Sin, faith, duty

Some think that Luke has collected three separate sayings of Jesus in Lk 17.1-10, with little connection between them. That assumes much.

Jesus might well have said these three things in this order. Even if he did not, it also assumes that Luke is clumsy.

No such assumptions are needed. There can be seen a clear connection among the three points.

  1. The business of the kingdom is forgiveness of sin, 1-4. Don’t be a cause of sin, 1-2. Be a cause of forgiveness, 3-4.
  2. For that forgiving spirit, the apostles felt the need for a greater faith, 5-6. In one sense, Jesus anticipates Nike: Just do it. Faith is to be exercised. For it to grow it must be put into action.
  3. Duty in the kingdom deserves no special praise, 7-10, but it must be done. What is this duty? Again, seeking forgiveness for all.

#Luke #faith #forgiveness #duty

Increase faith: Luke 17.5

“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’”

Luke 17.5

Perhaps impressed with the need for continued forgiveness, the Twelve ask for greater faith. The desire is a good one. It is an ancient desire, one that many feel today. Jesus gave a good reply, v. 6.

Am I waiting for greater faith in order to act? Perhaps I need to act now in order to have greater faith. Start now! Do your duty, vv. 7-10.

#votd #Luke #faith

Jan. 12. With Twenty Years of Blessings, Jacob Returns to Canaan

Gen. 30:25-33:20

After working for Laban fourteen years, Jacob was ready to establish his independence. Laban recognized that God had blessed him because of Jacob and was reluctant to let him leave. Jacob agreed to remain if Laban would allow him to take the off-colored sheep and goats for his pay, leaving the white ones for Laban.

This was agreeable to Laban, but before Jacob could remove his share of the flocks, Laban went ahead of him and removed them and gave them to his sons.

God allowed Laban’s remaining white flocks to produce more off-colored animals than white ones in order for Jacob’s flocks to increase while Laban’s flocks decreased. This was a step toward keeping His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

After a period of six years, Laban’s sons began to complain that Jacob had taken away all that was their father’s. Jacob realized that it was time for him to leave because Laban’s countenance “was not favorable toward him as before.” Jacob’s wives also felt like strangers in their father’s house.

Laban received the news three days after Jacob had fled. He pursued for seven days before coming upon Jacob. God had warned Laban in a dream not to harm Jacob.

During their confrontation, Jacob explained how he had worked twenty years for Laban. During that time, Laban had prospered, but had changed his wages numerous times. He was now ready to return home to his father’s house.

Jacob and Laban piled a heap of stones and agreed to a covenant that neither of them would cross to the other side to harm the other. Early the next morning Laban kissed his daughters and grandchildren goodbye and blessed them. He then returned home and Jacob continued toward Canaan.

As Jacob left a dangerous confrontation with his father-in-law, Laban, he faced returning to his homeland where his brother, Esau had vowed to kill him. This required a large measure of humility, penitence and careful planning on the part of Jacob.

Jacob sent goodwill messengers to Esau to prepare the way for him to meet his brother. Their report distressed him even greater. Esau was coming to meet him and had four hundred men with him. That sounded like war!

As he prayed to God for safety, Jacob reminded God of His promise. He then divided his group into two companies. Perhaps if one was attacked, the other could escape.

In seeking peace, it was customary to send a gift of appeasement to the offended person. Jacob’s gift was huge. It consisted of various groups of animals totaling more than five hundred fifty.

Angels of God had met Jacob earlier as he had begun his journey. That night was a sleepless night for him for he wrestled with a man until daybreak. This man was the manifestation of God, possibly even the Son of God. Jacob was informed that, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob but Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

As they continued their journey, they saw Esau in the distance with his four hundred men. Instead of attacking Jacob, Esau ran to him and kissed him—a gracious greeting for a long-departed brother. Time had healed his wounds and instead of seeking revenge, he forgave.

Jacob had prepared for the worse, but received the better. Esau had prospered during their twenty-year separation and refused Jacob’s gift. Upon Jacob’s insistence, he eventually accepted the animals.

After returning to Canaan, Jacob purchased a parcel of land from Hamor and settled with his family in Shechem. “Then he erected an altar there…” When we move to another location, we should follow Jacob’s example and seek a place to worship God.

#chronological-bible-study

When we felt so high and mighty

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” (Romans 15:1-3 ESV)

Мы, сильные, должны сносить немощи бессильных и не себе угождать. Каждый из нас должен угождать ближнему, во благо, к назиданию. Ибо и Христос не Себе угождал, но, как написано: злословия злословящих Тебя пали на Меня. (Римлянам 15:1-3 Russian)

Dear heavenly Father ~ thank you for this new day and the awareness of your very real presence in our lives as we voluntarily follow Jesus as Lord and Messiah. Rattle our senses so that we aware of those around us who are suffering, or just in need of a friend to help or simply have a conversation with. Please forgive us for the times when we felt we were so high and mighty that we would never stoop to suffer in order to help someone in need. Let us feel the stinging insults that our blessed Savior experienced and yet continue to forgive and serve others. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr.

Cedar Key Church

#david-binkley

You yourselves are our letter: 2 Corinthians 3.2-3

“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone, revealing that you are a letter of Christ, delivered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on stone tablets but on tablets of human hearts.”

2 Corinthians 3.2-3

How did Paul recommend himself to the Corinthians? By the converts made. His credentials consisted of the gospel in the hearts of saved men and women.

People like to have their names on university or hospital buildings. They love diplomas hanging on walls. The true measure of a servant of Christ is work done among people for salvation.

#votd #2-Corinthians #identity

Jan. 11. Jacob Begins a new Life

Gen. 28:1-30:24

Before leaving his father and mother, Jacob received a charge from Isaac. “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.” With that charge, he departed for Paden Aram to his uncle, Laban.

On the first night of his journey, Jacob used a rock for a pillow. While he slept, he dreamed of a ladder extending to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it.

The Lord stood above the ladder and made the same promise to Jacob that He had made to Abraham and Isaac. He promised that the land on which Jacob was sleeping would be given to him and to his descendants. They would be as the dust of the earth and through his seed, all families of the earth would be blessed.

Upon awakening, Jacob was in awe of what had happened. He set his stone pillow up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it and named the place Bethel.

There is no written evidence previous to this that Jacob had any awe or respect for God. However, at that point, he vowed if God would care for him that the Lord would be his God. He would also return a tenth of all that God would give him.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” It was God’s plan from the beginning for a man to have only ONE wife, but man had other ideas. God sometimes uses man’s mistakes to carry out His will. We will see a prime example of this in the life of Jacob.

Upon arriving at his destination, Jacob met a group of shepherds watering their sheep. Among them was Rachel, a daughter of his uncle, Laban. He fell in love with her and promised to work for Laban seven years for her. At the end of the seven years, in the darkness of the marriage feast with the bride veiled, Laban deceitfully gave him her older sister, Leah. Jacob, the deceiver of his father, Isaac had been deceived himself.

Being confronted with his deception, Laban explained that it was not customary for the younger daughter to marry before the older. He promised Jacob that if he would fulfill Leah’s marriage week, he would give Rachel to him for a wife also. After marrying Rachel, Jacob was required to pay for her with another seven years of labor.

God allowed Leah to bear children and caused Rachel to be barren because Jacob’s love for Rachel was greater than for Leah. Leah became the mother of Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah.

With two women sharing the same husband, as could be expected, a bitter rivalry arose between Leah and Rachel. As Sarai had done many years earlier with Hagar, Rachel gave her maid, Bilhah to Jacob to bear a child for her. In time, two sons were born to Bilhah—Dan and Naphtali.

After the birth of her fourth son, Leah was unable to bear again. As the conflict between the two sisters continued, Leah gave her maid, Zilpah to Jacob and she bore Gad and Asher. Later, Leah did bear more children. There were two more sons, Issachar and Zebulun. A daughter, Dinah was also born to Leah.

God remembered Rachel and allowed her to bear a son to Jacob. His name was Joseph. Jacob’s family then consisted of two wives, their two maids, eleven sons and one daughter.

As we continue our study, we shall see how this family shaped the events that eventually led to the virgin birth, death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God.

#chronological-bible-study

An urge to receive your grace

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 ESV)

Бо я пересвідчився, що ні смерть, ні життя, ні Анголи, ні влади, ні теперішнє, ні майбутнє, ні сили, ні вишина, ні глибина, ані інше яке створіння не зможе відлучити нас від любови Божої, яка в Христі Ісусі, Господі нашім! (римлян 8:38-39 Ukrainian)

O LORD God, my dear Heavenly Father ~ thank you for the extremely gracious mercy that you shower upon your children of faith on this new day. Influence the hearts of every sincere follower of Christ so that those on the outside will also have an urge to receive your grace. Make a mockery out of those who use human reasoning to deceive those who are wholeheartedly trusting in our Lord for eternal life. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr.

Cedar Key Church

#david-binkley

New Book

To all who have pre-ordered my latest book Restoration News and Views I sincerely apologize for the unusually long delay in getting the book from the publisher. He has run into a number of scheduling problems, but hopefully the book will be available by the time of the Freed-Hardeman University Lectures the first week of February.

If you placed an order with me last year at Polishing the Pulpit, be assured that I still have your name and address and will be sending the book to you as soon as it is available. For others who may be interested in ordering a copy, please provide me with your name and mailing address. The book consists of a collection of original essays on the restoration plea, restoration principles, and restoration personalities. It will sell for $10.00, plus S & H, but do not send any money until you receive the book.

Again, thank you for your patience.

Hugh Fulford

Jan. 10. Struggles and Rewards of Isaac’s Godly Life

Gen. 25:12-27:46

Ishmael fathered twelve sons who became the princes of twelve nations. He died at the age of one hundred thirty-seven years in the area east of Egypt toward Assyria.

Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah. After Rebekah had been barren with no children for nearly twenty years, God heard Isaac’s prayers and granted his plea. Rebekah conceived. As she felt a strong struggling within her womb, she inquired of the Lord as to why she was like that. God replied to her, “Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger.”

Esau being the firstborn son was an automatic heir of his father’s estate. Years later, the prophecy of God began to take shape as Esau came in from the field in a great state of hunger. In a time of weakness, he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentils (pea soup). This led to continued animosity between the two brothers. This animosity between their descendants continues even today.

The partiality of Isaac toward Esau and Rebekah’s toward Jacob only added fuel to the flame of contention between the brothers.

Due to a famine in Canaan, Isaac and Rebekah went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines in Gerar. God instructed Isaac to stay in the land of the Philistines instead of going farther into Egypt.

At that time, God made the same promise to Isaac that He had made to Abraham. He promised blessings and lands to him and to his descendants. His descendants would, “Multiply as the stars of heaven…and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”

God blessed Isaac with bountiful crops, flocks and servants. This produced envy among the Philistines—to the point that they filled the wells of Abraham with earth. Abimelech then said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”

After a series of moves, Isaac settled in Beersheba. Abimelech realized that God was with Isaac and came to him to make a treaty. They did swear an oath with one another and separated in peace.

As sometimes happens today, Esau’s marriage was not pleasing to his parents. He married two daughters of the Hittites, “And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah.”

It was customary for a father approaching death to make a legal transfer of his birthright/property to the eldest son. Isaac called Esau and asked that he hunt wild game and prepare for him a special meal. Rebekah overheard the conversation and instructed Jacob to kill two kids and she would prepare the special meal for his father.

The blatant lies and deception that followed were successful and Jacob received the blessing that rightfully belonged to the firstborn son. When the truth was discovered, it was too late to retract the blessing. Esau hated his brother and determined that, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” Rebekah warned Jacob of the impending danger and sent him away to her brother, Laban at Haran.

God did not condone the actions of Rebekah and Jacob, but with His foreknowledge, He used this to carry out His plan of eventually sending Jesus to save His people.

#chronological-bible-study

People who belong to Christ today

For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. (Romans 4:13-14 ESV)

Ибо не законом даровано Аврааму, или семени его, обетование–быть наследником мира, но праведностью веры. Если утверждающиеся на законе суть наследники, то тщетна вера, бездейственно обетование; (Римлянам 4:13-14 Russian)

Dear Heavenly Father, the God of Abraham, Christ’s chosen apostles and everyone who walks in the same obedient manner of faith as our spiritual ancestors. Teach us by your blessed Spirit inspired word – that people who belong to Christ today are those who trust and obey your instructions. Open the eyes of Christians today so we all agree that true Israel consists of those who walk by faith in the one blessed Messiah of Jews and Gentiles. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr.

Cedar Key Church

#david-binkley

As long as I live: Psalm 146.2

“I will praise the Lord as long as I live! I will sing praises to my God as long as I exist!”

Psalm 146.2

Man is concerned with how long he can live. God’s people are concerned with praising and fear him for as long as they live. One’s life may be long, but futile.

People in the world’s “Blue Zones” live longer, so there is great interest in what they do to love so long. People in God’s Kingdom have eternal life. How interested are you in it?

#votd #Psalms #eternal-life

Jan. 9. Concluding Events of Abraham’s Life

Gen. 23:1-25:11

Thirty-seven years after the birth of Isaac, Sarah died at the age of one hundred twenty-seven years in Hebron in the land of Canaan. Abraham purchased property containing a cave in the field of Machpelah at Hebron for a family burial place.

Our customs of dating and courtship are much different than during the time of Isaac. Through God’s providence, Abraham sent his top-ranking servant back to his home country of Mesopotamia and to his father’s house to select a wife for his son. From this selection process, Rebekah, a granddaughter of Abraham’s brother, Nahor became Isaac’s wife.

Concubines were a part of many family structures during this period of the earth’s history. A concubine or mistress was a woman of recognized social status below that of a wife in a household. Men, including Abraham fathered children by their concubines.

Abraham married Keturah and she bore him six other sons. Since Isaac was the son of promise, he received all of Abraham’s possessions except for some token gifts given to the sons of his concubines. Abraham sent those other sons away from Isaac before dying at one hundred seventy-five years.

In a rare occasion of cooperation, Isaac and Ishmael buried their father, Abraham in the cave of Machpelah with his wife, Sarah.

#chronological-bible-study

To live as pilgrims

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. (Hebrews 11:8-10 ESV)

Верою Авраам повиновался призванию идти в страну, которую имел получить в наследие, и пошел, не зная, куда идет. Верою обитал он на земле обетованной, как на чужой, и жил в шатрах с Исааком и Иаковом, сонаследниками того же обетования; ибо он ожидал города, имеющего основание, которого художник и строитель Бог. (Евреям 11:8-10 Russian)

O LORD my God, blessed and most holy Father in heaven ~ accept our prayers of thanksgiving from believers around the world as we lift our hearts and voices in praise of your magnificent plan of salvation that requires our faithful participation with your Son whom we also love. Help us to emulate the faith of Abraham and the apostles. Let our will be in agreement with your will. Give us peace of mind to live as pilgrims, with our heart set upon your beautiful promises that are realized in wholehearted service to Christ as Lord in your blessed church. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

** Please forgive me for not being able to get my WORD message out yesterday (Monday). It hurts me to no end when this happens. We had our urgent work to accomplish for Mt. Dora Children’s Home yesterday that took us most of the day.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church

#david-binkley

To us who are being saved: 1 Corinthians 1.18

“For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

1 Corinthians 1.18

Salvation has three tenses: past, present, and future. Paul says we are being saved. God continues to preserve us and save us from temptation, from the power of sin, from the wiles of Satan.

We have need of constant vigilance. This is not a reason for worry, but for peace of mind, because God’s power is more than sufficient. How am I trusting in God to save today?

#votd #1-Corinthians #salvation

Jan. 8. Isaac Born and “Sacrificed”

Gen. 20:1-22:19

Abraham moved from Mamre southward to Gerar to make his home. Soon afterwards, Isaac, the promised child was born when Abraham was one hundred and Sarah was ninety years of age.

When the time came for Isaac to be weaned (at 2 to 3 years of age), Abraham made a great feast, which was customary at that time. Ishmael, who was 14 or 15 years old, began scoffing. Nothing was recorded about what he did or said, but Sarah was most upset. She demanded that Abraham cast “this bondwoman (Hagar) and her son” out of the family; “for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.” (Paul used this incident as an allegory in his letter to the Galatian church to illustrate the inferiority of the Law of Moses to the New Testament law of Christ. See Gal. 4:21-31.)

Casting out Hagar and her son was difficult for Abraham, for Ishmael was his first-born son. God, however, in His providence instructed him to follow Sarah’s wishes, “for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.”

As they wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba, their food and water being depleted, Hagar and Ishmael prepared to die. God, as He had promised Abraham intervened and they survived. Hagar, an Egyptian native found a wife for Ishmael in the land of Egypt.

After several years, God called Abraham for a test of his faith. He instructed him to take Isaac, his only son (heir) and offer him as a burnt offering.

Without faith, Abraham could have reasoned that God had promised him that great things would be done through Isaac. If he were to offer him as a burnt sacrifice, this could not happen and therefore, refused to obey the command of God.

Abraham’s statements, “The lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you” and “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” show the deep faith that he had in God and His promises. He believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead, which He did in a figurative sense.

#chronological-bible-study