SELL ME THIS POWER
In biblical Christianity there is power! Saints sing of it often in such hymns as “There Is Power In The Blood.” Repentant lost people rejoice in it at the altar of their heart. Saints who are wise reject the time consuming offerings of the world in order to know Him and the POWER of His resurrection as did St. Paul as he told the Philippians.
Jesus said that all power is consolidated in Him as He commissioned the church in Matthew 28:18-20. Just before ascending, He told His church that they would receive power after that the Holy Ghost was come upon them. According to Acts 2, they certainly did. But it was not a temporary power. It was an age long power to be resident in New Testament churches; power sufficient to bring them through the age with the proper testimony of God, and His love for the world.
But power is one of the objects of the sinful, greedy world which sees material advancement as the purpose of life. Thus the very existence of understood power draws men either to God and Salvation or to Satan and the ladder of materialism and creature comforts.
Such was the case of one Simon the sorcerer as noted in Acts 8. It is interesting to note that Simon was a long time practitioner of sorcery. Doubtless, he accumulated a considerable amount of wealth with it. However, the introduction of Bible Christianity in Samaria was mightily blessed of God so that many were saved and baptized. Make of this what you will, the Bible declares that Simon also was saved and baptized. Simon then continued with Philip, drawn by the miracles which he did.
Some days later Peter and John were dispatched from Jerusalem to Samaria who prayed for them, and laid hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit that had come upon the church in Acts 2. Simon was impressed, so impressed that he offered the apostles money to have their power conferred upon him. Peter minced no words rejecting the request, and directing him to repent of such wickedness, 8:22-24.
Unarguably, the apostolic years were filled with extraordinary displays of holy power as credentials of holy men in the absence of the New Testament. But with its completion, focus is shifted more precisely upon the church of the Living God. It is the pillar and ground of the truth under the constriction of the Holy Spirit and the eternal Word. In these things there is staying, aggressive, authoritative, energetic power from heaven. Surely, the world remains filled with satanic inspired charlatans, who emulate Simon saying, sell me this power that I may accumulate wealth through deception. But, as it was then, so it is now. The gifts and calling of God may be only enjoyed God’s way. They are not for sale.
APRIL 8 – An Unprepared Heart
2 Chronicles 12:14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.
Such a tragic statement. “… and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The heart has been said to contain the wickedness of the world. There are times when a person can seem to be fine and wonderful, yet the heart contains wickedness that corrupts the thinking of men. How often has one that has appeared to be a pillar of the community been revealed to have done something vile?
Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? That is a pretty definitive statement. So what is the answer to this wickedness? We need to know because the wickedness in our communities is growing rapidly. The condition of the human heart leads to abortion, beatings, theft, and murder. The only answer is to clean out the heart.
That brings us to the cleanser that can do such a wonderful work. The blood of Jesus Christ. Are we bloody Baptists? Yes, we are. That is the cleansing power of God. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse a wicked heart. While there are those that have taken the blood out of the hymnals and out of the pulpit, we preach the cleansing blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ ,and His shed blood.
Jesus prepares our heart to seek the Lord. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.” The blood cleanses the heart of wickedness and sin. This is a necessary preparation for seeking God and His will in our lives. Then we are “prepared” to meet our God when death comes to this mortal body.
A daily preparation to meet and know God for those that have been born again, is prayer and study of His Word Did you prepare your day by communicating with God this morning?
Opinion: It is my opinion that one reason we don’t want to admit that we have a heart problem in America is because you can’t pass any legislation to solve it. The only One who can take care of this heart problem is the Great Physician.
I think this settles the issue. It is a heart problem.
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, MURDERS, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:”
FEBRUARY 16 – Understanding Hearts
1 Kings 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
An understanding heart is what is needed today. To often we are critical without understanding the desire of God or understanding the situation that has occurred. I am not suggesting that we let sin slide without proper measure. I am suggesting that we are too presumptuous sometimes.
An understanding heart seeks God and the will of God. When we understand the will of God and apply His law and judgments we then discern between good and evil. This understanding heart will seek the knowledge needed to correctly handle a problem or situation.
An understanding heart seeks wisdom from above to make application here on earth. Our actions with our loved ones and friends and others need to be “seasoned with grace” and applied with the “salve of love.” How often we harm instead of heal.
Let us, like Solomon, pray for an understanding heart.
William Andrew Dillard
BURNING HEART OR HEARTBURN?
Sometime back I drove past a sign that read: CHURCH OF THE BURNING HEART. I thought that was a little unusual for the name of a church. Upon further inquiry, I learned that it was like so many other religious clubs doting the landscape in these last days. It was what one would call independent, but more precisely non-denominational. That simply means it does not affiliate with any known and named group of churches both in affiliation and in doctrinal standing. Of course, there are enough non-denominational churches that now non-denominational would be a denomination but for the lack of affiliation among themselves or any cohesiveness to their doctrinal standing. It seems they just want to present themselves to the public as totally free, thus better, than any church that is known by its doctrinal standing. As a result what is commonly held among them is the doctrine of universal, invisible church which necessitates open communion. Furthermore, they have no qualms about baptismal source or mode, and most do not maintain a church membership role due to their universal thinking. But these things effectively negate personal responsibility, and personal accountability in the minds of natural men who have an inclination to worship God due to their being made in His image. The appeal succeeds in motivating men into further estrangement from their Creator in a form of godliness that denies the power thereof.
As more and more of these types of “churches” arise, one may wonder at the wonder of it all. Would the Holy Spirit lead men to a form of worship that is in rebellion to plain biblical teachings? Is it possible that God would accept a form of doctrine out of conformity to His Word? Has the blood-bathed battle of His churches throughout the last 2,000 years been in vain; their form of worship and division of the Word of truth wrong?
The apostle John has the answer in his first epistle: Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” 2:18-20. Compared to Holy Writ, a better name for the afore mentioned group might be THE CHURCH OF THE HEARTBURN, big time!
As sweet as they are, let it be recalled that Jesus did not make His people to be sugar, but salt! Moreover, the disastrous results of salt that loses its savor is graphically presented in plain terms! Matt. 5:13
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me,” John 14:1.
I love security! And I want all the security I can have in my life, financial security, job security, marital security and homeland security! It feels good to know things are secure. In today’s passage, we see the greatest security a person can have, spiritual security. Is there a greater security than the security of the believer? This is a protection that is sealed by the promises of Almighty God! In John 14:1-3, we see Jesus promising us three things that serve as keys to our security in Christ.
1. We need not be troubled. Our belief in God and His Son Jesus is the starting point of our spiritual security. If you have placed your faith in Jesus for salvation, you are secure.
2. Jesus is in the process of preparing a place for the believers. Our security is seen in His work. He is preparing our eternal home because He guarantees our arrival if we are in Him.
3. He is coming back for us. The promise that He will return again to bring us to the place He has prepared is a positive guarantee. A promise from God is a promise that will never be broken.
JUST A THOUGHT
Do you rest in the knowledge that Jesus already seals your spiritual security?
Psalm 141:3, 4
“Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips,” Psalm 141:3.
Have you ever been around those people who must speak their mind, no matter how or whom it hurts? This type of person makes me nervous. They are dangerous for many reasons, not the least being the poison arrows they shoot out of their mouths may boomerang and hit the person next to them. What is even worse they have harmed many of the Lord’s churches as they claim to be Christians.
God does not need people like that in His army. He has the Holy Spirit to convict and correct His children. God does allow calm and loving correction administered by mature believers if they speak the truth in a loving manner.
If God convicts one of being a person of quick tongue and slow mind, one of those who must say what is on their mind, then, like David, we need to utter the above prayer daily. Perhaps it would be better to memorize it, then, we can say it in place of what we think we must say and say it until we get lip locked. We can write it on our hearts and the hinges of our jaws or just a three by five card and memorize it, so that we will not bring reproach on the Lord’s work. If we are not careful, harmful words can spew out of our mouths before we know it. We, like David, need to allow God to put a guard on our lips.
If you must say something, say, Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day (Psalm 71:8).
In our study of the tabernacle, we referred to Isa_66:1-2 in passing, but there is a truth there that deeply affects this writer and that is well worth our serious consideration in light of our modern day: “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
Does God demand magnificent structures, such as the breathtaking St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, to worship Him? Not according to Isaiah, who in this chapter continues his prophecy concerning the glorious future. He begins, however, by contrasting the attitude of the true and faithful servant of God with the apostate and worldly character of most of the nation. He declares that there are only two places where God dwells: first in heaven and second in the contrite heart of the person who trembles at His Word. God is not looking for a temple made of stone or sacrifices made without thought. He is concerned rather with what is in the heart, specifically, our attitude toward His Word.
Paul declared the same truth: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Php_2:12). To our shame, we see little, if any, fear and trembling in our churches. Oh, we see much excitement, activity, and other user-oriented attitudes, but where is the trembling before God’s Word?
Trembleth is a translation of chārēḏ (H2730), “to shake,” from which are derived the ideas of trembling and fear. God told Gideon, for example, to limit the number of soldiers by observing who was afraid, which sent 22,000 back home (Jdg_7:3). In 1Sa_4:13, Eli sat “by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God,” because the Ark of the Covenant was in danger of being captured by the Philistines.
As we continue these thoughts in coming days, let us each ask ourselves, “Do I tremble before God’s Word? Do I have a deep reverence for God’s revelation and a fear in my heart of disobeying it?”
Scriptures for Study: Read the following verses, noting the emphasis on trembling at God’s Word: Ezr_9:4; Ezr_10:3; Psa_119:120.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up,” James 4:10.
What happens when the pangs of personal guilt and shame for committing sin are not enough to lead us to confession? What happens when we do not apologize for wrongdoing in a quick manner but, instead, choose to pretend that we did nothing wrong? Unfortunately, if we do not pay close attention to our hearts and motives, we can easily find ourselves overlooking our own bad behaviors. When that happens, it gets easier and easier to forget our own wrongdoing, and as we get into the habit of ignoring the Holy Spirit’s conviction, our hearts become hardened and our pride swells.
In the church at Corinth, there was a man who was having an adulterous affair with his stepmother (1 Cor. 5). Paul rebuked the church for not reprimanding him and overlooking the obviously illicit relationship. You might think such oversight is uncommon today but look around your own church or family. Is there a common sin in which many people engage, yet, no one talks about? What about gossip, gluttony, envy, strife or consumer excess? You see sometimes we are guilty of walking in pride, pretending nothing is amiss.
What is the answer? James wrote that we should “be afflicted, and mourn, and weep” over our sin (James 4:9). We should allow our hearts to be sensitive to our own wrongdoing, asking God to expose our sins immediately, so that we can immediately confess them to Him. The answer is humility.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you weep over your own sin today?
The Hebrew biyn (H995) is translated several ways in our AV Bible, including (and most often) “understand” (62) and understanding (32). Several other translations (e.g., “consider, perceive, discern”) reflect the fact that biyn, which with its derivatives appears 247 times, has a wide range of meanings, also including: “to discern, perceive, observe, understand, pay attention, be intelligent, and be discreet.”
Biyn is, therefore, much more than just gathering knowledge. It’s about understanding that knowledge. As was true of Daniel, for example, a person might be able to hear words, but not understand them (Dan_12:8). As vital as knowledge is, by itself it is virtually worthless. To illustrate, a man might know by heart every medical work that has ever been written and yet be the worst doctor in the world because he doesn’t truly understand how it all works. He can memorize it, but he can’t apply it.
Biyn, therefore, speaks of how we use the knowledge we acquire. I am struck often by the depth of Psalms 119. In Psa_119:27, the psalmist (probably David) prays, “Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works,” and again in Psa_119:34, “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart,” and still again in Psa_119:73, “give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments” (see also Psa_119:100,). David didn’t want just knowledge but to know why that knowledge was important, the way that knowledge applied to the real world, and even the consequences that knowledge would have on everything else.
That is what is so desperately needed today. A consistent Christian life is absolutely impossible without constant learning and a growing understanding of what that knowledge will demand in one’s Christian walk. And from where does such understanding come? David again answers, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psa_119:104). Understanding is not a product of rationalism or empiricism. It is comes only from God (Dan_2:21) and only by diligent seeking (Pro_2:4-5).
Scriptures for Study: In Pro_17:10, what is the difference between the wise (biyn) man and the fool? In Pro_28:5, what do those who “seek the LORD” understand?