Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Month: February 2020 Page 1 of 6

A Command to Assemble

February 24 – Today’s Readings – Leviticus 22-24 and Psalms 54

Did you notice how Israel was commanded to assemble every Sabbath and at various special times throughout the year? The older I get, the more I believe in “the family of God” – that is the local Church. There is tremendous strength found in community – in family – in corporate worship – in fellowship. Within extended families there are always some relationships that are closer than others, but it is a very comforting thing to realize that – differences and all – we belong. How do we know we belong? Well, visitors at my house don’t have jobs to do but “visitors” know they have become “family” when we invite them to help with the dishes and pay for groceries! So it is with the family of God. We all benefit from the sense of belonging and fellowship but we all contribute to make the family what it is.

I also believe that the “Church Universal” is becoming more and more important as time rushes on. For the sake of God’s glory and for the honour of His Name, Churches need to learn how to cooperate whenever possible and in some cases unite. Jesus said in John 17:23 “I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” When we get along with each other as Churches and as people, it is a tremendous testimony to those outside of Christ. If we are constantly bickering and treating each other badly the world scoffs at the “loving” Church.

I had another thought concerning “touching any unclean thing” – Don’t you think it unusual that Jesus was constantly seen touching or being touched by unclean people? I think there is a “higher” law that operates for those who are in Christ. When God – the “ultimate clean” – touches unclean people like you or me, we become clean – forgiven – justified – sanctified by His grace. This is the reverse of “not touching the unclean thing”. When we, as ambassadors for Christ, touch an unclean person’s life, the hand of God touches them. We affect them and draw them towards holiness – here is evangelism at its best! This is why we are “the salt of the earth” – “the city on a hill” – “letting our light so shine before men”. Salt always flavours things, and many times disinfects things – a city set on a hill can be seen a long way off in the distance – light always overpowers darkness. It is for good reason that Jesus used these illustrations. They perfectly depict how the saints of God affect the world around them. This is a function of who we become when we are called to walk with Jesus.

Questions:

1. Please comment on some of the “positives” of the Church you attend.

2. If you do not have your share of “chores or contributions” in the Church you attend, make it a point to find a need – and fill it or to contribute substantiallly.

3. Name other instances where Jesus made “unclean” things “clean”?

Foolish

February 23 – Today’s Readings – Leviticus 19-21 and Psalms 53

Psalm 53:1 reads; “The fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God”.

What makes a person “a fool” in our minds? – Doing things that are reckless, stupid, lacking in common sense, or being ill prepared? It’s amazing how many people say, “there is no God” even in the face of God’s magnificent creation itself. I wonder if all this unbelief is a result of things they have seen or experienced within organized religion (including churches some times). They see things they can only interpret as hypocritical – things which have no spiritual life or significance. As a result they go about thinking to themselves that there surely must be a better way than what ‘religion’ has to offer. When God gives us an opportunity to get close to these people, I think our primary job is to pray for them and to watch for “open doors” to share the real gospel with them. We then need to live our lives in such a way as to make them envious of our relationship with Jesus.

Leviticus 20:23 says, “You must not live according to the customs of the nations…”

This Old Testament thinking provides a great “rule of thumb” for our generation as well. Find out what the devil’s kids are up to – then do the opposite. How simple is that? When you stop to think about what the “sinful world” tries to teach us day by day (brain washing is probably a more appropriate wording), we really do need a firm grasp on Scripture to test what is being thrown our way. Even little sayings (remember, “it’s all good”?) can be humorous yet completely contrary to the Word of God. Sometimes even Christian sayings or songs can be confusing – remember the old song, “we fall down – we get up – for a saint is just a sinner – who falls down – and gets up”? Not really a very Biblical perspective is it? I’m not a sinner – neither do I live like a sinner – I really have been born again and it has changed even the most basic ways that I respond and relate to people. We don’t live like the Devil’s kids live because of God’s grace in our lives. Jesus has truly set us free from the bondages of sin and the “Law”!

In these past few days I have enjoyed a study about “being a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). What a wonderful New Covenant we have with God – that we don’t really have to work hard to avoid following the “customs of the nations”. This comes naturally by God’s Spirit. Our desires have changed and the things we desire now are Godly things. This is why we get so upset about all the ungodly stuff people run after and brag about – we crave the good stuff – we are addicted to it. Live according to the customs of the nations? – No Thanks!

Questions:

1. What are some of the “customs of the nations” we must avoid at all cost?

2. What is the latest “brain washing” the world has tried to throw your way?

Creation Itself is getting Sick

February 22 – Today’s Readings – Leviticus 16-18 and Psalms 52

In Chapter 18 of Leviticus we find a most fascinating statement – the land “vomited out the nations”. I get the impression that the sins mentioned in this section of Scripture were so contrary to what God intended in creation that creation itself was made sick by all of it.

What were the sins revealed? – Marrying 2 sisters – Sleeping with your father’s wife – Lying with a man as one lies with a woman – Sleeping with your neighbor’s wife – Offering your children to be burned to death on the altar of Molech – Making sacrifices in the open fields!

These folk were more or less like people in our society! In our nation, we legalize and even promote sexual sin and call it a “new normal” or a “personal choice”. We make divorce as easy as marriage, we promote and pay for abortion, we legalize euthanasia, and think nothing of adultery and rebellion against God’s laws.

Somehow, in the mysterious workings of creation, there is an almost mystical connection between increased sin in the land resulting in the land and the atmosphere suffering and becoming ill.

As a side note, God never said that we were free to abuse this beautiful planet but that we should be good managers of it. (Genesis 9: 2-3) Whenever sin increases in a nation, the Earth itself suffers from the ravages of man’s abuses. We, as Christians need to be part of the crowd that desires good management of Earth’s resources – not part of the crowd that seeks only has contempt and disregard for this Earth God gave us. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a “greenpeace” guy – nor do I hug trees – I just want sanity to be part of our stewardship of God’s Earth. Let’s increase funding to fight more forest fires and decrease C02 emissions – they are the major problem!

It is clear in this passage that God makes a direct link between the inherited sinfulness of mankind and the judgment of various kinds of sins. The point to be considered here is that there is eternal judgment as well as direct immediate results for certain sinful lifestyle choices. If sins increase in a nation, that nation will not longer be allowed to exist. The ground (creation) itself will reject its people and God will no longer keep quiet about the issues. The eternal result however, will be far worse. We must keep speaking sanity to our nation and praying for it. There is no doubt that destructive lifestyle patterns are on the increase in our culture and in some cases these sins are being sanctioned by our governments and even our Churches!

As you read through the rest of these “laws”, circle the ones that make sense to you. The Law of God is there as a “taskmaster”. It is a standard by which everything on Earth is measured but it is no longer a tool of condemnation for us in the Devil’s hand. No longer can he say of me that I am guilty of breaking the Law in this or that way. I died to the Law and am hidden in Christ. My master is the Holy Spirit. When I sin, He is faithful to convict me, lead me quickly to repent, to forgive my sin and lead to me in the paths of righteousness. The way out of sinning is to keep in step with the Holy Spirit – something that even a child can do.

Questions:

1. Give a simple strategy for the healing of our nation’s ills.

2. Please elaborate on the thought that your “Master” is the Holy Spirit.

Creation Itself is Getting Sick

February 22 – Today’s Readings – Leviticus 16-18 and Psalms 52

In Chapter 18 of Leviticus we find a most fascinating statement – the land “vomited out the nations”. I get the impression that the sins mentioned in this section of Scripture were so contrary to what God intended in creation that creation itself was made sick by all of it.

What were the sins revealed? – Marrying 2 sisters – Sleeping with your father’s wife – Lying with a man as one lies with a woman – Sleeping with your neighbor’s wife – Offering your children to be burned to death on the altar of Molech – Making sacrifices in the open fields!

These folk were more or less like people in our society! In our nation, we legalize and even promote sexual sin and call it a “new normal” or a “personal choice”. We make divorce as easy as marriage, we promote and pay for abortion, we legalize euthanasia, and think nothing of adultery and rebellion against God’s laws.

Somehow, in the mysterious workings of creation, there is an almost mystical connection between increased sin in the land resulting in the land and the atmosphere suffering and becoming ill.

As a side note, God never said that we were free to abuse this beautiful planet but that we should be good managers of it. (Genesis 9: 2-3) Whenever sin increases in a nation, the Earth itself suffers from the ravages of man’s abuses. We, as Christians need to be part of the crowd that desires good management of Earth’s resources – not part of the crowd that seeks only has contempt and disregard for this Earth God gave us. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a “greenpeace” guy – nor do I hug trees – I just want sanity to be part of our stewardship of God’s Earth. Let’s increase funding to fight more forest fires and decrease C02 emissions – they are the major problem!

It is clear in this passage that God makes a direct link between the inherited sinfulness of mankind and the judgment of various kinds of sins. The point to be considered here is that there is eternal judgment as well as direct immediate results for certain sinful lifestyle choices. If sins increase in a nation, that nation will not longer be allowed to exist. The ground (creation) itself will reject its people and God will no longer keep quiet about the issues. The eternal result however, will be far worse. We must keep speaking sanity to our nation and praying for it. There is no doubt that destructive lifestyle patterns are on the increase in our culture and in some cases these sins are being sanctioned by our governments and even our Churches!

As you read through the rest of these “laws”, circle the ones that make sense to you. The Law of God is there as a “taskmaster”. It is a standard by which everything on Earth is measured but it is no longer a tool of condemnation for us in the Devil’s hand. No longer can he say of me that I am guilty of breaking the Law in this or that way. I died to the Law and am hidden in Christ. My master is the Holy Spirit. When I sin, He is faithful to convict me, lead me quickly to repent, to forgive my sin and lead to me in the paths of righteousness. The way out of sinning is to keep in step with the Holy Spirit – something that even a child can do.

Questions:

1. Give a simple strategy for the healing of our nation’s ills.

2. Please elaborate on the thought that your “Master” is the Holy Spirit.

The Unclean Stuff in our Lives

February 21 – Today’s Readings – Leviticus 13-15 and Psalms 51

Are you still hanging in there? Clean – Unclean – Clean – Unclean – Clean – Unclean? SHEESH!

There sure were a lot of rules under the leadership of Moses. As I was reading however, I had a thought about the “clean” and the “unclean” stuff in our own lives. Let’s talk about unclean relationships – unclean habits – unclean minds – unclean entertainment for a minute. There is a huge difference between people who have issues and weaknesses in their lives and those who have become “infectious” with their rotten “unclean” attitudes or habits. In some relationships we have to exhibit grace and compassion but with others, our correct response is to realize that people’s attitude or lifestyle may pollute us if we continue close association with these sins. ‘Coming out’ of the world means that at times we will have to make strong decisions about who or what we spend our time with. If the Holy Spirit is giving us an opportunity to share his love with people then we need to dive in and make friends and make disciples of all nations. When however, the people or things we spend time with will lead us back to old sinful habits then we need to separate ourselves and find better company. A perfect example of this is found in 1 Corinthians, chapter 5. Here, Paul instructed the members of the Church to separate themselves from a church member who refused to repent of sin. Take a moment, if you can, to look at this passage.

I’m not saying that we should to be “cliquey” or discriminating against people – or that we should close ourselves off from people who need to hear the good news of the Gospel. On the contrary, I’m talking about people who have spiritual, or attitudinal “cancer” in their lives and are refusing the grace and sanctification of God. Even church leaders like Demas the Apostle (2 Timothy 4: 9-10) can lose perspective and become cancerous in the Church.

What is the key? Well, we have received the Holy Spirit and as you know, He teaches us and leads us. He is our resident counselor. It is a very simple thing to open our spiritual ears and let Him lead us where He wants us to go, spend time with those people He directs us to and avoid certain things He has said “no” to in our lives. As always, we need to be completely honest with the Holy Spirit so that we are not deceiving ourselves. This is freedom – this is how we deal with the “clean” and “unclean” situations in our lives.

Remember, Jesus said’ “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.” (Matthew 13:10-11) “Uncleanness” has nothing to do with diet or fitness or the amount of health food I ingest. These things may make me physically healthy or unhealthy – and – the Holy Spirit may well want to adjust my habits in these areas – but uncleanness in life has to do with thoughts, attitudes, words, actions, habits and relationships. This is where God really gets involved in “sanctifying” our lives.

Questions:

1. Which “unclean” thing has the Holy Spirit talked to you about lately? (You don’t have to answer this one publicly)

2. We are to “love the world” (like God does) but not “love the world” (like a carnal christian does)– how do these two opposites both happen in our lives?

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