3/10/14

From Jim McGuiggan... A MIDSUMMER KNIGHT

A MIDSUMMER KNIGHT

It makes perfect sense for those who’ve been given a wondrous gift to be grateful for it and, all things being equal, for them to think highly of the one who gave it to them. It’s no surprise that they will praise the generosity of the giver and the costliness of the gift. But it would distasteful if the giver went on and on and on about how much it cost him and how good it was of him to make the gesture.

Can you imagine being invited to a sumptuous meal of the tastiest and most nutritious things in the nicest of company and having to listen to the host explain it minute detail—not once but over and over again—how much trouble and how much expense she had to go to to produce the grand spread? (Could you enjoy a meal, however fine it is, under such circumstances?) Everyone knows that such matters should be left to the guests to winkle out of the reluctant host who is all the while saying things like, “Really, it was nothing!” “Honestly, it was no trouble.” Such a host isn’t lying; she’s simply expressing her pleasure at having the opportunity to go out of her way to please and it is precisely because she will not make a big thing of it that the guests think so much of her and her efforts.

There is something Christ-like in that spirit. We have no record of Jesus setting his disciples down and telling them how good it is of him to do for them and others what he is doing and going to do. “If only you could know how much this is all costing me, but, alas, no one can appreciate the depths to which I have descended. If I could only make you understand…” None of that. That others do some of that is no surprise, but even they are sparing in how they deal with that aspect of the Lord’s sacrifice and we aren’t left to feel so overwhelmed by his trouble that we can’t enjoy the gift of life he gives us to enjoy and express. Now that we’ve come to know him it’s the kind of thing we expect from him.

O’Henry tells of Gaines, “the man who said he thought New York was the finest summer resort in the country.” While others moaned and melted in the heat, dived for the shade or an electric fan, and wished for the mountains, he mocked the notion of going to the woods to eat canned goods from the city, being wakened in the morning by a million flies, getting soaked to the skin catching the tiniest fish and struggling up perpendicular cliffs. No sir, he preferred to stay at home. If he wanted fish, he’d go to a cool restaurant—home comforts, that’s what he chose, while the fools spent half their summer driving to and from their spartan locations with all the modern inconveniences.

A friend urged him to come with him for two weeks to Beaverkill, where the fish were jumping at anything that even looked like a fly. He said a mutual friend, Harding, had caught a three-pound brown trout—but Gaines was having none of it. “Nonsense!” he’d snort and then off to his office to plunge himself into a mountain of work until late in the afternoon when, with feet up on his desk, he mused to himself: “I wonder what kind of bait Harding used.”

The man who said he thought that New York was the finest summer resort in the country dozed off in the stifling heat, was wakened by his mail-bringing clerk, and decided to take a quick look before he left for the day. A few lines of one of them said:

       My Dear Dear Husband:
Just received your letter ordering us to stay another month...Rita’s cough is almost gone...Johnny has gone wild like a little Indian...it will be the making of both children...work so hard, and I know that your business can hardly afford to keep us here so long...best man that ever...you always pretend that you like the city in summer...trout fishing that you used to be so fond of...and all to keep us well and happy...come to you if it were not doing the babies so much good...I stood last evening on Chimney Rock in exactly the same spot...when you put the wreath of roses on my head...said you would be my true knight...have always been that to me...ever and ever.

The man who said he thought New York was the finest summer resort in the country, on his way home in the sweltering summer heat, dropped into a cafe and had a glass of warm beer under an electric fan. “Wonder what kind of a fly old Harding used,” he murmured to himself.

I love it when those in love sometimes “tell lies” gallantly. They say things no one believes—least of all themselves. They’re forever making sacrifices—some large, some little—to make life easier, finer, lovelier, for those they love. They’re in love and they do what lovers have done in every age down the centuries—they give themselves in whatever ways their love and situation calls for. And they do it without trumpets blowing or affected sweetness and they don’t wear pained expressions. They’d almost convince you that they really did believe that New York City was the finest summer resort in America.

[Quoted from my little book called Let Me Count The Ways with permission from Howard Publishing Company, West Monroe, Louisiana, 2001]
 

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

From Mark Copeland... The Significance Of Christ's Priesthood (Hebrews 7:11-19)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

           The Significance Of Christ's Priesthood (7:11-19)

INTRODUCTION

1. A major theme in "The Epistle To The Hebrews" is the priesthood of
   Jesus Christ...
   a. His humanity prepared Him to be "a merciful and faithful High
      Priest" - He 2:17
   b. He is the "High Priest of our confession" - He 3:1
   c. He is "a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens" 
      - He 4:14
   d. He is a sympathetic High Priest, for He "was in all points 
      tempted as we are, yet without sin" - He 4:15
   e. His calling as High Priest came from God Himself - He 5:5-6

2. His is a unique priesthood, however...
   a. It is NOT according to the "Levitical priesthood"
      1) He is a not priest in the order of Aaron
      2) A priesthood that began with the giving of the Law through 
         Moses at Mt. Sinai
   b. His priesthood is "according to the order of Melchizedek" - He 5:
      9-10
      1) Melchizedek was a priest "of God Most High" who met Abram 
         - Gen 14:14-20
      2) And God swore that the Messiah would be a priest like 
         Melchizedek - Ps 110:4

3. In our previous study, we saw Melchizedek was superior in that...
   a. He received tithes from Abraham - He 7:4-6a
   b. He blessed Abraham - He 7:6b-7
   c. Even Levi, in the loins of his ancestor Abraham, paid tithes to
      Melchizedek - He 7:9-10
   -- All of this proving that the priesthood of Christ, which is after
      the order of Melchizedek, is superior to the Levitical priesthood

4. That Jesus would come to serve as a priest after the order the
   Melchizedek is not without significance and major implications...
   a. Regarding the efficacy of the Levitical priesthood
   b. Regarding the law of Moses itself!

[Some of the significance and implications of Christ's priesthood is 
described in He 7:11-19.  As we consider "The Significance Of Christ's
Priesthood", we note first that ...]

I. THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD WAS LACKING (11)

   A. IT DID NOT BRING "PERFECTION"...
      1. Otherwise there would not have been another priest to arise
         like Melchizedek
      2. That one was foretold (Ps 110:4) and has come proves the 
         order of Aaron was lacking

   B. THE MEANING OF "PERFECTION"...
      1. Perfection means "completeness" and in this context it speaks
         of making men acceptable to God (Believers' Study Bible)
      2. The Old Law with its priesthood could never fully reconcile 
         man back to God
         a. Animal sacrifices could not make one "perfect" - He 10:1
         b. They could not cleanse the sinner's conscience - He 10:2-3;
            cf. 9:9
         c. They could not take away sin - He 10:4; cf. 10:11

[Jesus coming as a priest after the order of Melchizedek implies that
the Levitical priesthood, while having served the purpose for which it
was intended (to foreshadow the sacrifice of Christ), was not able to
provide man what he really needs.  

The priesthood of Christ also signifies...]

II. THE LAW HAS BEEN ANNULLED (12-18)

   A. A CHANGE IN THE PRIESTHOOD SIGNIFIES A CHANGE IN THE LAW...
      1. Jesus came from the tribe of Judah, not Levi - He 7:13-14;
         cf. Mt 1:1-2
      2. Moses had not authorized anyone from Judah to serve as priest;
         indeed, God specifically forbid anyone other than a descendant
         of Aaron - cf. Num 16:40
      3. For Christ to serve as priest, then, a change must have 
         occurred - He 7:14
      4. Especially for one who serves "according to the power of an 
         endless life" - He 7:15-17
         a. The Levitical priests were "mortal men", whose service 
            ended at death
         b. But Jesus is a priest "forever", His priesthood is 
            therefore unchangeable - He 7:24

   B. WITH THE CHANGE IN PRIESTHOOD, THE LAW IS NOW ANNULLED...
      1. "Annulled" means "to declare as void, to invalidate, to 
         abrogate" (Lightfoot)
      2. The "former commandment" (as the Law is called) has therefore
         been set aside - He 7:18-19a
         a. Because it was weak and unprofitable
         b. In the sense of making us "perfect" (acceptable to God) 
            - cf. He 10:1
      3. That the Law has been done away should not surprise us...
         a. God foretold this would happen - cf. He 8:7-13
         b. Jesus implied that the Law would be done away once it was 
            fulfilled - Mt 5:17-18
            1) One "jot" or "tittle" would not pass from the law until
               it was fulfilled
            2) If the priesthood has changed, then it must have been
               fulfilled and done away!
         c. Paul described how Jesus abolished it in His death on the 
            cross
            1) To the Ephesians - Ep 2:14-16
            2) To the Colossians - Col 2:14-16

[This significance of Christ's priesthood has powerful implications. 
With the Law annulled, it is folly to seek justification by the Law 
(cf. Ga 5:4); it also explains why we should not go to the Old Law to
find our authority for the work, worship, and organization of the 
church!

Finally, there is that significance of Christ's priesthood which should
be most precious to us...]

III. THERE IS NOW A BETTER HOPE (19)

   A. THROUGH WHICH WE CAN DRAW NEAR TO GOD...
      1. As seen earlier, the Levitical priesthood did not offer 
         "perfection"
         a. Its sacrifices could not make one "perfect" regarding:
            1) Consciousness of sins, for sacrifices were "year by 
               year" - He 10:1-3
            2) Actual forgiveness of sins, for "it is not possible 
               that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins"
               - He 10:4
         b. Thus the Law, because of its "weakness and 
            unprofitableness", "made nothing perfect" - He 7:18-19
      2. But now we have in Christ "a better hope"
         a. Here we find the keyword of this epistle:  "better"
            1) First used in comparing Jesus to angels - He 1:4
            2) Used later in contrasting the new covenant and its 
               promises with the old covenant - He 7:22; 8:6
         b. Our hope in drawing near to God is now "better" than 
            before!

   B. CHRIST'S SUPERIOR PRIESTHOOD IS THE BASIS OF THAT HOPE...
      1. Because Jesus is "a priest forever according to the order of 
         Melchizedek", our hope for drawing near to God is much 
         better:
         a. As we've seen, Melchizedek is superior to Abraham and Levi
         b. Therefore his priesthood is superior to the Levitical
            priesthood
         -- Making Jesus' own priesthood superior
      2. More evidence of superiority will be considered shortly (cf. 
         He 7:24-28), but for now note again how the greatness of 
         Jesus' priesthood should strengthen our hope in drawing near 
         to God:
         a. Our High Priest has "passed through the heavens" - He 4:14
         b. Our High Priest can "sympathize with our weaknesses"
            - He 4:15
         c. Our High Priest makes it possible to "come boldly to the
            throne of grace" and "obtain mercy and find grace to help
            in time of need" - He 4:16
      -- Can we see how His service as our High Priest provides "a
         better hope, through which we draw near to God"?

CONCLUSION

1. More is yet to come regarding Christ's Priesthood, but perhaps we 
   can appreciate how...
   a. The Levitical priesthood does not provide what man really needs
      (access to God)
   b. There has been a change in the Law; indeed, it has been replaced
      with a new covenant
   c. In Jesus, our hope in drawing near to God is much better than 
      ever before!

2. In view of such things...
   a. Why would the Hebrew Christians ever want to leave Jesus and 
      return to the Law?
   b. Why would people today seek to use the Law to justify religious 
      practices, as many do when they turn to the Old Testament to 
      establish authority for such things as a separate priesthood 
      (clergy), burning of incense, or even instrumental music?

Jesus is the only way to God (cf. Jn 14:6).  Are you willing to come 
to the Father through Him?  Let us be sure to serve God through Him 
only! - cf. Ga 5:4-6

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011


From Gary... Bible Reading March 10






Bible Reading  

March 10

The World English Bible



Mar. 10
Exodus 20

Exo 20:1 God spoke all these words, saying,
Exo 20:2 "I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Exo 20:3 You shall have no other gods before me.
Exo 20:4 "You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Exo 20:5 you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me,
Exo 20:6 and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Exo 20:7 "You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Exo 20:8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exo 20:9 You shall labor six days, and do all your work,
Exo 20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates;
Exo 20:11 for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.
Exo 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.
Exo 20:13 "You shall not murder.
Exo 20:14 "You shall not commit adultery.
Exo 20:15 "You shall not steal.
Exo 20:16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Exo 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."
Exo 20:18 All the people perceived the thunderings, the lightnings, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled, and stayed at a distance.
Exo 20:19 They said to Moses, "Speak with us yourself, and we will listen; but don't let God speak with us, lest we die."
Exo 20:20 Moses said to the people, "Don't be afraid, for God has come to test you, and that his fear may be before you, that you won't sin."
Exo 20:21 The people stayed at a distance, and Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
Exo 20:22 Yahweh said to Moses, "This is what you shall tell the children of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.
Exo 20:23 You shall most certainly not make alongside of me gods of silver, or gods of gold for yourselves.
Exo 20:24 You shall make an altar of earth for me, and shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your cattle. In every place where I record my name I will come to you and I will bless you.
Exo 20:25 If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of cut stones; for if you lift up your tool on it, you have polluted it.
Exo 20:26 Neither shall you go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed to it.'





From Gary.... I wonder, I wonder...


My granddaughter, Elizabeth, sent me this picture of one of their dogs (I forget which one this is..) some time ago and I kept it because of the look of wondering on its face. Today, as I look at my computer screen and think about recent events in the Ukraine, I too, wonder. Will it lead to a war? What about all those nuclear bombers recently assembled by Russia. And those Emergency Action Messages to our ships in the area? I wonder, and wonder some more...  And then there is the prophet Habakkuk...

Habakkuk, Chapter 1
1 The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw.  2 Yahweh, how long will I cry, and you will not hear? I cry out to you “Violence!” and will you not save?  3 Why do you show me iniquity, and look at perversity? For destruction and violence are before me. There is strife, and contention rises up.  4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails; for the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted. 

  5  “Look among the nations, watch, and wonder marvelously; for I am working a work in your days, which you will not believe though it is told you.

God works at both the individual and national level.  He established and removes nations. Habakkuk is the prophet - not me, so I can't tell you what is going to happen in the Ukraine.  This I do know, because I see it; the world seems to be changing very rapidly - and not for the better!!!  But, eventually, what God wants to happen, will happen.  It is not wrong to wonder and for that matter, ask God WHY THERE IS SO MUCH EVIL OUT THERE, but we must remember verse five above and have faith.  Even if the absolute worst happens, well, there is always heaven. And if you have to wonder about going there, perhaps you should use your time wisely and investigate what you have to do to get there? I wonder, I wonder - what will you DO....???