The Ten Commandments In Light Of The Cross Part 5

 

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth theeExodus 20:12

Why should we honor our parents? The same reason we love, respect and honor God. Not because He is bigger and stronger than us but because He loved us enough to die for us. This is the same reason we honor our parents. If you were taken to the hospital today and the doctors told your parents you needed a kidney or liver transplant in order to live, you parents only question would be “how soon can you take mine?” Your parents would gladly give their life for you! Even though we may or may not always agree with their decisions they deserve our respect and honor just because they love us.

It breaks my heart to see children talk back and sass their parents, not just because it is rude and disrespectful though that would be reason enough to break my heart, but even more so because I know those parents love their children enough they would die for them. So please, always remember when talking to your parents always be respectful if for no other reason than they love you enough to die for you. And really, that is reason enough.

Glimpses of Grace; God is Love And Not A Pyschopath

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. Genesis 2:3

Suppose my girlfriend told me this Valentine’s day that she wanted pink roses. I may not be the brightest  Romeo in the world, but I know better than to go to the flower shop, thinking, “a rose is a rose and all roses are alike, I will just pick one. Let’s see, everyone else is getting red roses, so since it doesn’t really make any difference I will just get her a red rose. I know she asked for pink but what difference does it make?”  If I love my girlfriend I will get her the color rose she specifically mentioned. Likewise, if I really love God, I will observe the Sabbath day that He mentioned, and not just say, after He mentioned the seventh-day, that it really doesn’t matter.

Speaking of God and Valentine’s day, you know how I know that God is really love? Because He looks out for our needs instead of just thinking about Himself in our relationship with Him. If you are in a romantic relationship, or any other relationship for that matter, with a person who isolates you from your family and friends, you can be sure this is not love. It is a psychopath! Only psychopaths try to isolate you from others. Notice what God says in Genesis 2:18, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” God could have said, “I am God and I am all that Adam needs.” But that would not be a God of love. That would be a psychopath. Even God realizes He is not all that we need! God realizes we need a community, so God creates Eve so that Adam  can have a help meet, but even beyond that, Adam and Eve can now create a community. God encourages us in Hebrews 10 to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. God is love. He is healthy and not a  psycho-ego maniac. If God understands that He is not all we need, but that we also need a community, then shouldn’t we all realize that in order to be healthy, we need to be a part of a church and community, and not live our lives as hermits? Also, shouldn’t we realize too, that our loved ones need space and time with other friends too? If  our relationships are truly healthy, and motivated by love instead of ego, we will not be smothering or isolating our loved ones from others. Healthy couples and healthy families are active in their church and communities and are not jealous when the other member in the relationship has friends.  If you are involved with someone who thinks they are all you need, and isolating you from family and friends, then they are really messed up, thinking they are even greater than God. Not even God thinks He is all you need.

Glimpses of Our God; The Sabbath in Light of the Cross

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The Sabbath In Light Of The Cross

Brief overview: The Seventh-day, Saturday is God’s holy Sabbath where we are to rest from all secular work and activity. God sanctified the Sabbath day and made it Holy. See Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus, 20:8-11, Exodus 31:13, John 14:15, Revelation 14:12 

Why it is important to understand the truth about the Sabbath:

The Sabbath is the only commandment that begins with “remember” while it is also the one commandment man has forgotten. While many agnostics believe that God created us and then left us on our own, the Sabbath tells us that our Creator wants to have a relationship with us. The Sabbath also tells us who our God is. You can keep the other nine commandments and worship any god you choose. You can have no other gods before you besides television and not bow to any other god than television and so forth. The Sabbath commandment is the only commandment that tells us who the Lord is. This is why Satan wants us to forget this commandment. He wants us to forget God. He wants to be our god instead! The Sabbath is a sign that we belong to the true God, the one who died for us.

Why it is important to understand the Sabbath in light of the cross:

Satan does not want us to forget the Sabbath because he wants us to forget the law. Satan knows we are not saved by the works of the law but by grace. The Sabbath is a sign of God’s grace. We do no work on that day, demonstrating that it is not our works that sustain or save us but rather God’s work both at creation and the cross that sustain and save us. We rest on the Sabbath showing that we are resting our faith in the only One who can save us, Jesus Christ. I can imagine God walking with Adam and Eve through the garden, as He showed them all He had made for them, and the wonders of not their works but His works. Adam and Eve realized that day with God, “it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” (Psalms 100:3) Before and after the Cross the Sabbath is a sign that it is God’s work that creates and sustains us.

The Sabbath Commandment reminds us that God is our creator and we refrain from work and worldly activities on the Sabbath day as we rest our faith in God’s power to save and provide for us, instead of our own works and ability to do business and make money.

The same principle is seen in the story of Cain and Abel. In Genesis 4 we read about Abel worshiping the way God had commanded in bringing a lamb as a sacrifice. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice as the lamb God instructed him to bring pointed to Jesus: the Lamb of God who would be sacrificed for our sins. Abel, more than just worshiping as God had instructed was saying he trusted in Jesus to save him and not his own works, he was looking to the Cross. Cain’s sacrifice was refused because he did not worship the way God had instructed, and he brought his own fruit, the work of his own hands. God cannot accept our works and could not accept Cain’s works either. Only the Cross can save us.

Today, many people like Cain, try to be saved by worshiping their own way. Jesus says about them, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). Our own works and man made ways of worship will never save us.

The story goes of a little boy years ago who had built his own wooden sailboat. Tied to a string he set the boat out to sail in a nearby creek and then would use the string to reel it back in. One day the string broke and the little boat fell victim to the rapids and sailed away. Several days later the boy is window shopping downtown when he sees his boat in a toy store window. He goes inside and tells the owner, “That’s my boat in the window.” The owner of the store not sure if he should believe the young lad tells the boy he will have to purchase the boat if he wants it back.

The boy does several chores around the home and neighborhood to get the few dollars the boat costs. He returns to the store and purchases his own boat. Walking home, holding his boat close to his chest he was over heard saying, “little boat you are twice mine. First I made you, and then I bought you.” That is what Jesus is telling us through the Sabbath today. As we rest from our works on the Sabbath and put our faith in Him, He tells us, “You are twice mine. First, at creation I made you, and then at the cross I bought you.”

Further study on the Sabbath:

Which day is the Sabbath?

But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: 

For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.  Exodus 20:10, 11

 

Who was the Sabbath made for?

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:  Mark 2:27

 

Whose day is the Sabbath?

Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.  Mark 2:28

 

 

What does God call the Sabbath?                 

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words:  Isaiah 58:13

 

When is the Sabbath to be observed?

From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.   Leviticus 23:32

 

What marks the beginning of a day?

And the evening and the morning were the first day.  Genesis 1:5

 

What did Jesus do on the Sabbath?

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.  Luke 4:16

 

What else should be done on the Sabbath?

And, behold, there was a man which had [his] hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. 

And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift [it] out? 

How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Matthew 12:10-12

 

What are we to “remember” to do?

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Exodus 20:8

 

What are we to refrain from on the Sabbath?

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 

But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: 

For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.  Exodus 20:9-11 

 

Why were the Jews carried into captivity?

In those days saw I in Judah [some] treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all [manner of] burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified [against them] in the day wherein they sold victuals. 

There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 

Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing [is] this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? 

Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.  Nehemiah 13:15-18

 

What are we to learn from this?

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 

For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. 

Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.  Hebrews 4:9-11

 

What does God want us to be?

And [they that shall be] of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.  Isaiah 58:12

 

How only is this possible?

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words:  Isaiah 58:13

 

What is God’s promise?

Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].  Isaiah 58:14

Click here to study this week’s SS lesson.

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Click here for Preperation Day; The Other Forgotten Day.

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Glimpses of Our God; God the Lawgiver & Promise Giver

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:17-19

Over the last 20 plus years of my Bible Worker ministry, I have occasionally heard people try to rationalize away Matthew 5:17-19 and the whole law, by saying that Jesus did away with the law once it was fulfilled. This is where we need to exercise Isaiah 28:10 and compare other verses. In Matthew 3 Jesus goes to be baptized. In verse 15 Jesus says it is necessary to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness. After Jesus fulfilled the right of baptism did He then do away with baptism. No. In Matthew 28:19-20 He is telling the disciples to baptize. So Jesus did not do away with baptism when He fulfilled it and neither did Jesus do away with any of the law after  fulfilling the law.

For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.  Romans 13:9-10

I have also had people try to explain to me that we no longer need the commandments because now we have love. Fact is we have always had love. It is because we have love that we do not steal, kill or lie about our neighbor. When we have love we automatically fulfill the law by putting God and our family and neighbors before ourselves. Love is putting others first. The first four commandments show us how to put God first. The last six tell us how to put our family and neighbors first.

The beautiful thing is how it is all brought about. When the Lawgiver gave the commandments, He began by reminding them, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Exodus 20:2 Here the Lawgiver is reminding them that they did not free themselves from the Egyptians, but rather He freed them, while they were totally helpless. He then goes on to explain in Exodus 20 that He will free them from other gods. He will free them from adultery and murder and other sins.  So how is this brought about? The Lawgiver tells us in Exodus 19:3-5, “And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;    Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.      Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.”

Again He reminds them that they did not save themselves from the Egyptians but He did.  Likewise we will not save ourselves from the power of sin but He will. He goes on and tells us to obey His voice. My Strong’s Concordance tells me that word “obey” (shama) means to listen and be attentive. He is not demanding a legalistic obedience based on works. Many have the idea that the Old Testament is legalistic while the New Testament is about grace.  Grace is just as real in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament. God is wanting us to listen to His voice of promises! The Lawgiver goes on and says “keep my covenant.” Again, according to my Strong’s concordance, that word “keep” (shamar) means to guard or protect. Shamar is the same word used in Genesis 2:15 when Adam was told to keep the garden. Did God mean for him to obey the garden? No, He meant for him to cherish the garden. Care for it. Protect it. Also the word “covenant” is a promise. So in Exodus 19:3-5 the Lawgiver is telling us that just as He delivered the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage, He will also deliver us from spiritual bondage if we will only cherish  His promises!

Thus we find in the Old Testament the same grace we see in the New Testament. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 peter 1:4

“ God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This command is a promise. The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning.”Desire of Ages, page 311.

To study this week’s SS lesson click here. To download the SS lesson app to your phone click here.

Glimpses of Grace; Family Grace

I am writing this morning from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

One summer, when I was ten years old, I spent a week at my Grandmother Holzkamper’s house in Gentry Arkansas. My mother came to pick me up and while we were still visiting with grandma, I smarted off to my mother. My grandmother told me something that has always stayed with me. She said, “You don’t talk that way to your mother.” After that I thought she would tell me how my mom is the boss and all but she didn’t. Instead she said, “You don’t talk that way to someone who would die for you.” Wow. I had never thought of it like that.

There are power struggles even in families. I wish this were not so. I have seen family members accusing other family members of being on ego trips and being power hungry. Husbands are to be respected, not because they are “the man” or the boss. They are to be respected because they would be the last ones off the Titanic. They would die for their families.

At the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church where I serve, we don’t call pastors “reverand.” We only revere God. Yet Paul tells wives to reverence their husbands! Paul is telling wives to have more respect for their husband than a church pastor. That is because of the self sacrifing love the husband has for His family.

I am sure many times the wife has this love also for her family. Disagreements happen. That is okay. I just hope that when family members disagree, that they continue to resepct each other and remember they are arguing with someone who would die for them. Reverence that love even while disagreeing!

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. Ephesians 5:25

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5::33

The Gospel Versus Legalism

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The Gospel Versus Legalism  

 

Legalism: We make sacrifices to obtain God’s love.

 The Gospel:  God provided a sacrifice to obtain OUR love.    Romans 5:10-12:  “ For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” In pagan religions the sacrifice enables the god to love the humans, while in Christianity the cross enables the humans to love their God.

 Legalism: We keep the commandments in order to be saved.

 The Gospel: We keep the commandments because we love Jesus.  John  14:15:  “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

 Legalism: We want to get sin out of our lives because of the investigative judgment.

 The Gospel: We want to get sin out of our lives because sin crucifies Jesus.  Isaiah  53:4-6:  “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

 Legalism: We want to give our heart to Jesus today because He is coming soon.

 The Gospel: We want to give our heart to Jesus today because He loves us. 1 John 4:19:  “We love him, because he first loved us.”

 Legalism: Good behavior is motivated by a hope of reward or fear of punishment.

 The Gospel: Good behavior is motivated by our love for Jesus regardless of consequences.  2 Corinthians 5:14:  “For the love of Christ constraineth us.”

  

Legalism: God’s grace is a response to our faith.

 The Gospel: Our faith is a response to God’s grace. Ephesians 2 :8-9:  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

  

Legalism:   Me plus Christ.

 The Gospel:  NOT I, BUT CHRIST.   Galatians 2:20:  “ I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet NOT I, BUT CHRIST  liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

 Legalism: Self- centered. Obedience according to my own standards, in my own power, for my own glory.

 The Gospel: God- centered. Obedience according to God’s standards, in His power for His glory. “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:11

  

Legalism: All about pride and rewards.

 The Gospel: All about love and humility.

  

 

Galatians 5:4-6  (The Message)  “I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.”

Escape Legalism and discover the gospel at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, or a gospel loving church near you.

Read how the gospel message in the three angels message destroys the legalism of Babylon.

You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light of The Cross.

Glimpses of Grace; Oblivian

I am writing this morning from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, [so] shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.  Obadiah 1:16 

On the cross, Jesus loved you so much, that He faced going into total oblivion to save you. To save the wicked He must die the death of the wicked. He did not die the death that the righteous die, which has a hope of a resurrection, as the righteous still  die that death themselves.  Jesus calls the death with a hope of a resurrection “sleep.” See John 11:11-14. The death with no hope of a resurrection is called “death” indeed. See Hebrews 2:9.  In order for Jesus to save the wicked He must face the death of the wicked. 

When Jesus cried out, “My God My God, Why hast Thou Forsaken me” He was not asking why God had forsaken Him till Sunday morning. If that were the case Jesus would not have felt forsaken. He would have felt secure knowing the Father would resurrect Him on the first day of the week. You don’t forsake someone when you leave them for the weekend. You forsake them when you leave them forever.  

“Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” {Desire of Ages, p 753} 

There was no sense of self preservation when Jesus went to the cross for you. Tonight, January 6, at 7pm we will be having a special agape feast and communion service, led by Pastor Brad Cassell, to celebrate this agape love at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. I would like to invite you if you are in the area. If not, here you can find a church in your area of the world to celebrate God’s great grace.