- THE LOVE THAT SOUGHT US
- THE BLOOD THAT BOUGHT US
- THE SPIRIT THAT WROUGHT US
- THE WORD THAT TAUGHT US
April 22 – The Prayer to God Greater than Physical Power
What a prayer of faith and trust in God. The Army of Asa was 580 thousand. He faced an army of a thousand thousand. The Ethiopian army stood at one million men. The Ethiopian army was about twice as large. For the average man, there is no sense in fighting this battle. The odds were too large. It was sure destruction.
Have you ever considered a missionary that went into a new field not knowing anyone but simply has a calling from God to be in this place and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone that would listen? The missionaries are outnumbered. They are one feeble light in a great mass of Darkness. The Lord’s Church is outnumbered by the ones that are preaching untruths and causing many at death to descend into the pits of hell. Look at those Church members engaging in telling others about Christ. The work of the true Church has many enemies that are fighting against the truth. Salvation does not come through good works, baptism or Church membership. It comes through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. That work He completed on the cross. Paul told the Ephesian brethren that salvation is a free gift.
Listen, when God is with us, who can be against us? Just as Asa triumphed through pray and the might and strength of God, we must rely on God to defeat the enemy. We must pray for the help of God because He has the power. He can defeat the enemy. He can overcome every obstacle Satan puts in our way.
We have the victory through Christ our Lord and God the Father.
5. The Fundamentals of the Church
We do not hesitate to say that the doctrines taught by the churches of the New Testament days are identical with the doctrines taught today by true Baptist churches. These constitute their distinguishing marks by which Baptist identity has been known across the centuries back to our Lord’s day on earth.
Across the centuries Baptists have believed and taught all the fundamentals of the Scriptures, thus making the Bible the man of their counsel. In sum, these teachings include:
Salvation by grace without any admixture of meritorious works (Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 11:6; Titus 3:5).
Congregational form of church government, as already discussed in this message.
Immersion in water as the Scriptural mode of baptism (Acts 8:38, 39; Rom. 6:4).
Christ as the sole head over His church (Mark 12:10; Eph. 1:21-23).
The Bible as the sole written guide and standard of authority in religious affairs (2 Tim. 3:16,17; John 5:39).
The right of private judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15: John 5:39).
Freedom of worship, of conscience and of speech. The early Christians avowed and taught religious liberty. Tertullian, a Christian writer of the second and third centuries said:
“Every man should worship according to his own convictions: one man’s religion neither harms nor helps another man. It is accuredly no part of religion to compel religion.”
Justin martyr, a Christian writer of the second century, said:
“Religion cannot be imposed by force; the matter must be carried on by words rather than by blows.”
It is an honor to Baptists that, while they have endured persecution for truth’s sake, they have never persecuted others for their faith. Indeed religious freedom is a trophy of Baptists.
Separation of church and state (Luke 20:21-25).
Baptists in every century have championed the cause of religious freedom. They have contended for separation of church and state, but not the separation of God and the state: that the one should not control the other, but both church and state should work harmoniously for the betterment of each. There can be no absolute freedom of religion where there exists a union of church and state. God is over all.
Individual priesthood of all believers (Heb. 4:14-16; Rev. 5:10; John 14:13).
Every believer has a right to approach God for himself. He is his own believer-priest, going to God through Christ alone for himself (I Tim.2:5). It is a sin to pray to any saint living or dead.
In addition to these nine points of fundamental tenets, Baptists believe and teach the doctrines of inherent depravity (Eph. 2:3); the convicting and converting power of the Holy Spirit in connection with the word of God (Acts 16:14); the security of the believer (John 5:24); a restricted Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42; I Cor. 11:17-20); the blood atonement of Christ (II Cor. 5:21; Heb. 2:9) as essentially related to His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matt. 1:23); our Lord’s resurrection from the grave (Matt. 28:1-6); His ascension back to heaven (Luke 24:51); His personal and visible and premillennial second coming (Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:37-39); a bodily resurrection of the dead (I Cor. 15:51-53); and eternal hell for the incorrigible wicked (Luke 16:19-26); and an eternal bliss in heaven for the children of God (Rev. 21:1-14
No discussion of the OT offerings and sacrifices would be complete without an examination of Passover. Appearing only seven times, the Hebrew verb pāsach (H6452) is actually quite ordinary, meaning “to leap, pass over, halt, limp,” and perhaps even “to protect.” In the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, for example, the prophets “leaped upon” the altar in their attempt to get their god to respond; this was undoubtedly some kind of ritual dance (1Ki_18:26). Just before this (1Ki_18:21), Elijah had asked the people, “How long halt [i.e., dance or bounce back and forth] ye between [the] two opinions?” of God and Baal. It is also used of Mephibosheth, who at five years old fell and “became lame” (2Sa_4:4).
By far the most significant use of pāsach (and the derivative noun pesach, H6453) appears in Exodus, its first occurrence, in fact. We first read in Exo_12:13; Exo_12:23; Exo_12:27 that when God saw the blood properly placed on the door posts and lintel, He would “pass over” (or “leap over”) that household and the plague of the death of the firstborn would not touch it. One authority suggests that in light of Isa_31:5—“As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it”—pāsach also carries the idea of “to defend or protect.” At that first Passover, therefore, the Lord protectively covered the houses of the Israelites and would not allow the death angel to enter.
The Passover is, indeed, the most vivid, dramatic, and powerful OT foreshadowing of the atonement the Lord Jesus would accomplish on the cross once for all (Heb_10:10). No NT passage, therefore, is clearer than 1Co_5:7-8 : “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” This declares not only the reality of the Passover Lamb, but the practical result of His atonement, namely, holiness of life. As the OT Passover clearly separated the godly from the pagans, God’s NT people are saved to be holy (Eph_1:4; 1Pe_1:15-16) and separate from the world (2Co_6:14-18).
Scriptures for Study: What does 1Co_5:9-11 teach about separation?
The origin of ‘azā’zēl (H5799) is uncertain. Some scholars think it combines the two Hebrew words ‘ēz, “goat,” and ‘āzal (not used in the OT), “to send away,” or ‘āzēl, “to go away.” Others think it comes from the Arabic ‘azāla, “to banish” or “to remove.” Whichever is correct, ‘azā’zēl is a vivid illustration of God’s forgiveness, appearing only four times in the OT, all in Leviticus 16 (Lev_16:8; Lev_16:10 [twice], Lev_16:26). (The concept of a scapegoat [short for “escape-goat”] is still used today to refer to someone taking the blame for someone else.)
On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the most sacred day in the Jewish community, the high priest selected two unblemished goats, one of which he killed and sprinkled its blood on the mercy seat. He took the other, laid his hands on it, confessed the sins of the nation, and then sent it into the wilderness.
Some scholars speculate, based on certain Jewish interpreters, that ‘azā’zēl is actually the proper name Azazel, which probably referred to a demon. Since one goat was “for God,” it is argued, the other was “released for Azazel.” Such a pagan concept, however, based on the mythology of the OT pseudepigraphal (“false writings”) Book of Enoch, is clearly unacceptable. Rather, the true picture of the scapegoat is that the sins of the people were carried away into the wilderness, never to be heard from again or held against them by God. “As far as the east is from the west,” David writes, “so far hath [God] removed our transgressions from us” (Psa_103:12).
As beautiful as that symbol was, however, it was still just that, a symbol. While it pictured taking away sin, it could not actually perform it. It would take something else to accomplish the miracle of taking away sin forever. What miracle? Isaiah alluded to it when he wrote, “And the LORD has laid on [Messiah] the iniquity of us all” (Isa_53:6). Then, John the Baptist declared it openly on the day he saw Jesus approaching: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Joh_1:29). Our Lord, therefore, was not only the perfect sacrificial lamb, but He was also the perfect scapegoat. He not only redeemed His people with His blood, but He also removed their sin forever.
Scriptures for Study: Read Isa_53:4-6; Isa_53:9-12, noting what Messiah would accomplish. What does 2Co_5:21 also declare about the Lord Jesus?
Integrally attached to the OT offerings was the altar, the raised structure on which blood was sprinkled and the fat of animals was burned. The Hebrew mizbēach (H4196) is derived from zāḇach (H2076), the word for sacrifice. Mizbēach appears about 400 times, about half of which are in the Pentateuch.
Early altars were made of earth and stone (Exo_20:25), but God later commanded the people to build altars of better materials, such as wood and metal (Exo_27:1-8; Exo_30:1-10). This impressed upon the people that they must worship in God’s prescribed way and that such worship demanded quality. It’s noteworthy that mizbēach is also used to refer to pagan altars, which must be torn down and destroyed (Exo_34:13).
One of the most vivid examples of an altar is the one on which Abraham placed his only son Isaac in readiness to sacrifice him according to God’s command. (Isaac’s place was taken by the ram that God provided [Gen_22:1-19]). Here is, of course, the clearest OT picture of the future substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ (Mat_20:28; Joh_1:29; 2Co_5:21).
So is there an altar today? Not in the strict sense, for the “final altar” was the cross (Heb_13:10-13). Our sin was laid there and paid for once by Christ (Heb_10:10). First, we don’t lay ourselves on an altar for salvation, for Christ was the Lamb on that final altar.
Second, neither must we daily place ourselves on some supposed altar for sanctification, that is, “crucify ourselves daily” for holiness, as some misinterpret Rom_6:6 : “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” In fact, every verb tense in Romans 6 that refers to our identification with Christ in His death refers to that identification as having been completed in the past. Our “old man,” therefore, “[was] crucified with [Christ]” so that now “we should not serve sin.” That is sanctification. We can now live holy because Christ died on that final altar.
Scriptures for Study: Read Romans 6 and rejoice that you have been freed from the bondage, the control, of sin.
Another crucial word in the context of the offerings of the OT, of course, is the word sacrifice. The Hebrew is zāḇach (H2076), which means “to slaughter, to kill, to offer, to sacrifice.” While at times it refers to killing an animal simply for food (Deu_12:21; 1Sa_28:24), it is used mainly for the slaughter of animals for sacrifice, either to the true God or even a false one (Jdg_16:23; 2Ch_28:23).
Why was sacrifice required? Because the result of sin is death (Rom_6:23; Jas_1:15), and the only thing that can pay the price of sin is blood—“without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb_9:22; cf. Lev_4:20). It was, therefore, the Lord Jesus who was the focal point of the entire sacrificial system. Everything pointed to Him, for He would be the perfect “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Joh_1:29), it was He who would “save his people from their sins” (Mat_1:21). It was, in fact, the OT Passover itself that pointed to “Christ our passover” (1Co_5:7), whose “precious blood” is “as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1Pe_1:19).
What has happened to the old system? Heb_8:13 declares, “A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” Chapters 9 and 10 detail how the Mosaic system, from symbols to sanctuaries to sacrifices, vanished. In fact, that system began to decay when Israel rejected Christ (Luk_19:37-44) and finally disappeared with the destruction of the temple in AD 70. The Mosaic system was but a “shadow of good things to come” (Heb_10:1, emphasis added), but Jesus is the substance.
Does all that mean there is no kind of sacrifice today? No, but all sacrifice we offer to God is living. No longer is there the dead sacrifice of the Old Covenant, rather the dynamic sacrifice of the New. That’s what Paul meant when he wrote, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Rom_12:1) and what Peter referred to as he wrote to Christian Jews, As “[living] stones, [you] are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1Pe_2:5). Our entire lives now—all we do and say—are living sacrifices to God.
Scriptures for Study: Read the following verses, noting what kind of “spiritual sacrifice” each emphasizes: Rom_15:16, Eph_5:2, Php_4:10-18, Heb_13:15-16; Rev_8:3.
Burning at the Stake – They died like men
16th Century – This bloody century continued to drink the blood of the Anabaptists in the heroic story of Jacob Dirks and his sons, Andrew and Jan. Literally thousands had been put to death by the Roman Catholic State Church of Holland. The blood of the aged was mixed with the blood of the youths. Women were tortured with the same ferocity as were the men, but still the Whore was not satisfied. Jacob, a tailor residing in Utrecht with his family, hearing that the magistrate was soon to arrest him fled to Antwerp in Belgium. His wife, not sharing his doctrinal views, remained behind only to die from natural causes. Upon arrival at the place of execution, Jacob said to his sons “How is it with you, my dear sons?” They answered, “Dear father, all is well.” Andrew was soon to be married, but he had forsaken his earthly bride and chosen that heavenly Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. These brave men were each strangled by the executioner, which was considered an act of mercy, before the fire was kindled and their smoke was offered up to God as a sweet smelling sacrifice. These executions down through the centuries have given authority and validity to the gospel of Christ, as well as the sustaining grace of God, under the most trying circumstances. In some instances the martyr would raise his hands toward heaven in a prearranged signal that God had truly provided supernatural strength to bear the flames. Others would sing songs of praise and hymns until the flames silenced their voices. The greatest trial was when the wood was green or the wind would blow the smoke away and cause death to come more slowly. These acts demonstrate the utter depravity of man and the inadequacy of man’s religion which always has to be by force and not by persuasion.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 109.
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When we hear the name Cain, most of us probably think immediately of the first murderer and his heinous crime. But there is more here. The Hebrew is Qayin (H7014), which as most scholars agree is a play on the verb qānāh (H7069), “to buy, purchase, acquire, or possess.” This seems all the more apparent in what Eve herself says of Cain: “I have gotten [i.e., acquired, qānāh] a man from the LORD” (Gen_4:1).
It did not take long, however, for that blessed acquisition to take a turn for the worse, long before Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. Jude alludes to Cain’s real problem when he writes of apostates: “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain” (Gen_4:11). The Greek for way is hodos (G3598), which literally refers to a road, highway, or street, but metaphorically to a course of conduct or way of thinking. So what was Cain’s way of thinking? That he could please God his own way.
What offering, then, did Cain bring, and why did God not accept it? Some teachers insist the problem was that Cain did not bring blood, as did Abel. Gen_3:21, it is argued, reveals that God taught Adam and Eve that blood had to be shed for sin, so this same knowledge was undoubtedly handed down to Cain and Abel. The Hebrew, in fact, for the offering (April 17, 20) both men brought is minchāh (H4503), which does not refer to blood, rather the general idea of a gift. There are two Hebrew words used to translate this passage into english. The second is (H6529), meaning fruit. Therefore a fruit offering.Now we find with Abel brings a gift and (H1062) firstling of man or beast. Properly a blood offering such as was slain in the garden for Adam and Eve.
So why was Cain’s offering not accepted? We submit two reasons: First,it was not a bloody sacrifice that represented Christ our sacrifice. for Cain (in contrast to Abel bringing the “firstlings” (Gen_4:4). Second,Cain’s offering represented the ability of man to work his way to heaven. Third, it represented the pride of man in self ability in saving ourselves from condemnation.
What, then, is the way of Cain? The way of man. Cain’s way of thinking was that he could please God his own way. Christianity, however, is a life, a life found only in Christ by grace through faith.
Scriptures for Study: Read Mat_7:13-14, noting the two paths Jesus outlines. What does 1Jn_3:12 say about Cain?
1 Corinthians 10:16, 17
“For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread,” 1 Corinthians 10:17.
It is very sad, but my children look like me. I wish it were not the case, but they carry some resemblance of me, whether it is the way they walk, talk, behave, look or their propensity for acne outbreaks. My kids’ character traits and physical appearances are signs that they share the same DNA as their mother and me. They are our flesh and blood, so to speak.
Similarly, everyone who calls himself a child of God will carry the character traits of his Heavenly Father. When a child of God enters into a covenant relationship with the body of Christ, he is identifying himself with Jesus Himself. In the practice of communion, each church member partakes of the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, symbolizing his fellowship in the sufferings of Christ, in which His body was broken and His blood poured out. This act identifies a person with Christ and solidifies his membership in His body, His church. One becomes His flesh and blood, so to speak. What is the purpose of communion?—to remember the sacrifice of Jesus, to participate in His sacrifice and to strengthen the bond among the members of the body of Christ.
JUST A THOUGHT – Do you resemble Christ?