Thursday, April 30, 2009

THE BATTLE IS THE LORD'S

In this study we will look at the story of David and Goliath.

This is a very familiar story; everyone knows the outcome of this story.

But the three reasons I am teaching from this chapter are these:

1. We want to know: What exactly did God say? What are the words God recorded for us? Where do we see the Gospel in this historical framework?

2. How do these words impact the doctrines that we hold? Must we make some corrections? If we do not see Christ on every page of the Bible, we have not understood the Bible.

3. How do these words of God impact our personal lives? If we cannot apply it to our personal lives, we actually have not understood these Words from God.

Let's begin in verse 38.

David received the OK from king Saul to fight with Goliath.

Now Saul wants to help David a little by giving him his own armor.

That was a very generous gesture from Saul, but not very smart.

If Goliath would have killed David, then Saul would have no armor.

But more importantly, we should ask:

Would Christ Fight Satan with Man-Made Armor? (1 Samuel 17:38-39, Isaiah 59:17)

David is here a picture of Christ.

Goliath is here a picture of Satan.

This battle between David and Goliath is a picture of the battle between Christ and Satan during the Atonement when the Lord Jesus Christ hung on the cross.

So, would Christ fight Satan with man-made armor?

No! Of course not! And that is also what we read here:

1 Samuel 17:38
And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.

1 Samuel 17:39
And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed (lit: he began) to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these, for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.

It is true that David did not put his trust in these man made objects that were totally unfamiliar to him.

God could have left out this historical detail.

But God wrote down these words to show us that there is a parallel situation with Christ on the cross.

The Lord Jesus Christ was not wearing any metal armor.

His armor was entirely spiritual in nature.

God described Christ's armor in Isaiah 59:17,

Isaiah 59:17
He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.

David did not realize it, but this is what Christ was wearing when He went to the cross, and in the eyes of God, David was a picture of Christ.

David was wearing the garments of vengeance for clothing and he was executing God's vengeance upon Goliath.

Now let us look at:

The Shepherd's Bag (1 Samuel 17:40, John 10:11)

1 Samuel 17:40
And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

David took his staff in his hand.

Even though the shepherd's staff and the shepherd's bag played no role in David's offensive weapons against Goliath, God recorded them here for us.

Why?

God keeps reminding us that David was a man after God's own heart and that David was a picture of Christ:

David was a shepherd and Christ was a shepherd.

The Lord Jesus said in John 10:11,

John 10:11
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

What does it mean when Jesus said that He is the good Shepherd?

Only God can define what is good.

Therefore Jesus also said: "There is none good but God".

Did Jesus refer to His Divinity when He said: "I am the Good Shepherd"?

Most definitely!

He was referring to Psalm 23:1, which starts out with the words "Jehovah is my Shepherd".

Jesus clearly confirmed that He is the One who was called Jehovah in the Old Testament

When Jesus said: "I am the good Shepherd", He indicated that He is "the Divine and spiritual Shepherd of His sheep".

All other shepherds are human, but He is the Son of God.

Contrast: The Pharisees were carnal shepherds, but He is the spiritual Shepherd.

The Lord Jesus was a Shepherd of His father's appointing, and to whom the care of all His sheep was committed.

This means that the Father had set up Jesus as the Shepherd of the flock, which consists of those people whom the Father had chosen from before the foundation of the world.

The good Shepherd feeds His flock a good pasture.

What is good pasture?

The good pasture is the Bible.

This means that the good Shepherd will not disappoint any one of His flock, if they put their trust in the Word of God.

"The good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep", which means that Christ as the good Shepherd lays down His life for the redemption of His sheep.

Here in John 10:11 the good Shepherd clearly and definitely defines the nature and the extent of His Atonement on the cross.

Jesus gave His life; it was not taken from Him.

Jesus gave His life for a group of people, His sheep. He did not give His life for everyone.

Why did the good Shepherd have to give His life for these people?

By nature His people were dead in trespasses and sins.

They were spiritually dead from birth.

The Father had given these dead people to Jesus, that He might make them alive and make them perfect, so that they can be presented to Him as His Bride.

But the Bride of Christ was laden with sins, and a righteous God demanded that these sins must be paid, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.

Therefore, the Lord Jesus took these sins upon Himself, and on the cross He suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for all those sins.

That is why He is called the Good Shepherd.

He gave His all for the sheep.

Five Smooth Stones (1 Samuel 17:40, Psalm 118:22, Isaiah 8:14, Isaiah 28:16, Genesis 3:15)

1 Samuel 17:40
And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

Have you ever wondered why David took five smooth stones out of the brook?

Why five?

He could have picked any number of stones, but he had only time to sling one stone.

The answer is that the number 5 can indicate either salvation, or judgment, or it can mean both.

In this case it means salvation for those who will be redeemed by Christ, and it means Judgment for Satan through the action of Christ by taking the place of those He came to redeem.

Did David kill Goliath?

No! God did!

David was only the instrument through which God killed Goliath, by sending the stone through his helmet into his forehead.

This was picturing Christ giving Satan a mortal blow. One stone killed him.

That stone represented Christ.

The same Hebrew word for "stone" has been used in familiar verses like Psalm 118:22, and in Isaiah 8:14, and in Isaiah 28:16,

Psalm 118:22
The stone which the builders refused is become the head (stone) of the corner.

Isaiah 8:14
And He (Jehovah) shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Isaiah 28:16
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner (stone), a sure foundation:

These verses are quoted in the New Testament, which all say that in these verses the "stone" represents Christ. He is the stone of stumbling for Goliath, and He is the stone of stumbling for Satan.

But why did God say that these were "smooth" stones?

Actually, the Hebrew word translated "smooth" has been much more often translated as "portion". That is the word that should be used.

With these 5 portions of stones God is indicating that: Here are the 5 portions that are going to be administered to Satan, to execute God's judgment on Satan.

The first portion of God's wrath will come to Satan when that stone, representing Christ, will come to him when that sling is slung against Satan, and it is going to kill him in his head.

Then has come to pass what God decreed in Genesis 3:15,

Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Christ, the Seed of the woman, was going to bruise the head of Satan.

This prophecy was actually fulfilled when Christ hung on the cross, but it was already prefigured when David killed Goliath with that one stone that struck Goliath into his head.

What else did David have in his shepherd's bag?

The Sling (1 Samuel 17:40, 1 Samuel 25:29, Jeremiah 10:18, Revelation 13:3)

1 Samuel 17:40
And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

God said in verse 50:

1 Samuel 17:50
"David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone".

The sling was used to send the stone into Goliath's head. What is the spiritual meaning of a sling?
What do you sling out of a sling?

A stone!

Where is the stone slung out to?

To Hell, to be eternally banned out of the presence of God.

I would like you to see this from the following two references where the same Hebrew word for "sling" is used.

Before Abigail became the wife of David, she brought a present of much food to David and his men. And as she was speaking to David, God recorded her words here in 1 Samuel 25:29,

1 Samuel 25:29
Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord (i.e. David) shall be bound in the bundle of life with Jehovah thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall He sling out, (as out) of the middle of a sling.

The souls of Christ's enemies "them shall He sling out, of the middle of a sling".

Where will they be slung out to?

They will be slung out into Hell.

Years later, when God was angry with the nation of Judah for their apostasy, and He was about to destroy them, God said in Jeremiah 10:18,

Jeremiah 10:18
For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find it so.

God was going to sling out the people of the nation of Judah, out of the Kingdom of God and into the condition of being under the wrath of God, which means into the condition of Hell.

What has this to do with the stone that David slung out?

Let's turn back now to 1 Samuel 17:40.

The stone that David slung out was representing Christ, and He had to be slung out into Hell.

Here is the message of the Atonement:

What is necessary for our salvation?

Christ has to be slung out into Hell to pay for our sins, and Satan's head will be killed in the process.

This is what happened at the cross.

That is why we read in Revelation 13:3 that one of the heads of the Beast, representing Satan, was wounded to death.

The language that God is using here fully agrees with the Atonement of Christ.

David, representing Christ, slung the stone, also representing Christ, into Goliath's head.

This fully agrees with what we read in Hebrews 9, that Christ Himself was the High Priest who sacrificed Christ, the Lamb of God, on the cross, and in the process Satan's head was wounded to death.

It was Christ's will that He was slung out into Hell and that He had to die on the cross.

At the cross we do not see a battle between Christ and Satan.

But because Christ, the Son of God, fully paid for the sins He was bearing on our behalf, because He did suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, that is why it is guaranteed that Satan also would have to suffer the torments of eternal Hell for his sins.

This guarantee was the defeat of Satan, and he was then cast out of heaven.

Dialog: David & Goliath.

In the Name of the LORD of Hosts (1 Samuel 17:45, Revelation 19:17-18)

1 Samuel 17:41
And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.

1 Samuel 17:42
And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.

1 Samuel 17:43
And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

1 Samuel 17:44
And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

1 Samuel 17:45
Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

David said:
"I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied".

The LORD of hosts, is an expression that appears many times in the Bible.

Literally it means "The God of the Armies", or it can refer to "The Captain of the Armies of Jehovah".

Before there was any fighting in the land of Canaan, just before Jericho was destroyed, the Captain of the Armies of Jehovah appeared to Joshua to take charge of the conquest.

God is the Captain who leads the armies of the Israel of God, and He leads us where we have to go.

God is our Defender. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

We do not have to defend ourselves or fight for ourselves. We are safe and secure in the arms of Jesus. He is the Captain of the Armies of God.



David came boldly to Goliath.

In the Name of the Lord of Hosts he ran to him and overcame him.

Goliath said:
"Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field".

But who really ends up dead?

Not David, but the Philistine.

God prophesied in Revelation 19:17-18,

Revelation 19:17
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

Revelation 19:18
That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

Satan and his emissaries end up being the losers.

That All the Earth May Know (1 Samuel 17:46, Matthew 24:14, Galatians 4:25, Galatians 6:16)

1 Samuel 17:46
This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

1 Samuel 17:47
And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.

David reiterated what God wrote in Revelation 19:17-18,

"I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth".

God wrote these words to show us the analogy between this event and the words of Revelation 19:17-18.

David was not a bloodthirsty Israelite who wished the worst for his enemies.

In fact, later when David became king, he did not totally wipe out the Philistines.

His personal bodyguard partly consisted of a Philistine tribe: the Cherethites.

But God wrote these words "that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel".

Today almost all the earth does know that Christ suffered and died on the cross.

The crucifixion of Christ was an event that was not done in a corner, but it was publicized throughout the Roman Empire, and then it was publicized throughout the entire world.

The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 24:14,

Matthew 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Then, when the end comes, then shall all the nations of the earth know that there is a God in Israel.

When Christ returns, all the people of the earth shall know that Judgment Day has arrived.

The Philistines are a picture of all the unsaved people of the world, who will end up being cast into Hell.

That all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

This does not mean that Christ is going to reign from Jerusalem in the present nation of Israel. Concerning the present nation of Israel, God says in Galatians 4:25 that it is the "Jerusalem which now is, which is in bondage with her children".

These are solemn words, which clearly state that the physical nation of Israel is still in bondage to the Law, and therefore they are still under the wrath of God.

The Bible says that except for a remnant chosen by grace, this situation will persist with them until Judgment Day has arrived.

The name Israel used in 1 Samuel 17:46 does not refer to the blood descendants of Jacob, but to the Israel of God which is spoken of in Galatians 6:16.

But now let's get to the capstone in this story of David and Goliath:

Bang (1 Samuel 17:49, 1 Corinthians 1:18, Philippians 2:10-11)

1 Samuel 17:48
And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.

1 Samuel 17:49
And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.

David took a stone from his shepherd's bag and slang it towards Goliath, but God empowered the stone so that it pierced the heavy helmet of Goliath and it pierced his thick forehead so that it lodged inside his skull.

A 21st Century bullet could not have done a better job.

Goliath was instantly dead.

But remember whom Goliath represents.

He represents Satan. Satan is a spirit. You cannot kill a spirit.

A spirit lives forever.

That is why our soul must live forever in Heaven or in Hell.

When David killed Goliath, God showed us a picture of what Christ did on the cross.

Christ did not kill Satan, because Satan is a spirit.

But Christ defeated Satan at the cross, so that Satan would end up in Hell for sure, and Satan's powers were severely reduced.

Satan was bound at the cross and he could no longer frustrate the plans of God to spread the Gospel throughout the world.

When God wrote in verse 47: "And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear", God did not mean to switch weapons from a sword and spear to a sling and a stone.

It does not mean that the nation of Israel from this day on fought their battles with slings and stones.

But it does mean is that all this assembly, of the Israel of God, will know that God does not fight His battles with carnal weapons like swords or spears.

God fights His battles with spiritual things.

God does not save people with the philosophies of this world.

God does not tell preachers to preach sermons on good morality, or on good works that we must do to attain a higher seat in Heaven.

God does not tell preachers to take our lessons from the world, or from the newspaper, or from TV.

God fights His battles with the preaching of the cross.

1 Corinthians 1:18
"The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us, which are saved, it is the power of God".

This is God's method of warfare.

This is how Satan's treasure chest is plundered.

Then we read: Goliath "fell upon his face to the earth".

Why did God record this?

Throughout the Bible people fell upon their face to worship God.

Did Goliath worship God?

No!

But on the Last Day all the enemies of God shall bow their knee to Christ. God says in Philippians 2:10-11,

Philippians 2:10
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth;

Philippians 2:11
And every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

But then it will be too late for salvation.

God showed us this picture which refers to Philippians 2:10-11.

David Cut off his Head (1 Samuel 17:51, Hebrews 4:12, John 12:48, 2 Corinthians 2:16)

1 Samuel 17:50
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.

1 Samuel 17:51
Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.

David killed Goliath, and then he killed him again by cutting off his head.

What is the meaning of this?

In the historical setting it seems very strange.

Here was a ten feet tall giant, with an enormous sword.

David was a very young man, perhaps 5½ feet tall.

David could not have handled such a big sword.

But he did it. God recorded it for us.

What picture is God showing us here?

On the cross Christ was the victor over Satan.

All His enemies are under His feet.

But there was no sword in His hand.

He Himself was the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

Christ Himself was the weapon, sharper than any two-edged sword.

God says in Hebrews 4:12,

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Concerning this Sword of the Spirit the Lord Jesus said in John 12:48,

John 12:48
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

On the Last Day the Word of God, sharper than any two-edged sword shall be the legal weapon with which the unsaved will be declared guilty and be condemned to Hell.

On the Last Day this Word of God will also be used to condemn Satan to Hell.

This is the picture that God is showing us here in the cutting off of the head of Goliath.

It is the picture of a second judgment.

Before the cross Satan was the accuser of the brethren.

He accused the Saints before God day and night, accusing them that they had broken the Law of God, and that they were unfit to come into heaven by God's own standards.

The sword that Satan used was the Law of God.

But after the cross Satan cannot use that sword any more because Christ washed away the sins of all the Saints.

Now Christ uses this two-edged sword against Satan and His emissaries, through the words spoken by His saints.

2 Corinthians 2:16
To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

David cut off Goliath's head, a picture of Christ cutting off Satan's head. And then:

He cast Satan into the Bottomless Pit (Revelation 20:1-3, Revelation 12:7-12)

What is the Bottomless Pit?

If you want to study Revelation, you should begin to study the first three verses of Revelation 20.

These first three verses span the entire New Testament time, from the cross to the Final Tribulation Period.

Revelation 20:1
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

Revelation 20:2
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

Revelation 20:3
And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Christ says that He only has the keys of Hell and of death.

Therefore the angel, or messenger, in verse 1 is none other than Christ Himself, who came down from heaven, and bound Satan when He successfully paid for our sins on the cross.

Then He cast Satan into the Bottomless Pit.

This is the same Bottomless Pit that we read about in Revelation 9, and in Revelation 11, and in Revelation 17.

The thousand years are not a literal 1000 years, just like everything else in Revelations is symbolic and spiritual in nature.

At the end of that time period Satan must be loosed a little season, for the Final Tribulation Period, which is an integral part of God's testing program for the Church.

But where is the Bottomless Pit?

Revelation 12:7
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

Revelation 12:8
And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

Revelation 12:9
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Satan, who formerly was in heaven, was cast out of heaven, and he was cast out into the earth.

When did that happen?

Well the following verses tell us when that did happen:

Revelation 12:10
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Revelation 12:11
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb. This is a key time element.

Satan was defeated and cast out of heaven when Christ died on the cross.

That is good news. But now the bad news:

Revelation 12:12
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

When Christ died on the cross, Satan was cast out into the earth.

But Revelation 20 says: When Christ died on the cross, Satan was cast into the Bottomless Pit.

Could it be that the Bottomless Pit is this earth?

That is indeed true.

That is why Satan is called the Prince of the Power of the air.

But this only emphasizes our predicament:

There is no escape from this Bottomless Pit, except by an act of God.

How do we handle this?

Do we now live in fear and terror?

No! Satan is a defeated foe.

We handle him just like any other old snake: Very carefully!

Let's turn back to the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.

And They Spoiled their Tents (1 Samuel 17:53, Matthew 28:19-20)

1 Samuel 17:52
And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.

1 Samuel 17:53
And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents.

1 Samuel 17:54
And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.

They spoiled the treasures of the Philistines.

After Pentecost the Disciples were bold as a lion, and they spoiled the treasures of Satan.

Is that not our Lord's command to us also?

The Lord Jesus said to us:

Matthew 28:19
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Matthew 28:20
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The Lord Jesus promised us that He would never leave us nor forsake us.

Why should we fear anyone in telling them the Gospel?

We are going to make mistakes, but that applies to all of us.

None of us will be a perfect witness. So let's get on with the task.

David slew Goliath; Christ slew Satan.

The next step is that the tents of the Philistines must be plundered.

That is easy compared to killing Goliath. God did that for us.

Now we want to be the instruments through which Christ will carry out His plans.

By Alfred J. Chompff

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WHICH GOD ARE WE SERVING?


Today I want to talk to you about: "Which God are we serving?"

Do we bow down to the One and Only Almighty God who is described by the Bible alone, or do we serve another god whom our Church says we should be worshipping?

Of course, you all know the answer to that question.

We must worship the God of the Bible, because the men in the Church may be badly mistaken.

If we would not worship the God who is described by the Bible alone, we will be condemned to Hell for worshipping idols.

Therefore, if we find that we do not like a certain passage in the Bible, or we have an aversion against some verses of the Bible, then in fact we are bearing a grudge against God for placing words in the Bible that are really unacceptable to us.

Watch out!

That may be a sign of an unsaved heart.

That is why I want to lead you to this chapter 13 in Revelation.

In this chapter God shows us an awful beast, who is doing awful things to the people of the world, and God lets him do it. Let's look at:

The Beast (Revelation 13:1-9)

Revelation 13:1
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

Revelation 13:2
And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

Revelation 13:3
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

Revelation 13:4
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

Revelation 13:5
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

Revelation 13:6
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

Revelation 13:7
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Revelation 13:8
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 13:9
If any man have an ear, let him hear.

Are we really going to see such a strange beast rise up out of the sea?

Of course not.

We do not expect literally to see such a strange beast with seven heads and ten horns rise up one day. God is giving us here a word picture.

And the picture of this beast is a picture of Satan.

But here we read a very uncomfortable message, and remember, it is a message from God:

It Was Given Him to Make War With the Saints (Revelation 13:7-8, John 10:28)

Revelation 13:7
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power (lit: authority) was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Revelation 13:8
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (shall worship Satan), whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

This is an awful message!

God is not just allowing Satan to make war with the saints, but it was given to him.

The Greek word that is used here indicates that it was really given to him, like given to him on a silver platter.

This verse 7 says: God is giving to Satan the gift that he may make war with the saints, and he will overcome them. What a horrible event!

But what is this?

Does God give the saints into Satan's hand?

Can the saints lose their salvation?

Of course, the saints cannot lose their salvation.

God did not lie when He said in John 10:28,

John 10:28
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

What then does God mean when He said:

"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them".

How is Satan going to overcome them?

Will Satan bring on worldwide persecution and bloodletting so that the Church will be destroyed?

No!

That is not how Satan is able to destroy the Church.

He tried this many times in the past.

He tried it again in the 20th Century in Communist countries. But it has never worked.

The result of persecution has always been that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church.

How then will it be given to Satan to make war with the saints and to overcome them?

Well, the Bible gives many examples of how the people of God go down to defeat.

The scenario was always the same:

Whenever they were unequally yoked together, that is when the people of God go down to defeat. This also brought on the Flood of Noah's days.

Here is one of the aspects of God that we do not hear very much about.

God is angry about sin in the Church. God is preparing the Church for Judgment Day, by giving Satan to devastate the Church.

Why don't pastors preach about it?

This is not the only place in the Bible where this is mentioned.

We should feel no inhibitions to talk about this.

In Revelation 13 God is speaking about the last days before the end comes. God tells us here that God is using Satan, not to persecute the Church, but to join the Church.

And the majority of Churches in the world will fall, because God has it so decreed:

And he will Overcome Them (Revelation 13:7-8, Revelation 17:8, John 10:15, John 10:26-27)

God is sovereign. God can do with His creation whatever He likes to do.

Who are we to stand up against God and say: You cannot do this!

God simply carries out His plan, but God warns us ahead of time:

Revelation 13:7
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power (lit: authority) was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Revelation 13:8
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (shall worship Satan), whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Here we see the Grace of God shining through.

Even though the majority of mankind shall be deceived into worshipping Satan, by the Grace of God there will be a minority who will not be deceived.

God has a "Book of Life of the Lamb". All those on earth whose names are not written in this Book of Life of the Lamb, are given to worship Satan.

But those on earth whose names are found written in this Book of Life of the Lamb, are under the special care of God; they will not be deceived.

But look carefully: This is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world".

Does this mean that this Book of Life of the Lamb also dates from the foundation of the world?

Indeed it does. We read in Revelation 17:8,

Revelation 17:8
And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

God is sovereign!

The Bible says here that before the foundation of the world God chose a people for Himself out of this rebellious mess of mankind, and God wrote their names in this Book of Life of the Lamb.

God said: They will be My people, and I will be their God.

No one can steal them away from Me.

The Lord Jesus confirmed these things so clearly in John 10:15, when He said:

John 10:15
As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

The Lord Jesus did not say that He would lay down His life for all the people in the world, but He did lay down His life for His sheep; only for His sheep.

Who are His sheep?

All those whose names the Father wrote in the Book of Life of the Lamb before the foundation of the world are His sheep.

If you have trouble seeing this, look at how Jesus is addressing the unbelieving Jews in verse 26:
John 10:26
But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

Jesus said: "ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep".

Jesus did not say: "Ye are not My sheep because you do not believe".

Can you see the difference?

Then Jesus said in verse 27:

John 10:27
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

No ifs and buts. My sheep will hear My voice, and they shall follow Me.

But what about all those:

Whose Names Are Not Written In the Book of Life of the Lamb (John 6:64-66, Matthew 26:24)

In John chapter 6 God answers all the questions we have come across in those three verses of Revelation 13.

The Lord Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews in John 6:64

John 6:64
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

Jesus knew from the beginning of time who believed Him not, and Jesus knew that Judas Iscariot was going to betray Him.

These unbelieving Jews were a sample of those whose names are NOT written in the Book of Life of the Lamb.

The Lord Jesus did not lay down His life for these people.

Of course, the Lord Jesus did not lay down His life for Judas Iscariot.

The Lord Jesus said of him:

Matthew 26:24
The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born.

Without a doubt, Jesus says here that Judas Iscariot would have to pay for his own sins in Hell. Jesus was NOT going to be his Savior.

In fact, most people end up paying for their own sins in Hell, because the Bible says that:

"Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat. And narrow is the gate and troubled is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it".

This alone should scare the dickens out of anyone reading the Bible.

How then can anyone find that narrow gate, which leadeth unto life?

How can anyone get Jesus to be his Savior?

Only those who see the need for Jesus to be their Savior, will have Jesus as their Savior.

In other words, only those who recognize that they are dirty rotten sinners, deserving to go to Hell, will cry out to Jesus for mercy.

But who of mankind wants to believe that they were sinners from the day they were born.

That is what the Bible says.

But who believes the Bible?

Jesus said in John 6:65

John 6:65
And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man CAN come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Allow me to paraphrase this: Jesus said, "No man will believe My Words, no man will come to worship the God of the Bible, except it were given unto him of my Father."

Remember the title of this article: "Which God are we serving?"

Will we believe and worship the God who said these words here in John, chapter 6, or is this one of those chapters that we wished would not be in the Bible?

Jesus said very plainly:

John 6:44
"No man CAN come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father".

Only those whom the Father draws to Jesus will believe these words that God is sovereign and He rules in the affairs of man as He pleases.

But this kind of a God is not a popular with man. We read in John 6:66:

John 6:66
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

They were a sampling of those whose names were not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb.

But Whose Names Were Written There? (John 6:37, John 6:44, John 6:65, Romans 3:11)

Only the names of those people, in whose life are seen the effects of the miraculous work of God in their heart, of having heard and believed the Gospel of the Bible, the Gospel of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, which is:

1. That we are all sinners and we all were by nature the children of wrath, even as others;

2. That we were saved entirely by the sovereign Grace of God, and not by any of our works;

3. That Christ took upon Himself the sins of all those whom He came to save, and only those;

4. That Christ paid the full payment for those sins, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell;

5. That God the Holy Spirit gave us a new heart so that we would put our trust in the Word of God;

6. That God gave us a repentant spirit and a heart filled with gratitude towards Him;

7. That God promised eternal life now to all those who have a fervent ongoing desire to do His will.

These are the people whose names were written in the Book of Life of the Lamb, and they were written there before the foundation of the world.


Let's look at verse 37 in this chapter. The Lord Jesus said in John 6:37,

John 6:37
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Without fail, all those who were given to Jesus as His Bride, are those whose sins have been paid by Christ on the cross, and shall come to Jesus, not on their own terms, but on God's terms.

What are God's terms?

By Grace alone! By Grace alone! By Grace alone!

But who else would come to Jesus on God's terms: casting aside his own pride, not leaning on his Water Baptism, or on his Profession of Faith, or on his action of making a decision for Jesus, or on any action crafted by man?

Who else would come to Jesus on God's terms?

The Bible says: No One!

Romans 3:11
"There is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE that seeketh after God".

That is why Jesus says in John 6:44:

John 6:44
No man CAN come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

No one is willing or able to come to Jesus, to come to this Jesus of the Bible, who is also called the Word of God.

Make sure that you understand that if you call on the Name of Jesus, that you are not bearing the Name of the Lord our God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that beareth His Name in vain.

When we even doubt the sovereignty of God, we are bearing the name of the Lord our God in vain.

In case you have still not understood this chapter, the Lord Jesus says again in verse 65,

John 6:65
And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man CAN come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Whose names were written there?

All those who give the credit of their salvation to God alone.

If Any Man Have an Ear, Let Him Hear (Revelation 13:9, John 6:45, John 6:63)

Perhaps you remember, when we were in Revelation 13:1-9, that verse 9 ended with these words:

Revelation 13:9
If any man have an ear, let him hear.

Who does not have an ear?

Well, there are some deaf people around, but they too can be saved.

What then does God have in mind when He said: "If any man have an ear, let him hear"?

God does not have physical ears in mind.

God is speaking to all those who received from God spiritual ears with which we can hear spiritual truths.

These are ears of discernment, to discern truth from error.

Moreover, can you see that this is the application of all the preceding verses in Rev 13?

God said:

Revelation 13:8
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (shall worship Satan), whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

In other words, God said: "Listen carefully, this is important.

The Church around the world shall fall into apostasy, because Satan will come with gospels that are so close to the true Gospel that most people in the Church are unable to discern between the true Gospel and the false gospel.

Put on the whole armor of God. Be prepared.

Those remaining faithful will be few.

You will be maligned.

You will be gossiped about.

You will be called a cult.

You will be called old fashioned.

You will be accused of not being filled with the spirit. And so on.

Just remain faithful to the Word of God, and I will not let you down.

Hang on to the Gospel of Grace alone, and I will not let you down."

And when we have done all that God has commanded us, and we are prepared, and we do remain faithful to the Bible, we must remember that we only could do it by the Grace of God.

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

God Himself will guide us all the way, both in our justification as well as in our sanctification, so that we will know which God we are serving.

God says it again, here in John 6:45,

John 6:45
It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Whom does the Father give spiritual ears to hear so that they come to Jesus?

He gives spiritual ears to those whom the Father has chosen before the foundation of the world to be the Bride of Christ.

His Grace is irresistable.

And what are the channels that God uses to reach the ears of those He intends to save?

God says it here in John 6:63,

John 6:63
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

The words God speaks to us through any of the channels He provides, those words are the substance of our spiritual understanding:

Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

What Does the Spirit Say unto the Churches? (Revelation 2:7, John 6:67-69)

God says to us in Revelation 2:7,

Revelation 2:7
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

God repeats the same sentence in Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:29, and in Revelation 3:6, Revelation 3:13, and Revelation 3:22.

When God says it seven times, it must be quite important.

What does the Spirit of God have to say to the Churches?

In summary, what was the message to the seven Churches of Asia Minor?

Paraphrased, God says: Make sure that you know which God you worship.

When Jesus declared: "No man CAN come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father", there was immediately a falling away of many of His disciples.

This was not the God whom they wanted to worship.

They wanted to worship a god of their own liking.

We see the same thing in most of today's Churches.

When you tell people that they can trust in their Profession of Faith, or trust in their Water Baptism, or when you tell people that they can accept the Lord Jesus as their Savior right now,
they will fill your church, because you will be bringing them a gospel that they like.

But God will then hold you accountable for His words in John chapter 6.

Do you dare to call God a liar?

Whose friend would you rather be?

John 6:67
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

John 6:68
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

John 6:69
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Eleven of the disciples agreed with Peter. This was not something that Peter and the eleven disciples dreamed up. This was given them by revelation from God. God has done His work in them.

When a giant named Goliath defamed God's honor, David did not hesitate to risk his life, because he could not bear to hear his God being blasphemed by this giant.

Will we stand for the truth when our God is being defamed?

Will we stand up for the truth of the Word of God?

Today in many Churches which used to be quite orthodox, Hell is not mentioned any more, the wrath of God is not mentioned any more and the sovereignty of God is not mentioned any more.

This means that many pastors do not preach the cross of Christ any more.

How can you preach Christ crucified without mentioning Hell, without mentioning the wrath of God and without mentioning the particular atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ?

It is not possible, unless you tell only lies.

What does the Spirit say unto the Churches?

Make sure that you know which God you worship.

By Alfred J. Chompff

A KING APPOINTED BY GOD

Do you know how long the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness?

The answer is 40 years.

Did you know that 10 x 40 years is 400 years?

It was 400 years after God freed the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, that they rejected God as their King, and so God gave them Saul as their first king.

Do you know how long Saul reigned as king?

40 years.

After Saul, God gave them David as king.

Do you know how long David reigned as king?

40 years.

After David, God gave them Solomon as king.

Do you know how long Solomon reigned as king?

40 years again.

Do you think that God has a message in the number 40?

Definitely!

The number 40 indicates a time of testing.

After God liberated them from the land of Egypt:

400 years went by (1 Samuel 16:1-13)

God tested them, and they failed the test miserably.

So God gave them Saul as king.

Saul was an unsaved man, and the Bible records that he died unsaved.

But long before Saul died, God spoke in I Sam 16, beginning at verse 1,

1 Samuel 16:1
And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.

1 Samuel 16:2
And Samuel said, How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD.

1 Samuel 16:3
And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee.

1 Samuel 16:4
And Samuel did that which the LORD spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?

1 Samuel 16:5
And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the LORD: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.

1 Samuel 16:6
And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD'S anointed is before him.

1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

1 Samuel 16:8
Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this.

1 Samuel 16:9
Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this.

1 Samuel 16:10
Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these.

1 Samuel 16:11
And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse,Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.

1 Samuel 16:12
And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.

1 Samuel 16:13
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

Is it not clear from the reading of this passage that:

God Chose David? (Ezekiel 37:21-25)

The name David plays a very significant role throughout the Bible.

Ever since the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, God made known that the Son of God was to become incarnate and become the Seed of the Woman, because no one else than a divine Person could bruise the head of Satan.

But now it pleased God to announce that particular person in all the tribes of Israel from which Christ was to come:

He would be a descendant of David.

And David was not only the ancestor of Christ, but he would be personally a picture or a type of Christ in all the Old Tetament. and the New Testament.

For example, we find that God says here in Ezekiel 37:21-25

Ezekiel 37:21
And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:

Ezekiel 37:22
And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:

Ezekiel 37:23
Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

(But we know that the only time cleansing took place, was at the cross.)

Ezekiel 37:24
And David my servant (shall be) king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

Ezekiel 37:25
And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David (shall be) their prince for ever.

In these verses God is not talking about some future Jewish millennial kingdom here on this earth,but God is speaking about a Kingdom where we will dwell forever.

That is the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Christ.

And that is a spiritual kingdom in which we dwell now already and in the future as well.

But in this passage in Ezekiel God says that David will be our King.

Obviously, when the name David is substituted for Christ, God teaches us here that David is representing Christ.

That is an important clue to use, when we interpret those passages like 1 Samuel 16.

Behold, he keepeth the sheep (1 Samuel 16:11-12, John 10:11, John 10:28)

1 Samuel 16:11
And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.

David was a shepherd, and he had a shepherd's heart.

When a lion and a bear came to steal one of his sheep, David killed the lion and the bear.

David risked his life to save one sheep, because not one may be lost.

Does that not remind you of another Shepherd, who is called the Good Shepherd?

John 10:11
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

John 10:28
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish; neither shall any (man) pluck them out of my hand.

In other words: Not one may be lost.

That is the concern of a Shepherd's heart.

David had a shepherd's heart.

David cared for his sheep as for his own children.

But was David born with such a shepherd's heart?

No!

Like every one of us, David was born with a heart that was in rebellion against God.

Then Who gave David such a shepherd's heart?

God gave David a new heart.

There is no other way for anyone to receive a new heart.

Jesus said: "Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God."

God raised up David, and by the grace of God David received a new heart.

David was born in Bethlehem. The Lord Jesus Christ was also born in Bethlehem.

The name David means "Beloved", and Christ is called God's "Beloved".

David was anointed by Samuel, and the name Christ means, "Anointed".

We read in 1 Samuel 16:12,

1 Samuel 16:12
And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.

What is the meaning of "ruddy"?

It means "red".

God says in Genesis 25:25 that Esau was "red" when he was born.

That word "red" in Genesis 25:25 is exactly the same word as in: David was "ruddy".

But that Hebrew word "red" or "ruddy" is derived from the Hebrew word "Adam", which has been translated "red" or "man".

Therefore, the analogy is that David was "ruddy" or "red", and Christ became "man".

Moreover, David was:

A Man After God's Own Heart (I Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:21-23)

Saul was an unsaved king, and it showed early in his reign.

In the second year of Saul's reign he offered a burnt offering, because he could not wait for the prophet Samuel.

Only a priest or a prophet could offer a burnt offering, but not a king.

Saul had no excuse; Saul should have waited for Samuel.

Therefore God said through the prophet Samuel, in 1 Samuel 13:14,

1 Samuel 13:14
But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.

Many years later the prophet Samuel anointed David, who was that man after God's own heart.

In fact, David was not yet born when Samuel uttered this prophecy to Saul.

God speaks about David in the Acts of the Apostles, in chapter 13.

In Acts 13 God first speaks about Saul, and then God says that He raised up David, and then He raised up Christ from the line of David.

God says in Acts 13:21-23,

Acts 13:21
And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.

Acts 13:22
And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.

Acts 13:23
Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:

How is it that God says: "I have found David"?

Was David hiding in the bushes and God found him there by accident?

No, that is not how it went!

According to various passages of the Bible, this was the scenario:

First God chose David from before the foundation of the world,

then God raised up David, and then God said: "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart."


"A man after mine own heart".

Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.

That is a very solemn and searching statement.

God also looks on our heart.

What does He see in us?

Is it a heart that has been purified by the Lord Jesus?

Is it a heart that loves Him above all?

Or is it a heart that is still desperately wicked?

Only you know the condition of your own heart.


The name David means "Beloved". David was:

Beloved of God; Christ was of the seed of David (Romans 1:7, Jeremiah 33:22)

And Christ was also called "Beloved Son".

Who else is called "Beloved of God"?

The word "beloved" is sprinkled throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Specifically I would like to bring up only one verse, which is Romans 1:7,

Romans 1:7
To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called (to be)
saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.


In this Letter to the Romans, all the believers in Rome are called saints, and they also are called "beloved of God".

Let me take this one step further:

All God's elect are "beloved of God".

All God's elect are like David:

They are all people after God's own heart.

Just like God did not find David accidentally, so God did not find us accidentally.

First God raised up David, and then God said: "I have found David a man after mine own heart."

First God raises up each one of His elect, and then God says: "Rejoice with Me, for I have found My sheep which was lost."

God says that "Jesus Christ our Lord was made of the seed of David according to the flesh."

Therefore, one of the names of Christ is "the Seed of David", or "Son of David".

The Bible says that Christ identified Himself so intimately with His elect that He could take upon Himself the sins of all His elect, and pay for their sins on the cross.

So intimately was Christ identified with us, that we too are named the seed of David.

God says in Jeremiah 33:22,

Jeremiah 33:22
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.

All the elect of God are here called "the seed of David", including all the saints who were born before David.

God can make this statement, because David is representing Christ.

What a great comfort this is for the saints, because we are called "the seed of David", and therefore we cannot lose that identity.

That is how intimately we are joined to Christ, forever.

David Was Anointed (1 Samuel 16:13, Psalm 2:6-7, Acts 13:33)

In the Old Testament only prophets and priests and kings were anointed.

If you were not born from the line of Aaron, you had no chance of ever being a priest, legitimately.

If you were not born from the line of David, you had no chance of ever being a king, legitimately.

Can you see that God was setting up examples that salvation is entirely by grace alone?

If you are not born an eagle, you will never fly like an eagle.

Here is the beginning of the kingly line:

1 Samuel 16:13
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward.

David was anointed to be the next king over Israel.

This reminds us of the day when Christ was anointed King of Kings.

When was that? God speaks about that in Psalm 2:6-7,

Psalms 2:6-7
Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee.

God speaks here about the Lord Jesus Christ.

When was "this day"?

God answered this question in the New Testament when God said in Acts 13:33,

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.

Therefore, God clearly links the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with Psalm 2:7, "this day have I begotten Thee".

That is why the Lord Jesus Christ is called "the First Begotten of the Dead".

When the Lord Jesus appeared to the Disciples after His resurrection He said: "All authority is given unto Me in heaven and on earth".

This does not mean that the Second Person of the Triune God had no power before He came to earth, but it means that now in His glorified body He was crowned King of Kings.

Let's go to Psalm 23. Perhaps you remember the words that God wrote through the pen of David:

Thou anointest my head with oil (Psalm 23:5)

God did that literally for David.

Psalm 23:5
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Let's spend some time on this verse.

Can we apply this verse to ourselves?

Has God anointed our head with oil, in the spiritual sense?

We know that only prophets, priests and kings were anointed.

Do we qualify?

Yes, indeed we qualify.

God explains that since Pentecost all Believers are now appointed as prophets to proclaim the Word of God into all the world.

We do not bring new messages from God, like the Old Testament prophets did, but we bring the Word of God that is written in the Bible, because God's message has been completed.

The New Testament believers are also called priests and kings, like you heard me say this morning from Revelation 1:6,

Revelation 1:6
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Amen means: So be it.

So that settles it. We have been anointed like prophets, priests and kings.

But when we look at David's anointing, it was only a ceremony in our eyes.

In fact, it was only a ceremony in God's eyes.

Today the Lord has prepared a table before us: A Communion Table.

It is only a ceremony in our eyes.

In fact, it is only a ceremony in God's eyes.

But God designed ceremonies to our comfort.

God designed ceremonies to teach us about signs and shadows.

Through ceremonies God teaches us the difference between the shadow and the substance.

And through ceremonies God is testing us if we have learned our lessons, and can we now distinguish between the shadow and the substance?

Do we understand the ceremony clearly, or will we fail the test?

The bread and the grape juice do not magically turn into the flesh and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We do not contribute to our salvation by physically partaking of the Communion Table, because then salvation would depend on us, rather than on God alone.

We do not contribute to our sanctification by physically partaking of the Communion Table either, because our sanctification also is 100% from God.

Remember, "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure".

If we believe that Water Baptism or the Lord's Supper is making any contribution to our salvation, or to our sanctification, then we have substituted our works for the grace of God.

That is an insult to God.

Why then do we celebrate the Lord's Supper?

We do it in remembrance of Him!

It is a Memorial to the awful death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is a Memorial to glorify the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

It is a Memorial to the complete forgiveness of our sins through the work of Christ.

It is a Memorial to the great love, which God has for us, unworthy sinners.

It is a Memorial that we have become sons of God entirely by the grace of God.

It is a Memorial that we can truly say: "My cup runneth over".

By Alfred J. Chompff

THOSE FOLLOWING JESUS


In Luke chapter 23 the Lord Jesus is standing before Pilate.

We see here that the Roman governor Pontius Pilate was like wax in the hands of the leaders of the Jews, and he did to Jesus whatever they desired. Luke 23:

Luke 23:24
And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

Luke 23:25
And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired (Barabbas); but he delivered Jesus to their will (to be crucified).

This is the last time we read about Barabbas in the Bible.

Then Pilate sentenced Jesus to be crucified.

He seemed to do whatever the leaders of the Jews desired.

But actually Pilate did whatever God desired.

God has officially declared that Jesus is guilty with our sins, and that He has to suffer the full penalty for those sins.

He has to suffer the equivalent of eternal damnation for our sins.

There had to be a precise moment in time when Jesus was sentenced to death.

This was at 6 O'clock on Friday morning, according to John 19:14.

He was accursed of God and to be hanged on a tree.

It was at 9 O'Clock on Friday morning that Jesus was crucified, according to Mark 15:25.

And it was at 3 O'Clock on Friday afternoon that Jesus died, according to Mark 15:33.

The place of crucifixion was not very far outside the city wall, but to fulfill prophecy He had to be killed outside the city gate. While the soldiers led Jesus away, God says, there were:

Three groups of people (Luke 23:24-25, Luke 9:23)

who were following Jesus.

Actually there were many more, but God makes us focus particularly on these three groups of people.

First there was Simon of Cyrene.

Secondly there were the professional wailing women.

And thirdly there were two criminals who also were to be crucified.

Nineteen times does the Lord Jesus Christ say in the New Testament these words: "Follow Me".

This is not an incidental matter to Christ.

Following Jesus is not an option.

Following Jesus is the natural response of anyone who has become saved.

At least four times did the Lord Jesus say:

"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me".

(That was a quotation from Luke 9:23)

Following Jesus takes more than what these wailing women were doing.

Following Jesus means that we take up our cross daily, and follow Him.

The cross has to do with death.

What has to die is our sin, our selfish sin.

All sin is selfish, therefore Jesus said: "Let him deny himself", which means cross out yourself.

Your own comfort is not important. You must cross out yourself, on behalf of others, so that other people also may be able to know this Jesus.

Now comes the difficulty:

To cross out yourself on behalf of others is not an option.

It is part and parcel of having been saved.

Who in the world would want a salvation like that?

Nobody does!

That's why salvation comes with a change of heart.

That's why salvation is by grace alone.

Let's look at: Simon Who Followed (Luke 23:26)

Who is this Simon of Cyrene?

We read in Luke 23:26,

Luke 23:26
And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.

Simon came from Cyrene. Where is Cyrene?

If you dig up an old map, you find that Cyrene was in North Africa, about 500 miles West of Egypt.

It used to be a Greek colony, but now it was part of the Roman Empire, retaining its Greek culture.

Simon had a Hebrew name.

This confirmed the fact that there was a Jewish synagogue as far West as Cyrene.

At this point in time Simon was residing in Judea.

He was just passing by, coming from a field, minding his own business, when the Roman soldiers grabbed him and compelled him to carry the cross for Jesus.

Most likely the Roman soldiers picked on Simon of Cyrene because of his darker skin color.

Most likely Simon looked like a very strong man who could carry Jesus' cross.

But he was not given any choice.

Here was God's irresistible grace at work.

He was compelled to carry the cross of Jesus, and carry it behind Jesus.

This is how he came to meet Jesus.

The Roman soldiers got hold of Simon to carry the cross of Jesus for two reasons.

Pilate had written the superscription to be fastened above the head of Jesus.

It read: "This is the King of the Jews".

The soldiers mocked Him:

If Jesus was a king, then He was entitled to wear a crown of thorns and to have a servant carry His cross.

But the second reason for getting hold of Simon was that Jesus had been scourged.

His back was bloody from the many lashes of the whip.

In His human nature He was unable to carry the cross on His back.

Jesus was at the end of His physical strength.

What a humiliation for the Son of God that He was unable carry His own cross.

He could have called twelve legions of angels to help Him.

But now he got help from a sinful human.

Just like everyone else in the human race, Simon has never been interested in Jesus.

He was not sick. He did not need a healer.

He was a Jew, and that should be enough to get into heaven.

That is what the Pharisees have told him all along.

Well, that is what he might have thought.

But afterward, when he talked with the disciples of Jesus, he heard that Jesus has said several times:

"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me".

And then Simon realized that, unknowingly, he had been acting out that picture, carrying a cross and following Jesus.

Simon of Cyrene is a figure of all those true Believers who are taking up their cross and follow Jesus.

And after Simon witnessed the events after Jesus was crucified and died on the cross, the 3 hours of darkness, the earthquake, the curtain in the Temple was rent from top to bottom, Simon realized that this was no ordinary man.

This crucifixion needed some further investigation.

Then Simon realized:

He was named after: Simeon (Genesis 49:5-7, Joshua 19:1)

Who was Simeon?

Simeon was the second son of Jacob and Leah.

The oldest son of Jacob was Reuben.

But Reuben squandered the honor of being the firstborn by going to bed with his father's concubine.

So Simeon was next in line for the great honor of the right of the firstborn.

But Simeon and his brother Levi did worse than Reuben.

They wiped out the entire city of Shechem by abusing the sacred ceremony of circumcision as a cloak for their cruel plan.

But God would not leave such a crime unpunished.

Later on, before their father Jacob died, they received the consequences for their evil deed.

Judah, the fourth son of Jacob received the great honor of the right of the firstborn, bypassing Reuben, Simeon and Levi.

In Genesis 49:5-7 Jacob spoke these words,

Genesis 49:5
Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.

Genesis 49:6
O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall.

Genesis 49:7
Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

So, Simeon and Levi were not to receive land as an inheritance.

In fact, when the land of Canaan was divided by lot among the tribes of Israel, we read in Joshua 19:1,

Joshua 19:1
And the second lot came forth to Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families: and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.

As a result, the small tribe of Simeon completely disappeared within the tribe of Judah.

Therefore the name Simon, or Simeon, bears the disgrace of being without inheritance.

So Simon of Cyrene learned that he had no credentials of himself.

His birthplace was outside the commonwealth of Israel.

His name was connected with disgrace.

The help he was giving Jesus to carry His cross did not even come out of himself.

He was compelled by the Roman soldiers to do that.

So Simon realized that he was not such a good man as he thought he was.

In fact, he realized that he had not been a spiritual leader to his household and he has not been a good father to his sons Alexander and Rufus.

The only reason why he was carrying the cross of Jesus was, because God chose him to be His servant, so that he was just passing by when the soldiers were looking for a man to carry His cross.

God, through His irresistible grace, brought Simon of Cyrene in contact with Jesus.

When Simon looked back on this experience, O what a sweet compulsion this was to carry the cross of Jesus.

And now, when any burden or pain would rise up in his life, he considered it light, because he has seen the pain of Jesus, and he has come to know the burden of the cross of Jesus.

Let's talk about: Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21, Romans 16:13, Acts 13:1, Acts 19:33)

We know that Simon of Cyrene had two sons, because we read in Mark 15:21,

Mark 15:21
And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.

Why does God emphasize that he was the father of Alexander and Rufus?

It must mean that at the time God wrote this Gospel through the hands of Mark, which was about 25 years later, Alexander and Rufus were well known to the Christians of those days.

There is only one other reference to Rufus in the Bible.

When God, through the hands of the Apostle Paul, wrote a long letter to the Christians in Rome, the Apostle also sent with that letter a great company of Saints to Rome.

Many of them are listed in Romans 16.

And there we read, in Romans 16:13,

Romans 16:13
Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

Here we see that Rufus, who is most likely the son of Simon of Cyrene, was an assistant evangelist with the Apostle Paul, and Rufus' mother was with them, ministering to both of them.

God sent these people to Rome, because the Christians in Rome were under attack. They needed support, because this was the time period when they were persecuted under Emperor Nero.

This shows the courage of Rufus and his mother.

This brief mention of Rufus and his mother reveals to us a great deal about the history that followed after Simon of Cyrene carried the cross of Jesus.

Simon had some urgent business to do in the city at this early hour.

Apparently he was just passing by when the soldiers grabbed him.

But God had other plans with him.

God made him come face to face with Jesus.

He has seen this man.

Jesus had done no crime, and yet He had been tortured and He was being crucified.

Why?

What was His crime?

The plaque above His head read these words:

"This is the King of the Jews".

Is this why the priests and Pharisees wanted Him dead?

This is unbelievable!

The Jews eagerly wanted to drive the Romans out of their country.

So, why did they want to kill someone who was on their own side?

Then, at Pentecost, Peter preached a sermon that explained everything.

Simon was there, and with him several other men from Cyrene were there.

By God's grace, Simon was struck in his heart when Peter preached that sermon.

Simon believed, and through his testimony his wife also believed.

Their children Alexander and Rufus also were raised in the faith of Jesus.

Then the persecution came and Simon and his family fled to Antioch, in Syria.

Many years later we find Simon still in Antioch. Acts 13:1.

Acts 13:1
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Here are five outstanding Christians who were all raised as Jews, and most likely two of them were from Cyrene in Africa: Lucius of Cyrene and Simeon, or Simon who was called Niger, or Black.

This was most likely Simon of Cyrene.

Two of these five men, Barnabas and Saul, were sent out as missionaries, with the blessings of the other three.

Later, the wife of Simon and her two sons, Rufus and Alexander, joined Paul on his third missionary journey.

We read about Alexander briefly in Acts 19 when he tried to silence an uprising at Ephesus.

Rufus and his mother went on to Rome, preparing the way for Paul, while Alexander went with Paul and Silas back to Antioch.

This was most likely the story of the family of Simon of Cyrene, because God had mercy on them. Simon carried the cross of Jesus.

It was on this cross that the sins of Simon and of his wife and children were atoned for.

There were also Women Who Followed Jesus (Luke 23:27)

Luke 23:27
And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.

The Lord Jesus is now focusing His attention on these wailing women.

These were not the women who faithfully ministered to the Lord Jesus and His Disciples.

These were not the faithful women who mourned at the cross and who brought sweet spices to His grave on resurrection morning.

These were women who were bewailing Him and lamenting, because He was supposed to bring back the kingdom of David.

They saw Him 5 days earlier triumphantly entering Jerusalem and being hailed as the King of Israel.

But now He was being crucified.

The King of the Jews never made it to His throne.

What a pity.

He did not succeed in driving the Romans into the Sea.

They bewailed Him, because He was dashing all their hopes for a glorious millennium.

In their view, physical death is the end of the line.

They did not see Jesus as the Son of God, for whom nothing is impossible.

Unfortunately, this is what mankind is primarily looking for.

There is none that seeks after the God of the Bible.

They want Christ, but they want this world too.

They do not want a Christ who must endure Hell for their sins.

Hell is too uncomfortable to think about.

No! They are waiting for a Savior who will drive all His enemies in the ocean, and who will set up an earthly kingdom with the capital in Jerusalem, and He will usher in a glorious 1000 years here on earth.

We will all be healthy, and wealthy and wise. We will have Christ and we have this world too.

But is that the Jesus whom we are looking forward to?

What do we teach our children?

Do we teach them the Jesus from the Bible only, or do we teach them that this world has its advantages too.

Do we raise our children like Simon of Cyrene has raised them?

He was teaching his children that the pleasures of this earth are not worth wailing about.

He was teaching his children that God desires that we deny ourselves on behalf of others, so that they too might hear the Word of God, and so that they too might be saved.

With what values do we raise our children?

Which Jesus do we teach our children?

The Lord Jesus is not very complimentary to these wailing women following Him.

He says that:

Their troubles will be Continuing till the end of time (Luke 23:28-30, Revelation 6:15-17, Romans 10:3)

What was the reason for Jesus to speak in this manner to these wailing women?

Luke 23:28
But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

Luke 23:29
For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.

Luke 23:30
Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

This last phrase is the key to unlock the meaning of this passage:

"Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us."

These words remind us of the prophecy of the Last Day, when Christ comes again and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn.

We read in Revelation 6:15-17

Revelation 6:15
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

Revelation 6:16
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

Revelation 6:17
For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

What was the reason for Christ to be so harsh on these women?

"Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children".

Why should they weep for themselves?

Because they are going to Hell.

Why should they weep for their children?

Because their children are going to Hell.

Why?

What have they done?

The Lord Jesus is pointing to the end of time, and He identifies them as "Daughters of Jerusalem".

What was the religion of Jerusalem?

God answers this in Romans 10:3 with these words:

Romans 10:3
For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

They have not submitted themselves to God's plan of salvation, but they have been going about to establish their own plan of salvation, which is a salvation by the works of the Law.

It is in the nature of man to create such false gospels.

In other words, these Daughters of Jerusalem represent those people who have established their own plan of salvation, based partially on Christ and partially on their own works.

And they will be continuing to bring such false gospels until the end of time.

That is why they should weep for themselves, because they will have to spend an eternity in Hell.

The Lord Jesus also said in verse 29: "Behold, the days are coming".

What days are coming?

The parable of: The green tree and the dry (Luke 23:31, Matthew 21:18-19, Amos 8:11-12)

Here is a one-sentence parable. Luke 23:31,

Luke 23:31
For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

Actually, the word "green" does not occur in this sentence. The Greek word in this place is the word "hugros", which means "moist", or "full of sap".

Nevertheless, the green tree does convey the right message: It is a live tree.

When we think of the green tree and the dry tree, our thoughts invariably drift to the occasion that the Lord Jesus cursed the Fig Tree.

We read in Matthew 21:18-19,

Matthew 21:18
Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.

Matthew 21:19
And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

The Fig Tree represents the nation of Israel.

The fig tree was in leaf. It had no spiritual fruit.

For example, The Lord Jesus Christ, the most perfect preacher possible, preached in the nation of Israel for 3½ years, and yet relatively few people became saved, at most 500.

While it was not God's plan to save a great number from national Israel, nevertheless, God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

The Dry Tree represents the dry Fig Tree as well as the dry Olive Tree near the end of time.

What did the Lord Jesus mean in Luke 23:31, "For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry"?

Paraphrased He says: If they nail Christ to the cross in the nation that may be considered a green tree, or in other words: If there is still the Gospel of salvation available in the green tree, where then shall they go when the tree is dry?

There will be no place to go. That will be terrible.

The Lord Jesus is referring to the Final Tribulation Period here.

That is the Dry Fig Tree as well as the Dry Olive Tree.

Because they will be continuing to bring false gospels until the end of time, that is why there will be a Dry Tree at the end of time.

We are reminded of the words of Amos 8:11-12,

Amos 8:11
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:

Amos 8:12
And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

That is the character of the Final Tribulation Period.

Jesus said that those days would come.

It is God's plan that those days must come. In fact, they have come already.

Is God out of control?

No! God says in Amos 8:11, "I will send a famine in the land".

It is God who is doing it. "It is only of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed" (Lamentations 2:22).

It is only by the grace of God that our sins have been paid at the cross.

Now the third group:
Two Malefactors Followed Jesus (Luke 23:32-33, Psalm 58:3)

Luke 23:32
And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.

Luke 23:33
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

(Remember the verse: He was numbered with the transgressors?)

What are "malefactors"?

According to the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, these were robbers.

But Luke uses a different Greek word.

A "malefactor" is a general word for an "evildoer".

But it is significant that TWO evildoers followed Jesus.

The number TWO is pointing to the Church, the corporate, visible Church, who claims to be following Jesus.

Indeed they are bearing their own cross and they are following Jesus.

But they are not following Jesus the way He intended them to follow Him.

They are bearing their own cross as a consequence of their evil deeds.

Without knowing it, they are actually on the way to Hell.

That is not the way Jesus taught us.

Unintentionally, these two evildoers represent all of us in the Church.

Whether we become saved or not, we all start out as evildoers from the day we were born.

God says in Psalm 58:3,

Psalm 58:3
The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

That is their nature, and that is what they do right from birth.

That is how our birth certificate reads: sinners from birth.

God says that we were by nature the children of wrath, because we were made in the likeness of our parents, the sinners Adam and Eve.

Is it then any wonder that we see so much sin in the Church?

God makes it clear in His Word to us that just being in a Church does not save anyone.

God makes it clear in His Word to us that before we can follow Jesus, we first must be Born Again.

God makes it clear in His Word to us that He must be in control, or else we are unable to follow Jesus.

These two malefactors were not Born Again. Initially these two men showed no repentance at all.

Their hearts were as wicked as at the time they were caught robbing people.

In fact, they were mocking the Lord Jesus like everyone else did.

But today people are not much better.

They make a mockery out of the Gospel of the Bible, by adding to and deleting from the Word of God, as they like.

All were mockers (Luke 23:34-38, Mark 15:31-32)

The Lord Jesus was humiliated to the full. That was part and parcel of His suffering for our sins.

Luke 23:34
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (That means: the Lord Jesus was stripped naked)

Luke 23:35
And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

Luke 23:36
And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,

Luke 23:37
And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

Luke 23:38
And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (Add 1 page and 6 inches)

Even Pilate was mocking Jesus with this inscription, not knowing that He wrote an absolute truth.

Everyone was mocking Him, including the two evildoers crucified on His right and on His left.

Mark 15:31
Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.

Mark 15:32
Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

Before WE got to know Jesus, WE reviled Him.

How did we revile Him?

We carelessly violated His Laws, and thereby we showed our disdain for Christ, the Word of God.

Both malefactors reviled Him.

But God had mercy on one (John 6:44,37, Luke 23:39-44)

What did God do in the heart of one of the two malefactors?

God made him see what he did not see before.

Can we conclude that he heard the Gospel while hanging on the cross for the first three hours?

1. He heard the rulers of his Church scoffing at Jesus. They were the Old Testament Church that he belonged to, and that he forsook a long time ago because he recognized those Pharisees as “hypocrites”.

2. He heard the soldiers mocking Jesus. The Roman soldiers who nailed him to the cross had no good words for him either. The Romans and the Pharisees were ganging up on Jesus.

3. He heard the passers by reviling Jesus, and saying things such as “He saved others”, and he heard them say that He might be the “Christ”, the “Messiah”.

Was that true or false?

4. He heard Jesus not reviling back to His scoffers, but instead Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. What a gracious response from Jesus.

5. He read the plaque above Jesus head which stated His crime. And what was His crime? "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." This man was not a criminal!

6. Then he heard his fellow thief railing on Jesus. Actually the Greek word that is used here means “to blaspheme”. This fellow malefactor in the face of death was blaspheming God!

7. Basically he learned everything he needed to know from the scoffers. And he could see and hear with his own ears that those scoffers were wrong! Dead wrong!

8. Now he heard that his fellow criminal was actually on the side of the Romans and on the side of the Pharisees, the hypocrites. Now he knew: That was the wrong side!

9. All the evidence was leaning in the direction that this Jesus was no ordinary man. In fact, he heard them call Jesus “The Son of God”

10. He himself had reviled Jesus in the beginning, but now he saw how wrong he was. Could it be that Jesus would forgive him those awful words he had said?

He did not know. Jesus had not said anything for three hours. Then he looked at Jesus:

What did the repentant malefactor see?

He saw a naked man nailed on a Cross.

He saw Him wearing a crown of thorns, pressed into His head.

He saw Jesus bleeding from His back, from His hands, from His feet and from His head. It was a pitiful sight.

This man who has been so gracious toward His tormentors, was hanging on a cross in agony and was dying.

It was not a royal sight at all.

But then, what did God do?

God performed the miracle of salvation in the heart of this malefactor on the cross.

His fellow criminal heard all the same things, but it did not change his mind.

Can you see that it takes an act of God to save anyone?

They both were on the way to Hell.

God decided to save this one, and not to save the other.

How do we know that he was saved?

Listen to what he said in verse 39:

Luke 23:39
And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

Luke 23:40
But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

Luke 23:41
And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

Luke 23:42
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

First he addressed Jesus as “Lord”. Then He acknowledged that Jesus is a King.

Only God could have given him this wisdom.

Then he realized his sins.

He realized he had blasphemed God just a few hours ago.

He realized that he had nothing to give.

He was poor and naked and crucified and full of Sin.

He could not do anything to save himself.

He was just hanging there, at the mercy of God.

But perhaps, would there be any chance, a tiny little chance that Jesus would forgive him his sins?

Could he plead with Jesus to forgive him?

He did not know that Jesus would forgive any Sinner that would plead for Mercy.

That is right. Any sinner. The Lord Jesus said in John 6:37,

John 6:37
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

Every Sinner that comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out.

But who is there who will come to Jesus of his own initiative?

NO ONE!

The only ones who will come are those whom the Father has given to Jesus.

That means that there is a certain number of individuals whom the Father has chosen, and whom the Father will give to Jesus.

It is the Father who will draw them to Jesus.

This malefactor on the cross was one of those people whom the Father has given to Jesus.

And look how far the Father had to go to break this stubborn human being, until he finally surrendered:

God had to strip him naked and nail him to a cross.

God put him face to face with physical death, so that he began to think about the life hereafter. Finally God completed the miracle of Salvation in this man who had such a sordid life.

And now he pleads:
"Lord, remember me".

Now Jesus answers him in verse 43

Luke 23:43
And Jesus said unto him: Verily I say unto thee: Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Wow!

He received more than he had bargained for.

But what did it cost Jesus to forgive this malefactor all his sins?

Jesus had to become his Substitute.

What does that mean ?

It means that the Father had loaded on Jesus all the sins that this criminal on the cross had ever committed, and Jesus paid in full the price that those sins required.

He paid the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.

What a great salvation!

How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?

By Alfred J. Chompff