Meditations from Job 13

Part of the challenge of reading Job is that Job contains dialogue with three of his friends who don’t know about chapters 1 and 2. These three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar (how would you like to have one of those names?) come and offer counsel to Job. The challenge is that these guys say some true things but they are wrongly applying them to Job, therefore, they are wrong. Now, that alone is a sermon in itself, dealing with falsely applying things to people when we have misread the situation. But I digress.

What is not so challenging is hearing the honest questions, challenges and appeals that Job makes in his dialogue with his friends and the Father.

In chapter 13, Job has some harsh things to say about his friends counsel such as, “As for you, you whitewash with lies; worthless physicians are you all”, and “Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom!”, and “Will you speak falsely for God and speak deceitfully for him?” Ouch!

Do folks say that about your counsel? Do folks run when they see you coming because you wear them out with your words rather than equip them? Are you rightly representing the Lord’s case for yourself and others? Just a side thought.

With Job’s dialogue he makes for more than we can deal with in this post, so let me point you to Job 13:15.

“Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.”

Here are some observations for your meditation:

1. Job continues his correct conclusion that in spite of Satan’s role, the Lord is the one who is in charge of his hardship, therefore, Job can continue to hope in the good justice and mercy of the Lord. (See chapters 1 and 2 and read them carefully and remember that the author is inspired, speaking from the Lord as carried along by the Spirit and the text is inerrant).

Hardship is not to take us away from the Lord but intended to drive us to the Lord and find him to be secure and an ever-present help in a time of need. Hardship helps to grow our trust in the Lord. Hardship, even if by Satan’s had, is passed through the sovereign and good grace of God for your good and his glory. Take courage!

2. My hope is not contingent on how easy or hard things are. My hope is built on the foundation of the nature and character of Father, Son and Spirit. My hope is in the Lord alone and not on anything else. So, even if the world should implode, my hope cannot be shaken because our great God cannot be shaken. Take courage!

3. Job continues to approach the Father in face-to-face prayer. Job’s hope in the Lord led to his continual coming to the Lord. We are invited to come boldly to the throne of grace to find help in our need. Take hope in the purchased gift of the Gospel of coming to the Lord with no fear of being cast out, rather being embraced and treated as a son or daughter.

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Abraham part 2

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament

Hebrews 11:17-19; Genesis 12, 14, 15, 18

Abraham

Sitting as a banner over Gospel Faith in the OT is Romans 3:21-26 in which God in his grace and mercy passed over the sins these saints committed looking forward to the day he would send his sin to die in their place for their sin and execute justice and judgment for their sin on his Son so that he could pass over their sin and treat them as his sons and daughters. This is the banner over the faith of these saints in the OT.

Last time we visited Abraham it was in the context of our baby dedication and we focused on some aspects of Abraham looking to the work of the Gospel in salvation.

Today, we’ll wrap up Abraham by looking to how Abraham’s saving faith affected his actions.

Romans 4:3, cited from Genesis 15:6 “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

Being saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is a glorious work of Father, Son and Spirit. But our salvation does not end at our conversion. Salvation sets our feet on the rock and the “narrow path” of following Jesus that begins to shape our decision-making and our actions.

How did the grace of faith affect Abraham’s actions? How does grace of faith affect your actions?

1. Abraham risked his security and followed the Lord’s call without a clear end in sight

Genesis 12:1-9

Abraham set out to go to the place where the Lord called him without fear of the end because his heart was changed

A. Abraham did not receive what was promised. He died still looking for the promise.

Success in our day is usually measured by end results. The only problem with that is that end results don’t measure success in God’s economy. Success in God’s economy is obedience.

1. 1 Samuel 15:22-23

B. Father did not hang the success of the global scope of the Gospel on Abraham’s success.

Father hung the success of the global scope of the Gospel on his own capable shoulders and in grace included Abraham to receive blessing (family inclusion) in Father’s kindness to him. We are the same.

1. Just obey the Scriptures (whatever the cost)

2. Discern the call of Father on your life and risk all to obey that calling (vocation)

a. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old

he will not depart from it.”

3. Practice repentance

2. Abraham entrusted his advancement to the Lord in not receiving resources but offering resources Genesis 14:17-24

Abraham did not hang the mission on what he could gather up but he hung the mission on the supernatural work of God

“I have lifted my hand to God”

A. Abraham gave tithes before tithes were law.

1. You and I don’t advance in the mission by gathering. We advance in the mission by

giving.

a. Proverbs 11:24 “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds

what he should give, and only suffers want.”

1. We are to be conduits of blessing not cul-de-sacs of hoarding

2. We are to be givers not takers

3. Abraham, by God’s grace, trusted in the long-term providence of God to be good to him

Genesis 15:1-20

A. Abraham was building a legacy (something handed down) that was deeper than his own existence

1. Don’t just make decisions that rescue you today. Take action that reflects the

legacy that will come long after you based on who you are and what you are

doing.

B. Abraham was one link in a long chain of God’s grace going global but he was a link that

mattered

1. Build for long after you are dead.

2. Know that you are just one link in a long chain, but your link matters, so live like

you daily work in the Lord matters.

3. Be faithful to the mission, even if you don’t see the end of it in your days.

4. Abraham had face to face communion with the Lord and asked for bold Gospel grace to sinners that they might repent

Genesis 18:1-21

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Hebrews 11:17-22

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament

Hebrews 11:17-22

The Patriarchs and Joseph

 

My mission, as we turn back toward Hebrews 11 and Gospel Faith in the Old Testament, is to encourage you to persevere in faithfulness to Father, Son and Spirit and hold the Gospel high in spite of circumstances you may perceive to be gigantic.

 

I don’t have 3 easy steps for you to take in order to make some magic happen for you today.

 

What I do offer you is the reality of the providence of Father, Son and Spirit that guides his people and promises that he will work for his glory and our good come what may.

 

He will never sacrifice his glory for my good and he will never sacrifice my good for his glory. Father is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

 

So, I offer you not a pragmatic solution to todays challenge. But I do offer you a glimpse at the working of the King of the universe in order that you may be encouraged to run with endurance the race that is set before you, looking to Jesus, the found and perfecter of our faith.

 

Faith is not dependent on the recipient of the faith nor does the recipient of the faith create their faith. Rather, in the providence of God, faith is given, sustained and enacted to accomplish divine ends so that our days can be filled with transcendent purpose and complete joy. – Jolly

 

Providence:

God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that (1) he keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them (2) he cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do (3) he directs them to fulfill his purposes. – Wayne Grudem

 

 

The writer of Hebrews did not write this letter to the struggling Hebrew Christians under severe persecution in order to exhort them to conjure up some fake optimism that would give solace to their tortured souls. Nor did he write this letter to tell them to buck up and get it done.

 

The writer of Hebrews wrote to haggard people who have had their property plundered and some had been thrown into prison because they had believed the Gospel.

 

The writer of Hebrews wrote to the Lord’s people in order to encourage them that Jesus is better than life and that to turn back from following Jesus, even to death, was catastrophic for them because it was destructive to the glory of God in Jesus Christ. By turning back they communicated something to the unbelieving eyes that wondered.

 

The writer of Hebrews writes to encourage the Christians to persevere in following Jesus as their great God and high priest and he gives them examples of fallen men and women who have been known for their flaws and their obedience to the Lord.

 

It is vital to understand Hebrews 11 and the faithful mentioned in the full light of Hebrews 12:1-2.

 

Hebrews 12:1-2

 

1. These faithful are witnesses to the saving power of the Gospel because they trusted in Jesus.

 

2. These faithful remind us that we must throw aside all things that weigh us down and run toward Jesus imitating Jesus.

 

We understand that there are things that will seek to weigh us down and we will be weighed down at times. It’s normal. We are fallen creatures. We must, by God’s grace, repent and run after Jesus.

 

3. These faithful remind us that Jesus saves flawed people who don’t see the big picture in focus. They just obey as best they can what is in front of them, and Father uses those flawed people for his glory and their great joy.

 

Remember, Jesus didn’t save you because you were good to make you a better you. Jesus saved you because you were dead and he had mercy on you to pluck you up from a torrent of destruction caused by the fall and he set you on the solid ground of the Gospel in love. Greater things than these you will do now because Jesus has gone to the Father and sent the Spirit to dwell in you. It is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God. Not of works so that no one will boast.

 

4. These faithful remind us that we are to imitate who they were imitating, namely, Jesus.

 

Philippians 2:1-11

 

5. These faithful remind us that Father will transform and give purpose anyone who will believe, trust and obey.

 

6. These faithful remind us that this room is full of people whose lives are full of eternal significance in the Gospel.

 

You were made to glory in Father, Son and Spirit, and your life is bigger than your current challenge or struggle or success. You were made for Gospel purpose.

 

Jerry Bridges used the illustration of a tapestry large and ornate as the life of a Christian. The front of the tapestry, full of detail and brilliant design, is the redeemed life completed in Christ. The back of the tapestry, confusing and jumbled and lacking any sort of obvious order, is the process of making us like Christ. Although the daily existence of following the Lord may seem confusing and having no sense the reality is that Father is weaving your existence together for grand Gospel purposes far beyond what you can imagine in eternal Gospel purposes.

 

So, don’t be discouraged with the apparent set backs and inability to see the end just yet.

 

Be encouraged. Repent of sin. Obey in the moment. He will work for his glory and your good.

 

Hebrews 11:17-22

Let’s take a look at how four flawed men obeyed and were counted faithful and how Father worked for his glory and their good.

 

Abraham

Genesis 22:1-10

Abraham offered up Isaac, the promised son, because he believed that Father could raise the dead. Abraham, in faith, served as a type of what was to come in Father sending Son so that Father could kill Son for Abraham’s sake and raise him from the dead. Abraham, in faith, served us in pointing us to the reality of the Gospel.

 

Did Abraham know the full magnitude of what was happening around him in redemptive history? Did Abraham know fully what was swirling around him in world history? Abraham probably had no clue.

 

What Abraham did know was that he was led to this place by Father and that he was compelled to obey Father as Father was working something better for him and us (Hebrews 11:39-40).

 

Isaac

Genesis 27:1-45

Isaac spoke prophetic blessing on his children as an instrument of Father’s good and sovereign decision-making.

 

Did Isaac decide that the older would serve the younger?

 

“And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—“ (Romans 9:10; Romans 9:11 ESV)

 

Did Isaac know that there was a proclamation going out to the whole world about the divine prerogative of Father in redeeming his fallen world and bringing justice to the world in order to show the magnitude and grandeur of who Father, Son and Spirit is to all of creation so that Father, Son and Spirit would be all in all?

 

Isaac probably did not get the magnitude of what he was involved in. What Isaac did know is that he was brought to this place, even through trickery at the hands of Jacob, so that Isaac would obey and trust Father was working something better for him and us (Hebrews 11:39-40)

 

Jacob

Genesis 48

Jacob blessed his sons as he bowed on his staff in worship before he died. Jacob spoke prophetically, as did Isaac, about the coming of one from whose hand the “scepter” would not depart. Jacob spoke of the coming Messiah who would rule all of Israel (all those of the faith of Abraham from all nations) well.

 

Did Jacob know the grandeur of the Kingdom he spoke of? Jacob probably did not fully comprehend the magnitude of what he was involved in.

 

What Jacob did know was that he was worshiping his deliverer and King in trust that Father had a plan for his boys in preserving them through the famine by the hand of his supposed lost son Joseph that the Lord had sent to Egypt to prepare a place of salvation for them.

 

Joseph

Genesis 37-50

Genesis 47:31-49

Joseph, at the end of his days, spoke in faith about the coming time when the Lord would deliver his people from a slavery they did not know they were going to be in through a magnificent even he could not even fathom and gave instructions that, though in bones only, should be part of the event so that even in death there would be a win for God, for him and God’s people.

 

Did Joseph know the magnitude of the Gospel event he spoke about? He probably did not have a clue to the grandeur of the event he spoke about in faith. What Joseph did know is that Father was faithful and wasted no hurt and no event and that the Lord was faithful and completely able to rescue his people through means larger than life itself.

 

Some observations.

 

1. If you have believed the Gospel, Father is a work in your life in ways you can’t even begin to imagine for supreme good in spite of what you perceive and know.

 

“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense but trust him for his grace. Behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.” – William Cowper, God Moves in a Mysterious Way

 

2. The saints mentioned in Scripture are not our role models, rather, they are fellow aliens and strangers in this world who have sought to imitate Jesus and failed because they are flawed and have been sustained anyway because of Father’s grace and the glory of Father at stake in their salvation.

 

3. We imitate these saints only to the extent that they imitate Father, Son and Spirit well and we learn from their failures what NOT to do.

 

4. We learn that the success of the mission of God is not dependent on his saints; rather, we learn that the success of the mission is a forgone conclusion and our participation in that mission is grace, kindness and a great journey of joy in spite of difficulty.

 

Are you not glad that the future of our nation and advance of the Gospel is not dependent on your vote in November?

 

This is not a fatalist position. Father is at work in you and in cooperation with you but he is not wringing his hands with the hope of the world leaning in you and I. We have a part, but our part is not determining the outcome of redemptive history. The end is never in question.

 

Even if we disobey and rebel, Father will get the end done and we will miss the joy and knowledge of Father working in and through us.

 

5. We learn that Father does not operate by the fallen means of this present world, rather, Father operates by his chosen ends and means and often our behavior will baffle the casual observer of our lives.

A. Liberal givers of resources rather than hoarders of resources

B. People willing to die for the Gospel rather than people scattering to preserve their lives

C. People willing to submit to cruel authority over us so that they may hear the Gospel

 

6. We learn that the life of faith is one that looks forward to the success of the mission and lives life now based on the mission’s success not our personal success.

 

7. We learn that the life of faith is not individual only, rather, the life of faith is one that is linked to each other in the Gospel and together we are made holy.

 

These people’s lives were linked together in the Gospel and Father is building his church through them and us to the completion of the Great Commission and the coming of the Kingdom.

 

Be encouraged. Repent of sin. Obey in the moment. He will work for his glory and your good. 

Helping Children to Understand the Gospel: Part 5

What are the evidences of saving faith and how can I harvest the fruit of transformation?

(Some of the below information has been gleaned from “Helping Children to Understand the Gospel” by www.childrendesringgod.org and other portions have been added by the author, therefore, not everything below is the writing of this author)

Mark 9:42; Luke 17:1-2; Matthew 18:1-6 (care must be taken to not cause one to fall into sin or stumble or that person who causes the sin and stumbling will be held capitally responsible)

 

Mark 10:13-16 (Jesus desire that the children not be hindered from coming to him)

 

 

– Becoming a Christian involves understanding the reality of the Gospel, turning away from unbelief and the rebellion and turning to Jesus in repentance and faith. The key parts of this are repentance and faith.

 

– It is best to understand becoming a Christian as a process rather than event. Even though there is a moment of initial belief, there were glorious and amazing and miraculous events at work leading up to that moment.

 

– Perhaps that moment was earth-shaking and emotional. Perhaps that moment was not so earth-shaking and emotional but rather a quiet moment. Either way, what led to that moment is as miraculous as that moment itself.

 

– I believe it’s vital to understand that there is a process in play here in the work of the Gospel that we can’t ignore in the lives of our children.

 

– We desperately don’t want to get in the way of that. Rather we want to help that process along properly as parents and RK workers.

 

– Each day and each conversation and each RK day and each Sunday sermon is another link in the chain of this process that leads to that moment of realization.

 

– If we pay attention to the Scriptures and put them together there is a process that Father, Son and Spirit is working and the astute evangelist pays attention to this.

 

1. Election (Romans 8:28-30; Romans 9:11-13; Ephesians 1:4-6; 1 Thess 1:4-5; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Peter 1:1; Rev 13:7-8; Rev 17:8; some 24 times Jesus refers to his people as “the elect”)

2. Gospel Call

3. Regeneration (being born again)

4. Conversion (faith and repentance)

5. Justification (right legal standing)

6. Adoption (membership in God’s family)

7. Sanctification (right conduct in life)

8. Perseverance (remaining a Christian)

9. Death (going to be with the Lord)

10. Glorification (receiving a resurrection body)

 

So, what are some “guide stones” that we can look for in knowing our child has been made ready to make that self-denying profession to follow after Jesus? How can we be a co-laborer with the work of the Gospel rather than a stumbling block?

 

1. Does he/she understand the Gospel so that they can articulate it in their own words?

A. Do they understand the work of justification (even if they don’t know the word)?

 

2. Is there a strong conviction of what sin is and that it’s not good and a desire to turn from sin?

A. Do they understand the rebellion in the Garden?

B. Do they understand that they are a rebel and guilty along with our parents

(Adam and Eve)

 

3. Is there a real love for Jesus and a desire to obey his word?

A. Do they want to know more about who Father is?

B. Is there a growing desire for the Scriptures (have you cultivated that)

 

4. Is there a persevering love of Jesus (John 3:16 uses a present tense verb meaning “whoever continues believing in me”)

A. Do they want to keep following Jesus even after following Jesus cost them something

Example: treating someone kind when they have not been treated kind etc.

 

5. Is there a witness of the Holy Spirit in the child’s soul?

A. Romans 8:15-16

1. The is the part in which the Spirit counsels the soul to be at rest in the reality

that it has been rescued and is secure and God truly is “Father”

a. Galatians 4:4-5

b. Ephesians 1:13-14

1. This requires discernment

2. This requires knowing Holy Spirit’s witnessing work in yourself

3. This requires cultivation of your child’s soul

 

6. Do you see the “fruit of the Spirit”?

A. Galatians 5:22

1. Note the subject verb agreement. “fruit is” not “fruits are” then a list of “fruit”.

The point seems to be that with indwelling Holy Spirit there is a cultivation of

all of this fruit in some degree or another.

a. Love

b. Joy

c. Peace (peace toward God and man not necessarily peace about doing

hard things)

d. Patience

e. Kindness

f. Goodness

g. Faithfulness

h. Gentleness

i. Self-control

 

7. Is there a pattern of spiritual growth?

A. 2 Peter 1:5-10

1. Peter exhorts Christians not merely to confess faith in Christ but actually to live

as he taught. He is not saying that works are a prerequisite for salvation but rather is

arguing that faith must take concrete form in life. All virtues listed in v. 5-7 are

results of faith, so faith is listed first, while love, being the ultimate result of faith,

is listed last.

a. Faith

b. Virtue (high moral standards)

c. Knowledge

d. Self-control

e. Steadfastness

f. Godliness

g. Brotherly affection

h. Love

(these 7 points were taken from “Helping Children to Understand the Gospel” and the developing thoughts are the work of this author)

Conclusion

Remember, you are a priest; therefore you have the capacity to discern these realities and receive the fruit of your child’s salvation.

 

1. Keep a journal of what the Lord is doing in your child’s life

2. Keep the RK resources we send you home with

3. Read the bible to you children and get them a bible they can read

4. When your children ask spiritual questions be eager to have those conversations

5. Don’t discourage belief and reception of the Gospel (if they say they are a Christian when young, go with it and disciple them as they are)

6. Don’t encourage belief early just to satisfy your fears and desire to have your conscience clean

7. Be sensitive to Holy Spirit

8. When you are satisfied your child / student has believed the gospel, we will do baptism class and get them wet in obedience to the Lord Jesus