Monthly Archives: September 2013

Your Grace and Mercy

Ephesians 2:4-5 ” But God, who is rich in mercy,for his great love wherewith he loved us,Even when we were dead in sin,hath quickened us together with Christ,(by grace ye are saved;)

The most astouding interruption in human history is the word “but” in this passage.Man is dead in trespasses and sins, but God is rich in mercy.He has intervened in the destiny of man;He has interrupted the doom of death and judgement.God has had mercy on us,and allowed his grace to save us.
The work of God’s mercy is to raise us up  with Christ.Scripture plainly declares that God has raised  up believers together with Christ.How is this possible when Christ was crucified and raised up thousands of years ago?God raised Jesus for three reasons;Jesus lived a sinless perfect life.God loved man and wanted to save man,but he had a problem,man had already sinned.Righteousness and perfection had already been lost,and only perfection can live in the presence of God.However,there was hope,if a man could live a perfect and ideal life,that man could secure perfection,and the Ideal righteousness. And that man could stand for and cover all who trusted in him.This is what Jesus did.He was the ideal and perfect man.He was the sacrificial lamb without spot or blemish who could die for the sins of mankind.Jesus died for man,he accepted for us the wage paid by sin.He bore man’s penality and punishment for the sins we were guilty.He who knew no sin was made sin that we who knew no righteousness could be made righteous.God then raised Jesus from the dead,His resurrection stands for all who believes,all who by faith, believes and is baptised, can be saved by the grace of God and the goodness of his mercy.
The work of God’s grace and mercy is for us to sit in heavenly places with our heavenly Father.When we by faith accept Christ death,we are dead to sin, and when we accept that God has raise Him from the dead, we to by faith and God’s grace, are raised in a newness of life in Christ Jesus. For his word says”But if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you,he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his spirit that dwelleth in you”(Roman 8:11)

Scattering The Nations

Sunday School Lesson

                                      

Lesson: Genesis 11:1-9                                                                                                  

Golden  Text: So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all  the earth: and they left off to build the  city (Genesis  11:8). 

 

I.   INTRODUCTION.   The principle of scattering holds a prominent place in the  pages of Scripture.  In the New Testament, the young followers of  Jesus Christ were scattered because of persecution (see Acts 8:1-4).   In this week’s lesson, God scattered the descendents of Noah, because  they were committed to dwelling in one place instead of replenishing the whole  earth (see Genesis 9:1).  In both cases, God used the principle of  scattering to fulfill His will.

 

II. MANKIND  SETTLING DOWN (Genesis 11:1-4).  Background for the  Lesson: Genesis  chapter 10 gives a detailed record of the descendents of Noah’s sons through  whom the world would be repopulated after the Flood.  Verses 1-5  detail Japheth’s family, with a conclusion given in verse 5 that “By these  (Japheth’s descendents) were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands;  every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.”   Verses 6-20 detail Ham’s family, concluding with “These are the sons of  Ham, after their families, after their tongues (languages), in their countries,  and in their nations (See Genesis 10:20).  The record of Shem’s  family is found in Genesis 10:21-31, and is summarized with “These are the sons  of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their  nations” (see Genesis 10:31).  Then the entire record is concluded  with the statement that “by these were the nations divided in the earth after  the flood” (see Genesis 10:31).  In other words chapter 10  chronologically should come after Genesis 11:9.  Men were not  divided by tongues and nations until after the events of our lesson.   Therefore Genesis chapter 10 gives the earliest division of men  after the confusion of tongues, and  before the division of the earth into  continents and islands which took place in the days of Peleg (see Genesis  10:25).  Based on the information given in chapter 10 (which should  come after Genesis 9:1-11), we can conclude that after God confounded or  confused the language of the immediate descendents of Noah’s sons, Japheth’s  descendents settled in the north, west and east of Europe and in Asia; Ham’s  descendents settled in Africa; and Shem’s descendents settled in countries  surrounding Palestine.  

A. Dwelling in Shinar  (Genesis 11:1-2). 

1. (vs.  1). Our lesson begins with  And the whole earth was  of one language, and of one speech.”  Since we are told in Genesis 10:25 that the earth (meaning the  descendents of Noah’s sons) was divided in the days of Peleg, at this point in  our lesson it had been at about 100 years since the Flood (see Genesis  10:18-19).  The phrase “whole earth” refers to the  people who survived the Flood as well as their descendents.  They  all spoke the same language.  We don’t know what human language was  spoken before and after the Flood. The view shared by many is that it was a  Semitic language, maybe even Hebrew since the names of men and places in the  period before Babel have meanings only in Hebrew and similar Semitic  languages.

2. (vs. 2).   This verse says “And  it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the  land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.”  In defiance of  God’s command given first to Adam and Eve and then to Noah and his sons to “be  fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (see Genesis 1:27-28; 9:1), there  was a movement to consolidate the human race in one central location.   Note: All of  Noah’s descendents were still in the area of Ararat where the Ark finally rested  after the flood waters subsided (see Genesis 8:4).  They made up  the human race at that time.  There were no humans anywhere else on  earth until God confounded their language and scattered them throughout the  earth.  From this area of Ararat, the human  race travelled eastward until they came to “a plain in the land of  Shinar” which was in Southern Mesopotamia in what is known as the  Fertile Crescent.  It was near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers  where many believe was the location of the Garden of Eden since the land was so  fertile.  “The land of Shinar” eventually became  the region of ancient Babylonia.  Upon finding this “plain”  the people stopped travelling and “dwelt there.”   The Hebrew words for “dwelt there”  mean “to sit down” indicating that the human race settled “in  the land of Shinar” having no intentions of going any further.   Their decision to remain there and build a great civilization indicated  that these people had decided that they were not going to fulfill God’s command  to multiply and fill the earth.

B. Planning a tower (Genesis  11:3-4).

1.  (vs. 3).  With the  people now settled in the plains of Shinar, Moses goes on to write  And they said one  to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had  brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.”   Noah’s descendents were  determined to build a city and a tower (see verse 4), so here we are told how  they planned to do it.  They said “Go to, let us make  brick, and burn them thoroughly.  The words “Go  to” can mean “come on.”  They decided to make bricks for  the building project.  They would “burn them thoroughly”  meaning that they would bake the bricks in a kiln.   Sometimes the process of making bricks involved baking them in the sun,  but burning them in a kiln would make the bricks stronger and  longer-lasting.  Stones would normally be used for a project like  this, but in the area of Shinar stones were not readily available so they made  bricks.  The “slime” they used instead of  “morter” refers to bitumen or asphalt that can still be found  in that area (now Iraq) bubbling out of the ground.  The  “slime” used in those days was so strong that even today it’s  almost impossible to separate things found cemented with it.

2. (vs. 4).  In this verse we are told  “And they said, Go to, let us build  us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a  name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”   With the bricks, Noah’s  descendents were determined to build both a  city and a tower,  whose top may reach unto heaven.”  The reason they wanted to build this city and tower was to  “make us a name” or make a name for themselves.   They believed that the city and tower would unite them, and prevent them  from being “scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”   They deliberately decided to rebel against God’s command to  replenish the earth with people.  Of course this would include  scattering all over the earth.  Note: If the tower had any practical purpose  besides bringing glory to the builders, it is not stated in Scripture.   It’s obvious however, that the tower was not built to honor and  glorify God.  The building of the tower and the city was an act of  rebellion against the true God. We see in this plan that mankind’s basic sinful  nature had not changed even though God, through the Flood had devastated the  earth, and destroyed all life with the exception of Noah, his family and the  animals aboard the ark.  We also see in this incident disobedience  at work.  God’s direct command to replenish the earth was disobeyed  and man’s desire to stay together with one name and in one place was evidence  that they didn’t honor the direct will of God.  They probably  believed the covenant that God made with Noah not to destroy the earth by water  again, but they neglected to realize that our all powerful God has other means  of judgment at His disposal.  No matter what we may choose to do,  we cannot change God’s direct will.  As far as God was concerned,  mankind was going to replenish the earth one way or another, but His will would  be done.  

III. GOD DISRUPTS  MANKIND (Genesis 11:5-9)

A.  God’s  observation (Genesis 11:5-6).  

1. (vs. 5).   Now that the people’s thoughts had turned to preserving and promoting  themselves, Moses writes And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the  children of men builded.”  The phrase “the Lord came down to see” does not mean that God wasn’t aware of what was going on and  had to investigate.  Of course, God doesn’t have to investigate to  know what’s going on in His universe.  God was well aware of what  the people were doing, but for our benefit the text describes Him as coming down  from heaven to earth to have a look.  This is an anthropomorphic  statement, one that uses human terminology to describe what God does.   The words “children of men” is a reference to the  descendents of Noah’s sons who now lived in the land of Shinar (see verse 2) and  made up the human race.

2. (vs. 6).  After stating that God came  down to see what the people were doing, Moses now writes  And the  Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one  language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from  them, which they have imagined to do.”   The Lord saw that the  people were still together as “one” and they all shared  “one language” causing them to do the opposite of what He had  commanded them to do.  God knew that what they were doing in  building a tower and a city had great potential for more evil.  The  phrase “and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have  imagined to do” simply means that since they were united by  “one language,” mankind could accomplish anything they set out  to do, and nothing could restrain or hold them back from completing whatever  they wanted to do.  Note: Judging by God’s response to this effort, this was an  attempt by the people to elevate themselves, perhaps like Satan’s declaration  that “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most  High” (see Isaiah  14:14).

B. God’s decision (Genesis  11:7).   Now, the Lord had a conference with Himself so to  speak.  God said Go to, let us go down, and there confound their  language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”   Just as the people talked  among themselves and had decided what they were going to do, so the Triune God,  Father, Son and Holy Ghost decided “let us go down.”   The words “let us” are the same words God spoke  in Genesis 1:26 when He said “Let us make man in our image, after our  likeness.”  This was a reference to the Trinity just as it is in  this verse.  The phrase “let us go down” is  another anthropomorphic statement applying human language to what God does.   God is everywhere and didn’t have to leave heaven to come down to  earth.  Briefly stated, the Lord’s plan was to “confound  their language.”  Confusing their language would make it  impossible for the people to understand one another and also destroy their  efforts to defy the Lord.  We can imagine how bewildered these  individuals were as they tried to find someone else with whom they could  communicate.  As they found others who they could understand, no  doubt the forming of separate groups took place naturally.  

C. God’s action (Genesis 11:8-9).  

1. (vs.  8).  This verse says So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all  the earth: and they left off to build the city.”  The immediate result of God confusing the  people’s language was that the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all  the earth.”  In doing  this, the Lord made sure that His commandment given after the Flood to replenish  the earth would be fulfilled. Once the human race began to scatter, the  city and its tower were no longer needed, so they  left off to build the city” meaning  that they halted the construction.  Since the people couldn’t  effectively communicate to each other, it became obvious to them that this  project would be a complete disaster, so they stopped.   Note: With  the confusing of the languages, various groups developed who spoke the same  language, thus also developing different cultures.  These separate  and unique groups of people who now spoke different languages traveled together  and settled in other parts of the world.  This was the beginning of  the fulfillment of God’s command for man to replenish the  earth.

2.  (vs. 9).  Our final  verse says Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the  Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and  from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the  earth.”   The word Therefore” connects what God did when He confounded human language to the  name given to the city they attempted to build.  It was called  “Babel” which means confusion.  The city later  became Babylon.  Again we are told that the Lord scattered the  human race “abroad upon the face of all the earth.”   Thus the beginning of nations was not the result of  chance.  Nations came about as the result of God’s  intervention.  Note: The original intent of the builders was to construct  something that would make a name for themselves.  Instead, the name  given to this city commemorated God and what He did when He confounded their  language. What took place at Babel is a lesson for all of us, and a warning  against deciding to live our lives contrary to God’s will.  We  can’t win when we fight against the clear commands of God; it’s always a losing  battle, whether during our lifetime, or in the time of coming judgment in the  future.

 

         

IV.  Conclusion.  Fallen  man is inclined toward evil.  This week’s lesson documented man’s  rebellion at Shinar and his scattering from Babel.  We have seen  that disobedience to God’s expressed will leads to moral decline and more overt  forms of rebellion.  God simply would not tolerate the disobedience  and rebellion He saw in the human race after the Flood.  He will  not tolerate disobedience today either.  He didn’t allow the  sinfulness of mankind to reach the levels it had reached prior to the  Flood.  Instead, He stepped in and put an end to the direction they  were going.  Whenever God stops us like that, we should be  thankful.

                            

    

 

 

 

                                              

Praying In Vain

James 4:3 ” Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lust”.

 

 

God hears and answers prayers, but at the same time He cannot be tempted neither does He tempt any man. Many of our prayers go unanswered because of what we are praying for. I remember when getting off of drugs I prayed real hard for a car, then it dawned on me that I didn’t even have a drivers license so what good would a car do me.

 

Many pray to change things, people and our situations when what really needs to change is us and how we see our situations. Why pray for a big house when our little apartment is a struggle to keep clean. Why pray for a good husband/wife when you know yourself you are no good. Why do we pray for a job when we are such lousy employees. Let us pray that God better prepares us for the things we are praying for. you want a good job, pray that God makes you a better employee. Desire a good spouse, Pray that God makes you a good husband/wife. Want a bigger house, take better care of the little apartment God has blessed you with. I find that when your prayer are requesting a change from the inside out, God seems to answer them a lot faster.

 

Let us stop praying for things out of lust and the need for self elevation. When praying first make sure you are ready for that which you are praying for. Ask yourself is this a need or a want, will it bring glory to God or is this for self gratification. Then always remember the JOY of praying, Jesus- Others- and then You. Make your prayer life one of worship, and that will bring Glory to God and not stuff to yourself.

Bought And Paid For

1 Corinth 6:19b-20 “Ye are not your own: For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your bodies and in your spirit which are God’s”.

When I was a child, I use to play store. I would sell candy, but try and keep the candy and the money. But we all know that if  you keep the money, the candy is no longer yours, and if you keep the candy you forfeit the money. You can’t have both. The same is true with our salvation. You can have your life to live anyway you want to, but then you deny the redemption. If you accept the ransom paid, then the redeemed life is no longer yours, but now belongs to the redeemer. If you have been redeemed,you belong to Christ, but if you are determined to do your own thing, you have renounced your redeemer and choose to die in sin.

 

The body is not designed for desires and urges, but to be members of Christ, to be a temple of the Holy Ghost to glorify God.Through the blood of Christ we are free to live righteously and eternally in the presence of God. We have received the divine nature of God, we are one spirit ,united with God through Christ, and it is time to render unto God that which belongs to God. When we accepted Christ death, burial, and resurrection, we accepted the ransom paid to free us from the bondage of sin.Our life is no longer ours it belongs to Him who paid the ransom.” This life we now live in the flesh, we now live by faith in the son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us”. Our bodies are no longer ours, they are now members of Christ, so can we now take the temple of the Holy Ghost and make them members of a harlot. The Holy Spirit actually dwells in the heart of the true believer, and this temple has no other purpose but to house the presence of God. We have surrendered our will to him, we have been consecrated by him, we are possessed and occupied by His spirit and led to do His will. We are not our own, not our own provider as sheep are fed by the shepherd. We are not our own guide, for Jesus is the rudder which guides this ship.

 

We have been bought with a price; A price paid by the Father ,who gave His only begotten Son; ” For God so loved the world…..”A price paid by the Son, who gave himself, and his glory. His glory he had with the Father before the world was, that we too might share in that glory. The price was paid with His broken body and shed blood, price paid in full as He became a curse to free us from the curse. Oh so let us rejoice, for we have a beloved owner. let us  worship him with our life, a life of holy diligence to his word, in a humble obedience. Let us praise Him with our living, by living a life of cleanliness,love, and self control, giving of yourself cheerfully with all long suffering. Let the redeemed of the Lord now render unto God that which belongs to God!