Names of God – Emmanuel

Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

IMMANUEL (EMMANUEL) – God with Us

Matthew 1:23 – Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”

Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

What should we think when we read this verse?  What does it mean?

G         Grace (Gift, Gospel)

Ephesians 2:8-10 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

O         Offering

Hebrews 10:10 – we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

D         Dwelt

John 1:14a – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us

W         Word, Witness

John 1:1-3 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

I           Inheritance

Ephesians 1:11-12 – n him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

T          Temple

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

H         Holy, Holiness

Hebrews 3:12- So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.”

U         Unbelief

Ephesians 1:8-10 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.Romans 11:19-21- You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.

S          Savior

Luke 2:11 – For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Challenge:  What’s in a name?  Everything, if it is the Name above every name—the Name by which every man must be saved!

Introduce your friends to Jesus (God with us)!!

Names of God – Jehovah Jireh

Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jehovah Jireh – The Lord Who Sees and Who Provides

Jehovah reveals God as the eternal, self-existent one, the God of revelation, the God of moral and spiritual attribute, of righteousness, of holiness, of love, and most of all redemption.  Jehovah stands also for the special covenant relationship to Israel.  To Israel He is Jehovah.  To all other nations He is Elohim, a more general name for God and His relationship to them.  Jehovah with additional names is a compound name further revealing Him in specific ways.  When Jireh is added, we see this eternal God revealing Himself to Abraham as the Lord who sees and who provides.

This name, Jehovah Jireh, brings up a message and revelation to us.  He is not just a God who sees our need; but He is a God who, after seeing our need, provides.  This name, Jehovah Jireh, is probably the most misunderstood and misused of all the names of God.  There are so called “faith teachers” who tell you to claim what you want and God, who is Jehovah Jireh, will give it to you.  God is not some puppet on a string. 

The man to whom Jehovah-Jireh is first revealed was a man who walked with God in integrity, in holiness, in obedience.  God does not reveal Himself to men because of some superficial whim of the moment.  We must be women and men of integrity, of holiness, of obedience.

  • Integrity – a firm belief and practice of moral incorruptibility.  In other words, you do not get down in the pig pen of life and wallow with the hogs.  Your word is true.  You are undefiled in your relationships with others.
  • Holiness – holy, upright and pure as God would have you to be.  Not some set of rules man would have you obey.  Not some dress code, etc. but Christ-like.
  • Obedience – putting into practice what the Word of God says to do. 

Genesis 22:7-14 – But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”  And he said, “Here I am, my son.”  Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”  And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.  Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.  But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”  So he said, “Here I am.”  And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”  Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.  And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

For three days Abraham, his only son, Isaac, and two servants had journeyed to the place where an offering was to be made.  Isaac was to be the sacrifice.  What do you think was going through Abraham’s mind?  He did not comprehend, but he trusted God’s provision. 

The answer is in verse 8 – My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.  This God Abraham spoke of was the El Elyon that had been revealed to him earlier.  El Elyon, the God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.  He was also the El Shaddai that had been revealed to him, the God All Powerful and All Sufficient.  He recognized now, finally in his old age, that this God who had revealed Himself over and over, again and again, was who He said He was.  This was his child of promise, the child long waited for.  He did not know how, he did not know when, but he believed God and obeyed Him without questioning.

  • How long does it take us to get to that point in our lives?
  • How many times do we have to go through the same exercise before we finally get the message God is God and He will provide?  He is the great Creator, Possessor of Heaven and Earth – El Elyon.  He is the All Powerful and the All Sufficient – El Shaddai.  He is the God who sees and the God who provides – Jehovah-Jireh.
  • When will we get that in our heart and mind?

Philippians 4:19 – And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

He did not say “all your wants.”  However,

Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

If you delight yourself in the Lord in obedience, in integrity and holiness, you are not going to ask for frivolous things.  God will delight also in you for your walk with Him and bless you as you live for Him.

The greatest thing about this story is that God, like Abraham, did not flinch at giving His only Son.  Jesus provided that example as the “lamb caught in the bush.”  Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins on the cross.  Just like this lamb took the place of Isaac, Jesus took our place.  He provided atonement.  He saw our need and He provided the remedy.

Test of Faith

James 2:19

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble.

What is true of biology is also true of faith:  If it is not growing, it’s probably dead.  If someone tells you, “I believe there is a God in heaven,” you can be sure that person is one of the following:

  • a Christian
  • a user of some devotional guide
  • an individual who attends church, or
  • none of the above. 

Pick an answer, and then let us look at a scripture in chapter 2.

James 2:19 – You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!

Do you tremble at the awesome power and presence of God when you are out of line according to the Scriptures?  Do you fall under conviction at the reading of certain verses of the Bible when you know you don’t measure up?

James speaks out strongly against a “faith of God” that merely professes with the lips without practicing with the life.  You might summarize his book this way:  “If you believe as you should, why do you behave as you shouldn’t?”  We might say, “Your actions speak louder than words”, or “put your money where your mouth is.”   True faith is more than words or even profession.  It is a vital walk that shows God has truly invaded your life.  If you have truly been changed, your life will demonstrate that change and it will show that change as it “breathes” in unmistakable ways.  And that raises a timely question….

Since you trusted Christ as your Savior, how has your lifestyle changed in the troublesome areas of some of the following categories?  You don’t need to raise your hand or say Amen to any of these areas of questionable actions: 

  • prejudice
  • profanity
  • gossip
  • argumentative
  • giving to God in time, talent and finances
  • planning for the future
  • accepting unpleasant circumstances?

What is that one area that, with God’s help, you will move from being a hearer to a doer of God’s Word?

James 1:22 – But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves

Taking both of these scriptures into account, what is James trying to tell us?  I believe that he is trying to say “If you call yourself a Christian or a child of God, then you ought to act like it.  You ought to speak like it.  You ought to think like it.  You ought to dress like it.”

Does the Bible not say?

Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Question:  James 2:19 states that demons tremble in the presence of Jesus. They did when He walked the face of this earth and they do when you invoke His mighty Name in prayer.  Did you know that when you are living an overcoming, consistent Christian life, you have the power to use the Name of Jesus in prayer and temptation must go?  Most who call themselves Christian, live shallow, inconsistent lives of continually falling into sins they seemingly have no control over.  The truth and answer to this dilemma is simply that they fail to obtain victory because they do not know the privilege of using the King of Glory’s Holy Name when they go to prayer.   Prayer is answered when you go to the Father in the Name of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit within you begins to His work.  

Just as a human body that fails to breathe is labeled a “dead body,” so too a faith that fails to “breathe” is labeled a “dead faith.”  And the breath of faith in the Christian life is good works: demonstrating concern for the poor, controlling the tongue, exhibiting a spirit of humility, building up others.  If you think you have faith but there is no living demonstration of that faith in your life, James has news for you:  Your faith is worthless. True faith and good works cannot be divorced, for your life is the laboratory in which your faith is shown to be real.

James 4:2-3 – You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

There may come a time in your life when you wonder why you are not growing in your faith.  Or you might wonder why you do not ever have the opportunity to lead others to Christ.  When you ask yourself these kinds of questions, you may be able to answer them with another question:  “Have I asked God to help me in this area?”

Understand that this passage does not advocate that you “demand” things from God as though He were some “cosmic butler” prepared to answer your every beck and call.  Yet it is equally wrong to fail to ask Him to help meet your needs.  God wants to bless your life and spiritually strengthen you.  God wants to bless you because you are His child.  Unfortunately, many of us fail to receive all of what God has for us because we do not pray. 

Take a moment to look at your own spiritual progress.  Do you want to have a better understanding of the Bible?  Are you looking for some Christian friends?  Do you want the Lord to show you what your spiritual gifts and talents are?  God wants to bless you, but He may be just waiting for your invitation to do so.

While you do not need to change your lifestyle before you come to Christ, once you do come to Christ, your lifestyle should show tangible changes.  If it does not, then one could doubt whether Christ has really come into your life.  The way you live, act, think, should reflect what you believe. 

Luke 3:8 – Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance…

James brings out another important reason for backing up our faith with our actions in the following passage. 

James 3:13-17 – Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.  For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

When people see that we genuinely care about them as individuals, then they will be much more open to hearing about what motivates us.  Can people see Jesus in the way you live?  If not, it is time to move Jesus into the “driver’s seat” of your life.

Names of God – (Jehovah Rohi) – The Lord is My Shepherd

Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jehovah Rohi – The Lord is My Shepherd

 Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

            He lifts me up when I get down,

            He restoreth my soul.

            He picks me up when I fall,

            He watches over me in times of stress,

He doesn’t say, “You are the weakest link – goodbye.”  He keeps following after us, drawing back into the straight and narrow.

I do not think I could relate to a fold of fleecy, white sheep who never face any troubles.  I would not know what to do if I were part of a flock where the sheep smiled all day long, showing off pearly white teeth.  I do not know if I could handle going to a church where nobody ever cried or experienced pain.  I would go crazy if I lived among people who were never sick, never in need, never tempted, never depressed, never downcast or discouraged.  If I were mixed in with that kind of flock, I would be a complete misfit, a black sheep.  And I would be miserable, because my life is not like that at all. 

We all have difficulties.  I get downcast at times.  I go through periods of discouragement.  I have experienced times of great confusion.  Do not misunderstand; I have God’s peace.  But I do not carry a Colgate grin everywhere I go.  Why?  I have been through the mill.  Often the trials of life do not make me happy.

I have been on mountaintops and down in the valleys.  I have been through times of testing, trial and sorrow.  On many occasions, God has had to come after me.  He has had to pick me up, bind up my wounds and give me a bath.

Where are you Lord?  David asked, in Psalm 43:2 – For You are the God of my strength; why do You cast me off?  Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?  This man could not help wondering why he faced such trouble from his enemies.  Yet David identified clearly what his trouble was – “This is an oppression of the enemy.”

Every time I set out to do something I believe will have an impact for eternity on people’s lives I can predict what is going to happen.  The devil is going to come in like a flood and seek to overwhelm me.

At other times, I experience great physical and mental oppressions for no apparent reason.  I believe this is just what David was going through when he wrote this verse.  He had been assailed by something unexplainable, some oppression of soul that had no clear origin.  He had no idea why it was happening.  That is why he asked God why he felt so cast off.  Something had overcome him, and he had no idea what to do about it.

Perhaps you have been through this.  You woke up one day with a cloud of depression hovering over you.  You had no idea where it came from, or why it fell upon you.  You thought, “I’ve never felt this down or condemned in my life.  Why is this happening to me now?  What’s going on?”  You examined your heart endlessly.  Yet you could not get to the bottom of what you were going through or why.

Every true follower of Jesus faces this ordeal.  David was a true man of God; yet he was unable to explain the sudden despair that flooded his soul.  It came upon him at a time when his soul was hungering deeply for the Lord.

David was well acquainted with oppression.  At various times, he had been physically wounded, diseased in body, broken in spirit, cast off of Israel’s throne, driven out of Jerusalem, scattered to the hills, lost.  He also was corrupted by grievous sins and powerful, overwhelming lusts.  At times David was forced to wander across the land, fleeing across valleys, hiking up hillsides and hiding in caves.

But David had a caring, loving shepherd.  Each time David was battered and wounded, Jehovah Rohi went after him, picked him up and carried him to a quiet place of rest.  Then the Lord made David lie down, so his soul could be restored.

God’s sheep are no different today.  Time after time, our shepherd comes after us, fetches us and takes us to a place of rest.  He continually makes us lie down for a time of healing and restoration.  Yet we so easily move away from the Lord’s rest.  We fail to realize that the Lord’s rest is like the food we nourish our bodies with daily; we cannot retain its value unless we keep coming back to the table.

Exodus 29:45 – And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.

The Hebrew word for “dwell” here is “shekinah,” meaning to abide or to settle down beside.  This word signifies not just a passing presence, but a permanent one, a presence that never leaves.  In short, the Shekinah glory of God is not a vanishing imprint that disappears from our hearts like invisible ink.  No, it is something God imprints permanently on our soul.  It is His very near and eternal presence.

This picture here is glorious.  Our shepherd offers to come to us in the midst of our pain and depressed condition, and to sit by our side.  He promises to bind up our wounds and strengthen the parts of us that have become sick and diseased.

That is the Shekinah glory of God; the abiding, everlasting presence of the Lord.  We often experience it when we are in the midst of trouble.  Our great shepherd tells us, “I want to restore you.  I’m going to do it by being present with you even in the valley and shadow of death.  My presence will be with you through everything the devil throws at you.  Even if you try to run from Me, I am going to chase after you.  When I catch you, I am going to take you in My arms and carry you back to My rest.  I will bind up your wounds and heal all your sicknesses.”

Scripture tells us the following about our one true shepherd.

  • Jesus states in John 10:14 – I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
  • Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:19 – Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, the Lord knows them that are His.  And, let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
  • Jesus declares in John 10:27-28 – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither any man pluck them out of My hand.

Simply put, our great shepherd knows who His sheep are.  David was familiar with this aspect of the Lord’s character because He had experienced it personally.  Throughout the Psalms we read:

  • Psalm 103:14 – For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
  • Psalm 44:21 – Shall not God search this out?  For He knows the secrets of the heart.
  • Psalm 94:11 – The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

David was saying in essence, “The Lord knows what I am really like, deep down.”  David realized that God knew his heart often strayed from His divine love and rest.  Yet even though David knew this, he fully understood that his shepherd still loved him.

By his own admission, David was a man whose iniquities piled up so high, they went over his head.  As he faced the long list of his trespasses, David said it became a burden too heavy for him to carry.

Psalm 38:3-4 – There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.  For mine iniquities are gone over mine head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

Do these sound like the words of a healthy, fleecy-white, strong, obedient sheep?  Hardly.  David continued:

Psalm 38:5-10 – My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness.  I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.  For my loins are full of inflammation; and there is no soundness in my flesh.  I am feeble and severely broken; I groaned because of the turmoil of my heart.  Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hid from You.  My heart pant, my strength fails me; as for the light of mine eyes, it also has gone from me.

This was obviously the cry of a troubled man.  As David acknowledged:

Psalm 69:5 – O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from You.

In Psalm 119, after writing 175 “spiritually correct” verses extolling God’s word and faithfulness, David concludes with this verse:

Psalm 119:176 – I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.

David is saying, in essence, “Please Lord, seek me out, the way a shepherd searches for a lost sheep.  In spite of all my biblical knowledge, I have strayed from Your love.  I have lost the sense of rest I once had in You.  All my plans have failed.  Now I realize I am totally helpless.  Come to me Father.  Seek me out in this awful, dry place.  I cannot find You on my own.  You must find me.  I still believe Your word is true.

You cry out:

Psalm 13:5-6 – But I have trust in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.  I will sing unto the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 3:4-6 – I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill.  Selah.  I laid me down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.  I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about.

Our great shepherd loves every sheep who has gone astray because of testings, trials, hurts and wounds.

Walk as Children of Light

Ephesians 5:8-10

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

Melody Shick, dressed as a rag doll with a teddy bear in her arms and a display of stuffed animals all about her, sat for 5 hours, 43 minutes setting a new record for the Guinness Book of Records.  Previous record was 5 hours, 32 minutes.  As this young lady sat motionless on a circular rotating display, numbers of people questioned whether she was a manikin or was real.  Imagine 5 hours, 43 minutes. 

Some church people have that record beat. The world is watching them.  They look like Christians should look.  They talk like Christians.  They even go to church, but there is no real fruit or evidence.  The world wonders, are they real or just a life-size replica of what a Christian is supposed to be.

  • Jesus has called us to be the light to the world.

Matthew 5:14-16 – You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Philippians 2:15-16 – that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

  • Jesus gave us the Great Commission

Mark 16:15 – Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 

Sharing the gospel requires us to be a witness.  What is a witness?

  1. A witness is one who knows something.  We cannot share what we do not know ourself.  That is why it is so important that we study God’s Word, that we experience ourself of His love and presence.

Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

2 Timothy 2:16-17 – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

  • A witness is one who is something.

Ephesians 5:1 – Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

Romans 12:1-2 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Colossians 3:1-6 – If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.

  • A witness is one who tells something.

Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

1 Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 – Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

The Christian Family

Ephesians 5:22-33 and 6:1-4

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”  And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

CHRISTIAN WIFE

  • Submits to her husband
  • Recognizes her husband’s position as the head of the family

Colossians 3:18 – “Wives, submit (“to stand under” – subordination) to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

1 Peter 3:1 – “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.” 

  • The term “head” does not mean that the man is more important to God than the woman.  It is not talking about worth; it is talking about function and order within an organization – the family. 
  • Submission is the divine order in a relationship.  Biblical submission must come voluntarily – out of love.  It cannot be demanded or required by one person to another. 
  • No where does the Bible place woman lower than men generically.  The spirit of submission is an act whereby a woman voluntarily acknowledges her husband’s leadership responsibility under God, and, as an act of faith, grants him that position of authority in the family.

CHRISTIAN HUSBAND

  • Husband loves his wife like Christ loved the church
  • Husband loves his wife as his own self
  • The standard for the husband’s love is to be that of Christ for the church.  Christ gave himself for the church.  This is the kind of love the husband is to have for his wife. 
  • These scriptures show how dependent the marriage is upon the love of the husband – how much effect his love has upon the marriage. 
  • Rare is the woman who would reject such love.  Rare is the woman who would refuse to walk hand in hand with the man who loved her like that. 
  • To nourish means to “feed, clothe, and look after.”  To cherish means to “treat with warmth, care, tenderness and appreciation.”

CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE – Joined together.  Greek proskollao means “to join fast together, to glue together, to cement together, to be joined in the closest union possible.” 

  • Physical union
  • Mental union
  • Spiritual union
  • Marriage, as God meant it to be, is a spiritual union that can be created by God alone.  It is more than two people agreeing to live together.  It is more than two people sharing a natural affection and attraction.  It is more than two people sharing the raising of children.  It is more than two people being bound by a legal contract.
  • Marriage, as God meant it to be, is a totally unique union unlike any other relationship.  Only as we allow God to be a part of our marriage can we find this spiritual union and truly know the love that Christ intended – the love that Christ has for His church.
  • The Christian home is to be lived in the very presence of the Lord.
  • The Christian home is to be governed by the Lord.  All decisions (where we live, where we work, how much we spend, how much we save, how we disciple the children, etc.) are to be made in light of the Lord and His will.
  • The Christian home is to have three partners:  the husband, the wife and Christ.

CHRISTIAN CHILDREN

  • Are to obey their parents (in the Lord)
  • Are to honor their parents
  • Children who are Christians should obey their parents because it pleases the Lord.  Of course, it will please their parents, but the emphasis is on the Lord.  Children should walk close to the Lord so that they desire to please and obey Him.  That includes obeying their parents. 
  • Children are to show respect and value their parents as precious. 

CHRISTIAN PARENTS

  • Are not to provoke their children
  • Recognize that things change.  Time and generations change.  Christian parents must learn to distinguish between what is unchangeable (the truth in God’s Word) and what changes from generation to generation.
  • Do not over control your child.  Stern restriction and harsh discipline will cause a child to rebel. 
  • Do not under control your child.  (This is the most common problem today.)  Giving in to your child, allowing them to be the boss will lead to problems.
  • Do not live an inconsistent life before your child.  “Practice what you preach.” 
  • Are to bring them up in the ways of the Lord
  • To Nurture  means “the whole training and education of children involving the cultivation of the mind and morals, correcting mistakes and curbing the passions.”
  • Admonition means “counsel, encouragement, correction.” 
  • A child who is brought up Biblically:
  • Learns love.  He is loved by God and can love others.
  • Learns power and triumph.  God will help him.  There is a power he can turn to even when Mom and Dad cannot help.
  • Learns hope and faith.  No matter what life brings, God will see him through.  God has prepared a very special place for him in heaven.
  • Learns to serve.  God has given him the privilege of serving others for God. 
  • Learns trust and endurance.  Life is full of temptations and pitfalls that can destroy us and rob us of joy and peace.  The way to escape those temptations is to trust in God and to take the strength He offers to say “No to sin and yes to God.”
  • Learns peace.  Regardless of what is going on in the world around him, he knows God is there and God will be with him no matter what.

A Life Changing Prayer

(The Prayer of Paul and Timothy for the church of Colosse)

(All Scripture is from The Amplified Bible)

The Prayer

Colossians 1:9-14 – For this reason, since the day we heard about it, we have not stopped praying for you, asking [specifically] that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [with insight into His purposes], and in understanding [of spiritual things], so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord [displaying admirable character, moral courage, and personal integrity], to [fully] please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing in the knowledge of God [with deeper faith, clearer insight and fervent love for His precepts]; [we pray that you may be] strengthened and invigorated with all power, according to His glorious might, to attain every kind of endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints (God’s people) in the Light.

For He has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption [because of His sacrifice, resulting in] the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sins’ penalty].

James 5:15 – “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”   

  • Asking – you have to ask

James 4:2 – “You do not have because you do not ask.”   

1 John 5:14 – “And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.”   

  • What is God’s will?
  • God’s Word is His will

1 John 5:15 And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.”   

  • That you may be filled

Colossians 1:9 – “that you may be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things.”  

  • You need to know your Father

Matthew 6:33 – “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” Amplified Version                

  • You need to know God’s way of doing things

2 Chronicles 15:2 – “the Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him, craving Him as your soul’s first necessity], He will be found by you.”  

Proverbs 8:17 – “I love those who love me, and those who seek me early and diligently shall find me.” 

Jeremiah 29:11-13 – “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.  Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”  

  • How do you get to know someone?
  • Spending time with God
  • Prayer is a dialogue – not a monologue
  • This is not your home
  • Kingdom Principles (Laws)
  • You are an ambassador (a representative) of Jesus
  • That you may walk

Colossians 1: 10 – That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition].

  • You have to pray it out
  • You have to walk it out
  • It is a walk – one step at a time
  • Start right where you are
  • That you may be “invigorated”

Colossians 1:11 – “[We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy.”

  • You may not feel like it
  • It hurts the flesh
  • Do it because it is the right thing to do
  • Do it because you love Jesus
  • Call those things which are not as though they are (Romans 4:19)
  • Do not allow others to speak the contrary over you
  • Giving thanks for the Father

Colossians 1:12 – “Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God’s holy people) in the Light.”

  • Satan is a liar

Colossians 1:13-14 – “[The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in Whom we have our redemption through His blood, [which means] the forgiveness of our sins.”

Colossians 2:15 – “[God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].”

  • Remember who you are
  • The son or daughter of the Great and Almighty God Jehovah
  • You sit in heavenly places
  • Remind Satan of who he is not
  • He wants to take your anointing
  • You do not have to live in his kingdom
  • You do not have to be in bondage to his laws and rules
  • This is God’s Will for You
  • Start right where you are
  • Pray this prayer daily
  • Speak the Word out loud
  • Believe for these things to be manifested in your life
  • Receive them.  They belong to you
  • Listen for the Holy Spirit to begin speaking to you
  • EXPECT THE GLORY!

God, I ask that I may be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom (in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of You) and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things.  That I may walk (live and conduct myself) in a manner worthy of God, fully pleasing to You and desiring to please You in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of You (with fuller, deeper and clearer insight, acquaintance and recognition.)  I pray that I may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of Your glory, (to exercise) every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy, giving you thanks Father, for You have qualified and made me fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (Your holy people) in the Light.  Father, You have delivered and drawn me to Yourself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and have transferred me into the kingdom of the Son of Your love, Jesus, My Lord and Savior, in Whom I have my redemption through His blood, (which means) the forgiveness of my sins.

The Good Fight

1 Timothy 6:11-14

But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christ like), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.  Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.  In the presence of God, Who preserves alive all living things, and of Christ Jesus, Who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I [solemnly] charge you  to keep all His precepts unsullied and flawless, irreproachable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Anointed One), (The Amplified Bible)

  • Flee from all these things “O man of God” – talking to the church
  • Pride
  • Conceit
  • Controversy
  • Disputes
  • Strife
  • Envy
  • Jealousy
  • Quarrels
  • Dissension
  • Abuse
  • Insults
  • Slander
  • Suspicions
  • Wrangling
  • Weary discussion
  • Perpetual friction
  • Greed

Galatians 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:16 – I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

  • Aim at – pursue – strive toward – grasp with all your might
  • Right standing with God
  • True goodness
  • Godliness (the loving fear of God and being Christ like)
  • Faith
  • Love
  • Steadfastness (patience)
  • Gentleness of heart
  • Fight the good fight of faith (spiritual warfare)
  • Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned (called)
  • Lay hold of the eternal life to which you have made a good confession (declared openly that Christ is your Lord and Master
  • I urge you – implore you – give it all you have got
  • Keep your commitment to God
  • Without spot
  • Blameless
  • How do we accomplish all this?  Through the power of prayers and fasting

1 Timothy 2:1-2 – Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Hope in the Storm

I recently painted a picture of a rainbow. To me the rainbow is a reminder of God’s promise to Noah after the flood recorded in Genesis.

Hope in the Storm

When I see a rainbow in the sky, I think of the hope we have in Jesus Christ – even in times of difficulty.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Psalm 46:1

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

As I have learned of family/friends/acquaintances that are going through a difficult time – (death of a loved one, serious illness, loss of job) I have painted a smaller version of this painting and sent to them. It has been a joy to me to hear that these paintings have encouraged them.

As a retired minister my opportunities to serve the Lord have changed. I no longer speak in a pulpit, pastor a church or do evangelistic speaking, but I am thankful that God has opened another door for me to still help others.

I agree with the Psalmist who wrote:

O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
    and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
Now that I am old and gray,
    do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
    your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

The New Man

Ephesians 4:17-24

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.  That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

THE NEW MAN WALK

  • The Way Not to Walk as a New Believer.
  • Do not walk as a follower of men or women of the world.  In this passage of Scripture we see the non-believer referred to as a Gentile.  This is a carry over from the Jewish thinking into the Christian thinking.  To the Jew anyone who was not a Jew was a heathen.  Gentiles were therefore classified as heathen.
  • The Ephesians were all gentiles by birth and this passage is a bold declaration but it is not obvious to most.  In the original texts the word “other” Gentiles or the “rest” of the Gentiles is not there.  It simply says. “Do not walk as Gentiles.”  Paul was saying as a Christian you are no longer a gentile or, as he was a Jew, he was no longer a Jew but that they and he alike were Christians.  They no longer walked like they used to.  Galatians 3:28 tells us “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
  • The Way to Walk as a New Believer.
  • As a new believer, you are a new creation, having been born again.  (John 3:1-8)  You are part of a new body, the body of Christ.  As a part of that body, the body of Christ, you must not allow, you cannot allow your body to be involved in any activity or thinking that would             defile the body of Christ.  Romans 6:1-2 states, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!  How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

I Peter 2:5,  “You also as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  

  • As a holy priest in the household of faith we ought to be holy.  We ought to be honest.  We ought to be believers with integrity.  We ought to be trustworthy.  We ought to treat others in an open and fair manner.  We ought to offer up our lives as a daily spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God.  If we have to ask whether or not we should do something, or rather or not we should involve ourselves in an activity or conversation; if we have a question in our own mind, then it probably is not acceptable to God.  Therefore leave it alone.  Let it be.  Don’t contaminate your life with it and since you are a part of the body of Christ do not in any manner contaminate the body of Christ.
  • The new believer is to put off the old man, to be renewed in the spirit of his mind, and to put on the new man. Note that there is both a taking off and a putting on.  This is more than just turning over a new leaf or making a New Year resolution.  Our very minds (our way of thinking) is to be changed.  We can only do this when we turn to Christ and allow His Word, His Spirit to fill our own spirit.  

THE OLD MAN WALK

  • The old man, or the unbeliever, walks in the vanity of his mind.  The mind includes the ability “to will” and “to do the truth” as well as “to know the truth”.  Jesus said “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  The mind has the ability to reason and understand.  This seventeenth verse says that the unbeliever (Gentile) walks in the vanity (or in vain) of their mind.  This simply means that the unbeliever walks empty minded, futile, senseless, aimless, unsuccessful, and worthless.      This does not sound like anybody having an enjoyable life.  Their minds are void and empty of God and of His truth and morality.  God is not in their thoughts.  Their minds are ready to be filled with some other god or supremacy, that is, with the things of the world:  worldly pleasures, worldly possessions, worldly power, worldly position, worldly religions, worldly ideas, worldly honor, and worldly gods. 

Gen. 6:5 – “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Psalm 10:4 – “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

Psalm 94:11 – The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile.”

 Proverbs 15:26 – The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, but the words of the pure are pleasant.”

  • The mind of man, the unbeliever, walks after these things, neglecting, ignoring and rejecting God.  The believer must never return to the walk of an empty mind; he must never allow his mind to become empty of God.  Unbelievers walk with their understanding darkened.  They are blind to the things of God. 

Psalm 82:5 – “They do not know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are unstable.”

Proverbs 4:19 – “The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”

Acts 28:27 – “For the hearts of this people have grown dull.  Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.”

  • Unbelievers walk alienated from the life of God.  They are spiritually dead.  They are doomed to eternal death.  They are alienated, estranged, separated, detached, cut off from God. 

Matthew. 15:8 – “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”

John 3:18-19 – “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

  • Unbelievers can reach a point in life where they no longer have feelings for God and His standard of morality.  They become callous, insensible, hardened.  The more an unbeliever walks in this manner, the more callous his conscience becomes to righteousness.  Sin becomes more and more acceptable.  The person’s conscience no longer bothers him.  He reaches a point where he is past feeling.