Tag Archives: Abraham

Father of Fathers

Today’s message summary of June 18, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

As a 31-year old, I can’t tell you very much about my biological father.  I have only met him three different times.  I don’t know much about him or his family.  On my mother’s side, I can only speak about her and my grandmother, and that is how much I know about my family history.

With that said, the genealogy in the bible has a purpose to identify lineages.

In Genesis, there are genealogies listed that start with Adam and his lineage, and those that follow lead to the promise made to David about the coming Messiah.

Matthew 1:1-17

The historical record of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

This passage is a good one to examine for Father’s Day as it shows how fathers were preparing other fathers over time.

The point of this message is that your heavenly Father loves you more than your earthly father.  He will never fail you—in spite of your own disobedience to Him.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as an example to all of us.

There is not information within these passages to explain the behaviors of some of these fathers. We don’t know if they were living in righteousness or holiness.

The Scriptures do identify that each of these persons does lead to Jesus Christ.  Some of these individuals we do know of, such as Abraham, Boaz and David.

2 Chronicles 20:7

Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?

Abraham, in the Christian faith, is recognized as the Father of Faith…but was he a good father?

If you look at his life closely, you would see that he lied often and even committed adultery (with Hagar).  He was far from perfect.  Abraham, at the behest of Sarah, abandoned Hagar and Ishmael.

Genesis 21:8-13

And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac. And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.

If it was not for God’s instruction to send his son off, he would have kept him there.  Out of faith and obedience to God, he listened.

Hebrews 11:8-10

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

We are reminded that faith and obedience were most important in the relationship between God and Abraham in spite of Abraham’s sinful behavior.

Of the women who were involved within these genealogies, many of them were outsiders.  In Matthew 11:3, Tamar is referenced.  She disguised herself as a prostitute in order to seduce her father-in-law.  Judah, the father-in-law, was hardly an innocent victim.  It was contrary to the law of God.  We also see Rahab’s name in the genealogy.  She was a prostitute, yet she was praised as a woman of faith who turned out to be David’s grandmother.  Another person, Ruth, is listed.  She was a person of honor, but she was also a Gentile, a Moabite, an outsider.  Moabites are descendants of Lot.

Genesis 19:30-38

Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. And the firstborn said to the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father. So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also. Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father. So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.

You see how God moved past the sins of his people and brings different people into the lineage of Christ.

Matthew also wanted us to remember about David and Bathsheba through their adulterous union that led to Solomon.  Uriah, who was a godly man and a friend of David, was one of his most trusted men.  There is great irony in how David, because of his adultery, would have Uriah murdered and try to cover up the relationship.  Remember, God said that David was “a man after His own heart.”  Bathsheba is not mentioned within the genealogy in Matthew, and it was more a point of shame with David.  Nathan’s words of prophecy held true with the turmoil that followed David throughout the rest of his life.  While David failed miserably as a father, he still loved his children.  He still loved his son Absalom, even though Absalom was trying to kill him.

2 Samuel 18:31-33

And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you. The king said to the Cushite, Is it well with the young man Absalom? And the Cushite answered, May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man. And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!

Despite David’s sin, he loved his children.  He was willing to trade his life for them.

Solomon, featured in the genealogy, had many, many, many, many wives.  God had declared, of course, that man should have only one wife.

Here is a prophetic verse in Deuteronomy that actually refers to Solomon and his choices:

Deuteronomy 17:14-17

When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me, you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, You shall never return that way again. And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

Solomon’s heart turned from God because of the women he allowed in his life.

Solomon’s wisdom was evident and apparent to everyone, but he was flawed in his fleshliness.

Of the genealogy leading to Jesus Christ, the greatest thing that emerges is God’s grace.  Grace upon grace upon grace.  The fathers listed here were both good and evil; however, God’s grace was present throughout the lives of each of these people.

It was all part of God’s sovereign plan.

Note that Mary, listed in this genealogy, was a descendant of David.  Jesus was still the heir to the throne of David, and Joseph was His earthly father, who was willing to be obedient to God and take on the responsibility to raise Him.

Single mothers:  Are you helping the child in filling the void in his life by ministering to him and help him recognize Christ as the Lord of his life?

Fathers:  You will fail your children and even disappoint them, but it is an opportunity to display the gospel before them.  For all have sinned and fall short of His glory.  Your humble approach will show them that you are a father that unconditionally loves the children and lives according to the commands of God.

Proverbs 6:20-23

My son, keep your father’s commandment,

    and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

Bind them on your heart always;

    tie them around your neck.

When you walk, they will lead you;


The End Times: Babylon the Great

Today’s message summary of May 3, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Revelation Chapter 17 refers to Babylon as “Babylon, the Great.”

Revelation 17:1-18

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the notorious prostitute who sits on many waters. The kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and those who live on the earth became drunk on the wine of her sexual immorality.”  So he carried me away in the Spirit to a desert. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and 10 horns.  The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She had a gold cup in her hand filled with everything vile and with the impurities of her prostitution. On her forehead a cryptic name was written:

BABYLON THE GREAT

THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES

AND OF THE VILE THINGS OF THE EARTH.

Then I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the saints and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. 

Then the angel said to me, Why are you astonished? I will tell you the secret meaning of the woman and of the beast, with the seven heads and the 10 horns, that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present again. 

Here is the mind with wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated. They are also seven kings: Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes, he must remain for a little while. The beast that was and is not, is himself an eighth king, yet he belongs to the seven and is going to destruction. The 10 horns you saw are 10 kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they will receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.

He also said to me, The waters you saw, where the prostitute was seated, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. The 10 horns you saw, and the beast, will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, devour her flesh, and burn her up with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to carry out His plan by having one purpose and to give their kingdom to the beast until Gods words are accomplished. And the woman you saw is the great city that has an empire over the kings of the earth.

 

Satan knows that he can move nations, countries and people to a place where they adapt to more and more immoral behavior.  People are being conditioned mentally to accept things that you normally would not accept.  The worst is coming.  God warns His people to stay clear of this deception and see it for what it really is.

If you are not careful, Satan will rob you of many things.  He seeks to destroy.

Jeremiah 51:6

“Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins. It us time for the Lord’s vengeance; he will repay her what she deserves.”

 

Romans 13:11-14

Besides this, knowing the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.

 

1 Peter 5:8

Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.

 

Ephesians 5:8-14

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light–for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth–discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.  Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.

 

God will not force you to seek Him and His holiness.  He will let you continue into your ways, but God desires for you to come out of the “playpen” of the world, and to seek Him with a relationship.  He will respond to your prayers that seek Him and a humble way of living.

Nimrod was the founder of Babylon and builder of Assyria. He was a grandson of Noah.

From Babylon, and its founder, Nimrod, comes every heresy that has even been spoken or taught.

Abraham and Nimrod were two important men after the Great Flood.  Right after the tower of Babel is when Abram is called and is renamed Abraham by God.

Micah 5:6

They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod with a drawn blade. So He will rescue us from Assyria when it invades our land, when it marches against our territory.

 

Genesis 10:8-12

Cush fathered Nimrod, who was the first powerful man on earth. He was a powerful hunter in the sight of the Lord. That is why it is said, Like Nimrod, a powerful hunter in the sight of the Lord.” His kingdom started with Babylon, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, and Resen, between Nineveh and the great city Calah.

 

Nimrod means, “We shall rebel.”

Abram’s name means, “Father is exalted.”

Abraham’s name means, “Father of a multitude.”

Genesis 17:1-8

When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be blameless.  I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.

Then Abram fell facedown and God spoke with him: “As for Me, My covenant is with you: you will become the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram, but your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of many nations.  I will make you extremely fruitful and will make nations and kings come from you.  I will keep My covenant between Me and you, and your future offspring throughout their generations, as an everlasting covenant to be your God and the God of your offspring after you. And to you and your future offspring I will give the land where you are residingall the land of Canaanas an eternal possession, and I will be their God.

 

Abram was raised by Terah (Genesis 11:26) and came up under Nimrod’s system.  His family moved to Ur of the Chaldeans.  The Lord scattered everyone throughout the earth.  God called Abram in Genesis 12:1:

Genesis 12:1

Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

 

Note that the Tower of Babel was a move to become independent from God.  God had to scatter the people in order to prevent this from happening.  Nimrod had set up a system of self-worth and independence from God.  Through God, Abraham set up a system of faith.  Of this, two groups emerged: Christianity and Islam.

From Nimrod comes Babylon and Assyria (Ninevah).  These are the two cities that destroyed the nation of Israel.

Assyria destroyed the Northern Kingdom in 721 B.C.  Babylon destroyed the Southern Kingdom of Israel in 586 B.C.

Jonah 1:1-2

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted Me.


Abraham and The Church

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
To be one of God’s chosen people carries a responsibility. Believers of the Lord Jesus Christ are the heirs of Abraham because of their faith in Him.
Galatians 3:29
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.

Abraham was accounted for righteousness because he believed God. Our obedience to God makes us now part of that righteousness.

He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, so that, by faith, we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Galatians 3:14

The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Abraham received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. As a result, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them (Romans 4:11 NIV).

Abraham is also the father of the circumcised who are both circumcised and also walk in the footsteps of the faith that Abraham had before he was circumcised (Isaac, Jacob, etc.)(Romans 4:12 NIV).

It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be the heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith (Romans 4:13 NIV).

Did God reject His people? By no means? I am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1 NIV).

Paul makes this statement as a Christian…there was a time when Paul was an Israelite but not a believer. He was a heir on the descendant side of Israel but now also on the spiritual side of Abraham’s heirs.

Both Israel and the church share in their distinctive period in God’s program as the people of God through whom He will be glorified. Knowing the distinction between Israel and the church, it is necessary to guard against a dichotomy–that the church is better than Israel–failing to see the place of the church as an integral part of God’s program along with Israel as being co-heirs of the promise of God.

Romans 11:17-21

 17 Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root of the cultivated olive tree, 18 do not brag that you are better than those branches. But if you do brag—you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you. 19Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20True enough; they were broken off by unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either.

God will use the nation of Israel and the church to glorify Him. Israel will fulfill what God has promised. Those who are in church who believe in Jesus Christ are also to be used by God. He reminds everyone, however, that our belief in Christ and trusting in Him makes us heirs. He does not tolerate sin or disobedience.

The church is the seed of Abraham. In the covenant made with Abraham, God laid the basis for His program of redemption and ultimate establishment of His rule.

The seed of Abraham has three applications:
1. Natural descendants
2. Jesus Himself
3. Those who believe

Natural descendants: Isaac and Jacob and his twelve sons–

Genesis 35:10-12, 23

10 God said to him:

   Your name is Jacob; 
you will no longer be named Jacob, 
but your name will be Israel.

   So He named him Israel. 11 God also said to him:

   I am God Almighty. 
Be fruitful and multiply. 
A nation, indeed an assembly of nations, 
will come from you, 
and kings will descend from you. 
12 I will give to you the land 
that I gave to Abraham and Isaac. 
And I will give the land 
to your future descendants.

 23 Leah’s sons were Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn), 
Simeon, Levi, Judah, 
Issachar, and Zebulun.

Note: Abraham (Abram) was not a Jew. He received the promise because of his righteousness by faith (Genesis 32:28). God gave Jacob the name of Israel and also his descendants–God’s chosen people.

Romans 4:13

 13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

Isaiah 41:8

But you, Israel, My servant, 
Jacob, whom I have chosen, 
descendant of Abraham, My friend—

John 15:15-16

15 I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.

Note the importance of obedience to God in this dialogue between Jesus Christ and the natural heirs of Abraham. It centers on hearing and trusting God’s Word:

John 8:30-46

 30 As He was saying these things, many believed in Him. 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 33 “We are descendants of Abraham,” they answered Him, “and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will become free’?”

 34 Jesus responded, “I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.35 A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. 36 Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. 37 I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill Me because My wordis not welcome among you. 38 I speak what I have seen in the presence of the Father; therefore, you do what you have heard from your father.”

 39 “Our father is Abraham!” they replied.

   “If you were Abraham’s children,” Jesus told them, “you would do what Abraham did. 40 But now you are trying to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! 41 You’re doing what your father does.”

   “We weren’t born of sexual immorality,” they said. “We have one Father—God.”

 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on My own, but He sent Me. 43Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word. 44You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature,because he is a liar and the father of liars. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Who among you can convict Me of sin? If I tell the truth, why don’t you believe Me?

If you are not willing to be obedient to God, it would effectively nullify you as an heir of the promise to Abraham. God wants you to be a spiritual heir to the promise as part of Abraham’s seed.

God makes a connection with everyone who has a heart for God–we did not choose Him…He chose us. Paul even uses the word “elect” in describing the believer in Christ. God chose us to be a special people who are called out in righteousness in the same way as Abraham.

This seed points to Jesus Christ:

Galatians 3:16

Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Christ.

To all believers:
Galatians 3:19-22

19 Why then was the law given? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise was made would come. The law was put into effect through angels by means of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not for just one person, but God is one. 21 Is the law therefore contrary to God’s promises? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly be by the law. 22 But the Scripture has imprisoned everything under sin’s power, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Matthew 26:28

For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus fulfilled the covenant with the shedding of His blood for the covenant that was given to Israel (Jeremiah 31:31-34) and also made a new covenant to be fulfilled by today’s church. The church had not yet begun, but each and every believer is the seed of Abraham and is declared righteous before Him. Live out who your are as an heir and as a priest of God.


God’s Promise To Abraham For Today

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
God has had a plan for the church throughout the ages, and He is actively working in the church today. God has always had a group of people that He has called His own. In the Old Testament, we note that God referred to Israel as His people. It is noted that Israel was not just a nation, but God’s chosen was a group of spiritual people within Israel. He desired for them to grow in Him and love Him, and in turn, God would be glorified. In the same way, the church today has a large number of people who go to church, but not all of them are really following Christ. How much adultery and double-minded behavior is taking place in the church? All sinners who accept Jesus are indeed saved by grace, but there comes a point where we are to live in holiness according to His Word. His grace is not an excuse to keep sinning (Romans 6:1).
Romans 2:28-29
28 For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. 29 On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter. That man’s praise is not from men but from God.

You’re not a Christian by outward appearances–by what you say or do before others. Even making a confession of faith is not enough…a true believer is when the Holy Spirit works from the inside of a person and moves a person to respond to Christ from the heart. It is this desire to serve Him that is manifested in everything that a believer does for Him.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory. 32 Give no offense to the Jews or the Greeks or the church of God, 33 just as I also try to please all people in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, so that they may be saved.

Luke 6:20-23
20 Then looking up at His disciples, He said:
You who are poor are blessed,
because the kingdom of God is yours.
21 You who are now hungry are blessed,
because you will be filled.
You who now weep are blessed,
because you will laugh.
22 You are blessed when people hate you,
when they exclude you, insult you,
and slander your name as evil
because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! Take note—your reward is great in heaven, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the prophets.

Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’

The outward displays or declarations made by people who profess Christ does not mean that they are serving Christ. It is more about the heart of the people that live for Christ that distinguishes them as people of God.

Both Israel and today’s church are called to be holy.

Galatians 3:29
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.

If we belong to Jesus Christ, we reflect the faith of Abraham in believing and trusting in God in all things. It is out of this seed comes today’s church, of which Christ is the head of the church. God knows the hearts of his people.

Luke 1:67-79
67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because He has visited
and provided redemption for His people.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of His servant David,
70 just as He spoke by the mouth
of His holy prophets in ancient times;
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the clutches of those who hate us.
72 He has dealt mercifully with our fathers
and remembered His holy covenant—
73 the oath that He swore to our father Abraham.
He has given us the privilege,
74 since we have been rescued
from our enemies’ clutches,
to serve Him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness
in His presence all our days.
76 And child, you will be called
a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare His ways,
77 to give His people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the Dawn from on high will visit us
79 to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Acts 3:25-26
25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors, saying to Abraham, And all the families of the earth will be blessed through your offspring. 26 God raised up His Servant and sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”

The true church is the heir of the promise that God made to Abraham, who is the father of many nations that have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:14-18
14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.
15 Brothers, I’m using a human illustration. No one sets aside or makes additions to even a human covenant that has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Christ. 17 And I say this: The law, which came 430 years later, does not revoke a covenant that was previously ratified by God and cancel the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is from the law, it is no longer from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.

While God, according to Scripture, never extended a covenant with the church, He does show that the true church are the heirs of the promise that God made to Abraham. the true followers of Christ are the people of God–the seed of Abraham.

The law was added by God for His people to give Israel instruction and teaching and because of the transgression of the people. In today’s church, the correct teaching is that we are saved by grace, but that doesn’t cancel out the importance of the law. God says “if you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15).” The law represents discipline and is necessary to distinguish those who claim to follow Christ and those who are truly serving Him from the heart.

The Law is Direction For Life

  • The law is our condemnation–the gospel is our salvation
  • The law condemns us–the gospel justifies us
  • The law produces rebellion–the gospel produces submission
  • The law brings about false pride–the gospel brings humility and thankfulness

The law provides a blueprint as to how we are to please God, and it guides us to Jesus Christ.

God is working His plan and purpose in reaching many people for His glory. The true church–the believers in Christ–are Abraham’s seed.


God With Us

Matthew 1:18-25
The Nativity of the Messiah
18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.
20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 See, the virgin will become pregnant

and give birth to a son,

and they will name Him Immanuel,

which is translated “God is with us.”

24 When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her 25 but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus.

When we look at the story of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, we find that it is more than just a baby boy’s birth–it is, in fact, seeing God at work. It is the story of God being among His creation. God’s plan was to have Immanuel dwell with us. Even though He came to be with us, He did so as God in the flesh.

Why did God choose to be among us and leave His kingdom? The short answer is that we could not go to Him in our sin. He is a holy and righteous God that would never allow sin to enter His domain. As a result, God, who is holy, righteous and just, came to us to do the work that would make us righteous before Him. God loves us so much that He desires to be present with us. We are reminded, even in the very beginning, that God walked with Adam. This was before the fall of man. His desire was to dwell and walk with man, but He does not excuse the sin that we possess, which calls for the need for a Savior.

Why didn’t God use a great person of faith to do this work? While people like Mother Teresa and Gandhi were great people indeed, none of these great people could do the work that God was to do. God did not have a fear of man, while Abraham, a great man of God, was unable to take on such a burden where a sacrifice needed to be made.

Genesis 12:12-13
12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ They will kill me but let you live. 13 Please say you’re my sister so it will go well for me because of you, and my life will be spared on your account.”

Jesus was willing to come to earth to dwell among us to give His life for us on the cross. God is life in Himself. Without God, there is no life. He came into the world to save us, not Himself.

What about Moses, a great man of faith?

Numbers 11:10-12
10 Moses heard the people, family after family, crying at the entrance of their tents. The LORD was very angry; Moses was also provoked. 11 So Moses asked the LORD, “Why have You brought such trouble on Your servant? Why are You angry with me, and why do You burden me with all these people? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth so You should tell me, ‘Carry them at your breast, as a nursing woman carries a baby,’ to the land that You swore to [give] their fathers?

How would Moses bear the burden of the entire world? He couldn’t do it. Only God Himself could bear the burden of the entire world.

The name of Immanuel…God with us. The name of Jesus…because He will save everyone from their sin.

What about David? Read the account of the sin of David and misuse of his power and authority in 2 Samuel 11:14-27. More than just the adultery that David committed, he demonstrated that he could not be trusted with the power and authority. Jesus declared that He was the One who was given all power and authority, but He never abused that power.

John 8:3:11
3 Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. 4 “Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. 5 In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?” 6 They asked this to trap Him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse Him.

Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger. 7 When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”

8 Then He stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. 9 When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only He was left, with the woman in the center. 10 When Jesus stood up, He said to her, ” Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, Lord,” she answered.

“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”]

God made the choice to come to earth to forgive…not to condemn.

What about Isaiah? All he could do was confess his unrighteousness in the midst of a holy God:

Isaiah 6:1-5
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and His robe [a] filled the temple. 2 Seraphim were standing above Him; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another:
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Hosts;
His glory fills the whole earth.
4 The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke.

5 Then I said:
Woe is me, for I am ruined,
because I am a man of unclean lips
and live among a people of unclean lips,
[and] because my eyes have seen the King,
the LORD of Hosts.

What about Jeremiah?

Jeremiah 20:7-9
7 You deceived me, LORD, and I was deceived.
You seized me and prevailed.
I am a laughingstock all the time;
everyone ridicules me.
8 For whenever I speak, I cry out—
I proclaim: Violence and destruction!
because the word of the LORD has become for me
constant disgrace and derision.

9 If I say: I won’t mention Him
or speak any longer in His name,
His message becomes a fire burning in my heart,
shut up in my bones.
I become tired of holding it in,
and I cannot prevail.

God loved His people so much that He readily proclaimed the truth from His father, and no one would keep Him from proclaiming the message of His Father.

John 17:4-5
4 I have glorified You on the earth

by completing the work You gave Me to do.

5 Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence

with that glory I had with You

before the world existed.

Jesus was born in order to carry out the message of truth and would not be deterred. His message was one that no one else could deliver.

John 8:26
“I have many things to say and to judge about you, but the One who sent Me is true, and what I have heard from Him—these things I tell the world.”

He loves us and cares for us in a very personal way. When Jesus spoke, we were able to see His heart for His people and His love for us.

Romans 8:3-4
3 What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

There is no one on earth that could carry out the message that God can. Let’s remember that the Christmas that we celebrate was indeed God Himself coming to us to do His work. He came to save His people and deliver them from their sins.


The Righteous Live By Faith

Do you understand what it is to live by faith? Living by faith requires more than an intellectual approach–it requires a spiritual approach. It is important to understand that the absence of God in our life means that sin is present. It is only through the presence of Jesus Christ that we can experience the power of God in overcoming sin and its penalty.

To be a Christian means to live a life that exceeds the limitations of this world. Faith takes us beyond the limitations of fleshly knowledge. In faith, we see ourselves as children of God and as a part of His household. We are to live in such a way that we are living our faith in our everyday practical living for the glory of God and Jesus Christ.

Our faith is connected to Jesus Christ in the form of a real relationship with Him. Your healthy relationship helps you to draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit in order to live in such a way that you are able to glorify God. To do anything less is to live only by a set of rules and regulations, where you will ultimately fail.

Do we understand what it means to be a true Christian? In order to see the true power of God working in your life, you must operate in a true faith in God and be willing to sacrifice and pay the price. It is insufficient to simply say you are living for Christ and not put the true effort that it requires to live a life for Christ. Sometimes, we fail to grow in Christ because we are failing to acknowledge His presence in our life. While we have just enough knowledge to not deny Him completely, do we lack the confidence to completely live for Him by trusting completely in Him? Our life in Christ should be for more than just a saving faith…much more.

What is faith? Faith is a gift from God. It is in our faith that we can see how much God loves us and wants us to experience Him throughout our entire life. As we see God working throughout our life, our faith in Him should continue to grow. In your relationship with God through Jesus Christ, there should be a growing relationship with Him where you learn to trust Him even more.

Saving faith comes only from God.

For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—” (Ephesians 2:8).

God extends the grace of faith that allows for the provision of your salvation. He gives you the faith to believe that He is the lone provider for your salvation. It is our faith in Him, provided by God for you, to recognize His grace and saving power for you to experience.

Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45).

God opens your mind to the understanding of godly things. The matters of God are not understood or obtained with our own earthly intellect.

Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat.  But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).

Faith always has the ability to grow, but our adversary, Satan, desires to stunt our growth in faith, for he knows that we are unable to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).

Faith is a reliance upon God, who is trustworthy. He is faithful and reliable, and He helps us to continue to grow and develop our faith in Him because of who He is. He gives us the strength, protection, and ability to endure whatever we are encountering, which helps us to flourish as believers in Jesus Christ. Our faith in God is to operate in His confidence and to overcome any of our fears or reservations.
1 Thessalonians 5:24
2 Thessalonians 3:3
2 Corinthians 4:18
2 Kings 6:15-17
Job 42:5
Matthew 5:8
Hebrews 11:27

Our faith in God makes us the children of Abraham, which means that we share the blessing of God with Abraham. As we have faith in Him, He provides more for us to continue to have faith in Him and overcome any of our doubts (Galatians 3:7; Romans 4:2-3, 20-21).

We are to proceed in our life with Christ from one faith to the next faith, and so on. Throughout the journey, we will see God’s righteousness as we grow in our faith and trust in Him (Romans 1:16-17). His grace resides in a saving faith, which helps us to live our life as a living faith in our service for Him (Romans 12:3; 2 Corinthians 5:7).