The Bread-Picking Sinners #2

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

“Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no” (Exodus 16:4 KJV).

Once God delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage, the Jews began to complain that they lacked water and food. After God provided water, He then decided to “prove” (test) them again, to see if they will follow His instructions about collecting the manna (bread) that He will rain down (today’s Scripture). He commanded them not to gather more than “one omer” of manna per person or a non-sixth day, yet the Bible says that they gathered “some more, some less” (verse 17). While Israel disobeyed God’s simple instructions, He will test them again using the manna. Will they listen to God now?

Verse 19 explains, “And Moses said, Let no man leave of it [the manna] till the morning.” What do you suppose Israel did? Verse 20 tells us, “Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.” Now, the Jews were not only ignoring God’s instructions; they were also disregarding Moses’ orders… and the camp began to stink because of it. Just imagine the putrid smell of unbelief and sin that filled God’s nostrils!

Moses then told Israel, “Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none [no manna]” (verse 26). How did Israel respond? “And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none” (verse 27). How sad!

Verse 28 says, “And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye [Israel] to keep my commandments and my laws?” For the next forty years, Israel ate that manna (verse 35), constantly disobeying God throughout that period.

Although Israel failed God’s test again and again, God in His mercy and longsuffering tolerated those bread-picking sinners.

The Bread-Picking Sinners #1

Monday, January 30, 2012

“Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no” (Exodus 16:4 KJV).

Here, we find the nation Israel, just one month after her deliverance from Egypt (verse 1). For the past few weeks, the Jews have annoyed Moses by “murmuring” (complaining) that the LORD has not provided water for them to drink (Exodus 15:22-24). Despite their ungratefulness, God gives them potable water (verses 25,27), but when they bicker about lack of food, God then proceeds to “prove” (test) them again (Exodus 16:2,3). He wants to see if Israel will listen to Him regarding manna (bread) collection. Will they?

In today’s Scripture, God promises to feed Israel by raining down manna (bread) from heaven. He then gave Israel very clear instructions about gathering that manna. Firstly, per day, each man was to gather “one omer” of manna for each person in his tent (verse 16). Secondly, on the sixth day, they were to gather two omers per person (verse 5), for there would be no manna given on the seventh (Sabbath) day (verse 26).

What do you suppose Israel did with God’s simple instructions? Verse 17 explains: “And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.” Those sneaky rascals—some individuals were picking less than an omer of manna for each person, and some were picking more! Surprised? Do not be: these sons of Abraham were like us in that they were also sons of Adam. They were sinners.

God knew what they were doing, and He compensated. Miraculously, “And when they did mete [measure] it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating” (verse 18). Even though they did not listen to God, He still took from those who gathered too much, and gave to those who gathered too little.

Sadly, Israel had failed God’s test, for they were bread-picking sinners.

Preach the Gospel of the Grace of God!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14 KJV).

Saints, God has entrusted us with the greatest message of all time, “the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24), so that we can preach the greatest Person of all time, Jesus Christ. “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord…” (2 Corinthians 4:5a). As today’s Scripture indicates, if the lost world is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, they need us to first preach this wonderful message to them!

According to James 2:17-26, God had always demanded faith and works for salvation (Abraham was the one exception; Romans 4:1-5). But, when we come to Paul’s ministry in Scripture, God declares that Sabbath day keeping, water baptism, physical circumcision, tithing, and animal sacrifices are no longer required for salvation.

Today, in the Dispensation of Grace, God is not operating Israel’s works-religion. The good news of God’s grace is that we can be saved solely by God’s grace without us doing anything but trusting in Christ alone! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). Until Paul, God had never revealed a message like our Gospel of Grace: the Gospel of the Grace of God declares what God did for you because you are unable to do anything for God. We can be saved without works today!

The Gospel of Grace is 1 Corinthians 15:3,4: …how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood to pay for your sins, He was buried to put away your sins, and He was raised again for your justification (Romans 4:25). Place your faith in Christ  alone, and He will save you forever. Then, preach the Gospel of Grace for others to hear!

No Blood Indicates No Faith #3

Friday, January 20, 2012

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4 KJV).

According to God, Abel brought “of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof” whereas his brother Cain offered “fruit of the ground” (Genesis 4:3,4). Cain’s offering appeared innocent, but God considered it “evil” (1 John 3:12). Why?

“Without faith, it is impossible to please him [God]” (Hebrews 11:6). Cain did not please God. He did not believe anything God said, so he ignored God’s command to bring a blood sacrifice. No blood sacrifice indicated no faith. Essentially, Cain was ignoring what that blood sacrifice represented: the blood of the coming Redeemer Jesus Christ!

Sadly, today, mankind generally shares Cain’s attitude in refusing to believe God’s Word, especially regarding salvation. God has told them they are guilty sinners who cannot work for salvation, but they refuse to listen. God wants them to trust in His Son alone, but they want to trust in their works and His Son. God will not have it. Jesus Christ is “well pleasing” to God the Father, we are not (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 12:18; Matthew 17:5; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22).

Please be not one of the billions of precious souls attempting to appease God and merit salvation and heaven with their “good” works. Like Cain’s offering, this “innocent-looking” activity is evil! (Remember, even Jesus claimed some “good” works were “iniquity” in Matthew 7:22,23). These “good-works” people are attempting to substitute Christ’s perfect blood sacrifice on Calvary with their “dung” and “filthy rags” (their “good” works). God will not have it.

God wants our faith exclusively in what His Son Jesus Christ did for us. Has Jesus Christ’s blood been imputed to your account? If it has, that blood applied to you indicates your faith! If Jesus’ blood has not been imputed to you, you need to trust exclusively in the Lord’s finished crosswork on Calvary. For salvation, God will accept nothing else but your faith resting in Christ Jesus alone.

No Blood Indicates No Faith #2

Thursday, January 19, 2012

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4 KJV).

God instructed Cain and Abel to bring blood sacrifices. However, only Abel obeyed God because he alone had faith. Cain lacked faith, so he completely ignored God’s Word. Cain wanted to do what Cain wanted to do. This is typical human nature, and it has not changed one wit. Man is naturally sinful in that he seeks autonomy—to be his own god and to do what he wants to do!

Cain… was of that wicked one [Satan!]… his own works were evil, and his brother’s [Abel’s] righteous” (1 John 3:12). Now, Cain’s vegetation offering did not look evil—it was just “fruit of the ground” (Genesis 4:3). Yet, despite its innocent appearance, it was evil and God rejected it. How was it evil? God wanted blood sacrifices, not crops! Cain displeased God because he had no faith (Hebrews 11:6).

Now, apply that scenario to today. Billions of church members are doing everything they can to work for heaven. Like Cain, they completely ignore God’s Word when it says their “good” works are actually “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) and “dung” (Philippians 4:8). They give faithfully, pray daily, attend church weekly, help the poor, clean the church, sing in the choir, and so on. Sadly, this is vain activity, for God never commanded them to work for heaven!

In this the Dispensation of Grace, God is freely offering His grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, salvation, acceptance, fellowship, and righteousness in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him [Jesus Christ] that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Romans 4:5).

Salvation is so simple, yet religion complicates it with our works. We sinners cannot work for salvation. The Bible says the only way to heaven, and everlasting salvation, is to trust in what Jesus Christ already did for you, not what you can do for Him.

No Blood Indicates No Faith #1

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4 KJV).

Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain the farmer and Abel the shepherd (Genesis 4:1,2). When it came time to sacrifice to God, “Cain brought fruit of the ground,” but “Abel…brought the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering, he had not respect…” (verses 4,5). Why did God accept Abel’s offering, but reject Cain’s? How could Abel’s sacrifice be “more excellent than Cain,” as today’s Scripture teaches?

After sin entered the world by Adam (Romans 5:12), God demanded blood sacrifices for atonement (to make God and sinner “at one”). God shed innocent blood to cover Adam and Eve’s sin (Genesis 3:21). Outside of our dispensation, and before Christ came, those who wanted a right standing before God—“righteousness”—had to offer blood sacrifices by faith. “…[W]ithout the shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness]” (Hebrews 9:22b).

Cain had no faith, so he ignored God’s instructions and brought no blood. He brought the fruit (crops) of his own work, but Abel, by faith, brought blood sacrifices (obeying God). God accepted Abel’s sacrifice because Abel had faith!

Are you like Cain, trying to merit salvation and please God with your own “good” works? Quit please! You lack Christ Jesus’ blood sacrifice because you lack faith in His blood as the fully satisfying payment for your sins. God never told you to work to heaven. You need a blood sacrifice—place your faith exclusively in Jesus Christ’s shed blood and resurrection, and God will “accept you in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).

God will “have respect” unto Christ’s finished crosswork alone. He will always reject your “good” works for salvation. Those who ignore the sufficiency of Christ’s blood to atone for their sin and sins will suffer the same doom of Cain—paying for their sins in the everlasting lake of fire!

Israel, Rise Up and Walk!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took hold of him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength” (Acts 3:6,7 KJV).

In this the Dispensation of Grace, Israel lacks her once privileged position before God. Her Temple is destroyed. Jews are scattered worldwide, absent from the land that God promised their father Abraham. Sadly, Israel is lost, far removed from JEHOVAH who dealt with her patriarchs in time past (Romans 10:1-3; Romans 11:11-32; 2 Corinthians 3:14-16). This is only temporary!

Today’s Scripture records the Apostle Peter’s first miracle—healing a lame man. In the context, Apostles Peter and John are going to the Temple to pray (verse 1). Verses 2-5 explain that a man lame from his mother’s womb is brought daily to sit at a Temple gate. As Peter and John pass, he begs them for alms (donations/money). Today’s Scripture is Peter’s reply.

The man, lame from birth, symbolizes Israel, spiritually impotent from her beginning (dead in her sins; Matthew 1:21; Matthew 18:11). By performing this miracle through Peter, the Holy Ghost is signifying to lost Israel that He can heal them spiritually like He physically restored the lame man (Acts 4:8-12)

Interestingly, the Temple gate by which the lame man sat was called “Beautiful” (Acts 3:2). He sat just outside God’s blessings (Israel’s kingdom), but he needed strength to get there. He needed God’s power to raise him up! After Peter healed him, he walked into the Temple, leaping and praising God (verses 8-10).

At His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will heal Israel of her existing lost, impotent state (Acts 3:19-21). As God gave the lame man strength to walk into the Temple, He will empower Israel to rise up in salvation (Romans 11:26-29) and literally walk into her kingdom (Isaiah 35:1-10; Ezekiel 37:1-28). In the name of Jesus Christ, Israel will be healed, delivered into her kingdom of everlasting salvation, peace, and prosperity (Jeremiah 23:5-8; Hosea 2:14-23; Luke 1:67-75; 1 Peter 2:9,10).