Posts Tagged ‘Worship’


True Thanksgiving

In 1983 I took a trip to Turkey sponsored by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, OPIC. It was a government sponsored trip to seek investment opportunities in Turkey. My last night I spent in Izmir having dinner with my interpreter and a business owner interested in doing business in America. They ordered for me and out came this huge Black Sea Bass (whole) sitting upright on a potato concoction. I ate the fish, but that night I got deathly sick, so sick I missed my early morning flight to Istanbul.

That fish gave me nightmares for several months, because it meant that I had to rent a car and drive 600 kilometers through at least three military check points, in unfamiliar towns and then into Istanbul late at night trying to find a place to stay. It was an exciting and terrifying experience to say the least. That is why I don’t like eating whole fish to this day.

Jonah Eats Fish at Thanksgiving

The book of Jonah relates a story that you are all familiar with, of a man who tried to run away from God’s will, and ended up being swallowed by a giant fish. Now if I had problems eating fish after my experience, I can just see Jonah being afraid to get on a ship or even go near the ocean or a lake. Every time he would hear a splash I can just see him running for cover.

But when I read what he wrote in chapter 2, I know that isn’t the case. In fact from the Psalm he wrote, I know that every Thanksgiving, Jonah would eat the biggest fish he could get.

Jonah 2:1-10 (ESV)

1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2 saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. 3 For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. 4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ 5 The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head 6 at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. 7 When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. 8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. 9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” 10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

How did Jonah come to experience True Thanksgiving in the belly of the Great Fish?

1. Remember God (even when your life stinks)

Jonah:

The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever;

Jonah sunk to the bottom of the sea. He saw where the mountains started. He was being choked by seaweed, he was losing consciousness.

He remembered God and cried out.

He thought he could run away from God, but Jonah realized that God was there, even when he was rescued by the fish.

Prodigal Son

He was lying down in pig slop, which if you ever smell will cause you to quit eating bacon for a long while.

Even there he realized he needed his Father. Even in that stench he remembered the love his father had even for servants.

2. Realize God is your only hope of steadfast love.

Remember the song “Looking for Love in all the wrong places?” It is so true for most people. Adam and Eve had all the love they could want, and it wasn’t good enough.

King David had all the women, all the wealth, all the power he could ever want, and it wasn’t good enough. He got into a mess of trouble because he committed adultery with another man’s wife, and then had him killed to cover it up.

We see this today…people making stupid decisions for the hope of love. People’s lives ruined because of choices, choices they think will bring them love, excitement, acceptance.

Jonah made a decision to run away from God rather than witness to some terrible enemies. He put himself and his selfish desires before God. He hoped he could get away from God.

What are you hoping in? Are you running away from God? Are you avoiding Him and hoping He goes away? Are you facing difficulties in your life today because of poor choices in the past?

Let me assure you, even though you are trapped in a stinky mess, being tossed to and fro, facing hardship after hardship, there is a Creator God who made you, knew every one of your poor choices, knew every one of your sins, and yet He desires to take you in his arms and cover you with His steadfast love.

Jonah discovered that God still loved him when he was at the bottom of the sea, breating his last breath. He discovered God’s love when he was in the belly of the great fish. Seaweed and fish guts were all over him. I can’t imagine the stink. Yet God’s steadfast love was there.

What is the secret to discovering God’s steadfast love even though you are covered in rotten seaweed and stinky fish guts? Jonah discovered it, but Paul reveals how we get there, covered in guts and stench:

Romans 1:21-23 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

NOT EXPERIENCING GOD’S LOVE?

So if you are wondering why you are not experiencing God’s steadfast love in the midst of your trials and hardships, understand what is preventing you from experiencing God’s steadfast love:

A.You have a problem honoring God.

Whatever you believe about the great men who founded this nation, it is super evident in 95% of their writings that they lived their lives with a principle that is missing in our leaders today. Our founding Fathers honored God as Sovereign God over the affairs of men. They realized God has the final say so in our lives.

B.You have a problem allowing God into your life.

Not only do we not honor God’s sovereignty, but we fail to give thanks to him in every aspect of our lives. We thank him for the rain, we thank him for winning the lottery, we thank him for food. Do we thank him when we lose our job. Do we thank him when we lose a loved one? Do we thank him when our friends turn against us?

Paul says that when we fail to honor God and allow Him ownership of all that happens in our lives (by giving thanks) our hearts become darkened and our minds become futile (or wasted or stupid) in our thinking. We exchange the glory of God for something stupid like a woman, a car, a job, a house, anything we put before God and say this is mine!

On November 11, 1620, Governor William Bradford and the leaders on the Mayflower signed the Mayflower Compact before setting foot on land. They wanted to acknowledge God’s sovereignty in their lives and their need to obey Him. The Mayflower Compact was America’s first great constitutional document and is often called “The American Covenant.”

Life was hard in the New World. Out of 103 Pilgrims, 51 of these died in the first terrible winter. After the first harvest was completed, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer. By 1623, a day of fasting and prayer during a period of drought was changed to one of thanksgiving because the rain came during their prayers. The custom prevailed in New England and eventually became a national holiday.

3. Return your life to God

Have you given God ownership of your life?

It is one thing to say God is sovereign, but it is quite another to allow Him to be sovereign over all of your life, family and possessions. Can you honestly say that God is in control of everything in your life? Is there anything in your life that you are trying to keep control of, apart from what God may want to do? If you found yourself in the belly of a fish, covered with fish guts and seaweed, would you worship God’s sovereignty over your life, or would you be screaming “Get me out of here!”

From (AW PINK, SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD)

  • „ The sovereignty of God! What do we mean by the expression of the Sovereignty of God?
  • „ We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the Godhood of God.
  • „ To say that God is sovereign is to declare that God is God.
  • „ To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest Thou? (Daniel 4:35).
  • „ To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purposes, or resist His will (Psalms 115:3).
  • „ To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Psalms 22:28), setting up kingdoms, over-throwing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleases Him best.
  • „ To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords” (1Timothy 6:15).

How do you return your life to Sovereign God?

A. Confess and declare that GOD is SOVEREIGN OWNER OF YOUR LIFE.

  • When you declare that God is sovereign over your life, you affirm His right to govern your life, your world, your family just as He pleases, because you were made for His Glory.
  • You affirm that He is the potter and you are the clay: that He may mould you into whatever form He chooses.
  • You affirm that God is under no rule or law outside His own will and nature, and that He is under no obligation to give an account of His decisions to you are anyone else.

Jonah discovered he could not get away from the sovereignty of God. So Job made a decision to accept the Sovereignty of God over his life. When he did, when Jonah prayed with thanksgiving in his heart, Jonah experienced the most amazing miracle. He experienced the love of God in the most horrible of circumstances.

B. Sacrifice with Thanksgiving (todah)

Jonah 2:9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!”

Discovered the power of tôdah Thanksgiving![1]

Psalm 42:4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

There are two pictures presented by “TODAH”

1. ADMIT

Tôdah has a deeper meaning than simply thanksgiving or gratitude:

At its core, todah is to admit.What a concept! The gist of thanks is to admit – but what are we admitting to? When we say tôdah, we are admitting that we are lacking and that someone else is giving to us. We are admitting that we could not do something alone. We are admitting that you helped us accomplish something. We are admitting, that we have been given “more than [our] rightful share” thanks to God![2]

This is why Joshua told Achan to confess to what he had done by admitting and confessing the Glory of God over his life.„

Joshua 7:19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise (todah) to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

The psalmist pictures the need to confession in proclaiming thanksgiving unto God:„

Psalm 26:6-7 I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O LORD, proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds.

To give “todah” to God always involves a sacrifice or offering on your part. You give your life to God. You allow Him to own your life. Admit it to Him!

2 Chronicles 29:31 Then Hezekiah said, Now you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord; come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord. And the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings, and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.

Jonah had to sacrifice his will, his pride, his prejudices against the Ninevites, and admit that he needed to follow God, he needed the provision of God and yes, he needed the sovereignty of God over his life!

2. WORSHIP LOUD!

“Todah” pictures thanksgiving to God so great that you start shouting and singing at the top of your voice!

Picture a huge Choir Singing thundering Songs of Praise, accompanied by a huge orchestra. Can you hear the SHOUTS of thanksgiving! When Nehemiah dedicated the wall he had all the leaders get on the wall and had a huge assembly of Levites playing instruments and singing praises to God.

Nehemiah 12:27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres.

Nehemiah 12:31 Then I brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall and appointed two great choirs that gave thanks. One went to the south on the wall to the Dung Gate.

Two great choirs were on opposite sides, with the rest of the people in the middle. It was like the battle of the choirs, each one trying to praise God louder than the other. It was the ultimate thanksgiving celebration!

Are you experiencing true Thanksgiving this year? I am not speaking of “blessings” or anything you can attribute to what you have done. Millions of families celebrate a thanksgiving based upon how fortunate they have been, or how much they have because of good luck and hard work.

I want you to experience True TODAH Thanksgiving.

Todah Thanksgiving happens no matter how messed up your life is!

Remember…Realize…Return…Admit and Worship.

Believers

If you have already been born again, take this time to examine your life, and remember God and His sovereignty. If you have gotten away from Him by putting other things first, Realize that He is the only source of genuine love. Return your life to Him, Admit your need for him and lay your life on the altar and say God do as you wish with my life. Then Worship Him Loud. Don’t be shy, don’t be afraid your friends will hear. WORSHIP LOUD!

Lost in sin

Remember, life is a journey, and no matter where you are in your journey, God is there. Realize that He loves you even with all of your rebellion and ugliness and stench.

Run to your creator God, just like the Prodigal Son ran home.

Admit you need God, that you have made a mess of your life through your pride and sin and rebellion. Admit you need Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Worship God by believing that He has your life, that the blood of Jesus has cleansed you and made you right with God.

Allow your Worship to be with you whole life, with your whole voice, Constantly give thanks and praise to God out LOUD! Allow the light of Jesus Christ to break through the darkness over your heart.

John 3:17-19 (NKJV) 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Do you love darkness rather than God’s light? Have you accepted the stink of your sinful, rebellious life? Wake up and take a good sniff! It is time for you to cry out with Jonah: Salvation is of the Lord.”


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

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5. Jesus Christ is Lord of all – especially Angels

  • Simply because Jesus is positioned above all does not guarantee He will be worshiped as Lord over all.
  • The Holy Spirit wants us to wrap our hearts around the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the view of Him upon the Throne!
  • The Holy Spirit wants Christ enthroned within our life, so that our living is centered upon His Majesty!

Why does the Holy Spirit consider this truth so important?

The teaching of Hebrews one should be obvious to everyone, right? But people through the ages tend to worship something or someone rather that Jesus Christ. Either they feel He is out of reach, that they must use an intermediary (as the Catholics & Orthodox Church with their ‘saints and icons’), or that He is just a “super angel” (as the Mormons and Muslims believe).

A. Consider the Jewish View of Angels

Galatians 3:19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

Now the old covenant was brought to man and maintained by angelic mediation. The angels ministered between God and men to carry on the work of the old covenant. The Jews knew this and consequently believed in angels. Some of them believed in angels to such a degree that they actually worshiped angels.

B. This Developed into Heretical Worship

How do we know? By Paul’s letter to the Colossians

Colossians 2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,

Paul’s statement in Colossians 2:18 shows that the self-appointed teachers at Colossae taught a doctrine of “false humility and the worship of angels.” But the pagan Greeks had no concept of angels. This is a tenet of Judaism and became further corrupted into the heresy of Gnosticism. Gnosticism (along with many other things), involved the worship of angels. Gnostics reduced Jesus Christ to an angel.

The tenor of the false doctrine at Colossae was that the Colossians were not complete in Christ (Colossians 2:8-9 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,) and needed to approach God through angelic beings. Since the angels are much inferior to the Supreme God, the Colossians would have to lower their sights, so to speak, by approaching angels first!

The basic thought seems to have been the Christian’s need to reach beyond Christ to a Supreme God through the mediation of angelic beings. These beings were of lower standing on the ascending scale to ultimate truth. Therefore the believers who sought to reach God directly or through one mediator, Christ, were presumptuous and needed a measure of self-abasement that would enable them to begin lower down on the scale. They could seek gradual completeness by invoking the mediation of lower, but more readily accessible, beings. This self-imposed humility, along with the active neglect of the body, would enhance their spirituality and their quest for completeness.

Paul’s evaluation of the Colossian heresy was that it did not amount to true humility, as they had thought, but to a type of pride and carnality — a mere “appearance of wisdom” (2:23) — that was denying the significance of Christ.

Paul corrected this heresy by stressing that all believers were members of the Body of Christ, who is the Head. Since Christ had triumphed over all “powers and authorities” (2:15), the members of Christ’s Body did not need anything beyond Christ.

So Chapter one is important to frame your view of Who Jesus Christ is, and how He relates to your faith walk!

  • Jesus is the Communicator of God’s Message to you
  • Jesus is the Creator who maintains this world through the power of His Word.
  • Jesus is the Conqueror, having purified this world.
  • Jesus is the one who is crowned as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

6. Scriptural Proof that Jesus Surpasses the Angels and is Worthy of ALL Worship

The Writer provides us five Scriptural Proofs that Jesus is better than angels. He quotes seven Old Testament verses as He weaves this truth into the New Testament,

Jesus Christ surpasses the angels in His Title, His Worship, His Nature, His Eternity, and His Destiny!

A. His TITLE (vs 4,5)

Hebrews 1:5 a more excellent name … for to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten (gegennēka– become your Father) you?” Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son?”

Jesus is better than angels, because He has a better name. To what angel did God ever say “you are my Son, this day have I begotten thee?”

1)    No angel was ever called “my Son”.

The idea in the words, “I have begotten thee” are “I have begotten thee to kingly dignity.” The reference is not to entrance into life, but to entrance to an office. The Messianic reference is to the Son’s resurrection (Acts 13:33), and to the declaration of the Father with reference to the character of the Son as Son of God, this declaration being substantiated by the resurrection of the Son (Rom. 1:4). But the writer reminds his readers that such statements were never made of angels.[1]

Acts 13:33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “ ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’

Romans 1:4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

2)    No Angel was ever “Begotten”

This is clarified in Hebrews 1:6 when He states:

Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

3)    Jesus Christ is prōtótokos[2]

This is a reference to Christ’s position not just the moment of His birth (time). It is a reference to right and authority. Jesus was the ONLY begotten Son of God. He was the only one whom God declared to be His Son, His prototokos!

Example of Jacob & Esau

There were two brothers in the Old Testament, one was named Jacob, and one was named Esau. Who was the oldest? Esau. Who was the prototokos? Jacob. Jacob was the prototokos. Esau was the oldest.

Example of Reuben

Genesis 49 tells us about the character of prototokos and what it means.

Genesis 49:3, “Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellence of dignity, the excellence of power.”

Jesus is the strength, the excellence of dignity and power of God. Prototokos is not a time word; it is a right to rule word. It’s an authority word. And Jesus Christ is the prototokos in the sense that He has the right to rule.

Colossians 1:18, “And He is the head of the church, the body, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead.”

John 3: 16 says that Jesus is the only begotten, but uses “monogenes” –the only one of that class (gene). Jesus is totally unique, the only gene, the only one.

John alone uses monogenés to describe the relation of Jesus to God the Father, presenting Him as the unique one, the only one (mónos) of a class or kind (génos), in the discussion of the relationship of the Son to the Father[3]

B. His Worship (vs 6)

Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Because of His Position as the Only, the Unique, the First in position Son of God, Jesus is greater because of the Worship that is given to Him.

“And again when He bringeth in the prototokos into the world He saith let all the angels of God worship Him.”

Now the world here is not the common word for world, it’s the word for inhabited earth. Now in the mind of God Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. But as far as the Angels were concerned, the Begotten Jesus was a new thing. They did not quite understand. They had to be told to worship Jesus.

The word for world does not refer to ‘kosmos’ or creation.  It is the Greek ‘oikoumenēn’ which means the inhabited earth. Jesus was not declared the first begotten until the earth was already inhabited.

When the Angels sang at His birth, they were not worshipping Him. Listen to what they sang: Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. The angels did not quite understand what was going on. Peter writes:

1 Peter 1:10-12 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

The angels did not worship the Christ, for at that time He was made a little lower than them. Oh, I’m sure there were some who worshiped  like Gabriel, but the Bible says the Angels were like the prophets, standing on their “tippy toes” looking at Jesus and trying to figure out what was going on.

But the time will come when they will understand. That day is revealed in Revelation 5:

Here we see God sitting on the throne, holding a scroll which is the “Title Deed” to the earth. No one is found who is worthy to take the Title Deed and judge the Earth, and restore it to Creator God.  John starts to weep uncontrollably.

Revelation 5:5 But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then the Lamb steps forward and takes the scroll and opens the seals. He has gained to right, power and authority to return to the Earth and take possession of it, and to right the curse.

Look at what happens with the angels next:

Revelation 5:11-12 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”.

The angels say “oh, we understand now, and they immediately burst out in worship and praise!

This is angelic worship

Revelation 5:13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Revelation 5:14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

That’s the Amen corner of heaven, those four living creatures.

God commands His angels to worship Him. And if God, in the Old Testament (Psalm 97:7 All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods!), commanded the angels to worship His Son, then His Son is God.

C. Jesus is Greater because of His Nature (vs 9)

Luke 24:27 refers to the conversation Jesus had with the two disciples walking to Emmaus. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures OT, “the things concerning Himself.”

There is no way that anyone, Jew or Gentile, will ever understand the Old Testament until he understands it in terms of Jesus Christ.

John 5:39 records a statement made by Jesus in the Temple, as He looked upon the Pharisees making a show of reading through the Old Testament. “Search the Scriptures.” (OT) “For in them ye think ye have eternal life and they are they which testify of me.”

Jesus lets everyone know that the Old Testament testifies of Him!

Jesus is also the theme of the New Testament. John gives us the purpose of the writing of his book, in John 20:31, “But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you might have life through His name.”

So both the Old Testament and the New Testament have as their theme, the person of Jesus Christ.

  • What the Old Testament concealed of Christ, the New Testament revealed.
  • What the Old Testament contained of Christ, the New Testament explained.
  • What the Old Testament gave in precept of Christ, the New Testament gives in perfection.
  • What the Old Testament presented of Christ in shadow, the New Testament presents in substance.
  • What the Old Testament presented of Christ in ritual, the New Testament presents in reality.
  • What the Old Testament presented of Christ in picture the New Testament presents of Christ in person. (John MacArthur)
    • The foretold is fulfilled,
    • Prophecy becomes history,
    • Pre-incarnation becomes incarnation.

There is no way that a man will ever understand the Old Testament apart from understanding and knowing Jesus ChristOnly Christ can remove the veil. Only Jesus Christ removes the veil and gives you understanding of the old covenant.

Jesus is superior to angels because of His nature. And here the Holy Spirit shows the basic difference in the nature of angels and of the Son Jesus Christ.

The Nature of Angels

1.  Angels are Created

  • Verse 7, “And of the angels, he saith who maketh His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire?”

Now here in this verse we see the nature of angels. What are angels? Well, first of all, who maketh His angels? That’s the word apotelo, to create. The antecedent of who is Christ. Who created angels? Christ. If Christ created angels He is what? Better than angels.

Hebrews 1:2 it says “By His Son whom He hath appointed heir of all things and by whom also He made the ionus.” He made the universe of time space. He made the ages. He made the world.

Jesus made the angels. So we know first of all that they are created beings.

“Who maketh His angels.”

What kind of pronoun is His? It is possessive. Whose angels are these? They are His own angels. He makes His own angels. This is a quote from Psalm 104:4.

2. Angels are Messengers of His judgments

Psalm 104:4 He makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.

His ministers are winds and flames of fire. You say why would they be called winds? Well, invisible, powerful, rapid movement. Then they’re called flames of fire.  Angels not only blow or move rapidly and invisibly and powerfully to carry out God’s bidding, but they are also flames of fire. Fire usually refers to divine judgment.

  • Angels are God’s executioners. Angels execute judgment.
  • If you are an unbeliever, you do not want to be “touched by an angel.”

a.  Genesis Chapter 19 we see the destruction of Sodom.

Genesis 19:13-22 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting. As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

Angels are sent to destroy Sodom. And they had to grab Lot and his crew and drag them out of the city. Now you remember his wife was warned not to look back and she did and turned into a pillar of salt.

b.    We see this in Psalms 78

Psalm 78:49 He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels.

c.     We see this in Matthew 13:

Matthew 13:41-42 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Angels are created beings, created by Jesus Christ and possessed by Him. Angels then are created servants. They do not operate independently. They operate at God’s direction and Christ’s direction.

The Nature of Jesus

Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

a.    The Son is the eternal God!

The Father says to the Son, “thy throne Oh God is forever and ever.” The Father acknowledges the Son as God.

John 5:18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”

1 John 5:20 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.

Then in verse 9, He moves back to the incarnate Son-ship and sees Jesus incarnate.

b.    The Son Loves Righteousness

Hebrews 1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

This verse tells us something about Jesus in His incarnation. “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” Now those words reveal not only the actions of Jesus, but His motives. He didn’t just do righteousness. He loved righteousness.

If you love God’s right standards, he would hate the wrong standards. The two are inseparable. One cannot exist without the other.

When there is true love for God there will be true love for righteousness and there will be total hatred for sin. Jesus hated sin. You see it in His temptation. You see it in His cleansing the temple. You see it in His death on the cross.

The more you and I become conformed to Jesus Christ, the more we’re going to find we love righteousness and hate sin. And you can pretty well tell how close to being conformed to Christ you are by your attitude towards righteousness and toward sin.

c.     Jesus is anointed above the Angels.

Hebrews 1:9 “therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

Companions simply means associates. The Greek word implies an association. And the point that is being made here is that Jesus Christ is greater than angels and angels were only messengers of God. Christ was a messenger from God, but greater than they. And so companions has reference to angels. And in the Old Testament Christ was even called the messenger of the Lord or the angel of the Lord.

And so He’s exalted above the others. That’s a clear statement that Jesus is better than angels. When Jesus Christ is anointed that puts Him on top. He is greater than His fellows, superior to angels. He is the anointed.

Jesus was God’s anointed. And notice that He was anointed with the oil of gladness. When did this happen? Jesus received His coronation when He went to heaven after His resurrection. It was at that time that the Father exalted Him and gave Him the name above every name. He assumed His kingship at His ascension.

Verses 8 and 9 establish Christ’s deity. They establish His exalted position. They mention His kingship. They reveal the excellence of His rule. They show the perfection of His incarnate character. They indicate His willing submission to God in Sonship. They announce His coronation. They reveal His preeminence. Just those two verses.

  • So His title, His worship, His nature show that He’s better than angels.

D. His Eternity (vs 10-12)

Hebrews 1:10-12 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”

Here the Holy Spirit quotes Psalm 45:6-7 to show that Christ is better because He is the eternal creator and will exist eternally.

Hebrews 1:10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands;

If Christ was there in the beginning to create, He must have been before the beginning, which makes Him without beginning. To create in the beginning He must have been before the beginning and thus without beginning.

Hebrews 1:11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment,

Jesus is no created being. He is eternal. He is immutable, which means He never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And so He contrasts the passing of the temporal with the eternal.

Hebrews 1:12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”

The Holy Spirit is saying that everything folds up. Christ will roll the mountains up. He will roll the moons up. He will roll the planets us. He will roll the Stars and the planets. Thinks that in our mind are permanent, fixed, immovable, Christ will roll up like a used newspaper.

In 2 Peter we are told:

2 Peter 3:3-4 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

People nowadays are saying that Jesus isn’t coming, that God is a myth, or He doesn’t care about us. Everything will continue like it is, you only go around once so grab for all the gusto you can. It is up to us to take care of this planet. So we need to watch carbon emissions. We need to curb global warming. We need to help Mother Nature.

This old planet is millions of years old and it’s got to last another million years.

“They shall perish, but thou remain. They shall become old as doth a garment.” Clothes get old you throw them away. And look at this, “as a robe you will roll them up.”

Did you know that God is going to roll up the heavens like an old coat?

In Revelation 6:14, we see the rolling up of the heavens:

Revelation 6:14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

During the tribulation it will be as if the heaven’s are stretched to all the possible corners and the corners are all cut and it just rolls right up like a scroll. That is what will happen to the heavens.

2 Peter 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

And so men come and go. Worlds come and go. Stars come and go. Angels are subject to decay as the fall of angels indicates. Jesus Christ never changes, is never subject to change, is never subject to alteration. He is eternally the same.

Therefore Jesus is superior to angels in title, in worship, in nature, in eternity and finally in destiny.

E.  In His Destiny

Verses 13 and 14 tell us that the destiny of Jesus is greater than angels. This is the seventh Old Testament quote and it’s from

Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

It climaxes the full superiority of Christ to angels. First we see the destiny of Christ and then that of the angels.

1.    The Destiny of Christ

Hebrews 1:13 And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

Well, the answer is no angel.

The destiny of Jesus Christ is that ultimately everything in the universe be subject to Him. That at the name of the Jesus every knee should bow, things above the earth, on the earth, and under the earth.

Jesus Christ in God’s plan is destined to be the ruler of the universe and everything that inhabits it.

1 Corinthians 15:22-27 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

You say when does that happen? It happens at His second-coming. It happens when He comes in glory.

Revelation 19:15-16 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

The destiny of Jesus Christ is an eternal reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Hebrews 1:13 says “Sit at my right hand”

Angels Never Sit! Why? Their work is never done. Fortunately, we Christians will be able to do that once in a while. Hebrews 4:9 says, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” And you remember in Revelation 14:13 where “Blessed are they which die in the Lord for they shall rest from their labors.” But no angel ever sits down.

Jesus sits down because it’s over. He reigns.

2.    The destiny of angels in verse 14.

Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Angels are going to serve us forever. What do angels do for believers?

  • Angels protect & guard saints.

2 Kings Chapter 6. Elisha and his servant were being menaced by the king of Syria? Elisha and his servant are just being menaced, you know, by the king of Syria and they don’t have any way to defend themselves. But listen to this,

2 Kings 6:15-17 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

You know who they were? They were angels.
  • Angels deliver from danger.

Remember the angels that grabbed Lot and his family and rescued them from the destruction of Sodom? Remember the angels went into the lion’s den with Daniel and stopped the lions’ mouths? Angels minister to us. We are never alone. Their destiny is to minister to us throughout eternity.

Jesus’ destiny is to reign. He surpasses the angels. So we find then that the son of God is superior angels in every way. And every one of his superiorities is confirmed in the Old Testament.

Jesus is Messiah. He is God in flesh. He is the mediator of a new covenant, better than the old.

Hebrews One is the first page of the Resume of Jesus Christ.

  • Titles: He’s called Son, Lord, and God.
  • Position: He is creating, sustaining, governing, redeeming, and purging sin.
  • Accomplishments:  He is omniscient, omnipotent, unchanging, and eternal.
  • Awards: He is the one to be worshipped by the angels and all creatures in the universe.
And so the Holy Spirit proclaims the superiority of Jesus Christ.

You say “So what?” Well, that’s undoubtedly what the writer thought you’d say. So He wrote the first verse of Chapter 2.

Hebrews 2:1-3 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard,

If God expected a reaction to the law that came to the angels, what do you think He expects from you to that which came through Jesus Christ? Therefore, we ought to give Jesus more earnest heed for how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?

What is Your Destiny?

In 1991 a Gallup poll showed that 78 percent of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die. However, many of them hardly ever pray, read the Bible, or attend church. They admit that they live to please themselves instead of God. I wonder why these people would want to go to heaven.

In an article title, “Are We Ready for Heaven?” Maurice R. Irwin points out that only 34 percent of the American people who call themselves Christians attend church at least once a week. He says, “We sing, ‘When all my labors and trials are o’er, and I am safe on that beautiful shore, just to be near the dear Lord I adore will through the ages be glory for me.’ However, unless our attitudes toward the Lord and our appreciation of Him change greatly, heaven may be more of a shock than a glory.” Daily Bread, July 31, 1992.

Fast forward 20 years, and the number of Christians attending church is below 24%. Yet the majority of Americans continue to believe they are going to Heaven when they die…Many, I fear, will discover exactly what “Shock and Awe” truly is!


[1] 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, 44.

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1250..

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 995.


I would like 2012 to be a significant year in the life of our church. I want us to get serious about Discipleship. I want discipleship to be discussed in every class room, every committee meeting, every get together. I want the question that is asked most of each other, “How are you developing as a Disciple of Jesus Christ?” I want each of us to have a clear picture of how we are to develop as disciples of Christ. It will not happen right away, but over the next 18 months, as we look at every aspect of our church in light of Discipleship, we can make the proper adjustments in how we do ministry, and develop a clear-cut road to discipleship, Biblical Discipleship.

This will not come without some difficulties. Discipleship is difficult, for the way is blocked with Goliath’s. Saul’s and Doegs. But if we continue to kneel before the Cross, and desire to follow the Holy Spirit, Christ will do an amazing work in this church and in your lives.

Many (if not most) Christians Live in a Cave

We need to ask ourselves “Are we walking in the Light?” (If you are not daily in the Word of God how can you think you are walking in the Light?) I believe many Christians are living in a cave, but they may or may not realize it. Their profession of faith in Christ may have been real, but they have stopped walking by FAITH. They walk by sight. And sadly, when you walk by sight, you are blind. You are living in a Cave. The danger is that living in a cave will produce eyes that no longer see the light. They can no longer walk by faith. They can no longer see Him who is invisible. When you become used to the darkness of the cave, you don’t realize how much ‘light’ you are missing. Isaiah wrote about the Lord:

Isaiah 42:5-7 Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

When Jesus began His public ministry, he proclaimed:

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

The Jewish people thought they were walking in the light. But in actuality they were held in prison by the perversions of the Law perpetrated by the Pharisees. Jesus opened many eyes to the true Light of the Gospel, but the religious Leaders remained blind, because “we just don’t do it that way”. Jesus did not fit into the mold formed in the cave of their minds and they rejected Him. In fact, they crucified Him, for they refused to follow His light.

Discipleship is difficult, for you follow Christ, not a religion, not a list of man-made rules or traditions. Discipleship requires an ongoing growth and development of a relationship with an invisible Savior. Discipleship requires Faith, for only Faith imparts the ability to see Him who is Invisible.

Jesus proclaimed that He was coming to give sight to the blind. But in order to receive sight, we must be willing to submit to His leadership and commands. Any resistance on our part places us right back in the darkness that Jesus came to free us from.

I.   David Discipleship Involves:

A. Involves Growing Faith, Or It Is Not Discipleship.

1 Samuel 23:29 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of Engedi.

David leaves the Rock of Escape and goes down to the Dead Sea, to find refuge in the Strongholds of EnGedi. EnGedi is a great hideout. Plenty of hide-outs, fresh water, a veritable oasis. EnGedi is the largest oasis along the western shore of the Dead Sea.  The springs here have allowed nearly continuous inhabitation of the site for 4000 years. The abundant springs and year-round temperate climate provided the perfect conditions for agriculture in ancient times. Solomon compared his lover to “a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of EnGedi,” an indication of the beauty and fertility of the site (Song 1:14).

Even though there are many springs around the Dead Sea, most of them have a high salt content. EnGedi is one of only two fresh water springs located on the western shore of the Dead Sea and, because of the greater availability of land for agriculture at EnGedi, it is the best spring by which to settle.

EnGedi means literally “the spring of the kid (goat).” Evidence exists that young ibex have always lived near the springs of EnGedi. One time when David was fleeing from King Saul, the pursuers searched the “Crags of the Ibex” in the vicinity of EnGedi.

David could have settled here and hoped in the natural strongholds that were there in EnGedi. He may not have become content, but he and his men could have resumed more normal lives. They could have still worshipped God, do an occasional good deed, and been safe. That is what a stronghold is, a place of safety due to its position or protection.

But this would not produce the Discipleship that God required of David, nor would it serve to transform David’s crew into Mighty Men. God wanted them to grow in their faith.

So God allowed King Saul to find David. God lead Saul into David’s Stronghold.

 1 Samuel 24:1-3 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave.

 His Men are urging David to Kill Saul

1 Samuel 24:4 And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’ ”

Perhaps David had told his men of a promise God had given him, a promise of deliverance similar to Abraham. His men believed in David, and when Saul came to them, excitedly they exclaimed that “Deliverance is Here”! Perhaps David identified with Abram, when God delivered his enemies into his hand:

 Genesis 14:17-20 After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Encouraged by his men, the Scriptures record what happened next: “Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.” His men must have been shocked. Why didn;t he kill him. Their troubles would be over. They could go home. David could be King. But God wanted each of them to learn a valuable lesson. 

1.  Disciples that desire safety and comfort usually end up in the dark as far as God is concerned.
2.  In the cave of safety, our self-centeredness prevents us from seeing the light of Jesus Christ
3.  In the cave of safety we often resort to solving our problems with our own short-sighted vision.

God wanted David and his men to look to Him in the darkness of the cave, not to their own resources. Here was a struggle of conscience pre-ordained of God that would lead these men into the very presence of God!

As John Piper told his church:

But if we do what David did, and follow the call of God—hazards and all—then we will come to this place week in and week out with a sense of deepening reality and power.

That’s essential number one: if God’s blessing is going to be on this place, as a place of real worship, then those of us who gather here must gather as a kind of haven between hazards. Not as a haven instead of hazards but a haven between hazards. True worship will come from the impulse to hazard things for the name of God.[1]

B. Involves Growing Worship, Or It Is Not Discipleship.

Most people associate worship with something you do when things are going OK. We associate church with worship. We go to church when things are normal. I have discovered that when things get “abnormal” that folks don’t really feel like worshipping at church. When we are overwhelmed with house guests. When we experience the loss of a loved one. When we have a tragedy strike us. When we are stricken with a deadly disease.

One thing very obvious about David is His worship of God, especially when things were “abnormal” And David’s worship wasn’t confined to the Tabernacle of the Temple. David worshipped God anywhere and everywhere. But David especially worshipped God when things were “abnormal”, because Worship was what David lived for.

When David found himself in the cave, with Saul but a breath away, followed by his 3000 trained killers, David was justifiably afraid. It was dark, he was trapped, here was Saul, his men outside. David’s men wanted to kill Saul, but David feared God much more than he feared King Saul. Since he was the anointed King of Israel, only God could remove him. It was not within David’s power. Even if Saul was dead, what would the 3000 armed men do when they discovered he was dead?

No, this was problem too great for David. His men needed to learn what David already knew, that God had great power to deal with dangerous or perilous situations in our life. We can see David’s heart response and message to his men in Psalm 57:

For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam (instruction). When he had fled from Saul into the cave. 

Psalm 57:1-11 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!


David cried out to God to fulfill His purpose in his life. If God’s purpose was to be accomplished by David’s death, then so be it. But David had a promise from God that he would be King, so David cried out for that purpose to be accomplished.

  • David asked God to send out His “hesed” (unfailing love) and his faithfulness
  • David asked that God be exalted regardless of what happened.
  • David affirmed that his heart was fixed upon God.
  • David promised to give thanks to all the people, regardless of the outcome.
  • David worshiped one more time and exalted God.

Because David’s heart was fixed upon God, David always worshipped God in the midst of his problems, and in fact exalted God in the face of his problems. No matter what David faced, he always said “God, this is for you to handle. You be exalted, and however you work this out, I will praise you before all the people”.

We will see this over and over in David’s life. Because his heart was given to God, David sought to see God’s justice in every situation he faced, even in the unjust ones.

Application:

Are you overwhelmed with a certain situation? Do you struggle with what God is doing in your life?

  • Confess to God your sinfulness for not giving Him your heart, and for not fixing your heart upon Him.
  • Confess your lack of worship and then bow humbly before Him, and ask Him to fulfill His purpose for your life. Ask Him to be exalted in the situation you are facing. Then bow before Him and say, whatever you want for my life, I accept it and I want it. I want you to be exalted in this situation.

II.  David Discipleship Requires:

A. Requires Humble Submission to God’s Ways, or there will be no Discipleship

There was a mom with a young pre-teen who was neglecting his chores to play his new video game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. His room was a disaster, and Mom had enough. She marched into his room and holding her preferred form of politically incorrect discipline, exclaimed “Get up and clean this room or you will know the wrath of Vladimir Makarov!” He knew what that meant, so he jumped up and started cleaning his room. You could tell his heart was not in it, however, and soon he said, “I may be cleaning my room on the outside, but inside I’m playing Modern Warfare 3 and I’m blasting away! He was submitting to a greater force, but only because he had to. But that is not David’s heart in the Cave.

Three things in Psalm 57:1 show a disciple’s (David) submission before God.

  • He cries for mercy. He sees his need from God for mercy and grace. 
  • He cries out for a refuge. He is vulnerable before his enemies, he sees his need for God’s provision. 
  • He calls his refuge the “shadow of God’s wings.” David, the mighty warrior, the anointed of God, says, “In the shadow of thy wings I will take refuge.” In other words, “I am a little chick. And I need the covering of my God.” Submission to God requires humility.

Psalm 57:2 “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me”.

Discipleship requires you to submit your will to God’s purpose for you. That took humility for David, especially in front of 600 manly vagabums. But it also requires something else, something that most American Christians stumble at:

B. Requires the Desire for God’s Glory above Our Own Concerns, or there will be no Discipleship

  • Psalm 57:5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
  • Psalm 57:11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
  • Psalm 57:7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!

No matter what happens, I want you to be exalted. If it means my death, or my imprisonment, that will be your purpose, and You will be Exalted.

You must be willing to accept poverty, homelessness, sickness, disease, rejection, betrayal, injustice, abuse, anything, as long as it exalts God. A Disciple never says I don’t have to put up with this. A Disciple exalts God to where His glory is between you and any problem you may be having.

Jesus did just that:

1 Peter 2:20-24 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

We have become a Nation that focuses so  much on our Individual Rights, that we place our supposed rights before our responsibilities. That philosophy has infected our church to the point that we put our rights before our responsibilities as a Disciple of Christ.

  • We want our discipleship to be comfortable, but Jesus says I don’t even promise you a bed to sleep on.
  • We want our discipleship to fit our schedule, but Jesus says let the dead bury their dead.
  • We want our discipleship to be convenient, but Jesus says if you put your hand to the plow and then look back at those conveniences, you are not fit for the Kingdom of God.
  • We don’t want our discipleship to make us so different that we’ll be embarrassed, or laughed at,  , or be embarrassing, but Jesus said “whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory”.
  • We want our discipleship to not be too costly, but Jesus says if you are going to follow Him, you must give up everything by dying to self and taking up His cross for you!

We always say that our primary purpose as Christians is to give Glory to God, but what we mean is that we want a nice comfortable life that portrays the good side of God. How dare Him make us suffer! How can our suffering bring glory to Him? I can do so much more for God when I am affluent and generous! Right?

I was reading about the injustices going on in Eritrea. Evangelical Christians are imprisoned, some for life, for simply bowing their heads in prayer over a meal. They are imprisoned in stifling hot shipping containers or underground bunkers. They are never given baths or showers. There are so many forced into a small place that to lay down and sleep they must sleep on their side. The stench is intolerable. They are given one glass of water a day. They get bread if they are lucky. The prison officials do not care if they live or die. Some are executed. Most are tortured. When a new prisoner come, the first thing anyone says to him, “Did you smuggle any razor blades” because they want to kill themselves. Some are given the opportunity to leave if they recant their faith. Most do not. They cannot, for they are Disciples of Jesus Christ. They knew what it would cost them when they gave their lives to Him!

One young woman who was caught with a Bible was arrested and tied with her hands and feet tied to opposite limbs behind the back. Her captors told her, “Jesus will save you now.”[2]

Jesus did not save her. She eventually died. Did she march up to Jesus in Heaven and say “How could you forget about me? How could you let me endure such suffering that I died of dehydration?” No, she wakes up in the arms of Jesus, and when she looks into His eyes, she says, Jesus, I would do it all over again, for your wonderful glory!

Watch Videos Describing the Torture of Christians going on in Eritrea TODAY!

That is what Discipleship is all about. We develop as Disciples as everything in our life, our good, our bad, our successes, our failures, our joys, our sadness’s are laid at the Cross and our only cry is “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” My life is inconsequential to your Glory, but I dedicate it to you, for your use in whatever will bring you Glory!

Psalm 112:1-7 Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.

A Disciple is never afraid of bad news. He is not afraid of a diagnosis of cancer. He is not afraid of hearing of a loved one’s tragic death. His heart is firm, always trusting God, no matter what the news.

David wrote another Psalm while he was in the Dark Cave:

Psalm 142 -A maskil (instruction) of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.

Psalm 142:1-7 With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.


When Surrounded by Darkness, in whom do you trust?

  • Do you trust in yourself, doing what you think is best?
  • Do you trust your friends, to get their help?

If David had done either of those, we wouldn’t be studying his life.

David cried out to God, knowing, that

  • “When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!”
  • “You are my refuge, my portion!”
  • “Bring me out of the darkness of this cave, and I will give thanks to your name!”
  • “You deal bountifully with me!”

David turned to God when he was backed into a corner, deep in the darkness of the cave!

What lessons of Hesed, Mishpat and Tsedaqah are in this experience of David’s?

Hesed, Unfailing Love-was in his heart as he refused to kill King Saul. His love for God and trust in Him was stronger than any feeling of hate that might have welled up and led him to take vengeance into his own hands.

  • As a result those men with Him saw the Mercy of God in David’s actions.

Mishpat, justice, was brought into David’s House as both he and his men realized that God must be trusted even in perilous situations where you are tempted to do things your own way. God’s Justice must reign in your response to every situation, good or bad.

  • His men saw that, and the House of David grew strong in the ways of God that day.

Tsedeqah, righteousness, was David’s Hope as He agreed to wait upon God. Even though that meant years of struggle and hardship, it was worth it because David’s Hope was to be in God and His strength, and not in himself. Temporary relief would have brought eternal damnation.

  • His men saw David’s Hope, and would learn to trust God!

Then ask God to grow your Faith to see Him in the Darkness.Do you want to Grow to be a Mighty Man or Woman of God in 2012? Do you want to draw closer to Christ than ever before? Do you His love to be sweeter than ever before?

  • Worship God more faithfully and He will give you more reasons to worship Him.
  • Humble yourself to being a little chickie, needing the protection of His wings.
  • Desire God to be exalted in whatever you face this next year.

Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.

2 Samuel 22:29-30 For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.

Psalm 18:28-29 For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.

Isaiah 50:10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

When surrounded by Darkness in Whom Do You TRUST?

Isaiah 50:10 … Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

How are YOU developing as a Disciple of Jesus Christ?

Overflow through Me!

In days of barren darkness,
I need a light to encourage, refresh,
bring life – God’s word, and grace, and peace.

In a dark and barren world,
God’s Spirit lives within me to be a Light,
abundantly stretching forth, bringing life for all.

Lord, fill me with your light – allow it to shine through me!


Something happened to change the life of the human dynamo known as Saul. Sure, he had a dramatic encounter on the road to Damascus. Sure, he saw and heard the risen Jesus Christ. Sure, his eyes were blinded, he was helpless, his pride was desroyed, but was that enough to change the life of this zealot of zealots? In the first seventeen verses of Romans, Paul reveals the foundation of his life, the foundation of what every Christian should know. In these 17 verses are 18 Jewels that should form the foundation of our faith, faith that will keep us strong in the Lord.

Here are the jewels that made up the foundation of Paul’s new life in Jesus Christ:

1.  Paul, Bond-Slave to the King of Kings!

In writing to a church which he had never visited, Paul declares his highest office as bond-slave, (doulos). The case classification is genitive of possession, which means Paul is proud of the fact that he is a slave belonging to his Lord. This was obviously a muted reference to those individuals in the Roman empire designated “Slaves of the Emperor.” As they considered their position one of honor, so did Paul consider that he was a slave of the King of Kings. He puts this ahead of his apostleship. He knew that he was no longer his own man. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 he explains: You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

We are not our own, and Paul was proud of that fact. Instead of seeing Christianity as a system of do’s and don’ts, he saw it as the privilege of privileges. His was a position of honor.

Who you are in life is largely a result of how you see yourself. We tend to value our life on the basis of our job, our possessions, our influence, our friends, our activities. Paul saw his value by Whose he was. He was a servant of the King of Kings. Who are you? When you lay in bed at night, do you fret about your health, the things you need to do, the things you didn’t do? If you are a slave of the King of Kings, you have no rights over tomorrow, over your body, over your job. He has total control. There is no need to fret, no need to worry, no need to be concerned. Only the need to praise Him, draw closer to Him, wait patiently upon Him.

Jewel #1: Focus on Whose We Are

2.  Paul Was an “Apostle Called”

He was a slave first, an apostle second. The adjective comes from the verb kaleō, “to call” in the sense here of “to call to assume an office.” Paul was a called apostle in the sense that God summoned him to that position and placed him in it. Most translations say called to be an apostle, but actually the Greek simply says (κλητὸς ἀπόστολος) “kletos apostolos”, called apostle. Paul heard the call of Christ on the Damascus Road, and in answering that call and seeing His Savior, he was placed as one of Christ’s Apostles. He took the place of the son of perdition-Judas.

Jewel #2: Realize that We are Who We are by Design. We are Never an “Accident”!

So Paul heard the call and answered it with a “YES I WILL!” But what changed this violent, self-possessed Saul into the Apostle Paul who epitomized selfless love and sacrifice for the sake of His King? To become the slave Apostle of the one he admittedly wanted crucified?

3.  Paul Allowed Himself to be “Set Apart” INTO the Gospel of God!

  • But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, Galatians 1:15 (ESV)
  • But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. Acts 9:15 (ESV)

Paul became a chosen instrument, a chosen vessel for Jesus Christ! Was he forced to comply on the Damascus Road? It may seem that way. Blinded by a strange light, hearing a strange voice-he could have resisted and kept on kicking against the Lord. Or he could have made a profession, but inwardly resented the Jesus. In any case we never would have heard from old Paul again. He would have been a pothole on the pavement of life.

But something happened to this fiery little dynamo. All his training, his intelligence, his passion for the Law and the ways of the Jews melted away when he gazed upon the one whom he had been persecuting. Yes, Paul was made to realize that he had not only been maiming and murdering ‘Christians’, but he had been doing the same to the very Son of God, the Messiah whom he professed to love so much.

We can’t begin to fathom what the Holy Spirit was doing in those three days after his experience on the road to Damascus. But whatever it was, when Saul gave his life to Jesus Christ, he was changed completely. He was a new man, he was set apart no longer to just Jehovah. He was set apart into the GOSPEL of GOD! (ἀφωρισμένος εἰς εὐαγγέλιον Θεοῦ (aphōrismenos eis euangelion Theo).

Jewel #3: Realize we are Set Apart Into God’s Gospel

The word for set apart [aphōrismenos (aphorizmo)] pictures marking an area with boundaries, with a wall or fence. The Gospel of God is a natural divider of man. It will be the divider in the end times. Jesus told his disciples “So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous” Matthew 13:49 (ESV). You may think that what you believe does not matter to God. Your sincerity is what is important. No that is a Lie of Satan. You must believe “INTO THE GOSPEL”.  Your belief separates you from the world, from Satan or it will separate you from God and all of His goodness. Your UNBELIEF separates you from the GOOD SAYING of GOD. Your UNBELIEF separates you from all that is good from God. Your BELIEF brings you into His presence, into His sweetness.

Are you living as though you were separated INTO God?

4.  Paul Realized that the Gospel IS God!

Separated into not “the”, not “a”, but simply separated into Gospel of God. Normally Paul puts a little article in front of Gospel (as we’ll see in verse 9 and 16)

Here Paul’s emphasis is not on the specific proclamation of the life of Jesus, but in the Gospel representing the QUALITY of God Himself. This is a key point to consider if you are a converted Jew wondering about how the Gospel relates to the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

In this one statement Paul reveals to Jew and Gentile alike that the Gospel is God, His good saying, His Goodness, His character, His Life. The Gospel is not just a collection of really pithy teachings from an untrained rabbi who suffered a martyr’s death. The Gospel is God. The same way you speak of God is the same way you speak of Gospel. They are one and the same! The Gospel is God’s eú (good, well), and aggéllō, (to proclaim, tell), or “good proclamation”. We have come to say “Good News” but originally it referred to the good message of God.

Paul was telling the Jews and the Gentiles in Rome that the Gospel is the Message of God. It is His “Good Message”. The Gospel reveals the character and the quality of Jehovah God. You cannot separate the two.

Just as the Jews enjoyed the “Covenantal Blessing” of Jehovah, the message now is that through the “Covenantal Relationship” of Jesus Christ, we not only enjoy God’s Blessing, but we enjoy God’s Presence, God’s Life, God’s Power, God’s Indwelling, God’s Favor, God’s Never Failing Love. And what is so Great about this Message is that it is all ours because of Jesus Christ. There is NOTHING we do to earn any of it. Just as the Jews enjoyed God’s Blessing by birth, so do we enjoy God’s Everything by belief and life yielding faith in Jesus Christ! We enjoy so much more than the Jews, for our is not just a “blessed life”, Our is a “New Life”, and indeed, it is an “Abundant Life!”

The Gospel of God is eternal, and one day this world will hear it proclaimed from heaven:

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with Gospel Eternal to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Revelation 14:6-7 (ESV)

Jewel #4: The Gospel Reveals the Eternal God INTO our Lives.

If we are separated into God’s Gospel, God becomes the indweller and the possessor of our souls.

NOTE: Paul Answered the Call and was Set Apart because he found a Greater POWER than himself.

I believe the main reason that Paul gave his life to Jesus Christ is that he discovered that Christ’s power was greater than his own. Paul saw himself as a winner. He was determined to be on the winning side. He was the most determined, disciplined, zealous Pharisee in the entire  Jewish kingdom. No one possessed his passion for the Law. He could not tolerate these ‘Christians’! He was determined to wipe them from the face of the earth.

When he met Jesus Christ, he surrendered, not because he had to, but because he wanted to. He knew it was foolish to keep kicking against the goads. Christ was the conqueror, the victor, and Paul realized that. I believe he reveals the reason he became set apart in verse 16, when he declares this Gospel to be the Power (dunamis) of GOD for salvation. If you know anything about the power of sin, and of satan, and of death, they don’t begin to compare with the Power of the Gospel of God!

The Hope of Tiger Woods in Buddhism

As much as I admired Tiger Woods and his public confession on Friday, when he said he was returning to his Buddhist roots, I realized that there would be no salvation for Tiger Woods. He is doomed to repeat his mistakes, because Buddhism is a religion of self-enlightenment. There is no God, no judgment, no sin in Buddhism. Buddhists do not owe allegiance to a supernatural being. There is no Savior in Buddhism. All a Buddhist can do is seek refuge in the Buddha as a guide, but not seek to be purified in the Buddha. The Buddha does not have the power to wash away sins. The liberation of self is the responsibility of one’s own self. Buddhism places heavy emphasis on self-reliance, self discipline and individual striving.

Tiger by sheer will power may turn his life around. Yet he knows nothing of the Power of God. I believe that if Paul had wanted to learn golf, he had enough discipline and will power to be the greatest golfer of his time. Yet even this mighty dynamo of a man knew that he had met his match when he came face to face with the Power of God’s Gospel.

  1. There is no almighty God in Buddhism. There is no one to hand out rewards or punishments on a supposedly Judgment Day.
  2. Buddhism is strictly not a religion in the context of being a faith and worship owing allegiance to a supernatural being.
  3. No savior concept in Buddhism. A Buddha is not a savior who saves others by his personal salvation. Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha as his incomparable guide who indicates the path of purity, he makes no servile surrender. A Buddhist does not think that he can gain purity merely by seeking refuge in the Buddha or by mere faith in Him. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others
  4. A Buddha is not an incarnation of a god/God (as claimed by some Hindu followers). The relationship between a Buddha and his disciples and followers is that of a teacher and student.
  5. The liberation of self is the responsibility of one’s own self. Buddhism does not call for an unquestionable blind faith by all Buddhist followers. It places heavy emphasis on self-reliance, self discipline and individual striving.

5. Paul Saw the Gospel as the Promise of God

God’s Eternal Gospel has been promised from the very heart of God since time began. The blood runs through every chapter of the Old Testament. The prophets told of His coming in with 360 separate prophecies. They were all written over 500 years prior to Jesus birth. Jesus Christ was very God and very Man, born at the exact time in history to fulfill the Word of God! Satan could do nothing to stop Him, delay Him, thwart Him. God’s purpose established before time began came to fruition and there was nothing that could stop it.  You may be thinking that Jesus was just a good man, maybe even a truly great man, but if He has not shaken you to the core of your being, you are a dead man, because only Jesus Christ has the Power of God unto YOUR salvation. You may be like JOCO JOE, content with what you have and who you are, but if you are not Jesus Christ’s, then you are a dead man, you are nothing.

Jewel #5: God Fulfills His Promises, for He cannot lie.

6.  Paul Knew the Power of the Resurrection

Paul says that Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God in POWER when God Raised Him from the dead! That’s right! Jesus is alive! We are not talking Elvis here. We are talking the real deal! Jesus Christ lives and rules at the Right Hand of God almighty. Paul himself could testify to the reality of Jesus resurrection. I’m sure that when Jesus spoke to him on the Damascus Road, he flashed back to Stephen, looking to the right hand of God as the stones came crashing upon him. I know he could hear Stephen’s voice as if it was yesterday: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:56 (ESV)

Jewel #6: Meditate each day on the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

Assure yourself that Jesus Christ is the very Son of God, declared to be so by the very power of the Resurrection. Meditate on the fact that He reigns today at the right hand of His Father. Meditate on the fact that he ever lives to make intercession for you. Meditate that as the Son of God, what He says matters. His Name is above every other name. He will one day rule the nations, He will be the supreme judge of all nations, and yes, you and me. Jesus tells us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life! No one, no matter who you are, no matter what you have, can get to the Father unless Jesus is your Savior!

vs 5,6: “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,”

7.  Paul Knew that he had Received Grace with his Apostleship.

Paul “lambano” received both grace and his apostleship at the same time. He received them the second he said Lord, and the scales fell from his eyes. The second he said yes to Jesus Christ, he received his office of apostle and the grace to fulfill those responsibilities. God never leaves his children floundering. He never calls them without a purpose and without power to accomplish that purpose.

Paul received grace, “charis” or the power of God which he did not deserve and the apostleship or “special commission” to carry out that grace! Paul learned that when God has a job for us to do, it must not be done in our own strength, but it requires the Power of God, His “grace”. This Christian life is no longer up to you. God’s grace is immediate, His commission is at once. That doesn’t mean there is no preparation. As in my case, God’s Grace and calling were immediate. My preparation took thirty years. With Paul and with Jesus, it took 3 years. With Moses it took 40 years. With Joshua it took 40 years. Just because you are not doing what you believe God has called you to do does not mean that you will never do it, or that you have been passed over because of some sin. It just means you may need a longer preparation than others. It means God may have a different path for you. But do not chuck it away and think that God could never use you. God delights in using broken vessels.

Why didn’t God use someone like the Apostle John to preach to the Gentiles? John was with Jesus the whole way. He never forsook him. He was beloved. He had his place, but it was ministering to the Jewish converts. God needed someone special to undertake the ministry to the Gentiles. God needed someone who was broken, who, because of his brokenness, would be willing to experience all that Paul suffered, and then say bring it on God! I will gladly suffer more! Anything, that I might know this blessed Jesus more! Let me know the ‘fellowship of His sufferings!’

Jewel #7: Realize that God Never Leaves His Children Powerless, but will Always Empower you to Accomplish His Calling upon Your Life!

8.   Paul Realized that Obedience and Faith are Eternally Intertwined.

Paul was joyful to experience any suffering for the sake of one thing – to bring about obedience by faith for the sake of Jesus Christ. As Wuest says: Obedience of faith is the obedience which characterizes and proceeds from faith. “it always refers to the faith which obeys God’s will…specifically subjection to the saving will of God revealed in Christ and referred to as obedience to the truth (1 Pet. 1:22); obedience of faith (in this verse and in Rom 16:26), and the unquestioning obedience that is demanded by Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

  • Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 1 Peter 1:22 (ESV)
  • We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV

Your faith means your eyes have been opened to see God, to see the truth of His ways, the truth of His Good Word, His Good News. When you truly see God and what He has for you and has done for you, it produces a change-a change in who you obey, who you value, who you listen to. If there was no change, or if God no longer matters to you -you need to do a heart check. Something is wrong. Being a Christian is not a 3 hour proposition. Being a Christian is a 24/7 deal. It results in a new willingness to OBEY GOD! Faith and Obedience are eternal.

Jewel #8: Obedience to God Flows from our Faith in Who He is and That His Word is Truth.

Without God’s Gospel possessing our heart,  our good works are as filthy rags of self-righteousness. Obedience flows from a heart possessed of the vision of a living Son of God! Our faith results in becoming the “called” of Jesus Christ. Paul says these Roman saints were “the called of Jesus Christ.” Genitive of possession, “belonging to Jesus Christ.” Denney says, “They belonged to Him because they have heard and obeyed the gospel.”

9.  Paul Realizes We are God’s “Beloved Saints”

Paul addresses his letter “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints” The word is in the plural, “loved-ones of God,” and the word “God” is without the article, so it really should be translated “God’s loved-ones”. In addition to being beloved by God, we are “saints by way of call”, (kletos hagios). We are set apart ones because we heard and answered the call of God. Just as Paul was called to be an apostle, and set apart into the Gospel, so we who have answered His call are set apart into GOD. Hagios means holy, or sacred, and we are called to be sacred unto God. GOD LIVES IN US. We are immediately His when we are born again.  He immediately marks us with His seal, setting us apart.

That is why Paul can declare us to be “God’s loved ones!” You may come from a horrible background. You may have experience horrible pain and injustice, even from close family members. I have news for you-YOU ARE GOD”S LOVED ONE! Cry on His shoulders, wait for His touch. Remind Him you are sacred to Him, and trust in His provision for your life.

Jewel #9: No matter your Sin or your Sorrows, you are God’s Loved One, Set Apart as Sacred unto Him by His Call!

10.  Paul Knew the Way to Grace and Peace

Paul blesses his readers with the prayer for God’s Grace and Peace. But he reminds them that grace and peace are impossible unless they are form God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. In this simple greeting Paul reveals that we will never know and experience God’s Grace (power) unless we depend upon Him as a child does his father. He is our Father God.

He also reveals we will never know true Peace unless we know Jesus Christ as our LORD! Jesus told His disciples these things that in HIM they might have peace. In the world there will have troubles and tribulations, but be of good courage (courage in the face of danger), for Our Lord Jesus Christ has conquered this world. (cf John 16:33)

Jewel #10: Grace and Peace Come to us as we Know God as our Father and Jesus as our Lord!

Do you feel God’s power in your daily life? Have you experienced bucket loads of His grace falling on you as a gentle rain? Then perhaps you do not know Him as your Father. Perhaps you are trying to live your life on your own, when daily you need to come to Him as your Father, and confess your need for Him, even for your daily bread.

Do you have Peace in your life? Do you pillow your head amidst the storms and heartache of life and yet smile yourself to sleep? DO you lie there basking in the warm glow of God’s presence and power? Then perhaps you know not Jesus Christ as your LORD! Perhaps you are looking to yourself and your own resources, and that is causing you to fret and worry! Go to sleep at night saying Jesus You are Lord, and soon your heart will know His peace.

  • Grace Is Power Where There Is Weakness
  • Peace Is Courage In The Face Of Danger and Despair

11.  Paul Knew that only Through Jesus do we have Access to God!

Paul declared “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you! One thing will become clear as we spend time in Romans: Paul knew that regardless of how righteous anyone may think they are, none of us can go directly to God to offer anything, not even thanksgiving! We must go through our Savior, Jesus Christ. We have no standing before God outside of Jesus Christ! That is why it is so important that we come to God though the righteousness that we have IN JESUS CHRIST! That is why we pray though His blood and by His Name! Paul revealed the reason why in 1 Timothy 2:25: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”.

Jewel #11: Never Think you are Good Enough to Approach God. Always Lean upon Jesus, for We are Accepted “In the Beloved”.

12.  Paul Knew the Key to Having Great Faith

Paul praises the Romans “because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.”(verse 8). If you remember, Roman leadership was not very tolerant of religions that believed in any King other than Caesar. They were experiencing persecution. In this Paul reveals a simple truth, faith does not become great when things are easy. Only when our backs are against the wall and we are needing help do we tend to look upward to see God! And that is what faith is-seeing God, the God of Power! The church at Rome had a reputation known throughout the world of faith in God in spite of the unfavorable political environment they were living. In fact, the growing hostility only fanned their numbers and their faith in the Son of God who suffered and died for them. Great faith is not born in times of comfort and ease. It is born in adversity and hardship. When most people shrink back and fall by the wayside, people of great faith keep going strong, because they are relying on Him who has all strength!

Hebrews 11 is all about people of Great Faith. The heroes of our faith were commended for their faith that enabled them to conquer obstacles-obstacles of persecution, death, disappointment, betrayal, heartache, loss of loved ones, loss of homes, possessions. Many of them died without ever seeing that which they hoped for. They died hated by the world, thought to be total losers, and yet see what God thought of them:

And what other examples shall I give? There is simply not time to continue by telling the stories of Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jeptha; of David, Samuel and the prophets. Through their faith these men conquered kingdoms, ruled in justice and proved the truth of God’s promises. They shut the mouths of lions, they quenched the furious blaze of fire, they escaped from death itself. From being weaklings they became strong men and mighty warriors; they routed whole armies of foreigners. Some returned to their womenfolk from certain death, while others were tortured and refused to be ransomed, because they wanted to deserve a more honorable resurrection in the world to come. Others were exposed to the test of public mockery and flogging, and to the torture of being left bound in prison. They were killed by stoning, by being sawn in two; they were tempted by specious promises of release and then were killed with the sword. Many became refugees with nothing but sheepskins or goatskins to cover them. They lost everything and yet were spurned and ill-treated by a world that was too evil to see their worth. They lived as vagrants in the desert, on the mountains, or in caves or holes in the ground. All these won a glowing testimony to their faith, but they did not then and there receive the fulfillment of the promise. God had something better planned for our day, and it was not his plan that they should reach perfection without us. Hebrews 11:32-39 (Phillips NT)

Jewel #12: People of Great Faith Live with Eternity in their Heart and God in their Sights.

13.  Paul Knew the Secret of Service to God

Paul declared he served God with his spirit in the gospel of His Son. The word for serve is latreuō – which is spiritual service, worship. Paul was a very fleshly man, strong-willed, stubborn, passionate, driven. Yet he came to realize that service to God must be spiritual, not fleshly. He will share later on in chapter 8 how we must walk in the Holy Spirit. He says:

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:5-8

No one can truly serve God in his flesh. Sure, our flesh is involved, but our motivation and strength must be in our spirit as it is refreshed and strengthened and empowered by God’s Spirit!

Service is nothing more than directed worship. And Jesus said an amazing truth-that to worship God we must do so in spirit and in truth. Paul involves this in his declaration. He serves God with his spirit in the gospel of His Son. The gospel is the TRUTH, which Jesus told Pilate he came to declare. So Paul confirms what Jesus told the woman at the well, his service was from his spirit and in the truth of the Gospel.

Paul knew all too well that the Priests who served God night and day were not allowed to wear anything that would cause them to sweat (Ezekiel 44:18). Sweat is the curse upon men who must labor to get provisions. When Adam and Eve walked with God they did not sweat. The ground yielded up an abundance of food without effort. Adam could spend hours without getting tired. That is because he labored in his spirit, not in the flesh. His spirit was the driving force of his life. Man was created a living soul controlled by the Spirit. Adam was able to walk with God!

After the fall Adam became flesh. The flesh became the driving force of his life. Sweat was the by-product. Sweat is a reminder that we are fleshly beings, under the curse of sin. Paul realized that if he was to serve God, his service required two things: a strong spirit, and a firm dependence upon the Words of Christ – the Gospel of God’s Son.

Jewel #13: Grow Mighty in Spirit with the Truth of God’s Word.

Because Paul was strong in spirit, he was strong in prayer, praying without ceasing for the Church at Rome. Before the Resurrection, the disciples could not pray for more than an hour in the Garden of Gethsemane. After the Resurrection, they were praying for days until the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost!

Service to God should never be undertaken solely because you had some fantastic emotional experience. You may even be all goose-bumply and teary-eyed when you think about God. That is great, but at some point the goose-bumps will stop and your eyes will dry up. Learn to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. Jesus is the truth! Know the Word-Know the Gospel of Jesus! His Word is to be the foundation of your service, not you emotions. Emotions fade, but the Word of God stands forever! It’s great to go to meetings where we get all teary eyed or all pumped up, but grab some Word! Get your heart in the Word of God!

14.  Paul Realized that we Depend upon each other for Strength and Encouragement

Paul told the Romans “I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you” not because he thought he was holier than they, but so “that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. The purpose of the gifts is that they would become established in their Christian character and service. Paul is not trying to set himself above them, but only show his concern for the work of the Gospel. Paul knew this amazing truth about Christians- when one of us grows, we all benefit.

There is no benefit to the church when only the Pastor or a select few people seem to have all the ‘godliness’ in the church. No, Christ wants to fill the whole body with His grace. He wants all of us to grow in Him, because when we do, we benefit each other.

The purpose of the impartation of these gifts was that they might be established both in their Christian character and their service. That establishment was not up to Paul. It is out of Paul’s hands and placed squarely where it belongs – in God’s! It is God who establishes us in Christ. Never rely on man except as an encouragement.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)

(God) comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:17 (ESV)

Jewel #14: We Complete Me! The Mutual Benefit of Growth

Paul quickly mentioned that his desire to see them strengthened was not so much a prideful thing as it was a benefit for him. He says he would be “sumparakaléō”. King James says ‘comforted together with you.’ It means to be strengthened with each other. Christianity is a mutual ministry whereby we are all strengthened as we grow stronger together.

I depend upon you as much as you depend upon me. When you are established I am encouraged and strengthened –  We Complete Me! It is never me completing you!

15.  Paul Knows that Christians are Designed to Bear Fruit

Paul had a world-wide vision. He wished to bear fruit among the citizens of Rome as well as “among other Gentiles.” Jesus said “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit”. John 15:2. God wants His children to bear fruit. We were saved to do good works, for that is the essence of the Gospel, and the revelation of the nature of God! If we don’t have desire to bear fruit, we won’t. Paul had fruit ever before Him. Every day he sought fruit. Even when he found himself chained up in prison, he was after fruit. Guards, visitors, anyone, all heard about this Jesus!

Jewel #15: Seek to be that Tree Planted by Streams of Water that Yields its Fruit in its Season, and its Leaf does not Wither.

16.  Paul was the Eager Debtor

Paul exclaimed that he was under obligation(a debtor) both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. (Romans 1:14-15) The word “debtor” (opheiletēs ) means to owe, to be obligated, to be bound by duty. The Greek is impossible to translate into English, for two ideas are being expressed by Paul. He was a “debtor”…because Christ had done so much for him (saved him) and because Christ had called him to preach (given him a task to do).

This indebtedness was deeply felt by Paul. The idea is that it was intense, unwavering, relentless, powerful. The sense of debt just would not let Paul go. He was compelled to preach the gospel; therefore, he could do nothing else. He was obligated and duty-bound to preach it. He actually felt that he owed the gospel to the world; therefore, if he kept quiet, it would be worse than knowing the cure for the most terrible disease of history and refusing to share it.

He made a contrast between the Greeks and the Barbarians. He meant that he owed the gospel to all nationalities and cultures, to all the peoples of the earth whether civilized or uncivilized, industrialized or primitive, rich or poor.

With Paul it was never half-way. Because of this great debt he owed, he had to give Jesus everything! Paul was an “ALL IN” kind of guy. When he was persecuting the Christian Jews, he did it with all his heart, seeking to put ALL Christians in chains. But now that he was a Christian, he is obliged to preach the Gospel to every man and women, boy and girl on the earth. He wants ALL to be saved!

Jewel #16: Realize you owe Jesus Christ EVERYTHING, so don’t hold anything back, but with Eagerness of Heart Serve Him!

17.  Paul realized the Great Power of the Gospel

Paul knew something that so many of us do not realize. The Gospel that is God’s Good Proclamation is so much more than a ticket to heaven. The Gospel saved us from this evil world. The Gospel is power to Live. The Gospel is power over sin. The Gospel is power over Satan. The Gospel is Power! Power! Power!

We look at the stars and the planets and think of how much power it took to create all this. Yet God’s Word makes an amazing declaration. All of creation was only “finger play” to God! As David declares: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place!”(Psalm 8:3)

Wow! All of creation took only the fingers of God! Yet by comparison, God’s Word declares that when it came to saving you and me from sin, it took nothing less than the mighty arm of God! Isaiah writes: “Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? (when speaking of our salvation)-Isaiah 53:1.

The power that gives us new life, that redeems us, that regenerates us, that makes us a child of God is greater than all the power it took to create the universe! This is such an awesome thought to wrap our brains around!

No wonder Paul was not embarrassed to tell everyone about Jesus Christ. He was possessor of the greatest power in the universe-the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Should we not also be so bold! Do we not possess the same power!

Could this be a glimpse of what he wrote in Ephesians: “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places” Ephesians 1:19-20.

Jewel #17: Realize the Great Power that Flows in our Lives through the Gospel of Christ!

Creation cost God very little; redemption cost God His only Son. It took the power of God to transform Saul (the chief persecutor) into Paul (the chief apostle). It takes the power of God to save and transform any sinner. That power is ours everyday to overcome whatever comes our way!

Paul encourages us to see what we have and thereby “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:12-14

Only Jesus Christ has the power to transform lives from the inside out! The gospel can save us, forgive us, & bring us into the family of God!

18.  Paul Knew the Power of Faith

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:1-17 (ESV)

Paul saw that only by possessing the righteousness of God can we be righteousness. There was no way man could earn that righteousness. There was no way man could be righteous. Paul saw that Christ had secured our righteousness through His blood and His death on the cross. Only by belief in the Gospel of Christ can we be made righteous. That belief is the foundation of our faith, which opens our eyes to God and the righteousness He provided for us through His Son Jesus Christ. Faith is born in our belief, and belief is made possible through faith. This righteousness that we have in Jesus Christ is revealed from faith to faith. As we have faith, we believe, and as we believe, we have faith! Trials come our way, doubts may bombard us, but we progress from faith to faith, ever beholding the righteousness we have in Jesus Christ!

We are not just in ourselves! We are made just in Jesus Christ! Those that “believe” in verse 16, are the same ones who live by “faith” in verse 17. The words are basically the same: pisteuo and pistis. They both have the idea of faith, believing, having faith in, trusting in.

It is the same word in Greek, “faith” being the noun form, “believe” the verb. To believe is to have faith, to have faith is to believe.

Jewel #18: We Grow in Faith as We Walk in the Truth. We Walk in the Truth as we grow in Faith. From Faith to Faith

  • Justification is God’s gracious act by which He declares the believing sinner righteous in Jesus Christ because of the work of Christ on the cross.
  • A righteous standing before God leads to a holy life before men.
  • We are not saved by works or by faith plus works; we are saved by a faith that works.

The believer’s righteousness in Christ means that our acceptance & worth before God cannot be earned…but only received. And on this very verse Martin Luther realized that all his efforts to work his way to God had been futile. He found the very righteousness of God granted to him in Christ!

Chose the Power You Will Obey

The Power of God vs The Power of the Individual

The gospel of Rome has long since faded from the scene. No one celebrates the birth or enthronement of a Caesar, as they did in the First Century. Other gospels, too, have come and gone. The gospel of God has outlasted has outlasted them all.

Rival gospels surface in every age and in every place. Each gospel makes an announcement and tells a story. The gospel of the 21st Century declares that the individual is lord. It is nothing new, for man has always tried to stand against God, beginning with the Tower of Babel.

The gospel of the individual is preached to us every day, 24 hours a day, over the airwaves, on the internet, in the workplace, on the campus and in the marketplace. “Don’t worry about what God thinks,” the preachers of our age tell us. “We determined long ago that if he exists at all, somewhere up in heaven, he doesn’t really care about what happens on earth. If he cares at all, don’t you think he wants you to have your own way?”

Nineteenth Century British poet William Ernest Henley wrote these lines from “Invictus”: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

The gospel of God confronts the gospel of the individual, just as it confronted the gospel of Rome.

  • Do You KNOW the Power of the Gospel?
  • Do You KNOW the Power of the New Life in Christ?

The resurrection of Jesus means this: He is Lord, and you are not. Are you willing to make Him your Lord? Are you willing to believe in the Gospel of God which alone is able to save you?