Monday, October 18, 2021

God’s Judgment Wrath Kindness Tolerance Patience


Romans 2:3-6 (NIV)

So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”

· Mere man – We must remember that we are not God. We are not the ultimate judge of anyone.

· Do same thing – We must remember that we are sinners. We are not better than other people.

· Escape? – Yes, we do think we will escape God’s judgment. But this is too early in Paul’s argument to know this. He is talking to us as if we were not yet saved. The point here is that everyone will be judged. We are judged through Christ. God judged Jesus to be sin on our behalf so that we could have his righteousness. In that way we have already been through judgment. It is over for us. We will still stand before his judgment seat to receive our reward but not our punishment.

o 2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. NIV

· God’s Judgement

o Matt 5:21-22 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. NIV

These are scary verses for people who are not secure in their salvation with Jesus. It points out that God’s judgment is such that even motivation of the heart is what he sees and judges. In the case of an unbeliever, even anger is enough to be sent to hell.

o Matt 11:21-22 Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. NIV

This is an interesting aspect of judgment for unbelievers that we don’t often talk about; there are various degrees of punishment in hell. However, I suspect that even in the more bearable judgments will still be something that is horrible.

Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." NIV

o John 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. NIV

We have the assurance that Jesus’ judgment is 100% fair. He is omniscient so there won’t be any “I said – you said” type of excuses.

o Rev 14:7 He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water." NIV

There is no doubt that there will be a judgment. When the time has come, it is done. No more chances. Once we die, that is it (Heb 9:27).

· Show contempt – How does one show contempt for God’s kindness, etc.? How often do we show contempt for God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience? We show it every time we sin. There may not be a better way of explaining it. It should stop us dead in our tracts when we sin or when we are contemplating sin.

· Kindness, tolerance, and patience – Attributes of God. We often think about his kindness and patience but what about his tolerance.

o Acts 17:31 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. NIV

In a sense, God has dealt with mankind with much tolerance by not destroying us all from the fall of Adam to the current day. But now, there is no excuse.

· Kindness leads to Repentance – Everything that God does to bring about his common grace is meant to lead people to repentance. What does repentance mean? Repentance means a change in attitude and belief about God and who he is (holy and just etc.) and who we are (sinners due his wrath). It means admitting our sin and turning from it. This of course, can only be done because of his work in us to regenerate us and give a willing heart to repent.

· Stubbornness and unrepentant heart – This is the truth about us before he regenerates our hearts. We are stubbornly rebellious. We don’t repent because we think we are better than we are and in no need of changing.

· Storing up wrath – What do you think this really means? It seems like the longer we live our lives outside of God, the more wrath we will have to endure in eternity. Thankfully we know that when we turn to Jesus for salvation all that stored up wrath has already been poured out on Jesus on the cross. How do you react to that?

· The Day of God’s Wrath – Do you look forward to the day when his judgment will be revealed? Yes and no. I do from the standpoint that this will be end to all the evils in the world. There will be a new heaven and earth following it.

o 2 Peter 3:13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. NIV

On the other hand, no, I don’t look forward to it because of what the Lord said to Amos:

o Amos 5:18-20 Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light — pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness? NIV

That day will bring about terrible destruction and calamity for unbelievers. That is not something we should wish on anyone. Rather, we should be praying that people come to Jesus and doing what we can to share the gospel with those who need it.

· According to what he has done – Does this imply that there are some who will escape his wrath because they have done a lot of good in their lives? Not at all, all have sinned (Rom 3:23).

Monday, October 11, 2021

We Know God Works Good


Meditation on Romans 8:28-30. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

We Know – this is one of the most important things that we must know after coming to Christ. This isn’t a speculation or a theory. It is the very word of God – a promise for every believer that has ever existed. It must be something we know. If we don’t know this or don’t believe it, we will always be doubting God’s goodness and his power.

In All Things – This is the part that even believers who know this struggle. There are many places in the Bible where the word all is used and it doesn’t mean all. (Some preachers say that when the Bible says all, it means all but that isn’t true.)

Ex 9:6 And the next day the Lord did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died.

Ex 9:19 Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every man and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.

However, there are places where all really does mean all and this is one of them. What things would be included in this “all things?”

Isa 45:7 I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.

God Works – There isn’t anything left to chance. Just as all things includes all situations and circumstances of life, history, and the future, so it is God who works these things. It is in his providence and his control to make sure that these circumstances are coincidences – that is they coincide with his decrees and his purposes.

For the Good – Some of these things seem really bad to us. Consider a couple who loses a baby due to birth defects. Doctors try to correct them when something goes wrong – an accident so to speak – and the baby dies. Or consider a little two-month-old baby who is in and out of surgery. No one knows how that will turn out. Are these things for the good? You can go even deeper and ask about the holocaust or 9/11. See how we focus on the bad things when we come to this verse? But God is also working the good things for our good. Otherwise, they would not be good. He knows what is best, regardless of what we call them – good or bad.

Those Who Love Him – This is a conditional promise. It doesn’t apply to all mankind. This may also be hard to swallow and isn’t something I would point out to a nonbeliever outside of their destiny in hell. God certainly does work things out for the bad of unbelievers.

Ps 37:12-13 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.

Matt 13:42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Clearly, this passage is written for Christians to give them hope in tribulation and trials.

Who Have Been Called – This is also a hard pill for some to swallow. God Calls people to himself. No one comes to God except those he has called. No one loves the Lord unless God gives him the ability to do that.

John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

How do you know if you have been called? Are you drawn to God? Are you aware of your sinfulness in the presence of Him? Do you know and believe Jesus is the only way to the Father? If so, then you are called.

His Purpose – God is doing these things for our good, but that is his purpose. This brings to light that there is something going on here that is more than about us. It puts us in the right position in this promise. Ultimately this is bigger than us. It is about the very objective God has in mind. It fulfils his intentions for now and for eternity.

God Foreknew – Foreknew or foreknowledge is only used 7 times in the NT.

Acts 2:23 God’s foreknowledge of Jesus

Acts 26:5 since they have known about me for a long time, (NASU)

Rom 11:2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. (NIV)

1 Peter 1:2 elect according to foreknowledge of God.

1 Peter 1:20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

The idea expressed in this is that God knew all about us before some time. If we look at Psalm 139, it speaks of his foreknowledge. He knows whatever we are going to do before we do it. He knows what we will speak before we say it. There is nowhere we can go that he doesn’t already know we will be there and is ahead of us. Before we were born, he decided how our lives would turn out.

Predestined – This fits in with his foreknowledge as indicated in Psalm 139. See how predestination is linked with foreknowledge. He doesn’t predestine everyone to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus, he only predestines those he foreknows. This must mean that foreknowledge is more than just knowing that every person in history would be predestined to be conformed to Jesus. God’s foreknowledge in this instance is an intimate relationship. He takes those he loves and makes sure that they will be like Jesus. He predestines us to be adopted as sons (daughters doesn’t work because a Roman adopted son could not be disinherited but a daughter could).

Conformed to the Likeness of Jesus – This is our sanctification. Jesus lived a sinless life and fulfilled every legal requirement to be counted as righteous on his own merits. We are the complete opposite, but he will bring us into conformity with Jesus’ holy nature. He has already declared us as holy, but he is still working that into us.

2 Tim 1:12 I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

Phil 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

He is the one who will make sure we will be like Jesus in his holiness and righteousness when we enter heaven.

Firstborn Among Many Brothers – This is to God’s glory, not ours. This is first and foremost the reason God is saving us. It isn’t just about us, but it is about bringing glory to Jesus. He is the first to be resurrected with a glorified body. We will also be in his likeness also.

1 John 3:2 But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

We must be in some way like him, or we would not be able to see him. No one can see God and live.

Verse 30 – This has been called the golden chain of salvation. It is a nutshell summary of how we are saved. It is all about God doing the work in us. He first chooses us – we don’t choose ourselves. At the right time, He calls us – we don’t call ourselves. He justifies us – we can’t justify ourselves or make us worthy. He glorifies us – he makes us into Jesus’ image. None of our salvation is dependent on us. It is all God doing the work.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Philippians 4:4-9 Get Rid of "Stinking Thinking"


Phil 4:4-9
  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. ESV

  • The command is repeated twice to rejoice in the Lord. Our basic nature should be that of joy. Rejoicing is the act of showing joy.
  • It is demonstrated in the way we behave toward other by being gentle (NIV). Being reasonable. Letting reason be in control rather than following emotions and letting them dictate our paths.
  • It is a command – don’t be anxious. About anything? Seriously? Yes. What is it called when we disobey a command? (Sin) What are we supposed to do when we sin? We need to repent of anxiousness not say I’m just a worry wart. That is not the nature God has given us, it is the nature of fallen mankind.
  • When we repent, we put off the old and put on the new. The new is supplied in these verses. It is prayer, petition, and thanksgiving to God. What’s the difference between prayer, petition, and supplication? The basic idea of prayer is talking to God. We tell him the way we are feeling and even the way we are thinking. It may include confession that our thoughts are troubling us and our sins are troubling us. Psalm 38:18 says “For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin” (NAS).
  • Petition is a formal request. After talking it over with God, we can make a request.
  • Supplication is an emotional request. We are emotional creatures, and it isn’t wrong to strongly want an answer to our prayers. If we have talked them over with God, then we won’t let our emotions dictate wrongful prayers, but even if we do, we know that the Holy Spirit does interpret them and gives us what is best (Rom 8:26-29).
  • This is how our minds then gain the peace that comes from God and transcends understanding. He gives us peace when we trust in Him and his word.
  • Getting even more practical in putting on is Paul’s list of things to think about. What kinds of things fit these criteria? This is something to meditation on.
  • Finally, is the concept that these things must be practiced as Paul practiced them. They aren’t a one-time shot that makes you immune to anxiety or any other kind of stinking thinking. If you find yourself lapsing into negative thought patterns, realize that your practice of these is more than your practice of good thinking. We reap what we sow (Gal 6:7-8).
  • God has given us a promise that when we practice thing his way, his peace will be with us.