1 Peter 1:3 Hope Secured

1 Peter 1:3 (KJV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

The hope of the Christian is lively. It is a hope that is sure and based upon certain instruments.

Our hope is not wishful. It is absolute because of two principles:

The abundant mercy of God
What mercy the Father hath bestowed upon us! He gives grace undeserved and withholds condemnation deserved. He considers us, loves us and concerns Himself with us.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
The resurrection is explained so we have no debate. His was not a spiritual resurrection or an emotional resurrection. His resurrection is not an imagination of the mind or a theoretical resurrection. His was a physical resurrection from the dead.

We have a lively hope because it is a hope based upon the love of God and death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

 

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1 Peter 1:3 Hope Secured

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James 5:1-6 Nothing But Judgment

James 5:1-6 (KJV)
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

I take it that the audience of this passage may be more literal than I once thought. In the past I saw this as preaching to the world in general and no one in particular. Certainly I did not expect this person to be in the congregation. I have changed my view. James tells us he is writing to the scattered Jews, whether converted or not, and living among the Gentiles. I see this as those various churches in the Gentile world composed, in those days, mostly of saved Jews and Gentiles but containing, too often, Judaizers – Jews claiming to be believers but trusting still in the traditions of their fathers and therefore completely lost.

These people caused one problem after another in the churches they attended. They were:

  • In the flesh
  • Did their work in the flesh and
  • In the flesh fought the Spirit of God in the church

These people can expect nothing but judgment in the last day.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 4100 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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James 5:1-6 Nothing But Judgment

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James 4:11 No Need To Speak Evil

James 4:11 (KJV)
Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

I have come to see the book of James as addressed to that diverse bunch of Christians who were Jewish by blood and prone to cling to the Old Testament law. These believers (though believers) tended to be critical of those who were not “blessed” with their Jewish heritage. James’ admonished them to stop being critical. They were to quit speaking evil of those who had less experience with the law than they.

We would do well to learn from this. There is no reason to speak evil of other believers. Their experience may be different than ours. It may be best that we keep some distance from them. We may have need to expose errors taught by them. But we do not need to speak evil of them.

 

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For this and more than 4100 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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James 4:11 No Need To Speak Evil

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James 1:1 The Twelve Scattered Tribes

James 1:1 (KJV)
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

We are taught, when studying the Word of God, to consider first of all who is the writer and to whom he is writing. This is clearly given to us as:

James, the writer
This is not the Apostle as he had been executed early in Christian history. It’s the pastor of the church in Jerusalem that wrote this letter.

The twelve scattered tribes, the reader
This is a bit tougher to discern. On first glance this looks to be strictly the dispersion, those Jews scattered both east and west due to world crises in the history of Israel. This doesn’t compute well because the New Testament is a Christian book. On the other hand it does answer why this letter seems so bent toward works.

Barnes says, “Many have supposed that James here addressed them as Jews, and that the epistle was sent to them as such. But this opinion has no probability; because:
(1) If this had been the case, he would not have been likely to begin his Epistle by saying that he was “a servant of Jesus Christ,” a name so odious to the Jews.
(2) And, if he had spoken of himself as a Christian, and had addressed his countrymen as himself a believer in Jesus as the Messiah, though regarding them as Jews, it is incredible that he did not make a more distinct reference to the principles of the Christian religion; that he used no arguments to convince them that Jesus was the Messiah; that he did not attempt to convert them to the   faith.
It should be added, that at first most converts were made from those who had been trained in the Jewish faith, and it is not improbable that one in Jerusalem, addressing those who were Christians out of Palestine, would naturally think of them as of Jewish origin…”

I prefer Clarkes’ thoughts on this subject, “To the Jews, whether converted to Christianity or not, who lived out of Judea, and sojourned among the Gentiles for the purpose of trade or commerce. At this time there were Jews partly traveling, partly sojourning, and partly resident in most parts of the civilized world; particularly in Asia, Greece, Egypt, and Italy. I see no reason for restricting it to Jewish believers only; it was sent to all whom it might concern, but particularly to those who had received the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ;”

 

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For this and more than 4100 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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James 1:1 The Twelve Scattered Tribes

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Hebrews 13:3 Those In Bonds

Hebrews 13:3 (KJV)
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

It was a difficult time in which the Apostle penned these words. Christians were likely to be in prison or worse for their faith in Christ. Many of the early saints were in the bondage of slavery. Paul said those that were not in bonds should remember those in bondage as being with them. Gill says that’s because they, as Christians, were liable of the same convictions.

Other believers were suffering affliction of one sort or another. There would have been those physical afflictions that were common to the day and a further sort of affliction that was due to the hardships of persecution. Paul urged those not so afflicted to remember them as in the same body.

Our times have been much less challenging for Christians. That seems to be changing quickly. The sentiment of the ungodly has taken root so deeply that to believe in Judeo/Christian values, especially to hold a fundamental view of the Bible, is attacked on very many fronts. To personally know Christians in bondage to the legal system or suffering financially due to their Christian business practices will likely become more common.

Paul urges us not to:

  • Judge them 
  • Condemn them or 
  • Shun them 

but to:

  • Remember them
  • Help them when we can and 
  • Pray for them 

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 4000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Hebrews 13:3 Those In Bonds

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Hebrews 12:1 The Key Is To Run The Race

Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

The New Testament frequently employs the metaphor of the race to describe the Christian life. In this case there are three lessons drawn:

First, we have an audience
I was on my high school track team a couple of years. There is a group who comes to watch the events but the majority of our spectators were fellow athletes; those who had run or were just about to. This is the same in the Christian life. Those in eternity are called a great cloud of witnesses. The passage does not mention them but we know there is a younger generation watching us.

Second, we run this race patiently
It’s a long distance course, not a sprint. A few of the more notables in the Christian world would do well to see it that way.

Thirdly, it is set differently for each of us
It’s going to play out uniquely for every one of us. We are:

  • Wired differently
  • Gifted differently
  • Situated differently and

have different advantages and disadvantages than others. The course can look exactly the same and still be a completely different race for everyone on it.

The key is to run the race. Run it faithfully, run it unhindered by sin.

The Race of Life – A Poem by Marvin McKenzie

To my readers:
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For this and more than 4000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Hebrews 12:1 The Key Is To Run The Race

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Hebrews 6:10-12 Diligence Is The Desire of God’s Word

Hebrews 6:10-12 (KJV)
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

The desire of God’s Word is that no Christian be slothful in our spiritual labor. The desire is rather that we are diligent.

  • It is not a command
  • It is not a requirement

It is a desire.

Diligence does not save us. That is the result of the promise of God, secured with His oath. Diligence is the heart’s desire of faithful Christians because it is our only measure of another’s faith. I can only hope another is saved. I base my hope in their testimony and by their life for God. If the life doesn’t measure up to their oral testimony I am left with doubts and the concern that they might not be truly saved.

Don’t blame a Christian for wishing you would live for God. He is merely reflecting the concern of the Bible and care for you.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 4000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Hebrews 6:10-12 Diligence Is The Desire of God’s Word

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Hebrews 11:1 Not Everything We Hope For

Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Many years ago I read a book on Abraham and his faith. This book drew much attention to the object of faith. Faith is only as good as the object in which we place it.

  • We climb into our cars believing they will get us to and from our destination. Sometimes they don’t.
  • We board aircraft believing they will safely land in our desired port. Sometimes they don’t.
  • We sit in a chair believing them to be able to hold our weight. Sometimes they aren’t.

Faith in God is the only sure faith because only God is perfectly sure.

I suggest that the same may be said of hope. Faith is the substance of things hoped for but not of everything a man might hope for.

  • Faith will not win a lottery
  • Faith will not cure the common cold
  • Faith will not pay the bills

Faith is the substance of those things promised in the pages of the Bible. Faith is the substance of:

  • Deliverance from sin
  • Righteousness with God
  • Eternity in heaven

Faith is the substance that lends to the practice and obedience to the lessons of the Bible. This lends to the good report and leads men to accomplish great things in the name of the Lord.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 4000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Hebrews 11:1 Not Everything We Hope For

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Hebrews 10:1-3 The Thing About Law

Hebrews 10:1-3 (KJV)
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

Here is the thing about religion (and for that matter, law in general) it operates from the position of guilt. It assumes the guilt of the individual and acts accordingly. Every new rule it creates, every function it performs, is built upon the presupposition that its adherents are guilty.

Christianity operates under a different presupposition. It builds all of its teaching and activity upon the doctrine of the perfect holiness of Jesus Christ. It results in a different outcome in the conscience. The adherents of religious law are reminded of their sins time and time again. They can never have a free conscience lest their liberty turn to license. The followers of Christ live perfectly free of guilt because they are confident, not in themselves, but in Jesus.

I know that in my flesh I am not perfect. But I am sure in my spirit that Christ is and He has my case handled.

To my readers:
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For this and more than 4000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Hebrews 10:1-3 The Thing About Law

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Hebrews 9:5 When Best To Be Quiet

Hebrews 9:5 (KJV)
And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

Hebrews 9:8 (KJV)
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:

There is a reason some things are not as clear as we might wish they were. God has never intended to explain everything to us. Sometimes the lesson is in the lack of information.

I appreciate that the Apostle did not attempt to speak about that which he could not speak. He learned the lesson and moved on to those things about which we do have good and complete information. Great spiritual harm happens when would be prophets claim knowledge that has no Biblical support:

  • Doctrines concerning spiritual warfare
  • Lessons having to do with speaking in tongues or other spiritual gifts even
  • Expositions on the Holy Spirit Himself

that reach beyond the parameters of Biblical truth are a small example of those subjects that some have presumed to teach and preach when they should have said they could not now speak particularly.

Younger preachers would do well to exercise this practice themselves and admit they are not yet ready to speak particularly on certain subjects. Spurgeon taught young preachers to avoid controversial subjects. Too many young preachers of our day arrogantly venture into territory they have no particular knowledge, training or experience in. I understand that Christians of the first several centuries called their pastors from among their seniors. The Word of God cautions that they should not be novices.

Bottom line  if you cannot speak particularly on a subject, admit it and move on.

To my readers:
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For this and more than 4000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Hebrews 9:5 When Best To Be Quiet

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