Monthly Archives: July 2015

Saying And Doing….

John 13:38″Jesus answered him, wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, the cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice”

I ask the question; will you deny the Lord? It is easy while in the comforts of the church house to say I’ll lay down my life for the Lord, but when the enemy begins his attack on you, will you still be willing to lay down your life to follow Christ.

On the night when Jesus was preparing to lay down his life to save mankind, Peter claimed to be willing to lay down his life for Jesus. Now don’t get me wrong, it is better to die with Jesus than to live without him, but Peter didn’t fully understand what it meant to lay down his life to follow Jesus. Many today don’t take the time to count up the cost when it comes to following Christ. See it’s one thing to leave the fishing boats to follow Christ, and something totally different to lay down ones life to follow. It’s one thing to make a sacrifice a couple of hours on Sunday to follow Christ, but can you sacrifice a lifetime to follow him. We must realize there is a wilderness between the red sea and the promise land. There is a great suffering that comes before the promised rest. You can’t enjoy the risen savior without suffering with the crucified Lord. The truth is some of us will be scared away by the sufferings that lies ahead; many of us will abandon him when the persecution comes. He will be sold out in times of uncertainties, and he will be denied at a time when a witness is needed. How can we say we will do with such ease, something that the Lord himself struggled with in the garden. Will you take up a cross for those who talk about you, spitefully use you, falsely accuse you. Will you love your enemy, will you humble yourself as a little child, and submit to the will of God. When it’s all on the line, will you deny the lord.

We all know that Judas sold Jesus out while Peter denied him, and the other disciples abandoned him. But are you aware that some of us have also sold him out, abandoned him and denied him, by the way we sometimes live our life. Will you lay down your life for the Lord?

Let Us Remember

Revelation 2:5 “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will Come unto thee quickly,and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

Remember when you first came to Christ? Remember how you couldn’t wait to tell others the good news. Remember how you were the first to service and the last to leave, always wanting and willing to help out where ever you could. Remember how diligently you studied for Sunday School and bible study, looking forward to hearing and sharing with others in a urgent need to know more and to do more? Well what happened?

Many have fallen off because they refuse to let go of some ways, habits, people and things of the old man to fully grab hold of the Lord. Many refuse to destroy all of the old man not realizing that a little leaven, leavens the whole loaf. When God sent Israel into a strange land, His instructions to them was to destroy everything, don’t spare anything. See if we don’t destroy everything in our life that causes us to rebel against God, that little bit will eventually cause us to leave our first love. We must come all the way out of Sodom, not just to the plains which is too close to Sodom, but get to the mountains which is closer to the Lord. Yes it is harder and more work to get to the mountains, but staying in the plains puts us to close to sin and makes our return to sin much easier.

 

Let us remember what the Lord has done for us that we might remember all we are called to do for Him. Lets not get so comfortable in our salvation that we begin to return to the ways of old. Let us continue forward and proclaim the good news of the gospel..

Mercy; Mercy: Mercy

Psalm 107:1 “Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for His mercy endureth forever”

The work of God’s mercy is to raise us up to live 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.

 

Jesus 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 penalty 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 baptized, can be saved by the grace of God and the goodness of his mercy.

 

Hope can come to sinners: God says I have mercy upon them. Mercy abides in the heart of God even after the hope of it has left the heart of man. God’s mercy is coming, and it has come to all who will accept it. Jesus is the mercy of God given to all who will believe and receive it….

God Shows Mercy

          Sunday School Lesson                                          

Lesson: Micah 7:14-20

                                                                                                 

Golden Text: Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy (Micah 7:18).

  1. INTRODUCTION. Many of the Old Testament prophetic messages centered around Israel’s falling away from honoring God in their daily lives.  Their sins covered a range of categories, but they were mainly guilty of disregarding the Lord’s will in both their business dealings and work.  Everyone in Israel was not in sin, but the leadership was usually at the heart of Israel’s problems.  We have a lot in common with the people of Israel in Old Testament times.  We may not see it clearly, but God dealt with them as a nation as well as individually.  He used other nations to discipline them and worked major miracles on their behalf.  But through it all, the Lord always demonstrated mercy to His people.  Sometimes it’s hard to show mercy to a person who has intimidated, humiliated, or angered us.  When those times happen, we have choices to make: do I have mercy or not?  In this week’s lesson, we will see that like God, we must show mercy to everyone, even those who hurt us.
  2. BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON. Micah chapter 7 begins with gloom (see verses 1-6) and ends with hope (see verses 8-20). Micah watched as society rotted all around him.  Rulers demanded gifts, judges accepted bribes, corruption was everywhere, and Micah couldn’t even find an upright person anywhere in the land (see Micah 1- 4).  Sin had affected the government leaders and society in general, and deceit and dishonesty had even ruined the family, the core of society (see Micah 7:5-6).  But Micah showed great faith in God both personally (see Micah 7:7) and on Israel’s behalf (see Micah 7:8-10) as he proclaimed that he would wait on God, who would bring His people through tough times, and then punish their enemies.  Micah also declared that even though God would have mercy on His people and Israel would be re-gathered, the land would still become desolate as a result of the people’s sin (see Micah 7:11-13).  This is where our lesson begins.

III. MICAH PRAYS THAT GOD WILL SHEPHERD HIS PEOPLE (Micah 7:14-17) 

  1. Micah’s request that God feed His people as in the days of old (Micah 7:14). In this verse, Micah prays to God saying Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.” The word “feed” speaks of tending a flock by making sure that it has pasture where the sheep can graze.  Micah asks God to feed His people “with thy rod.”  The word “rod” is better understood to be a staff which pictures God guiding His people to their feeding places.  God’s staff is used to produce blessings instead of punishment normally represented by a “rod” (see Psalms 2:9; 23:4; 89:32; Proverbs 22:15; II Samuel 7:14).  In Scripture, both words “rod” and “staff” are often used interchangeably (see Isaiah 10:5).  Micah refers to God’s people not only as “thy people” but also as “the flock of thine heritage.”  The fact that Israel was God’s “heritage” means that He owned them, they were His own possession.  Israel was God’s people who because of their sins they “dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel.”  Israel’s sins had caused them to be isolated from God, their Shepherd, which is the meaning of “dwell solitarily in the wood.”  But even in this condition of isolation from God, He still allowed His people access to “Carmel” which means “a fruitful place.”  Micah uses it as a reference to Mount Carmel, one of the lush places in Israel.  Since Israel was seen as isolated from God, Micah prayed that the Lord would “let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.”  The Babylonian Captivity was inevitable, because Judah had her chances to repent but wouldn’t.   Therefore Micah prayed that God would restore his lost wandering people to the prosperity they once enjoyed “in the days of old” or in the past, when these two territories “Bashan and Gilead” were occupied by the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh east of the Jordan River (see Deuteronomy 2:26-3:11-17).  Of course, Micah was looking beyond the Captivity to a time when God would restore His people to their land.
  2. God’s example of the Exodus (Micah 7:15). God begins His reply to Micah in this verse saying According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvellous things.” The phrase “According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt” can be translated as God saying “Yes, Micah, I will do mighty miracles, like those when I brought Israel out of slavery in Egypt.”  The Lord went even further by saying He would “shew unto him marvellous things.”  The word “him” refers to the nation of Israel.  God told Micah that He would do miracles for Israel that were just as “marvelous” or wonderful as those He performed when He delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage (see Exodus 3:20).  Note:  Right after Israel left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, they sang a song unto the Lord saying “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?  Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (see Exodus 15:11).  The wonders God performed included passing over their homes when He destroyed the first born in Egypt, crossing the Red Sea on dry ground, providing manna for many years while they wandered in the wilderness, providing water, even out of a rock, keeping their shoes from wearing out, giving them the ability to conquer the land east of the Jordan River and then crossing over the Jordan on dry ground.  Now God declared that He would eventually do miracles for His people that were equal to those miracles.  What a God we serve!
  3. The reactions of the pagan nations to God’s miracles done for Israel (Micah 7:16-17).
  4. (vs. 16).God continues His reply to Micah’s prayer in this verse saying “The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf.” What God is describing here is the millennium or kingdom reign of Christ.  The term “nations” refers to the pagan Gentile nations that will exist during the millennial reign of Christ on earth.  God said that they “shall see and be confounded at all their might.”  The word translated “confounded” has the idea of turning pale, implying shame and embarrassment.  When the pagan world sees the wonders God has done for Israel by making them the dominant nation of the world during Christ’s kingdom reign, they will become ashamed of “all their might” referring to the pagan nations’ own might.  The Lord continued to say that the pagan world will be so ashamed at their own lack of power that “they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf.”  This means that their embarrassment would be so great that the pagan nations won’t want to speak or hear anymore about what God will be doing for Israel.  A more modern translation of this verse would be “All the world will stand amazed at what I will do for you and be embarrassed at their puny might.  They will stand in silent awe, deaf to all around them.”  Note:  When the other nations heard about Israel’s departure from Egypt, they became afraid (see Exodus 15:14-16; Joshua 2:8-11).  However, the miracles and wonders that the Lord will perform for Israel in the last days will frighten the nations even more.  The pagan Gentile nations will see God’s power displayed through Israel and will become ashamed and unable to do anything about it.  They will come out of their hiding places and submit to the Lord.  This will mean a total victory for Israel.
  5. (vs. 17). Still talking about the plight of the pagan nations during Christ’s reign, God here says “They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of thee.” This entire verse speaks of the condition of the pagan nations once Christ rules on earth and Israel is finally the dominant nation.  The word “They” refers to the Gentile nations.  To show their submission to God They shall lick the dust like a serpent.”  They shall be so mortified, that they will act as if they were sentenced to the same curse as the serpent in Genesis 3:14.  Those pagan nations who have been Israel’s enemy over the years shall be brought to the lowest abasements imaginable, and shall be so dispirited that they shall tamely submit to Israel (see Psalms 72:9; Isaiah 49:23).  The once proud oppressors of Israel and the Lord shall now be made humble.  How small they will be before the great God.  In addition, they shall with trembling and the lowest submission “move out of the holes” into which they have hidden from the Lord (see Isaiah 2:9-12, 17-21), “like worms of the earth” being ashamed and afraid to show their heads.  So, God promises Israel here that “they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of thee.”   The pagan nations will be “afraid of the Lord” and will also “fear” or reverence Him as a result of what He does for Israel.  Yes, the pagan world will be forced to submit to God, but He will still be glorified through His people.  Note:  As we read the prophecies of all the prophets concerning God’s final dealings with mankind and particularly Israel, we may find ourselves wondering why God is taking so long.  At least two answers are clear from His Word.  First, God isn’t concerned with time in the same way we are.  He exists outside time and space and is not bound by either.  In His words to Habakkuk, the Lord said “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (see Habakkuk 2:3).  But, there appears to be something contradictory about those words “though it tarry…it will not tarry.”  Since God’s point of view is outside of time, everything happens exactly as He has planned it.  What He has promised will definitely occur.  However, from our point of view, bound by time as we are, God seems to take forever to fulfill His promises.  What we need to remember is that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (see II Peter 3:8).  Second, God will fulfill His promises at exactly the right time.  Just think about it, it took at least four thousand years for the Redeemer promised in Genesis 3:15 to come into the world.  However, the Apostle Paul declared that the timing of His coming was exact according to God’s purpose.  Paul wrote “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman…” (see Galatians 4:4).  Jesus promised to come again (see John 14:3; Acts 1:11) and how long has it been?  It’s been about two thousand years, but the pieces are being placed in orderly fashion, and the Redeemer will come exactly as He promised.  So, when you are going through difficult times, remember that God’s timing is not like ours.  He has purposes to accomplish in your life and in the world.  Each day is a moment closer.  God always keeps His promises.
  6. GOD WILL FORGIVE HIS PEOPLE (Micah 7:18-20)
  7. The God who pardons and extends mercy (Micah 7:18). In this verse, Micah answers the Lord saying “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”  After receiving God’s answer to his prayer, Micah was moved to worship.  He begins by praising God for the mercy He has shown to Israel.  Micah asked the rhetorical question, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?  The question “Who is a God like unto thee,” reveals that Micah was struck with holy wonder.  Of course the answer to this question is: there is no God like Him (see Exodus 8:10; 9:14; I Samuel 2:2; II Samuel 7:22; I Chronicles 17:20; Psalms 86:8; Isaiah 46:9; Jeremiah 10:6-7).  Micah described God’s people here as the “remnant of his heritage,” but they were guilty of many transgressions.  Unfortunately, God’s children have their blemishes, and often offend our Father.  However, there’s no god like our God who “pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?   For there is no magistrate, nor common person who forgives as God does.  Note:  Our gracious God is One who pardons or forgives the iniquity and transgression of His people, when they repent and return to him (see Psalms 103:12; Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 31:34; 50:20).  As God’s people today, Christians are a pardoned people, and for this we owe everything to Jesus Christ and His finished work (see Romans 5:8).  When God pardons sin, he passes it by, does not punish it as justly as he could, nor does He deal with the sinner according to what he or she deserves (see Psalms 103:10).  Micah also declared that there was no God like our God because unlike man “he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”  It’s true that the Lord gets angry with believers because of our disobedience, but He will not retain, or hold on to His anger for ever (see Psalms 30:5; 103:9).  The reason why God does not keep his anger forever is “because he delights in mercy.”   Showing us mercy is a sign of God’s love. When He shows us mercy, He’s withholding from us what we deserve—judgment.  Every believer should be very grateful that our God has pleasure in the salvation of sinners, not in their death and damnation (see Ezekiel 33:11).
  8. The God who is compassionate (Micah 7:19). In this verse, Micah goes on to say about the Lord “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Since God is merciful to His people, Micah declared that “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us,” that is, he will again have compassion upon Israel as he formerly had.  Indeed the Lord’s compassions never fail, but are new every morning (see Lamentations 3:22-23).  This is true for Christians today.  When it seems that God is departing from us in anger, He will turn again and pity us.  The prophet also said that God “will subdue our (Israel’s) iniquities.”  The word “subdue” here is normally used when speaking of one’s enemies.  It has the meaning of treading one’s enemies under foot (see I Chronicles 17:10; Psalms 47:13).  Our “iniquities” and “sins” are our enemies (see Romans 7:23; 8:7; Galatians 5:17; I Peter 2:11), so for repentant Israel, like He does for us, God will break the power of sin, that it may not have dominion over His people, and they won’t fear sin, nor be led captive by it.  Note:  Sin is an enemy that fights against us, a tyrant that oppresses us and nothing less than almighty grace can subdue it.  Great is sin’s power over fallen man and it has kept possession of man since the beginning.  But, when God forgives the sin that we have committed, He will subdue the sin that dwells in us, trampling it under foot as an enemy.  If we are left to ourselves, our iniquities will be too hard for us; but God’s grace is sufficient for us to subdue our sins and iniquities, so that they can’t rule us, or ruin us.  In the last part of this verse, Micah says to God “and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”  This description of what God will do to Israel’s sin as well as ours brings to mind the Exodus when God brought His people out of Egypt.  He subdued Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and cast them into the depths of the sea.  This implies that when God forgives sin he remembers it no more, and takes care that it shall never be remembered or held against the repentant sinner (see Jeremiah 31:34; Ezekiel 18:21-22).  Because there is no god like our God who alone pardons sin and delights in showing mercy, the repentant sinners’ transgressions shall never be mentioned unto him.  The Lord “will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea,” not just near the shore-side where they may appear again, but into “the depths (deepest parts) of the sea” never to rise again.  “All their sins” shall be cast there without exception, for when God forgives sin, he forgives all.
  9. The God of gracious giving (Micah 7:20). In the final verse of our lesson which is also the final verse in the book of Micah, the prophet concludes his worship of God by saying Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” Because God is faithful (see Deuteronomy 7:9), Israel can rest assured that He will “perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham.”  The word “perform” refers to the covenant God made with Abraham (see Genesis 12:1-3) and confirmed to “Jacob” (see Genesis 28:10-15) Abraham’s grandson.  However, both of these names here refer to the people of Israel, the descendents of both Abraham and Jacob.  Micah is declaring by faith that the God of Israel will surely keep all the promises He has made to Israel beginning with Abraham and continuing through each generation.  The prophet stated that the Lord “hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old” meaning that God swore by Himself (for there is no one greater to swear by) that everything He has sworn to do for Israel will be fulfilled one day.  For sure, it has been many years since God made His covenant promises to Israel’s forefathers, but they will be accomplished.  Note:  Micah’s prophecy assures us that God is not finished with His plans for Israel, so we can be confident of a glorious future for believers, when Christ will establish righteousness and godliness as the norm in His kingdom here on earth.  God’s purpose for Israel and all mankind is going to be fulfilled.  There is increasing evidence that Jesus Christ could return soon and set the day of the Lord in motion.  However, only those who have received Him as personal Saviour will be ready to meet Him and qualified to reign with Him in His millennial kingdom (see II Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:9-10).

            

  1. Conclusion. The book of Micah ends where Israel’s story began—with the promises to Abraham. There was a thousand years between Abraham and Micah, but God still remembered His promise and kept it.  Israel was living in the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  However, Israel’s present situation was dark because of their sins and iniquities which would bring on divine judgment.  Almost a thousand years after Micah, God came in the person of His Son Jesus Christ to prove once and for all that He is faithful to His covenant promises, given first in Genesis 3:15 and continued through the prophets (see Isaiah 7:14) and the Gospels (see Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:1-7).  Since our God shows mercy, those of us who have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior and live in obedience to Him are recipients of His mercy and therefore will not face the final judgment at God’s great white throne (see Revelation 20:11-15).