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Holiness – Set Apart

“And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him;

and they were full of eyes within:

and they rest not day and night, saying,

Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty,

which was, and is, and is to come.” Revelation 4:8

We are to be holy or “set apart” unto the Lord. We are not to be conformed to this evil world. When we choose not to try and live holy as He is holy, the Holy Spirit within us convicts us and we cannot be happy and experience the joy of the Lord. What a sad way to live. Holiness is the character of God and the code for our Christian conduct. Our KJV Scriptures show us the holiness of God and express God’s desire for His children to develop a similar holiness:

Exodus 19:6 – “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” Leviticus 11:44, 45 – “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 19:1, 2 – “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15 – “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;”

The word holiness has several different meanings. In terms of our individual relationship to God, it means “set apart.” God is the “wholly other” or totally different One, unlike any other. Holiness also describes a way to live. Christians are called to live according to a different set of principles and standards than the ungodly world–to lead a pure life in accordance with God’s call, commandments, and consequences. This “set apart” life of righteousness is of God and from God. 1 Corinthians 1:2 – “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:” 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17 – “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” And let us not forget what the word Christian means – to be Christ-like. These days, that word gets thrown around very loosely so that many do not take it as seriously as it is meant to be. The world looks at many of today’s so-called Christians and laughs at them, saying, “If that is Christianity, I want no part of it.” So many think it is okay to live with one foot in the world and the other in the Kingdom of Heaven because so many of today’s feel-good churches teach them that they can do whatever they want because God loves them. Yes God loves us, but He hates our sin, and if we say we are Christian and continue in any sin, we have broken fellowship with our Lord. And we have ruined our testimony for Him in the eyes of this world. A holy life is a life that always chooses to do what God desires, just as Jesus did when He came here from Heaven and lived a holy life as an example for us.

Obedient believers are instructed to NO LONGER be conformed to their old desires and patterns of thinking and behaving 1 Peter 1:13-16 – “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” We see over and over in God’s Word that we are to be holy, as He is holy. The conforming to a life of holiness, however, requires more than the “will” of a person to “change.” It is the work of the Holy Spirit made possible through Christ’s death on the cross. So if we are putting substances in our bodies that affect our minds, we are numbing that Holy Spirit. That is when we choose to do our own thing and go the way of the world, instead of conforming our minds and hearts to the heart of Christ. How sad that the precious Holy Spirit of God gets drug through every bad choice we make.

True happiness is illustrated only in God, though the Holy Spirit empowers His children to pursue holiness 1 Thessalonians 4:7, 8 – “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.” The good news is that as we seek to be holy and invite the Holy Spirit to do His work in us, the Lord responds by cleansing us, leading us into His righteous and holy ways, and strengthening us to withstand the temptation to return to our former “ungoldly lives.”

We cannot make ourselves holy; but, if we desire to become holy and set our wills toward following the Lord, He will make us holy. The Lord never commands us to do something that He does not enable us to do Romans 4:21 – “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” God always prepares the way and provides us with His resources to accomplish His plan. The Holy Spirit is our greatest resource for living a holy life unto God. So many forget that God’s saints will live a holy life with Him in Heaven for eternity. Why not start practicing living holy unto Him now.

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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Honour and Happiness of God’s Saints

Image result for images of the martyrs near the throne of god

As I near the end of God’s Word again in Revelation, as usual, I am learning new things from Him and being reminded of things I may have forgotten.

Today Revelation 7:13-17 spoke very powerfully to me about those who will be left behind in the Rapture of God’s church, but will be brought to Salvation during the Great Tribulation. God is revealing things that will happen in the end of times to John for our knowledge and encouragement.

Here we see a description of the honour and happiness of those who have faithfully served the Lord Jesus Christ, and suffered for His Great Cause-Martyrs.

Though it is just a few short verses, there is much to glean from it. I have shared some of Matthew Henry’s commentary as it touched my soul and he puts it into words I never could. I find it encouraging as it helps me through the times when my selfish flesh wants to say, “Why bother?” after so long a time of witnessing to and praying for lost souls, and in my finite, human mind, not seeing the results I think I should see, when I think I should see them. Weeping only lasts until the morning! One day, we will stand before our Lord and be glad for anything we may have done to further His precious Gospel! Unlike these martyrs, I have not been called on to lay down my life for it. I must hope that I will trust in the Grace of God to get me through, should I ever be faced with that.

Revelation 7:13-17

13 “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” (A question asked by one of the elders, not for his own information, but for John’s instruction. Now the question has two parts:– 1. What are these that are arrayed in white robes? 2. Whence came they? It seems to be spoken by way of admiration, as in Song of Solomon 3:6 – Who is this that cometh out of the winderness!)

14 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.” (The answer returned by the apostle, in which he tacitly acknowledges his own ignorance, and sues to this elder for information: Thou knowest, Those who would gain knowledge must not be ashamed to own their ignorance, nor to desire instruction from any that are able to give it.)

“And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (The account given to the apostle concerning that noble army of martyrs who stand before the throne of God in white robes, with palms of victory in their hands: and notice is taken here of:

(1. The low and desolate state they had formerly been in, they had been in great tribulation, persecuted by men, tempted by satan, sometimes troubled in their own spirits. They had suffered the spoiling of their goods, the imprisonment of their persons, yea, the loss of life itself. The way to Heaven lies through many tribulations, but tribulation, how great soever, shall not separate us from the love of God. Tribulation, when gone through well, will make Heaven more welcome and more glorious.)

(2. The means by which they had been prepared for the great honour and happiness they now enjoyed: they had washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, Revelation 7:14. It is not the blood of the martyrs themselves nor anything the martyrs did, but the blood of the Lamb, that can wash away sin, and make the soul pure and clean in the sight of God. This is the only blood that makes the robes of the saints white and clean.)

15 “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” (The blessedness to which they are now advanced, being thus prepared for it. They are happy in their station, for they are before the throne of God night and day and He dwells among them. They are in that presence where there is fullness of joy! They are happy in their employment, for they serve God continually, and that without weakness, drowsiness, or weariness. Heaven is a state of service, though not of suffering. It is a state of rest, but not of sloth. It is a praising, delightful rest.)

16 “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.” (They are happy in their freedom from all the inconveniences of this present life: from all want and sense of want: They hunger and thirst no more, all their wants are supplied, and all the uneasiness caused thereby is removed; from all sickness and pain. They shall never be scorched by the heat of the sun any more.)

17 “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (They are happy in the love and guidance of the Lord Jesus: He shall feed them, he shall lead them to living fountains of waters, He shall put them into the possession of every thing that is pleasant and refreshing to their souls, and therefore, they shall hunger and thirst no more. They are happy in being delivered from all sorrow or occasion of it: God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. They have formerly had their sorrows, and shed many tears, both upon the account of sin and affliction. But God Himself, with his own gentle and gracious hand, will wipe those tears away, and they shall return no more for ever, and they would not have been without those tears, when God comes to wipe them away.)

(In this He deals with them as a tender Father who finds His beloved child in tears. He comforts him, He wipes his eyes, and turns his sorrow into rejoicing. This should moderate the Christian’s sorrow in his present state, and support him under all the troubles of it for those that sow in tears shall reap in joy and those that now go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again, rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.) THESE THOUGHTS ARE VERY COMFORTING TO THOSE OF US WHO SOW THE SEED AND CONTINUALLY PRAY AND WEEP FOR GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT TO ACCOMPLISH HIS WORK AND HIS WILL THROUGH OUR EFFORTS!

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2018 in God's Love

 

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All is Vanity

Towards the end of his life Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes as the “Preacher” to teach us what he had learned with all the wisdom and knowledge God blessed him with. As I read Chapter 2 this morning, I became aware of the greatest thing we can learn from him, and that is that anything and everything of this world is vanity and cannot bring true happiness. The only way to true happiness is to know and grow in our LORD and the things He teaches in His Word. I like the comments from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary for added thoughts.

Ecclesiastes 2

1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.

2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?

3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:

5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:

6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:

7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:

8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. (Solomon soon found mirth and pleasure to be vanity. What does noisy, flashy mirth towards making a man happy? The manifold devices of men’s hearts, to get satisfaction from the world, and their changing from one thing to another, are like the restlessness of a man in a fever. Perceiving it was folly to give himself to wine, he next tried the costly amusements of princes. The poor, when they read such a description, are ready to feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings is in the estimate of it all by the owner himself. All was vanity and vexation of spirit: and the same things would yield the same result to us, as to Solomon. Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. His wisdom remained with him; a strong understanding, with great human knowledge. But every earthly pleasure, when unconnected with better blessings, leaves the mind as eager and unsatisfied as before. Happiness arises not from the situation in which we are placed. It is only through Jesus Christ that final blessedness can be attained.)

12 And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.

13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.

14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.

15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.

16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.

17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Solomon found that knowledge and prudence were preferable to ignorance and folly, though human wisdom and knowledge will not make a man happy. The most learned of men, who dies a stranger to Christ Jesus, will perish equally with the most ignorant; and what good can commendations on earth do to the body in the grave, or the soul in hell? And the spirits of just men made perfect cannot want them. So that if this were all, we might be led to hate our life, as it is all vanity and vexation of spirit.)

18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.

19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.

21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?

23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.

24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?

26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Our hearts are very loth to quit their expectations of great things from the creature; but Solomon came to this at length. The world is a vale of tears, even to those that have much of it. See what fools they are, who make themselves drudges to the world, which affords a man nothing better than subsistence for the body. And the utmost he can attain in this respect is to allow himself a sober, cheerful use thereof, according to his rank and condition. But we must enjoy good in our labour; we must use those things to make us diligent and cheerful in worldly business. And this is the gift of God. Riches are a blessing or a curse to a man, according as he has, or has not, a heart to make a good use of them. To those that are accepted of the Lord, he gives joy and satisfaction in the knowledge and love of him. But to the sinner he allots labour, sorrow, vanity, and vexation, in seeking a worldly portion, which yet afterwards comes into better hands. Let the sinner seriously consider his latter end. To seek a lasting portion in the love of Christ and the blessings it bestows, is the only way to true and satisfying enjoyment even of this present world.)

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Posted by on April 25, 2017 in God's Love

 

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Reasons to Know and Cherish God’s Word

“This book (the Bible) contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. Here paradise is restored, Heaven opened and the gates of Hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object, our good is its design and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened in the judgement, and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.”

—Source Unknown

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2015 in God's Truth

 

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