Lessons Of A Lifetime

EVER INCREASING ENEMIES
OR
OUR FAR-REACHING BRANCH
SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.’”

“Then Joseph arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” Matthew 2.19-23

Something To Consider:
Matthew declared, “Those who sought the young Child are dead.” The list of those enemies seeking the death of Christ and Christianity is ever-increasing in length. And yet every name ever written on that list eventually belongs to a dead enemy of God if they die remaining an enemy of God. Jesus Christ and true Christianity have and will continue to outlive all of their ever increasing enemies, for to be found fighting against Christ and Christianity is futile. Therefore, the question must be raised. Can we be guilty of fighting against Christ and the spread of true Christianity, thereby becoming Christ’s enemy?

We are not talking about the ever-increasing spread of man-made worldly religion, for there is a vast difference between religion and true Christianity. Jesus will later say, “He [or she] who is not with Me is against Me, and he [or she] who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” We are either gathering with Christ or we are scattering and standing against Him in total opposition to His Word.

It makes all the difference in the world and the next, as to whether we become one of the many ever-increasing enemies of Christ, or whether we become a partner of His plan of the advancement of His Word and His kingdom. As always, it remains our decision!

The apostle Paul weighs in on this discussion of becoming part of God’s overall plan of expanding His kingdom in Romans 10.14-15, by asking four rapid fire questions of his readers. “How then shall they [those outside Christ’s kingdom], call on Him [Jesus] in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him [Jesus] of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?”

Then Paul follows up by declaring in verse 17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Hearing the Word of God creates faith! Therefore, what we are hearing is of utmost importance! In other words, Paul is affirming that for an ever-increasing unbelieving enemy of Christ to be converted, they must hear the Word of God. This is contrary to the recent thinking of some in religious circles, but Paul is very clear in the above Scripture, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

That is God’s plan and man cannot alter or change that divine process. So, if any misguided so-called spokesman for God or for Christianity declares a person can be saved without Christ and without hearing the Word of God, do not believe it! Faith according to the Word of God comes by way of hearing the Word of God.

Something Else To Consider:
Joseph, seemingly a righteous man, blameless before God, was warned again by God in a dream. Joseph’s fear was proven to be founded by God’s leading and divine direction. King David wrote from extensive experience about being directed of God in Psalm 37.23 when he stated; “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He [the LORD] delights in his way.” Are our steps ordered by the LORD? Is God delighting in the way we are going? These are answering requiring questions for every leader in training. Let us therefore think before answering! God already knows our proper and honest response.

How do we know we are walking in the ways of the Lord, especially if we are living in the last days? The writer of Psalm 119 begins by proclaiming, “Blessed are the undefiled [blameless] in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD [Word of God]! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies [Word], who seek Him with their whole heart. They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways [ways revealed in His Word].”

The writer continues by declaring to God, “I will meditate on Your precepts [Word of God], and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes [Word of God]; I will not forget Your Word.” Someone appears to have found the biblical formula for seeking God with their whole heart while walking in His ways.

In that same Psalm in verse 105 we are instructed, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Though as end time earthly occupants and present tense believers in Jesus we are afflicted by our ever-increasing enemies as promised in the Word of God. Therefore, let us be found rejoicing that we have God’s Word as a lamp and a light to direct us. Though all around us perilous times may press upon us, we have the promises of God’s Word to comfort and to convict if needed, and to direct us back to the cross of Christ as often as our spirit within us deems it the wise thing to do!

Something More To Consider:
Joseph and Mary returned to their hometown of Nazareth, as spoken by the prophets. And yet the town of Nazareth is never mentioned in all of the Old Testament. But the prophet Isaiah revealed in Isaiah 11.1-2; “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots [speaking of Jesus]. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”

The word Nazareth is a Hebrew form of the word branch. Jesus is our Branch, if we have ceased being an ever-increasing enemy and have been willingly spiritually grafted into the kingdom of God through Jesus and our being spiritually born again. If that is our existing condition then Jesus has become our far-reaching and redeeming Branch. Isaiah, beginning in verse 10 of Isaiah chapter 11, speaking of a time in the not so distant future, declared; “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles [anyone not Jewish] shall seek Him [Jesus the Root and the Branch], and His resting place shall be glorious.”

Isaiah continued, “It shall come to pass in that day [approaching last day] that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the Islands of the sea. He [Jesus] will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

How similar to Mark 13.26-27 does this sound? “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather His elect [born again enduring to the end true end time saints] from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.”

A Few Final Words:
While living here upon planet earth we must keep an open mind to the many circumstances and situations that surround us, especially those we have no control over. There is a much larger divine agenda that encompasses all of eternity, and not just our life span. Our lives are as vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. Are we a part of a plan that attempts to lessen the ever-increasing number of the enemies of Christ by the preaching or the supporting of the preaching of the true gospel of Jesus Christ as according to Jesus? Are we in any way aiding the calling of those who shall believe?

Are we supportive of those who carry the true gospel to those who need to believe? Notice the emphasis placed on the carrying of the true gospel! There are many gospels being delivered by many false prophets and false self-proclaimed teachers of the Word of God, but there is only one true biblical Jesus ordained gospel message, and it has much to do about our enduring to the end thereby being saved, according to Jesus.

Therefore, are we preparing future preachers to carry this true gospel in case the Lord decides to remain longsuffering a little longer, contrary to what we might think? He is the Lord and not us! Are we preparing future servants who will teach men, women, and young people to observe all things Jesus has commanded, and if not why not?

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, may we in theses end times, find forgiveness and grace in our far-reaching redeeming Branch of Jesus’ family tree, the cross. In Him Always, Amen!

 

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