Purity Demands Cleansing

man praying for self

However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land. And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites under tribute, but did not completely drive them out. (Judges 1:27-28)

Purity Demands Cleansing

After the death of Joshua, the tribes of Israel began settling the land of Canaan in accordance with the covenant God made with them. The Lord had promised through Abraham to give the land to the Hebrews with the condition they drive out the inhabitants of Canaan and tear down their altars to pagan gods. Joshua led the nation in the conquest of Canaan firmly establishing the power of God upon the Canaanites, Perizzites and all the people of the land. God’s word had declared the children of Israel were to completely destroy the people of the land because their wickedness had come to the judgment of the Lord but the people did not do what was commanded of them. The conquest of the land would never be fully complete as tribes like Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages and many other villages allowing the Canaanites to dwell in the land. This was the case with the tribes of Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan who failed to drive out the inhabitants of the land. God had led the people out of Egypt and brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey. Abraham was promised the land of Canaan but did not receive it for himself as the iniquity of the people did not warrant the wrath of God to destroy them. This was not the case of Israel conquest of the land because now the wickedness of the Canaanites had become full to receive the judgment of the Lord. The agency of that judgment was the sword of the nation of Israel. However, the nation of Israel did not do what the Lord had commanded and the influence of the Canaanites remained in the land. This would lead to the downfall of the nation in the days of the divided kingdom. Israel allowed the influence of idolatry to remain in the land and it became their Achilles heel that would lead to their destruction.

God had a plan for His people. He wanted to bless them with all of the blessings from His storehouse of wealth. His covenant with them was to give them a land flowing with milk and honey if they would follow His will and drive out the evil influences that He knew would destroy them. They conquered the land but did not drive out the people that would change their hearts to serve idols and pagan deities. Israel could have been a great nation if they would have obeyed the voice of the Lord. The influence of the people of the land was a very subtle and Israel may have viewed them as harmless. Looking at the lives of the Canaanites, the people of God did not see the evil that lurked under the surface. Human wisdom decided against the word of the Lord and Israel thought they knew more than God and allowed the Canaanites to dwell in the land. The angel of the Lord came to Israel and rebuked the people for their insolence and disobedience. He declared the rebellion of the people to drive out the inhabitants would become the chain about their necks to destroy them. It was not a hard thing for the Lord God to destroy the inhabitants of the land with a sweep of His hand but that remained a duty of Israel. The Canaanites would become a thorn in the side of Israel and the gods of the land would be a snare to Israel. This would show the value of God’s word and how disobedience to the command of God was a death sentence for the people. Purity demanded the removal of the evil influences that surrounded them. Israel refused and it cost them everything.

The Canaanites have long been gone from the land of Canaan but the influence of the world upon God’s people remains a strong and potent power. There is a principle established in the story of the period of Judges that should resonate with the Christian. When the influences of the world are allowed to remain in the lives of God’s people, they will find a greater struggle to be devoted to his will. Throughout the New Testament, admonishments are given to exhort the child of God to remove the influences of the world from their lives. No one can serve the Lord who has one foot in the world and think they have one foot in the kingdom. Jesus explained that no man can serve two masters and this demands a choice. For the child of God to live a full and powerful life in Christ, the charms of the world must be removed. Too many Christians believe they can live pure lives and share in the attachments of the world. Many will argue that social drinking is acceptable for a Christian, immodest dress is relative to the whims of the world, service to God is a personal choice and a myriad of excuses to serve the Lord on Sunday and live worldly lives the rest of the week. Israel was destroyed for lack of knowledge. The reason they were destroyed is that they allowed the one thing that God had told them to remove remain in the land. God knew best and the people rejected His will. The child of God must believe the word of the Bible is the pattern that must guide the heart and without the removal of the influences of the world, there will be no growth. Purity demands the removal of those things that will steal the heart away from God. Israel did not completely drive out the Canaanites. These things were written so that men can see the consequences of impurity. Serve the Lord. Remove sinful influences.

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The New Birth

BornAgain

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:3-6)

The New Birth

Holding a newborn baby is one of the amazing experiences anyone can have. Peering into the dark eyes of a little child who has just experienced the wonder of life and seeing for the first time the faces of those who love them and embrace them with soothing words of endearing acceptance is a time of faith, trust, and curiosity. The paradox of these first moments is that while the child is taking in the new world that burst upon their minds there will be no remembrance of the event. Newborns and for much of their infancy will engage in so many things as their bodies change and the surroundings become familiar but will remain in the forgotten memories of the new birth. Eventually, the memories will remain and childhood will be filled with laughter, exploration, and amazement. Innocence is the nature of infancy before the prejudices of adulthood creep in to bring doubt, mistrust, and questions. Children are dependent on others to care for them as they are helpless. Their formula of what is right and wrong is formed largely from what they are taught and what they see in others. They begin with a diet of milk before moving up to solid food as their bodies are not adjusted in the beginning. Childhood is a beautiful time of purity where the world is a clear place protected by parents who provide all that is needed and keep the child protected from all harm.

Jesus used the illustration of the new birth to explain to Nicodemus what it meant to be a child of God. Under the Law of Moses, a person entered a covenant with the Lord through the natural birth of being born of a Jewish family. Circumcised on the eighth day, a child would become a member of the nation of God before knowing who the Lord was. His knowledge of truth and righteousness came much later in life as he grew to adulthood. Jesus explained that in the new kingdom a child would be born first of the water and spirit before becoming a child of God. This birth would be a spiritual birth where believing in the Lord God and knowing His will would precede the time when a person entered a covenant with God. Before returning to His Father, the Lord explained the new birth when He told the eleven to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven and he who believes and is baptized would be saved and those who do not believe will be condemned. The new birth requires belief before birth and salvation does not come until after birth. Jesus shows the new birth as being born of water and spirit which is only fulfilled in the waters of baptism. Like the physical birth where a child is born when he is delivered from the womb of darkness to the light of the world, the Christian is taken from the world of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God through the agency of the new birth. Baptism is essential to salvation because without the new birth there is no new life.

The imagery of the new birth continues when the person becomes a Christian much like a newborn. There is a complete dependency on God to help them grow in the proper manner and to protect them from harm. Like newborn infants, desiring the sincere milk of the world will bring health and happiness to the life of the new Christian. They will need the instructions from others on how to walk, the manner of speech, changing the mind of the world to a spiritual mind and to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. God has given the Bible to fill the hearts of His children to know Him, learn of His Son and to be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit. New Christians who do not drink deeply from the word of God will grow up deficient of all the spiritual vitamins needed to sustain a healthy life. Like newborns, longing for the fellowship of other saints and growing together in the grace of Christ is where the strength and power of the family of God are found. Dependency is upon one another and God. Knowledge comes from the continual study of His word. Trust is developed in knowing the heavenly Father will care for and protect the child from all harm. Children of God will grow up to see the love of God living in their hearts as they seek to draw their lives more fully to the will of the Lord. There interesting paradox of the family of God is the Lord wants His children to remain His children in trust, faith, and love. When a child grows up to depend upon himself instead of the Father, he walks in a manner that is displeasing to the will of God. Jesus would teach His disciples that to be great in the kingdom of God would require the heart of a child. Only when the heart of a child dwells in the soul of a man will he understand the love the Father has for him. A small child will not argue and fuss about what the parent’s demand, because they know, to trust without a doubt. Faith in God requires trusting in His word and His will with no doubt having the heart of a child. It starts with a new birth. Found in this remarkable time is complete purity, innocence, and love.

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The Wrath Of God

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For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. (Romans 1:18-19)

The Wrath Of God

Reading the Old Testament could be easily assumed that God is a wrathful God and the New Testament shows the love of God. Throughout the Old Testament stories are told of the Lord’s judgment upon the world, nations, and individuals. With the exception of eight souls, every human being alive in the days of Noah was destroyed in the flood. When God brought the Hebrews out of Egypt, the firstborn of every Egyptian home including the animals would die. Because of rebellion, all the Israelites twenty years and old perished in the wilderness with the exception of the faithful few. Great nations were used by the Lord to punish His people and then were destroyed by the hand of God. Clearly, the Old Testament is filled with great stories of the wrath of God. Opening the pages of the New Testament the casual reading may conclude that all of the love of God is found with grace and mercy and the kindness of the Lord. The gospels unveil the story of the only begotten Son given by a loving God for sacrifice to atone men from sin. The Acts and epistles reveal the nature of God’s grace to redeem man showing him the way to eternal life. John sees the greatest revelation and writes down the hopes and promises of the Almighty God who will save His people from the fierceness of the great dragon Satan. Modern man will reject the notion that a Father who sends His only begotten Son to save man from sin would also be a God of wrathful judgment upon all men and yet the New Testament is filled with the teaching of the wrath of God. From the aspect of phraseology, the expression ‘wrath of God’ is found less than a dozen times in the Bible and only once in the Old Testament.  Clearly, the evidence of the wrath of God is found throughout the Old Testament but the use of the wrath of God is exclusively New Testament doctrine.

The Bible is not a book that divides the character of God into two parts leaving man to believe that God is only one nature. He has remained unchanged from the beginning of the world and the nature and character of the Lord are filled with His love and His wrath. Paul declares in the letter to Rome, the goodness and severity of God and this message are found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Christ is the power of God to save the man but it also is the revelation of the wrath of God against all those who oppose the will of the Lord. Sin is not tolerated under the grace of Christ any more than it was accepted in the hypocrisy of the Israelites. God’s view of wickedness did not change over the eons of time to suit the fancy of men. His will remains unchanged, unmoved, unaltered and without exception. The principles of the law have changed as the Abrahamic law of faith and the Law of Moses can no longer save a man but the wrath of God is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Throughout the writings of the New Testament, the wrath of God is impressed upon the minds of the early disciples that God is love and God is also wrathful. Everything man needs to save himself from the peril of perdition is afforded through Jesus Christ and His blood. If men refuse to abide by the covenant of His will there will be consequences described simply as the wrath of God. There are many different types of churches today that play the false tune of God’s grace that saves a man no matter how he lives. God’s love is all a man needs. The grace of God is tremendous and the love of God is unbounded but leaving out the wrath of God is an eternal mistake. Ungodliness is living as man desires without keeping the commandments of the Lord. Unrighteousness is doing things that are not right. What is right and what is wrong is determined by God – not man. Suppressing the truth will bring peace to a man’s heart but it will destroy his soul in eternity.

Sin has remained unchanged since the fall of man in the garden. It permeates the heart, defiles the soul and changes the nature of man. The promise of salvation came when God did not destroy a man for his rebellion. Before time began, the Lord had a plan to redeem man and bring him back from the mire of sin. The love of God is without words to understand but He has given His love to all men to buy them back from the damnation of sin. At the same time, the wrath of God is revealed against those who refuse to live in accordance with His will. God is full of love and He is full of wrath. The Old and New Testament reveal the character of God’s love and His wrath. Reading the Bible from Genesis to the Revelation the Son of God rises from the pages to show how much God loves the man and how every provision of grace is offered to all men. The wile of the devil is to veil the heart of man from God’s wrath and cause him to ignore the penalty for sin. The soul that sins shall die. If a man refuses to submit his will to the Father, there is no choice but to face the wrath of God. It is real.

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The Legacy Of Asaph

young people with children going to church

King David lived about one thousand years before the birth of Christ. During his reign, he went about placing musicians in the house of the Lord and organizing the Tabernacle worship. In 1 Chronicles 6, David appointed over the service of song in the house of the Lord, men who would minister the music before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of meeting. This would be in place until Solomon would build the Temple in 966 B.C. Among those who ministered at the tabernacle were the sons of the Kohathites, Elkanah and the son of Joel, the son of Samuel. One family would stand out among all those who ministered with music. The son of Berachiah, the son of Shimea was Asaph. The legacy of Asaph would be felt for many generations.

When David brought the Ark to Jerusalem, he spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers, accompanied by instruments of music. “So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; … the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were to sound the cymbals of bronze” (1 Chronicles 15:17-19). Later, Asaph would be made chief and play cymbals (1 Chronicles 16:4-7.) Asaph and his brother were before the “ark of the covenant of the Lord to minister before the ark regularly, as every day’s work required” (1 Chronicles 16:37). The sons of Asaph would be separated to prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals (1 Chronicles 25:1-2) and include 288 skillful men instructed in the songs of the Lord.

Solomon, son of David, built the first great temple for the Lord. During his reign, he would take the nation of Israel to its zenith of power and glory. When the ark of the covenant was brought into the temple, the priests put it into its proper place, into the inner sanctuary of the temple, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim. Among the singers who were present at the dedication of the temple, the children of Asaph are still serving the Lord in their priestly duties (2 Chronicles 5:11-14). One hundred years later, during the reign of Jehoshaphat, the Spirit of the Lord came upon “Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly” (2 Chronicles 20:14). During the reign of Hezekiah, the sons of Asaph are still an integral part of the true worship to Jehovah in the midst of a wicked nation (2 Chronicles 29:12-15). In the days of the great king Josiah, the Passover was kept and among the priests are the singers from the family of Asaph (2 Chronicles 35:10-15).

Because of the wickedness of the nation, Israel was cast off into Babylonian captivity for seventy years. Under the direction of Ezra, the temple in Jerusalem would be rebuilt. Among the captives who returned from bondage were “the singers: the sons of Asaph, one hundred and twenty-eight” (Ezra 2:41). At the laying of the foundation for the temple in the second month of the second year of their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, “when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel” (Ezra 3:10). What is important about this listing of the sons of Asaph serving the Lord in worship after the captivity is this would be nearly four hundred years since the ark was brought into the temple during the days of Solomon. The legacy of Asaph is he took very seriously the idea of passing down his faith to the generations that followed. His family served the temple for more than four hundred years.

Jeremiah wrote about a family much like the sons of Asaph. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah and told him to go to the house of the Rechabites and invite them to the house of the Lord to drink wine. The prophet did as the Lord instructed and set bowls full of wine before the whole house of the Rechabites and said to them, “Drink wine.” But they said, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever. You shall not build a house, sow seed, plant a vineyard, nor have any of these; but all your days you shall dwell in tents, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners.’ Thus we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; nor do we have vineyard, field, or seed. But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.’” (Jeremiah 35:6-10). Here is a family that has established a generational faith to follow the faith of their father without exception.

The lesson from the children of Asaph and the family of the Rechabites is the value and importance (and need) for families to see the pattern of parents teaching their children and children teaching their children the word of God. The work of training the family never ends. Grandparents must never fail to give the proper training to their grandchildren. Too many of God’s people are losing their children to the wiles of the devil and destroying their souls. Families so often are single generational families when it comes to faithfulness to the Lord. Satan will attack the home first to stop families like Asaph and Jonadab the son of Rechab. The psalmist declared the work of training children: “For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments; and may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God” (Psalm 78:5-8).

How many families can list a four hundred generational faith like the sons of Asaph? It begins with each generation passing along to the next generation the love for God and to help their children be in love with God. Sitting on a church pew will not build a generation of faithful saints. Filling the heart with the word of God will change the family to be filled with the grace of the Lord through each generation. The most important commodity Noah had on the ark was not the animals or the grain or his wardrobe or favorite cart. What mattered most and the only important thing to his heart was the sight of his wife, three sons, and three daughters-in-law safely in the ark. How can we do any less?

 

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Saluting Our Brethren

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Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Philippians 4:21-23)

Saluting Our Brethren

The family was the first institution of humanity where the Lord brought the man and woman together to form a union of love, concern and to fulfill a need. When God created Adam He recognized it was not good that he be alone. Creating the woman provided a help-meet to Adam and created the bond of familial relationship vital for human survival. The church of God is formed as a family called the household of God made up of brethren who call one another brother and sister. Jesus died to purchase the church with His blood and His purpose was to bring all men together for the union of the eternal family of God. There is no greater relationship shared with the human bond as strong as the covenant with the heavenly Father. The church is mirrored as the bride of Christ suggesting the spiritual marriage of all those who are in Christ. Earthly families will end in death but the family of God that makes up the church of Christ will never cease as eternity opens its wings to accept all the saints in the eternal family of God. Paul often alluded to his spiritual family as he began his letters and more often than not when he closed his letters. The letter he writes to Rome includes a large list of individuals named as precious and dear to him. His letter to the saints in Christ Jesus who were in Philippi concludes with an admonition of greeting or saluting the brethren with him in Rome and those in Philippi. It should not be overlooked the importance of seeing how Paul admonishes the early disciples to have care and concern for one another.

Greeting one another is a sign of spiritual hospitality. This shows personal interest in others to acknowledge them and make them aware of brotherly love for one another. One of the most important aspects of the Christian’s relationship with the Father is the relationship with the children of the Father. Forgiveness will not be granted from God if the person is unwilling to forgive others. The vertical relationship with the Father will be determined by the horizontal communion the disciple has with his fellow brethren. Greeting one another is showing the love of others. People of God are not unfriendly towards their brethren. Can the Father in heaven be pleased when He looks down on His children who squabble, fuss and fight with one another? As earthly parents, this kind of conduct is not tolerated. Paul wanted the saints at Philippi to know that his brethren loved them and they sent kind regards and salutation in Christ. Greeting every saint in Christ Jesus should be the common feeling among all of God’s children. It is unimaginable that within a congregation of the Lord’s disciples there is envy, strife, malice, and prejudice. Paul did not suggest greeting only the rich or popular. His admonition was simply to greet one another in the love of Christ. Love of the brethren is the hallmark of the church and identifies to the world the church is united under the banner of Jesus Christ. The world will know who the disciples of Christ are by the way they love one another expressed in how they greet one another. God gave His salutation to all men by giving them His only begotten Son. How can the people of God do any less to those who are fellow saints and soldiers of the Christ?

Greeting one another changes people. Some may argue they are reserved and bashful and unable to reach out to others. When the church is united under the common banner of God’s grace, there is nothing to hinder a person from reaching out to another and extend to them a greeting of kindness, a word of encouragement and prayer of hospitality. The more the church greets one another the greater the cause of joy fills the heart of the congregation. This will be evident by those who visit. A warm and receptive group of saints will impress upon the minds of those who visit a service of these saints how important the relationship of brother love must be. Greeting every saint by the grace of Jesus Christ will show the love of God in the heart, the hand and the voice. A vibrant and healthy group of God’s saints are people who enjoying saluting one another in the spirit of Christ. Take time to be holy. Reach out and greet your neighbor, your friend and especially your fellow Christian. It will change you and change the world you live in for the better.

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Jesus Relationship To His Father

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Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give his angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands, they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'” Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'” (Matthew 4:3-10)

Jesus Relationship To His Father

The character of a person is determined by the words they use. Jesus was like all men as He bore the mantle of flesh and suffered the pains of temptation as all men. When Satan came to the Lord after forty days of fasting, this was not the first time the serpent of old tried to tempt Jesus. Thirty years had passed from the birth of the Christ and as a young man growing up in Nazareth, the son of Joseph and Mary faced the same temptations as his brothers and sisters. He prepared to begin His ministry, a great test of allegiance and fidelity was placed before Jesus who was in a weakened state. The outcome would determine eternal matters planned before time itself. If Jesus could not endure this trial, the journey to the cross would have been impossible. Facing the severe temptation of the devil, Jesus defines the relationship He shared with the Heavenly Father. This would not come by divine power or inspiration but a belief system that Jesus had constructed throughout His life to face down the wiles of the devil. It was a three-part defense against the three-prong attack of the tempter. Central to each part of His defense, Jesus reveals the importance of a deep commitment to the word of God, the worship of the Lord God and the nature of the Almighty God. His ability to thwart the schemes of Satan rested upon these three things.

Jesus knew the word of God and believed with all His heart the power of the word. Authority was paramount to His understanding of the word of God. Satan tempted the Lord to turn stones into bread. It was within the power of Jesus to do such a thing but He did not have the authority from God. It was a dire situation for the Lord and the temptation of fleshly sustenance was huge but without the approval of His Father Jesus would die before disobeying the statutes, judgments, commandments, and law of the Father. Jesus loved the word of God and spent many hours poring over the messages of the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets. Standing before Satan was not the first time Jesus considered the word of God. Temptation was His common lot and He knew the power of the manna from heaven would sustain Him. Each time the Lord confronted temptation, He began with “It is written.” There is no greater power to ward off the darts of the wicked one than a fuller knowledge of the word of God.

Worship was a vital part of the life of Jesus. The Son of God understood the value of true worship based on the authority of the word of God. Worship was not something He did while at the Synagogue or Temple. Seeking the favor of God was a daily walk with Jesus and this would instill in His heart an allegiance to serve the only true and living God. The devil tried to give Jesus a shortcut. Instead of going to the cross to receive all authority and power, the Lord would only have to worship Satan. One of the greatest tricks of the tempter is to convince the heart to take the easy path and journey of least resistance. The Lord knew the word of God and understood that worship was a holy communion with the one true God and as He would later tell a woman at the well of Jacob, worship must be according to spirit and truth. There is no second option to worship. Either the heart will give its full allegiance to worship God according to the pattern established by the Father or Satan will have his way and worship will be corrupt. Jesus stood firmly upon the word of God and defied the temptation by reminding Satan there was only one avenue of worship. The Father is a jealous God and demands complete obedience in worship.

Finally, Jesus explained His relationship to the Father by rejecting every tenet of Satan’s philosophy. The devil was familiar with scripture and quoted from the Psalms. His use of scripture was a lie and he formed the verses to fit his needs for the moment but Jesus was not taken by the subtlety of the deceiver. The Lord was familiar with the scriptures and immediately knew Satan was lying. Secondly, Jesus knew that worship to the Father demanded fidelity to the character of God and as a final rejection of the lures of Satan, reminds the evil one that no one should tempt the Lord God. His answer was strong and full of the word of God. Satan was defeated. He faced the Son of God with his full arsenal of evil intentions but through the knowledge of the word of God, understanding the nature of worship and standing on the rock of salvation that was His God and Father, Jesus resisted every attack. Victory was gained by the Christ because He knew how important a relationship to the Father would be in His life. He would continue to rest upon these truths as the devil sought to destroy him over the course of the next three years. Finally, in the garden of Gethsemane, Satan unleashed his final barrage. Jesus withstood him with His firm determination to do what the Father asked. Satan may have rejoiced when he watched Jesus die but eternity changed when the Son rose on the first day of the week.

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Can Divorce Be Granted For Any Reason?

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Now it came to pass when Jesus had finished these sayings, that He departed from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there. The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘Made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:1-6)

Can Divorce Be Granted For Any Reason?

Jesus was an incredible teacher. His critics tried frequently to trap Him in His speech or find something contradictory in His teaching but to no avail. With clarity, sound judgment and the authority of His Father’s word, Jesus would confront all those who sought to entrap Him in deceit with clear and concise answers that left no room for debate. Many would ask Jesus questions from pure motives but many more tested the Lord seeking to find a chink in His armor and find fault. No topic has had more controversy than the subject of marriage and divorce and the Pharisees came fully armed to snare Jesus with clever arguments that would prove their wisdom over the man from Nazareth. They were not asking from honest hearts which taints the question but Jesus is unfazed. It was a legal question they posed to Jesus and one that was open-ended. Was it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason? Those asking the questions were the religious elite among the Jews who prided themselves in knowing so much more about the Law of Moses than any other. Their minds were keen on discerning the smallest minutia of the law to their advantage. They considered themselves masters over this unlearned, itinerant rabbi called Jesus and carefully prepared arguments to destroy His credibility before the people. What they learned that day was the force of the word of God plainly defending the will of the Lord from the beginning of time. Jesus would not be moved by their hypocrisy. The Son of God stood where all men must stand to answers the most difficult questions: what does God say?

Jesus first appeals to the authority of scripture. The Pharisees were well read in the law but their hearts were not well lead to the truth. They looked at the law as their personal Mt. Sinai to declare what was law and what was not. Jesus went back to the source of authority and challenged them to read what Moses wrote at the beginning of time. Within the first 1400 words of the book of Genesis, the Lord establishes the law of marriage between a male and female and the union of Adam and Eve was designed by God to be a permanent arrangement living in harmony with the Lord. Jesus takes the Pharisees back to the beginning. What was the world God created in the beginning? He formed man and put him in the garden to live in a paradise of God’s presence. Marriage is as old as the world. It was not a law formed at Mt. Sinai or instituted by Jesus when He came to earth. The union of a man and woman was ordained on the sixth day of creation and was blessed by God as very good. When Adam and Eve walked in the cool of the day in the midst of the Garden of Eden, they enjoyed every blessing of the Lord God in the beauty of the home. Adam never considered divorcing Eve and not because she was the only woman on earth. The notion of divorcing a mate came when Satan deceived Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. Jesus reminded the religious elite that divorce came about when sin entered the world. Their question proved the righteousness of God and that marriage from the beginning of time was designed to be between a man and a woman. Further, marriage was a lifelong commitment based upon a relationship with God. The Lord hates divorce for many reasons but largely because whenever divorce happens, sin is somewhere rearing its ugly head.

Having proven that marriage was established by God from the beginning as a holy union, Jesus tells the Pharisees the union of a man and woman is binding in the eyes of the Lord. What God had joined together no man should try to break apart. And the most important part of the answer Jesus gave is found in the fact that He had said all He had to say and that was all He was going to say. More often than not if the question is asked whether a man can divorce his wife for any reason, the answers given by most will take hours and fill up volumes. Jesus answered the Pharisees with sixty-three words. His answer was telling the Pharisees, “No.” Can you get a divorce for any reason? No! That is all Jesus had to say about the matter. He had shown the authority of God’s word, illustrated with solid arguments and concluded with the eternal will of the Father that has remained unchanged since the Garden of Eden. Now the Pharisee were laying a trap and challenged Him further about the Law of Moses but the lesson must be learned by students of scripture that when Jesus was asked the question – He answered. If more men would spend the time on the first answer instead of debating the merits of the second question posed by the Pharisees, there would be less confusion to the question of marriage and divorce. Sometimes that real question is lost in the abundance of intellectual mumbo-jumbo that God’s truth is washed away. This has allowed for souls who find themselves in a dire circumstance of an unlawful marriage to believe God approves of their union. Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason? Jesus said, “No.”

 

 

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