Sunday, October 28, 2012

THE TABLE OF SHEWBREAD


SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE
 
In what room of the temple was the Table of Shewbread?  The Holy Place
Who was allowed to eat this bread?  The priest.
How often was the bread replaced?  Every Sabbath
Why is bread one of the objects in this important room?  Its symbolic value.
What did the Shewbread symbolize?  Jesus Christ, His Words, The Bread of Life.

How is bread beneficial in our diet? 

When you eat a healthy diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, you usually get most of the fiber you'll need, which means you'll also be lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease, diverticulitis, and constipation. Does that sound like a good reason to have fiber in your diet?

Whole wheat bread or whole oat bread, made without the added sugars and fats, is a good source of fiber.  The more calories you eat each day, the more fiber you need each day.  Most Americans have a diet which is high in calories and low in fiber.  It is a proven fact that America is full of sick people because they do not eat a proper, balanced diet. 

For thousands of years, the grains humans ate came straight from the stalk. That means they got a carbohydrate package rich in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, plant enzymes, hormones, and hundreds of other phytochemicals.
Even after we learned how to grind grain, we still got all of the goodness that grains pack in their three layers. Whole grains have a tough, fibrous outer layer called bran that protects the inside of the kernel. The interior contains mostly the starchy endosperm. Its job is to provide stored energy for the germ, the seed's reproductive kernel, which nestles inside the endosperm. The germ is rich in vitamins, minerals, and unsaturated oils.

Healthy whole grain bread is part of what makes a healthy, strong body.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Living Bread, is more essential to your spiritual strength than bread is to the body. 

Leviticus 24:1-9
1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.
3 Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the Lord continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations.
4 He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the Lord continually.
5 And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake.
6 And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the Lord.
7 And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord.
Frankincense is a fragrant gum resin used in making perfumes.
Frankincense is edible in its pure form. 

8 Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.
9 And it shall be Aaron's and his sons'; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the Lord made by fire by a perpetual statute.

The Old Testament Tabernacle was one of the most important structures ever built by man.  It had a table made of pure gold, upon which sat twelve loaves of bread.  There was a loaf of bread for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  There was bread for everyone; for all of God’s people. 

The bread in the temple was unleaven bread.  It did not have the spoiling influence of leaven.  Leaven is a Bible word used for yeast.  Yeast will cause fermentation.  The Bible refers to sin as leaven because of its characteristic nature of spreading throughout the whole body (the whole loaf).  Therefore leaven is used as a symbol for sin.  Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church of God at Corinth. 

1 Corinthians 5:6-8
6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Does your bread have leaven in it?  Does your gospel and your doctrine allow for works of sin to be mixed in with your good works? 

The value of this object lesson, using bread as a symbol of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, is so important that God commanded twelve loaves of bread be put in the Tabernacle.  Jesus Christ is not only our Passover Lamb, He is also our unleaven bread.

Exodus 25:23-30
23 Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
24 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.
25 And thou shalt make unto it a border of an hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about.
26 And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof.
27 Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table.
28 And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.
29 And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them.
30 And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway.

Why is bread one of the objects in this important room?  It is because of its symbolic value.  Whole grain bread is high in fiber.  Fiber is essential to sweep the impurities out of your colon.  A healthy colon is as important as a healthy heart.   The Gospel Bread will sweep out the harmful elements in your life. 

Exodus 35:10-16
10 And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the Lord hath commanded;
11 The tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches, and his boards, his bars, his pillars, and his sockets,
12 The ark, and the staves thereof, with the mercy seat, and the vail of the covering,
13 The table, and his staves, and all his vessels, and the shewbread,
14 The candlestick also for the light, and his furniture, and his lamps, with the oil for the light,
15 And the incense altar, and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the door at the entering in of the tabernacle,
16 The altar of burnt offering, with his brasen grate, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot,

1 Chronicles 9:32
And other of their brethren, of the sons of the Kohathites, were over the shewbread, to prepare it every sabbath.

God instructed the Israelite priests to maintain this fresh bread in the temple.  It was bread which is called “shewbread”.    The name implies that it was bread that was properly turned while baking so that it was perfectly cooked on all sides.  It was turned.  The name also implies that it was bread to be displayed, to be seen.  The prophet Hosea used the metaphor, “a cake not turned” to teach the unacceptable condition of not being cooked properly. 

Hosea 7:8, “Ephraim he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.”

If a person does not submit to the purging of the Holy Ghost fire, he will be as a “cake not turned.”  I don’t like my biscuits not cooked right on one side.  I don’t like my biscuits not done in the middle.  I like them golden brown on both sides. 

Are you a cake not turned?  Is your salvation experience like unleaven bread? 

Hebrews 9:1-9
1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.
3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

When we come to the New Testament, we continue to see the reference to the shewbread.  The symbolic value has not been omitted.  Christians must be partakers of the shewbread and representatives of the shewbread.  We must be without leaven.  We must be without the corruptible influence of sinful works. 

John 6:30-35
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Jesus is the Bread of Life and we must also bring this bread to the hungry soul. 

Every object in the Old Testament Tabernacle has its own important meaning.  Not one object was without useful symbolic meaning.  In the House of God, the Shewbread is still there.  Come and dine. 

John 6:41-51
41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
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.
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.
46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Are you bringing people to the Table of Shewbread? 
Are you a representative of that bread which came down from heaven?

Matthew 14:15-21
15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
18 He said, Bring them hither to me.
19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

Is the number twelve coincidental?  Both 12 and 7 are used to convey the meaning of perfection and completion. 
Were the people filled and satisfied with what Jesus provided?

 

Matthew 15:32-38
32 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
33 And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?
34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.
35 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.
36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
37 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.
38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.

Is the number seven coincidental?  No, it implies that there was sufficient bread for all to eat and be satisfied.
Are you filled and satisfied with what Jesus has provided?

Which symbol bests typifies your life?

A cake not turned

Or, unleaven bread

Many are hungry for the truth of the gospel.
Can you give them that Bread from heaven, which satisfies the soul? 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICK


THE SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE

The candlestick is a symbol of the universal church of God.

It represents the aggregate of all church of God congregations.

The individual candles on this candlestick represent ministers and congregations.

It is high time that ministers and congregations come together in the unity of the spirit to establish a bright light to convince the world that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world.  

As a candlestick gives light to the room, so the aggregate church of God should give light to the world. 

John 8:12.  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Matthew 5:14-16, Again as Jesus was speaking of this Light, He said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

We also have the warning that if we do not walk in the light of understanding, being obedient to the Holy Spirits revelations, Jesus will remove the light of the candlestick from us and we will walk in darkness. 

Revelation 2:1-5
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

The church of God at Ephesus had been through decades of spiritual battles and some members of the congregation had lost their “first love” by compromising the doctrine of holiness.  The Nicolaitans, which are believed to have been followers of Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch.  Nicolas is mentioned in Acts 6:5 as one of the seven men who were full of the Holy Ghost and ordained to be helpers in the congregation at Jerusalem.  When holy men of God commit sin, they go back into darkness and the light of the candle does not shine in their life.

However, there were some in Ephesus who were faithful to Christ and hated the works of the Nicolaitans.  There remained a candle in the congregation at Ephesus.  There were some whose lamp had not gone out. 

The church has no sinners in it.  A congregation is not equivalent to the church.  A congregation may have some sinners in it who attend the meeting services regularly.  These members are not part of the church which is the Body of Christ.  Those who have rebelled against God and His righteous principles and operations, need to repent; or else, He will come quickly and remove the candlestick of its place. If you do not walk in the light of truth, that light will be taken from you. 

Proverbs 20:27
“The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”

It has always been the will of God to give His light of truth to the spirit of man.  

God wants His Light to be in you to show the real you to you.

God wants His Light to so shine in you that the world may see His grace and wisdom in you and recognize that it all come from Him.   

Let us look at the origin of this important symbol. 

Exodus 25:31-40
31 And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.
32 And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side:
33 Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.
34 And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers.
35 And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick.
36 Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.
37 And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.
38 And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.
39 Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.
40 And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.

Moses was given a sober warning that he should be very careful to make the candlestick just like the pattern which God had already shown to him. Every thing relative to the Old Testament Tabernacle was designed by God.  He was the Grand Architect of the Temple, the Sanctuary which Moses made which was a type of the true Sanctuary which God created. 

Hebrews 8:1-2
1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

There are many characteristics of this literal candlestick that hold a true parallel in the anti-type of the candlestick.

It is designed and ordained by God.

It is pure as gold.

It is a vessel to receive oil.

It is a vessel which burns brightly giving light.

Zechariah 4:2-5
2 And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:
3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.
4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord?
5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.

The Golden Candlestick has seven vessels and each vessel has a conduit for receiving oil from two olive trees.

Zechariah 4:11-14
11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?
12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?
13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

The two olive trees are the Two Witnesses and the Two Anointed Ones which provide the supply of oil to the seven lamps.  Without the oil of these two Anointed Ones you will have no light.  This oil is symbolic of God’s grace which come to us through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. 

Revelation 1:10-20
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

From the Pentateuch to the Apocalypse we have a continuing lesson which teach us the truth about the type and the anti-type; the symbolic thing and the real thing.

God wants His children to understand what He has done, what He is doing and what He will do. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fasting

Fasting without prayer is a health exercise.
Fasting with prayer is a spiritual exercise.
Both are beneficial, but fasting with prayer is a much greater value.

There is one particular passage of scripture which sets before us the strong importance of prayer and fasting. 

Matthew 17:14-21
14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Jesus connects the two activities of prayer and fasting with a promise of divine power.  The disciples had prayed for the child, but they had not prepared themselves with the faith building exercise of fasting. 

Fasting provides that vital element of sacrificial consecration which builds up the child of God’s confidence in his relationship with God.  Faith is made strong by obedience.  Obedience is made strong by our humble and sacrificial denial of the desires of the flesh. 

Eating good nutritional food is necessary to our physical health and strength.  If we do not eat we will die.  We can not become so spiritual that we do not ever need to eat physical food.  However, eating good food can be such a pleasant and enjoyable experience that we become overly desirous of satisfying our sense of taste.  The desire to continually eat more than we need becomes possessive.  We begin to covet the joy of eating to the point that it damages our health and prevents us from being able to say no to the flesh.  We are no longer able to practice fasting when it is spiritually needed. 

I have heard people say “I can not fast because I am diabetic.” 

This person needs the grace of divine healing and then grace of temperance to fast. 

Both are available in the grace of full salvation. 

If the reason you have health problems is because you have not exercised yourself in temperance; then, you need to ask God to forgive you, heal you and give you grace to obey the Word of God.  Fasting strengthens your self-control. 

Galatians 5:22-24
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

You will increase and grow in temperance by the help of prayer and fasting. 

1 Corinthians 7:2-5
2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

Paul speaks to the congregation of the church of God at Corinth about the need to mutually agree to set aside the conjugal rights of marriage for a time of prayer and fasting.  It is important that you let the burden of your heart be the greatest priority of your day; taking precedent over every other fleshly/physical need and desire. 

Jeremiah 36:5-9
5 And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the Lord:
6 Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the Lord in the ears of the people in the Lord's house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.
7 It may be they will present their supplication before the Lord, and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the Lord hath pronounced against this people.
8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the Lord in the Lord's house.
9 And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the Lord to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem.

Fasting is profitable for both individuals and congregations.  God honors fasting. 

Daniel 9:3-4
3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
4 And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

Daniel needed to know the counsel of God. 
Daniel went before God with prayer and fasting. 
He received from God what he needed.

Jonah 3:4-10
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

The people of Nineveh convinced God of their sincere repentance by their consecration to prayer and fasting. 
Matthew 4:1-2
1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

If you were led of the Spirit to fast for forty days and nights, you could survive by the power and miraculous intervention of God.  Otherwise, you would physically perish. 

Matthew 15:32      I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. 
These people were so interested in hearing Jesus that they had followed Him into a desert place without any food for three days.  I wonder how many people would attend our camp meeting services if we said we were not going to serve any meals.

Would you come?

Mark 2:18-20
18 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?
19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
20 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.

They shall fast.  They will fast.  The disciples of Christ will fast in the days following His departure back to heaven.  Are you fasting for the needs in your life and the needs of others? 

Luke 18:9-14
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The hypocrite imitates the righteous, but with a proud and dishonest heart.
If the hypocrite imitates you, will he fast and pray?

Matthew 6:16
16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Jesus did not say “If you fast” but rather He said “when ye fast.”  The clear implication here is that you will fast and when you do, make sure you do it with humility and not with boasting or pride. 

Acts 10:27-33
27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

After a careful study of the scriptures referenced above, we should ask ourselves some serious questions.

How often do I fast? 
How often should I fast?
Do I fast and pray, properly, according to the instructions of God?
Am I fasting and praying as part of my resistance to Satan?
Am I fasting and praying as part of my consecration to God?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

RESPECT OF PERSONS

Respect of persons is a common sin which destroys Christian fellowship and unity.

Satan’s desire is to destroy the fellowship we have with one another and with our Lord Jesus Christ. 

1 John 1:1-7
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

So, how does Satan attack our fellowship?
He will tempt you to entertain thoughts which cause you to have “respect of persons.” 
To protect our fellowship and walk in the light of truth we must be able to recognize the sin of respect of persons.

I have become convinced that many people have respect of persons and do not know it.  They did not listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit when He warned them against certain attitudes and judgment which were the workings of Satan. 

James 2:1-9
1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
If the love of God is working in your heart; if you have the grace of salvation which influences and controls your actions and attitudes, you will have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ without respect of persons.

The words “respect of persons” comes from one Greek word: Prosoopoleempsiais

This word describes a person who is partial and has unjustifiable favoritism.  You have favoritism when you give special favors without a just cause.

Verse nine of this text says that if you have respect of person you commit sin.

To be partial is to be biased by some fact which hinders your judgment of other facts.

Example:  You don’t like tomatoes so therefore you don’t want to eat anything red fearing it has tomatoes in it. 

Homosexuality is sin, so I don’t like any man who is feminine or any woman who has manly features or actions. 

You may have racial prejudice/respect of persons because of some historical fact about that race.

You may have religious prejudice/respect of persons because of some story you have heard about people who have been part of that religion.

How many prejudice positions can you identify in your heart and mind? 

Romans 2:11 “For there is no respect of persons with God.”

2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
“ye have respect” = you have an unrighteous/indefensible  preference

4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
An evil thought of partiality came into your mind and you judged it as acceptable.   You justified partiality and respect of persons in your heart.

5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

Respect of persons is prejudice and it is sin.

Webster defines prejudice as some “injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard to their rights.  Every person has a right to be treated like God would treat them.  We must judge righteous judgment and not judge according to the outward appearance. 

Satan wants to destroy your relationship and fellowship with others.  He does not want you to obey the scripture in Hebrews 13:1, “Let brotherly love continue.”

Satan wants to instigate division, strife and gossip which are sins involving respect of persons.  Sin separates a person from God and from God’s people.  If you have respect of persons, you have separated yourself from God and God’s people.

James 3:13-18
13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Don’t skip over the requirement to live “without partiality.”

1 Timothy 5:20-21
20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
The Word of God and His ministers and apostles give frequent warnings against partiality and respect of persons.  We need to be fully aware and conscious of how partiality and respect of person can slip into our opinions and conduct. 

1 Peter 1:17
And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
When you stand before Jesus Christ, on that great day of His appearing to judge the whole world, you will give an account for every word you have spoken and every attitude you have permitted residence in your heart.   

You must guard your heart against the sin of respect of persons:

Racial/national prejudice

Social prejudice

Academic/Educational prejudice

Religious prejudice

Political prejudice

If you have respect of persons, you have committed sin.

I challenge you to examine your heart, look closely at your opinions and attitudes and see if there is any respect of persons in your life.

I challenge you to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to shine the Holy Lamp of Perfect Love upon everything you think, believe and do. 

Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.

Respect of persons is sin. 

You can not enter Heaven with sin in your heart.