October 6, 2021-Sermon of the Day
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16 KJV
Jesus, the Ultimate Example of Godly Exaltation
He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name, which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord , to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8-11)
“There is an ungodly, self-sufficient exaltation that leads to defeat and dishonor.” (“Jesus, the Ultimate Example of Godly Exaltation by Bob …”) " Everyone who exalts himself will be abased " (Luke 18:14a). “On the other hand, there is a godly, self-denying humility that leads to a proper exaltation.” (“Jesus, the Ultimate Example of Godly Exaltation by Bob …”) " He who humbles himself will be exalted " (Luke 18:14b). We saw in our previous meditation that Jesus was the ultimate example of humility. Here, we see that He is also the ultimate example of godly exaltation .
Jesus humbly surrendered Himself to the will of the Father, that our salvation might be secured through His atoning death. "He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." The results were glorious. God’s great salvation was purchased for man, and God’s Son was exalted. (“Daily Word Oct 13,2012; Jesus ,the ultimate Example of …”) " Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name." First, Jesus was raised victoriously from the dead and seated at the Father’s right hand, being granted the name above all names. "He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:20). Some day He will return triumphantly. "Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. (“Revelation 19 - Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a …”) And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war" (Revelation 19:11). Finally, He will rule forever sovereignly. "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end…to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever " (Isaiah 9:7).
Those who must be forced to bow at the end will be separated from Him forever. Those who humbly bow and confess Him now will be exalted now (that is, " lifted up " now into heavenly realms of forgiveness, blessing, growth, and fruitfulness). Eventually, they will enter into His eternal exaltation (joint heirs with Christ, serving Him forever)! The pathway is humility. He humbled Himself yet will rule eternally. We humble ourselves before Him now, yet we reign with Him forever!
Lord Jesus, what an amazing path You walked—from humble servanthood to a heavenly throne. What a grand exaltation will be Yours forever. What an astounding joy to know that I will join You in that exaltation, serving You eternally. (“Daily Word Oct 13,2012; Jesus, the ultimate Example of …”) Lord, I humble myself before You anew. Make me Your faithful servant now while I await the glorious privilege that is coming, Amen.
Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst. —John 4:14
He who is a believer in Jesus finds enough in his Lord to satisfy him now, and to content him for evermore. The believer is not the man whose days are weary for want of comfort, and whose nights are long from absence of heart-cheering thought, for he finds in religion such a spring of joy, such a fountain of consolation, that he is content and happy. Put him in a dungeon and he will find good company; place him in a barren wilderness, he will eat the bread of heaven; drive him away from friendship, he will meet the “friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Blast all his gourds, and he will find shadow beneath the Rock of Ages; sap the foundation of his earthly hopes, but his heart will still be fixed, trusting in the Lord. The heart is as insatiable as the grave till Jesus enters it, and then it is a cup full to overflowing. There is such a fulness in Christ that He alone is the believers all. The true saint is so completely satisfied with the all-sufficiency of Jesus that he thirsts no more-except it be for deeper draughts of the living fountain. In that sweet manner, believer, shalt thou thirst; it shall not be a thirst of pain, but of loving desire; thou wilt find it a sweet thing to be panting after a fuller enjoyment of Jesus’ love. One in days of yore said, “I have been sinking my bucket down into the well full often, but now my thirst after Jesus has become so insatiable, that I long to put the well itself to my lips, and drink right on.” Is this the feeling of thine heart now, believer? Dost, do thou feel that all thy desires are satisfied in Jesus, and that thou hast no want now, but to know more of Him, and to have closer fellowship with Him? “Then come continually to the fountain and take of the water of life freely.” (“Jesus Makes Us Content and Happy – The Transformed Wife”) Jesus will never think you take too much, but will ever welcome you, saying, “Drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”
He had married an Ethiopian woman. —Numbers 12:1
Strange choice of Moses, but how much stranger the choice of Him who is a prophet like unto Moses, and greater than he! Our Lord, who is fair as the lily, has entered into marriage union with one who confesses herself to be black, because the sun has looked upon her. It is the wonder of angels that the love of Jesus should be set upon poor, lost, guilty men. Each believer must, when filled with a sense of Jesus’ love, be also overwhelmed with astonishment that such love should be lavished on an object so utterly unworthy of it. Knowing as we do our secret guiltiness, unfaithfulness, and black heartedness, we are dissolved in grateful admiration of the matchless freeness and sovereignty of grace. Jesus must have found the cause of His love in His own heart, He could not have found it in us, for it is not there. “Even since our conversion we have been black, though grace has made us comely.” (“Evening, October 6th (Spurgeon’s Devotional)”) Holy Rutherford said of himself what we must each subscribe to-“His relation to me is, that I am sick, and He is the Physician of whom I stand in need. Alas! how often I play fast and loose with Christ! He bindeth, I loose; He buildeth, I cast down; I quarrel with Christ, and He agreeth with me twenty times a day!” Most tender and faithful Husband of our souls, pursue Thy gracious work of conforming us to Thine image, till Thou shalt present even us poor Etios unto Thyself, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. (“Evening, October 6th (Spurgeon’s Devotional)”) Moses met with opposition because of his marriage, and both himself and his spouse were the subjects of an evil eye. Can we wonder if this vein world opposes Jesus and His spouse, and especially when great sinners are converted? “For this is ever the Pharisee’s ground of objection, “This man receiveth sinners.”” (“Evening, October 6th (Spurgeon’s Devotional”) Still is the old cause of quarrel revived, “Because he had married an Ethiopian woman.”
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; (Deuteronomy 7:9)
God is faithful! He has been and always will be faithful! How wonderful that we can count upon His promises!
My Prayer: O Lord, thank you for being faithful, even to those who are faithless! “Keep me walking close to You and in Your statutes.” (“Praise, Worship and Prayer: October 2013”)
“He opened not his mouth” ( Isa_53:7 ).
“How much grace it requires to bear a misunderstanding rightly, and to receive an unkind judgment in holy sweetness!” (“Devotional Corner – Vol. 60, No. 20 - Fee Fee Baptist …”) Nothing tests the Christian character more than to have some evil thing said about him. “This is the file that soon proves whether we are electro-plate or solid gold.” (“Isaiah 53:7 Context: He was oppressed, yet when he was …”) If we could only know the blessings that lie hidden in our trials we would say like David, when Shimei cursed him, “Let him curse; it may be that the Lord will re-quite me good for his cursing this day.”
Some people get easily turned aside from the grandeur of their life-work by pursuing their own grievances and enemies, until their life gets turned into one little petty whirl of warfare. It is like a nest of hornets. You may disperse the hornets, but you will probably get terribly stung, and get nothing for your pains, for even their honey is not worth a search. (“News & Stories » The Simpson Anthology”)
God give us more of His Spirit, “who, when he was reviled, reviled not again”; but “committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” “Consider him that endureth such contradiction of sinners against himself.”
“Before you” He trod all the path of woe,
He took the sharp thrusts with His head bent low.
He knew deepest sorrow and pain and grief,
He knew long endurance without relief,
He took all the bitter from death ’s deep cup,
He kept not a blood-drop but gave all up.
“Before you” and for you, He won the fight
To bring you to glory and realms of light.
THE GREATEST GREATNESS Mar_10:35-45
The way up is down. True greatness is not in position nor in possessions nor in achievements, but in what one is in himself when he’s alone in the dark. To feed a hungry man in sore need, who doesn’t appreciate your help, even when it means suffering and sacrifice for you—this is the real Christ-spirit. To be like Jesus himself in heart and spirit and action—this is the greatest greatness.
GOD’S RESTORING LOVE
“Take with you words, and turn to the Lord; I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.” — Hos_14:2-4.
“Simon… lovest thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee.” — Joh_21:16.
THE CAUSES of backsliding are many. We have pretended to be living a more devoted life than was actually the case; we neglected to watch unto prayer; we allowed secret sin to eat out the heart of our piety, as the white ant works destruction in the East; or we yielded to temptation, and then sought to justify ourselves against the remonstrances of conscience; or we yielded to the fear of man, and drifted with the multitude to do evil; or we became prosperous, and trusted only in our wealth; or poor, and succumbed to covetousness and the bitterness of despair.
“The world despises the fallen, and does not believe in the possibility of entire restoration.” (“Our Daily Walk by F B Meyer - Oct | Precept Austin”) It is always suspicious of those who have fallen from their high estate—the prisoner in the cell, who was once a honored financier; the beautiful woman who has come under the degrading influence of drink or drugs; the minister or doctor who has incurred shame and disgrace—all such find it hard to be reinstated. But God stoops over the outcast with infinite compassion and love, and promises forgiveness and restoration to all who will return to Him.
It was thus that our Lord dealt with Peter. He knew that in spite of his grievous fall, there was a strong undercurrent of devoted love, and He did not hesitate to entrust to him the care of His sheep and lambs. In a certain museum there is a lovely marble statue which was found broken into hundreds of pieces. The fragments were carefully collected, and with infinite patience fitted together. Finally a seemingly impossible task was accomplished, and the statue stands in all its original completeness and beauty. (“Our Daily Walk by F B Meyer - Oct | Precept Austin”) So the Lord Jesus will take the broken pieces of any life that will come to Him, and with His skill full and tender touch will remake it into something useful and beautiful in His service. This is the meaning of Redemption. The one thing that Christ asks of any of us is that we should follow Him. Whether we can walk, or need to be carried; whether life is young within us, or waning, let us follow Him, love Him, obey Him, and He will turn back our backslidings, and never mention them again.
O Lord, we would be Thine; let us never fall away from Thee. AMEN.
Paul before His Judges
But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’s room; and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound — Act_24:27
Paul’s Two Years in Prison
After being five days at Caesarea, Paul was formally indicted by the Jewish party. The case against him was conducted by Tertullus who was as unscrupulous as he was eloquent. Felix was no stranger to the matters in debate; he had lived long enough among the Jews to grow conversant with them. He therefore refused to decide the matter offhand; he would wait till his captain from Jerusalem came down. Now, whether the captain was unwilling to come or whether he got a broad hint not to hurry, is a question we need not trouble to decide. The fact remains that we have no trace of his visit during Paul’s two years of confinement at Caesarea. What was the apostle doing all that time? We cannot be certain that he wrote any epistles. Do you think he was fretting? Or worrying over his churches as he paced his prison battlements by the blue sea? We may be absolutely certain he was doing nothing like that— he was growing and ripening in his own inward life. For twenty years he had been fighting for Christ amid the excitement and stress of a glorious campaign. New views of Christ had been borne upon his heart; new aspects of the Gospel had arrested him. “It wanted leisure now to focus everything, and God bestowed that leisure at Caesarea.” (“Paul before his Judges | YAHWEH-NISSI”) “Compare the letters that were written after these years with the letters which we know were written before them.” (“Paul before His Judges | YAHWEH-NISSI”) Note the richness and depth and glory of the later ones— their exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ; their fresh insistence upon spiritual union; their recognition of the possibilities of sainthood; their method of bringing the most majestic doctrines to bear on the common duties of every day— and you will see what these two years did for Paul. I dare say the soldiers thought him very idle. Had you asked them, they would have said he was doing nothing Yet all Christendom is deeply in God’s debt for making Paul come apart and rest awhile.
Paul before Felix and Drusilla
Only one incident has been enshrined for us out of these two years at Caesarea. It is the scene with which our passage opens when Paul was brought before Felix and Drusilla. (“Paul before his Judges | YAHWEH-NISSI”) Drusilla was the youngest daughter of King Herod Agrippa I. She was a beautiful young Jewess of some eighteen years of age. But there were dark shadows lying across her path that would have marred the fairest womanhood. It was not God who had made her Felix’s wife. She had a home already when Felix cast his bad eyes on her. And it may be that a guilty conscience and a torn heart and a mind that could not forget urged her to hear the Gospel of this prisoner. Do you observe what Paul was asked to speak about? He was asked to speak “concerning the faith in Christ.” And do you note what Paul did speak about? He reasoned of righteousness and self-control and judgment. Righteousness— and Felix was a promise-breaker and had procured the murder of the High Priest Jonathan. Self-control— and there at his side, eagerly listening, sat beautiful Drusilla. Judgment— that was the very thought that haunted Felix, only it was the judgment of his emperor, not of his God. No wonder Felix trembled. He had the soul of a slave, says Tacitus, and the power of a sovereign. He would hear no more; Paul was dismissed; “when I have a convenient (not more convenient) season, I will call for thee.”
Paul before Festus
“About the year 60, Felix was recalled and was succeeded in the governorship by Porcius Festus.” (“Paul before his Judges | YAHWEH-NISSI”) Festus seems to have been a better ruler, and probably he was a better man than Felix, but, like a Roman, he cared little for religion and could not understand religious earnestness. He was perplexed about this Jewish prisoner; it occurred to him that he might try the case at Jerusalem; and it was then that Paul, apprehending the danger he was in, took the great step of appealing to Caesar. That is not in the passage to be read, but it must be touched on to illuminate the passage. For it was not till Paul had appealed to Caesar that Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea. Might not they be able to unravel Festus’ difficulties? (“Paul before his Judges | YAHWEH-NISSI”) They were Jews and understood the points at issue. “Festus arranged that a court should be convened at which Agrippa and Bernice might be present.” (“Paul before his Judges | YAHWEH-NISSI”) It was then that Paul made that most noble defense which is recorded in the twenty-sixth chapter. He told the story of his conversion again, for his greatest defense of all just lay in that. And our passages take up the narrative at the point where Paul has touched on resurrection and has been rudely silenced by Festus crying out in a loud voice, “Paul, thou art mad!” (“Paul before his Judges | YAHWEH-NISSI”) Paul instantly, and without losing self-command, repels the charge. He appeals to Agrippa on the grounds of Jewish prophecy. And Agrippa replies in these memorable words, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Do we know what Agrippa really meant? He did not mean “I am almost persuaded.” The Greek words that have been translated so are not capable of bearing such a sense. What Agrippa meant was “Paul, do you think that with a little persuasion you are going to persuade me to be a Christian? It is a far harder task than you imagine.”
Three Simple Lessons
Now let us note three simple lessons, and first the peril of tomorrow. Someone has said that today has two great enemies— the one is yesterday, the other is tomorrow. (“The Value of Remembering and Forgetting | Banner of Truth USA”) Are we not reminded of that whenever we think of Felix whose evil past was such a burden on him and who talked of a convenient time— which never came. Next mark how history reverses human judgments. Peter and the other disciples were despised, because they were ignorant and unlettered men. (“Paul before his Judges | YAHWEH-NISSI”) Paul was put to scorn by Festus for just the opposite reason— he had learned too much. Men thought the prophets of Israel raved. They said of Jesus that He was beside Himself. Is there any one now who would harbor such a thought? Lastly, see the perfect courtesy of the apostle— “I would you were altogether as I am except these bonds.” “Courtesy,” says St. Francis of Assisi, “is the sister of charity, which quencheth hate and keepeth love alive.” Never forget that God’s mighty missionary was one of the truest gentlemen who ever breathed.
It’s Time to Wake Up (Part 2 of 2)
“Everybody woke up to the fact that God was alive and active among them.” (“When You Don’t Understand God | Bible in One Year”) Act_9:35 (The Message).
Yesterday we followed Peter as he journeyed through the countryside and came to the town of Lydda, where the believers had slipped back into a spiritual slumber. While they were somewhat excited to hear Peter preach, they had no idea that God was about to visit them in an extraordinary way.
Peter saw a man there name Aeneas, who was crippled. Sensing God’s Spirit moving upon him in a miraculous manner, Peter matter-of-factly said, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up and make up your bed!”
The man jumped right out of bed, and everybody who heard about it became ignited with spiritual life. The Message puts it this way, “Everybody woke up to the fact that God was alive and active among them.” The old King James says they “turned to the Lord.”
I wonder if this event reminded Peter of an earlier experience in his own life. It happened on the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus had taken Peter, James, and John up the mountain to pray with Him. But, they fell asleep during the vigil. That’s when Moses and Elijah dropped in for a short visit, and Jesus lit up with the splendor of Heaven. What happened next is priceless. The Bible says, “Peter and the other two disciples had been sound asleep. All at once they woke up and saw how glorious Jesus was” (Luk_9:32).
Standing in Lydda a few years later, Peter had to see the similarities of these two events. “All at once they woke up and saw how glorious Jesus was.”
Let’s fast forward to our own modern times. As I travel throughout the country stirring people to a new level of faith in Christ, now and then I come to a church and find that the believer’s there are like Aeneas of old — “paralyzed in bed for many years!” And there have been those wonderful occasions when the word of the Lord was declared with immediate power and undeniable effectiveness — so much that everybody woke up to the fact that God was alive and active among them – and they turned to the Lord.
In a sentence it could be said — “All at once they woke up and saw how glorious Jesus was.”
I am but one of an untold number of those whom the Lord has called to serve in the diverse and expansive field known as itinerant ministry. Having traveled about for some time now it is clear to me that a great transition is taking place in the Church; epic change is at hand. And while there are those who are entrenched in dead traditions and remain closed to what God is now doing – nevertheless, more and more hearts and doors are opening wider and wider to the wonder of this single fact: “God is alive and active among us!”
I ask for your prayers for all those, like me, whom the Lord has put “on the road.” Pray that God take us to those exact places where His work is ready to be done, His word is ready to be heard, and His will is ready to be obeyed, so that His wonders can readily been seen! Perhaps God will use our efforts to stir sleepy churches from settling for less; and encourage those churches that are astir with the Presence of God to carry the message to those who have yet to hear it.
Pray that a slumbering Church awakens to the wondrous fact that God is alive and active among us! Pray that, like the disciples of old, at once we wake up and see how glorious Jesus is. And pray that this Nation turns once again to the Lord while the invitation is still open. ”Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph_5:14).
Pray! Pray! Pray!