Today’s a good day to remind ourselves of Jesus’ encouragement.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matt 6:19-24).
Regardless of what you lost today, are there incorruptible treasures attached to your name in God’s Book of Life? Regardless of what you might lose tomorrow, can you wake up sharing the assurance of Paul in 2 Timothy 1:12? Even if you have no money in the stock market, you’ll make investments this week. Investments of time, money, effort, focus, praise and relationship. The only question is whether or not those investments will yield an eternal profit.
God’s wisdom goes something like this. Lose the bulk of your portfolio, but inherit the “eternal weight of glory,” and that’s the stuff of “light momentary affliction” (2 Cor 4:16-18). Prosper like a king, but forfeit your soul, and you’ve invested everything—including eternity—on moths and rust (Matthew 16:26).
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matt 4:1).
“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread” (4:4). Jesus’ response was a reference to Deuteronomy 8:3.
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down…” (4:6). Jesus’ response was a reference to Deuteronomy 6:16.
“All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me” (4:9). Jesus’ response was a reference to Deuteronomy 6.13.
His battle plan against temptation isn’t hard to pick out, is it? The flaming darts of the evil one (Eph 6.16) were met and defeated by the Son of God with words of truth. God-breathed Scripture and a ready mind of compliance were Jesus’ first line of defense.
The same strategy has been passed on to you and me. War is upon us whether we would risk it or not. Temptations will come whether we seek them or not. When they do, the only question is whether the Scriptures will have been wrapped around our hearts to the point that our knowledge of the Creator’s intentions will shape our first responses. Or, will we allow the tempter’s seductions to lead us away from the ranks of the redeemed? Satan cannot take God’s truth away from you, but you can decide to remove it from your thinking.
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers” (1 Thes 4.13), because being uninformed can cost us everything. Absolute truth has been made freely available by our holy Creator. ”Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7), because darkness cannot withstand the light and the deceiver cannot withstand the truth.
__________How can a young man keep his way pure?
_________________By guarding it according to your word.
__________With my whole heart I seek you;
_________________let me not wander from your commandments!
__________I have stored up your word in my heart,
_________________that I might not sin against you.
__________Blessed are you, O LORD;
_________________teach me your statutes!
__________With my lips I declare
_________________all the rules of your mouth.
__________In the way of your testimonies I delight
What passages of Scripture do you call to mind as a first line of defense against temptation? What God-breathed words have you stored up in your heart to help in those moments of unholy seduction? When the going gets tough, what precepts of God do you find yourself meditating upon?
“And whenyou fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
We live in a society much more inclined towards indulgence than self-denial. And yet, there must be a reason behind the fact that the Scriptures have a great deal to say about the subject of fasting.
This study methodically walks through a number of Old and New Testament examples of fasting in an effort to understand why and when people would choose to “go without.” It examines warnings from both Testaments about how easily people pervert this spiritual discipline. Finally, we explore the modern Christian’s relationship to fasting and how intentional restraint can powerfully reveal self-centered attitudes and levels of addiction or idolatry.
The sermon presented by Jason Hardin in the A.M. assembly of September 27, 2009 at Laurel Canyon.
“Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder” (Proverbs 23:31-32).
What does the Bible say about alcohol? What wisdom can be gleaned from the revelation of God about intoxication in general? Perhaps most importantly, WHY did God say what He did about the “sparkling serpent”? This sermon encourages honest examination into a serious societal issue.
Tremper Longman (professor of Old Testament Studies at Westmont College, author of numerous commentaries, and co-author of An Introduction to the Old Testament) explains why, for him, it’s an open question.
In response, James Grant offers twelve prima facie reasons to believe Adam was a literal, historical figure.
1. On the face of it, the basic literary genre of Genesis 1-4 is that of historical narrative (as opposed to, e.g., poetry, legal code, or apocalypse). This isn’t to say that these chapters can contain no figurative language; many conservative OT scholars would readily grant that they do. But it does imply that these chapters (like the rest of Genesis) are intended by the author to report important events within historical space-time. As such, there should be a strong presumption that the Adam of chapters 1-4 is no less a real historic figure than, say, the Abraham of chapters 12-25.
2. The first five verses of Genesis 5 not only describe events in Adam’s life, they attach specific numerical dates to those events. This is passing strange if the author didn’t consider Adam to be a real historical figure. (This point applies equally to the human author and to the divine author!) For example, we’re told that Adam lived 930 years. Why would one make what seems to be precise factual statement about the lifespan of a certain individual if the individual in question never actually lived? (Cf. Gen. 25:17; 50:26; Num. 33:39; Deut. 34:7; Josh. 24:29; etc.)
3. The author of Genesis presents the book as a seamless historical account. There is no obvious shift from non-historical narrative to historical narrative. Rather, we’re presented with a series of narrative sections, each introduced with some variant of the formula, “These are the generations of . . .” (Gen. 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:12; 25:19; 36:1, 9; 37:2). The implication is that Adam and Eve were no less historical figures than Noah, Shem, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Esau, and Jacob.
4. Adam is named in the genealogy in 1 Chronicles 1. The presumption is that Adam is just as historical an individual as the other people who are featured in the genealogy. It’s one thing to grant (as many conservative OT scholars would) that there are gaps in the OT genealogies; the Hebrew words for ‘father’ and ‘son’ certainly allow for that. It’s quite another thing to suggest that this genealogy slides imperceptibly from the non-historical to the historical.
5. The interpretation of Hosea 6:7 is disputed, but a good case can be offered that taking “˜Adam’ as a reference to the first human being, rather than as a place-name or as “˜mankind’, makes best sense in the context. (The notes in the ESV Study Bible nicely summarize the rationale for this reading.) It would be foolish to rest too much on this verse; but on the other hand, it shouldn’t be overlooked. If this is indeed the correct reading, it lends some further support to the prima facie case for a historical Adam.
6. The genealogy of Jesus Christ given in Luke 3:23-38 traces all the way back to Adam. While it’s likely that the genealogy isn’t complete (and isn’t intended to be), it’s hard to believe Luke would have accepted the idea that his list is a mixture of the historical and the non-historical. If Adam were not a historical individual, wouldn’t that tend to undermine Luke’s point, namely, that Jesus is the saving hope for all human beings, both Jews and Gentiles? How would a partly fictional genealogy back up a factual theological point?
7. In Matthew 19:3-9, in answer to a question about divorce, Jesus refers the Pharisees back to the account of the creation of Adam and Eve in Genesis 1-2. On the face of it, Jesus takes for granted that the Genesis account describes real historical events and individuals. If the paradigmatic married couple never actually existed, wouldn’t this rather undermine Jesus’ argument?
8. In Romans 5:12-21, Paul draws his famous parallel between Adam and Jesus. The transgression of “one man” (Adam) brought judgment and death, but the obedience of “one man” (Jesus) brought righteousness and life. If Adam never actually existed (never mind sinned), Paul’s parallel — on which his theological argument depends — falls flat.
9. In the same passage, Paul states that “death reigned from Adam to Moses” (verse 14). Paul clearly means to refer to a specific period in human history; but if Adam wasn’t a real historical figure, then there was no historical period from Adam to Moses, in which case Paul’s statement fails to refer (and therefore fails to express) a truth.
10. Paul’s parallel between Adam and Christ reappears in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 (also verse 45). The same considerations apply here as to Romans 5:12-21. If Adam’s sin wasn’t a historical event, Paul’s argument is derailed.
11. In 1 Timothy 2:12-14, Paul refers to specific details about the creation and fall of Adam and Eve to support his instructions about women teaching in the church. The cogency of Paul’s argument depends crucially on the historicity of the events to which he appeals.
12.Jude 14 refers to “Enoch, the seventh from Adam”; it’s a reasonable presumption that the author of Jude viewed both Enoch and Adam as historical individuals. Yes, I realize that complications arise from Jude’s use of the pseudepigraphical book 1 Enoch, and I wouldn’t want to put any more weight on this point than on the interpretation of Hosea 6:7, but evangelicals should bear in mind three simple points: (1) all Scripture is verbally inspired; (2) Jude is Scripture; and (3) the author of Jude didn’t have to mention that Enoch was “seventh from Adam”.
Taken together, these twelve points add up to a strong prima facie case for the traditional Christian view that Adam was a real historical individual. Any scholar who holds to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, but denies this point, surely has a lot of explaining to do. If all we had to deal with were the first few chapters of Genesis, appeals to genre and other literary considerations might provide sufficient wiggle room. But the twelve observations above indicate that the historicity of Adam is a thread woven all the way through the Bible’s history, theology, and ethics. Pull out that thread and sooner or later the whole garment will unravel.
“Shout for joy IN the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright” (Psalm 33:1).
“The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue” (Psalm 33:16-17).
“Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad IN him, because we trust IN his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in YOU” (Psalm 33:20-22).
What will be the source of your greatest, most fulfilling joy today?
It’s a blessing when our hearts are made glad by his rich provisions. It’s certainly appropriate to rejoice when we hear ABOUT him. But beyond the undeserved gifts and unparalleled “good news” of his grace is the Source. Is your joy founded IN him? Is your heart glad IN him? Is your trust IN him?
Today, don’t lose sight of the Giver of the gifts. Don’t overlook the Author of the story. Don’t allow your admiration to be founded on those temporal blessings that were created to serve as pointers to his unrivaled worth. Fix your soul and its hope on him.
Clap your hands, all peoples!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared,
a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
the pride of Jacob whom he loves.
God has gone up with a shout,
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm!
God reigns over the nations;
God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
he is highly exalted!
Psalm 47 is a celebration of God’s kingship. He alone is ruler over all the earth. He is the “God of Abraham” who promised a heritage whereby all of the nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). He providentially subdues peoples and lifts up princes. The shields of the earth belong to God. As mighty Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way, “the Most High rules the kingdoms of men and gives it to whom he will” (Daniel 4:32). Our King is to be highly exalted!
And so the psalm encourages, “Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth.” The “to be feared” line struck me today. We humans don’t generally associate a being “to be feared” with clapping and loud songs of joy. An entity worthy of our fear seems more naturally to be linked with complaining than clapping, sulking than singing, and jitters than joy.
But therein lies one of the special aspects of the saint’s relationship with the Creator. When God is respectfully held in reverential awe, there is no need to fear anyone or anything else. Peoples are subdued at his command. Nations crumble according to his plan. The strongest shields of the earth belong to him. He reigns over the nations. “The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed” to his heirs (Romans 8:18). “For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Even death has been subjected to his sovereignty, to the point that it can be described as “precious” (Psalm 116:15).
Therefore, his Son says, “Have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:26-28).
For the people of God, such a thought is worthy of clapping, shouts, and loud songs of joy! Our Father reigns. Our elder brother is risen and holds the keys of Death and Hades (Revelation 1:18). Whom shall we fear?