said that we should not be afraid of man who can put the body to death, but rather we should fear God who alone can cast both body and soul into the fire (Matthew 10:28).  In order that God’s wrath can be appeased, Jesus Christ, the Son of God humbled Himself by becoming a servant, clothing Himself with human flesh through the virgin birth, took our place – the place of God’s enemy – and upon Himself God’s wrath was poured at the cross. He was crushed for our inquity. The innocent for the guilty, He died our death.  He satisfied the righteous demand of God and upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).

If you have not trusted in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, you certainly remain under His wrath (John 3:18).  Similarly, as the psalmist declared in verse 7, you may think your life is prospering, but in reality you have fattened your heart with sinful indulgence for the day of slaughter (James 5:5).

God commands you to repent and believe the Gospel of His only begotten Son – who is both Lord and Christ – that by His saving work through the eternal Spirit, you may enter God’s peace, being fully assured of eternal life, His steadfast love and faithfulness all the days of your life, while waiting for the inheritance of the fullness of the kingdom that is to come.

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” – Hebrews 13:12-15

Finally Psalm 92 is a song truly fitting for those who rest in the love and faithfulness of the  Lord Jesus Christ, and together with the psalmist, we sing:

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High!” – Psalm 92:1 

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For He will deliver you…from the deadly pestilence” – Psalm 91:3

 

pestilenceIn a few months, winter will descend upon most of the earth’s northern hemisphere and there is a growing apprehension about the speed of transmission of the swine flu virus.  In the United States, the worst case scenario projects 140,000,000 persons will be infected by the virus.  October 15, 2009 is the target date for the first swine flu vaccine distribution to inoculate a large portion of the population.  News like this will definitely affect other countries.  The Philippines is not exempted; much of the swine flu cases in my country came from foreign visitors or returning citizens.  The first swine flu case is a Filipino child who spent her vacation in the USA with her parents.  Thus, what the western world will do will certainly send ripples to many Asian nations. Within the last decade alone, the world was subjected to increasing threats of SARS, bird flu and swine flu.  Each time the virus mutates and human beings become more susceptible. Millions were infected but the mortality rate is still a far cry from at least 50 million who perished in the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-1920, and the Hong Kong flu pandemic from 1968-1969 which killed a million people.

When I was meditating on Psalm 91 a few days  ago, my eyes were transfixed on verse 3 which says that the Lord will protect those who take refuge in Him from the deadly pestilence.  And verses 9-10 somehow encapsulate the blessings of the Lord God to His people when they remain faithful to Him. God demands and is worthy of our undivided loyalty and obedience.  In the Old Testament, whenever God’s people stray from their devotion to Him and turn to idols, one of the numerous curses that will come upon them is mentioned in Deuteronomy 28:58-62.

If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the LORD your God, then the LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting. And he will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law, the LORD will bring upon you, until you are destroyed. Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God.”

Now I have to be careful on how I must understand Psalm 91 in order not to fall into the deep ditch of hyper-faith error. During my very early years as a Christian, we sing a part of this psalm and my faith would be propped up with the thought that since I have taken refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ, not a single disease will ever come into my life. Today, however, hindsight clearly shows me that my perception of truth back then was flawed.

But let God be true and every man a liar…God’s word never changes and only human perception on His word is flawed because sin has affected us so radically that we cannot understand perfectly without the gracious illuminating work of the Holy Spirit who indwells every adopted born again child of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact when we are brought face to face with the Holy Law of God, our dire position is revealed; that we are all sinners and lawbreakers, fallen short of the glory of God, deserving of all the curses of the breaking the Law. But thanks be to God, He sent His only Son that whoever believes in Him has been set free from sin and death.  Upon Jesus Christ are all the curses imputed on the cross and in Him, God’s righteousness is given to the one who believes in the Son (2 Corinthians 5:21). Even the curses quoted above from Deuteronomy.

Albert Barnes, in his commentary on Psalm 91,  made a qualified point. He said, “This promise is not to be understood as absolute, or as meaning that no one who fears God will ever fall by the pestilence – for good people “do” die at such times as well as bad people; but the idea is, that God “can” preserve us at such a time and that, as a great law, he will be thus the protector of those who trust him. It is to be remembered that in times of pestilence (as was the case during the prevalence of the Asiatic cholera in 1832 and 1848), very many of the victims are the intemperate, the sensual, the debased, and that a life of this kind is a predisposing cause of death in such visitations of judgment. A large part of those who die are of that number. From the danger arising from this cause, of course the virtuous, the temperate, the pious are exempt; and this is one of the methods by which God saves those who trust in him from the “noisome (deadly) pestilence.”

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.” – Psalm 91:7-10

Barnes continues, “The promise here is substantially that general promise which we have in the Scriptures everywhere, that God is the Protector of his people, and that they may put their trust in him.” 

This does not mean, however, that we just step into carelessness and not do what is rationally good in times of a pandemic like protecting ourselves by proper hygiene, masks, avoiding large crowds and when available, getting the vaccine. Remember that Satan tempted our Lord in the wilderness by quoting Psalm 91:11-12 while he foolishly enticed our Lord to jump from the highest point of the temple to the ground.  Our Lord replied by quoting scripture that no one should test the Lord. So we are to trust the Lord and at the same time, not do what is foolish. See my post entitled It Is Written and The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth.

I agree with what Barnes said earlier that ‘good people’ do die – those who have faith in Christ  and are walking in the light of His truth.  Death is not the end, but the door by which most people – good or wicked – will have to enter to get into their eternal destiny. A child of God who trusts in the Lord both in his heart and his actions, when he gets sick, even in serious illness, remains unwavering, not because he could muster up a strong faith by himself, but rather he believes that the immutable God keeps His unchanging promises available for us in His Son (2 Corinthians 1:20). The same Lord who keeps us protected during times of pestilence is the same Lord who will preserve us even when we enter death’s gate through sickness.

Charles Spurgeon in his commentary on the psalms entitled ‘Treasury of David’ writes, “The great mercy is that in such a case our deaths are blessed, and it is well with us, for we are forever with the Lord. Pestilence to the saints shall not be noisome (deadly) but the messenger of heaven.”

Towards the last  few verses of Psalm 91, we have here the Lord’s word to those who takes refuge in Him. It is His promise that will keep our faith burning brightly in our hearts, even if some of us may be touched by the pestilences that are now increasing in frequency and intensity.

Because he holds fast to Me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows My name. When he calls to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.” – Psalm 91:14-16

And indeed He has shown us His salvation.  These last three verses are echoed God’s Word enscripturated in Paul’s letter to the Romans,

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.- Romans 8:38-39

The grace, mercy and peace of God be with you in Christ Jesus our Lord and Refuge.

 

 

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This blog still concerns the Scripture found in Matthew 4:1-11.  In my last post, we have studied how the Lord responded to satan’s barrage of temptation and lies.  Here, we look what satan did to God’s Word inorder to tempt the Lord:

 (v. 2) : “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread”

Lie # 1:  Ignoring the truth.  Jesus IS the Son of God and by ignoring that truth, the tempter begins with “if”.  For sure satan knew that; Jesus was his Creator and former Master.  The Lord created him as Lucifer, the most beautiful of all angels, until inquity was found in him and he was cast out of heaven. Indeed, Jesus has the power to make bread out of  stones.  He rained down manna in the desert sufficiently  for all the Israelites to eat daily!  Yet no one has ever seen or known what manna is. Jesus is the I Am.

There is a growing number of people coming to church today who aren’t even sure that He is the Son of God and they only come to Him to see if He can really do a miracle for them, so that they might believe. 

You see, God, in His mercy would also let His children go through a time of  need before or after a time of plenty. Observing the Lord’s reply, quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3, we find in that particular narrative, God intended for His people to go through the wilderness to be tested, be humbled, be provided with nothing else but manna so that they will know that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. A man lives because God sustains his life. And that sustaining life is a display of God’s gracious goodness, especially to His people, so that they will not forget that He is their Good Lord, the Sustainer of Life. 

Even in the preaching of this section of Scripture, I have heard sermons ignoring the counsel of God’s truth contained in the Lord’s reply. Unless we plow through the Scriptures, we will not have a full orbed understanding of the kindness of the Lord even in lean times and be forced to take actions that may lead to sin, regret and a season of  misery.

(v. 6) : “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,” and “On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

Lie # 2: Twisting the truth. Of course, the one who ignores the truth will twist the truth. Here, the tempter once again starts with an “if” and we already know that Jesus IS, and He will not and never be an “if”.

Here, satan parodies the Lord…we think that satan is proving that he knows the Scripture, well, it’s much more than that.  Satan, a fallen angel, was mocking the Captain of the Host (commander of the armies of angels). 

When (not if) you read Psalm 91, it clearly teaches that God is our refuge; He will deliver us the from the snare of the fowler (Psalm 91:3). It shows that we must hold fast to Him in love (Psalm 91:14).  Here again, we see that the reality of the steadfast love for God must essentially be manifested in our trust for Him even times of danger.

Yes, Jesus could have thrown Himself from the top of the temple (notice (v.5) satan’s mockery continues  as he took the Lord to the highest point of Jerusalem Temple where God’s presence was – the secret place of the Most High in Psalm 91) and angels would have surely prevented His foot from striking any stone. But our Lord loves His Father perfectly and would not at all put Him to the test but obeyed Him unreservedly.

God’s thoughts and ways are Christ’s as well…so the only wise thing for us is to pattern our thoughts and ways to Him.  Scripture twisting has steadily been becoming the norm a growing number of people in the church today, but God preserves those who are steadfast in their love for the living Word – Jesus, and the written word – Scriptures, from the snare of the one who mangles the truth – satan.

(v. 9) “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

Lie # 3: Adding to the truth.   This time there was no beating around the bush, no more “if you are the Son of God” pretexts.  Although the entire creation fell into the corruption brought by man’s sin, and satan becoming the ‘god of this world’ (2 Corinthians 4:4), he does not, never did, nor will be the owner of anything.  Jesus is the Owner, was and will always be. Although satan knew that he has blinded the mind of the unbeliever, he nevertheless do not own them, nor anything in this world. Satan has added ownership to his God-permitted dominion that is why he made that offer to the Lord foolishly, and diabolically tried to entice the Lord to worship him

Since he has succeeded in deceiving the first Adam, so he thought he will succeed again. Not this time though. You see, Jesus, while in His incarnation, showed satan who is truly God to be obeyed. Jesus said, (v.10) “…be gone satan…” and (v.11) …the devil left.  Much to my chagrin, in the church, there are those who keep adding to God’s word ending up with doctrines and practices that are fit for false gods, and not the true God.

 “Do not add to His words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar”– Proverbs 30:6

Before I get accused of church-bashing, let it be clear that I am a part of this church that I am referring to above – not a local church, but the universal invisible church which is the Body of Christ where men and women throughout all the ages who are regenerated by God to repent from sin, and for faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, are baptized into this body by the Spirit of God. This church of the living God is supposed to be the pillar and buttress of truth (1 Timothy 3:15) and this church is founded by,  built upon, and for the one Truth-bearer – Jesus Christ.

Immediately following the narrative, we read another prophecy by Isaiah fulfilled in Jesus Christ:

“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”  – Matthew 4:15-16; cf Isaiah 9:1-2

Only through Him can the lie of satan be exposed. And His anouncement of the kingdom began with “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).  The church needs to repent and shed herself off the lies that she allowed and tolerated, and she needs to get back to her First Love – Jesus Christ – through the enscripturated truth and work of the Holy Spirit, and be the pillar and upholder of the only truth that God has called her to be. The whole truth and nothing but the truth…so help us, Lord!

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Today’s reading is Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=Ephesians+6%3A10-20 )

A quick overview of this section reminds us of the following things: (1) that the Christian is involve in a warfare, (2) that the warfare is spiritual wherein the controlling powers of darkness are unseen influencing the unbelieving world, (3) that the current inhabitants of this world are categorized in two groups only: those who are living in darkness and those who are living in the light of God.

  • Ephesians 2:1-3 gives us a preview of the life before conversion to Christ. We are influenced by the prince (ruler) of darkness resulting to a life of continual disobedience to God, carrying out every lust of the body and mind.
  • In contrast (Ephesians 5:6-16), the new life that God created in the person who is in Christ is described as walking in the light of God (v.8) displaying fruit in keeping with goodness, righteousness and truth (v.9), always discerning what is pleasing to the Lord (v.10), and do not have any part in the unfruitful work of darkness (v.11).

The link between light and life can be established in Psalm 36 and read verse 9, “For in You is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.”

  • Whenever God brings His truth to a person, only then will he realize his sin and his desperate need for God and His truth continually. You see, in Psalm 36:1-4, man apart from God is sinful in his heart, not fearful of God, and truly blind to the fact that he is a sinner who is wicked enough to think that evil itself is right (not rejecting evil, v.4).
  • Until God becomes the source of life, and shines His truth in our heart can we realize darkness resides within the very core of our being.  Paul writes in Romans 7:7 – if it were not for the Law, he would have not known that he is covetous!

And this God given life can only be received through Jesus Christ who said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). 

  • This declaration was prefaced by the narrative about the adulterous woman who was exposed by the Pharisees. She deserves to be stoned as required by the Law of Moses. But Jesus confronted all her accusers and exposed their sinful hearts because their original intention was to test Him, to find something to charge against Him (they were breaking the Law -“do not put the Lord your God to the test”!) They did not know that they are as sinful as the adulterous woman – they all deserve punishment.  Only when Jesus exposed them all (his silence to the charge against the woman proves that she is indeed guilty) did they begin to realize their condition – so it seems. His graciousness was revealed to all as well – – first, exposing the sin of the Pharisees was an act of grace (remember Romans 7:7 ?), and His forgiveness granted to the adulterer is also an act of His grace. You see, the light of God’s truth in Christ has its 2 effects: condemns the unrepentant (Pharisees) and draws the sinner unto repentance (the woman in a manner of contrast to the Pharisees).

Lastly, Ephesians 4:17 -20 tells us that the person living in the light of God’s truth progressively increases in his abandon of the old life as he learns on the forgiveness he receives in Jesus Christ. And more importantly, this new life is not man-made but a creative work of God (v.24) exhibiting true righteousness and holiness.

So you see my beloved brothers, there are two kinds of people in the world – those in the light and those in darkness; two kinds of rulers – God over the children of the light, Satan over the children of darkness, and two kinds of fruit – righteousness and truth for God’s people while disobedience and lust for the unregenerated. Two opposing kingdoms who will always be at war until all the enemies of Jesus Christ will be finally defeated in the Day of His return.  We are in a warfare against darkness and we need the full armor of God to protect us as the days become more evil.

Next: Part 2 – Last But Not The Least                https://emmaustrekker.wordpress.com/2009/07/10/panoply-series-part-2-last-but-not-the-least/

Previous: Panoply Series – Introduction (link below) https://emmaustrekker.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/panoply-series/

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