Children of the Great King

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 “O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.Lord of Glory “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

“For the LORD is a great God and a great King above all gods … (Psa 95:1-6)

 

A Story to be Told

There is a story that must be told. Not everyone understands it. It’s all about why Jesus came into our world. He came for children.

Listen carefully -

                                    WE ARE CHILDREN OF THE GREAT KING

So, if you are wondering about who Buddy and Betty Martin really are, the short side is that we are children of the Great King. Our Father owns all of creation and beyond. He is very, very, wealthy. We are representative of all the children. You see, every child of the Great King carries a special anointed seal in their heart, that signifies that he or she is a heaven’s child. Every angel recognizes this seal. Our Father, the Great King, has special angels who serve as attendants to the children. This is why the world should be very careful how they treat one of the King’s children.

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb 1:14)

“And they wandered about from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people. He permitted no man to oppress them, and He reproved kings for their sakes:’”Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.’” (Psa 105:13-15)

Of course the world does not know us since it did not know Jesus Christ. We are aliens and strangers in this world. We are citizens of a heavenly kingdom and of another world.

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (Joh 15:19)

“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” (1Pe 2:9-11)

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Php 3:20-21)

Yes, we are the children of the Great King. There are many of us. Perhaps more of the children would like to speak for themselves. Feel free to chime in. It is a tale to be told. As for Betty and me, we were once young but now we are older. Of course our heavenly Father, the Great King, has always taken care of us. The Great King cares for all the needs of His children.

“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the LORD is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.” (Psa 37:23-25)

 

You Can Be a Child, Too

All you need to do is to turn from a life of sin, recognize that Jesus died for your sins, that He arose from the grave, and call upon Him as the Lord and Savior of your life. God’s sacred Word is very clear on this.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (Joh 3:16-17)

And again,

“For the Scripture says, ‘WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for ‘WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’” (Rom 10:11-13)

There is so much more I’d like to share. Just keep in mind that the gospel of our salvation is all about children.

The apostle John said -

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1Jn 3:1-2)

When the Lord Jesus stands before the heavenly Father, Jesus will say,

“Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.” (Heb2:13)

 But perhaps this song will say it best. It is about the King’s Children. Let it minister to your heart.

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In Christ Always,

Buddy

If you have questions or would like to share with me, please feel free to do so.

The Secret Hiding Place of God

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Buddys BlogHow great is Your goodness, which You have stored for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of Your presence, from the conspiracies of man; You keep them in the shelter from the strife of tongues.” (Psalm 31:19,20 nasb.)

 

Journal,

In Psalm 31, David expresses grief over the strife of life. But he also breaks forth into praises that speak to God’s love for His people through all the ages. As a prophet, David’s conveys the believer’s beauty of life in the Lord.

Listen:

  • v1: “For You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.”
  • v4: “You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, for You are my strength.”
  • v5: “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; you have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.”
  • v8: “And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a large place.”
  • v19: “How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear you, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men.”
  • v20: “You hide them [all God's children] in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues. 

David’s reference to the secret place of God’s presence can also be translated, “the secret of Your face.” The idea is that God hides His people from the view of their enemies, that is, by bringing them to the very place that He Himself dwells.

This wonderful truth is fully brought out in the new covenant. Paul said that the lives of all believers are now hidden withGod at work God in Christ.

But first let’s see how the tabernacle of Moses, sets forth this wonderful truth of our redemption.

The only furnishing in the holiest of holies was the ark of the covenant where two covering angels spread their wings over the golden mercy-seat.

Over the mercy-seat was a brilliant light. In the light was a form. The angels have their gazed fixed on the form over the mercy-seat.

Peter explains this:

“It was revealed to them [the Old Testament prophets] that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you from heaven-things into which angels long to look.” (1Peter 1:12)

 

The Angels, the Form, and the Mercy Seat

The angels gazing at the mercy-seat were expressing wonderment at the atonement of Jesus Christ, that is, both of His incarnation, of the work of the cross, and of His ascension to the throne of God.

The angels longed to see into God’s gracious work of redemption through Christ. Paul tells us that the Lord is instructing angels about His wisdom in the cross, and by His presence and grace in the Church.

In the Light over the mercy-seat was a form that only Moses was allowed to see. The form was the preincarnate Jesus Christ. We see this by tying the Old Testament and the New Testament together.

beauty6When the Lord rebuked Miriam and Aaron over their presumptuous attitude towards Moses, He said to them,

“He said, ‘Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream.

“Not so, with My servant Moses, he is faithful in all My household; with him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings,

And he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?’” (Num 12:6-8)

 

The Glory and the Image

Moses saw the glory and the image of the invisible God. He saw Jesus. To the Jews, God’s Messiah was known as the form of God, the glory of God, the image of God, and at times even the Shekinah of God.

Listen carefully. Paul said of Christ,

“Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself…” (Phi2:6)

Any Jewish person reading Paul’s writings would immediately connect Jesus with the light over the mercy-seat and the form that Moses beheld.

Then we need to recall the bright Light that blinded Paul on the road to Damascus. What Paul heard was, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” He responded, “Who are You, Lord?” Keep in mind that both the Lord and Paul are speaking Hebrew.

Now back to the tabernacle. John wrote,

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The glory that rested over the mercy-seat was now tabernacled in Jesus Christ. Paul specifically calls Jesus, “The Lord of glory” (1Co2:8)

It is on the Mount of Transfiguration that Jesus appears on the outside what He is on the inside. It says, “And Beauty7He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” (Mat17:2)

 

Looking Past the Veil

David could see by the Spirit into the redemption of Christ, past the veil, and into God’s salvation plan that would stretch across the ages, eternity past and eternity future.

The secret place of God would take in all His people from ancient time on. The tabernacle was a picture-perfect symbol of God’s eternal purpose for all His people.

The Old Testament saints somehow knew in their hearts that the Lord Himself was their ever-present security in life. Moses said,

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” (Ps90:1,2)

Here Moses uses the same word that David used with regard to the ‘secret place’ of the tabernacle.

Once again think about the two cherubim with their golden wings spread over the mercy-seat. Listen again to David:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, `My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” (Ps91:1,2)

David uses the same word again which references the secret place of God’s presence, that is, the mercy-seat in the holiest of holies. God’s people dwell under the very presence and protection of angels.

 

The Treasured Ones of God

Here is where we come to the great mystery of God’s love for His people. The Psalmist Asaph speaks of God’s people as His ‘treasured ones.’ He writes,

“They make shrewd plans against Your people, and conspire together against Your treasured ones.” (Ps83:3)

These treasured ones are God’s people from the ages. The Hebrew for ‘treasured ones‘ addresses that which is covered by God, that which is hidden, or that which is kept secret. But it especially speaks of the secret of one’s heart. God’s treasured ones are the secret love of His heart.

19a

The Psalmist puts things together when he writes,

“One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.

“For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock [the Rock is Christ].

“And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.” (Psalm 27:4-6)

The Hebrew for ‘conceal‘ is the same word for God’s ‘treasured‘ ones. God’s people are His treasures in the earth and for all eternity. This allows us to have a better understanding of a kingdom parable about a treasure. Jesus said,

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field [world], which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matt13:44)

The treasure has to do with the kingdom of heaven. The story is the story of the cross. Jesus Christ gave His life for the hidden treasure. Jesus came to seek that which was lost. Now the treasure is hidden again, but this time it is hidden in Christ.

Paul said,

“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Col3:3,4)

 

The Work is Finished

All we have read in David’s writings have their fulfillment in the finished work of the cross. Being hidden in Christ means that every believer is eternally secured from the power of darkness. We can never be separated from God’s love. Our life is placed in the Light of God’s very being. Peter said that our calling was into, “His marvelous light.”

While this may seem difficult to grasp, what we need to realize is that our faith is to be based upon our place in Christ. Our position in Christ is secured. We have already been raised up and seated with Him in the heavenly places.

Our concern is in living out our present life with the knowledge of our eternal placement. God gives us heavenly Beauty8life as a foretaste of eternity. This is what believers are to learn to live by. Heavenly life is God’s oversight of our lives.

Did you know that God never takes His eyes off you? Listen to this conversation between David and the Lord:

[David“You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.”

[Lord] “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” (Ps27:7,8)

Did you know that there is continually joy in heaven over each person who turns to the Lord? The joy of heaven is the joy of the Lord Jesus Himself. The reason Jesus endured the cross was the joy that was set before Him. The joy set before Him was all those whom the Father would give Him for all eternity.

Jesus said,

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. … This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:37,39,40)

 

For God so Loved

You have come to love God because He first loved you. Once again, did you know that your joy in the Lord is a reflection of His joy over you? Did you know that the grace that flows in your life is not something that you earned? It is freely given to you in God’s Beloved.

sanctifiedThere is only one question that needs to be answered. Are you right now trusting in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? Faith in Jesus alone is proof positive that you belong to Him. And if you belong to Him, then you are most certainly one of His treasured ones.

This is what the great apostle said:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph2:8-10)

Think about it. Have you met the Great I AM?

Much love coming your way,

Buddy

The Battle Continues – Are Believers Eternally Secure

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“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” (Joh 6:39)

 

Journal,

The debate often centers on one question, “Can anyone who has truly been born again actually lose their salvation?”

The answer is simple, ‘No one who has a true heavenly birth can ever be lost.’

This is really a sad issue for anyone who lives with an uncertainty about their salvation in Christ. The problem isn’t simply with the believer. It is also an issue of the pulpit. Many believers live in fear of losing their salvation because of how salvation is presented in the pulpit.

Does this shock you? Let’s talk about it.

 

 

Breaking the Chains of Fear

The bottom line is that God doesn’t want his children to live in fear of losing their salvation. When a person is saved, they are eternally saved. Salvation is not our work. The work of salvation is God’s work from alpha to omega.

No one is accidentally born into the kingdom of God. Every birth is planned.

Jesus said,

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (Joh 6:37)

Do you see any uncertainties in what Jesus said? Look at it closely. Pay close attention to the, ‘will come’, and, ‘will not’. 

One day Jesus will say this to all creation -

“Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.” (Heb 2:13)

Jesus came into our world with a stewardship from the heavenly Father. Listen carefully to what His stewardship was about -

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. “ (Joh 6:38-39)

What did Jesus say the will of the Father was? Read it closely. Did you pick up on the statement, ‘That I lose nothing.’ 

For Jesus to lose one person who truly believed in Him, could only mean that He broke the Father’s will for Him. And if He broke the Father’s will about our salvation, then none of us could be saved. Lose one. Lose all. Save one. Save all. 

That is the equation.

When Jesus lifted His eyes to the heavenly Father in what we often call the prayer of our Great High Priest, this is what He said:

“Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.’” (Joh 17:1-5)

Is there a key to all this? Indeed there is.

 

The Work of Salvation is Not Our Work

The apostle Paul was well convinced the work of salvation in any believer’s life would be perfected by God Himself. This is because the work of salvation is God’s work. He never left it in the hands of men.

Here is where it began to be real for me –

A Story to be Told – When God Speaks

Here is a brief testimony to help put a face on my first step in realizing what the security of the believer means. It was 1974.

I had just resigned from my former church affiliation. The following morning at my office it was like a dark cloud had settled over me. I felt an aloneness that I was not accustomed to. What will I do? Where do I go?

Falling to my knees, I instinctively reached for my Bible. The pages fell open to Philippians 1:6, where I read,

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

The ‘Sun of righteousness’ had risen over me. The cloud vanished. No more fear. No more uncertainty. I knew in my heart everything was alright. The Spirit of the Lord came to my aid. My future was well cared for.

And that was only the beginning. Where I once served in an organization that preached no security for the believer, my whole soteriological (doctrine of salvation) thinking changed.

The more I studied the Scriptures with the help of the Holy Spirit, the more I began to realize that the security of a believer is well founded in the Scriptures.

Salvation is all about God Himself.

 

Salvation is an, ‘I will see you through’, Promise

Jesus has come to my aid untold myriads of times on my pilgrim journey. But He does the same for all who belong to Him. Did He not say, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” That, dear friend, is an unconditional promise.

This is where we need to understand Biblical promises.

Conditional promises are based upon some action on our part. Unconditional promises are based upon something God has promised with no aid from us. These are the, “I will” promises of God.

An example of a conditional promise is found in Luke 6:38 -

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luk 6:38)

A conditional promise is God’s way of teaching us how to walk with Him. Not so with unconditional promises.

 

Unconditional Promises are Different

Unconditional promises are generally summed up as redemption promises. These kinds of promises are ‘from God, through God, and to God’ promises. They cannot be broken by believers simply because we have no role to play in them. They are based entirely on the sovereignty of God.

These ‘never-ever’ promises serve as the bedrock of our walk with the Lord. One of the very last things Jesus said to the disciples was, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt28:20)

An example of an unconditional promise is John 10:27,28 -

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (Joh 10:27-28)

Read that statement carefully. Don’t try to add anything to it or take anything away from it. Jesus meant exactly what He said.

Of course you will always hear the thwarted say, “But you can walk out of His hand.”

How idiotic is this. Listen to the language. Jesus said that no one could snatch His sheep out of His hand. Is anyone bigger than God?

 

It’s Not Your Grip

Many Christians see the strength of their walk in how strong their grip is on God. This is not what Jesus is saying. The safety for a child of God does not depend on his or her grip. It rests entirely in the hands of the Lord. Jesus said, “No one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Here are a few more of these ‘never-ever’ unconditional promises:

“…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

…everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:26)

“[God's] Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.” (1Co13:8)

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39)

Each of the afore promises has its own teaching platform. But the issue never changes. Our salvation in Christ is eternal. Our salvation is based entirely on the will of God.

These unconditional promises relate to God’s redemption plan that was set forth before the beginning of time. To say that God is unjust or unfair is not true in the least. It is merely that we are unable to understand things that are finite. God is perfectly just in all His ways.

It all has to do with …

 

The Heirs of God

Paul gave some insight into this area, when he said,

“We have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to [God's] purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.” (Eph1:11)

Notice Paul did not say it was our will at work. It is God’s will that is at work. This is why you can be sure that nothing happens in a believer’s life by chance.

The apostle John certainly agrees. He said that our birth from heaven was not a thing of our will. He says,

[We] were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13)

When we were born again, it is because God opened our ears to hear, and placed in our heart to respond. We see this being worked out in a lady named Lydia. It says,

“A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshipper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.” (Acts 16:14)

 

The Story of a Man Called Peter

We also see this idea of our salvation being God’s work and not our work in the life of a man called Peter.  Peter had denied the Lord three times. Was that the end of the story?

Jesus sought him out, restored him fully, and gave him the privilege of preaching the gospel at the very place where Peter became fearful of his life.

Also keep in mind what the Lord said to the 70 who returned and were rejoicing over all the miracles that took place through the name of Jesus. What was the Lord’s response? He said,

“Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are recorded in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)

Their names had already been recorded in heaven.

This holds true for every person who is born of God.  Paul wrote:

” just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” (Eph 1:4)

Have you caught the point in all this?

— Regardless of how well we think we understand the mystery of our salvation, the fact remains that God’s unconditional promises do not rest upon how well we are able to do, or how much we understand.

Unconditional promises are not performance promises. Each of these promises rest upon God Himself. When He says that He will never desert us or forsake us, that promise cannot be broken.

Yes, we all struggle over this. How can God give such promises? After all, I am such a bummer of a person. There is no good in me. So we ask, “Why me, Lord? What have I ever done?”

You did nothing to deserve salvation. About the best any of us can do is write songs about all this.

Here is one of my Gospel Psalmists songs that you may enjoy. It poses the eternal question, ‘What Kind of Man is This?’

And so…

 

The Message Never Changes

The message from heaven never changes. While we love the Lord with a love that cannot be measured, John wants us to understand something very special when he writes,

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1Jn4:10)

Think about these things. Feel free to make your comments or ask questions.

Always in Christ Jesus,

Buddy

Update on My Most Popular Articles (Last two months)

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“‘It is written, “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.”‘” (Mat 4:3-4)

Journal,

While I’ve enjoyed a range of ministry callings in my 45+ years as a minister of the gospel, including that of evangelist and pastor, my primary ministry gift remains in the arena of expounding the sacred Scriptures.

I do thank the Lord for giving me a place for sharing His gospel to the nations. I’ve had over 50,000 visitors on this blog alone.

Of course nothing will ever take the place of studying the Scriptures personally, yet much help can be gained by reading good Bible teachings that are offered by God’s servants.

The apostle Paul even drew attention to this in writing Timothy:

“When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments.” (2Ti 4:13)

As for my studies, in addition to various courses that I’ve designed for the CCI School for Christian Workers, I have well over 500 Bible studies that can be accessed on the web, including over 200 articles that I’ve provided in this blog alone.  (Pastor Buddy’s Journal.) 

To access the 500+ web studies that I offer, go to this page: http://buddymartin.net/blog/500-2/

To view the 200+ articles that I’ve provided on my blog, go here: http://buddymartin.net/blog/archives/

For those who have an interest in which studies have drawn the most readers on my blog, here is a list of the top ten most read articles for the past two months: (Beginning with the most read and down the list.)

 

Top Ten Articles – Two Months

1. Jesus, the Wonder and Mystery of the Bible: http://buddymartin.net/blog/2009/11/jesus-the-wonder-and-mystery-of-the-bible/

2. Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment: http://buddymartin.net/blog/2009/11/mercy-triumphs-over-judgment/

3. Tongues: http://buddymartin.net/blog/speaking-in-other-languages/

4. Passing Through the Valley of Baca: http://buddymartin.net/blog/2010/01/passing-through-the-valley-of-baca/

5. Salvation: http://buddymartin.net/blog/salvation/

6. God’s Wings and the Blue Thread of Heaven: http://buddymartin.net/blog/2011/09/gods-wings-and-the-blue-thread-of-heaven/

7. My Story: http://buddymartin.net/blog/testimony/

8. How Secure Are You in Christ: http://buddymartin.net/blog/2010/03/how-secure-are-you-in-christ/

9. Honoring God With First Fruits: http://buddymartin.net/blog/2009/12/honoring-god-with-first-fruits/

10. What Can Make Me Whole Again – Nothing But the Blood of Jesus: http://buddymartin.net/blog/2010/11/what-can-make-me-whole-again-nothing-but-the-blood-of-jesus/

Hope you enjoy some of these articles -

Your servant in Christ,

Buddy

Just For Old Times Sake

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“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.”
(Act 3:19-21)

Readers,

When is the last time you’ve been to an old-time revival meeting?

Or to word it better, ‘How would you like to hear an old-time preacher try to preach an old-time revival meeting?’ 

Well now is your chance. Better mark your calendar. Here’s the information

 

The 

Martin’s in Revival

Mora House of Prayer - Mora, Louisiana

Friday and Saturday 6:30 p.m. – June 29th and 30th

Sunday Home Coming, 10:30 a.m. – July 1st

Martins: Nathan on the guitar, Shana on the piano, Faith on the base guitar, Buddy on the banjo, and Rich Waring on the harmonicas.

 

Just For Old Time’s Sake

Think back 42 years, and you’ll have the Martins in revivals.

It is such an honor to be invited by Sister Sandra Hillman Wallace to serve as the evangelist for the revival at Mora House of Prayer. How long has it been? 

Wow, such memories – Forty-two years ago we held our first revival in this very church. I was 30 years old and now I’m pressing 72.

Come to think of it, many of my readers weren’t even born then. In fact our daughter wasn’t yet part of the picture.

And many of the old timers from those long gone years, have already made their journey home. I have such wonderful memories of God’s people who are no longer with us on this side of heaven. 

Well, for the Martins, our evangelism circuit was largely in Louisiana but with some revivals in Texas, and a short stint of ministry work in New Mexico.

However, Central Louisiana was always our favorite preaching grounds. We held meetings or otherwise preached in churches in Mora, Flatwoods, Pinecoupee, Sharp, Lena, and other outlying areas. (We sort of lost count of the baptisms. They were so many.)

But the Mora church will always have a very special place in our hearts. The Hillmans had just taken pastorate of the church and the Martins were their first evangelists. Some years later that we were blessed to pastor that very church before establishing Christian Challenge.

But the circle has been made. Sister Hillman is now the pastor. (Brother Hillman went to be with the Lord in 1999. It was my honor to preach his funeral. How I have always loved that family.)

Yup, it’s time to dust off the guitar, shake out the cobwebs, stir up the bones and set about to preach the old, old, story of how a Savior came from glory.

Yup, you know the story of how He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me.

It’s going to be old-timey. The Martins will be sharing gospel music from yesteryear.

I want to extend a special invite to all our friends who have had a share in the Martin revivals in years gone by. It would be wonderful to see many of those that were baptized during the revivals. 

And now for a bit of humor. Yup….

 

A Little Humor Goes a Long Way

I’ve often been asked how a person can know if they have been called to the ministry? My stock answer is, ‘If you can stay out of the ministry, you weren’t called to begin with.’ 

As for me, the call to preach has rested on my heart from childhood. You can verify this with some of my cousins.

I use to hem some of my cousins in the outhouse while I stood in the door so they couldn’t escape. And there I would preach a hellfire and brimstone sermon. Course we didn’t have much room for an altar call. Everyone was just glad when I let them out. 

Well, no, I’ve never lost my sense of humor. The good news is that I’ve graduated far beyond fire and brimstone preaching. Found out through the years that the gospel has a much greater story to tell.

The old old story is about a Father’s love for all of fallen humanity. It is the story of redeeming grace. It is a story that cannot be measured by any measurement we are acquainted with.

Jesus said it best of all. Listen:

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” (Joh 6:37-39)

Guess you could say that my ministry has had great changes through the years.

Be that what it may, here is a song that will minister to your heart. It carries the story of the gospel, the very story that I will be telling in the Mora House of Prayer revival – ‘Selah – There is a Fountain.’

 

Always in Christ,

Buddy

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

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“Why, what evil has this man done?” - Pilate

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” (Mat 12:31-34)

 

 

Journal,

An issue that believers sometimes find themselves grappling with has to do with what blasphemy against the Holy Spirit means, and if this ‘unpardonable‘ sin has a bearing on a believer.

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is one of the least understood of all Biblical teachings. Because of this it has been a cause of pain for the uninstructed child of God. This is especially true when a child of God ‘senses‘ that a thing being done in the name of Jesus, may not be of the Lord. But someone then warns him or her to be careful, ‘You might blaspheme the Holy Spirit.’

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a demoniacal inspired sin. It has to do with Satan’s warfare against the Almighty God Himself. This is why Jesus spoke of a particular group of blasphemers as a, ‘brood of vipers.’

To help understand this element of Satanic warfare review these Scriptures: Gen3:15; Mat3:7; Mat12:34; Mat13:38,39; Mat23:33; John8:44; Rev2:9; Rev3:9.

 

Not a Christian Believer’s Sin

The short side of the story is that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not a believer’s sin. It has never been, not today, nor any other time. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

This sin comes from darkness. It comes out of a continual Satanic warfare against God Himself. It comes from a person who has actually aligned himself with Satan.

Jesus identified the source of Satanic blasphemy:

“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Joh 8:44)

So, when the apostle Paul spoke of having been a blasphemer, he was not placing himself in the Satanic family. His blasphemy came from ignorance. Paul had a deep want to properly serve the God of Israel. This is not the case with the Satanic family.

Paul said,

“…even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief…” (1Ti 1:13)

It is good to know the difference between someone like Paul, who acted in ignorance, and those who have knowledge and have aligned themselves with Satan.

Now let’s talk about…

 

Open Defiance Against God

The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was placed at the front door of a certain element of the Jewish leadership during the time of Christ. It is this element that had been at war against God from the beginning. It goes along with this statement made by the Lord,

“Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them. So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs.

“For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God’, yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.” (Luk 11:47-51)

The term ‘generation‘ comes from two Greek words that suggest the idea of a multitude of contemporaries. Jesus is addressing a generation [class of people] who have continued doing the work of the devil from the beginning of time as we know it.  This is why John the Baptist and Jesus spoke of this group as being a brood of vipers. Satan had found his place in Israel.

These people were not simply non believers. They were actively serving Satan. It is one thing to be an active agent and another to be caught in the chords of ignorance such as was Paul. It is important to keep these distinctions in mind.

Jesus warned that these seeds of Satan would always be present in the earth and could even be found in the church. The Lord explains this in the parable of the sower. Listen:

“Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.

“But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’

“And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.

“‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘” (Mat 13:24-30)

 

Disallowing the Spirit of Messiah

Lets begin by examining a Scripture in its context. Jesus said,

“Everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.” (Luke 12:8-10)

Notice that it was the Spirit of the Lord God, resting upon Jesus that was being blasphemed. So the sin in reality was a direct affront against God Himself. The Holy Spirit has always been reckoned as the Spirit of the Almighty.

The point was that Jesus was doing things that only God Himself could do. He resurrected the dead. He opened blind eyes. He walked on water, multiplied loaves and fish, healed deformed bodies, cured lepers, and did all the things that the ancient sages said would be the signs of Messiah.

It is in this sense that the leadership was without excuse. The things that Jesus did, only God could do. To contribute the works of creation that Jesus did, to the devil, left no room for error on their part.

But pay close attention to the one who openly confesses Jesus. This person is placed out of the picture on the issue of blasphemy. Once again, this is not a believer’s sin.

Actually the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit has as much to do with Israel’s true calling as with anything else. We need more background for this. Notice how God brought a charge against those of Israel who turned from Him.

“In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them. (Isa63:9,10)

Carry this over to Acts 7:51,52, where Stephen makes his defense against some of those who had Jesus crucified. He says,

You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.”

I hope that this gives you an idea on what the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is. It is an open defiance against God, and it is done with a degree of knowledge. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the sin where Satan seeks to keep up his warfare against the Lord of glory.

 

Why is This Sin Unpardonable

What makes the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit unpardonable is that it actually aligns itself with Satan. It is very important to understand that this is a sin against knowledge. It is the antichrist spirit.

This level of blasphemy is a sin that blatantly denies and defies and defiles all the evidence of the work of the cross in Jesus Christ. It is a sin where one’s conscience can become seared. It is a sin against the Light of God. It is the sin of Antichrist. This is why Jesus said,

 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also.” (Joh 15:22-23)

Listen also to John:

“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1Jn 2:22-23)

The Lord very carefully lays this issue out. Note this language:

 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (Joh 3:16-21)

 

Antichrist at work today

We need to change gears and talk about another issue other than blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.

There is no question that the antichrist spirit is in the world today. It manifests in many forms. One of its most belligerent forms is found in Talmudic or Rabbinic Judaism. When the temple was destroyed in 70 a.d., the Pharisees took on the mantle of Judaism, and set about to set up their authority over all Israel.

In their Talmudic writings the Lord Jesus is treated as a sorcerer and a deceiver.

This is how Jesus is treated in the Talmuds:

1) He and his disciples practiced sorcery and black magic, led Jews astray into idolatry, and were sponsored by foreign, gentile powers for the purpose of subverting Jewish worship (Sanhedrin 43a).

2) He was sexually immoral, worshipped statues of stone (a brick is mentioned), was cut off from the Jewish people for his wickedness, and refused to repent (Sanhedrin 107b; Sotah 47a).

3) He learned witchcraft in Egypt and, to perform miracles, used procedures that involved cutting his flesh, which is also explicitly banned in the Bible (Shabbos 104b).

Then it isn’t merely Orthodox Judaism that reveals an antichrist spirit. Islam is equally guilty but on a different measure. In Islam, Jesus is one of the five great prophets, that Mohammed is the greatest of all the prophets, even greater than Jesus.

Islam teaches that Jesus is not the Son of God, He did not die on the cross, and the cross has nothing to do with our salvation. And when Jesus comes again it is to turn the world to Islamic faith.

But all this is a subject to itself. I hope that my readers have a better understanding of what blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is really about.

Now for some good news. Both Jews and Muslims by the multiplied thousands are turning to Jesus Christ today. Why are they turning? Because of the power of the gospel.

Most people in Judaism and in Islam, do not know about the true Jesus. Any denial on their part comes largely from ignorance. This is why there is a great harvest at work in the world this very moment.

Listen to the story of an Arabian Muslim who is brought to Jesus. The dialog is in Arabic and underscored in English. (It is happening everywhere.)

In Christ always,

Buddy

 

For the Love of Jesus Christ

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When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

“And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.’”  

(Rev 5:8-9)

 

Journal.

How does a person truly know that they are saved? That really isn’t a difficult question to answer. To know Jesus personally is to love Him personally.

This love for Jesus carries its own witness in the heart of every believer. And it is this love for Jesus that becomes the major guidepost in the life of all who belong to Him.

For all true believers, a love for Jesus and faith in Jesus are inseparable. They are very much the same.

Peter puts a face on how the love of Jesus and faith in Jesus are connected –

“…so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable … though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” 1Pe 1:7,8

 

A Love that is Divine

It is important to understand what distinguishes a believer’s love for Jesus from all other religions in general. Actually it is this love for Jesus that differentiates Biblical Christianity from Orthodox Judaism, from the Isl?mic faith, and from every other religion to be found on planet earth.

A believer’s love for Jesus is the same love that the heavenly Father has for His Son. It is this divine love that encompasses all that salvation in Christ means.

Thus we have the statement, “God is love.” It is this special divine love found only in God, that is poured out into the heart of the true believer. It is this ‘unworldly‘ love that enables the believer to love the way God loves. And so it is this unique love that causes the true Christian to be unlike other people.

In fact the Lord gave one distinguishing sign that would cause people to know that a person belonged to Him. It would be the love sign.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even AS I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Joh 13:34-35)

What many don’t realize is that the love Jesus is speaking of is a love that is only be found in God Himself. The love Jesus is talking about was not a love to be found in the natural human family before He came into our world. This is why it is so important to understand how God’s love fits into His work of redemption.
Notice how the apostle John uses the term ‘love‘ in his writings. Also note how the apostle identifies this love as a love that is to be found only in God. Thus it is this love in the heart of a believer that gives evidence that a person has truly been born of heaven.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1Jn 4:7-11)

The afore Scriptures are self-explaining.

The point being that all true Christians have come to know Jesus Christ personally as the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the One who died for our sins, was buried, resurrected, and ascended into heaven; the One of whose eternal blood has been sprinkled on our hearts, and of whom we anxiously await His second coming; the One who is the center of our joy and rejoicing.

It is our love for Jesus and our unique love for one another that sets Christianity apart from all other forms of religion.

This brings me to how Jesus fits into the religions of Islam and of Judaism. I will only address the basic elements of Judaism, as are found in their holy writings, the Talmuds, and the basic elements of Islam, which are found in their holy writings, the Qur’an.

 

Jesus in Islam…

The teachings about Jesus in Islam are far less pervasive that what you find in Judaism. In Islam, Jesus is given special respect as one of the five great messengers (prophets) of God.

Islam regard Adam as the first prophet and Muhammad as the last prophet. Muhammed’s title is called, ‘Seal of the Prophets.’ The five great prophets (messengers of God), are Noah, Abraham, Noses, Jesus, and Muhammed. None of these are divine.

Islam regards Adam as the first prophet and Muhammad as the last prophet. Muhammad’s title is called, ‘Seal of the Prophets.’ The five great prophets (messengers of God), are Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. None of these are divine.

In Islam, Jesus is called the son of the Virgin. However, He is not divine, nor is Jesus accounted as the Son of God; He was not crucified, nor does He have anything to do with the salvation of humanity. The strange one is that while Jesus is considered to be the Messiah, He is not Messiah in the sense as is found in the gospels. Jesus comes in second to Muhammad.

Muslims are taught that when Jesus does return, He will convert the world to Islam.

The point at hand is that while Muslims would never slander Jesus, yet their true knowledge of Him is limited. The people have been trapped in religion of darkness, one that uses militancy as its primary weapon, and one that makes Christianity its arch enemies. In some Isl?mic societies it is a death sentence for any Muslim to convert to Christianity.

The good news is that many millions of Muslim are having their eyes opened and are turning to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Their greatest need is to hear the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of the Muslims of the world are turning to Jesus because a New Testament has been placed in their hands.

 

Jesus in Judaism is an altogether different story …

Again keep in mind that there are many levels of Judaism, just as there are many levels of Islam, as well as many levels of Christianity. Actually there are true believers in Jesus Christ among the Jewish people. But religiously speaking that would be an abnormality.

But here I will drawn on the Talmudic writings of the ancient Rabbinic Judaism. These writings remain the holiest books of Orthodox Judaism.

Most people are not aware of how Jesus is treated in the Talmud. Here is a sample:

“He [Onqelos] sent and brought up Jesus the Nazarene (Yeshu ha-notzri) out of his grave by necreomancy and asked him: ‘Who is important in that world?’

Jesus answered, ‘Israel.’

Onqelos: ‘What then about joining them?’

Jesus: ‘Seek their welface, seek not their harm. Whoever touches them is as though he touches the apple of God’s eye!’

Onqelos: ‘What is your punishment?’

Jesus: ‘With boiling excrement.’

There is much more to be said, but this gives the idea. Mary is treated as a whore, and Jesus as the son of a Roman soldier. There are a number of code words for Jesus in the Talmudic writings. None of them very pleasant.

What is the plus side in all this? The plus side is similar to what is happening in Islam. Many Jews are discovering Jesus for who He really is. However, there is a last stage to be reached in Judaism. It began in Jerusalem, it has to end in Jerusalem. Jerusalem’s warfare is not ended.

Jesus said:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” (Mat 23:37-39)

Again from the prophet Zechariah:
“And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” 

 

The great question of all generations remains...

Will the Father say to all people,

What have you done with My Son?

Did you treat Him as holy?

Did you trample Him underfoot as nothing of worth?

These questions are eternal salvation questions.

Think about it as you listen to the words of this song –  ‘Like a Rose Trampled on the Ground’

May the Lord richly bless you in a discovery of all His will for your life.

In Christ,

Buddy

This is My Beloved Son

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“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

 

“For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory,

 

“’This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”– and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.” (2Pe 1:16-18)

 

 

Readers,

In this study we will take a closer look at one of the most wonderful mysteries in the Bible, that is, the mystery of the Father and the Son. The question we want to unravel is how the earliest Hebrew believers could hold to an absolute monotheism and yet direct their faith and their worship to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, as well as to God the Father?

Not everyone is very familiar with the early Jewish believer’s theology of Christ, while others are little aware of how the Messiah was seen in ancient beliefs of that time. Everything centered on the word ‘identity‘.

With this key in mind let’s take a closer look at the Father and the Son.

 

The Hallmark of Hebrew Christianity

Very often we fail to understand terms like, ‘And the Word was with God,‘ or, ‘He existed in the form of God‘, because these terms are in Hebrew thought form. They don’t always mean the same thing to us as they would to a Jewish person. These expressions were deeply embedded in ancient Judaism. They reflect on a great mystery to be found in God Himself.

The earliest believers saw Jesus Christ as intrinsic to who God really is. Jewish believers had been schooled in the Scriptures and in the ancient sages. They believed that in the one true God was a mystery that reflected on terms such as, ‘the Word’, or, ‘the Form‘, or ‘the Image‘, or ‘the Glory‘, or even, ‘the Shekinah.’

The earliest Christians were absolute monotheist. They believed that Jesus Christ originated in and came forth from the Father, that is, without becoming separate from Him in His spiritual essence. This was part of the mystery that they accepted.

However, what made this belief so strong was that the Scriptures actually wrapped themselves around this great mystery in God. These new Jewish believers were discovering Jesus and letting the words of Moses and the prophets unwrap themselves in their hearts and minds.

It wasn’t long before the non-believing Jewish rabbis countered by accusing the Christian Jews of believing in two powers in heaven. The rabbis used the book Hebrews as a backdrop in their accusations against the Christian Jews, and especially where it says,

“In these last days [the Father] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (He1:2)

It was this statement that pretty much qualified the earliest theology of the Jewish church. It says that in the last days God has spoken to us (or speaks to us) in His Son, and that it was through His Son that the Father made the world.

 

An Uncomplicated Theology

The early believers fully accepted Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and as Yahweh of the former testament. They also firmly held to a Father-Son view of God.

Paul Himself brings this forth in reaffirming the sh’ma of Israel. He said,

“Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” (1Co8:6)

Where Paul says ‘one Lord’, he is drawing on the ancient ‘She’ma’ creed of Israel.

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deu 6:4 NASB)

A great many scholars today are beginning to reach back to a more Hebraic form of theology. They are setting aside the notion that the Trinitarian doctrine is intrinsic to Christianity and that to be a Christian you must accept this form of theology.

This is not an affront against Trinitarian beliefs. It is simply for the benefit of a better understanding of how the early Hebrew Christians generally held to a less-complicated theology of the Godhead.

The point is that the earliest Christians were scriptural-centric. Both Jesus and the apostles instructed the evolving church to never exceed, “what is written”. The term ‘what is written’ had regard to Moses, David, and the prophets.

Thus we hear:

[Jesus] “Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” (Luk 24:44-45)

[Paul] “Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.” (1Co 4:6)

 

The Divine Image

The apostles were expressing a very ancient belief held in Israel at that time. Jesus was looked at as the ‘eikon‘ (divine image) of the invisible God. The Judaic beliefs before the rabbis made their anti-Christ intrusions, believed that you had the invisible God who could not be seen, and God who makes Himself visible across history and across time. Or, as one early Christian writer said, “God brought forth from Himself a beginning.”

For the early Jewish believers, Jesus did not become for them a second god or another deity. Paul explained Christ as the hidden mystery of God. The apostle wrote,

“To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things.” (Eph3:8,9)

Regardless of how difficult this may seem to us, the groundwork had already been laid for the mystery of the divine image to be revealed. Here are a few Scriptural considerations:

“Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son’s name? Surely you know!” (Pro 30:4)

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. … 

“ … There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” (Isa 9:6-7)

“’What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?’ They said to Him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘Then how does David in the Spirit call Him “Lord,” saying, ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET”‘? “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” (Mat 22:42-45)

“I [Yahweh] will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” (Zec 12:10)

 

 

My Lord and My God

How is it than an orthodox one-God, Jewish man could fall down before Jesus, and say, “My Lord and my God?”

And how is it that everything Jesus did in His earthly walk reveals that He was intrinsic to the very identity of God’s person? Jesus did God things.

And so we must agree with the Jewish author who stated that Christianity is the most Jewish of all the non-Jewish faiths.

I would go further as to say that Biblical Christianity fills out the Jewish faith in that the God of the Hebrews came into the earth as a man to fulfill His own program of redemption. Did the early Jewish believers worship the Father and Son as one God? Absolutely.

Now the big question — Does our salvation hinge on acknowledging that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Lord God Almighty?

John said it well enough;

“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1Jn 2:22-23)

 

 

The Mystery Called, ‘Wonderful’

Do we still have a mystery? Sure we do. It is a mystery that is wondrous indeed. What we do know is that the divinity of Jesus lies within God Himself. And when we worship Jesus we are not worshipping a second deity. We are worshipping the Father in the Son.

For all our Christian, Jewish and Muslim friends, take time for this song. Let the Lord open your heart to hear from God - ‘O Come Oh Come Emmanuel’.

Your servant in Christ,

Buddy

For Love of the Lamb #2

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 “Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ And he said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’

 

“Abraham said, ‘God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together.” (Gen 22:7-8)

 

 

Readers,

Of my 174 journal entries the one that has attracted the most readership by far is titled, ‘For Love of the Lamb.’ I provided it, July 22, 2010.

Because of its popularity I felt it would be good to revisit it with only slight changes. So here it is again, ‘For Love of the Lamb #2′.

In Bible hermeneutics (Bible interpretation) there is a rule that is called ‘the law of first mention.’ This rule has to do with doctrinal studies or Bible teachings. The emphasis of this rule is that when a doctrine or Bible teaching first appears in the Bible, the fundamental meaning in that occurrence will carry through to its final fulfillment in Christ Jesus.

 

Right Standing With God

A good example for the law of first mention is where we find the term righteousness first used in the Old Testament. The first time the word righteousness appears has to do with the Lord appearing to Abraham. Here are snippets of that meet as found in Genesis 15:

 

“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great …

 

“And He took him outside and said, ‘Now look towards the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’

 

“Then he [Abraham] believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”


Notice that Abraham’s right standing with God was contingent on one thing alone, that he truly believed with his heart in the Lord.

The emphasis of with his heart will always be the key to having a right standing with God.

How then does this find its fulfilling in the new covenant? Listen to Paul:

 

“Therefore [Abraham’s believing in the Lord] was also credited to him as righteousness.

 

“Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.” (Rom4:23,24)


And again,

“ … that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

 

“ … for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Rom 10:9-10)

 

 

How a person attains righteousness before God never changes. Righteousness has always been a matter of the heart and with right believing. It is now perfectly fulfilled in a person’s faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul again draws attention to this faith issue in calling it, ‘the law of faith’.

Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified [declared righteous before God] by faith apart from works of the Law.” (Rom 3:27-28 NASB)

There are many who admire Jesus. Muslims say they believe in Jesus. Hindus say they believe in Jesus. Other religions say they believe in Jesus.

Make no mistake here. None of these ideas have to do with Biblical salvation. Jesus is not simply a great man, a great prophet, an avatar, or even a good man.

And wearing a cross-amulet around one’s neck has nothing to do with salvation.

Jesus Christ is the Lord of glory. He is God incarnate, the very Son of God who died for the sins of the world. To believe in Him on any other measure is to stay in darkness and without salvation.

 

 

The doctrine of the Lamb

There are many other new covenant doctrines that can be found in embryo form in the Old Testament. The one I want to draw special attention to now has to do with the term ‘Lamb.’

The very first time the word Lamb is used in the Scriptures also has to do with Abraham. It is where Abraham says to Isaac,

“‘God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

The doctrine of the Lamb is at the very heart of the Christian experience. And what makes a Christian a Christian has to do with an intrinsic love cause. This love factor encompasses itself around Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.

The doctrine of the Lamb is the underlying truth of what redemption entails. This doctrine speaks to the faith of the Old Testament saints, to the spiritual freedom of the new covenant children of God, and to a redemption love that becomes the outflow in a believer’s heart.

The Lamb becomes the whole of our life. Love for the Lamb fills out the heart of that one who has come to personally know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

The apostle said,

 

“ … so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

 

“ … and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

 

“ … obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (1Pe 1:7-9)

 

 

Beholding the Father’s glory

Not only is the doctrine of the Lamb a doctrine of progressive revelation, but the doctrine of the Lamb is also about the people of the Lamb. The doctrine of the Lamb is about, beholding with the heart.’

The apostle John wrote,

“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (Joh 6:40 NASB) – Beholding Jesus is an activity of the heart.

From this ‘beholding’ comes forth a people. The Lamb and the people of the Lamb are eternally linked.

Listen to John the Baptist -

“The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

 

“This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” (Joh 1:29-30)

 

 

To discover the Lamb is to discover life

To discover the Lamb means that you belong to the Lamb. To discover the Lamb is to fall deeply in love with Him. But it isn’t a love that is common to man. It is actually the Father’s love filling out our hearts.

The discovery element is a key issue in the Christian walk. This is why Paul said that in Christ, “Are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

In another place he says that as we gaze upon the glory of Christ through the Scriptures, our inward man experiences spiritual transformations. It is the glory of Christ that fills our hearts and minds. While this may sound mystical, it is a spiritual reality to those who are partakers of the new covenant.

 

The Lamb Upon the Throne

But just who is this Lamb of God? No less that twenty-nine times the phrase ‘the Lamb’ is found in the book of Revelation. In every references the Lamb is directly associated with God. As Revelation begins its closure we are looking at a picture of God fully manifest as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It says,

“Then he showed me a river of the water of life (Holy Spirit), clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God (the Father) and of the Lamb (Son of God).”

John is using archetypal images found through the Old Testament to describe God in His awesomeness. Notice carefully that there is only one throne.

The Father’s throne has become the Lamb’s throne.

 

For love of the Lamb

Jesus is called the image of the invisible God. And so to love the Father unseen, is to love Jesus the only begotten Son.

Jesus said,

“If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.” (John 8:42)

The mystery doesn’t stop here. When we truly believe in Jesus, we can now call God our very own Father because it is the Spirit of His Son that cries in us, ‘Abba! Father!’ Thus all believers carry in themselves a Father consciousness. Jesus said,

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:1)

It is the Lamb of God who gives us our freedom.

Every person born from above is made alive in the Lamb. And because our lives have been perfectly joined to God’s Christ, this allows our hearts to overflow with themes of life. (By the way, this is what the Spirit filled life is really all about.)

This love for the Lamb is so powerfully felt in believers that Christians through the ages have literally given their lives for Him. The Scriptures take note of this, in saying,

“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” (Rev 12:11)

 

How about you – Do you love the Lamb?

I pray that you do. Here is a song from my heart to  your heart.

Take time to listen to Jim Reeves as he sings, ‘May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You.’

 

 

Much love coming your way in Jesus,
Buddy

 

The Revelation that Brings Salvation

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“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’” (Mat 16:16-17)

 

Journal,

When Jesus asked the apostles who people said that He was, they spoke of the Old Testament prophets. When He ask them who they thought He was, Simon Peter responded, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

What is happening here is a prophetic portrayal on how salvation would be found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Actually Peter did not arrive at this revelation on his own. Jesus said the Father had given Peter the revelation, and that upon this revelation He would build His church.

Thus Jesus said, “Upon this Rock [the revelation of His divine Sonship] I will build My church.” 

Actually there really is a play on words here. Peter’s original name is Simon. After Peter receives the revelation from the Father, the Lord calls him, ‘Little Stone.’ (The term for ‘Peter’ [Pétros] in Greek always means a stone and never a rock.)  But when the Lord said, ‘Upon this Rock I will build My church,’ he was not talking about Peter. The word He used for ‘Rock’ relates to a mass of rock or a cliff. It is never used for a stone.

The church would be built upon a revelation given from heaven that Jesus Christ is the true Son of God.

 

The Struggle Over the Son

Someone wrote me about their confusion of their being a Father and a Son in the godhead. Perhaps it is a mystery to be understood with the heart. However, the idea of God having a Son was not lost with the Hebrew people. It can be found in their ancient writings.

The Hebrew people were taught that in God was a mystery sometimes called, ‘the Son,’ and often time called ‘the Word’. They believed that God’s Son ‘the Word’ had made appearances in the earth throughout the generations of man.

You find these early beliefs not only in the Bible but also in the writings of Philo, in the Targums, and in a number of other extra-Biblical writings.

The Targums were the Hebrew Scriptures loosely translated into Aramaic. Aramaic was the common language of the Jews both before and after Christ. Hebrew was the temple language. It is from the Aramaic Targums that we hear what the people were being taught. Here are examples:

Genesis 1:1: “From the beginning with wisdom the Memra of the Lord created and perfected the heavens and the earth.”

The Neofiti Targum actually has it this way; “From the beginning with wisdom the son of the Lord created and perfected the heavens and the earth.”

The term ‘Memra’ is the Aramaic word that translates into Greek as ‘Logos.’ It means ‘Word.’

 

More from the Targums 

Keep in view that while the Greeks used the term ‘Logos‘, the Hebrews used the term ‘Memra‘. They meant the same thing. Memra was the Jewish way of relating to the unseen God, in saying that the Most High God did all His personal communication and revelation through the one called ‘the Memra.’

Here are a few more samples from the Targums. Every time you see the term Memra, simply think Logos, or the Word, or think, ‘Jesus’ Himself.

Gen1:27 – “And the Memra of the Lord [Word of God] created the man in his own likeness; in a likeness from before the Lord he created him; male and his partner he created them.”

Gen2:8 – “And the Lord God had planted a garden in Eden from the beginning and he placed there the first Adam.” (Recall how Paul spoke of the first and the last Adam.)

Gen3:8 – “And they heard the sound of the Memra of the Lord God walking within the garden in the breeze of the day…”

Gen12:7 – “And the Memra of the Lord was revealed to Abram and said to him: ‘To your sons I will give this land.’ …”

Gen15:6 – “And Abram believed in the name of the Memra of the Lord and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”

 

 A Clear Testimony from Philo 

Now let’s consider the writings of Philo. Philo took what the Hebrews believed and translated it into the primary lingua of the time, which was Greek. Philo was contemporary with the origins of Christianity. Anyone who reads Philo will hear the same language being used by John and Paul.

As Philo was presenting the Judaism of His day into Greek, notice very carefully some of the terms he used with regard to the Words of God. (Some are Targum terms.)

The Logos, the King, Shepherd, High Priest, Covenant, Rider on the Divine Chariot, Archangel, Firstborn Son, the Beginning, the Name, He who sees, the Form, the Glory, the Shekinah, and the Messenger of Great Counsel.

There are other terms, but this gives an idea of just how very Hebraic the New Testament really is. We find some of these terms used by the apostolic writers.

But there was a statement by Philo that has caused much consternation among rabbinic Judaism. Philo wrote,

“For nothing mortal can be made in the likeness of the Most High God and Father of the Universe but only in that of the second God, who is His Logos.”

Philo was not using the expression ‘second God’ with a view to many gods, but rather in the sense of God who can and has been seen, with God who cannot be seen.

There was the belief in a noted distinction between what was called Yahweh Most High, and the lesser Yahweh, or, the Memra. This distinction had to do with God coming forth from God, which brings us back to all the many terms used to describe God who has and can be seen.

Hear it from Jesus:

“You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (Joh 14:28)

 

 

Testimony of Early Church Writers

You find much of these early Jewish concepts not only in the New Testament writings, but also in other writings of the early church believers. Here are sampling from the Ante-Nicene writings:

[Epistle to Diognetus a.d. 130] “…God Himself, who is almighty, the Creator of all things, and invisible, has sent from heaven, and placed among men, Him who is the truth, and the holy and incomprehensible Word…”

And,“As a king sends his son, who is also a king, so sent He Him; as God He sent Him; as to men He sent Him; as a Saviour He sent Him…”

[Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 30-107 a.d.] “…there is one God, who has manifested Himself by Jesus Christ His Son, who is His eternal Word…”

[Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians] “…there is but one unbegotten Being, God, even the Father; and one only-begotten Son, God, the Word and man…”

[Epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp] “Look for Christ, the Son of God; who was before time, yet appeared in time …”

I realize this may seem weighty but it helps us relate to much of what is written in the New Testament.

To believe and accept that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God is the crucial element of salvation. To believe in Him is to receive Him as your Lord and Savior.

 

The Hidden Mystery

Yes, the ancients knew there was a mystery in God that was hard to grasp. Paul often spoke of this mystery. It also gives us pause to listen to Jesus when He said,

“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory I had with You before the world was.” (John 17:5)

And again,

“What if you should see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before.” (John 6:62)

The early Jewish believers took what was commonly taught in Judaism of the day, and brought Jesus into the picture. This allows us to see how much of the ancient theology of the Jews was on course with the truth of Jesus Christ.

There is no question that the early Jewish Christians saw Jesus as the answer to what had been long believed among them. This was the ancient faith realized. And this was the mystery Paul said that contained all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

And so the Christian faith in its simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus Christ is the true religion of heaven. Does this not cause us to appreciate John 3:16, which says,

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

The bottom line is not how you wish to depict your beliefs of the godhead. Christians know there can only be one true God. We have been monotheistic from the beginning. The issue at hand is whether you have confessed and received Jesus Christ as the Son of God, your Lord and Savior.

 

Do You Have the Revelation

Peter made the confession when he said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’

How important is this revelation? Does God really have a Son? You must decide this for yourself. The religion of Islam has already decided. On the temple mount you will find these words written inside the golden dome; ‘God has no son.’ [Did you know that Islam can be identified with the antichrist religion?]

This is what the apostles wrote:

2Pe_1:17  “For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”—

 

1Jn_1:3  “What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

 

1Jn_2:22  “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”

 

1Jn_2:24  “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”

 

1Jn_4:14  “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”

 

2Jn_1:3  “Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”

 

2Jn_1:9  “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”

While you think on these things, please take time for this song…

 

 

What do you believe?

Buddy