Sunday, June 29, 2008

I WILL BE TO HIM A FATHER


Hebrews 1:5
"...I Will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son."

We begin this study by looking at 1 Chronicles 17:1-5. In the previous two chapters you can read the history of how David had brought the Ark of the Covenant to a tent that he had set up in Jerusalem. Now, in chapter 17, David is thinking about building a Temple for the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem.

1 Chronicles 17:1
Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remaineth under curtains.

1 Chronicles 17:2
Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee.

1 Chronicles 17:3
And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying,

1 Chronicles 17:4
Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in:

1 Chronicles 17:5
For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another.

1 Chronicles 17:6
Wheresoever I have walked with all Israel, spake I a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people, saying, Why have ye not built me an house of cedars?

1 Chronicles 17:7
Now therefore thus shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, even from following the sheep, that thou shouldest be ruler over my people Israel: (Watch it now: Who is doing all the activity?)

1 Chronicles 17:8
And I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a name like the name of the great men that are in the earth.

1 Chronicles 17:9
Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning,

1 Chronicles 17:10
And since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies. Furthermore I tell thee that the LORD will build thee an house.

1 Chronicles 17:11
And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.

1 Chronicles 17:12
He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.

1 Chronicles17:13
I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee:

1 Chronicles 17:14
But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.

1 Chronicles 17:15
According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.

Here we have a historical passage, but, did you notice those words in verse 13?

Literally, God says in this verse 13: I shall be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son.

Who is God speaking about?

Unquestionably, God is speaking about Solomon, the son of David. But at the same time God is using some strange language which does not apply to Solomon at all. God says: “I will establish His throne forever,” and God says: “I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for ever”. Three times God uses the word “forever”. That does not apply to Solomon’s kingdom at all! Less than four hundred years later Judah and Jerusalem were totally destroyed by the Babylonians, and thereafter never again did any descendant of Solomon rule as a king from Jerusalem. Never!

Therefore, when you study 1 Chronicles 17, you know that this chapter should not be interpreted literally or historically as if it would apply to Solomon; it should be interpreted spiritually. Now, before we get into too much detail, look at these words of verse 13 again: I shall be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son.

Where have we seen these words before?

Perhaps you remember what the sermon of Last week was about?

It was about Hebrews 1:5. More precisely, it was only about the first half of Hebrews 1:5.

Hebrews 1:1
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

Hebrews 1:2
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Hebrews 1:3
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Hebrews 1:4
Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

(Now, read carefully to verse 5):

Hebrews 1:5
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

That last verse, verse 5, contains two quotations from the Old Testament. The First one is:

“Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” This was a quotation from Psalm 2, a psalm written by David. And when David wrote in Psalm 2:7:

Psalm 2:7
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee

David wrote this Psalm, but God did not intend David to be that Son. God intended Christ to be that Son, because that is what God says in the New Testament in Hebrews 1:5 and in Hebrews 5:5 and in Acts 13:33. Without the information from the New Testament, we would think that God was referring to David. But now we know He was not referring to David, but to Christ! Very similarly, when you trace the second half of Hebrews 1:5, you find a similar conclusion:

Not Solomon, but Christ

Let us read the second half of Hebrews 1:5 again:

Hebrews 1:5
And again, (unto which of the angels said he at any time,) I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

God is speaking to Jesus, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a quotation taken from: 2 Samuel 7:14, 1 Chronicles 17:13, 1 Chronicles 22:10 and 1 Chronicles 28:6. All four of these Old Testament quotations seem to be addressed to Solomon! But in all four of these Old Testament passages God has not Solomon in view, but the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that because God says so in Hebrews 1:5.

What could be the reason for God to make this substitution in personalities?

Why would God use the name David, but actually refer to Christ?

Why would God use the name Solomon, but actually refer to Christ?

You know, every time God makes such a switch in personalities, God is painting a picture and usually God is painting a picture of the Gospel of salvation.

Summary: Let me tell you ahead of time where I am going with this article. I am going to focus on this Old Testament passage 1 Chronicles 17:1-15, and I will let you see it through New Testament eyes, so that we can understand why God chose these peculiar words when He spoke about Solomon. Therefore we will remian focused on 1 Chronicles 17, while we are going to make excursions to various passages in the New Testament to explain what we read in the Old Testament. And we will focus on "I Shall Be to Him a Father, and He Shall Be to Me a Son."

First, let us look at David. God said to David in 1 Chronicles 17:4:

1 Chronicles 17:4
Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt NOT build me an house to dwell in:

Why could David not build the house of God?

In this chapter God does not explain why David was not allowed to build the Temple, but we find the explanation in chapter 22.

David was a man of war (1 Chronicles 22:7-10)

In 1 Chronicles 22, David gave Solomon the task to build the temple, and David told him what God had told David, through the prophet Nathan, and therefore he had already made all the preparations for the building of the temple. And so, He’s addressing Solomon.

1 Chronicles 22:7
And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God:

1 Chronicles 22:8
But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.

1 Chronicles 22:9
Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.

1 Chronicles 22:10
He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

David could not build the temple because he was a man of war and he had shed much blood.

That is what God said. From the historical perspective it does not seem to make much sense. Ever since the children of Israel came out of Egypt and began their conquest of the land of Canaan they have always fought wars and they have shed much blood of the Canaanites. God never faulted them for that. David was a man after God’s own heart and David eagerly desired to build a temple of the LORD.

Why would God have forbidden David to build the temple?

Why was David only allowed to make the preparations for the building, but actually not build it?

The reason is that David was a representation of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially when Christ acted out His ministry on this earth for three and a half years. God has a timetable for everything.

David was a man of war and he had shed much blood. Likewise: The Lord Jesus Christ was a man of war. He had to subdue all the enemies of God. Christ had to wrestle His people out of the clutches of Satan. Only His people! Christ did not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Christ had to bind Satan spiritually and throw Satan and all his angels out of heaven. And He did that by shedding much blood: His own blood. He gave His life for us, dirty rotten sinners whom God chose to be saved. He died the Second Death! As our Substitute, Christ had to die in our place the death that we deserved to die, which is the Second Death, the Lake of Fire! That is what God describes in Revelation 20, when Christ did that. And it is described in the four gospels. All this was the preparation for building the Temple of God. And until all that preparation was done He could not build the Temple of God. The Bible says: We are the Temple of God. Now, in the New Testament era, God takes up His abode in us!

Now, where in the Bible do we read about the battles of Christ against Satan and against the messengers of Satan and about Christ shedding much blood: His own blood?

It is in the four narrative Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These four narrative Gospels describe the preparations Christ made prior to building His Temple. Before Christ could build the Temple He first had to shed His own blood. But then on Pentecost the building of the Temple could begin with full force. Here in 1 Chronicles 22 God says to David, in verses 9 and 10:

1 Chronicles 22:9
Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.

1 Chronicles 22:10
He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

Again you see the quotation of Hebrews 1:5, but in the reverse order. Literally the Hebrew text says in verse 10: And he shall be to me a son, and I to him a father. And even though God specifically mentions the name Solomon in verse 9, God says in verse 10: “I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever”. For ever, even though the kingdom of David and Solomon came to an end less than four hundred years later.

What is going on here?

God cannot be contradicting Himself!

You see, God is painting another picture: Solomon is also typifying Christ, but now beginning at Pentecost, after He had shed His blood and had ascended into heaven.

· Solomon, a man of peace

The name Solomon means “Peaceful”. The reign of Solomon was characterized by a forty year period of political peace over the Kingdom, and by the building of the splendid Temple in Jerusalem. That Temple was destroyed almost four hundred years later. That Temple was just a shadow of the real Temple of God, the Temple where God earnestly dwells, which is the Body of Believers. Remember that earthly peace is no peace, but Christ is our Peace. Christ made peace for us through the blood of His cross, to reconcile (to make peace) all things unto himself; all things whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Christ is called the Prince of Peace, in Isaiah 9.

Not earthly peace. The normal life of a Christian is filled with temptations, and troubles, and persecutions, and all kinds of setbacks as if we are unfit to be a servant of Christ. “But the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 4:7) The peace of God is the inward trust that Christ has paid for all our sins, all of them, and that the Spirit of Christ guides us through the paths of this life in such a way that we become useful servants for Jesus Christ. That is the Kingdom that Christ came to reign over on this earth. That is the Israel of God over which Christ rules forever. That is the Kingdom that God has in view when He said in 1 Chronicles 22:10:

1 Chronicles 22:10
He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

That is referring to Christ. God says: Solomon, but God has in view Christ, according to Hebrews 1:5. Solomon had the task of building the Temple of God, but everything was already prepared by David.

· Laying the foundation of the Temple (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Look at how Christ calls Himself the foundation of the Temple:

Ephesians 2:19
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Ephesians 2:20
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Ephesians 2:21
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

Ephesians 2:22
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The foundation of this Temple is Jesus Christ and the doctrines of Christ as taught by the Apostles and Prophets; In other words, the doctrines of Christ, as taught by the Apostles in the New Testament and the Prophets in the Old Testament. When the time came that the Cornerstone, Christ, was rejected by the builders of the apostate church in Jesus’ days, the Chief Cornerstone was laid when Christ died on the cross. Then the building of the Temple could start in earnest.

Who is building the Temple?

God says in 1 Chronicles 17:10

1 Chronicles 17:10
Furthermore I tell thee that the LORD will build thee an house.

It is God Himself who is building the house for Himself. It is God the Holy Spirit who irresistibly changes the hearts of everyone God intends to save. And what a glorious result: Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. We are no longer strangers and enemies of God, but we have become of the household of God. We have become sons of God. What a glorious position to be in. And it is all a gift of Grace. We did not deserve anything of it. Now, consider again what God says:

"I Shall Be to Him a Father, and He Shall Be to Me a Son"

Let us now focus on 1 Chronicles 17:13

1 Chronicles 17:13
I Shall Be to Him a Father, and He Shall Be to Me a Son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee:

To whom is God addressing these words?

Historically God said it to David through the prophet Nathan. God spoke as if this prophecy applied to Solomon, but now we know:



· It applies to Christ. When?

At what point in time did it apply to the Lord Jesus Christ?

Was it when He was born of Mary?

No, not at all! This prophecy was fulfilled when God accepted the complete payment for all our sins: When Christ had been three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, and then He arose from the grave. That is the point in time that God has in view. The context of Hebrews 1:3 dictates that this is the point in time that God has in view:

Hebrews 1:3
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

It was after Christ had by himself purged our sins and rose from the grave that the Father said to the Lord Jesus in verse 5:

Hebrews 1:5
Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son.

Christ is called “the first begotten of the dead” and Christ is called “the Firstborn” because His rising from the dead was the condition for our salvation. His rising from the dead is the cornerstone of our faith. If He did not rise from the dead, our faith is in vain.

· (Applies to the Saints. When?)

When Christ died, we died in Him. When Christ rose from the grave, we rose with Him. Therefore we can say with the Apostle Paul, in Galatians 2:20, as if it applies to us:

Galatians 2:20
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Christ’s rising from the dead also typifies the moment of our regeneration.

Regeneration=You are born again. That is the point in time when God says to us: "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son." Now, look again at the words of 1 Chronicles 17:13:

1 Chronicles 17:13
I Shall Be to Him a Father, and He Shall Be to Me a Son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee:

· "I will not take my mercy away"

What does this mean?

Does this not mean that we are absolutely secure in Christ?

We have eternal life! When God builds His house, it is an eternal house. His Kingdom is forever. But now, look again at the words of 1 Chronicles 17:13:

1 Chronicles 17:13
I Shall Be to Him a Father, and He Shall Be to Me a Son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee:

Who is God referring to when He said: as I took it from him that was before thee?

Was it king Saul?

Historically God was speaking to king David.

Could God have been referring to king Saul, the one who was before David?

Is it not remarkable that when you read this verse, this passage, Saul’s name is not mentioned?

In fact, king Saul was never saved. God could not have taken His mercy away from him.

But who then is that person from whom the Father had taken away His mercy?

Is it not the Lord Jesus Christ?

Christ, who had to endure God’s wrath without mercy?

There was no mercy for Him!

There was no one else who could take the burden from Him!

No one!

The Bible says that He had to bear the burden all alone. There was no Savior for Him. He was the Savior. He had to bear the full wrath of God in our place. That was the only way He could be our Savior.

Do you realize what God is saying here?

Paraphrased, God is saying that, in order for Him to be our Father so that we could be His adopted sons, the Father had to sacrifice His own Son and put Him through such a horrible ordeal that even His Son was praying for deliverance!

What an immense mercy of God!

It is a Mercy and Love and Grace, far beyond our understanding.

Now, let us turn to another verse in 1 Chronicles 17:9:

Not National Israel, but the Israel of God is in view

1 Chronicles 17:9
Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more as at the beginning, and since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel.

Who is God talking about?

Well, what is this chapter talking about?

The entire focus of this chapter is the building of the Temple of God. Therefore, not national Israel is in view, but the Israel of God, because the Israel of God is the real Temple of God. The Israel of God will last forever. There are four things mentioned in verse 9: A place, God plants, They dwell there & Tremble no more.

· First God ordains a place (John 14:2-3)

How does God do that?

He ordains a place for us. We read for example in John 14:2:

John 14:2
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:3
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Where was the Lord Jesus going when He said: “I go to prepare a place for you”?

He was going to the cross. There is where He was preparing a place for us.

What is that place?

That place is the Kingdom of Christ, because there is where He has many mansions. There is where He is King. Not earthly mansions of brick and mortar. But a heavenly place that is so much more glorious than any earthly dwelling place could possibly describe. God makes us coheirs with Christ. Just think of it: We were born into this world, which the Bible describes as a bottomless pit. A pitch-black pit with no light whatsoever. It is the kingdom of Satan. It is such a deep pit that nobody can lift himself out of it. That is where we were born: No hope whatsoever.

This is how the Bible describes the terrible condition of mankind: We were dead in trespasses and sins. But lo and behold, here and there in this deep dark pit, a little light goes on. These little lights are little enclaves where Christ is King. These little lights are people who have become saved by the Grace of God, and by the power of God they have been translated out of the kingdom of Satan and placed in the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. These little lights in that dark pit are the Israel of God. From the time that God gives us this light of the Gospel, God says: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

· It is God who will plant them

If it is God who gave us this light, purely by Grace, then it is again God who must give this light to whosoever He will, or else it is not Grace. It is God who will save whom He will. And those whom God saves become firmly rooted in Christ.

· They shall dwell there (John 14:3)

John 14:3
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

The Lord Jesus is going to come again on the Last Day. Then He will raise our bodies from the grave as glorified bodies, we will be reunited with our souls and so will we forever be with the Lord. We will be there in the New Heaven and the New Earth where only righteousness dwells.

· They shall tremble no more (John 14:27)

When we are together with the Lord in the life hereafter, nothing shall make us afraid.

But already when we belong to Christ here on this earth, we fear no man, because we are forever secure in Christ.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Peace, in spite of all the troubles we are in peace.

Is it not amazing how Almighty God has gone out of His way to pour His Grace upon rebellious sinners like us?

People, who are conspiring to do away with God!

You see it happens all throughout the world. But God had mercy on some of us and saved us. And God says to us: I will be to you a Father, and you shall be to me a Son.

By Alfred Chompff

Saturday, June 28, 2008

THE WORKING OF HIS MIGHTY POWER


Ephesians chapter 1 is so rich with information about the Gospel, it is so wonderful to read.

· Four Petitions (Ephesians 1:15-23, Matthew 28:1, Ephesians 1:4)

Ephesians 1:15
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

Ephesians 1:16
Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Ephesians 1:17
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Ephesians 1:18
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 1:19
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Ephesians 1:20
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Ephesians 1:21
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Ephesians 1:22-23
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

You notice that the prayer starts in verse 17.

Where are these four petitions?

The first three petitions are in verses 17, 18, and 19. In verse 17 the Apostle prays that the Ephesian saints may receive more wisdom and revelation in their knowledge of God.

Did the church at Ephesus need more knowledge of God?

Most certainly they did. This was the first of the seven churches in Asia that were addressed by the Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 2, and this was the church that left her first love.

The second petition is in Ephesians 1:18, look at verse 18, where the Apostle prays that the church at Ephesus may understand and “that ye may know what is the hope of His calling”.

Could we use a little more understanding of “what is the hope of His calling”?

In other words, do we need a little more understanding of “what are the riches of the glory of Christ’s inheritance” in the life hereafter?

I believe we do. If we would have a little more understanding of the life hereafter, our present life would be more focused, and we would have an always present awareness of Heaven and Hell. It would make us examine ourselves more often, and see where we are heading. Also it would drive us to more personal witness of what God has done for us, and what God is going to do to those who remain unsaved. Remember there are only two destinations: Heaven or Hell.

Now the third petition is in Ephesians 1:19, look at verse 19, where the Apostle prays, “that ye may know what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe”.

What is he praying for?

He prays that the church at Ephesus may know a little bit more of the exceeding great power of God to us-ward. That is an important “us-ward”, because it refers to the power of God to those whom He chose from before the foundation of the world, as it is so clearly stated in Ephesians 1:4. And thus, in this third petition he beseeches God for more understanding in this matter of “Election”.

Does we need more appreciation of God’s elective program?

I believe we do. If we would have a little more appreciation of “Election” we would understand that there is no Gospel without “Election”. There is no Good News, there is no Salvation, and there is no Heaven without “Election”. We would be more grateful for God to have elected us unto salvation. He could just as well have passed us by. Just imagine the horror if God would have passed us by.

But if God has not passed us by, if the Father indeed has drawn us to Jesus, if God has indeed called us with an holy calling, then why are we not in awe of this indescribable gift?

Let us go on to the fourth petition in Ephesians 1:20 and following. The Apostle prays that the church at Ephesus may know “what is the working of God’s mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised him from the dead”.

Is that a petition?

Is that a question?

O Yes!

What Is the Strength of God’s Might in Raising Christ? (Ephesians 1:19-20, Romans 1:3-4, 2 Corinthians 13:4, Psalm 18:5, Isaiah 53:8, Hebrews 2:9, Acts 2:24, 1 Samuel 2:30, Colossians 2:15, Psalm 24:7-8)

Ephesians 1:19-20
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Have we given it a second thought what God had to do in order to raise Christ from the dead?

What is the big deal?

There were so many people who died and were made alive. In the Old Testament both Elijah and Elisha were God’s instruments in bringing children back to life. In the New Testament the Lord Jesus made alive the daughter of Jairus, and the son of the widow at Nain, and Lazarus of Bethany. The Apostle Peter was instrumental in bringing Dorcas back to life, and the Apostle Paul was instrumental in bringing Eutychus back to life. These kinds of actions are routine miracles for God.

And so, what is the big deal?

But the raising of the Lord Jesus Christ must be a big deal, because God mentions it so many times. For example, God says in Romans 1:3-4, “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”.

And God says in 2 Corinthians 13:4 “For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God”.

Why does the raising of Christ require so much power from God?

To answer this question we first must realize that the death which Christ died was no ordinary death. Therefore His resurrection must be an extraordinary resurrection.

What was this death that Christ died?

One man rightly stated (and I quote) “If Christ had merely died a corporal death, no end would have been accomplished by it. It was essential also that He should feel the smart of the divine vengeance in order to appease the wrath of God and satisfy His justice. Hence it was necessary for Him to contend with the power of Hell and the horror of eternal death” (end quote).

This sheds some new light on the words found in Psalm 18:5, “The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me”. More literally the Hebrew text says, “The cords of Hell compassed me about: the snares of death confronted me”. This is a Messianic uttering, because this is a Messianic Psalm. Here God gives us the aspect of imprisonment and binding of Christ by divine justice, and He could not be released until He had paid our debt to the uttermost. And thus when we read in Isaiah 53:8, “He was taken from prison”, we should not think of an earthly prison, but the prison of Hell. Therefore when we read also in Hebrews 2:9, “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man”, we see that in the Greek text it is indeed the word “taste”.

But bodily Christ did not “taste death”. Bodily He fully died. And so this cannot refer to His physical death, but it must refer to Him enduring the second death, which He tasted for every one of His people. On the day of Pentecost, in the year AD 33, the Apostle Peter gave a sermon on the street outside the house where they had assembled, and in this verse he referred to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. In a veiled sense Peter indicated that the Lord Jesus Christ was not just raised from death, but He was raised from the dead. He was among the spiritually dead, but He was raised out from among them. Let us see then what the words of Acts 2:24 mean, “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it”.

What are these “pains” that are called the pains of death?

We know that lying dead in the grave is not painful. In fact, on the cross Christ already endured the full payment for all our sins, and thus He should not have to suffer more after that.

What does it mean then that Christ was “loosed” from the pains of death?

It means that at the end of about six hours on the cross, when He cried with a loud voice, “It Is Finished!” Christ was loosed from His spiritual sufferings, from the pains and cords of the second death. And also it means that Christ on Sunday morning was loosed from His physical death when He was raised from the grave. The fact is that Christ had to be raised from the grave because God stated in 1 Samuel 2:30, “them that honour me I will honour”. This is a basic principle of God’s government. And since Christ did not commit any sin, God was obligated to take Him back into God’s holy heaven after Christ completed the payment for all the guilt of all the sins that were imputed on Him. And so, God delivered Christ from the pains and the cords of Hell, and subsequently God also delivered Christ from the powers of darkness.

Now, is it not highly probable that Satan would do his utmost to prevent Christ from coming out of the grave?

Shortly after Jesus was born the Devil stirred up Herod the Great to kill the baby Jesus. The Devil stirred up Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus so that He might be killed. The Devil stirred up the chief priests and almost all the members of the Sanhedrin to have Jesus arrested and brought to trial, so that He might be killed.

Should it not be expected that the Devil would also do his utmost to prevent the bodily resurrection of Christ, and keep Him in the grave?

And thus the Devil stirred up the chief priests and the Pharisees to say to Pilate, “Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure”, so that a heavy stone was placed over the entrance of the tomb, and the stone was sealed, and a watch of soldiers was set to guard it. But all to no avail, because God said in Colossians 2:15, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it”.

Does this not indicate that there was a concerted effort on the part of the powers of evil to oppose His resurrection?

That is why He triumphed over them. That is why in Psalm 24:7-8 the “King of glory” on His entrance into Heaven was greeted as, “the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle”. This then is the meaning of God’s might in raising Christ from the dead. Now let us see:

What Is the Power God Exerts in Saving His Elect? (Ephesians 1:19-20, Colossians 1:13, 2 Timothy 2:26, Romans 8:31, Jude 24, Ephesians 3:20, Hebrews 13:20-21)

Let me bring back to your memory the words of Ephesians 1:19-20, “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places”.

This is His power to us-ward who believe. According to this analogy, with respect to our conversion, the working of his mighty power works in us in the same way that He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.

Can you see the parallel?

Like as Satan sought to hold Christ forever in the grave, so Satan sought to hold us forever in his clutches. Like as God defeated Satan, triumphed over all his resistance, and raised Christ from the grave, so He powerfully removed us from the power of darkness and made us experience the first resurrection in our souls. We read in Colossians 1:13, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son”.

We read here that God has performed this awesome task of choosing us while we were still in the kingdom of Satan, moved us out of the kingdom of Satan, past the gates of Hell that were supposed to hold us in, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. The gates of Hell were not able to prevail against us. And God did that with an exceeding great power to us-ward like as the great power He used to raise Christ from the dead. And so, we can clearly see that no one can do that by his own initiative. No one can bring up so much power to accomplish his or her salvation. And thus we can clearly see that this process of salvation must be entirely done by God, or else it will not succeed.

How can anyone claim to have saved himself by choosing the Lord Jesus as their Savior?

They are deceiving themselves.

Do we not read that all the unsaved are “in the snare of the Devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:26)?

Now then, why is God’s raising of Christ from the dead made the standard of measurement of the power which He exercises in those who believe?

The answer is this: The bodily resurrection of Christ is both the pattern and pledge of what God can and will do for His people. Let us check this out. In the Old Testament the standard miracle was the deliverance of the nation of Israel out of Egypt. Again and again the prophets pointed to that miracle of splitting the Red Sea to show the people how mighty God is and to what extent He will go to save His people out of the house of bondage. At the same time we know that the miracles of the Passover, the Exodus, and the Red Sea crossing were all pictures of God’s mercy and grace for those He chose to save. From all the children of Israel, who were as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand which was on the seashore, God chose to save only a remnant for His own purposes. But the Red Sea crossing especially was the supreme demonstration of God’s power to help and to save. When the prophets sought to inspire courage and confidence they pointed back to that mighty deliverance. But when we come to the New Testament the Red Sea crossing is no longer mentioned. Instead the New Testament repeatedly points to the empty tomb, the resurrection of Christ from the dead, as the great triumph of God’s omnipotent power, and it is the standard of what God will do for us who believe.

Does the empty tomb then represent a greater miracle than the splitting of the Red Sea?

I believe it is. God would not have replaced the miracle at the Red Sea by the miracle of the empty tomb if it was not a greater miracle. And think of it now. That same power which God wrought in Christ in raising Him from the dead, has operated in us to bring us to Christ, and is still operating in us to keep us faithfully in the hands of Christ.

Is this not awesome?

Is this not giving us great comfort?

The mighty power of God is operating on our behalf.

It is a power which is beyond resistance, for we read in Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” It is a power which is superior to and triumphs over all our weaknesses, for we read in Jude 24, “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling”.

We read in Ephesians 3:20 that it is a power “that is able to do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”. It is a power that is able to make us perfect in the sight of God, for we read in Hebrews 13:20-21, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

How thankful we should be for God’s power working in us. What a great blessing to know that this great power is working in us and is there to strengthen our faith, and to give us confidence for the future. And now we want to look at:

What Is the Nature of the Power God Exercised? (Romans 6:4, Ephesians 2:5-6, Romans 5:21)

What is the nature God exercised in raising Christ from the dead, and in bringing us out from the deadness of Satan’s kingdom, making us spiritually alive, and giving us faith?

Now if we keep in mind the nature of Christ’s death was a satisfaction for sin, and that it was a spiritual death as well as a physical death, then we realize that there is a whole lot more involved in raising Him from the dead. Look at it this way: The Lord Jesus said that one human soul was worth more than all the material goods on this planet earth combined. If that is so, then the raising of Christ from the dead was a greater act of God than there will be in the destruction of the world and creating a new one, because Christ is certainly greater than any human being. Moreover, the death of Christ was a legal transaction. Therefore the legal element also entered into His resurrection. His death was the enduring of the full penalty of the Law, and it was inflicted by God the Judge of all. It was endured with the fullest confidence that God would raise Him from the dead. And thus, God’s raising Him from the dead was God’s answer to the dying appeal of Christ, who was cast out by the world. It was God’s response to the Savior’s trust in Himself. God’s righteousness required that God should raise Christ from the dead. God’s holiness demanded that the sinless One should be released from the grave. Therefore, by raising Him from the dead God openly declared that all that Christ has taught was true; there was no mistake in it at all, no sin because any mistake or any imperfection is sin. God set His seal upon the triumphant ending of Christ’s ministry. And God proved that the payment Christ made for all His people was to the full satisfaction of the righteousness of God. But let us now take this a step further.

Romans 6:4 says, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life”.

Did you see that?

Christ was raised by the glory of the Father.

What does that mean?

It means that Christ was not raised as a single person, but as the Head of His people. The church rose also in Christ and with Christ. And that is also what the words in Ephesians 2:5-6 indicate, “But God, …… hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”.

To create the world was and act of God’s power. But to bring forth a new creation out of a ruined old creation was a glorious power, which transformed a curse into a never ending blessing. That was to the glory of the Father. Christ was made a curse for us. He was under the curse that should have rested upon us.

Now let's see Romans 5:21. “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord”.

Down to the grave the power that prevails over man is death. But the grace of His resurrection reveals the more excellent power of His righteousness. And with His liberty His people are also freed.

Therefore, what is the nature of the power God exercised?

It is not only His omnipotent power, but in addition it is the power of the glory of His righteousness. Let us now see:

What Are the Analogies of Christ’s and Our Resurrections? (Romans 4:25, 1 Corinthians 15:17, Romans 1:16-17, Colossians 1:13, Hebrews 7:16, 1 John 3:2, Ephesians 1:19-20 )

The resurrection of Christ was not only a pattern of our resurrection, but His resurrection was also the pledge and a component of the purchase of our resurrection, for we read in Romans 4:25, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification”. Our justification hinges on His resurrection. God’s raising of Christ from the dead was the pledge that He would make alive all for whom He died. Otherwise He would be a Bridegroom without a Bride, or a Redeemer without the redeemed. “If Christ be not raised, then your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). This we need to see clearly before we go on.

Let us now see some analogies. As Christ was delivered from eternal death by the righteousness of God, so too are all who believe (Romans 1:16-17). As Christ was delivered from the forces of Satan, so too are we delivered from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13). As Christ has been made “after the power of an endless life” (Hebrews 7:16), so we shall never perish "but have everlasting life". As Christ was raised to honor and glory, so shall we be. God says in 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is”.

Let us now summarize what we have learned so far about the greatness of God’s power in connection with His work for the saints. Keep in mind that this is not a formal statement of doctrine, but it is a prayer for the saints. It is a prayer for the up-building of the saints in their understanding of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we engage in personal witnessing we shall always meet those who want to know what the power of the resurrection of Christ means. Here in this prayer the Apostle makes the request that God’s people might know, first, what is the awe-inspiring excellency of that power?

Secondly, that it is a power “to us-ward”, acting for us, on our behalf, if we belong to God’s elect.

Thirdly, that it is an effectual power, for we believe according to God’s irresistible grace.

Fourthly, it is a power that operates within us according to what it wrought in Christ when God raised Him from the dead. And it is no lesser power that still works within us to carry forward the good work in our souls to a triumphant completion. And then it is also important that Christians should firmly and fully know these things. Or else we would not be able to pray the prayer that God has written here for our benefit. God gave us this passage in Ephesians 1:15-23 for our edification.

Are we anxious to learn what God has to say?

Let us pray that this will indeed be the case, because “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”. AMEN.

By Alfred Chompff


GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST


We are looking at the record in the Bible of “the incarnation”; how God the Son, the second Person of the triune God, took on a human body and manifested Himself to us as the Lord Jesus Christ. In Luke, we read about the birth of the Lord Jesus in Bethlehem, and we see that Mary laid Him in a manger, which is an animal feeding trough. It shows how God the Son has laid down all His glory and came as a man, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and He humbled Himself by being born under the poorest of circumstances. And now we enter into a passage that shows us how God orchestrated all the events surrounding the birth of Christ to His own glory. From man’s perspective Christ was born as a poor little baby, but from God’s perspective this little baby was the most glorious Lord of heaven and earth. Let us read this here in Luke 2:8:

Luke 2:8
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Luke 2:9-10
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Luke 2:11
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:12
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Luke 2:13-14
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:15
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

Luke 2:16
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Luke 2:17
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

Luke 2:18
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

Luke 2:19-20
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:20
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

And so, the question arises:
Why did God announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds?

Why the Shepherds? (Luke 2:8-20)

Look at the wonderful things God was, and is doing.

But why did God reveal this wonderful display of Christ’s glory only to these uneducated shepherds?

No one else but these shepherds! Is this not reflecting that God reveals Himself only to a select group of people?

Yes! This is how God operates most of the time. In fact, this was the night crew. These were the apprentice shepherds. They were given the most undesirable job among shepherds. They ranked among the lowest on the shepherd-totem-pole. These were the only people in all of Israel who were made aware of Jesus’ birth.

And why did God choose them?

When we go through the Bible we can see that God has an intense interest in shepherds. Abel, the son of Adam, was a shepherd. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were shepherds. The children of Israel in Egypt were shepherds. Moses, who grew up as a prince in the palace of Pharaoh, became a shepherd for 40 years. David, the man after God’s own heart, was a shepherd. The prophet Amos was a shepherd. The Lord Jesus Christ is called “The Good Shepherd”. And the Apostle Peter, who was a fisherman by trade, was appointed as shepherd, because the Lord Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep”.

Is that the end of the list?

No! The role of pastors, and elders, and deacons, is the role of a shepherd. We must care for the flock that God has given us to care for, and we must feed them the pure spiritual food, and we must guide the flock into all things profitable for the furtherance of the Kingdom. And all those whom God has saved, He has made them ambassadors for Christ, which implies that you too have received the mandate to nurture and care for all those baby-Christians God has put under your wings. We have the knowledge of salvation. Therefore we must lead the sheep and the little lambs into green pastures, and lead them to drink the water of the Gospel. We are not in this world to take care of ourselves. Christ does that for us. But we are here in this world to be of service to others; to take care of the sheep and the little lambs, and we lay down our life for that purpose. David killed the lion and the bear. That is the role of a shepherd. We too must be militant shepherds, ready to defend our sheep from the attacks by Satan through false gospels, which are around us all the time. That is why God revealed His glory to the shepherds, and only to the shepherds. God was thinking of us. Here, in Luke 2:8, God brought the message of Christ’s birth to the shepherds by night.

Why by night?

We too watch over our sheep by night, because this world is in spiritual darkness. It is the darkness of the dominion of Satan. Let us now move on to the next verse.

The Angel of the Lord (Luke 2:9-10, Exodus 3:2, 20:2, Jude 2:1, Revelation 1:16, Hebrews 13:8, John 6:44, Matthew 1:21)

Luke 2:9-10
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

There are 64 appearances of the Angel of the Lord in the Bible.

Whom do we understand this Angel of the Lord to be?

In Exodus 3:2 the Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a flame of fire in a burning bush. And from the rest of the story we understand that it was not an angel but it was God who was talking to Moses. In Jude 2:1 the Angel of the Lord spoke to all Israel, and said, “I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers”, and we know that this was not an angel who was speaking, but God Himself, for God said in Exodus 20:2, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage”.

Who delivered us out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage?

The Lord Jesus Christ did that. His payment on the cross was the cause of our deliverance from bondage to sin and Satan. And so, when we search carefully all the other occasions where the name “The Angel of the Lord” appears we can conclude that this was not an appearance of an angel, but it was an appearing of Christ. It was Christ who spoke to Moses out of the burning bush; and in Jude 2:1 it was Christ who spoke to the children of Israel about their deliverance out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Here also in Luke 2:9, it was Christ who appeared to the shepherds in the field, and His glory manifested itself as light that shone round about them.

How can we describe this light of the glory of Christ that shone round about them?

We can infer from Revelation 1:16 how bright that light was. There we read in Revelation 1:16, “And His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength”. When the Lord Jesus appeared to the Apostle John on the island of Patmos, His brightness, indicating His glory as the Judge, would equal His glory at the time of His birth. Because God was already infinitely glorious before He created heaven and earth, therefore He cannot become more glorious after Christ went through the cross experience. From our human perspective we cannot understand such things, but God says in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever”. It was such a fearful sight for John that he fell to the ground as dead. Then Jesus said to him, “Fear not”. Just think of it what a fearful sight this was for the shepherds, who suddenly saw this appearance, bright shining as the sun. And so, the Lord had to assure them, “Fear not”. But on the Last Day the unsaved will be in great fear, for they will all be cast into Hell, not one excepted. But God says to us, “Fear not”. We still honor Him and reverence Him as our God and Savior, but we do not fear Him any more as our Judge, because we have been judged already at the cross. If we have been saved Hell is not the object of terror any more. We have become sons of God. We deserve to go to Hell, because we came into the world as slaves of Sin and Satan, and as enemies of God. We came into the world as liars and with hearts full of anger. But if the Lord Jesus Christ has saved us, then Hell is no more a threat to us. If Christ has saved us, then He has changed our hearts forever into hearts that long to be in the presence of Christ, and in the presence of fellow saints.

If Christ has saved us He has turned our hearts around, from hearts of sinners to hearts of saints. But we realize that it is only by the mercy of God, and by the grace of God, that God has done this, and that we may escape Hell. If we would be aware of our spiritual condition, then this is the change of heart that we should ask for. But, of course, when we were unsaved we did not know what we should ask for. And that is why the mercy of God, and the grace of God were necessary for our salvation. Without it no one can become saved. And that is why the Lord Jesus said in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him”.

Only then do we understand the glorious news that the Angel of the Lord brought to the shepherds. Only then can we sing in our heart this good news, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come”, and we know that Christ has come to pay for our sins. The fact that He came as a baby was nothing to celebrate about. That was just the beginning of His coming. But that He came to pay for our sins, to pay it vicariously, to pay it in our place, that is great reason to celebrate, for this means that we do not have to go to Hell.

But for whom did the Lord Jesus pay their sins?

Did He pay for the sins of all mankind?

When we read at the end of Luke 2:10, “to all people”, does this mean that He paid for the sins of the entire human race?

We realize that this cannot be, because this glorious news did not bring great joy to the scribes and Pharisees, and it did not bring great joy to king Herod and his court, and it did not bring great joy to most people in Jerusalem. We have here again a test whereby God is testing mankind: “Do we harmonize the words of Scripture?”

Do we dare to harmonize the words God spoke, and which God recorded in the Bible?

God says in Matthew 1:21, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins”. Which means, “on the cross the Lord Jesus Christ saved only His people from their sins”. No one else but His people! And that does not refer only to the Israelites, the children of Jacob, but it refers to the remnant chosen by grace from all the nations of the world. And therefore the words “to all people” must be understood like “all the world” in Luke 2:1. God has His remnant saved by grace out of all the peoples of the world. And so we see that God fulfilled His promises to all His people, to all His elect, by making this declaration.

God Fulfilled His Promises (Luke 2:11-12, Isaiah 43:11)

Luke 2:11
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:12
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Unto you!

Unto whom?

Unto you, shepherds, is born this day a Savior! Unto you who are the shepherds of this world, unto you the caretakers of this world, is born this day a Savior.

Can you hear what God is saying?

Unto US is born this day a Savior. Christ, the Savior, the Anointed One, the Redeemer of all His elect, was born unto US about 2000 years ago.

Why was He the Savior?

Because He went to the cross for us, that is why. When God said, “Rejoice, for unto you is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord”, God was not pointing to the baby, but God was pointing to the cross. It is only through the cross that Christ is a Savior. It is only through the cross that Christ established His Kingdom. And the sign of the cross started here in Bethlehem, in the city of David, about 1000 years earlier, when God promised to king David that from his loins the promised Messiah would be born. And this promise to David ties back about 1000 years earlier to Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob. For this reason the Lord Jesus Christ is the only One who can be our Savior. Now read what God says in Isaiah 43:11, “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no Savior”. God says here that He is the only One who is Jehovah, because when you see the word LORD, with all four letters capitalized, it stands for Jehovah. God says that He alone is called Savior. But God says in the New Testament that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only One who can be our Savior. Therefore, when we harmonize the Scriptures we conclude that the Lord Jesus Christ is Jehovah. The New Testament also says that Jehovah is One God, but manifests Himself in three Persons. Therefore God the Father is Jehovah, and God the Son is Jehovah, and God the Holy Spirit is Jehovah and yet there is only One God Jehovah. We do not try to understand this, but we are careful to use only the wording of the Bible so that we do not introduce heresy. Paraphrased God says in Isaiah 43:11, “I am Jehovah, your Savior”!

He is the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah, who went to the cross to purchase us body and soul, and who went to the cross to purchase Himself a Kingdom. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh, and therefore He came into the world as a baby.

Where is this child?

Luke 2:12 says, “Ye shall find the babe lying in a manger”. But literally the Greek text does not say “a manger”, but “The Manger”. It means that the Lord Jesus Christ, who says of Himself that He is the Bread of Life, is found in Bethlehem, which means the House of Bread, lying in The Manger, which is referring to the Bible as the Manger. There only in the Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ found by all those who love His appearing. He is not found by watching a movie about Christ. Making a movie about Christ is as cursed in the eyes of God as making an idol from wood or stone and falling down before it in adoration. Such people are under the curse of God. The Angel of the Lord said to the shepherds, “Ye shall find the babe lying in The Manger”.

How many babies were there in Bethlehem lying in a manger?

Only One! These shepherds knew where to find a manger. They took care of animals who in the winter time were cared for in a stable, and they were fed from a manger. The shepherds would not have to look very long. They knew where all the stables in Bethlehem were. And this was a sign to us also. We too know where we can find the true Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. If we read and write in English, then The Manger we should be looking in is the King James Bible. This is the only English Bible where the translators have made a concerted effort to produce as much as possible a word by word translation from the Hebrew and Greek text. The Hebrew Masoretic text and the Greek Textus Receptus are truly the Bible that God has handed down to us. But since most of us do not read Hebrew and Greek, the English King James Bible is the best alternative. That was spiritually The Manger that the Angel of the Lord was referring to. And then we read about:

A Multitude of the Heavenly Host (Luke 2:13-14, Hebrews 11:12, 1:14, Revelation 5:11, Ephesians 1:5,9, Philippians 2:13)

Luke 2:13-14
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

What a stupendous sight this was.

How great was this multitude of the heavenly host?

We do not know exactly. But the same word “multitude” has been portrayed in Hebrews 11:12 as a very great multitude. In Hebrews 11:12 God says of Abraham, “Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable”.

This is indeed a great multitude.

Would God hold back any of the armies of heaven, or would He allow every angel to go and show themselves to the shepherds, to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ?

There is no reason why God would hold any of the angels back to defend the forts of heaven. They were not under attack. And so, we can conclude that all the angels went out to the earth and made themselves visible. Normally angels are not visible. Angels are “ministering spirits who are sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). But for this occasion they took on some form and showed themselves.

How many angels are there?

We read in Revelation 5:11, “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands”.

10,000 x 10,000 = 100 million.

Unfortunately this is still an inadequate estimate of the number of angels; because the word translated “ten thousand” is the Greek word for “myriads”, which is a words that infers certainly much more than ten thousand. One thing is sure, there are much more than 100 million angels. Just imagine that you would be able to see one million people. Napoleon invaded Russia with half a million soldiers. That was already an army so great that it stretched all the way to the horizon. We cannot imagine how great an army of 100 million is. The army that came to show themselves to the shepherds was even greater than 100 million angels. We cannot comprehend so many angels. But we do know that this meant that the entire night sky from one end to the other was filled with these glorious beings, each one of them shining as the sun. And together their joint voices must have sounded louder than thunder. Whether these angels were saying or singing, it was glorious. And they were saying, “Glory to God in the highest”.

Why would God create such a display of His glory before these poor shepherds?

God did that for His own glory.

Why did God save us?

God did that for His own glory. That is the whole purpose of salvation. But God does not reveal His glory to the reprobate of this world. God reveals His glory only to His elect. We must remember that these shepherds represented all the elect of God who are having the privilege of hearing the message of salvation. Besides Mary and Joseph, these shepherds were the only ones who came to know Jesus personally. And listen to the good news the angels were bringing. Literally they said, “On earth peace in men of good will”. And the Greek word they used for “good will” is the same word that has been translated more often as “good pleasure”. For example, God says in Ephesians 1:5, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”.

Here the word “good pleasure” is the same word. Also in Ephesians 1:9 God said, “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself”.

Here also the word “good pleasure” is the same word.

Also in Philippians 2:13 God said, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”.

Again, the word “good pleasure” is the same word. We can conclude then that God says in Luke 2:13, “On earth peace in men of God’s good pleasure”.

Who are those who receive the good pleasure of God?

They are those whom the Father has drawn to Jesus. These are the only ones who will experience the “peace of God that passeth all understanding”. No man of himself is of God’s good will. No man of himself is of God’s good pleasure. Only those to whom God delights to reveal Himself will be drawn to know the Lord Jesus Christ personally from the Scriptures. We experience this earth as a vale of tears. But in the midst of all this suffering we can have peace and tranquility in our heart, because God gave us this peace in our hearts. And so it was with the shepherds who received this good news. They said:

Let Us Go and See (Luke 2:15-18)

You cannot blame the shepherds for lack of enthusiasm. They were excited. We read in Luke 2:15-18,

Luke 2:15
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

Luke 2:16
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Luke 2:17
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

Luke 2:18
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

They said, “which the Lord hath made known unto us”.

Again, can we see the exclusivity here?

God revealed His glory to the shepherds, and He passed by others in Bethlehem who might be equally qualified. But the shepherds understood their exclusive relationship with God. They said "unto us". They knew what it means to be among the privileged few. They must have left the sheep under the care of the Lord. They dropped everything and went to see the baby Jesus. But that is what God expected from them.

Are we as excited as they were?

When we are confronted with the Gospel, will we be as excited, and can we be expected to do what they were doing?

They went immediately to see the Baby Jesus in The Manger. They came with haste, because we see that “Now is the day of salvation”. Tomorrow may be too late.

And “how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation”? (Hebrews 2:3)

Therefore we too must go to the House of Bread, Bethlehem, to find Christ in the Bible, who is the Bread of Life.

What is our response?

Are we ready to go immediately to the House of Bread?

And what did the shepherds find? Did they just find a baby?

Absolutely not!

According to verse 17, what was “the saying which was told them concerning this child”?

The answer is in verse 11, “Which is Christ the Lord”. It means they found the Messiah, the Christ, the Lord’s Anointed. They found the message of salvation: Jesus is the promised Messiah, who came to be born in the likeness of sinful flesh, to redeem His people from their sins. And then they began to tell everyone concerning this wonderful news. The world marveled and wondered at those things. But that was as far as it went. The world still wonders and marvels about Jesus, or about salvation, or about the historical details surrounding His birth, or around the historical details surrounding His death. The world makes movies about Jesus and rakes up a lot of money from those movies. In the meantime the world has moved into the church and the church has adopted all the morals from the world. You can see it, for example, when you look at what they have done with Christmas. The church stirs up the people by inventing many ceremonies that God has not commanded. The church stirs up the congregation with gospels that feature signs and wonders and healing miracles that are supposed to come from Jesus. The church grows, and they call it the blessing from God, when in fact it adds to their condemnation. And all the while the world wonders and marvels about Jesus. But that is not salvation! The shepherds experienced salvation.

The Shepherds Returned, Glorifying and Praising God (Luke 2:19-20, Psalm 119:97, Colossians 1:15-20)

Luke 2:19
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:20
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The world wonders about Jesus, and the world wonders about Christians, never understanding what it takes to be a Christian. But Mary kept all these things in her heart. And Mary pondered them in her heart, which means that she meditated on these things. Mary demonstrated that she was a “born again” believer. We read in Psalm 119:97, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day”. That is the mark of a child of God. Psalm 119:97 typifies a true saint, and Mary has all the characteristics of a true saint. The shepherds also were showing that they meditated on these things. The shepherds continued praising God to His honor and glory. The shepherds saw the glory of God when they saw the baby in a manger. This is the natural, predictable, reaction of someone who has been saved. When God has done the miracle of salvation in our heart, we continue to give Him glory to whom glory belongs. Not with outward show, or outward ceremonies, or outward lipservice, but with things going on in our heart. We witness what God has done in our heart. We witness of the faithfulness of God for sending the Messiah into the world as He has promised. And with eyes of faith we know and we have seen that Christ is our Savior. We have come to know Him personally from the Scriptures. We are His witnesses. We are the shepherds of this world. To us has been given the message of reconciliation. Only those who have been born from above are authorized to send forth the true Gospel, because we have been identified with Christ in our new birth. We have seen who He really is. He is not just the little baby in a manger, but He is God Himself who has come in the flesh.

In Colossians chapter 1 God sings of the glories of the Lord Jesus Christ, and God tells us that we are now safe and secure, because we have been translated into the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. And then we read in Colossians 1:15,

Colossians 1:15
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Colossians 1:16
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Colossians 1:17
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Colossians 1:18
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Colossians 1:19
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;

Colossians 1:20
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

This passage tells us in no uncertain terms that the Lord Jesus Christ is God Himself. We did not make Him our God. He was God from eternity past. But God broke into time and manifested Himself as a helpless baby. At the same time God was in heaven ruling over the entire universe.

How can this be?

Only God can be in more than one place at the same time. The Lord Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God. It does not mean that God the Father looked like the baby in a manger. But the Greek word translated “image” here is the word “eikon”. It means a perfect replica, or a precise copy, or a duplicate. We use that word in computer science, when we see eikons on the screen. But in this passage God emphasizes that Christ was fully man and also fully God. “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell”, which means that all the fullness of the Godhead fully dwelt in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the only way we can rejoice and glorify God at Christmas time. This is the only way we can give
“Glory to God in the Highest”.

AMEN.

By Alfred Chompff

THOU ART MY SON


To whom has God addressed this Epistle to the Hebrews?

This Epistle, or this letter (that is what the word Epistle means, it is a letter) this letter is addressed to the Hebrews.

Who are the Hebrews?

Are they the Jews in Jerusalem?

Are they the blood descendants of Abraham?

If that would be true, then we can forget about this letter that God wrote to those Jews. He did not write it to us! But the fact of the matter is that God did write this letter to us, because we are the descendants of Abraham. God says in Galatians 3:29

Galatians 3:29
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Therefore, this letter to the Hebrews is written to us. And what God says in this letter to us, is awesome. I would summarize it this way:

“God Spoke unto us”

And when God spoke unto us, He did not send some puny insignificant messenger to us with a message from God. O NO! He sent His Son. God says in Hebrews 1:1-5:

Hebrews 1:1
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

Hebrews 1:2
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Hebrews 1:3
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Hebrews 1:4
Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Hebrews 1:5
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

Let us pause here. We have enough meat here for five articles. I will go over the first four verses rather lightly, because the subject matter of this sermon is really verse 5. Let me put in my own words what God says in verses 1 and 2:

God spoke to the prophets of the Old Testament at various times and in various ways. God spoke to them in dreams and in visions and in angel visitations and sometimes directly, like with Moses, or with Abraham. But in these last days, in the days after the coming of Christ, God spoke unto us by His Son, the second person of the trinity the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate Messenger. He is God Himself. And to this the writers (by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) of the New Testament agree, as we see in John 1:1-3; John 14:25 and 26:

He is the Last Word from God

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:2
The same was in the beginning with God.

John 1:3
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

How could anyone improve on the Message that He brought?

No one! The Lord Jesus never wrote down one word. But when He instructed His disciples He said:

John 14:25
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

John 14:26
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

God the Holy Spirit brought to their remembrance all things that Jesus has taught them. The Apostles wrote it down and when the last of the Apostles died the Message from God was complete.

How could anyone improve on that Message?

No one! It is complete! The Bible warns “Do not add to the words of the prophecy of this book…” (Revelation 22:18)

· It was God Himself who brought that last message. Jesus Christ is God!

The fact that Jesus is God is so abundant in the Bible, it is amazing there are people that deny that. The Lord Jesus said: “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father”. (John 14:9) and “I and my Father are one”. (John 10:30)

How could anyone think Jesus is not God?

Then God says in Hebrews 1:3:

Hebrews 1:3
When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

· He purged our Sins

What does it mean that He purged our sins?

And when did He purge our sins?

Of course, you understand that Christ did that when He died for us on the cross.

But what exactly does God mean when He says: He purged our sins?

Let us read it the way God says it.

Colossians 1:19
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

Colossians 1:20
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Colossians 1:21
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

Colossians 1:22
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Here is the Gospel in a nutshell!



1) In this passage (verse 21) we read that WE were in the past “alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works”. This refers to all of us. God says in Ephesians 2:3 that “we all...were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”. This includes everyone, even those whom we call innocent babies. Everyone of the whole human race, already at conception, are enemies of God, and are in need of reconciliation to God. We were all spiritually dead in trespasses and sins; not willing and not able to make peace with God. Only Christ can reconcile us back to God.

2) If we were all at enmity with God, then there is NO ONE, NO NOT ONE who could escape from going to Hell. The Bible says: “There is NONE that seeketh after God”. (Romans 3:10) But here and there we see that some do turn to God, earnestly seeking God.

How did that happen?

The Bible says that God changes the hearts and minds of those people so that they do earnestly seek for Him. So it is God who has to decide which people are earnestly going to seek for Him. Not of their own will, but because God gave them the desire to seek for Him. It is God who must choose who, of all mankind, is going to be saved from going to Hell.

3) Those of us who are going to be saved must first have our sins washed away. Only then can we be reconciled to God. But that is a painful process. God’s Law demands that the penalty has to be paid. It means that someone has to be our Substitute in paying the penalty for our sins. That person must be a sinless person, who would take our place voluntarily, and suffer in our place the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for all our sins, all our sins, not one excepted. Only then can we be reconciled to God. That is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ did. We read in Colossians 1:21-22:

Colossians 1:21
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

Colossians 1:22
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Christ, the sinless one, God in the flesh, has taken upon Himself all the sins of all those whom He came to save, and paid for them the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. That is how He purged our sins, almost two thousand years ago.

4) WE were born in this century and we were born as enemies of God. But because Christ had died for us on the cross, God committed Himself to give us a new heart and a new mind. This is done by the Holy Spirit at some point in our life. That is how Christ “presents us holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight”. Only then are we finally reconciled to God.
5) Christ purchased not only our souls, but He also purchased the right to reign over this world and to reign in our lives as He pleases, and to destroy this world on the Last Day and to replace it with a New Heaven and a New Earth where only righteousness dwells. We do not know what that New Heaven and New Earth is, it is something glorious. That is why God says in Colossians 1:20:

Colossians 1:20
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, (I say,) whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Here, Christ has become King of kings and Lord of lords.

· Christ’s Work of Redemption is Finished

This is confirmed in Hebrews 1:3:

Hebrews 1:3
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Hebrews 1:4
Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

God spoke to us by His Son. We read here that the Lord Jesus Christ, when He had purged our sins on the cross of Calvary and when He rose from the grave, He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. His work was finished. Now He reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. Unquestionably He is better than the angels; the angels are created beings. Now we have arrived at verse 5:

Hebrews 1:5
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

At what point in time did God say: “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?”

Was it when He was born as a little baby in Bethlehem?

No, not really! This quotation from the Old Testament is found in two places in the New Testament. We find in Acts 13:30-33:

Acts 13:30
But God raised him from the dead:

Acts 13:31
And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.

Acts 13:32
And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

Acts 13:33
God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

The context here in Acts 13 clearly shows that the Day God is speaking about, is the Day of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the grave. Now, it is significant that God quotes these words from the Old Testament twice in the New Testament. Here in Acts 13 and in Hebrews 1:5. Even if we found it only once in the New Testament, God put it there for us as a hint to go to the Old Testament and reinterpret the Old Testament with the new information from the New Testament. God says in Hebrews 1:5:

Hebrews 1:5
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?

This quote is found in Psalm 2:7, which is a Psalm of David.

Psalm 2:7
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Who is David talking about?

It is not important who David was thinking about. Now we know that it was God speaking through David about the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, this entire Psalm is:

A Call to Worship (Psalm 2)

It is a good thing to go through this whole Psalm. It is a command to all the people of the world to come and worship the Lord Jesus Christ. It is like the command: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Who will obey the command?

Only those who have received a new heart from God the Holy Spirit. Nobody else will. They are all in rebellion against God. Let us read this whole Psalm. In the first three verses we see:

· The kingdom of Satan (Psalm 2:1-3)

Psalm 2:1
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

Psalm 2:2
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

Psalm 2:3
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

What you see here is people who are in rebellion against God. Now when you go throughout history, natural man is incurably religious. You would think it is the opposite, but NO! They have invented all kinds of idols to worship. But they refuse to worship the God of the Bible, because the Gospel of the Bible is repugnant to the natural man. They do not like a God who is total control of everything. They do not like a God who is omnipotent and omniscient, who knows the end from the beginning. They would rather worship a god who is brought down to their own size. But God is not mocked! God has created man for the purpose of worshipping Him and Him alone. What is the response of God? The response of God is the next two verses:

· The Wrath of God (Psalm 2:4-5)

Psalm 2:4
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

Psalm 2:5
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

This does not mean that God laughs because He has a sense of humor. The situation is far too serious. God does not laugh at this dreadful situation whereby people are condemned to an eternal Hell. But, “God is angry with the wicked every day”, because their denial of God is so ridiculous, and God mocks them in His anger. In contrast the next three verses show us:

· The Kingdom of Christ (Psalm 2:6-8)

Psalm 2:6
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

Psalm 2:7
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Psalm 2:8
Ask of me, and I shall give (thee) the heathen (for) thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth (for) thy possession.

Even though the peoples of the earth do not want to worship the God of the Bible, God accomplishes His goal and sets up His Kingdom.

Where?

In Zion: The place where God resides.

Hebrews 12:22
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

Where is Zion?

The place where God resides is in the hearts and souls of those who truly have become saved by the immeasurable Grace of God. That is the Kingdom of Christ here on earth. That is the city of the living God. There Christ is King, because He suffered for us and He died for us and He rose again from the grave. “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee”. Now, verse 8 actually makes much more sense if we leave out those three words that were inserted by the KJV translators, and which are indicated in italics:

Psalm 2:8
Ask of me, and I shall give the heathen thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth thy possession.

If I may paraphrase, God the Father says to Christ: Ask of me, and I shall give the heathen thine inheritance, I shall give those heathen whom You have purchased on the cross, Your inheritance, so that they become joint-heirs with Christ. And that is exactly what the Bible says. Therefore give the people of the earth this warning:

· The Warning (Psalm 2:9-10)

Psalm 2:9
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

Psalm 2:10
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

Who is God referring to in verse 9?

God says to Christ: “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron”. That sounds like Judgment Day! That is indeed true.

Who are them?

They are the same people whom God refers to in verse 5:

Psalm 2:5
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

“God is angry with the wicked every day”. Therefore, God gives this admonishment to those who will hear: “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings”.

Who are the “kings” God is addressing?

When we become saved, Christ makes us “kings and priests unto God and His Father”. (Revelation 1:6) God gives us a Call to Worship Christ: “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings”. The only ones who are listening to God’s Call are those for whom Christ died on the cross.

How shall we be wise?

How shall we be instructed?

The Bible says:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”

· A Call to Serve the Lord (Psalm 2:11-12)

Psalm 2:11
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

Psalm 2:12
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

These verses express God’s concern for us, is that we remain on the right track. God wants to be served. God wants to be feared. God wants to be worshipped. And all that is for our own good. But then there is the promise of belonging to the blessed people of God: "Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." (end of verse 12) People are not loners by nature. We all have a desire to belong. And most of all, we believers have a desire to belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, we have gone through Hebrews 1:1-5 and we have gone through Psalm 2:1-12.

And, what do you do with all that knowledge?

Remember our starting point. God said: “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?”

God said that to the Lord Jesus Christ when He rose from the grave. The Bible says: We died with Christ, we were buried with Christ, we were raised with Christ. In essence God said to us also: “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?”

When does God say that to us?

On the day that we became born again! On the day that we receive our resurrected souls. We are not God’s only begotten Son. But through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ we became God’s adopted sons. Through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ we became:

Joint-Heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)

Romans 8:17
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Is that really so?

Is it really true that God said “Thou art my Son”?

Let’s put that to the test!

· Our life must reflect it!

But remember: If you do the best you can, that is not good enough. It is the grace of God that has to work in your life.

Does it show in our life that we belong to Jesus?

Has there been a change in our life?

Is our life still the same as what it was last year, or five years ago?

Does it show in our life that we are inheritors of the New Heaven and the New Earth?

Is there a fervent desire in our life to do the Lord’s will?

Do we know what God’s will is?

Do we know what is pleasing in His sight?

Of course, we do know that!

Then, what is holding us back?

Or is it just dumb pride?

· Serve the Lord with fear

How do we serve the Lord?

Do we make up a TO DO List?

Is that how we serve the Lord?

By checking off a list?

Of course not! That is what the Pharisees did. The best we do is not good enough. We became sons entirely by Grace! It was a free Gift! So do not come up with a list. Therefore we serve Christ out of Gratitude. Our service is also given to us as a free gift.

How grateful are we?

Just think of it: The children of Israel were slaves in Egypt.

How does a slave escape?

He does not escape! It is impossible to walk away from Egypt. And yet, they DID walk out of Egypt, FREELY! It was a free gift! Now that was just an analogy! We were willing slaves of Sin and Satan.

What did it take for us to be made free from Sin and Satan?

What does the Bible say?

This is the covenant that He made up before the foundation of the world.

1) God the Father chose us from before the foundation of the world, that we were to be the privileged people who were going to be the Bride of Christ.

2) God the Son had to empty Himself of His glory, and come down to this sin cursed earth, and be our Substitute in paying for our sins the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.

3) God the Holy Spirit had to arrange the affairs of this world in such a way that we would hear the Gospel, and He gave us a new soul so that we became saved, born again, and He guides us through this sin cursed earth in such a way that we become the instruments of God to achieve His goals.

That, in a nutshell is the Covenant. What an incredible mercy and grace of God. The Triune God Himself is coming to our aid, against the Devil and his angels.

Are we grateful for such a great deliverance?

Do we serve Him with fear?

Does it show?

If we truly are a child of God, it will show! And what a joy to know, that we are a child of God. What a joy to know that God says to us:
“Thou art my Son”

· Rejoice with trembling (Philippians 2:12-13)

How do we rejoice with trembling?

Philippians 2:12
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Philippians 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Rejoice, but with trembling, lest we forget! "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." And the last three words, we read in Psalm 2:12

· Trust in Him

That sounds like a command. Yes, it is a command, but it is so easy to forget that this is a Gift from God. It is so easy to have our trust come and go. But it does not depend on our trusting or on our trustworthiness. The best you do is not good enough. It depends on God. He is dependable. He paid for our sins. Our future does not depend on us. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

By Alfred Chompff