Archives for : September2011

What is the very worst thing you have suffered as a result of your faith in God?

“Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe” (Acts 14:19-20Acts 14:19-20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 But there came Jews thither from Antioch and Iconium: and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul, and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and entered into the city: and on the morrow he went forth with Barnabas to Derbe.

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NKJV).

What is the very worst thing you have suffered as a result of your faith in God? That question is something of an embarrassment to most Christians, including I freely admit, myself.

The truth is that I have a very difficult time thinking of any experience in my life related to Christianity that I could describe as suffering (boring, hours long sermons not excluded).

I have had conversations with many non-Christians and indifferent Christians (there’s an oxymoron for you) over the years in which they discussed the difficulty of living the Christian life.

“I would have to give up too much” is a frequent excuse for disobedience. When it comes to difficult decisions, like remaining faithful in a no longer exciting marriage, they claim, “I know God wants me to be happy.” I always respond, “I cannot find that in the Bible.”

God wants us to be righteous. If so, he will provide happiness for us (Philippians 4:4-7Philippians 4:4-7
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4 Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

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But many Christians have and do suffer.

Real, martyrdom type suffering. Paul was stoned in Lystra, his attackers intending to kill him and believing they had done so. But God spared his life. What did he do in response? He got up and went back into the city where his attackers were. Then he went on to the next city and continued to preach the Gospel.

Did he reason, “God would surely not want me to risk my life any further.” Did he believe he had done enough, suffered enough? Not Paul.

“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21Philippians 1:21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

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). “… Woe is me if I preach not the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:161 Corinthians 9:16
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16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; for woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel.

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).

Years ago in a South American country, I studied with a woman whose livelihood, and that of her mother, depended upon her Muslim brother. She said she wanted to become a Christian but if she did her brother would cut off their support and they would be in the street with nothing to eat. That is suffering in the name of Christ.

Another woman was being blackmailed into an adulterous affair and would be exposed to her husband if she stopped. Conversion depends upon repentance and turning from sin. Had she obeyed the gospel (sadly she did not at that time at least), she likely would have suffered greatly.

One has some understanding and sympathy for those in such difficult situations. But the truth is not changed. Outside of Christ, they are lost eternally (Acts 4:12Acts 4:12
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12 And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved.

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; John 14:6John 14:6
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6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.

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; 2 Thessalonians 1:82 Thessalonians 1:8
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8 rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus:

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Compared to these examples, and innumerable others exist, giving up one’s only day to rest and do what one pleases in order to serve the Lord is hardly a sacrifice. Working until 5:00, then rushing to get the family fed and to Bible study on Wednesday night does not constitute suffering.

by Michael E. Brooks via forthright.net

The Town of Liberal, Missouri

About a century ago, a group of atheists decided to show the world what a fine civilization could be built if only the superstitions of Christianity were excluded. They founded the little community of Liberal, Missouri, and boastingly advertised  that it was the only town of its kind in the United States.  It was without a preacher, priests, church, God, Christ, hell or the devil.  Some months later the St. Louis Post Dispatch carried a lengthy story about the town of Liberal, in which it was pictured as the seat of the Devil and a den of iniquity.  Its hotels were brothels, and vice had become a virtue.  Gambling, stealing, drunkenness and brawls were the usual occurrence of the day. The story was so frightening that the men of Liberal had Clark Braken, author of the story, arrested for criminal libel and sued the Post Dispatch for $25,000.  In the trial, the evidence of wickedness was so overwhelming that the jury took but a few seconds to render a verdict in favor of the  defendants.  The suit was dismissed and the town of Liberal paid all the court costs.  The town of Liberal was an absolute failure. It wasn’t long until lifelong atheists, who had moved into the town to enjoy its advantages, left in complete disgust.  They found living in an atheistic town intolerable.  One of their number confessed that “An infidel surrounded by Christians may spout his infidelity and be able to endure it, but a whole town of atheists was too horrible to contemplate.”

No wonder the Psalmist wrote, “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.”

–by Tom Wacaster

What is true love?

Love is one of the most misunderstood and abused words in the English language.  Some of the more unloving things are done in its name.  It is confused with lust, neglect, abuse, ignorance, and encouragement of evil.  Even in religion, love is the banner of everything from hatred and terrorism to gross immorality and perversion.  It is helpful to remind ourselves what constitutes love.

LOVE DOES NOT ENABLE WEAKNESS.  Pretending that a loved one does not have a sin problem or character flaw is not loving.  Protecting someone in a compulsive, addictive behavior from the consequences of their sin is extremely unloving.  This is nurturing negative behavior.

LOVE DOES NOT EXCUSE SIN.  Giving someone an out for sinful lifestyles may seem like the warm and fuzzy way to go, but God strongly condemns such validating (Rom. 1:32Rom. 1:32
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32 who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.

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).  We can go to incredible lengths to legitimize what transgresses God’s law.

LOVE DOES NOT ENCOURAGE PERVERSION.  Jesus condemns sexual relationships that fall outside the original marriage grid (Matt. 19:4-5Matt. 19:4-5
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4 And he answered and said, Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?

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).  Whether we are speaking of “shacking up,” “open marriages,” “gay marriages,” “alternative lifestyles,” or the like, we are referencing things which condemn the soul.  That some would even push and promote such things in the name of love certainly disgusts our God (Hab. 1:13Hab. 1:13
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13 Thou that art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and that canst not look on perverseness, wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy peace when the wicked swalloweth up the man that is more righteous than he;

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LOVE DOES NOT ENDORSE A LIE.  Lies are of Satan (John 8:44John 8:44
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44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and standeth not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof.

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).  God is love (1 John 4:81 John 4:8
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8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

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).  Therefore, lying and love are incongruous.  They are from opposite sources.  Telling someone who is not right with God that they are is a lie rather than an act of love.  Leaving the impression that moral decadence is acceptable is disingenuous and thus unloving.

LOVE DOES NOT EXPECT PERFECTION.  In fact, Paul says that love “does not take into account a wrong suffered” (1 Cor. 13:51 Cor. 13:5
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5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil;

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).  It “covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:81 Pet. 4:8
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8 above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covereth a multitude of sins:

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).  In other words, love is not something we offer only on stringent conditions and unrealistic expectations.  That is manipulation and not love.  Thankfully, our loving God does not expect perfection from us.  He knows we are incapable of it.  If we, imperfect beings, cannot give a perfect God perfection, how could imperfect human beings give us, imperfect human beings, perfection?  Think about it!

LOVE DOES NOT END RESPONSIBILITY.  Love is not a substitute for performance.  The abuser hopes that profuse profession of love will make his wife forget that he has beaten her.  The liar hopes that verbal affirmation of love is enough to negate the hurt and anger of the one harmed by his or her dishonesty.  The person who has yet to obey the gospel will freely confess, “I love the Lord.”  That may well be, but it is an inadequate love that does not respond to God’s great love in humble obedience.

The world will never get love “right.”  It is up to us to demonstrate it to them.  We do this by loving one another (John 13:34-35John 13:34-35
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34 A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

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).  We do this by loving God enough to do His will (John 14:15John 14:15
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15 If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.

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).  We do this by loving the world enough to show them the Light (Matt. 5:46; 28:19Matt. 5:46; 28:19
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46 For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:

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).

–Neal Pollard

Greek word study app for droid phones

If you would like to know a little more about the more than 5,400 original words in the New Testament but have never studied New Testament Greek, this FREE droid smartphone app may interest you.  This Bible study app offers a very basic overview of all the words used in the Greek New Testament.

I am no Greek scholar, Bible professor, or language expert.  I do, however, allow others to share in some of the fruits of my daily Bible study through things like this new app.

If you search the app market for *Greek word studies* this app should be the first one to appear.  You may also send an e-mail to your phone with this link – https://market.android.com/details?id=com.new.testament.greek.word.studies – to download this app directly from the market.

May God richly bless your study of His Word!

Brad Price
www.abiblecommentary.com

 


Stealing 7 cents made someone a felon!

“For 7 cents, now you’re making someone a felon for the rest of his life,” Anthony Stewart’s lawyer exclaimed after the sentencing was passed.  Anthony, a 15-year-old, was going to be facing 2-6 years in juvenile detention for stealing a whopping 7 cents.  Stewart’s lawyer pleaded for the judge to treat her client as a youthful offender so he wouldn’t have this felony hanging over his head the rest of his life.  The judge was not willing to make such a compromise.

Like Anthony Stewart’s lawyer, this sentencing seemed to make several people upset.  However, here is the full story.  Anthony Stewart and his friend took BB guns that looked like real pistols for the sole purpose of robbery.  These two young men later came upon a 73-year-old man.  They knocked him to the ground and Anthony proceeded to punch the old man in the face.  Then they stole every solitary cent the man had on him, a staggering 7 cents.  While some might be upset with Anthony’s punishment over such an insignificant amount, an important question must be asked.  What if the old man had been carrying three thousand dollars or more?  There is no doubt that the young teen boys would have taken all of it.  The felony has nothing to do with the amount the boys stole.  It has to do with the crime itself and their malicious intent.

This story reminds me of a very common mindset in our culture.  Christians and non-Christians alike are constantly trying to justify sins by labeling them as “little” and “insignificant.”  We talk about “little white lies,” “small mistakes,” and tag certain failings as “no big deal.”  The problem is, Scripture makes no such distinction.  The Bible condemns all lying (Colossians 3:9Colossians 3:9
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9 lie not one to another; seeing that ye have put off the old man with his doings,

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; Leviticus 19:11Leviticus 19:11
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11 Ye shall not steal; neither shall ye deal falsely, nor lie one to another.

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; Jeremiah 9:3Jeremiah 9:3
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3 And they bend their tongue, as it were their bow, for falsehood; and they are grown strong in the land, but not for truth: for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith Jehovah.

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; etc), all stealing (Exodus 20:15Exodus 20:15
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15 Thou shalt not steal.

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; Leviticus 19:11Leviticus 19:11
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11 Ye shall not steal; neither shall ye deal falsely, nor lie one to another.

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; Matthew 19:18Matthew 19:18
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18 He saith unto him, Which? And Jesus said, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

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; Romans 13:9Romans 13:9
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9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up in this word, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

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; etc), and all sins (Isaiah 59:1-3Isaiah 59:1-3
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59 1 Behold, Jehovah's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, so that he will not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue muttereth wickedness.

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; 1 John 3:41 John 3:4
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4 Every one that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

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; Romans 3:23Romans 3:23
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23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;

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; etc).

While we may label some sin as a “small” and “trivial,” the Lord doesn’t.  The consequences of sin can be significantly different, but all sins can separate us from the Lord, even the “little” ones.  Let’s not get caught up in the flawed mindset about “little sins.”  All sins are serious.  All sins need to be addressed in our lives.

–Brett Petrillo

s your service to God motivated by Law or Love?

The story is told of a woman who lived with a perfectionist husband who always criticized her.  She never kept the house clean enough nor did she dress up to his unrealistic expectations.  He even gave her a list of rules to be obeyed if she was to keep him happy.  When she failed in any area, he quickly responded with verbal abuse.  Eventually, he died and as time went by she fell in love with another man who was kind and loving.  Her heart’s desire was to please him in any way she could.  His patience and encouragement restored her self esteem and enriched her life.

One day while going through some old papers, she came across the list of duties from her first husband.  To her amazement she was now choosing to do, out of love, the very things her former husband had demanded her to perform as a part of duty.  The rules had produced resentment on her part toward her former husband; the love she had for her present husband brought joyful submission.  In both cases the same duties were performed; but the motivation in each case was quite different.   Is your service to God motivated by Law or Love?

How Jesus is like the Old Testament *trespass offering*

Jesus is our trespass offering (Leviticus 5:14Leviticus 5:14
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14 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying,

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–6:7; 7:1–6) (satisfaction).

This was a mandatory atonement for intentional or unintentional sin requiring restitution. Its purpose was forgiveness of sin and the cleansing from defilement. It required a ram or lamb sacrifice, and for the sinner to make restitution to the one wronged.

The trespass (guilt, reparation) offering was given for violating the sanctity of property (either God’s or another person’s), usually by use of a false oath. The trespass offering included making atonement for sins knowingly committed (Leviticus 6:1Leviticus 6:1
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6 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying,

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–7). The blood of the trespass offering cleansed the conscience and sent the trespasser back to the one he had wronged, not only with the principal but with the fifth part added (Leviticus 6:5Leviticus 6:5
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5 or any thing about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in full, and shall add the fifth part more thereto: unto him to whom it appertaineth shall he give it, in the day of his being found guilty.

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). The injurer was forgiven and the injured actually gained.

The Bible uses the word “remission,” a financial term, for forgiveness (Acts 2:38Acts 2:38
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38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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). With sin, man is in debt to God (Matthew 6:12Matthew 6:12
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12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

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). We owe Him more than we can pay (Matthew 18:23Matthew 18:23
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23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, who would make a reckoning with his servants.

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–35). In forgiveness, Jesus assumed the debt for our sins and paid it (Luke 7:36Luke 7:36
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36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he entered into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.

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–50; Romans 3:25Romans 3:25
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25 whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God;

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). Jesus’ blood remits the guilt of past sins and forwards a balance of zero (Matthew 26:28Matthew 26:28
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28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins.

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; Acts 3:19Acts 3:19
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19 Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord;

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).

Write Christ everywhere in the book of the Old Law—for every sacrifice, for every priest, garment, and ceremony. He is all and in all in this book.

How does this apply to us? Sinners must obey the gospel to benefit from the five sacrifices of Christ. “Obeying the gospel” includes having faith in Christ as God’s Son (John 3:16; 8:24John 3:16; 8:24
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16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. 24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

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), repenting of the lifestyle of sin (Luke 13:3Luke 13:3
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3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.

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; Acts 17:30Acts 17:30
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30 The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent:

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), confessing Christ before men (Matthew 10:32Matthew 10:32
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32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven.

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; Romans 10:9Romans 10:9
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9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved:

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–10), and being baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:36Acts 2:36
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36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.

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–38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:211 Peter 3:21
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21 which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ;

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). One must then remain faithful (Revelation 2:10Revelation 2:10
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10 Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.

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).

It is a simple plan. It requires no doctor’s degree to come to the Great Physician. It does not require the strength of Samson, the wisdom of Solomon, or the courage of Daniel. It demands one to lean on the strength of the Savior, trust the wisdom of God, and fear the ravages of Satan. Come, come today!

–Allen Webster
Endnote

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Holy (16–19). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

How Jesus is like the Old Testament *sin offering*

One observed, “The heathen brings a sacrifice to his god; the Christian accepts a sacrifice from his God.”

Jesus is our sin offering (Leviticus 4:1Leviticus 4:1
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4 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying,

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–5:13; 8:14–17; 16:3–22) (substitute).

This was a mandatory atonement for specific unintentional sin and required a confession of sin. Its purpose was the forgiveness of sin and cleansing from defilement. It was employed to remove impurity from the sanctuary and those worshiping in it.

The required animal depended upon the station of the person or group making the sacrifice. For the high priest and congregation, a young bull was required; for a leader, a male goat; for a common person, a female goat or lamb; for the poor, a dove or pigeon; for the very poor, the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour.

In this offering we see an acknowledgment of sin. In the first three offerings, man came before God as a worshipper. In the last two, man comes before God as a sinner. The shedding of animal blood could not permanently take away sin (Hebrews 10:1Hebrews 10:1
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10 1 For the law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect them that draw nigh.

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–4), but God did promise that the sins of the worshiper were forgiven (Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7
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20 Thus shall he do with the bullock; as he did with the bullock of the sin-offering, so shall he do with this; and the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven. 26 And all the fat thereof shall he burn upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace-offerings; and the priest shall make atonement for him as concerning his sin, and he shall be forgiven. 31 And all the fat thereof shall he take away, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace-offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savor unto Jehovah; and the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven. 35 and all the fat thereof shall he take away, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of peace-offerings; and the priest shall burn them on the altar, upon the offerings of Jehovah made by fire; and the priest shall make atonement for him as touching his sin that he hath sinned, and he shall be forgiven. 10 And he shall offer the second for a burnt-offering, according to the ordinance; and the priest shall make atonement for him as concerning his sin which he hath sinned, and he shall be forgiven. 13 And the priest shall make atonement for him as touching his sin that he hath sinned in any of these things, and he shall be forgiven: and the remnant shall be the priest's, as the meal-offering. 16 and he shall make restitution for that which he hath done amiss in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest; and the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass-offering, and he shall be forgiven. 18 And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, according to thy estimation, for a trespass-offering, unto the priest; and the priest shall make atonement for him concerning the thing wherein he erred unwittingly and knew it not, and he shall be forgiven. 7 and the priest shall make atonement for him before Jehovah; and he shall be forgiven concerning whatsoever he doeth so as to be guilty thereby.

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). He did this on the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross (Hebrews 10:5Hebrews 10:5
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5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, But a body didst thou prepare for me;

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–14).1

These sacrifices were not burned upon the brazen altar in the courtyard; they were carried and burned outside the camp. The victim was charged with the sin of the offerer, and the life of the animal was taken instead of that of the sinner. Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3Romans 8:3
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3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

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; cf. Numbers 21:9Numbers 21:9
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9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it upon the standard: and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked unto the serpent of brass, he lived.

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; John 3:14John 3:14
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14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up;

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; Philippians 2:7Philippians 2:7
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7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;

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) so He could be our sin-bearer and carry our sins outside the camp. The Spirit explained how this Old Testament ceremony was a preview (type) of God’s eternal plan of redemption:

For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without [outside] the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach (Hebrews 13:11Hebrews 13:11
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11 For the bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned without the camp.

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–13).

These details might seem unimportant when reading through the Exodus and Leviticus. However, even the minor detail of taking the sin out of the camp prefigured Jesus dying outside the city of Jerusalem (Mark 15:20Mark 15:20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 And when they had mocked him, they took off from him the purple, and put on him his garments. And they lead him out to crucify him.

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–24; John 19:17John 19:17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

17 They took Jesus therefore: and he went out, bearing the cross for himself, unto the place called The place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha:

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–18). The main point is that Jesus bore our guilt. He was made sin for us on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21; 12 Corinthians 5:21; 1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him. The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians 1 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints that are in the whole of Achaia: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us, even so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ. 6 But whether we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which worketh in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: 7 and our hope for you is stedfast; knowing that, as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also are ye of the comfort. 8 For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning our affliction which befell us in Asia, that we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9 yea, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead: 10 who delivered us out of so great a death, and will deliver: on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us; 11 ye also helping together on our behalf by your supplication; that, for the gift bestowed upon us by means of many, thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf. 12 For our glorifying is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we behaved ourselves in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 13 For we write no other things unto you, than what ye read or even acknowledge, and I hope ye will acknowledge unto the end: 14 as also ye did acknowledge us in part, that we are your glorying, even as ye also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus. 15 And in this confidence I was minded to come first unto you, that ye might have a second benefit; 16 and by you to pass into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come unto you, and of you to be set forward on my journey unto Judaea. 17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I show fickleness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be the yea yea and the nay nay? 18 But as God is faithful, our word toward you is not yea and nay. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timothy, was not yea and nay, but in him is yea. 20 For how many soever be the promises of God, in him is the yea: wherefore also through him is the Amen, unto the glory of God through us. 21 Now he that establisheth us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; 22 who also sealed us, and gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 23 But I call God for a witness upon my soul, that to spare you I forbare to come unto Corinth. 24 Not that we have lordship over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for in faith ye stand fast.

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Peter 2:24). Jesus suffered for sin (in a collective sense) (2 Corinthians 5:212 Corinthians 5:21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

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) and sins (of individuals) (1 Peter 3:181 Peter 3:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

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).

The sin offering taught man that God holds him accountable for sin. Sinners are spiritual criminals who have been tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death. We must not assume we are safe and right if we simply live up to our own conscience (cf. Acts 23:1Acts 23:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

23 1 And Paul, looking stedfastly on the council, said, Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience until this day.

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). God has scales. He has standards. He has punishments assigned to violations of His law. Thus, to have any hope of heaven, a sacrifice is required.

Forgiveness is called “justification,” which is a judicial term (Romans 4:25Romans 4:25
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

25 who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.

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). With sin, we are guilt-ridden (James 2:10James 2:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all.

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). In forgiveness, Jesus’ blood removes our guilt and releases us from the penalty of sin (Romans 3:24, 26; 5:9Romans 3:24, 26; 5:9
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24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 26 for the showing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through him.

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; Hebrews 8:12Hebrews 8:12
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

12 For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And their sins will I remember no more.

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; Ezekiel 18:20Ezekiel 18:20
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20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

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; Matthew 26:28Matthew 26:28
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins.

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). In the law’s eyes, the penalty has been paid.

–Allen Webster

How Jesus is like the Old Testament *peace offering*

Jesus is our peace offering (Leviticus 3; 7:11–34) (sacrifice).

The peace offering focused on God as benefactor and man as one seeking reconciliation. Any animal without defect from herd or flock was accepted, along with a variety of breads. It was a voluntary act of worship. Sometimes peace offerings were given in thanks for a blessing received; sometimes they were given in advance of a blessing desired.
When Jesus was born it was announced, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14Luke 2:14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.

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). Jesus made peace between God and man, between Jew and Gentile, and between man and his conscience (Romans 5:1, 5Romans 5:1, 5
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5 1 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; 5 and hope putteth not to shame; because the love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us.

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–7). Christ is our peace (Ephesians 2:14, 17Ephesians 2:14, 17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, 17 and he came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh:

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). He has “made peace through the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:20Colossians 1:20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 and through him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, I say, whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens.

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).

The peace offering was a fellowship offering and had to do with communion with God. By contrast, the sin offering and the trespass offerings deal with cleansing from God. The peace offering was designed to provide expiation and permitted the one who made the offering to eat the meat of the sacrifice. It was often given on a joyous occasion. It foreshadowed the peace and restoration of communion that Christians have with God through our relationship as forgiven sinners (1 Corinthians 5:71 Corinthians 5:7
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7 Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened. For our passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ:

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–8; 10:16–18; 11:23–26). Like the prodigal of old, we have been welcomed back by the Father, seated with Him at His table, and restored as if we never sinned.

— Allen Webster

How Jesus is like the Old Testament *meal offering*

Christ is our meal offering (Leviticus 2:1Leviticus 2:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 1 And when any one offereth an oblation of a meal-offering unto Jehovah, his oblation shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:

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–16; 6:14–23; 7:9–10) (service).

The meal sacrifice could be presented at the altar in one of five forms: fine flour, oven-baked cakes, cakes baked in a pan, cakes baked in a frying pan, or crushed roasted heads of new grain. These cakes would resemble our modern baked pie crust or pizza dough. The priest offered part of it to God and kept the rest for his own use.1

This offering represents Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life (John 6:48John 6:48
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48 I am the bread of life.

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). He nourishes our souls as we worship Him and ponder His Word (Acts 20:32Acts 20:32
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32 And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you the inheritance among all them that are sanctified.

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). Jesus compared Himself to a grain of wheat that had to die before it could live again in a better form (John 12:23John 12:23
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

23 And Jesus answereth them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.

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–25). On the cross, Jesus was crushed as “fine flour;” at the tomb the grain of wheat was buried. On resurrection morning, He came forth in a more glorious form.

Since this sacrifice typified Jesus, we understand why God laid down such strict conditions for the offerer to meet before the meal offering would be accepted.

The offering had to be accompanied with oil (Leviticus 2:1Leviticus 2:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 1 And when any one offereth an oblation of a meal-offering unto Jehovah, his oblation shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:

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–2, 4, 6, 15), a picture of the Holy Spirit of God, who was given to Christ without measure (John 3:34John 3:34
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for he giveth not the Spirit by measure.

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; Acts 10:38Acts 10:38
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38  even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

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; 2 Corinthians 1:212 Corinthians 1:21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 Now he that establisheth us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God;

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–23; 1 John 2:20, 271 John 2:20, 27
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all the things. 27 And as for you, the anointing which ye received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any one teach you; but as his anointing teacheth you; concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, ye abide in him.

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). Through the eternal Spirit, He “offered himself without spot to God” (Hebrews 9:14Hebrews 9:14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

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).
The offering required salt (Leviticus 2:1Leviticus 2:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 1 And when any one offereth an oblation of a meal-offering unto Jehovah, his oblation shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:

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3), which speaks of our Lord’s purity of character (cf. Matthew 5:13Matthew 5:13
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13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.

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).
Leaven (yeast) and honey were prohibited from the meal offering (Leviticus 2:1Leviticus 2:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 1 And when any one offereth an oblation of a meal-offering unto Jehovah, his oblation shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:

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1). The Jews associated leaven with evil because of the Passover rules (Exodus 12:19Exodus 12:19
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a sojourner, or one that is born in the land.

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–20; cf. Luke 12:1Luke 12:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

12 1 In the mean time, when the many thousands of the multitude were gathered together, insomuch that they trod one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

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; 1 Corinthians 5:81 Corinthians 5:8
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8 wherefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

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). There was no sin in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15; 7:26Hebrews 4:15; 7:26
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15 For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 26 For such a high priest became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

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; 1 Peter 2:211 Peter 2:21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps:

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–22). The fact that yeast and honey both ferment is likely the reason for the prohibition.2

This burning grain was “a sweet savour unto the Lord” (Leviticus 2:2, 9, 12Leviticus 2:2, 9, 12
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2 and he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests; and he shall take thereout his handful of the fine flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn it as the memorial thereof upon the altar, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah: 9 And the priest shall take up from the meal-offering the memorial thereof, and shall burn it upon the altar, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah. 12 As an oblation of first- fruits ye shall offer them unto Jehovah: but they shall not come up for a sweet savor on the altar.

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). The Bible often associates God’s sense of smell with offerings (Genesis 8:21Genesis 8:21
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21 And Jehovah smelled the sweet savor; and Jehovah said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake, for that the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done.

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; Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17; 3:16Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17; 3:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 but its inwards and its legs shall he wash with water: and the priest shall burn the whole on the altar, for a burnt-offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah. 13 but the inwards and the legs shall he wash with water; and the priest shall offer the whole, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt-offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah. 17 and he shall rend it by the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt-offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah. 16 And the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire, for a sweet savor; all the fat is Jehovah's.

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; Amos 5:21Amos 5:21
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21 I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies.

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). Jesus’ perfect character was always a sweet fragrance to God, and it gave His offering at Calvary a pleasant aroma to God. Paul wrote, “Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:2Ephesians 5:2
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2 and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell.

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).

The meal offering focused on God’s goodness and provisions. It was a voluntary act of worship and was offered as thanks for blessing the fruits of one’s labor. This was the sacrifice of daily devotion. In application, we must come to God first with our whole burnt offering, and then we continue coming to Him with our continual meal offering. These actions are represented in Scripture as pleasing God’s sense of smell. Paul wrote, “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (2 Corinthians 2:152 Corinthians 2:15
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15 For we are a sweet savor of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish;

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). He later mentioned that he “received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18Philippians 4:18
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18 But I have all things, and abound: I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, and odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.

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).

The frankincense that was burned with the memorial portion represents prayer. David wrote, “Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee. Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:1Psalm 141:1
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A Psalm of David. 141 1 Jehovah, I have called upon thee; make haste unto me: Give ear unto my voice, when I call unto thee.

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–2; cf. Revelation 5:8Revelation 5:8
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8 And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

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). It serves as a reminder of the petition, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11Matthew 6:11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

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).

— Allen Webster

How Jesus is like the Old Testament *burnt offering*

When Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30John 19:30
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30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.

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) on the cross, He used a merchant’s word that meant, “The debt is fully paid.” If one purchased something “on time,” when he made the last payment, the merchant would give him a receipt that read tetelestai. This meant, “The debt has been fully paid.”

Jesus fully paid the debt of sin during those six hours that Friday. We owed a debt we could not pay (Matthew 18:24Matthew 18:24
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24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, that owed him ten thousand talents.

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–25); He paid a debt He did not owe. As the supreme sacrifice, “This man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12Hebrews 10:12
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12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

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).

Jesus fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17Matthew 5:17
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17 Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil.

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), which included all of its types and shadows (Hebrews 8:5; 9:9, 11; 10:1Hebrews 8:5; 9:9, 11; 10:1
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5 who serve that which is a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, even as Moses is warned of God when he is about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern that was showed thee in the mount. 9 which is a figure for the time present; according to which are offered both gifts and sacrifices that cannot, as touching the conscience, make the worshipper perfect, 10 1 For the law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect them that draw nigh.

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). The Levitical system was a picture gallery of the coming Savior. By saying, “It is finished,” Jesus was saying all the pictures of Him in the tabernacle furnishings, the priestly ministry, and the sacrificial system were completely fulfilled.

Of these, we focus on the sacrifices. Jesus was both the priest officiating and the sacrifice. The five primary offerings under Moses’ Law are explained in Leviticus 1–7, and should be studied in connection with the book of Hebrews. Each is a different pose of Jesus on the cross.

Christ is our burnt offering (Leviticus 1; 6:8–13; 8:18–21) (surrender).

This sacrifice focused on the perfection of God, and expressed adoration, devotion, commitment, and complete surrender to God. A bull, ram, or bird (dove or young pigeon) was accepted. It was a voluntary act of worship and served for atonement for unintentional sin in general (Leviticus 1:4Leviticus 1:4
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4 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.

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).

The animal’s death typifies the death of Christ, the bloodshed points to the atonement, and the smoke ascending typifies the resurrection. (The burnt sacrifice is sometimes called “the ascending offering” because the word translated “burnt-offering” is holah, and means “that which ascends.”)

Jesus matched the qualifications.

Jesus fulfilled everything the burnt offering under Levi’s system was required to be:

He was a male (Leviticus 1:3Leviticus 1:3
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3 If his oblation be a burnt-offering of the herd, he shall offer it a male without blemish: he shall offer it at the door of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before Jehovah.

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; Matthew 1:21Matthew 1:21
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21 And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins.

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).
He was without blemish (Leviticus 1:3Leviticus 1:3
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3 If his oblation be a burnt-offering of the herd, he shall offer it a male without blemish: he shall offer it at the door of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before Jehovah.

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; 1 Peter 1:19, 221 Peter 1:19, 22
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19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ: 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently:

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–23). In Jesus was “no sin” (1 John 3:51 John 3:5
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5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away sins; and in him is no sin.

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); He “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:212 Corinthians 5:21
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21 Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

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); He “did no sin” (1 Peter 2:221 Peter 2:22
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22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

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); He “was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15Hebrews 4:15
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15 For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

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).
He offered Himself voluntarily (Leviticus 1:3Leviticus 1:3
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3 If his oblation be a burnt-offering of the herd, he shall offer it a male without blemish: he shall offer it at the door of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before Jehovah.

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; John 10:18John 10:18
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18 No one taketh it away from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment received I from my Father.

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).
His offering was substitutionary. The worshipper was to “put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him” (Leviticus 1:4Leviticus 1:4
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4 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.

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). He “leaned” (as the word signifies) upon its head as if to say, “I take this spotless victim to be my substitute; I lean my whole weight upon its merit.” Jesus’ death was substitutionary; we lean on Him (Romans 3:23Romans 3:23
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23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;

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–26).
He was killed “before the Lord” (Leviticus 1:5, 9, 13Leviticus 1:5, 9, 13
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5 And he shall kill the bullock before Jehovah: and Aaron's sons, the priests, shall present the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is at the door of the tent of meeting. 9 but its inwards and its legs shall he wash with water: and the priest shall burn the whole on the altar, for a burnt-offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah. 13 but the inwards and the legs shall he wash with water; and the priest shall offer the whole, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt-offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah.

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–14, 17; Matthew 27:46Matthew 27:46
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46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

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). Nothing short of death could satisfy the altar’s claims. Under Moses’ law, the offerer killed the animal (except with birds, Leviticus 1:15Leviticus 1:15
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15 And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring off its head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof shall be drained out on the side of the altar;

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–17), and the priest caught the blood in a basin and sprinkled it on the sides of the altar (1:5, 11). The animal was dismembered, and its parts washed. Then all of it (except the skin1) was laid in order on the wood and burned. The transaction at the altar was not between the offerer and his conscience, the offerer and the nation, or even the offerer and the priest; it was between the offerer and the Lord.2 Today, as then, the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23Romans 3:23
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23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;

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). Christ died “for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:31 Corinthians 15:3
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3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

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). He died before the Lord—He addressed God three times from the cross.
He was killed “northward” in respect to the altar. In the case of a sheep or goat, the animal had to be killed “northward before the Lord” (Leviticus 1:11Leviticus 1:11
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11 And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before Jehovah: and Aaron's sons, the priests, shall sprinkle its blood upon the altar round about.

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). This means on the north side of the altar (cf. Leviticus 4:24, 29, 33; 7:2Leviticus 4:24, 29, 33; 7:2
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24 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt-offering before Jehovah: it is a sin-offering. 29 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin-offering, and kill the sin-offering in the place of burnt-offering. 33 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin-offering, and kill it for a sin-offering in the place where they kill the burnt-offering. 2 In the place where they kill the burnt-offering shall they kill the trespass-offering; and the blood thereof shall he sprinkle upon the altar round about.

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). While this was possibly just a matter of convenience since there was more room on that side of the altar, it is interesting that the site of Jesus’ crucifixion (Gordon’s Calvary) was north of the city of Jerusalem and of the temple with its altar.
He had His blood sprinkled upon the altar (Leviticus 1:5; 1Leviticus 1:5; 1
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5 And he shall kill the bullock before Jehovah: and Aaron's sons, the priests, shall present the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is at the door of the tent of meeting. The Third Book of Moses, called Leviticus 1 1 And Jehovah called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tent of meeting, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man of you offereth an oblation unto Jehovah, ye shall offer your oblation of the cattle, even of the herd and of the flock. 3 If his oblation be a burnt-offering of the herd, he shall offer it a male without blemish: he shall offer it at the door of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before Jehovah. 4 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. 5 And he shall kill the bullock before Jehovah: and Aaron's sons, the priests, shall present the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is at the door of the tent of meeting. 6 And he shall flay the burnt-offering, and cut it into its pieces. 7 And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay wood in order upon the fire; 8 and Aaron's sons, the priests, shall lay the pieces, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar: 9 but its inwards and its legs shall he wash with water: and the priest shall burn the whole on the altar, for a burnt-offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah. 10 And if his oblation be of the flock, of the sheep, or of the goats, for a burnt-offering; he shall offer it a male without blemish. 11 And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before Jehovah: and Aaron's sons, the priests, shall sprinkle its blood upon the altar round about. 12 And he shall cut it into its pieces, with its head and its fat; and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar: 13 but the inwards and the legs shall he wash with water; and the priest shall offer the whole, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt-offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah. 14 And if his oblation to Jehovah be a burnt-offering of birds, then he shall offer his oblation of turtle-doves, or of young pigeons. 15 And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring off its head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof shall be drained out on the side of the altar; 16 and he shall take away its crop with the filth thereof, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, in the place of the ashes: 17 and he shall rend it by the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt-offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah.

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Peter 1:2).

Jesus was wholly consumed.

The primary point of the burnt offering is that it was completely consumed. No part was given back to the worshipper, as with other sacrifices. It was therefore sometimes called a “whole burnt offering” (Deuteronomy 33:10Deuteronomy 33:10
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10 They shall teach Jacob thine ordinances, And Israel thy law: They shall put incense before thee, And whole burnt-offering upon thine altar.

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; Psalm 51:19Psalm 51:19
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19 Then will thou delight in the sacrifices of righteousness, In burnt-offering and in whole burnt-offering: Then will they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

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; Mark 12:33Mark 12:33
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33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is much more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.

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). While Jesus’ body was not burned on the cross, He fulfilled this type because He was completely consumed in suffering. He did not just give an eye or a limb for us. He did not just take a whipping or suffer the crown or the nails. He gave His all—His back to the smiters, His cheeks to those that plucked off the hair, His face to the shame and spitting (Isaiah 50:6Isaiah 50:6
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6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

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), His hands and feet to the nails, His side to the spear, His face to the slaps, His brow to the thorns, His ears to the cruel jests of his enemies, His heart to the forsakenness of His Father.

Jesus wants us to give ourselves to Him as a “burnt” offering.

A burnt offering expressed commitment to God. In a culture where livestock was one’s livelihood, a person did not part with a bullock, a ram, or even a bird3 lightly. It was the equivalent of a working class person burning a week’s paycheck or giving his car away. The application is that we are to give our all to God. Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1Romans 12:1
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12 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.

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; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:31 Corinthians 15:3
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3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

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1). This thought is expressed in song. We sing “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord to Thee,” and

Consecrate me now to Thy service Lord,
By the power of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.

Burnt offerings were daily sacrifices and therefore were the most common sacrifices in the ancient temple. Jesus perfectly submitted to God on a daily basis (John 10:17John 10:17
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17 Therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.

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; Romans 5:19Romans 5:19
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19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous.

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; Hebrews 10:10Hebrews 10:10
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10 By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

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), and so should we (Luke 9:23Luke 9:23
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23 And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

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; Acts 2:46; 5:42; 17:11Acts 2:46; 5:42; 17:11
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46 And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, 42 And every day, in the temple and at home, they ceased not to teach and to preach Jesus as the Christ. 11 Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.

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; 2 Corinthians 11:282 Corinthians 11:28
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28 Besides those things that are without, there is that which presseth upon me daily, anxiety for all the churches.

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; Hebrews 3:13Hebrews 3:13
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13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called To-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin:

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). Daily service qualifies us to worship when we come before God (1 Peter 1:161 Peter 1:16
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16 because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.

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–Allen Webster

Endnotes

1 The hide was given to the priest (Leviticus 7:8Leviticus 7:8
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8 And the priest that offereth any man's burnt-offering, even the priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt-offering which he hath offered.

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2 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Holy (20). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
3 Since only the poor could offer a bird, it was the equivalent of a bullock for them.

How can you bear to slaughter those cute little lambs?

NAMING THE SHEEP

The following story comes from Julie Helms in Christian Reader, “Lite
Fare”:

My husband and I, with our two daughters, operate a small sheep farm.  One day a non-farming friend asked, “How can you bear to slaughter those cute little lambs?”

My husband explained, “We don’t want to get emotionally attached to the ones we plan to eat, so we don’t give them names.”

Not satisfied, the friend probed, “What about your kids?”

Her husband quickly replied, “Oh, we name them!”

While very few of us are personally familiar with sheep and shepherds, the relationship between the two is one of the most powerful images in the Bible used to describe the relationship between Christ and his followers.  The loving care shown by shepherds to their flock, and the willingness of sheep to utterly depend on what the shepherd can provide offer a glimpse of our personal relationship with the good shepherd.   While it may seem to be a small thing, our name plays a significant role in that relationship.

“He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:2-3John 10:2-3
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2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

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“He calls his own sheep by name.”  Though there are many disciples of Christ around the world, we are not just “one of the masses”, not just a number.  We are intimately known and loved by the good shepherd.  He knows us by name.   It tells us not only that he cares about us, but that he plans
for his relationship with us to be a lasting one.

May the fact that your shepherd knows your name give you comfort this
day.

Alan Smith

To be ENORMOUSLY GORGEOUS

The following insightful piece appears in “Chicken Soup For the Kids’ Soul”:

My dad says I am ENORMOUSLY GORGEOUS.  I wonder if I really am.

To be ENORMOUSLY GORGEOUS…
Sarah says you need to have beautiful long, curly hair like she has.  I don’t.

To be ENORMOUSLY GORGEOUS…
Justin says you must have perfectly straight white teeth like he has. I don’t.

To be ENORMOUSLY GORGEOUS…
Jessica says you can’t have any of those little brown dots on your face called freckles. I do.

To be ENORMOUSLY GORGEOUS…
Mark says you have to be the smartest kid in the seventh-grade class.  I’m not.

To be ENORMOUSLY GORGEOUS…
Stephen says you have to be able to tell the funniest jokes in the school. I don’t.

To be ENORMOUSLY GORGEOUS…
Lauren says you need to live in the nicest neighborhood in town and in the prettiest house.  I don’t.

To be ENORMOUSLY GORGEOUS…
Matthew says you can only wear the coolest clothes and the most popular shoes.  I don’t.

To be ENORMOUSLY GORGEOUS…
Samantha says you need to come from a perfect family.  I don’t.

But every night at bedtime my dad gives me a big hug and says, “You are
ENORMOUSLY GORGEOUS, and I love you.”

My dad must know something my friends don’t.

–Carla O’Brien

We all need to be reminded from time to time of that which makes us beautiful.  We look for beauty in the clothes we wear or the make-up or the tan.  True beauty is found much deeper.

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel — rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (I Peter 3:3-4)

Alan Smith

DON'T SHOW UP EMPTY-HANDED

Joe and Mike had not seen each other in many years. After meeting, they had a long talk trying to fill in the gap of those years by telling about their lives. Finally, Joe invited Mike to visit him in his new apartment.

“I’ve got a wife and three kids and I’d love to have you visit us.”

“Great. Where do you live?”

“Here’s the address. And there’s plenty of parking behind the apartment. Park and come around to the front door, kick it open with your foot, go to the elevator and press the button with your left elbow, then enter! When you reach the sixth floor, go down the hall until you see my name on the door. Then press the doorbell with your right elbow and I’ll let you in.”

“Good. But tell me… what is all this business of kicking the front door open, then pressing buttons with my right, then my left elbow?”

“Surely, you’re not coming empty-handed!”

As we approach God, surely we do not attempt to come to Him empty-handed. Listen to these instructions given to the Jews in the Law of Moses:

“Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.” (Deut. 16:16-17Deut. 16:16-17
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16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before Jehovah thy God in the place which he shall choose: in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles; and they shall not appear before Jehovah empty: 17 every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of Jehovah thy God which he hath given thee.

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God has blessed us richly in so many ways. He wants us — no, He expects us — to bring a gift when we come to Him. We should not appear before the Lord empty-handed. Are your hands full?

Alan Smith

People want to be appreciated

PSYCHOLOGISTS TELL US that one of the deepest urges in human nature is the craving to be appreciated…

Thus, we contribute immeasurably to the happiness and success of others when we express appreciation for their work and worth.

We are also advised that the giving of sincere praise brings out outstanding benefits to the one who gives it.  Thus, we contribute immeasurably to our own happiness and success when we express appreciation for others.

Observation teaches that the most successful people have mastered the art of giving praise.

Giving honest praise is like “saying grace” at the table…very difficult to start, if it hasn’t been our pattern.  Here are some guidelines to get one started.

1.  Look for little things for which you can express appreciation.  We tend to wait for colossal achievements before uttering one word of commendation or encouragement.  Rare and refreshing is the person who goes on a “treasure hunt” searching for little things to praise.

2.  Look for things close at hand for which you can express appreciation.  The human tendency is to see glamour in things at a distance and defects in things close at hand.  It doesn’t take much sense to find fault with things and people close by.  Conversely, it requires sensitive perception to detect the genuine worth of nearby treasures.

3.  Voice your appreciation.  It isn’t that we don’t appreciation others…it’s just that, for some unknown reason, we are hesitant to voice that feeling.  It is necessary to say nice things to have them do good…not merely think them.  By not acting quickly to praise one for his work the impulse often fades away.

THOUGHT: It may well be that one of the greatest duties you can perform this day will be speaking a word of appreciation.  (John Gipson)

“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all” (1 Thess. 5:141 Thess. 5:14
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14 And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be longsuffering toward all.

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).  — Mike Benson

God's goodness and severity

We accuse God of injustice when he does the same things that we all do. We find certain practices perfectly acceptable and wholesome for ourselves, but not for God. Suddenly, sound practices are cruel and unloving when committed by the hand of God. Our unfairness to him is palpable.

Everyone applauds goodness and severity, when applicable. Students who behave receive merits. The poorly behaved receive punishments. Parents reward good behavior and punish insolence. Good drivers receive insurance discounts while bad drivers receive demerits.

While these are not exactly equitable to God judging sin, it nonetheless proves the validity of the consequences of goodness and severity in the minds of men.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Romans 11:22Romans 11:22
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22 Behold then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, severity; but toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

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, NKJV).

Paul is continuing to develop an argument begun in the opening part of Romans. The Jewish Christians in Rome felt superior to the Gentile Christians because they were the “chosen people.” However, Paul is carefully building an argument illustrating that the Law of Moses no longer was in effect. They were under a new covenant where the saved were born spiritually, not physically.

The Jews rejected Christ as the Messiah (Matthew 27:21-26Matthew 27:21-26
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21 But the governor answered and said unto them, Which of the two will ye that I release unto you? And they said, Barabbas. 22 Pilate saith unto them, What then shall I do unto Jesus who is called Christ? They all say, Let him be crucified. 23 And he said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out exceedingly, saying, Let him be crucified. 24 So when Pilate saw that he prevailed nothing, but rather that a tumult was arising, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man; see ye to it. 25 And all the people answered and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. 26 Then released he unto them Barabbas; but Jesus he scourged and delivered to be crucified.

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; Acts 13:40-47Acts 13:40-47
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40 Beware therefore, lest that come upon you which is spoken in the prophets: 41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; For I work a work in your days, A work which ye shall in no wise believe, if one declare it unto you. 42 And as they went out, they besought that these words might be spoken to them the next sabbath. 43 Now when the synagogue broke up, many of the Jews and of the devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas; who, speaking to them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. 44 And the next sabbath almost the whole city was gathered together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with jealousy, and contradicted the things which were spoken by Paul, and blasphemed. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spake out boldly, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first be spoken to you. Seeing ye thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee for a light of the Gentiles, That thou shouldest be for salvation unto the uttermost part of the earth.

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; Romans 11:1-25Romans 11:1-25
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11 1 I say then, Did God cast off his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not cast off his people which he foreknew. Or know ye not what the scripture saith of Elijah? how he pleadeth with God against Israel: 3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have left for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal. 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. 7 What then? that which Israel seeketh for, that he obtained not; but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened: 8 according as it is written, God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this very day. 9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, And a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them: 10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, And bow thou down their back always. 11 I say then, Did they stumble that they might fall? God forbid: but by their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if their fall, is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 But I speak to you that are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I glorify my ministry; 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy them that are my flesh, and may save some of them. 15 For if the casting away of them is the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? 16 And if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, wast grafted in among them, and didst become partaker with them of the root of the fatness of the olive tree; 18 glory not over the branches: but if thou gloriest, it is not thou that bearest the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. 20 Well; by their unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by thy faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 for if God spared not the natural branches, neither will he spare thee. 22 Behold then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, severity; but toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they continue not in their unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if thou wast cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and wast grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree; how much more shall these, which are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in;

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). Therefore, their days as the chosen people ended. Christ rejected them for being unbelievers, not for being Jews.

Paul never told them to stop being Jews or Gentiles but to understand that spiritually it played no part in their salvation (Galatians 3:26- 28Galatians 3:26- 28
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Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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). They were all sinners in need of grace and together in the family of God (Romans 3:23Romans 3:23
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23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;

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; Romans 5:6-11Romans 5:6-11
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6 For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through him. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life; 11 and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

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; Romans 8:1Romans 8:1
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8 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.

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). Being in Christ was all that mattered.

“Goodness,” often translated kindness, refers to “God’s gracious attitude and acts toward sinners.”/1 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:92 Peter 3:9
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9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

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Paul illustrates his message with the maintenance of olive trees. He excised unhealthy branches and grafted in healthy branches so the entire tree could prosper. The unhealthy branches were the unbelieving Jews and the new branches were the believing Gentiles.

Paul says that the unhealthy branches were “broken off,” which means they were “sharply cut” with “unrelenting severity.”/2 God had given them enough chances to become right spiritually. They chose to separate themselves and God merely complied with their wishes (Matthew 25:46Matthew 25:46
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46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.

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His goodness is beyond the comprehension of man. The Psalms are full of examples of this truism. Likewise, the severity of God is also exceedingly powerful. Heaven will be as wonderful as hell will be terrible. The extremes will be intense.

The lessons for us are crucial.

First, if being a member of God’s chosen people under the old covenant did not prevent Jews from being unbelieving and rejected, why would the same thing not happen to Christians under the new covenant today (Hebrews 6:4-6Hebrews 6:4-6
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4 For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

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; Hebrews 8,9; 10:26-31Hebrews 8,9; 10:26-31
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9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers In the day that I took them by the hand to lead them forth out of the land of Egypt; For they continued not in my covenant, And I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10 1 For the law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect them that draw nigh. 2 Else would they not have ceased to be offered? because the worshippers, having been once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance made of sins year by year. 4 For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, But a body didst thou prepare for me; 6 In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hadst no pleasure: 7 Then said I, Lo, I am come To do thy will, O God. 8 Saying above, Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein , 9 then hath he said, Lo, I am come to do thy will. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest indeed standeth day by day ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, the which can never take away sins: 12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 henceforth expecting till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also beareth witness to us; for after he hath said, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws on their heart, And upon their mind also will I write them; then saith he, 17 And their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 and having a great priest over the house of God; 22 let us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience: and having our body washed with pure water, 23 let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for he is faithful that promised: 24 and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries. 28 A man that hath set at nought Moses law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: 29 of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were enlightened, ye endured a great conflict of sufferings; 33 partly, being made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, becoming partakers with them that were so used. 34 For ye both had compassion on them that were in bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of you possessions, knowing that ye have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Cast not away therefore your boldness, which hath great recompense of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise. 37 For yet a very little while, He that cometh shall come, and shall not tarry. 38 But my righteous one shall live by faith: And if he shrink back, my soul hath no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them that shrink back unto perdition; but of them that have faith unto the saving of the soul.

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Second, “In an age of political correctness men simply refuse to consider the ‘severity of God.’ But the goodness of God makes the severity of God necessary. If God failed to punish wickedness what impression would that leave with regard to God’s justice?” (Matthew 7:6-14, 21-23Matthew 7:6-14, 21-23
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6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine, lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you. 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone; 10 or if he shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 12 All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them: for this is the law and the prophets. 13 Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. 14 For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

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In Romans 11:22Romans 11:22
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22 Behold then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, severity; but toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

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, the phrase “cut off” means literally “to strike out.” It referred to medical surgery./4 We will be cut off if we are not bearing fruit in the kingdom (John 15:1-8John 15:1-8
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15 1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh it away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already ye are clean because of the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and so shall ye be my disciples.

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Do we wish to avoid this fate? Trust him implicitly and obey him completely (Ephesians 2:8,9Ephesians 2:8,9
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8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory.

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;Acts 2:37,38Acts 2:37,38
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37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? 38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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; Acts 22:16Acts 22:16
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16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name.

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Richard Mansel @ forthright.net

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That's not it!

I heard about a man who was drafted into the army.  While in the army he developed a very strange habit.  As he walked along each day he kept picking up pieces of paper, saying to himself aloud, “That’s not it!”  He would pick up one piece of paper after another and say, “That’s not it. That’s not it!”

This went on for about six months.  His bizarre behavior was finally brought to the attention of his superiors.  They ordered him to report to the base psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist asked, “What is wrong with you? What is the problem?”

The man had a baffled expression on his face as he said, “What problem?  I don’t have a problem.”

The psychiatrist said, “Well, there’s got to be something wrong with you. It has been reported to me that you keep going all over this base picking up pieces of paper and saying, ‘That’s not it, that’s not it!”  So, tell me, just what is it you are looking for?”

The man said, “I don’t know.  I just don’t seem to be able to find it.” The psychiatrist consulted some of his colleagues, then told the man, “I think your problem is serious, and I’m going to give you a medical discharge from the Army.”

When the psychiatrist handed him the discharge papers, the man jumped up and shouted excitedly, “This is it!  This is it!  This is what I’ve been looking for!”

This story reminds me of an incident in the gospel of John where two men were asked the same question.
“The next day John was there again with two of his followers.  When he saw Jesus walking by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’  The two followers heard John say this, so they followed Jesus.  When Jesus turned and saw them following him, he asked, ‘What are you looking for?'” (John 1:35-38John 1:35-38
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

35 Again on the morrow John was standing, and two of his disciples; 36 and he looked upon Jesus as he walked, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God! 37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 And Jesus turned, and beheld them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? And they said unto him, Rabbi , where abideth thou?

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a, NCV)

It’s an important question for all of us.  What are you looking for?  On occasion, we may stumble across something we weren’t searching for, but most of the time we have no hope of finding something unless we’re looking for it.  For example, I understand that there is a lot of ginseng in the mountains of North Carolina.  When we lived in Boone, I knew a lot of people who found ginseng, but I never did, and I’m sure a big reason for that is that I never looked for it.

Spiritually speaking, what are you looking for?  So many people miss out on much that God has to offer simply because they don’t have hearts that are searching.  Are you searching for a right relationship with God?  Are you searching for a congregation of God’s people?  Are you searching to know God’s will in a difficult decision you’re facing?  What Jesus promised is true:  “Seek and you will find.” (Matthew 7:7Matthew 7:7
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7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

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By the way, those two disciples in John 1 found exactly what they were looking for.  “‘We have found the Messiah.” (John 1:41John 1:41
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41 He findeth first his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah .

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What are you looking for?  — Alan Smith

Things money cannot do

Sure, we all know what we can do with money.  We may dream about it, how to improve houses, that dream car, that dream vacation, and a thousand gadgets and “toys.”  Yet, times like these remind us how easily the dream can become a mirage.  Money is a favorite subject of God’s.  He covers the matter from cover to cover in His Word.  Of the many places in the Bible we might look, consider Psalm 49.  There, David says at least three significant things about the limitations of wealth and possessions.

Money cannot redeem a soul (6-9).  In fact, Jesus says as much by indicating that a single soul is more valuable than all the wealth of the entire world (cf. Matt. 16:26Matt. 16:26
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26 For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? or what shall a man give in exchange for his life?

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).  Silver and gold are not acceptable substitutes for the blood of Jesus (1 Pet. 1:18-191 Pet. 1:18-19
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18 knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ:

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).  Whatever it might buy, it cannot purchase salvation.

Money cannot buy immortality (10-12).  However renowned and powerful one is on earth, he or she will leave a will and bequeath their fortunes–be they meager or massive.  They might think their houses will last forever (11), but they cannot add an infinite amount of longevity despite their net worth.

Money cannot cross the border (16-19).  It might be carried from one country to another, but it cannot be taken from time to eternity.  The old adage is poignant:  “You don’t see U-Hauls behind a hearse.”  You cannot take it with you.  God does not need it in heaven.  Satan cannot use it in hell.  We won’t be able to make use of it wherever we spend eternity.

Stock market crashes are disturbing.  Credit restrictions and decreased borrowing power may unsettle.  Putting our trust in money is vain and reveals a faith that is unhealthy and inadequate.  The God who owns us all and made this very world holds us in the hollow of His hand.  Let us trust that.  What is it that He cannot do?

Neal Pollard

Distractions from the world

We have two dogs. One is a three-year-old Pug named Chi and the other is a two-year-old German Shepherd mix named Butter.

When I walk them in the morning, they have a special place down the street where they want to go, but it is a long walk.  Pugs get tired very easily and they start wheezing and must go back home.

The problem is that they will not go directly to their special place, because they find so many other things to smell and see on the side of the road. Chi gets frustrated when we turn towards home. However, he fails to see that he brought this on himself.

As Christians, we sometimes do the same thing. We desire heaven but distractions pull us away from our goal. A classic blues song says, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” People do not do what they have to do to gain the reward.

Satan places obstacles in our way and life becomes like a carnival of sights, sounds and smells to tempt us away from the path.

Little Red Riding Hood wanted to go see her grandmother and take her some food. When Little Red Riding Hood meets the wolf, she tells him where she is going.

The wolf says that he will go to her house, as well. “The wolf ran as fast as he could, taking the shortest path, and the little girl took a roundabout way, entertaining herself by gathering nuts, running after butterflies, and gathering bouquets of little flowers. It was not long before the wolf arrived at the old woman’s house.”/1

The wolf tricks the grandmother and the girl and murders them.

Satan plays tricks and leads us to our death, as well (1 Peter 5:81 Peter 5:8
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8 Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,

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). He uses our weaknesses to pull us away from God, and like a small child, we wander away.

Recently when I was walking my dogs, two strange dogs from down the road tried to chase us away from Chi and Butter’s favorite place. We stayed away and headed towards home.

Satan does the same thing. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:122 Timothy 3:12
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12 Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

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, NKJV). “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7James 4:7
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7 Be subject therefore unto God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

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). However, we may be bit in the process by a desperate and angry Devil. Run, anyway.

–Richard Mansel, forthright.net