3/8/14

From Jim McGuiggan... God's love of the Church—OT and NT


God's love of the Church—OT and NT

Commenting on Hosea 11 the Scots commentator George A Smith said this. "Passing by all the empires of earth, the Almighty chose for Himself this people that was no people, this tribe that was the slave of Egypt. And the choice was one of love only: ‘When Israel was young I came to love him, and out of Egypt I called My son.’ It was the adoption of a little slave boy, adoption by the heart; and the fatherly figure continues, ‘I taught Ephraim to walk, taking him upon Mine arms.’ It is just the same charm, seen from another point of view, when Hosea hears God say that He had ‘found Israel like grapes in the wilderness, like the firstfruits of an early fig tree I saw your fathers.’ "

This is how the Jewish Publication Society Version renders Hosea 11:1,

I fell in love with Israel
When he was still a child;
And I have called [him] My son
Ever since Egypt.

Theodore Laetsch renders it, "When Israel was young, then I began to love him, and from Egypt I called My Son." And G. Adam Smith points out that the verb stresses the point or moment at which something happens and renders it, in line with the previous two, "I came to love" Israel. The picture generated by the words in the text is clear. One day God was looking around at the nations he had created and his eye passed over powerful Assyria, sword in hand and with its lean and rippling muscles. Then he looked long at gorgeous Egypt with its wealth, culture and centuries of mystery before he caught sight of a little slave child. Helpless, bewildered and, to God, a lovely little boy. Here was a child with no power, no national history and no land to call his own and God’s heart went out to him at that time and he came to love him and adopted him as his son.

As the infant grew God taught him to walk (11:3). Hunkering down in front of him as fathers do, he rested the little boy’s hands on his own hands and arms and slowly backed away, allowing the child to support himself on his father’s arms. Looking like a little mechanical toy, with stiff legs as if he had no knees, he put one foot in front of another, grinning and gurgling as he staggered along. And when he stumbled and grazed his knee it was God that soothed and healed it (11:3). It was all so long ago. The little boy was too young to appreciate how dependent he was on his ever-present and attentive father but that didn’t matter because the joy of loving parents in their tiny girls and boys that toddle all over the place needs no special mention in those days. And so it was with the Holy Father, so these verses tell us. They spoke of days when all was warmth and affection and pleasure but now, as Hosea writes, Israel has grown old and suffers from senility and premature ageing (7:9) and God is pictured as a father pacing up and down the room anguishing over how to help him. (Compare 4:17 and 11:8, for example.)

The very reading of such texts makes it clear that to reduce the Story of the Bible to legal categories with an unhealthy stress on juridical words like "justification" is a crime. In light of truths told as Hosea tells them, to reduce the Bible to a book of wise maxims or a generalized moral code to which we must respond is tragic! It is more than a riveting romance, more than a Story of holy love reaching out but if it is more it certainly isn’t less!

I know the anthropomorphisms of scripture mustn't be taken too far! Of course! And isn’t it Hosea that reminds us that God is not a man (11:9)! So, okay, we’re not to take them too far but we’re not to forget that God wasn’t ashamed to liken himself to all that is best in fathers and mothers and that finally (praise his name!) he wasn’t even ashamed to become one of us.

The special relationship Israel had with God he was given in trust. It was for the world that Israel was called and it is for the world that the NT church is called. When we read the description of the churches in the NT we sometimes wince and wonder and as we look around at them today we sometimes wince and wonder even more. Does that not make sense?Yes it does, but we still need to remember passages like this in Hosea. There's something just not right about one of God's people acting or speaking as if he/she isn't a part of the the "family" and there's something risky about ceaselessly scorning God's children when the Holy One who knows them best says he loves them.

From Mark Copeland... The Basis For Spiritual Security (Hebrews 6:9-20)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

               The Basis For Spiritual Security (6:9-20)

INTRODUCTION

1. We have seen the author of "The Epistle To The Hebrews" express his
   concern for the initial recipients of this epistle...
   a. He makes mention of their spiritual immaturity - He 5:11-14
   b. He warns them of the peril of not progressing - He 6:1-8

2. While he writes in this way, he has great confidence for their 
   ultimate salvation...
   a. Though others had indeed fallen to the point where it was 
      "impossible...to renew them again to repentance..." - He 6:4-6
   b. Yet he could say of them, "we are confident of better things
      concerning you, yes, things which accompany salvation..." - He 6:9

3. What was it that gave the author confidence regarding his readers' 
   salvation?
   a. I.e., what was the basis for their spiritual security, when the 
      danger of apostasy had just been described in vivid detail?
   b. What can we glean from this passage that may help us understand
      the basis for our own spiritual security?

[There are three things mentioned in this section of scripture (He 6:
9-20), that gave the author his confidence.  The first of which is the
fact...]

I. GOD DOES NOT FORGET OUR WORK AND LABOR OF LOVE (9-10)

   A. GOD IS A JUST GOD, ONE WHO DOES NOT FORGET...
      1. He is very much aware of our service in the PAST ("in that you
         have ministered")
         a. Service that has been shown toward Him ("toward His name")
         b. Service that has been shown toward His servants ("to the 
            saints")
      2. He is very much aware of our service in the PRESENT ("and do 
         minister")

   B. KNOWING THIS CAN BE A SOURCE OF GREAT COMFORT...
      1. In contrast to every sin which is "blotted out" and 
         "remembered no more" (cf. He 8:12), service rendered in love
         to God is not forgotten!
      2. We need not fear that God will not see or remember our efforts
         to be pleasing to Him
         a. God seeks to show Himself strong to those who are loyal to
            Him - cf. 2Ch 16:9
         b. If He took note of Cornelius' desire to please Him in his 
            unsaved state, how much more will He take note of His 
            children's effort to serve Him! - cf. Ac 10:1-6
      -- Thus when we stumble, but repent of our sins, our labor of 
         love is remembered and our sins forgotten!

[Knowing that God sees and does not forget our service of love, both 
past and present, should help us feel spiritually secure. But note that
what He does not forget is our "work and labor of love", which implies
the need for...]

II. DILIGENCE, FAITH, AND PATIENCE ON OUR PART (11-12)

   A. NOTE THE AUTHOR'S DESIRE...
      1. That his readers' show the same diligence (earnestness) they
         had shown in the past
         a. Diligent regarding their assurance of hope
         b. Diligent until the end - cf. He 3:6,14
      2. That they do not become sluggish
         a. The word "sluggish" is from a Greek word meaning "dull"
         b. The same word as used in "dull of hearing" - cf. He 5:11
         -- They were already dull of hearing; his desire is they not
            become dull in conduct!
      3. That they have faith and patience
         a. Imitating "those who through faith and patience inherit the
            promises"
         b. Such as Abraham, who is given as an example later - He 6:15

   B. THESE QUALITIES ARE NECESSARY FOR SPIRITUAL SECURITY...
      1. Peter describes the need for diligence to "make your calling
         and election sure" - 2Pe 1:5,10-11
      2. Jesus called upon His disciples to remain faithful if they 
         wished to "receive the crown of life" - Re 2:10
      3. Paul wrote that eternal life is for those "who by patient 
         continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor and 
         immortality" - Ro 2:7; cf. also He 10:36

[Only by developing such virtues as diligence, faith, and patience can
we rightfully have an assurance that we will one day "inherit the
promises". Without them, we become sluggish, and as such expose 
ourselves to the danger of apostasy.

To encourage us further, we note that another reason we can have
spiritual security is because...]

III. GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES (13-20)

   A. THE EXAMPLE OF GOD'S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM...
      1. God made a promise to Abraham - He 6:13-15
         a. In which He swore by Himself (because He could not swear by
            anyone higher)
         b. A promise which Abraham obtained after patient endurance 
            - cf. v.15 with v.12
      2. God confirmed His promise with an oath - He 6:16-18a
         a. For men, an oath confirms what they say, ending all dispute
         b. To assure us of the unchangeableness of His promise, God 
            also swore an oath
         c. This provided a double assurance that He would keep His 
            promise:
            1) One, because it impossible for God to lie anyway - cf. 
               Tit 1:2
            2) Two, because of the oath by which He confirmed it
      -- How does this relate to our spiritual security?  Read on...

   B. GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IS OUR ASSURANCE!
      1. It gives us "strong consolation" - He 6:18b-19b
         a. We who are seeking refuge
         b. We who need "an anchor of the soul, both sure and 
            steadfast"
      2. This is especially true regarding our "hope", which is Jesus!
         - He 6:19b-20
         a. I understand Jesus to be the "hope" in this passage...
            1) For He is "our hope", to whom we can flee as a refuge 
               - cf. 1Ti 1:1
            2) As such, He is our "anchor of the soul, both sure and
               steadfast"
         b. As a forerunner, He has entered "the Presence behind the
            veil" (i.e., heaven)
         c. He has become "High Priest forever according to the order
            of Melchizedek"
            1) Even as God swore He would do - cf. Ps 110:4
            2) God not only promised, but He swore an oath, just like 
               He did for Abraham
         -- So He has kept His promise, providing us a superior High 
            Priest!
      3. Upon such an example of God's faithfulness, we can have an 
         assurance of our salvation as long as we continue to lay hold
         of the "hope" (Jesus) set before us

CONCLUSION

1. With a finely crafted argument, the author has returned his readers
   back to his original subject, which is Jesus as "a priest forever 
   according to the order of Melchizedek"
   a. Our spiritual security is first based upon the character of 
      God...
      1) Who is not unjust to forget our work and labor of love
      2) Who keeps His promises
   b. God has promised and swore with an oath concerning the priesthood
      of the Messiah
   c. This priesthood Jesus now has in heaven, and as such is the basis
      of our "hope"
   -- For which reason we should seek to learn what we can about the 
      priesthood of Jesus

2. Yet as wonderful are the character and promises of God, we are not 
   to take them for granted...
   a. We must be careful not to become sluggish
   b. We must be careful to be diligent, imitating the faith and
      patience of those like Abraham who obtained God's promise for
      them
   -- Together with God's character and promises, this is "The Basis
      For Spiritual Security"

Have you fled to Jesus for refuge?  Is He your "hope", your "anchor of
the soul, both sure and steadfast"?  Is He your "High Priest"?  If so,
then let these words sink deep into your heart:

   "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to 
   the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become
   sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit
   the promises." (He 6:11-12)

If you have not yet fled to Jesus for refuge, then please consider His
tender invitation:

   "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will 
   give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am
   gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
   For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Mt 11:28-30)


Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading March 8



Mar. 8
Exodus 18

Exo 18:1 Now Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, how that Yahweh had brought Israel out of Egypt.
Exo 18:2 Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, received Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her away,
Exo 18:3 and her two sons. The name of one son was Gershom, for Moses said, "I have lived as a foreigner in a foreign land".
Exo 18:4 The name of the other was Eliezer, for he said, "My father's God was my help and delivered me from Pharaoh's sword."
Exo 18:5 Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses into the wilderness where he was encamped, at the Mountain of God.
Exo 18:6 He said to Moses, I, your father-in-law Jethro, have come to you with your wife, and her two sons with her.
Exo 18:7 Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and bowed and kissed him. They asked each other of their welfare, and they came into the tent.
Exo 18:8 Moses told his father-in-law all that Yahweh had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, all the hardships that had come on them on the way, and how Yahweh delivered them.
Exo 18:9 Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which Yahweh had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.
Exo 18:10 Jethro said, "Blessed be Yahweh, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh; who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
Exo 18:11 Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all gods because of the thing in which they dealt arrogantly against them."
Exo 18:12 Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God. Aaron came with all of the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law before God.
Exo 18:13 It happened on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from the morning to the evening.
Exo 18:14 When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he did to the people, he said, "What is this thing that you do for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning to evening?"
Exo 18:15 Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God.
Exo 18:16 When they have a matter, they come to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of God, and his laws."
Exo 18:17 Moses' father-in-law said to him, "The thing that you do is not good.
Exo 18:18 You will surely wear away, both you, and this people that is with you; for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to perform it yourself alone.
Exo 18:19 Listen now to my voice. I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You represent the people before God, and bring the causes to God.
Exo 18:20 You shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and shall show them the way in which they must walk, and the work that they must do.
Exo 18:21 Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God: men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
Exo 18:22 Let them judge the people at all times. It shall be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they shall judge themselves. So shall it be easier for you, and they shall share the load with you.
Exo 18:23 If you will do this thing, and God commands you so, then you will be able to endure, and all of these people also will go to their place in peace."
Exo 18:24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said.
Exo 18:25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
Exo 18:26 They judged the people at all times. They brought the hard causes to Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
Exo 18:27 Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way into his own land.


From Gary... If I don't laugh, I will cry


If your alive in America, you can't help but notice what is happening in politics.  To me at least, it seems like the current situation is changing way too rapidly- for the worse. So, I find what enjoyment I can about politics, do what I can about it and get on with my life.  I like Groucho Marx, because of his satiric wit and his impeccable comedic timing.  Some of my earliest memories are of his "You bet your life" on black and white TV.  The following is an except from a Wikipedia article I recently read...

From Wikipedia...
Groucho Marx made 26 movies, 13 of them with his brothers Chico and Harpo.[7] Marx developed a routine as a wisecracking hustler with a distinctive chicken-walking lope, an exaggerated greasepaint mustache and eyebrows, and an ever-present cigar, improvising insults to stuffy dowagers (often played by Margaret Dumont) and anyone else who stood in his way. As the Marx Brothers, he and his brothers starred in a series of popular stage shows and movies.
Their first movie was a silent film made in 1921 that was never released,[7] and is believed to have been destroyed at the time. A decade later, the team made some of their Broadway hits into movies, including The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers.[7] Other successful films were Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup, and A Night at the Opera.[7] One quip from Marx concerned his response to Sam Wood, the director of A Night at the Opera. Furious with the Marx Brothers' ad-libs and antics on the set, Wood yelled in disgust: "You can't make an actor out of clay." Groucho responded, "Nor a director out of Wood."[8]
Marx worked as a radio comedian and show host. One of his earliest stints was in a short-lived series in 1932, Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, costarring Chico. Most of the scripts and discs were thought to have been destroyed, but all but one of the scripts were found in 1988 in the Library of Congress. In 1947, Marx was chosen to host a radio quiz program, You Bet Your Life, broadcast by ABC and then CBS, before moving over to NBC radio and television in 1950. Filmed before a live audience, the television show consisted of Marx interviewing the contestants and ad libbing jokes, before playing a brief quiz. The show was responsible for the phrases "Say the secret woid [word] and divide $100" (that is, each contestant would get $50); and "Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?" or "What color is the White House?" (asked when Marx felt sorry for a contestant who had not won anything). It ran for eleven years on television.
Groucho was the subject of an urban legend about a supposed response to a contestant who had nine children which supposedly brought down the house. In response to Marx asking in disbelief why she had so many children, the contestant replied, "I love my husband." To this, Marx responded, "I love my cigar, too, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while." Groucho often asserted in interviews that this exchange never took place, but it remains one of the most often quoted "Groucho-isms" nonetheless.[9]
Throughout his career he introduced a number of memorable songs in films, including "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" and "Hello, I Must Be Going", in Animal Crackers, "Whatever It Is, I'm Against It", "Everyone Says I Love You" and "Lydia the Tattooed Lady". Frank Sinatra, who once quipped that the only thing he could do better than Marx was sing, made a film with Marx and Jane Russell in 1951 entitled Double Dynamite.

Comedy aside, the Bible has commentary concerning the Christian and government.  In the Old Testament, many of the prophets confronted kings, but in the New Testament we are told the following...

Romans, Chapter 13
  1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God.  2 Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment.  3 For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same,  4 for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn’t bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil.  5 Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.  6 For this reason you also pay taxes, for they are servants of God’s service, attending continually on this very thing. 7 Give therefore to everyone what you owe: taxes to whom taxes are due; customs to whom customs; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.  8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
And Jesus said...

Matthew, Chapter 22
 15  Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how they might entrap him in his talk. 16 They sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are honest, and teach the way of God in truth, no matter whom you teach, for you aren’t partial to anyone.  17 Tell us therefore, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 

  18  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites?   19  Show me the tax money.” 

They brought to him a denarius. 

  20  He asked them, “Whose is this image and inscription?” 

  21  They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 

Then he said to them,
 “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Now, all this does not mean that we are to keep the truth to ourselves, for even Paul was sent to Rome by God and proclaimed the Gospel there. So, laugh about our current state of affairs when you can, change what you can legally change and leave all the rest up to God.  Oh, yes- and if you get a chance...  listen to this song  ("Whatever It Is, I'm Against It") from Groucho Marx; you might get a laugh out of it!!!