Posts Tagged ‘Abel’


Faith-Frogs-Pleasing-GodThree frogs sat on a lily pad. One decided to jump off. How many were left? Three. He only decided to jump off, but never took the leap. It is not enough to make a decision. You have to make a leap of faith and follow through with it. So here we are at Hebrews 11. We just declared that we are not of those who “shrink back” to our destruction, but press forward to God in faith to the preservation of our souls…

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. Heb 10:39

We have seen the foundational truths of our “Better Savior”, the one with the indestructible life, the one who ever ministers, mediates and interceded so that we can experience the Majesty in all of His holiness and glory! But NOW it is time to go and DEMONSTRATE the reality of the MAJESTY by leaping off the ‘churchy’ lily pad and living in the power of our faith!

Hebrews 11:1 starts with the declarative NOW! Now we are ready to see and experience what FAITH can do!

Life-of-FaithEverything else up to this point has been foundational. The Holy Spirit has shown us that the Christian Life is to be defined by the Supernatural, and that Supernatural centers upon and within Jesus Christ. If, (big if) Jesus Christ is central to your life you will enjoy some amazing supernatural benefits. If Jesus is not central to your life, then it will be obvious that something is missing from your life.


Hebrews: Evidence of Faith!…Power of Faith!…Progress of Faith!

  • Hebrews 1-10 is all about the result of centering your Life in Christ, and His Life in your life is EVIDENCE of your Faith.
  • Hebrews 11 is all about going forth in the POWER of Faith.
  • Hebrews 12-13 is all about PROGRESSING in Faith to that Holy City that awaits us!

Evidence of Lack of Faith

Evidence of Faith

No Benefit from the Word of God in your everyday life (take it or leave it) (Heb 4:2) We enter into Rest (Heb 4:3)
Spiritual Immaturity (Heb 6:1) Grow in Maturity and produce fruit
Promises of God are not at work in your life (Heb 6:12) Lay hold of the throne of grace and receive of the promises
Troubled by Guilt (Heb 10:22) Guilt-free through your mediator
Failure to Hold Fast (Heb 10:23) Boldly Lay Hold of the Throne of God
No real life in God (Heb 10:38-Just shall live by faith) Enjoying the presence of the Majesty through your minister
Shrink back from God. Avoid intimacy with Him. (because of sin and lack of confidence) (Heb 10:39) Go on with God in full confidence of His Word

You may claim ignorance or inability, but you have no excuse, for Faith is an issue of your heart, and always results in a commitment of action. The truth is that the way we live our lives proves…

We all have Faith in Something

You demonstrate with your living your faith in yourself, your connections, your abilitie

s, your friends and your family. Only when tragedy or harsh conditions strike do you wonder if your faith is well-founded. Only then do you wonder about an invisible God.

Are You ready to Discover the Power of Faith? The right kind of faith, faith that will intertwine your life with your Jehovah God. Faith that will give you a personal and family connection with the Creator of the Universe! When you have it, your life will bear evidence of it!

To develop and understand this Faith, you need to wrap your life around Jesus Christ! Have you come to Jesus as the Son of God, your Minister, your Mediator, your Intercessor, your Savior and Lord? You have not made a decision to center your life upon and around Him! If so, it is pointless to explore the power of Hebrews 11 Faith. Your faith is in yourself, and this will not make sense to you.

What is Faith? Faith is Proof of the Reality of Jehovah God 

Here are some translations of the Greek in Hebrews 11:1

  • ESV – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
  • Phillips – Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see.
  • KJV – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
  • AMP – NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
  • Holman – Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. Hebrews 11:1walk by faith not sight

Faith is “pistis”


Here is my translation of the Greek, and it is based on the meaning of the original combined with the context, particularly Hebrews 11:6. I see Hebrews 11:1 and 6 intrinsically connected. The two verses are intertwined and explain and complement each other. Faith is not a passive word, but involves two components that complement each other. Remove one or the other and you have no faith. Faith involves “substantiating” and “demonstrating.” And as verse 6 so clearly states, Faith requires a core belief in God and His power and nature, and then a life that demonstrates that belief through diligently seeking after Him!

Faith is the Substantiating of things we hope for, the Demonstrating of things that are unseen

Hebrews-11_1-Faith-Jims-Definition

 

Pistis is “firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality”.[1] I dare say that such a conviction would leave your life unaffected as these verses indicate:

For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Who are being guarded (garrisoned) by God’s power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time. 1 Peter 1:5

FAITH SUBSTANTIATES the UNSEEN AS REALITY!

Faith visualizes God in all His Majesty, Power and Glory just as if you were kneeling before Him in real-time! This is seen in Hebrews 11:27, for Moses  is described as “seeing Him who is invisible.” Faith apprehends as a real fact what is not revealed to the senses. It rests on that fact, acts upon it, and is upheld by it in the face of all that seems to contradict it. Faith is a real seeing[2].

substantiate_from_dictionary_com

Substantiating is “hupóstasis”

hupóstasis means “to place or set under. In general, that which underlies the apparent, hence, reality, essence, substance; that which is the basis of something, hence, assurance guarantee, confidence”[3].

How do you substantiate something?

You do it everyday. A substance is an object, even a sound or perhaps a color. Substantiating means you exercise one of your senses to make an intangible substance real to you.

For example, the color yellow is very real; but if you shut your eyes, the color yellow loses its re

  • ality. It is nothing to you. With your faculty of sight you substantiate yellow. Not only is the color there before you, it is now reality to your consciousness.

Many people believe in UFO’s, but until they can get one and hold it and touch it, there can be no substantiating the reality of UFO’s. I assure you that UFO’s are not going to be found.

However, when it comes to Jesus Christ, we have a very real Savior. The hoped for things of Christ are eternal and therefore real. You have been given only one precious faculty to substantiate them-FAITH. Faith in the Word of God and His Son is the only faculty you can use to substantiate them. Faith makes divine things to become real in your experience. When you rest on God’s faithfulness, faith substantiates to you the unseen things you have as yet barely hoped for!

hebrews11_1Are You a Faith Warrior or Desperate Wimp?

Faith not only substantiates the things hoped for, but it involves demonstrating the unseen as real! You live as though the unseen things are real and visible! This is why multiple times God calls us to walk by faith and not sight. He wants us to live as though we are in His presence and enjoying His 

  • power and deity. When we walk by sight we tend to focus on our abilities and power, and we neglect seeing Him. Only when we can’t handle things do we look up and cry to Him for help. That is not faith, that is desperation, and God does not enjoy being a God of the desperate! He wants to be the God of the Faith walkers! Men and women who walk by faith and are working with Him to overcome the evil of this world! He wants Faith Warriors, not Desperate Wimps!

The Demonstrating of Faith

What in your life reveals that you are walking by sight and therefore failing to demonstrate Faith in our Almighty God?

  1. When you worry about clothes (Matt 6:30-The lily of the valley)
  2. When you fear in a storm (Matt 8:26-on the sea of Galilee)
  3. When we doubt His Word and Power (Matt 14:31-Peter fails to walk to Jesus)
  4. When we fail to see the Power of Jesus to meet our daily needs (Mt 16:8-feeding of 5000)
  5. When we fail to overcome Satan (Matt 17:20-21 – they could not cast out demons)
  6. When we fail to pray (Matt 21:22-Receive what you ask for if ask in faith)
  7. When you give yourself over to bitterness because of loss or hardship. (2 Cor 4:16-18) “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
  8. When we no longer hope in anything from God. (Romans 8:24) For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
  9. When you no longer have great joy in your life. (1 Peter 1:8) Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory

God wants our Faith to move us to be fully vested in Him and what He promises!!

Abraham was fully convinced!

abrahamIn hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:18-22

Faith Empowers us to Endure

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

Faith Rests in the Power of God!

“…that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:5

Foundational Qualities of Power Faith

1. “F” is the only Passing Grade with God

(F)aith – For by it the elders obtained a good report. Hebrews 11:2

Faith in God and His Provision for you is the only way for a Good Report Card!

Good report is “martyreō”. Faith in God and His provision for you has always been the basis for your salvation, your “commendation.” It has never been about your works bringing a smile to God. It has always been about your heart belief and faith commitment to follow Him! There is nothing you can do for God or for anyone that would ever make God “owe you” salvation or any other consideration. The whole point of Hebrews 11 is that Faith in God is the only way to experience the Power of God and in turn the Salvation of God. Faith is all about God and trusting in His abilities and provisions. This is why He gave us His Son as the visible representation of His power and salvation. Even then, people refuse to place their faith in Jesus Christ.

2. Faith begins with Believing Biblical Creation

in-the-beginning-GodThrough faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:3

  1. Why depend on a God whose power you question?
  2. Why depend on someone whose word you doubt?

Appear (are visible in KJV)  is “phaínō”, which means “to appear, to be seen, with the idea of shine forth. It also carries the idea of something suddenly appearing in the sky, like a phenomenon[4]” Matthew uses this word to describe the Star over Bethlehem as well as the appearing of Christ when He returns. Matt. 2:7; 24:27, 30;

Hebrews 11:3 puts the “Big Bang Theory” directly in its cross hairs! This world (things that are seen) was not made out of something that suddenly appeared (are visible). It was created out of nothing by the Word of God!

Look at the Power of David’s Prayer before beginning construction of the Temple…founded upon His firm believe in His Creator God.

Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:10-13

David realized that everything in the heavens and earth was Gods, for He is the Creator! If God is not the Creator, then you really do not need Him. Riches and honor are up to man, power and might is up to man, and there is no need to praise and worship the glorious Name of Jehovah.

If God is not your all-powerful Creator, He will never be your all-powerful King, Lord of all of your life. There will always be a back-door whereby you can go to your own Kingdom where you are lord. Believing in the 7 day Genesis account of the Creation of the world is fundamental to substantiating and demonstrating your faith in this unseen God. I love the Institute in Creation Research and I encourage you to check their site and take their magazine. There is so much proof of the Creation account! ICR.ORG

How to Please God

3. Faith is the only basis of Acceptance by God 
Abel offers blood sacrificeAbel

Only as you walk by faith can you please God. It wasn’t the quality or quantity of his sacrifice whereby God was pleased. No! It was because Abel’s offering was done in faith! Notice carefully what the Bible says:

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness (martyr) that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. Hebrews 11:4

Look how God responded to Cain’s offering. He told him it would be accepted ‘if he did well.’ The phrase refers more to the intrinsic nature of the person offering rather than the offering itself. Combine this with what Hebrews 11:4 states, and we find that God looks at our heart of faith when we do anything for Him. If we ever want to please God, we must have a heart that fully trusts in Him, even through He is invisible!

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it. Genesis 4:7

You do well not because you have to, but because you want to, you have a Covenant Connection with God by faith, just as David referred to:

[DO WELL-yatab] When David prays in Psalm 51:18 “Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion,” he acknowledges that the covenant Lord is the source “of all that is good and pleasing to mankind. This “doing good” is not capricious, but based on the covenant relationship revealed to the patriarchs)[5]

Imagine that Abel’s offering came after a virulent disease wiped out his flock, leaving him with a handful of sheep and goats. With a sorrowful heart he boldly offers his best remaining goat to God, not because he has plenty, but because He is fully trusting God to provide! Our faith is often revealed in the tough times, when our sight is obscured by tears.

Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and his days [seemingly] are prolonged [in his wickedness], yet surely I know that it will be well with those who [reverently] fear God, who revere and worship Him, realizing His continual presence. Ecclesiastes 8:12

Faith is the basis of acceptance by God, the means of pleasing God. You can never hope to please God by what you do, but only by whose your are and in whose Name  you live. Jesus Christ is the only one who ever pleased God. When you place your life unreservedly in Jesus Christ, you exchange your life for His, then you are no longer viewed by God in your sin. You are pleasing to God from that moment for you have “put on” Jesus Christ, and now you are “accepted in the beloved” as Ephesians 1:6 declares.

Enoch_was_fully_vested_in_GodEnoch

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony(martyr), that he pleased God. Hebrews 11:5

How did Enoch please God? To understand this and see why Enoch was taken to heaven without dying, we must see the valuable connection between faith and becoming “fully vested” in God! (Point 5). Understand that Enoch demonstrated a life whose testimony, purpose and reputation was totally intertwined with God by his faith….

4. The Result of Faith is an Eternal Testimony of being “Fully Vested” with God

And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. Hebrews 11:4

Abel still testifies that all those who want to please God must do so with faith in their heart that He is who He says He is.

before his translation he had this testimony (martyr), that he pleased God. Hebrews 11:5

are-you-fully-vested-in-GodEnoch walked and talked as a martyr (testimony) for God. He took God and His Nature personally! His life and interests were one with his God! His life was fully vested in God’s reputation and power on earth! He stood up for God for he was totally with God. You can see his heart revealed in Jude:

It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. Jude 1:14-16

As the Psalmist wrote, His godly ones gladly praise Him and follow Him, even work to bring God’s Justice to the world. When you are fully vested in God, you are the representation of His love as well as His justice and righteousness in the world.

Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the LORD! Psalm 149:6-9

5. Faith is the only Means of Gratifying God by being Fully Vested in Him!

faith5_hebrews_11-6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6

“Fully Vested”

„  held completely, permanently, and inalienably: vested rights.

 “protected or established by law, commitment, tradition, ownership, etc.: vested contributions to a fund.”

Faith is the only way to please (gratify) God! „ Faith demonstrates the reality of your being in God and depending upon God! Faith makes you fully vest your life in God and His reputation and power. Walking in and by faith means you are walking and living in and by God, not by your own strength!

” Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:8

Hebrews 11:6 complements the substantiating and demonstrating of Hebrews 11:1. Here we see how verse one changes our life by vesting everything in Him! The two points of verse one become the two things you must do in order to please God by your faith in verse 6.

Believe that God is1.)   You Must believe God IS

The idea is not merely that God exists as a rewarder, but that He will prove Himself to be a rewarder of that person who diligently seeks Him. As Vincent puts it: “He who approaches God has, through faith, the assurance that his seeking God will result in good to himself.”

This is not an academic belief, but one that grows from being fully vested in Him! This is reflected in your heart, your mind and your actions. Do you believe in an unseen Deity that watches you and who is eternal and powerful. Do you have faith to believe that He is powerful enough to work in your life?

„ The-What---the-way-into-the-love-of-GodHow does your Heart reflect your belief that God is?
  • Do you have dirty thoughts, hatred of others, wicked plotting, desire for revenge, bitterness over events?
  • Then you do not believe God is, for you would give those thoughts to Him, and trust in His providence and justice.
  • If God is, then you surrender your rights and will to Him
„The-So-What---learn-with-your-head How does your Mind reflect your belief that God is?
  • Do you rely on yourself?
  • Are you always thinking about yourself?
  • Are you normally selfish and motivated by what is good for you?
  • Always excusing the way you live being contrary to what God’s Word says?
  • Neglect to meditate on God’s Word?
„ The-Now-what_learning_by_doingHow do your hands reflect your belief that God is?
  • Are they selfish?
  • Do they steal?
  • Do they give to others?
  • Do they react in anger, fear, even striking others?
2.)    You Must believe God is a Rewarder who is worth seeking with all you have.

The words “diligently seek” are literally “seek Him out,” the prefixed preposition being local in its force in this translation. But those who seek Him out are diligently seeking Him, and here we have the perfective use of the preposition. Vincent says in this connection: “God’s beneficient will and attitude toward the seeker are not always apparent at the first approach. In such cases there is occasion for faith, in the face of delay, that diligent seeking will find its reward. One is reminded of Jesus’ lessons on importunity in seeking God (Luke 11:5-10, 18:1-8)”[6]

The only way to have Faith and be fully Vested in God is through Jesus Christ!

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

  • Jesus is the archēgos – leader, captain, founder of our faith.

Christ is the leader or captain of faith, in that he is the perfecter of faith.Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Hebrews 12:2”.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

  • Jesus is the “teleiōtēn” “to carry through completely, to finish, to make perfect or complete.”[7]

If you want to please God, you do so in faith, from faith and by faith. Faith empowers you to be fully vested in this invisible Creator God. Faith demonstrates a heart, mind and life that is fully vested in God and all that He is, regardless of how your life plays out, for your know that He is fully capable of rewarding your faith and commitment.

Don’t be like those frogs

Three-frogs-ridingNow, are you going to be like those frogs and sit there on that lily pad, professing your decision to jump? Or you actually going to leap off and into this mighty God, and demonstrate with your life the power of this unseen God.

Heart, Head and Hand considerations…
  • „ Heart=God is a rewarder of all those who seek after Him
  • „ Head=Good report is obtained not by what you do, but your substantiating in your life the truth and power of God by demonstrating through your life your trust in Him
  • „ Hands=Put on Jesus each and every day by faith, and serve others in the power of His name.
    • You offer your life in faith. You profess your testimony without reservation before your friends and acquaintances.
    • You continue to use your hands to diligently seek after God, knowing that He will reward the work of your hands, as long as they are working in the Faith of Jesus Christ!

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1162.

[2] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Hebrews Chapter 11”.

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “hupóstasis”.

[4] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1434.

[5] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “863: ‏יָטַב‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” ‏מֵיטָב‎, 863a”.

[6] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 198.

[7] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 214.


Making decisions in the dark can lead to some regrettable consequences. Back in the days before electricity, a tight-fisted old farmer was taking his hired man to task for carrying a lighted lantern when he went to call on his best girl. “Why,” he exclaimed, “when I went a-courtin’ I never carried one of them things. I always went in the dark.” “Yes,” the hired man said wryly,” and look what you got!”

Have you ever held your Bible in you hand and thought, there is no way I can understand this! There is simply too much in here. How can I even begin to understand it all? I must admit, it seems every week I am thinking exactly that. I keep bringing my thoughts back to this one thought: The Bible is not a history book, it is not an anthropology book, it is not even a religious guidebook. The Bible is the message of God seeking and redeeming men women and children who see His light and respond to His light and walk in His light. That is why so little of the history of the world is not mentioned in the Bible. That is why it is not organized into neat chronological stories. It isn’t about what we can figure out with our little brains. It is all about God and His light. The Bible is written to move us to seek His light.

For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down. For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. Psalms 18:27-28

Of course we can’t understand it all! But does that mean we give up reading it, loving it? I will never completely understand my wife. Does that mean I give up trying?

We seek after the light because we love the light! Do you sincerely want the light of God in your life?

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Psalms 36:9

This Christmas we are focusing on the “True Light” of Christmas, the birth of our Savior, God in flesh, Jesus Christ. He is the “True Light” of Christmas.

As our world becomes increasingly secular, there will be the danger of relegating Jesus to a display, a manger scene, when in reality HE desires no other recognition than to be Lord of your heart and life. He desires to be your light and life. He does not want to be trotted out every December. He does not want to be honored just on Christmas Eve. Jesus desires to light your life every day of your life. That will take a commitment on your part, a commitment which Satan will do everything in his power to obstruct.

The Scriptural foundation for our study this morning.

  • Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
  • As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. John 9:5
  • …whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness“. John 12:45-46
  • 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. 2 Corinthians 4:4
  • That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Ephesians 1:17-19

John in Chapter one of his Gospel declared that Jesus is the True Light, and His light is the life of men, and darkness will not overcome it. However, that does not mean that the darkness does not try. In fact, a survey of history reveals how the darkness has tried to obliterate the true light.

At the very time, John wrote his gospel there was a falling away from Jesus Christ. People were questioning the deity of Jesus Christ in the flesh. They were saying that He only became God when the Spirit came upon Him at his baptism.

That is why He was inspired to write:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

After a beautiful gospel that presents Jesus Christ in His deity, John concludes with this assurance:

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31

However, he questions continued and grew more intense. The doubts about the deity of Jesus spread. Many years later John wrote once more, offering his personal assurance:

In I John:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:1-7

He adds the weight of his own testimony, and bears witness to the life and light of God manifested to the disciples through the Son-Jesus Christ. John declares that the message that Jesus proclaimed to him was that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Our fellowship with God MUST be based on our walk in His light. If we walk in darkness, we have no fellowship with God. But praise God, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, so that we can walk with God in His light!

That is why John concludes His book with an even greater declaration than that which closed out his gospel. Not only can we have Life in Jesus Christ, but also John declares:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. … We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:13-21

  • Are you really desiring to be in God’s purpose;
  • Do you really seek to know what that purpose is, and to be found in it?
  • Everything depends upon whether you have such a concern. Your desire will determine whether you are simply here to increasing your knowledge about spiritual things or whether you are here because of your strong desire to be in God’s purpose, the eternal purpose of God.
  • Are you prepared to commit yourselves to the Lord and to living completely according to His purpose?

From the very beginning God has sought people to fellowship with Him, to walk with Him. However, because God is light, fellowship could only be in the light of His righteousness. For in Him is no darkness at all.

ADAM & EVE

God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening.

However, Adam and Eve loved darkness, and chose to rebel. Their fellowship was lost, their eyes were changed. Now instead of seeing only the light, they saw darkness. Their eyes were blinded by the darkness of sin.

God responds with Abel and the altar. The altar dealt with the darkness of sin and allowed the Light of God into their relationship.

Cain ignored the light and offered that which was cursed. His blindness then led him to murder his brother.

From their experience, we conclude this foundational truth of our relationship with God.

  1. Fellowship with God is only possible through the light
  2. Fellowship is only possible through the removal of the curse of sin.
  3. The removal of the curse requires a sacrifice.

These truth’s are confirmed as we trace the history of the conflict between darkness and God’s Light

From Abel to Noah

From Abel to Noah the darkness becomes more intense and deliberate. The earth – which is the Lord’s – is taken possession of by man for his own ends.

God says, “you like darkness?” How would you like 40 days and 40 nights of rain? Every living creature is destroyed except those saved by the ark.

Emerging from the judgment, Noah builds an altar and offers sacrifice, and in so doing declares, in intent and effect: “The earth” (the renewed earth) “is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (Ps. 24:1).

God has fellowship with man again. Light is returned to the world through the altar. Sin was judged by the death of the flood.

However, darkness returns all too soon. Even Noah is an agent when he gets drunk.

Babel

Babel is built by men desperate for a god of their own making, desperate to prevent a future judgment. Babel is cursed by God, and under that curse men are scattered to the four corners of the earth. Then, when, it would appear that the testimony of God has disappeared from the earth, God finds a man willing to obey Him, willing to follow the light.

Abraham

Abraham responds to God’s call. “The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia” or (when he was in darkness) – (Acts 7:2).

The God of glory APPEARED, showed Himself. Abraham had his eyes opened to see the God of glory and all the great redemptive work of God went forward through Abraham on that basis.

Their fellowship was secured when Abraham is willing to sacrifice his own son to Jehovah. The altar is once again in view, and Abraham walks in the light of God, and a new nation of God followers begins.

Israel in Egypt

God remembers his people in bondage in Egypt. In the light of the burning bush, God calls Moses to deliver them and lead them to God’s Promised Land.

God once again sets forth the Altar. In the midnight darkness of Egyptian homes a wail is heard as the angel of death slays all the firstborn males. Yet in the Jewish homes, there is the light of God, for He has seen the blood and passed over them.

His people are redeemed and led across the Red Sea on dry ground.

God leads them with fire. He has fellowship with them in the Tent of Testimony.

The Conquest of Palestine

Next, we have His people led by Joshua who is following the Captain of the Hosts. Their very entrance into the Promised Land must be across the Jordan River, which symbolizes death in both the Old and New Testaments. Once they cross, an altar is made as a monument. It symbolizes the death of the Jews to their flesh and sin and their new life of fellowship with the light of God. Their very first victories reveal that this is to be God’s battle, in God’s strength, under God’s Laws. If they go their own way or rely on their own strength, they will suffer judgment and defeat!

Judges and Kings

From here commences the long and infamous history of Israel’s descent into darkness. What had been intended to be a Kingdom of God and God’s light became a nightmare of the darkness of sin. Repeatedly they departed and deviated from God’s light.

Even though sacrifices were made, the heart of the people was dark and far from God.

God stirred men to bring His people back, men such as Hezekiah and Josiah. However, the heart of the entire nation was never stirred back to the light of God’s word. When the leader died, the apostasy set in and deepened.

First the Northern and then the Southern Kingdoms were captured and led into captivity. The nation was obliterated, the Temple, the Altar were destroyed. The darkness appears to have overcome the light of God.

Yet God reveals His light through Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They are faithful to the light of God; they sacrifice their lives to him on the altar of fire and lions. After Daniels prayer, God moves in a handful of remnant, people who still look to the light of God.

We read about this remnant in Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah. It is a great time of revival and restoration, but the darkness creeps back.

Malachi

There is more apostasy, rebellion, until we get the terrible conditions recorded in Malachi, leading up to the awful announcement:

You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Malachi 3:9

How black and dark things were! Were they ever worse? Yet God is not defeated; the light is not obscured; for, in the midst of the blackness, there is that which represents the most blessed victory:

Then they that feared Jehovah spoke often one to another; and Jehovah observed [it], and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared Jehovah, and that thought upon his name. 17 And they shall be unto me a peculiar treasure, saith Jehovah of hosts, in the day that I prepare; and I will spare them as a man spared his own son that serves him. Malachi 3:16-17

Malachi closes, and for four hundred years, there is darkness and chaos. Surely now the testimony has ceased and faithfulness has disappeared? Surely now the Lord has lost everything? The darkness has conquered the light?

LUKE

Now we take up the book that Luke wrote to his friend Theophilus. Luke brings into our view a certain priest

Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth

“And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. Luke 1:6

We also find Mary, to whom the angel Gabriel said:

“Thou that are endued with grace, the Lord is with thee”. Luke 1:28

There was also Simeon and Anna:

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. Luke 2:25-32

And there was one Anna, a prophetess… she… spoke of him to ALL THEM THAT WERE LOOKING for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36, 38.

Even in the midst of great darkness, God has always had a faithful remnant who seeks HIS LIGHT! Listen to their Witness:

  • Zechariah:  “because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79
  • Mary: “And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. Luke 1:50
  • Simeon: “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”.Luke 2:31-32

Throughout history, no matter how deep the darkness, no matter the degree of blindness, there has been a remnant, a peculiar treasure, a group of jewels who have sought the light of God! Even when there has been no written revelation, they have seen that

1. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5)

2. The Kingdom of God is the rule of Divine light.

In the New Jerusalem, the heaven in which we shall one day dwell, it is recorded:

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. Revelation 21:23-25

Birth of Jesus – FOCAL POINT OF CONFLICT

The Birth of Jesus was the revelation of God’s Light in human form. However, what made His light so intense, so beautiful, was that the manger they laid Jesus upon represented the altar that God requires for us to walk in His light.

For Jesus was not born to reign as a King, or Serve as a Priest, He was born to die. He was born to deal for once and for all the mighty deathblow to the prince of darkness.

While we sing of Peace and Silent Nights, the birth of Jesus was a focal point of intense conflict. For God has been set against the darkness from the very creation.

God has always attacked the Darkness

Genesis 1 opens with “Darkness upon the face of the deep”. God did not just look at that darkness and call out in a soft voice: ‘Let us have some light.’ I believe that God attacked the darkness by boldly declaring ‘Let there be light!’ Darkness is contrary to my nature.

In 2 Corinthians 4:4, listen to the stern tone of Paul’s voice as he cries out:

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4

This darkness is the work of the devil, and God is adamantly against it.

The Redemptive message of God’s Word is that the Light will overcome the darkness through the altar, through sacrifice, through removal of the curse!

Jesus declared this about Abraham to the Jews:

“Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” John 8:56

The Jews were in darkness, their eyes blind to the truth of Jesus, and took up stones to kill Jesus. They refused the light of God, just as their fathers had before them, and their fathers before that.

Abraham saw the light of Jesus Christ!

Satan does not want our eyes open to see the True Light of Jesus Christ. He wants us to relegate him to a pretty story, a beautiful manger scene. However, God wants us to see the conflict that is raging between the darkness and the True Light.

This conflict is ever at our door, for by nature we love the darkness rather than the light. Look at God’s own people to see how easily they became blind to God!

Where do you stand? Where does your family stand? Are you with the faithful remnant? Are you ever looking to the True Light of God? Are you daily dying on the altar, the altar of death to the flesh, the altar of death to sin?

Are you daily looking to the True Light by looking to His Word, by seeking His light in prayer?

On the other hand, are you so rushed at Christmas time that Satan has stolen the True Light from your life. Are you so busy and stressed that you have no time for the True Light?

The supreme work of Satan is not to get good people to do bad things, not to drag good people into the cesspool of sin, nor does he drag young men and women into moral corruption, nor does he make infidels and atheists. These are only byproducts of Satan’s supreme work! His supreme work is to blind us!

Take away the blindness, open our eyes to the True Light, and all this will be dealt with. Satan wants to keep us in the dark as to the True Light! The True Light is the most fatal thing to the kingdom of Satan. Paul put it simply:

“LEST the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ should shine.”

Satan says:

‘If those people get the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, MY kingdom is gone. The battle is over for me. I am lost.’

Satan will do anything to keep us from having light.

This is why Paul prays in Ephesians that the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened. The darkness is ever around us.

Paul mentioned those who are “darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” Ephesians 4:18

You may be thinking, ‘Well, we are not in the dark. We are saved people.’

  • That is exactly what the Jews were thinking. What happened to their Temple? What happened to their Holy City?
  • That is exactly what the seven churches were saying, yet every one of their candlesticks is removed today. Today Turkey is covered with the darkness of Satan.

If we want to keep walking in the True Light, we must realize it will only come with sacrifice and conflict. Satan is opposed to the light!

Divine light is POSITIVE.

You cannot have Divine light and be neutral. If God has shined into your heart to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,

Your life is a challenge to the kingdom of Satan, and his attitude to you will be: ‘We will get you out as soon as we can!’

You will find that Satan will stop at nothing to quench that light. You see, Jesus being the True Light of Christmas is not just a pretty story or Bible theory;

It is a menace to the kingdom of Satan.

Are you walking in the True Light of Jesus Christ? Then your very existence disturbs the kingdom of Satan.

Isaiah 60:1-2

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you and his glory will be seen upon you.

We love seeing the Nativity scene. We use it to decorate our homes. We even set them up in our front yard. But understand this. That was no simple manger that nestled the head of baby Jesus. That manger was the altar of sacrifice, the means of our fellowship with the Light of God. It was the means of the defeat of sin and Satan. That manger meant the death of God’s only begotten Son.

1. We must constantly be on guard against the darkness entering our life.

2. Realize that Satan’s number one goal is to bring dullness and/or darkness into your life, so that the Word of God has no effect.

3. Disobedience, disregard, doubt, distraction all work to dull our eyes to the light of God’s Word.

4. The Light of God only enters our life through the altar. We must die to our desires, we must lay aside our pride, we must humble ourselves to God’s sovereign will.

5. We must desire the Light of God’s Word more than Life itself.

6. We must daily seek the Light of God’s Word! We must ask for it! We must set our heart upon it!


cainThe first Elder Brother mentioned in the Bible was Cain. Cain provides a picture of typical  Elder Brothers. They tend to be hands on. They are not dreamers watching the flock, but have to get their hands dirty at whatever they are doing. They just have to stay busy. Elder Brothers are stubborn. They think their way is best and do not take criticism well. Elder brothers are proud of their accomplishments. They resent it when someone questions what they have done, or implies that it isn’t very good (they REALLY resent back seat drivers). Elder Brothers are not very generous. They tend to count pennies. Elder Brothers also allow their passions to get the best of them, and often get angry. Sure, they usually justify and even deny their anger, but they get angry nonetheless.

Cain Kills AbleSuch was Cain, a hard worker, stubborn, proud, stingy and given to anger. He didn’t see himself that way, until God confronted him. Then he saw himself as the sinful man that he was. How did God deal with him? He struck him where it would hurt the most:

No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.” Genesis 4:12

He struck him at his pride of accomplishment, that which the Elder Brother values above everything else. Elder Brothers love to be seen as accomplished, successful, worth something. Cain would no longer have good crops, he would no longer have easy success, he would no longer have a nice home to invite people to. He would forever be a wanderer.

Cain protested that this was too much to bear, that people would try to kill him. So God put a mark on Cain, to serve as a warning of judgment to anyone who killed him.

Cain - Unicorn ManHave you ever wondered what that mark was? I have. The Jewish Rabbi’s have some wild theories about the mark. The one I like best is from Rabbi Joseph who says it was a long horn growing out of his head! Picture Hellboy with only one horn.

As an Elder Brother who has experienced the DISCIPLINING Hand of God, I think I know. Whatever this mark looked like, it showed Cain’s BROKENNESS. Elder Brothers can only experience a relationship with the Father if they have been truly broken. How do I know Cain was broken? He named his first born son Enoch or Chanoch which signifies “instructed, dedicated, or initiated, especially in sacred things.” It may be considered some proof of Cain’s repentance, that he appears to have dedicated this son to God (Adam Clarke)

Cain could no longer have anything he might boast in, that his hands had made or grown. But he did have a son. Instead of boasting in his son, Broken Cain dedicated him to God. This is what brokenness will produce, and what Elder Brothers must experience if they are to know the Father’s heart. They must realize that nothing they have or have done is worth anything unless they give it to God! The Father is the source of ALL BLESSINGS, and a broken Elder Brother will know that, and give thanks!

Father: Reveal those things in my life that I am proud of, and that I am holding onto as MY accomplishment. Allow me to let go, and give them to you. May I share in the brokennes of your Son, my True Elder Brother.