Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Month: September 2018 (Page 1 of 6)

All Nations

September 27 – Today’s Readings – Micah 4-5 and Psalms 87

Micah is a fascinating book because it is quite futuristic in parts. Chapter 4 begins in this way;

4:1-2 “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

This sounds like a great season of ingathering to me – all nations “streaming” to the Lord and being led by the Lord. We have heard of great in-gatherings of people all over the world but the promise is that “nations” will be swept up in a great move of God. Let it happen quickly Lord!

The second prophecy, at the beginning of Chapter 5, concerns the coming of Jesus and is directly quoted in the Gospels – Micah 5:2 reads, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Here is a man – Micah – who “sees” something in the spirit but can only visualize in shadows and types. I’m sure that when he penned these words he knew they were given by special revelation – something big – but he could not have imagined the full impact of his prophecy. He had just told the world that Jesus (God made flesh) would be born in Bethlehem and that He was the “ancient of days”. This is what makes the prophets so fascinating. They were given detailed visions of things that would come to pass – but they knew very little about these things. The prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the life of Christ and other futuristic events are one of the great “proofs” that the Bible is the Holy Word of God.

Then again, why should this be a great surprise – “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Questions:

1. Give another example of an Old Testament Prophet who said things about Jesus that he could never have known.
2. If God has a great harvest planned for His Church in the last days, what should we, as individuals, be doing about it?

Marvelous Deeds

September 26 – Today’s Readings – Micah 1-3 and Psalms 86

As you can see in this passage, God was VERY upset with Israel (once again) but I will save my comments on this subject for tomorrow. Today let’s have a quick look at Psalms 86:10-12 and also verse15 – “For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever… But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

In this passage, we see how much of a New Testament man King David was. First he was a worshipper – acknowledging God, God’s character, and His marvelous deeds. This is the essence of New Testament worship. It is not so much our “offering” as it is our “acknowledging” – it is having a loving attitude of thankfulness and praise.

What is the foundation of all New Testament worship? – “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1) We offer our lives – our bodies our hearts our minds our all to God – our lives become an act of worship. – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)

Second, we see David’s recognition that it is only by God’s grace and blessing that he could be of service to the Lord – “give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11)

As New Testament believers we understand this concept, but in David’s time the undivided heart was not considered a gift from God but an obligation to fulfill certain religious duties. No wonder God called David “a man after His own heart” – he truly understood salvation by grace. Paul put it this way; “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6)

In his instruction to the Hebrews Paul quoted Jeremiah saying, “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” (Hebrews 8:10-11) This is worship – It is motivated by the Spirit – We are the vessels – We offer ourselves and God does the rest.

Questions:

1. In which ways is Old Testament worship like New Testament worship?
2. Reverse the question – In which ways is New Testament worship patterned after Old Testament?

God Even Loves Ninevites

September 25 – Today’s Readings – Jonah 1-4 and Psalms 85

Type National Geographic, Whale Shark into your browser and have a peak at this magnificent creature. It’s actually not a “whale” at all but an enormous fish. This fish does not feed on large things (like Jonah) but it simply opens its huge mouth and “sucks in” anything in its path. If, by mistake, it swallows something like a log (Jonah) it will regurgitate it when the object refuses to be digested. Many believe that this is the same “great fish” that swallowed Jonah and spit him up again. Why am I sharing this with you? – Because so often we look at Bible accounts as if they were fairy tales. The Great Flood – the Garden of Eden – the Creation Account – the Resurrection of Christ – the Miracles of the Apostles – etc.

Now to the heart of the matter;

1. God loves people – even Ninevites. – “But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:11)

2. God wants His people (Jonah in this case) to reach out to Ninevites. – “Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” (Jonah 3:1-2)

3. God’s people often have issues about reaching out to Ninevites. – “But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.” (Jonah 1:3)

4. God will “deal with you” if you hate Ninevites. – “Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm.” (Jonah 1:15)

5. God wants a Church full of Ninevites who are redeemed by grace. – “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9)

6. You once were a Ninevite yourself! – “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?” (1Corinthians 6:9) – “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Corinthians 6:11)

Questions:

1. It is important to know that some Bible stories are written as an illustration – not necessarily a littoral happening. 2. 2. Give an example where this might be true. Hint – The Prophets.
3. Give another example where science has begun to discover that historic Biblical accounts are real events.

Fighting Amongst Each Other

September 24 – Today’s Readings – Colossians 3-4 and Psalms 84

Did you catch the “good attitude code” found in Chapter 3:5-22 – how our behavior should magnify God in this dark world? Wow – there are several sermons in these verses concerning the conduct of the saints. Always remember when you read these lists that these things are mentioned to specifically teach God’s way of doing things. How we actually live this way is by keeping ourselves in love with Jesus – there is no other way to live “holy”. Let me point out two rather insignificant verses and tell you what they mean to me:

Chapter 4:10 reads, “My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.)” Chapter 4:14 continues – “Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.”

First of all, lets focus on Mark, the cousin of the Apostle Barnabas. Mark is referred to as “John” or “Mark” interchangeably. This is the same young man spoken of in Acts 13:5 & Acts 13:13 – “When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.” – “From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.” Mark was an apprentice to Paul, but had so disappointed him that Paul rejected Mark and selected Silas as his associate instead. – “Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.” (Acts 15:37-40)

It is fascinating to note that many years later, Mark was not only still serving God but was a co-Apostle with Paul! This is truly amazing to me because it not only speaks of the humility of Mark but also of the willingness of Paul to admit he had made a mistake. The marvelous patience and mentoring skills of Barnabas are also evident because he took the boy on as an “intern”. Three cheers for Mark, Paul, and Barnabas.

Demas is also spoken of in another place. 2 Timothy 4:10 gives us a brief but heart wrenching account of the “Apostle” who forsook Paul – “for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.” What a contrast – the one who starts badly but moves on to be an Apostle – – the other who becomes an Apostle but then turns his back on the work of the Lord. The lesson to be learned is that we need to persevere in the things of God – we want to start well – continue well – and finish well!

Questions:

1. Have you ever had a “big fight” with another Christian, yet later on have remained in relationship with them?
2. Have you ever had to deal with a weak disciple who later became strong?
3. Have you ever had to deal with a “spiritual leader” who then forsook God?
4. Without implicating anyone specifically, share about these experiences.

The Doctrine Of The 2 Kingdoms

September 23 – Today’s Readings – Colossians 1-2 and Psalms 83

The book of Colossians contains some key doctrines of Scripture. The doctrine of “the two kingdoms” is outlined here, as is the reaffirmation of who Christ is and what the true Gospel is.

The “two kingdoms” is found in Chapter 1:12-14; “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Essentially the truth of this statement is that there are only 2 kingdoms in this world and they are spiritual kingdoms – one is the Kingdom of Light (Kingdom of God) – the other is the Kingdom of Darkness (Kingdom of Satan). Regardless of how men and women have tried to carve the world up and make kingdoms for themselves, the real power and government resides in the unseen world. Because of Adam’s original sin, mankind was plunged into spiritual darkness – we are all born into this darkness. The only way to become part of the Kingdom of Light is to have a new birth – this happened when Christ took His rightful place as “King” in our lives. Jesus destroyed the authority of the kingdom of darkness for those who believe – “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)

Let’s rejoice in the great victory of salvation. The reality of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross – how He “bought us” out of sin so that we could rightfully be brought back to God – this is the beauty of the true Gospel. There was no way out of the bondage mankind suffered under in the Kingdom of Darkness. Only God Himself could intervene and break the chains of sin that held us captive. Think of it in this way – we were helpless – hopelessly confused and heaped with guilt that we couldn’t rid ourselves of. We were driven to say and do ungodly things because of the very nature that controlled us. The miracle is that we were changed – we died to our animalistic nature and became spiritual beings – filled with the Spirit of God. When teachers of “science” tell people that they are simply “intelligent animals”, they are correct. It is only when a person receives the Holy Spirit that our basic make-up is altered and we become Children of God.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” (1Peter 2:9-11)

Questions:

1. In which ways can we “twist” the Gospel so that it loses its purity?
2. How does the Kingdom of darkness still affect us all as Christians?

Page 1 of 6

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén