Archive for the ‘Righteousness’ Category


Quit hanging on to the handrails . . . Let go. Surrender. Go for the ride of your life. Do it every day. (Melody Beattie, “Finding Your Way Home”)

Sometimes it is great fun to go for the ride of your life, such as skydiving, bungee-jumping or zip-lining. The thrill is exhilarating. There is a ride that is much more important, much more exhilarating, but much too frightening for most. It is the RIDE FOR YOUR LIFE! Your very life depends upon it. It is the Gospel ride, the ride that depends entirely on an invisible Savior. Let’s discover the Gospel and see that it truly is the “RIDE FOR YOUR LIFE.”

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

Matthew – the Gospel of the Kingdom. (Matthew 4:23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.)

 Mark – the Gospel of God. (Mark 1:14-15 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”)

 Luke – the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Luke 8:1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him,

 Philip – the Good News of the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus. Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

 Peter – the Good News of Peace through Jesus Christ.  Acts 10:36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)

 Paul – the Gospel of the Grace of God.  Acts 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

The Gospel – Good News that Brings a Reward

Gospel: εὐαγγέλιον, (euangelion) originally denoted a reward for good tidings; later, the idea of reward dropped, and the word stood for “the good news” itself.(1)

2 Samuel 18:19-22 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run and carry news to the king that the LORD has delivered him from the hand of his enemies.” And Joab said to him, “You are not to carry news today. You may carry news another day, but today you shall carry no news, because the king’s son is dead.” Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?

The Gospel is the good news (+ )!The Plus is the Reward of Life with God!
God promises this reward. In fact, we must believe in His reward if we are to please God!

  • Heb 11:6 – You must believe that God is a rewarder of those that earnestly seek Him
  • Heb 12:1 – Jesus endured the shame and suffering of the cross for the reward (joy) that was set before Him

PAUL EXPLAINS THE GOSPEL

1 Corinthians 15:1-6 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

A. The SCOPE of the Gospel

1. The Plan 1 Corinthians 15:3 … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (mentioned twice).

2. Event in History 1 Corinthians 15:4-6 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…

3. Achievement (between the Father and the Son) Philippians 2:8-11 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

4. Free Offer Romans 3:21-26 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

5. Application of the Achievement by Faith (forgiveness, justification, life). Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Romans 5:17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

The application is not the end. Forgiveness and freedom from guilt is great, but God’s purpose does not end with our being born again. The Gospel is given simply for us, it is given to accomplish the Purpose and Pleasure of God. THE GOSPEL …

6. Brings us to God 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, Ephesians 2:12-13 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Finally, the Gospel accomplishes what God is all about…

7. Accomplishes the Purpose and Pleasure of God Ephesians 1:9-10 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him…

B. The SIGHT of the Gospel

The Gospel Achieves the Purpose and Pleasure of God

Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

  1.  God Exercises [ʿāśāh] – “conveys the central notion of performing an activity with a distinct purpose, a moral obligation, or a goal in view”(2)
  2. God Delights [ āp a ]: to incline to; figurative to be pleased with, desire(3); A verb meaning to delight in, to have pleasure, to have favor, to be pleased(4)

The Gospel Accomplishes the Purpose and Pleasure of God.

We see this in 1 COR 15:1: “the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved…”

  • You receive the unfailing love of God (hesed)
  • You stand in the Justice of God secured on the Cross (mishpat)
  • You are continually being saved through the Righteousness of Christ (tsedaqah)

(For definition of hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah and an understanding of their importance in discipleship…)

David made a decision to seek the Heart of God. In His seeking he discovered the ways of God, that those ways are always working to accomplish hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah. David grew as a man of God when he reacted the right way to what God was trying to accomplish in his life. God worked in David’s life these three things: hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah.

C. The SUCCESS of the Gospel

Provides the Vehicle and the Highway

It is important that we see the Gospel as a driving force in our life. The Gospel is much more than a story that you believe in when you are a child and then forget about when you are older. The Gospel is the driving purpose and pleasure of God that is to be with us at Work, at Rest, at family gatherings, at the movies, at the restaurant, when we are dealing with pressures, dealing with physical problems. The Gospel is to be on our minds and in our hearts! The Gospel is the core belief of a child of God. It is the Vehicle that God has provided for us to bring peace, hope, faith, love, justice, righteousness and grace. It is the vehicle that will bring us to Him!

1.  The Gospel is the Death Burial & Resurrection (Vehicle)

a) Christ’s Death proved the Power of God’s Love over our Sin
b) Christ’s Burial proved the Power of God’s Justice over the Flesh
c) Christ’s Resurrection proved the Power of God’s Righteousness over the World

The Gospel Unites Us With God Himself

Not only is the Gospel the vehicle that we are to ride in, it provides the way, the roadway, the highway for our journey.

2. The Gospel is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Highway)

a) The Way to hesed (God’s Steadfast Love)
b) The Truth of mishpat (God’s Justice)
c) The Life of tsedaqah (God’s Righteousness)

The Gospel Unites Us With the Heart Of God - It is according to His Purpose & Pleasure

THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO GOD

Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. To know the way we have to by faith receive the mercy and unfailing love of Jesus Christ. Then we stand in the Truth of Jesus Words, the mishpat. Then we have Life as we abide in the Righteousness (tsedaqah) of Jesus Christ.

So the Elements of Discipleship which we found operating in David as he sought after the Heart of God are here in the Gospel.

3. The Gospel Lights the Way

a) The Gospel is the Lamp shining in a dark place. It that shines in your heart… 2 Peter 1:19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,

b) The Gospel is the Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ… 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

4. The Gospel Reaches the Destination – the Heart of God is revealed and made available to us in the Gospel.

The Gospel accomplishes the Purpose and Pleasure of God, and therefore is the means of developing us into Disciples of Jesus Christ. This is the basis for Gospel Driven Discipleship.

Gospel driven discipleship realizes the Power of the Gospel to transform our lives, and propel us to the Heart of God. Gospel Driven Discipleship realizes that Discipleship is not about your own abilities or efforts, but it is about relying on the Power of Jesus Christ! You must be willing to give up everything or the Gospel will have no power in your life! It will cause the car to slow down and lose power, even stall out.

POP THE HOOD – TAKE A LOOK AT THE ENGINE of the GOSPEL!

My brother Mike bought a Mercedes that cost $197,000. He took me for a ride, but I said it didn’t seem that much better than my Mercedes that cost $60,000. But all he had to do was push the accelerator down. That car literally took off like a rocket. Not a hurky jerky rocket, but a smooth take your breath away rocket. The engine was a V12 that could rocket to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. With his car, the engine was the star! And so it is with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lets pop the hood and see what drives the Gospel.

I Corinthians 15: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

A. The Love of the Gospel is Incomprehensible

Christ died for our Sins…Mercy and Love Incomprehensible. The Gospel is the visible expression of the unfailing love and mercy of Holy God for sinful man. God literally died and experienced the wrath of hell that we deserved because of our sin and disobedience. His love drove Him to pursue us by going to the cross, humbling himself to a horrible death, and drinking the wrath of God against sin.

While Jesus pleased His Father, and satisfied the demands of His justice and righteousness, we must receive this love by faith. We must humble ourselves before God and confess our sin and disobedience. We must need the salvation Jesus has provided. We must accept this gift as the perfect and total sacrifice for our sins. There cannot be one iota of dependence upon self for salvation. It is either all of Christ or it has no power to Bring us to God!

As Paul writes, we receive this loving gift bought with the Holy blood of God’s Son. His love is what we rest upon. There is no looking over your shoulder, no wondering why He is doing this to you, no thinking you have to do something to make Him love you. His love comes from the strength of His Name and His character. It does not depend upon how lovely you are. His love is steadfast, strong, unfailing, based upon His death for you. His love is incomprehensible. His desire is to bring you to Him. His desire is to live in your everyday life.
When the Light of the Gospel applies the Mercy of God to our heart, we are born again. Then the Word of God is applied to our soul and our lives are justified before God. We are made right with God through the application of His justice. Then daily we must lean entirely upon the Word of God for our righteousness, for our victory over this world. It can never be anything of our flesh, or it was belief (eike) without purpose. It was in vain.

Counterfeit Salvation is dependent upon self, upon the strength of your will and your flesh. It is false salvation based upon your interests and concerns. It is a false hope that somehow you can please God enough to allow you into His heaven. It is a belief that sets its eyes on yourself, and not on the Purpose and Pleasure of God alone. That belief is counterfeit, it is vanity and you will spend eternity in Hell. That is the belief that is in vain that Paul talks about.

B. The Truth of the Gospel is Impenetrable

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

  • Jesus acted according to the Truth of God’s Word.
  • Jesus died for our sins-the visible expression of the hesed of God.
  • Jesus body was buried-the justice of God was applied to this world through the broken body of His Son.

His body was anointed before His death… Mark 14:8-9 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

We often ignore the burial, and jump to the resurrection. But the burial was dealing with the body, with this flesh. Sin had corrupted this world, our flesh, and Jesus needed to bring Justice to this corrupt world. He had to make it right so that God could once again say “it is good!” The preparation and burial of His body was significant in that it represented the application of mishpat to this world.

God’s Word is triumphant over this flesh-power over sin, over addiction, over disease!

  • The Truth of the Gospel has application for every area of our lives.

Jesus rose again in victory over sin and Satan and the grave. That victory can be experienced by us each and every day of our lives. That victory came because of His righteousness. His righteousness can be ours. His victory can be ours!

C. The Victory of the Gospel is Inexplicable

that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

His righteousness is ours because of the Victory of the Gospel. All it takes is seeing Jesus for who He really is, our Savior, our Lord, our God!

  • The Gospel transformed a cowardly fisherman into a mighty voice for God.
  • The Gospel transformed a cheating tax collector into a mighty witness to those he had cheated.
  • The Gospel transformed a hateful murderer into a witness before Kings.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so powerful, that to know and experience the Gospel, all you must do is see and recognize Jesus as the Christ for who He truly is.

You can know all the verses we talked about today. You can go to church, you can give money. You may have been raised in a Christian home. You may have done tremendous things on His behalf. The question is this: Has Jesus appeared to you? Has the Light of the Gospel shone in your heart? Has the light of the Gospel shone you your sin, your disobedience. Has the light of the Gospel shown you the steadfast love of God?

THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL HAS POWER TO TRANSFORM

Charles Bradlaugh, a famous Atheist and contemporary with Charles Darwin, once challenged the Rev. H.P. Hughes to a debate. The preacher, who was head of a rescue mission in London, England, accepted the challenge with the condition that he could bring with him 100 men and women who would tell what had happened in their lives since trusting Christ as their Savior. They would be people who once lived in deep sin, some having come from poverty-stricken homes caused by the vices of their parents. Hughes said they would not only tell of their conversion, but would submit to cross-examination by any who doubted their stories. Furthermore, the minister invited his opponent to bring a group of non-believers who could tell how they were helped by their lack of faith. When the appointed day arrived, the preacher came, accompanied by 100 transformed persons. But Bradlaugh never showed up. The result? The meeting turned into a testimony time and many sinners who had gathered to hear the scheduled debate were converted.

I love this Quote about the Gospel:

A.B. Simpson is reported to have said that the gospel “Tells rebellious men that God is reconciled, that justice is satisfied, that sin has been atoned for, that the judgment of the guilty may be revoked, the condemnation of the sinner cancelled, the curse of the Law blotted out, the gates of hell closed, the portals of heaven opened wide, the power of sin subdued, the guilty conscience healed, the broken heart comforted, the sorrow and misery of the Fall undone. (5)

Will you let the Light shine in your life?

A couple who took their son, 11, and daughter, 7, to Carlsbad Caverns. As always, when the tour reached the deepest point in the cavern, the guide turned off all the lights to dramatize how completely dark and silent it is below the earth’s surface. The little girl, suddenly enveloped in utter darkness, was frightened and began to cry. Immediately was heard the voice of her brother: “Don’t cry. Somebody here knows how to turn on the lights.”(6)

In a real sense, that is the message of the gospel: light is available, even when darkness seems overwhelming. Everyday God shines the Light of the Gospel upon your life. The light is on, but you will not see it if your focus is upon yourself. Focus upon Jesus Christ. You can say yes to the light this very day. If you have backslidden away from the light you can get back to God by simply getting in the car and clinging to the wonderful power of the Gospel. What are your sights set upon.

What are you counting on for success in your life? What are you counting on to take you to God?

(1) William E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1940), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Gospel”.
(2) Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “ʿāśāh“.
(3) James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “2654″.
(4) Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 364.
(5) M. Cocoris, Evangelism, A Biblical Approach, Moody, 1984, p. 29
(6) Bob Woods, Pulpit Digest

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My dad was not always a godly man. It wasn’t until his early 30’s that he started going to church. My mom was the ‘religious’ one. Even when we switched churches when I was 14, his religion was more of a Sunday thing. Our Christmases were as secular as the next door heathen families.

When I was planning for college, Dad seemed to change. He wasn’t religious anymore. God wasn’t a Sunday thing anymore. All of a sudden, it was Jesus Christ. All of a sudden everything he did was all about Jesus. Jesus owned everything he had. Christmas was about Jesus Christ. I liked it, because Jesus had become real to me as well. I was going off to Bible College. It was as I was getting ready to leave that he came to me and with tears in his eyes (my Dad never cried) he said that God was giving him a second chance. In fact that became one of my Dad’s favorite sayings, that God is the God of second chances. Anyway, he asked me to forgive him for not being a good father to me.

Holding Benjamin

Just 3 ½  years after that, I fould myself with a one month old baby boy, back at home celebrating Christmas with my family and my 18 year old wife, Lydia.

That Christmas morning was overwhelming, as my Dad read the Christmas story by candlelight. Here I was, a new daddy, holding my baby boy as my Dad read the story of Mary and Joseph becoming new parents. So let’s join my Dad as he and Mom listen in as I now read the Christmas story with you.

Luke 2:1-38 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Most people stop the Christmas Story here, but Dad kept on reading…

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

As Dad read the part of Simeon holding the baby Jesus and proclaiming Jesus is the light of revelation to the Gentiles, I understand that Jesus had revealed that light to my Dad, and now my Dad wanted me to see that light, so that I could be a good father to my son, Benjamin. The greatest gift I ever received from my Dad is the light of the reality of Jesus Christ. That light burns in my heart and life today 37 years later, and it burns in the heart and life of the son I held in my arms that morning.

Did I make mistakes? Too many to count! Has the light always burnt brightly in my life? No! But the Light was always there drawing me into His presence. Is my family perfect? No, but the Light of Christ is at work in my family, and I pray He is at work in yours.

I only remember a few of the gifts my parents gave me. But I will always remember the gift my Dad gave me that Christmas, the Light of Christ from his life to mine, to guide me as I fathered my children. He had passed that light to me, and now I am passing it on to my children and grandchildren.

When the magi visited the infant Jesus, they presented gifts to Him, treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The amazing thing about those gifts, is that this morning, Jesus is re-giving them to you and me. That’s right, the greatest gifts you will ever receive at Christmas, are not sitting under a tree, but they are here, in this Bible and they come from Jesus Christ.

Matthew 2:10-12 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

I know in American culture it is customary for us to give gifts to the one whose birthday we are celebrating. But in may cultures (Asian, Burmese), if it is your birthday, it is a day for you to serve or buy a meal or give gifts. The more you serve and give the better your next year will be. Jesus is going to have a great year next year, because He is giving us some amazing gifts.

Let’s open OUR presents from Jesus this morning.

Gold

The first gift that Jesus gives us is gold, pure gold. Pure Gold represents the pure unfailing Love that Jesus loves us with. Gold is a good representative if Christ’s Love, because Gold is almost impossible to destroy. It is impervious to most acids. Gold is very dense and heavy, a massively solid material. Just a 3 x 3 cube would weigh over 36000 pounds. Yet as solid and dense as Gold is, it can be stretched and used to cover anything. It can be beat on thousands of times until it is microscopicly thin, yet it is still Gold. Paul prayed that we would know the height and depth and length and breadth of the Love of Christ. His love is so solid that it can dash any problem, so yielding that it can take any thing we can throw at it, so flexible that it can cover any sin we could ever commit. His love is never failing.

This Gold was in the Garden of Eden, in the land of Havilah, and the river Pishon flowed around it. Pishon means spreading, and is a picture of the Holy Spirit taking the Love of God and spreading it throughout the world.

Havila means stretch of sand. Abram in Genesis 13:2 was described as being rich in gold.  God promised him a house with descendants as numerous as the grains of sand. Certainly the unfailing love of God extended to every descendant of Abraham. The Love of Christ knows no limits. It knows no boundaries. The love of Christ seeks every sinner, no matter how great their sins. The love of Christ, symbolized by the gold, comes from the ‘hesed’ of God, the mercy of God. When God instructed Moses in how to build the Tabernacle, as God’s House on the earth, he told him to construct the innermost room covered in Gold. This room, the Holy of Holies, is where the High Priest would offer the sacrifice as atonement for the sins of all of the Jews. The ark was covered in gold, which formed the “mercy Seat” Here the offering would be presented before Holy God in utter darkness. Everything in the room was covered in gold, picturing the mercy and love of God. God would see the sacrifice, and His love and mercy would flow upon the Jewish people. The reason His love and merices could flow is because God knew one day, His only begotten Son would hang upon the cursed cross on Mt Golgotha, and there, Jesus would demonstrate His unfailing love for all the sinners of the race of Adam, as He would become their sacrifice, and take upon Himself all their ghastly and dastardly sins. There on Mt Golgotha, the golden love of God was poured out upon the sands of mankind, as His Son satisfied the Holy demands of God’s Eternal Law!

The veil before the Holy of Holies was forever rent in to, from top to bottom, showing the world that God’s unfailing love was now upon the world, because of the forever sacrifice of His Son.

God’s Holy Spirit calls whosoever will to come to the Cross of Salvation, and humble yourself before this unfailing Love, pictured by the purest of Gold! Only at the cross can you receive this gift of forgiveness, right standing and Hope of eternal Life in Jesus Christ.

The spirit of Babylon has corrupted this gold. Indeed, many choose the gold itself instead of the love and forgiveness it represents. One day, Babylon will fall…Jesus Christ who reigns in Heaven above, is clothed in a golden sash across His heart. He will judge the world on the basis of His pure Love. Anyone not found in His heart, anyone not found in His Golden Love becasueof their rejection of Him, will live for all eternity without His Love, in a place where there is no love! They have followed the spirit of Babylon, which decieves with a false gold, a false love:

Revelation 17:4-6 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”

This Golden Gift of Christ is Salvation, the New Birth, the True Wealth that only God gives to those who have Faith to Trust Him!

All those who receive the Golden Gift of Christs Love will one day walk in a city whose very streets are pure gold. We will forever walk held up by the unfailing Love of Jesus Christ

Glory to God in the Highest! God’s Hesed is everlasting!

Frankincense

The next gift that Jesus gives us is  Frankincense. Frankincense is tapped from the scraggy Boswellia tree by slashing the bark, which is called striping, and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. Frankincense trees have the ability to grow in extremely harsh environments. They can even grow directly out of solid rock. How they can do this is still unknown, but the Boswellia trees that grow on rock develop a swollen disk like trunk which prevents it from being torn away from the rock during violent storms. The tears from the trees which grow on solid rock are considered superior for their more fragrant aroma.[1].

  • Frankincense comes from the Hebrew levonah, meaning “white”.[2]

Frankincense was the main ingredient in the holy incense used in the Tabernacle and Temple Worship of Jehovah.

The altar of incense was made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It was situated in the Holy Place near the curtain before the Most Holy Place. The high priest burned incense when he tended the lamps (Exodus 30:1-9).

Once per year, on The Day Of Atonement, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and burn incense there before The Ark Of The Covenant.

Frankincense was used in the grain offering (Leviticus 2:1, 2:16, 6:15, 24:7), but was strictly excluded from the sin offering (Leviticus 5:11)

Incense was used to symbolize or accompany prayer (Psalm 141:2, Luke 1:10, Revelation 5:8, 8:3).

Jesus is our High Priest, ever living to offer prayers on our behalf.

Every morning and evening the sacred incense was burned. (Ex 30:7, 8; 2Ch 13:11) Once a year on the Day of Atonement coals from the altar were taken in a censer, or fire holder, together with two handfuls of incense, into the Holy of Holies, where the incense was made to smoke before the mercy seat of the ark of the testimony. (Leviticus 16:12, 13.)

Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 7:24-25 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Through His Intercession, Jesus secured our Justification!

Jesus gives us the gift of His Justice, secured by His stripes, His blood, and His tears. He is interceding daily for us before His Father. His prayers are being offered even now for us, that we would honor God’s House, that we would continue His work and build a House that honors God!

Through the Frankincense of Christ, our sins, though they be a scarlet, are “white” as snow.

“‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool’” (Isaiah 1:18).

and being made white as snow, we are brought into God’s House of Justice. Frankincense is never used in the sin offering, for Frankincense is the Holiness of God’s Justice, secured by the blood of Jesus Christ. For by His stripes we are healed.

This incense was placed upon the golden Altar of Incense by the High Priest to be burned before the Lord. It was to be a sweet odor unto the Lord. Through Jesus the stench of our sinful life is converted into a  beautiful fragrance before God.

Myrrh

Myrrh is harvested from the Commiphora myrrha tree in a process similar to frankincense. The myrrh is the hardened resin produced from the taps of the bark. Myrrh means “bitterness”. It was used in perfumes, but most of all it was used to embalm the dead. It also had a numbing effect so was used as an antiseptic and pain killer.  A cousin tree  produced the famous “Balm of Gilead”.

Myrrh gum is commonly harvested from the species Commiphora myrrha, which is native to Yemen, Somalia, and eastern Ethiopia. The related Commiphora gileadensis, native to Eastern Mediterranean and particularly the Arabian Peninsula,is the biblically referenced Balm of Gilead.[3]

Myrrh is much different from the valuable gold and frankincense gifts. Myrrh symbolizes suffering, trials, tribulations, and afflictions. The church of Smyrna is known as the “Suffering Church”. The name “Smyrna” comes from myrrh. Suffering and persecution is something that Jesus experienced from the beginning of His life, from the flight into Egypt to avoid the wrath of King Herod, to the end of His life, to His wrongful crucifixion. In fact we are told that suffering was such an integral of Jesus’ life that, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

Jesus never escaped the myrrh, the persecutions, throughout His entire life. No one has suffered more unjustly than He. And just as He was given the gift of myrrh by Wise Men, so we too, along with the gift of gold (salvation), and the gift of frankincense (holiness), are to receive the gift of myrrh (suffering) from the hand of the Lord, the wisest of men. It is not done to destroy us, but to teach us obedience. Suffering, trials, tribulations, persecutions are a natural part of this life. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11)

The sufferings of Jesus produced Righteousness for all who come to Him. Indeed, we cease from sin as we suffer with Him.

Of these three gifts, only myrrh is mentioned at the beginning and end of Jesus’ life.

“Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews” (John 19:39-40).

Gold – symbolizing the (hesed) unfailing love of God which leads to our being born again, is a one time gift.

Frankincense – symbolizing the (mishpat) justice of God applied to our life-our justification-is given to us all at once when we are born again.

But myrrh – symbolizing (tsedeqah) righteousness, must be experienced all our life. Our righteousness is in Christ, but only as we learn to die to sin and to Satan and to the flesh, and that will be a life-long journey.

As we experience the myrrh of life, we will have the gold of His unfailing love sustaining us, and the frankincense of His intercessory prayers encouraging us.

The end result is that we step forth clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ for all eternity! We walk forever on streets of the Golden Love of God, forever in His House, living and developing as His children!

These three gifts that we have unwrapped this morning are Christ’s forever gifts! But just as He has re-gifted them to us, so we should re-gift them to others!


[2] Klein, Ernest, A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language for Readers of English, The University of Haifa, Carta, Jerusalem, p.292


I am not against dogs. I love dogs. My only use of ‘dog’ when it comes to “Doeg” is for ease of remembering and to gain an understanding of how David felt as he realized he was now a wanted man, being pursued by “Doeg’s”. Everyone who desires to be a Disciple of Jesus Christ, must realize there are “Doeg’s” that will work to cause us to stumble from the “way of a disciple”. David encountered Doeg in 1 Samuel 21. Let’s see what lessons on Discipleship can we learn.

The very first lesson God taught fleeing David took place at Nob. He had an encounter with a ‘Dog’ (Doeg). (This is not to condemn “Dog the Bounty Hunter“). He is a just a scary looking “Dog” and he pursues relentlessly.

After David left Jonathan at Gibeah, he fled to Nob, the place of the Tabernacle, the city of Priests. Thus began his ‘life as a fugitive’ from Saul, a period of ten years during which he was ‘public enemy number one’ in all of Israel! (1 Sam 21:1-29:11).

God used this time of forced exile to develop David into the Disciple worthy of the Kingdom, in fact, a Disciple worthy of leading the Kingdom. God wanted David to face various tests of his faith, trust and hope. God wanted David to lay the foundation of a Kingdom that one day His very Son would rule over. So that foundation must not be in anything of man, or man’s working. The Foundation of the Kingdom of Christ must be in His Justice and His Righteousness. Therefore David had lessons that God wanted him to learn, lessons that would develop David into the Disciple worthy of establishing the Kingdom of His Son!

The Psalms that David wrote during these 10 years offer insight into David’s Discipleship. While it’s difficult to determine the background of every psalm, it’s likely that David’s fugitive years are reflected in Psalms 7, 11-13, 16-17, 22, 25, 31, 34-35, 52-54, 56-59, 63-64, 142-143[1].

God Wanted David to Rely Solely on Him

Psalm 18 is the Psalm he wrote when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. It reveals the Diploma David earned after 10 years of extreme Graduate School!

He began his Psalm of praise with a strange statement coming from a “mighty warrior” who had eluded Saul’s vast army for 10 years. This is not the kind of thing you would hear today from a WWE champion like ” Triple H” aka “The King of Kings”.

 “I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies”. Psalm 18:1-3 (ESV)

Becoming a Disciple is about learning not to rely on your own strength, but to rely on the one who is greater than everything!

David’s Experience with Doeg

 Then David came to Nob <means fruit[2]; Nob was in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, near the Mount of Olives >[3]. to Ahimelech <means ‘my brother is King’ [4]>, the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David trembling and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?”

Nob was known as the town of Priests. The Tabernacle was here and because of David’s relationship with Samuel, he thought he would be welcome here. It was also the responsibility of the Priests to keep provisions on hand for those in need. It was an hour and half walk from Gibeah. It probably took David longer for he had to travel at night, without light, to escape those seeking him. It was the morning of a Sabbath when he suddenly presented himself, alone, unarmed, weary, and faint with hunger before the high-priest.

Ahimelech was frightened to see David looking so, without his usual delegation.

And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place.

He may or may not have been aware of the conflict between David and Saul. But certainly he thought something was up. However, David had reasonable answer’s for all of his questions. The King’s business had been so pressing and secretive that David was forced to leave without adequate provisions and weapons.

David Needed Mercy in the Form of Provisions

Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is Holy bread— if the young men have kept themselves from women.” And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the LORD, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

David was on the run, homeless, penniless, and had likely been three days without food. He came to the place where he had prayed to so many times. He needed mercy from God. He didn’t need a lecture or a sermon. He needed God’s mercy!

This little incident allows us to evidence the decay into which the priesthood and offerings of the people had fallen. The fact that there was nothing to offer David except the shewbread reveals the poverty of the priesthood, and the neglect of such by the people. If people would have been offering sacrifices, there would be plenty of food.

The Table of Shewbread

When you walk into the tabernacle you enter a door that leads to the holy place. The priest had at his right hand the table of shewbread or also referred to as the table of the presence. It was made of acacia wood overlaid with pure gold. Its size was 2 cubits (3 feet) in length by one cubit (1 1/2 feet) in breadth and a height of 1 1/2 cubits (2 1/4 feet). Around the table was a border of gold and then a little further in, on the table top, an additional border which would hold the contents in place. The table had four legs, and two gold-plated poles were inserted through golden rings attached to the legs for transporting.

  • “And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always.”

The purpose of the golden table was to hold 12 cakes of bread made of fine flour. They were placed there in two stacks (or rows) of six, each loaf representing one of the tribes of Israel (Lev. 24:8).

  • Lev 24:5-9 And you shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, an offering made by fire to the LORD. Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from the offerings of the LORD made by fire, by a perpetual statute.”

Significance of the Bread of Presence

  • Fine Flour (from the earth)
  • Baked (agony and suffering)
  • Unleavened (nothing artificial)
  • Sprinkled with pure frankincense[5]

Bread Sprinkled with Pure Frankincense

Frankincense was given to Baby Jesus, and symbolizes His office as High Priest, offering prayers of intercession before the Father for us. Here, sprinkled upon the bread that is to be always before the face of God, it illustrates the truth of what Jesus declared in John 6.

I AM the Living Bread

John 6:51-58 “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven– not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

When David ate the Shewbread, he was prophetically eating a symbol of the Savior that he hoped in, and who offered his body a broken sacrifice for him. That broken body is ever before the face of God, offering prayers on our behalf! This is a picture of how our Hope is not in our own strength, but the strength that comes from the Bread of Life!

Recent studies by an international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, have indicated that burning frankincense resin helps to alleviate anxiety and depression. The University of Munich found the anti-inflammatory properties of frankincense very effective as a treatment for joint pain and arthritis[6]

 2000 Years Later, Jesus faced a similar situation:

Jesus is walking with his disciples through a corn/wheat field. It was on a Sabbath, and they were very hungry. So they plucked the grain and ate it. (I’ve eaten freshly plucked wheat, so I know they must have been very hungry to eat it). Some Pharisees watched and immediately cried “law breakers’!

According to the Pharisees, the disciples reaped a crop. They threshed it by rubbing the berries in their hands and breaking the hulls off. Then they winnowed it by blowing the hulls away. By doing so, they were guilty of preparing a meal.

Jesus said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: (4) how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? (5) Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? (6) I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. (7) And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. (8) For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:1-8 (ESV)

Jesus deliberately drew attention to one of the Sabbath’s main purposes: It is a day of mercy and not a day of sacrifice.

Christ’s referred to 1 Samuel 21-when David ate the showbread. He wanted the Pharisees to understand that the Sabbath is to benefit a mercy needing man. David benefited from the Mercy of Ahimelech in giving him the showbread at a time when he was starving and weak. Mercy for the weak and hurting trumped the Law. Christ is always about Life, not Death.

The Pharisees didn’t understand Jesus. They did not see the Life He offered.

The Sabbath is a Day of Mercy for it is a Day of Hope!

David was about to learn the need for Hope!

The Doeg

Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen.

It so happened in the Providence of God, that on this special Sabbath, one of Saul’s principal officials, the “chief over the herdsmen,” was in Nob, “detained before Jehovah.” The expression implies that Doeg was obliged to remain in the sanctuary in consequence of some religious ceremony—whether connected with his admission as a proselyte, for he was by birth an Edomite, or with a vow, or with some legal purification. (22:22)[7].

Doeg’s presence at the tabernacle is a mystery. He was an Edomite and whose presence would not normally be welcomed. He was “detained before the Lord” at the sanctuary (1 Sam. 21:7). Perhaps he had become a Jewish proselyte and was following the Hebrew faith in order to hold his job. As Saul’s chief shepherd, Doeg could easily have become defiled so that he had to bring a sacrifice to the Lord.

David knew that Doeg would report to Saul what he had seen at Nob and that this would mean trouble.Perhaps that is why he was not being honest with Ahimelech, so as to insulate him from the wrath of Saul.

Doeg Tells Saul

1 Samuel 22:6-19 reveals the Destructiveness of Doeg

(6) Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. (7) And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, (8) that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” (9) Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, (10) and he inquired of the LORD for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” (11) Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. (12) And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” (13) And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” (14) Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? (15) Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.” (16) And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” (17) And the king said to the guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the LORD, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the LORD. (18) Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. (19) And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword. 1 Samuel 22:6-19 (ESV)

Doeg, wanting to gain from Saul, (Saul had just mentioned what he could give people), told about David being offered help by the Priests in Nob. He did not reveal that David had gained the help by misleading Ahimelech. He knew his information would better him at the expense of the Priests.

When all of Saul’s servants refused to go against the Priests, Saul turned to Doeg, and he not only killed all the priests, but he went to Nob and killed everyone there, boys, girls, mothers, even infants. He totally wiped the city of Nob from the face of the earth. Doeg was not only a Doeg, but he was a Destroyer.

Doeg is a Disciple killer

David had faced Goliath, and defeated him with a single stone. David’s heart was so united with God’s that there was nothing of this world that could defeat him. Now David was on the run from his authority, the anointed King of Israel. David had the love of Jonathan, and a few servants, but no one else to aid him, except God. So he came to the Tabernacle for food, provisions, and to inquire of the Lord for guidance. There he encountered Doeg, and David knew he was evil, but he had no idea what would happen. Perhaps he had an inkling, and that is why he did not tell Ahimelech the truth.

As a David Disciple you will encounter Goliath’s, you will encounter Saul’s, and you will encounter Doegs.

Doegs are very dangerous to Disciples, for they lurk in the shadows. They don’t come directly at you. Often they are an unseen enemy. But Doegs are very deadly. Doeg is derived from the Hebrew ‏דָּאַג‎ (dāʾag). It is a verb meaning to be anxious, to fear. This word describes uneasiness of mind as a result of the circumstances of life[8].

Doeg represents the fears and anxieties that lurk in our mind as a result of the circumstances we are in. Those fears and anxieties threaten to kill our trust and hope in God!

David described how his sin made him ‘dāʾag

I confess my iniquity; I am troubled (dāʾag) by my sin. Psalm 38:18 (NIV)

 Jeremiah used the word ‘dāʾag’ to illustrate how Disciples are to be:

He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious (dāʾag) in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8 (ESV)

Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet. One poignant moment immortalized by Rembrandt depicts Jeremiah grieving over the destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple by Nebuchadnezzar. Tradition has him in a grotto just outside the North Wall of Jerusalem. It is under the hill called Golgotha. He wrote the five poems of Lamentations near the  place where our Savior was crucified.

Jeremiah’s sermons and prophecies were ignored and scoffed at by the leaders of Jerusalem. Jeremiah (in a message from God) encouraged the soldiers to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar to save the city. They threw him into an empty cistern in the King’s palace prison and he sank in mud up to his armpits. They left him there to starve to death, hoping to silence him. Still he kept on preaching the Word of the Lord. Fortunately an Ethiopian man, a court official, persuaded the King to release Jeremiah. It took thirty men with ropes to pull Jeremiah out of that mud.

As much as Jeremiah was despised. As grief-stricken as he was when he wrote this:

How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave. Lamentations 1:1 (ESV)

Jeremiah did something totally crazy:

While he was imprisoned, Jeremiah received a visit from his cousin Hanamel. Hanamel wanted to sell Jeremiah a piece of land in their hometown of Anathoth. It was a foolish request, for the land was already in control of the Chaldeans and Nebuchadnezzar. Furthermore, Jeremiah was in prison for treason, and unable to use the land. Jeremiah bought the land in front of many witnesses, saying:

‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware vessel, that they may last for a long time. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.’ Jeremiah 32:14-15 (ESV)

In spite of his grief and despair over the circumstances he was in, Jeremiah never lost his Hope in God.

Jeremiah discovered a Hope that is greater than all our fears:

  •  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”  The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:22-25 (ESV)
  • There is hope for your future,” says the LORD. “Your children will come again to their own land. Jeremiah 31:17 (NLT)

Jer 14:8 Calls out to the Hope of Israel – its Savior. Then He reveals the coming Hope:

Jeremiah’s Hope – The Lord our Righteousness

“For the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be his name: ‘The LORD Our Righteousness.’ yehōwāh tṣid̠qēnû (from tsedaqah) Jeremiah 23:5-6 (NLT)

 Fear versus Hope (Doeg vs the Lord)

Discipleship is all about knowing the ways of God, embracing and understanding all that He delights in. He delights in hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah. (Jer 9:24)

The hesed of God strengthens our heart to defeat Goliath. The mishpat of God enables us to endure the injustice of Saul, as we focus on our responsibility to build our house by reaching out to the lame and lost.

The Tsedaqah of God allows us to conquer the Doegs of life by focusing on the Hope we have in Christ, and His righteousness.

The Psalms that David wrote after these encounters reveal that David learned this exact lesson:

David wrote Psalm 52 when he learned of Doeg’s murderous actions

The Steadfast Love (hesed) of God Endures: To the choirmaster. A Maskil of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, “David has come to the house of Ahimelech.”

(5) But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah (6) The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying, (7) “See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!” (8) But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. (9) I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly. Psalm 52:5-9 (ESV)

God told David to go to Gath (when he inquired of Ahimelech), for God wanted David doubly learn this lesson. God wanted David to never forget!

After Being Seized in Gath

Psalm 34: “Of David, when he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away”.

I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears…In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles…For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the LORD, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need…Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the LORD. Psalm 34:4-11 (NLT)

Psalm 56: In God I Trust “To the choirmaster:. A Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath”.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:3-4 (ESV)

David learned that the fear of the Lord conquers every other fear (vv. 9-16). When you walk in fear of the Lord, you walk in His Righteousness. When you walk in His righteousness, you are no longer walking in fear or anxiety. Doeg can never push you from the discipleship path!

How are you handling the Doegs of Life? Are circumstances getting to you? Is fear lurking in the corners of your mind? Have you been hoping in something that has let you down? Perhaps it is time to follow David, and learn the fear of the Lord, learn that Jesus is your Righteousness! Life is never meant to be up to us. There are too many “Doeg’s” that lurk in the shadows. Fear is a discipleship killer. There is no fear of man when we walk in fear of the Lord, when we walk in the Righteousness of Christ!


[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – History, (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 264.

[2] James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “5011″.

[3] Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, David Brown, A Commentary: Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New Testaments, (Toledo, OH: Jerome B. Names & Co., 1884), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1 SAMUEL”.

[4]Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under:  “אֲחִימֶלֶךְ ’aḥiymelek̠”.

[7] Alfred Edersheim, Bible History Old Testament, (London: Religious Tract Society, 1890), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “CHAPTER 12″.

[8] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “393: ‏דָּאַג‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “‏דָּאַג‎”.



New York Times Columnist Bob Herbert wrote an editorial June 21 titled “When Greatness Slips Away”. It has been reprinted in every major newspaper and has been talked about around the world.

After describing our blown opportunities in dealing with the 9/11 attack, Hurricane Katrina, the great economic crisis and now the BP oil catastrophe, he writes:

“As a nation, we are becoming more and more accustomed to a sense of helplessness. We no longer rise to the great challenges before us. It’s not just that we can’t plug the oil leak. We can’t seem to do much of anything.”

“The city of Detroit is using federal money to destroy thousands upon thousands of empty homes, giving in to a sense of desperation that says there is no way to rebuild the city, so let’s destroy even more of it. Lots more of it…”

“…The June 28 cover story of Time magazine is headlined “The Broken States of America.” The states are facing a catastrophic fiscal situation that is short-circuiting essential services, pushing even more people out of work and undermining the feeble national economic recovery.”

As Time reported: “Schools, health services, libraries — and the salaries that go with them — are all on the chopping block as states and cities face their worst cash squeeze since the Great Depression.”

We are submitting to this debacle with the same pathetic lack of creativity and helpless mindset that now seems to be the default position of Americans in the 21st century. We have become a nation that is good at destroying things — with wars overseas and mind-bogglingly self- destructive policies here at home — but that has lost sight of how to build and maintain a flourishing society.

How is it possible that we would let this happen? We’ve got all kinds of sorry explanations for why we can’t do any of the things we need to do…Meanwhile, the greatness of the United States, which so many have taken for granted for so long, is steadily slipping away.

I still believe in America! I still believe in the Spirit of America. But I believe that Spirit is slowly slipping away, and I believe I know why!

God has declared his standard of greatness for any nation.

Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34

Righteousness is the foundation for the Spirit of America, for the Greatness of America. Sadly, we are losing our foundation of righteousness.

William Bennett, in addressing the Midshipmen of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, November 24th, 1997, said:

“America is a place of heroes, honor, achievement, and respect. But it is as well a place where far too often, heroism is confused with celebrity, honor with fame, true achievement with popularity, individual respect with political correctness. From inside here you look out at a culture that celebrates self-gratification, the crossing of all moral boundaries, and now even the breaking of all social taboos. And on top of it all, too often the sound you hear is whining – the whining of America, what can be heard only as the enormous ingratitude of modern man toward our unprecedented prosperity and good fortune.

Despite our wonders and greatness, we are a society that has experienced so much social regression, so much decadence, in so short a period of time, that in many parts of America we have become the kind of place to which civilized nations used to send missionaries.” http://www.chaoticsynapticactivity.com/2006/08/03/does-honor-have-a-future-william-bennett/

Even in 1997, William Bennett was decrying the growing decadence in America, proclaiming that many parts of America are the kinds of places we used to send missionaries to!

John Adams foresaw long ago that:

“Human passions unbridled by morality and religion…would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.” — John Adams

The “Spirit of America” is slipping away like a whale through a net because we have forgotten what Righteousness is! Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34

There has been much debate about the religious beliefs of our Founding Fathers. Regardless of what you believe about their religious beliefs, all the writings we have indicate that our founding Father’s knew what “Righteousness” was. They knew what morality and virtue was. They believed that the Bible was the Word of God and that Righteousness and morality and virtue are all defined within its pages.

The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defined righteousness:

“Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion.”

Webster concluded that righteousness is conformity to the divine law, and in short is true religion. Webster considered “education useless without the Bible.” And as a result he utilized God’s written word as a key to the meaning of words. There is a Scripture reference used in most of his definitions.

Noah Webster wrote in the “History of the United States, 1833″;“…the moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws… All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

Our founding fathers knew the Scriptures, knew the validity of them, and realized that Creator God was the defining image of Righteousness and Justice. Righteousness was based upon the truth of God and the truth of His Word. God set the definition of Righteousness.

  • George Washington (Farewell Address, 1796) “And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion…reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
  • John Adams (letter, 1776) “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.”
  • Benjamin Rush (Essay, 1798) “The only foundation for…a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”

JOHN EIDSMOE wrote “Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers” (Baker Book House, 1987, 2008), and in it he demonstrates that at least 51 of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention were members of Christian churches, and that leading American political figures in the founding era quoted the Bible far more than any other source.

John Adams summed it up:

John Adams (Address, 1798) “We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Our government and our Constitution was based upon a people who are moral and religious. Our Constitution was founded upon the principles of Righteousness! Righteousness exalts a Nation! The Spirit of America, the Strength of America is based upon our Righteousness in upholding the Law of God!

Something is happening to America! The Spirit of America is slipping away! The greatness of America is slipping away!

We have Slipped Away From our foundation of Righteousness!

The 1913 Webster Dictionary had modified the main definition of righteousness:

“The quality or state of being righteous; holiness; purity; uprightness; rectitude.”

Gone was the basis or foundation of the righteousness-God and His Word.

By 2010, we see a complete watering down of the term:

“acting in a just, upright manner; doing what is right; virtuous:” “adhering to moral principles”

“characterized by or proceeding from accepted standards of morality or justice;”

Instead of a Nation “under God” we are becoming a nation “apart from God!”

We have taken God out of education, out of politics, and are in the process of taking him out of society.

Even the Pope Sees It

I never thought I would quote a Pope, but Pope Benedict is even concerned about this and on June 30th issued this:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI is creating a new Vatican office to fight secularization and “re-evangelize” the West …

“The process of secularization has produced a serious crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and role of the Church.” The new pontifical council, he said, would “promote a renewed evangelization” in countries where the Church has long existed “but which are living a progressive secularization of society and a sort of ‘eclipse of the sense of God.’” http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-06-30

America is one of those countries experiencing an ‘eclipse of the sense of God!

God has come under attack in America, and is being pushed aside. Our society is becoming increasingly secularized, and everything from churches to politics is being affected. We are turning away from the moral foundation of Righteousness which made our nation great! As a result, the Great Spirit of America is slipping away!

America Needs a Strong Moral Foundation

When we forget God and ignore His Word, the moral fabric that forms the foundation of our Government is seriously weakened.

  • Samuel Adams (letter, 1778) “Religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness.”
  • Patrick Henry (letter, 1799) “The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor…and this alone, that renders us invincible.”

By Secularizing morals and ethics (secularizing means to make profane, to remove the spiritual basis) and by denying God as the source and standard of RIGHTEOUSNESS, we are pushing the American Ideals off the foundation of God’s Word! Those Ideals cannot stand without the foundation of God! The American Constitution cannot be secularized without being torn apart!

Remember the words of John Adams:

“Human passions unbridled by morality and religion…would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.” — John Adams

IS THIS THE INTENT OF OUR GOVERNMENT?

America, from our political leaders to our sacred halls of education, are intent on acting out Psalms 2:

Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” Psalms 2:1-3

OUR GODLY FOUNDATION IS FAILING – WE HAVE A SUBGRADE PROBLEM

Soft Subgrade repaired with Fabric

The Righteousness that is based upon God’s Moral Law is being stripped away from our moral consciousness, and thereby the moral fabric of America is coming unraveled. The Stabilization fabric of America is failing.

Daniel Webster (4th of July oration, 1800) “To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.”

America is starting to yaw (move unsteadily, weave, deviate from a straight course). Our subgrade is failing, our Godly foundation is breaking up.

America was founded by laws drawn from God’s Holy Law. But we have profaned our laws by removing God’s Moral Standard. We have vitiated our Laws by removing that which made them RIGHTEOUS! We have become a SECULAR NATION!

God is being replaced slowly but surely, and we are not even noticing.

In 1986, Dr. Paul Vitz, then professor of psychology at New York University, worked with a committee that examined sixty social studies and history textbooks used in public schools across the United States. The committee was amazed to find that almost every reference to the Christian influence of early America was systematically removed. Their conclusion: the writers of the commonly used textbooks exhibited paranoia of the Christian religion and intentionally censored Christianity’s positive role in American history. (Paul C. Vitz. Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks.)

“The present educational establishment, to cite just one group, has been obscuring the past so that our children have no way of comparing the facts of history with the distorted version promoted by biased secular historians.” (Vitz. Ibid. p. 24)

“In grades 1 through 4 these books introduce the child to U.S. society – to family life, community activities, ordinary economic transactions, and some history. None of the books covering grades 1 through 4 contain one word referring to any religious activity in contemporary American life.” (Paul C. Vitz. Professor of psychology at New York University. Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks . 1986.)

“Are public school textbooks biased? Are they censored? The answer to both is yes, and the nature of the bias is clear: Religion, traditional family values, and many conservative positions have been reliably excluded from children’s textbooks.” (Paul C. Vitz. Religion and Traditional Values in Public School Textbooks. p. 14)

As God is being replaced, so is the Great American Spirit.

Christians are Becoming at Risk in America

I never thought I would not live to see the day when the civil liberties of Christians are at risk in America. Examples of what is Happening:

In an article in the Lexinton, NC Dispatch dated February 24, 2010; Columnist Denny Whalen wrote an article entitled http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20100224/COLUMNISTS/2244021?p=all&tc=pgall

“Christians find themselves under fire throughout United States.”

Here are a few of his comments (plus some more I have found):

  • Arlene Elshinnawy, a 75-year-old grandmother of three, and Lynda Beckman, a 70-year-old grandmother of 10 (along with nine others), were arrested for sharing their faith on the public sidewalk in Philadelphia, Pa., USA. The event was the city funded Gay “OUTFEST”. They faced 47 years (the rest of their lives) in jail for spreading the Gospel because of a Pennsylvania “hate crimes” law.
  • A woman in Houston, Texas, was recently ordered by local police to stop handing out gospel tracts to children who knocked on her door during Halloween. Investigating officers told her that such activity is illegal and that she would be arrested if she continued the practice.
  • At the same time, the Freedom from Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., is allowed to distribute anti-Christian pamphlets to public school children titled “We can be Good without God”
  • Police arrested seven Christians in Elmira, N.Y., who prayed on public property while holding their Bibles. The charges? Intent to cause a public disturbance, obstructing foot and vehicle traffic and taking part in any act that serves no legitimate purpose.
  • In San Diego, the school district granted a group of Muslim students prayer rights despite the rulings that verbal prayer in public schools has been declared unconstitutional, even if the prayer is both voluntary and denominationally neutral.
  • In a Michigan case, it was declared unconstitutional for a student to pray aloud over his lunch.
  • A student in Omaha, Neb., was prohibited from reading his Bible silently during study hall and was further enjoined from opening his Bible at all in school.
  • Sixty-seven year-old Cummings, Ga., resident Fredric Baumann was arrested for passing out gospel tracts on a public street. Convicted and jailed for two days, Baumann was denied his rights to contact a lawyer, and denied the use of his reading glasses.
  • Jim Pullion, a quiet, disabled Christian grandfather would peacefully hold pro-life signs around his community of Owosso, Michigan. But one morning while holding signs in front of his granddaughter’s High School, Jim was viciously shot and killed by Harlan Drake. Drake said he killed Jim because he was upset by his abortion signs. Even though Pouillon’s family extended their forgiveness, Drake remains unrepentant even as he was sentenced to life in prison.
  • April 27, 2010, Julea Ward had the hopes of becoming a certified counselor. With a 3.9 grade point average, she was only a few months away from graduating with a Master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University. The University expelled Julea from her Master’s program because she refused to engage in activities contrary to her Christian faith. She would not counsel in favor of homosexual lifestyles. When approached by her teacher to counsel someone about their homosexual relationship Julea politely declined and referred the client to another counselor. She was expelled.
  • In Boynton Beach Florida, on February 4th of 2010, two young men (Tite Sufra, 24, and Stephen Ocean, 23)were witnessing to Jeriah Woody (18).

They witnessed to Woody for fifteen minutes when he got a phone call and told the preachers he ‘had to go.’ As they walked away, Woody suddenly started walking back toward them. Sufra walked up to greet him and was killed with a shot gun blast at point blank range. When Ocean ran, he was shot in the back. After he fell, Woody shot him in the head execution style. Woody was arrested Wednesday and is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. (Feb 5, Christian News Wire) Jeriah said he had to run a quick errand, left and returned with a pistol. He shot and killed Tite Sufra (24) and Stephen Ocean (23).

Less than two weeks ago:

  • June 19, 2010 DEARBORN, Mich. — Four Christians were arrested for disorderly conduct outside the Dearborn Arab International Festival while handing out copies of the Gospel of John in English and Arabic.

Arrested were Negeen Mayel, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, David Woods, and Paul Rezkalla. Dr. Quereshi is co-director of Acts 17 Apologetics Ministries. He holds an MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School and an MA in Christian apologetics from Biola University. Mayel, an eighteen-year-old female, whose parents emigrated from Afghanistan is a recent convert from Islam to Christianity.

“When Dr. Quereshi was arrested I heard people clapping and applauding, and some said ‘Allahu Akbar,’” Atkins said. There was a crowd of 15-20 people watching the exchange and subsequent arrest.

“These Christian missionaries were exercising their Constitutional rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion, but apparently the Constitution carries little weight in Dearborn, where the Muslim population seems to dominate the political apparatus,” said Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center.

“I never thought I would see this in America,” says Steven Atkins, a resident of Toronto, Canada, who was visiting the festival and observed the incident.

“It was an intense discussion, but it was not unruly,” Atkins noted. “There was no threat of violence,” he said. “It’s becoming more restrictive here than in Canada.”

Just last week:

  • TAMPA, Florida (OneNewsNow) — Earlier this month, World Changers of Florida was denied the right to distribute the Bible in the Collier County (TAMPA) School District during off-school hours. Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, is handling the case.

“The school district said that the Bible cannot be distributed on Religious Freedom Day,” he explains. “It had been distributed on Religious Freedom Day for the past several years, but this time they changed their decision and said it would be unconstitutional to distribute the Bible in a public school to willing recipients who want to receive the Bible.”

Staver notes that other items are distributed at the schools for secular events. In a Liberty Counsel press release, he stated that “limiting access to the forum based on religious viewpoint violates the First Amendment.”

“This particular school says that everything goes but the Bible is banned,” he adds.

According to the Liberty Counsel, the Collier County School Board allowed World Changers to distribute free Bibles to students during off-school hours on Religious Freedom Day, but now the school officials claim that Bibles do not provide any educational benefit to the students and the distribution should stop.

The Collier County School District policy specifically allows the distribution of literature by nonprofit organizations, but only with the approval of the superintendent and the Community Request Committee, whose members are appointed by the superintendent. Approval was denied to World Changers, despite the fact that its distribution included a disclaimer of any school endorsement or sponsorship and that receiving a Bible was purely voluntary.

“How sad that on the eve of Independence Day, when we celebrate the religious and political freedom our forefathers won for us at the cost of much blood and great sacrifice, we are compelled to sue to protect the right simply to make free Bibles available to students in public schools,” said Mathew D. Staver, Liberty Counsel founder.

Click here to read the lawsuit: http://www.liberty.edu/media/9980/attachments/complaint_world_changers_070110.pdf

The Greatness of America is slipping away because we are slipping away from God. We are losing the “Spirit of America!”

God’s Word is very clear:

  • And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips. Jeremiah 7:28
  • The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Psalms 9:17

TODAY IN AMERICA – ANYTHING GOES

We are becoming a society that is not built upon God’s Truth, but based upon the denial of absolute truth, to the end that we accept ANY truth. We are becoming a Nation of “ANYTHING GOES”. We appease everyone and end up pleasing no one, especially our Creator God!

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” ~Winston Churchill

Because we have become a Nation of “No Absolute Truth”, we have accepted a multitude of belief’s. We have become a nation of “Any Lie Goes!” Our acceptance of “any truth” and therefore “any lie” has led to something far worse than a “forgetting” or “neglect” of God. It is a dramatic CULTURE SHIFT!

Albert Mohler Jr

After reading the 2009 American Religious Identification Survey, Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (our largest Southern Baptist Seminary), which revealed that the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990, rising from 8 to 15 percent and revealed firther that the Pacific Northwest is no longer the leader in people who are religiously unidentified, but is now held by the Northeast Region of America.

A remarkable culture-shift has taken place around us,” Mohler wrote. “The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so-called Judeo-Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western cultural crisis which threatens the very heart of our culture.” “Clearly, there is a new narrative, a post-Christian narrative, that is animating large portions of this society,” http://www.newsweek.com/2009/04/03/the-end-of-christian-america.html

America is becoming a POST-CHRISTIAN NATION and the great “Spirit of America” is slipping away…

Gen. Douglas MacArthur: “It must be of the spirit, if we are to save the flesh.”

In 1863, Lincoln called the nation to fasting and prayer in order to be blessed. “We have grown in numbers, wealth and power…but have forgotten God.”

What a long way from our foundation we have fallen:

The Supreme Court in 1892

The US Supreme Court

Strong religious convictions therefore played a role in the development of the United States, which was established on Christian principles and open to all people of good will.

In 1892 (Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States) this was argued before the Supreme Court of the United States. After exhaustive deliberation, the Court said, “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise, and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”

Imagine that. A nation whose laws and institutions are based on the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. Why, such a place would surely become the leader in education, invention, and the arts. Such a place would probably become a haven of religious liberty for more types and religions of people than has ever existed anywhere or at any time on earth. Instead of religious persecution and intolerance, such a place would offer hope and opportunity to the huddled masses of the earth.

This is what America became-a beacon of hope to the world, because the foundation of our government was God’s Law! But now, because we have rejected absolute truth, and in every way have rejected God’s leadership of our Nation, we have opened ourselves to accepting every kind of belief:

And Now This From President Obama:

President Barack Obama stated at a press conference in Turkey April 6th 2009 that we Americans “do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Muslim nation, but rather, a nation of citizens who are, uh, bound by a set of values.”

Besides denying that America is a Christian nation, President Obama told the Turkish Parliament on the same day: “We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.”  http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/election/1003

This is a Far Cry from our Founding Fathers:

George Washington: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

Thomas Jefferson: “The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty. . . . Students’ perusal of the sacred volume will make us better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.”

Andrew Jackson: “That Book [the Bible] is the rock on which our Republic rests.”

Ulysses S. Grant: “Hold fast to the Bible. . . . To the influence of this Book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future.”

As Del Tackett said in Tour Ten of the Truth Project:

We can ignore history and the wisdom of the Founders. We can ignore the design for which this nation was intended to operate. We can even ignore God himself. But if we do so, we would do well to consider Solzhenitsyn’s words describing the reason for the Russian Revolution that swallowed up some 60 million Russians:”Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’

For we would do so not only at our own peril, but our own ruination.

I love America. I want to see us remain a Great Nation. What can we do to turn the tide? What can we do to stand in the Gap? What can we do to see the American Spirit thrive again?

1.  Stand Firm in Your Walk.

Constantly Check it out: Has your Christian walk become secularized? Have you secularized Christian Observances like Easter and Christmas? Do your children and grandchildren know what those holidays are really about? Examine your heart toward your church! Do you enter with the reverence of God on your heart? Examine your life through the week. Are you living as a child of God, are you reading and depending upon God’s Word? Are has your life become secularized, profane, and God rendered ineffective by your constant neglect of Him in your daily life.

2.  Be On Guard With Your Children And Grandchildren.

Become familiar with what they are learning. Examine their textbooks. Point out errors. Acquaint your children and grandchildren with the real foundation of this country. Work to counter the lies of the educational system. Become a proponent of Creator God. Let your children and grandchildren know who really made them, and how he created this world. Let them know how evolution could never explain the intricacies of how wonderfully we are made.

3.  As Christians, become Interdependent upon each other

Be Courageous and Strong! Together! We are not facing this struggle alone. We gain boldness when we join with other Christians. We unite in a common cause of making Jesus Christ known. We pursue the liberty and freedom that is in Him! And we do it united with likeminded Christians in a solid, Bible believing, Bible teaching church.

As Paul admonished the Corinthians, so God admonishes the church in the Last Days: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

We are to be the light of this Nation! We can only do so as we bind together and guide this blind nation to God’s Word once again. We do so through our lives of sincere love and compassion. We are to be the living reality of God’s Word!

Bob and Tina Andrews

Bob Andrews plays golf and has a 30 handicap. That may seem quite average to you, but Bob is totally blind. He lost his sight to a grenade in Vietnam. When he came back to the states, he was still in a coma, but his girlfriend Tina stayed by his side. She said her whole life was lying in that bed. When Bob finally came out of the coma, he was totally depressed about what blind life would be like. Tina assured him, “Look, we’re two people. We’re a team. We can do anything we want!”

They got married within two months, and embarked on an active life as a team! They are successful building contractors, they have three sons, they sail, fish, bodysurf, and even golf.

Last year Bob even became the 2009 United States Blind Golf Association’s (USBGA) national champion. What is the secret to this couple’s success?

INTERDEPENDENT TEAMWORK!

Tom Sullivan, a blind actor and recording artist revealed:

Every blind person is told at first that he’s going to be dependent on others his whole life, and so they react wildly. They walk into traffic, take up dangerous sports, stuff like that, stuff that will prove to the world that they don’t need them. But it only makes them unhappier. Eventually, through love, they recognize that the only way to be happy and at peace is to live interdependently, to live knowing they need others and others need them. That’s what blind golf is, a symbol of that lesson. The notion that we all need each other, blind or sighted.

Rick Reilly caddied for Bob (and others) to write “Who’s Your Caddy.” He observes:

“I saw then what a team they had become. They were so much greater than the sum of their parts.”

America is made up of many, many different people, with many different ideas. God is counting on the Christians, His people to work with each other in guiding this blind nation. We can’t isolate ourselves and hope the problem goes away. No, we must unite with other Bible Believers and together, through love and faithful witness, we can see the Sprit of America restored.

Righteousness Exalts a Nation!

When we fail to see our dependence upon each other, fail to work together for the cause of Jesus Christ, we are giving in to the secular powers that want to remove God from our Nation. We celebrate July 4th as our Independence Day. Yet our independence will lead to the loss of the Great American Spirit.

We need to declare July 4th our Interdependence Day and work as a team to restore the Righteousness of God in our Nation! It begins with our lives!


Paul was seemingly singing this song in Romans Seven. He was constantly reminded of the Law of God and how he failed to meet it. Similar to when we are pulled over by a policeman, who reminds us of our failure to obey the Law! Just like this man discovered:

A male driver is pulled over by a cop and the following conversation takes place:
Man: What’s the problem officer?
Cop: You were going at least 75 in a 55 zone.
Man: No sir, I was going 65.
Wife: Oh Harry. You were going 80.
(Man gives his wife a dirty look.)
Cop: I’m also going to give you a ticket for your broken tail light.
Man: Broken tail light? I didn’t know about a broken tail light!
Wife: Oh Harry, you’ve known about that tail light for weeks.
(Man gives his wife a dirty look.)
Cop: I’m also going to give you a citation for not wearing your seat belt.
Man: Oh, I just took it off when you were walking up to the car.
Wife: Oh  Harry, you never wear your seat belt.
Man: Shut your mouth, woman!
Cop: Ma’am, does your husband always talk to you this way?
Wife: No, only when he’s drunk.

Romans 6 deals with freedom from sin. Romans 7 deals with freedom from the law. Romans 6 – how to be delivered from sin. Romans 7 – deliverance from sin is not enough-we need deliverance from the Law. Paul reveals a new discovery in Romans 7: I am in the flesh (vs. 5) I am carnal (vs. 14) and in my flesh dwells no good (vs. 18)

The discovery is that when we are in the flesh, we cannot please God (Romans 8:8)

When we first come to the Lord as our Savior, and then we give ourselves to Him, we feel we must do something for the Lord. So we start out seeking to do his will. We start reading the Bible. We start having regular time of prayer and devotion. We perhaps start tithing. But as time goes by, we forget to read and pray. Money gets tight so we don’t tithe as much or maybe we stop. It seems the more we try to do the will of God, the more we fail. We may re-dedicate ourselves, or try something less intensive, but then we fail that as well.

We get to the point where we exclaim, this is just the way I am, no good thing dwells in me, I guess I just do the best with what I’ve got. And we feel frustrated, or we feel apathetic, or we feel despaired.

We find ourselves in Romans 7. We are despairing because we see there is no way we could please God the way we think He wants to be pleased.

The trouble is we do not know deliverance from the Law!

I. The Power of the Law:

A.The Law Dominates As Long As You Live

VS 1-3: Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. Romans 7:1-3

The Law Does Not Apply to Dead People!

  • Dead men pay no taxes
  • Dead men can’t be incarcerated!
  • A wife is no longer married when her husband dies.

1. Christians are Dead to the Law

VS 4: Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. Romans 7:4

The Law is not dead; the Law has not been done away with. But WE are dead to the Law! Our death has made us dead to the claims of the Law. The Law is not dead; it simply has no claims upon our lives because our old man is dead. The law has no jurisdiction, power, rule, authority, or dominion over the true believer. The believer is dead to the law and the law is dead to the believer. The law simply does not exist for the believer.

What a shocking truth, but that is exactly what Scripture is declaring! We are no longer under the law and its accusing finger, no longer under it’s…

  • Guilt and shame
  • Condemnation and punishment
  • Discouragement and frustration
  • Tension and pressure
  • Sense of failure and unworthiness
  • Sense of disappointment

The Law is Alive to those Walking in the Flesh

2.  We are Free to Marry Christ

VS 4(Phillips): you are free to give yourselves in marriage, so to speak, to another, the one who was raised from the dead, that you may be productive for God.

We are Free to be productive IN THE POWER OF CHRIST!

  • To bear righteousness (Romans 6:21-23; Phil. 1:11).
  • To bear converts (Romans 1:13; John 15:16).
  • To bear Christian character, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Col. 1:10).

None of these is done in the flesh; none of these is done by following a set of rules. Righteousness is of the Heart, of the inward man. People coming to Christ as Savior is dependent upon the working of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Fruit of the Spirit cannot be faked; it is the fruit of the Holy Spirit!

3. The Law is Alive to those “in the flesh”

VS 5: For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. NASB

“Motions KJV or passions” is pathēma, “an affection, a passion, impulse.” Vincent says, “Motions was used in earlier English for emotions or impulses. Thus Bacon: ‘He that standeth at a stay where others rise can hardly avoid motions of envy.’ “”Did work” is energeō, “to be operative, put forth power, be at work.”

The emotions or impulses of sin, stirred to activity by the law, were operative in the members of our bodies with the result of the production of fruit, this fruit being with respect to death, identified with death, thus, characterized by death. Wuest

We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 1 Timothy 1:9-10

The law not only points out sin, it actually arouses feelings and stirs the emotions to do the forbidden. Sinful feelings are actually “stimulated” (enērgeito) by the law in our members. When the law prohibits and forbids something, it actually creates within us…

• an interest •  an attraction •  an excitement •  an appeal •  a tug or pull •  a fascination •  a seduction •  an arousal

There is within man something that makes him want to do what he is forbidden to do. When he is restricted or fenced in, he wants to break through the restriction or fence.

We will see that as long as believer’s walk in the flesh, they will still be subject to these stirrings, these impulses, these motions of sins. James reveals this in writing to the fleshly Christians reading his letter:

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15

B.We Follow a New Way When We are “Born Again”

VS 6: But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Romans 7:6

1. Believers are “delivered” (katērgēthēmen).

We have been discharged from the law. We stand clear of the law. All claims have been dissolved!

2. We Serve God through the Holy Spirit

Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

  • To live by rules is to live a dead religion. Death produces death.
  • To live by the power of the Holy Spirit is LIFE.
  • We do not serve God by following the letter of the law.

II. The Purpose of the Law

A.The Law Exposes our Sin

VS 7: What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” Romans 7:7.

The Law is to make us aware that we are sinners. We need a Savior.

EXAMPLE:  The Law revealed that Paul had a problem with coveting. He never knew it to be so until he read the Law. When people know the Law, they know they are sinners. Guilt is though the law.

When I was pastoring in Edgerton, I went knocking on doors and if a person allowed, I would ask them a couple questions.

Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever taken something that didn’t belong to you? Have you ever looked lustfully at another person?

Most of the time they would answer yes to each of the questions. Then I would say, then by your own admission, you a liar, a thief and an adulterer? What do you think God thinks of that?

They would mumble, well I guess he doesn’t like it.

I would ask, if you are a liar, a thief and an adulterer, would God let you into His heaven when you die?

Most of the time they would answer, well, yes.

I would say why would he? They would say, because overall I’m a good guy or something to that effect.

Then I would say, but God’s word says that the man who sins will surely die! How could He let you into His heaven and be true to His own Word?

I’ll never forget this one Law student that I talked with. He came to this point where he was aware of God’s standard and he was aware of his violation of that standard, but he looked at me and said, “Aw, that doesn’t apply to me;” and then he said “I’ve got to go!” and he closed the door.

The Law is given so that men and women would see that they are lost. All we can do is hold that Law up, and pray the Holy Spirit convicts them to the point where they realize they need Jesus Christ!

B. The Law is the Revealing Standard

VS 8-9: But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; Romans 7:8-9.

1. The law reveals the fact of our sin

  • That men are not in a right relationship with God.
  • That men are not in a right relationship with other men.
  • That men are living selfishly, thereby dooming themselves.
  • That men are coveting and lusting, thereby destroying their world and their future.
  • That men are displeasing God and have become unacceptable to Him.
    • We will take that second helping of food.
    • We will try to keep up with the Jones.
    • We will go after the excitement and stimulation of the forbidden.
    • We will fulfill the lust of our flesh: “I know that is not how a Christian should behave by talking with his fists, but man can he fight!”
    • We will feed the lust of our eyes. Bachelorette – “I know Adultery to be wrong, but as I watch this TV show I find myself routing for this couple as they seem so right for each other, even made for each other!”
    • We will satisfy the pride of life. “I just have to have that car!” I just have to have that jewelry!

2.  The Law Reveals The Truth Of Our Condemnation And Death.

VS 10-11: and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. Romans 7:10-11

This is a major purpose of the law. By knowing the law the man becomes acutely aware of sin when he breaks the law. It is the law that gives him…

  • A painful awareness of sin.
  • A sense of guilt.
  • A sense of judgment to come.
  • A dread of punishment and of death.

During the Second Great Awakening (1790–1840) in early America, the Law was preached by Charles Finney, Lyman Beecher, Barton Stone, Peter Cartwright, and Asahel Nettleton among others. Altar calls were being used then by people anxious about their souls. Finney used the term “Anxious Seat”. Sometimes the evangelist would not have an altar call, and people would be begging to be saved. They were concerned for their souls.

3. The Law Reveals the Way of God

VS 12-13 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. Romans 7:12-13

  1. The law is holy: set apart and full of purity, majesty, and glory—set apart in that it reveals God’s nature and will—set apart in that it exposes sin, all that is contrary to God’s nature and will.
  2. The law is righteous: just, fair, impartial, equitable, straight. The law treats a man exactly like he should be treated; it shows no partiality to anyone. It also reveals how a man should treat others. The law is just in that it reveals exactly how a man should live. It shows him how to live in relation to God and to his fellow man, and it judges him fairly and impartially.
  3. The law is good: it shows man how to live and tells him when he fails to live that way. It exposes his sin and demonstrates his desperate need for a Savior. The law tells man the truth about the nature of man in a most explicit way, and it points him toward the need for outside help in order to be saved.

The Law is a written expression of the Character of God: O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Psalms 119:97

The Law Does Not Mean Death, The Law Reveals the Sin!

Here in this dish lays Baking Soda (representing man in our natural state). It is still & quiet until another substance is added.

I will now pour Vinegar (representing the Law). It begins to smoke & burn up, but not from the fault of the vinegar, but from the nature of the Baking Soda which will not endure it. Illustrates that the Law is not at fault, but our evil & wicked nature is!

  • When you read “Wet Paint. Don’t touch” what do you immediately want to do? –
  • “No U-Turns”
  • “Keep off the Grass”.
  • In Maui as we snorkeled, “Don’t touch the Turtles”, but I just had to touch one!

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7).

No Excuses

There can be no finger pointing at God. You can’t say to God that “You made me do it, your Law made me rebel” You can’t say the Devil made me do it either. There are no excuses:

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Romans 3:19

III. Paul’s Personal Testimony

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Romans 7:14-20 (NASB)

1.  Paul’s Struggle

Here Paul confesses his personal struggle with sin that dwells in him. Paul is a Christian, and has been for several years now. He knows the truth of HIs new life in Jesus Christ. He knows that his old man was crucified with Jesus, freeing him from the power of sin. He has reckoned this truth so in his life. He counts on Jesus to deliver him from sin. He has presented his body to God.

But what has happened? Instead of the truth of God becoming REALITY in his life, he finds that sin still dwells in him. He does what he doesn’t want to do, and he doesn’t do what he should do.

Does this sound familiar? Anyone else identify with his struggles?

Paul reveals a truth here, while we are spiritual (born again, alive to God) we are still flesh. And this flesh loves to sin. The means to freedom has been secured on the cross, our old man is dead. We don’t have to sin, but there is something about this flesh that makes it powerless when it comes to the power of sin.

2. Paul’s Personal Discovery

a. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh;

When it comes to serving God, when it comes to following Jesus, there is nothing good in us. Any effort we make in this flesh is tainted, is spoiled. There is nothing good in me.

On the one hand, this is good because when we are aware of the struggle, it reveals we are spiritually alive, that we are born again.

  • If you don’t have a struggle, if you don’t feel guilt, that probably indicates Christ does not live in you.
  • Inward conflicts show us we are spiritually alive!

b. There is a Law of Sin that Dominates his flesh

Just as there is a Law of Gravity dominating our flesh, there is also a Law of Sin that dominates our flesh. The choice we as Christians have is whether we accept this law and live with it, struggling against sin the best we can, or do we desire something more!

3. Paul’s Desperate Desire!

Paul is Desperate for MORE!

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:24-25

IV. The Power of the New Law

Paul has realized that there is a way of deliverance. There is a Law that we can live under that dominates the Law of Sin. This Law is greater than the Law of Sin. And this Law is available to us through Jesus Christ!

This Law will be explored in Romans 8.

Our eyes must be opened to see that sin is not just conduct. When you lose your temper, it is not just you failing to control your temper. When you lose your temper it is the law of sin at work in you. The victory of sin is a law, just as our defeat is a law. If you view sin as simply a matter of conduct then your focus will be entirely on your own self-effort to resist or overcome that sin.

Do you have a problem with smoking? Do you want to quit? Then don’t see it as a habit to be resisted. Don’t see it as an urge to be controlled. See it as a law. A law that governs your life. And then see that you must live by a new Law that is greater than the Law of Sin.

We Need a New Law!

The Law of Sin is powerful. We cannot overcome it in our flesh. Our flesh is subject to its power. Anytime we struggle against sin with our flesh, we are doomed to fail. Just as you cannot escape the pull of gravity by flapping your arms, you cannot escape the law of sin by doing anything in your flesh.

Even mighty Paul made this discovery.

Paul discovered even though he tried, even though he willed it, he could not overcome sin’s power. He tried to be perfect, to not sin, but he failed. Paul discovered that the Law of Sin was mightier than his willpower. He willed and willed, but lost.

Paul came to the conclusion sin was a law that he could not overcome in his own strength.

He needed something else, he needed to learn to walk in a new Law, a Law which had authority over sin, a Law which could govern his life and deliver him from this constant feeling of defeat and failure.

Romans 7 is the revelation of a man who gives up trying in his own strength and realizes he needs JESUS CHRIST!

If you never come to this realization, that sin is a law that you cannot struggle against in with your flesh or your will, then you will always be a Romans 7 Christian. You will live your life in Romans 7.

You will be like the Laodicean’s, who thought they had no need.

Wretched man that I am – Just like John’s picture of the Laodicea church.

Rev.3:17 “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’; and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked;”

Do you want to be a Romans 8 Christian? Then have your eyes opened to the truth that sin is a Law. Then plead with God to reveal to you the Law he wants you to live by, the law that has greater power than the law of sin. Plead with Him to open your eyes to the truth of the Law of the Holy Spirit in your life!

If you do not live your daily life by the Law of the Holy Spirit, we shall see in Rom 8, then you are doomed to a wretched Christian Life, a Romans 7 life-one of ups and downs, defeats and despairs, one of fleshly struggles, one of constant bouts of guilt, one of being tossed to and fro. That is the plight of Christians who walk in the flesh and struggle against the Law of Sin with their flesh.

Thanks be to God there is a Better Way!

Have you come to the place of wretchedness in your life? You’ve come to the place of realizing you have no power to overcome sin.

Then you are ready to live your life by the Law that will deliver you from sin, from fleshly struggles and defeats.

By walking in the New Law, You will experience the Righteousness of Jesus Christ and THROW OFF YOUR WRETCHEDNESS!

Speaking to a large audience, D.L. Moody held up a glass and asked, “How can I get the air out of this glass?” One man shouted, “Suck it out with a pump!” Moody replied, “That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass.” After numerous other suggestions Moody smiled, picked up a pitcher of water, and filled the glass. “There,” he said, “all the air is now removed.” He then went on to explain that victory in the Christian life is not accomplished by “sucking out a sin here and there,” but by being filled with the Holy Spirit.