Archive for February, 2014

The Big Debate (Job 12; Romans 16)

February 13, 2014

“Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?”  Job 12:9

This past week much of the science world tuned in to a debate between evolutionist Bill Nye and creationist Ken Ham.  You can view the debate at creationmuseum.com.  As I watched the debate, I was amazed at how Bill Nye was so intelligent in many areas of science.  But at the same time I was heartbroken concerning his blindness in the most important things.  At one point in the debate he asked Ken Ham the following question, “Do you trust in this book (The Bible) more than all the processes you see around you?” Praise be unto God that Ken Ham responded, “Without question.”

Ours is a society in which people are worshipping the creation instead of the creator.  Ours is a society that choses to believe in processes instead of believing in a divine creator. This failure alters humanities worldview concerning every area of life.

Consider Job 12.  Our friend Job is enduring suffering because of his faith.  He is locked in a debate with friends who believe he must be in sin.  God would not judge Job unless he was in sin. This was their viewpoint.

In Job 12 we find Job turning to the issue of creation in defense of his rightness before God.  Two points govern Job’s side of the debate:

1.  God is the creator, Vs: 1-8

Job understands that God has given all men a measure of understanding (Vs: 2-3).  However this understanding does not always lead to life.  Humanity still remains in spiritual darkness.  Job maintains that even nature itself understands divine design.

2.  God is in control, Vs: 9-24

Job understands God not to be like a clock-maker who builds the clock, winds the clock, and then stands back and watches it go its own way.  Our creator is in control.  “In His hands is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”

Think it through:

1.  How did you and I arrive at being alive on the earth at this stage of history?  Our God placed us here.

2.  How is the universe governed and how is man kept in check?  Our God is in control of the universe.  Without his hand the universe would be a place of total chaos.

Our take away:

Bill Nye cannot see this on his own.  He is not alone, neither can I without the creators help.  Here is how Job describes this reality, “He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a trackless waste.  They grope in the dark without light, and he makes them stagger like a drunken man.”  Job 12:24-25

This day I challenge you to do two things:

1. Pray for those in whose eyes are blind to the truth.  “Dear Father, open the eyes of the blind to see you.”

2.  Praise our God for opening our eyes to the truth.  “Dear Father, I would still be bind without hope.  But you opened my eyes.”

Four further study check out John 8

Less Than You Deserve (Job 11; Romans 15)

February 12, 2014

“Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves,”  Job 11:6

I once was given a wonderful gift from a group of people in whom I would speak at their lunch meeting about once a month.  The presenter of the gift said, “Receive this token of our thanks for all you have done.”  He went on to comment, “The gift is far less than you deserve.”  The kindness of this man and these people was far more than I deserved.  The fact is, “Every day of my life, I was and still am receiving more than I deserve as a follower of Christ.

In the book of Job we read of a viewpoint that is the flip-side of this truth.  Job has been lamenting the brokenness in his life.  Job is suffering as one who is innocently suffering for the glory of the Lord according to R.C. Sproul.

But here is chapter 11, one of his friends says just the opposite of this.  He believes Job is getting less than what he deserves.  This belief seems extremely harsh in the fact that this is one who knew Job very well.

Job’s friend believes Job is living in unrighteousness.  He believes the following:

1.  Job was trying to talk his way out of judgment, Vs: 1-5

2.  Job did not understand the depths of God’s judgment, Vs: 6-12

3.  Job needed to repent of his sin and seek to live in righteousness, Vs: 13-18

Here are words that cause me to tremble, “If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let no injustice dwell in your tents.”

Think it through:

How can any man put his sin far away from himself?  The truth is, we are all guilty of being sinners and we are receiving less than we deserve when God removes the sin debt by the payment of Jesus Christ (II Cor. 5:21).

Job’s friend believed that Job must establish his own righteousness, whereas God knows that our righteousness is established apart from our effort.  “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Jesus Christ, in order to be justified by faith in Jesus Christ and not by works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”  Gal. 2:16

I would agree with Job’s friend, “We are getting less than we deserve.”  But I would also agree with Paul, “we are getting far more than we deserve.”

Spend time praising him for what you have discovered today!!!

 

The Issue of Judgment (Romans 14; Job 10)

February 11, 2014

“So then each of us much give an account of himself to God,” Romans 14:12

He has held it as long as he could.  Suddenly his words erupt like a dam that breaks because of the pressure of the water that has become violent in the midst of a storm. Who is this man?  His name is Job.  What is his violent storm?  He is facing a spiritual attack to his very being.  Notice his words:

“I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.  I will say to God, Do not condemn me; Let me know why you contend against me?”  Job 10:1-2

In this moment, Job takes his case before God.  However, in the very next chapter, his friend Zopar passes judgment.

Question, “Have you ever been involved in passing judgment?”  I can answer for me, “I have been on both sides of the coin.”  I have both been judged and I have passed judgment.

Romans 14 helps us to understand the correct response to the issue of judgment, no matter which side of the coin you presently are on:

1.  The principle of judgment, Vs: 1-13

Here is the principle, “Do not quarrel over opinions!”

There are two examples of differing opinions given in the text (the subject of eating, and the subject of honoring certain days of the week over other days).

Paul’s teaching: “Do not quarrel over opinions.”

This principle helps us to understand how judgment will take place:

A.  The Lord is the judge of His people, Vs: 4.

B.  The Lord will judge His people, Vs: 10-12

2.  The practicality of judgment, Vs: 13-23

Because of the principle we can now practically obey Paul’s imperative, “Never place a stumbling block before our brothers and sisters.”

I have discovered the work of the Lord is far to important to allow varying opinions to cause stumbling blocks in the work of the Lord.

Think it through:

Imagine how much better served the kingdom would have been if Job’s friends would have followed God’s direction on the issue of judgment.

Question, “How is the kingdom being served in our lives in the area of judgment?”

Consider the principle and commit to the practice of the imperative of this chapter!!!

Why Are Not All Men Saved (Romans 10)

February 6, 2014

But of Israel he says, ‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.'”  Romans 10:21

As you open your Bible to Romans 10, you discover Paul’s heart, “My hearts desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.”  Question, “Is this your heart for your fellow-man?”  

Several years ago, I came to know a man in whom immediately God placed his soul on my heart.   I prayed for that man and I presented the gospel to this man many times.  But as of this day, he still has not responded to the gospel.  Question, “Does, God not want this man to be saved?”

In Romans 10 Paul helps us to see that God has put in place the way for man to be saved.  However, humanity does not want to be saved by faith in Jesus Christ.  He seeks according to Paul, “To establish his own righteousness.”  He believes he is ok the way he presently is.  This was the case and still is the case of my friend.  He has said to me many times, “I am ok!!!”

In this moment, I realize why all men are not saved!

But at the same time, I still have a great responsibility, as do all who follow Christ, to proclaim the gospel (Romans 10:13-17).

Think it through:

Salvation comes to those who say, “Jesus is Lord,” Romans 10:9

1.  This means, “You and I are rebels”

2.  This means, “You and I need a redeemer”

3.  This means, “You and I must repent of our rebellion”

Salvation comes to those who say, “I believe that Jesus rose from the dead,” Romans 10:9b-10

4. This means, “You and I must trust in God’s acceptance of Jesus payment in his resurrection”

5.  This means, “You an I must live our lives in following our Redeemer.”

When this happens you and I will not be ashamed (Romans 1:16-17, I John 2:27-3:2).  Paul promises, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Our take away:

Each day, someone has to share the gospel before someone can respond to the gospel.

Each day, someone must respond to the gospel to be saved.

I want to do the first so the second can happened today!!!

The Toughest Chapter In The Bible (Romans 9)

February 6, 2014

“What shall we say then?  Is there injustice on God’s part?  By no means!”  Romans 9:14

This morning when I awoke, I laid for a few minutes in bed thinking about my morning devotions.  I knew Romans 9 was awaiting me.  I found myself thinking through the sections of this chapter:

1.  Vs: 1-5, “Paul passionately wanted his countrymen to come to Christ.”  Even though they had all the advantages that should have shown them their need, they rejected Jesus.

2.  Vs: 6-13, “Paul points out that God is sovereignly in charge of those who come to understand the Word.”  There is much debate here, but we come away with Paul’s words, “Not because of works but because of him who calls.”

3.  Vs: 14-29 “Paul clearly shows us the amazing mercy and justice of God.” These verses have been debated (From a human viewpoint) for 2000 years.  The Gospel Transformation Study Bible offers the following commentary, “God is not indebted to human expectations or demands,”  Cited from Pg. 1515.

4.  Vs: 30-32, “Paul leaves us with a joyous truth.”  God is saving all who come to Jesus by faith!  “Whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Think it through:

As you read this chapter it would be easy to get caught up in the debates and become distracted from the point.  The point is, “Our God is a God of mercy and justice.”  Ours is a world that is in complete rebellion against God.  But God in His mercy sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take our place on the cross.  All men are headed to an eternal hell, but God is redeeming all who come to Jesus.

Our response:

In our family devotions I posed this question, “What are you thankful for, having read Romans 9?”  The responses were amazing.  Each response ended with, “Only because of His mercy!!!”  What is your response to our devotion question?

The wrong answer (Job 4; Romans 8)

February 5, 2014

“Remember, who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off?”  Job 4:7

Question, “Have you ever been wrong?”  I cannot answer for you, but I can answer for me.  I have been wrong, many times in life.  There are times when being wrong is not a big deal.  For example, if I miss my turn off by one exit here in Louisville.  All I have to do is to take the next exit and then turn around and I am usually back on track in a matter of minutes.  However, there are times when being wrong is a big deal.  For example, If I am asked to make a decision that affects the lives of people.  Then it is a big deal whether I am right or wrong.

Consider the scenario before us in Job 4-5.  Job’s friends have stayed with him for an entire week of mourning.  Now, Job has opened his heart to God, chapter 3.  At this point, Job’s oldest friend offers advice.  In this moment I cry out, “Be careful of your judgment!!!”

Think it through:

1.  Job’s friend has watched Job’s life, 4:1-4

He has watched over the years as Job has helped others as they were going through times of great adversity.  Each time, Job has given good advice.  It is now time that he takes his own advice.

2.  Job’s friend is sure Job is in sin, 4:5-5:7

He sees God’s disciple of Job’s life.  Eliphaz belief is simply this, “No one ever goes through hard times unless it is God’s judgment because they are in sin.”  His thesis is this, “whoever is innocent that perishes?”

3.  Job’s friend offers a sure solution to Job’s problem, 5:8-27

Job must seek the Lord and Job must repent before the Lord.  If Job will only do this God will restore Job.

Brothers and sisters, point three is correct, if Job is in sin!!!  But you and I know, from reading Job, he is not in sin.  We know that all suffering is not as a result of sin. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us,” Romans 8:18

What is to be our response?

1.  We must look at the business of judgment based upon correct theology.

The Bible gives us three reasons for tribulation:

1.  God’s discipline of our rebellion

2.  Satan’s attack for our faithfulness (Persecution)

3.  God’s allowing of our lives to be strengthened for His glory

In Job’s case it was numbers 2 and 3.

2.  We must respond in the business of judgment based upon God’s example

“A new commandment I give you, you are to love one another as I have loved you,” John 13:34

The cry of a troubled soul (Job 3; Romans 7)

February 4, 2014

“I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes,”  Job 3:26

A serious student of scripture recognizes the reality of times of trouble in the lives of followers of Christ.  As you read this blog either you are in a time of trouble, going into one, or coming out.  This is the reality of life.

Consider Job.  The the past 7 days Job has been sitting in mourning with 3 friends (2:11-13).  I think the time of his trouble is far longer than this.  One hint to this is the commentary in 2:12, “And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him.” We do not know how long Job has been in this time of trouble.  However we do know the trouble has left its mark on Job.

Question:  “What marks are in your life because of trouble?”  The trouble in Job’s life had so marked him that he begins to think in ways that are not correct.  Here is his theological belief at this moment, “Death has to be better than this.”

Notice Job’s deep marks:

1.  Job comments in Vs: 1-10, “I wish I had never been born.”

2.  Job comments in Vs: 11-16, “I wish I would have died at birth.”

3.  Job concludes in Vs: 20-22, “I wish I could die.”

These comments come from a heart that is marked by the turmoil in his life.  These comments reflect a core belief in Job’s life, “Death is rest and death is relief.”   We know this is true for those who die in the Lord at the moment when God has finished our task’s on the earth.

However, death in any other form or fashion is anything but rest and release.  Think about those who die without Christ, “They spend eternity in the flames of hell.”  No rest there.  Think about those who take their lives, even though they are followers of Christ.  Yes, they will still have heaven (because salvation is by grace through faith alone).  However there will be the loss of rewards and the sorrow of judgment.  But praise be to God, He will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Rev. 21:1-4).

Job was to discover so many things about God during this time of his trial.  The truth he discovered first and foremost was this,  “God is bigger than any trial we face.”  Job would come to understand the sovereignty of God (Job 42:4-6).  Job complained along the journey, but he came to see the purpose intended by the Lord!!!

For further study check out, James 5:7-12

Being Brought To Nothing (Romans 6; Job 2)

February 3, 2014

“We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin,” Romans 6:6

Often in scripture we see agricultural metaphors used to point us to spiritual truth.  For example, Galatians 6:7, “For whatever a man sows that he will also reap.”  Before us in Romans 6 we are given an agricultural metaphor in Vs: 21, “But what fruit were you getting at the time from the things that you are now ashamed?”  

Paul is teaching us that the gospel caused the fruit of sin to die in our lives.

Question, “Is this true in our lives as followers of Christ?”  As I look at my life in Christ, I want to check the tree of my life every day to make sure there is no dead (Sinful) fruit still hanging on the tree of my life.

Paul helps us to understand this in three ways:

1.  Our baptism is our testimony to the world, “Sin has been brought to nothing,” Romans 6:2-4.

2.  Our life is our testimony to the world, “Sin is being brought to nothing,” Romans 6:5-9

3.  Our life is our testimony to the world, “Salvation is bringing life to our mortal bodies, Romans 6:10-14

Think it through:

When sinners read Romans 6, they believe the call to follow Christ will lead them to a life of death.  They will no longer be able to enjoy life.  But when the Christian reads Romans 6, they understand the call to follow Christ has led them to true life.

Question:  “What do you think when you read Romans 6?”  Your answers determines what is alive and what is dead in you!!!