Saturday, May 26, 2012
Heaven Father, Loving God! Jesus is the very expression of the innermost being of Almighty God, our God. He is the Eternal Word of the Living God. You made Yourself known to us in Jesus, through Your Word and Your Spirit. You provide Life and Light through Him. Father, thank You for giving us Your Eternal Word in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for Life and Light in Him. May we treasure Your Word and Christ always in our hearts, and live a life that will bring praise, glory and honor to YOU. It is in His name that we pray. Amen!
Saturday, May 26, 2012
JACOB, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/26/2012
CONFRONTING THE PROBLEM OF SIN, Lesson 65a
The time has come for the old Patriarch Jacob to die. His 147 years have been eventful and difficult, yet they have been blessed. Before he leaves this world, he gathers his sons around his bedside to speak to them one last time.
In these verses Jacob addresses his sons in light of the future. He tells them what will come their way “in the last days.” This is a reference to the kingdom years of Israel.
The details of Jacob’s prophecy to each of his sons, as they stood around his bedside, were amazingly accurate. In fact, this passage has been a favorite of Bible critics. They cannot believe that these words were uttered before the events they described took place.
These prophecies, and their accurate fulfillment, stands as one of the greatest proofs of the inspiration of the Word of God. How did Jacob know things that would take place hundreds of years after his death? The Holy Ghost told him!
As we examine these words of Jacob, we do not have the time in this message to teach about what Jacob had to say to each of his sons. By way of introduction, a quick overview of this chapter is in order. As we consider the Jacob’s words to his sons, we see the sons of Jacob divided into three groups.
Some Were Disqualified – Because of their sin some of these boys were destined for judgment and not blessing. Those disqualified were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Dan.
Some Were Distinguished – Some of Jacob’s sons destined for blessings down the road. God took some of these men, who were mostly insignificant in the family, and elevated them to places of prominence in the future kingdom. Those distinguished were Judah, Zebulon, Issachar, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, and Benjamin.
One Was Different – Joseph stood out among his brethren. He was singled out for a word of special blessing by his father. He was set apart to receive special blessings. In fact, Joseph was given the place of the first born. He received a double portion of his father’s inheritance. That double portion was given to his sons Manasseh and Ephraim.
As I said, we do not have time today to consider Jacob’s words to all of his sons. However, I do want to focus our attention of a few of the sons of Jacob today. The reason I focus on these few is because we share a common problem with them. We share the problem of sin.
If you will notice the words of Jacob in verse 2, he says, “hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.” If you will remember “Jacob” is the old man’s birth name. It means “heel-grabber; trickster; or supplanter”. That name identifies Jacob as a man of the flesh. And for years he did live a fleshly life. He was always out to better Jacob, He was always trying to gain an advantage over others.
Then, one night, Jacob met the Master! When he did, his life was changed forever. His name was changed too. No longer was he called “Jacob”. His new name was “Israel”. That name means “Prince with God.” It pictures him as a man of faith, who walks with God. And, that is who Jacob became in his later years.
When he calls his sons to him, he calls them “the sons of Jacob”. I think he is telling them, “You boys are just like I was. You have a sinful, fleshly nature to overcome. You have a sin problem to deal with.”
Doesn’t that describe us all today? If there is one common thread that runs among every person today, it is the common thread of sin. We all have problems with sin! If we do not learn to handle sin the right way, we can be certain that it will handle us. I would like to take the words of Jacob to just a few of his sons and focus on “Confronting The Sin Problem“. I want you to see a Man Who Covered His Sin; some Men Controlled By Their Sin; and a Man Who Confessed His Sin. These examples have some valuable lessons to teach those who will hear them.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“I Bring My Sins To Thee” By Frances R. Havergal (1870)
I bring my sins to Thee,
The sins I cannot count,
That all may cleansĂ¨d be
In Thy once opened Fount;
I bring them, Savior, all to Thee;
The burden is too great for me,
The burden is too great for me.
I bring my grief to Thee,
The grief I cannot tell;
No words shall needed be,
Thou knowest all so well;
I bring the sorrow laid on me,
O suffering Savior, all to Thee,
O suffering Savior, all to Thee.
My life I bring to Thee,
I would not be my own;
O Savior, let me be
Thine ever, Thine alone;
My heart, my life, my all I bring
To Thee, my Savior and my King,
To Thee, my Savior and my King.
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Friday, May 25, 2012
Heavenly Father, Creator of all living things, You have crown Jesus Lord of Life. For into the dust He breathed life, creating humankind to wear His own image. It was all good. But darkness lurked; the crafty serpent spoke and its deception gave birth to our disobedience and pain, although You never left us alone. To our ancestors Jesus drew near, and from a barren womb, Jesus called forth a nation to become a Light that would bless every family of the earth. But sin imposed its tyranny among them too, until God became one of us. The invisible God became visible in the flesh, born of a faith-filled virgin. He entered our finiteness, our neediness, our messiness, and we saw in our darkness a great light, Jesus. In Him, the ashamed were forgiven, the lonely were loved, the hurting were touched and healed, and even the hostility of nature stood still when He spoke “PEACE”. In His great love for us and in our own hands He gave up even His breath and accepted death’s darkness. But, the slaughtered Lamb was raised from the dead as Lord of Light and Life forever. Thank You Father for Jesus, our Hope, for He alone can remove the world’s sin, sickness, death and fear. May His Church hold fast to True Hope, the faithfulness of Jesus. It is in His name we pray. Amen!
Friday, May 25, 2012
JACOB, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/25/2012
REFLECTIONS OF A LIFE, 64b
JACOB REFLECTED ON THE PRESENT
As Jacob was dying he knew that all his blessings were not in the past. The Lord had placed some things right in from of him that reminded him of God’s blessings today.
v. 8-11 The Evidence Of Grace – Jacob embraces the two sons of Joseph. There was a time when he thought Joseph was dead and that there would be no offspring from that son. Now, by the grace of God, Jacob not only sees Joseph again, but he also sees Joseph’s two boys. That is grace in action!
Can you see the evidence of grace around you today? I can! I can see His grace in my family. I can see His grace in the ministry. I can see His grace in the church. I am seeing things, doing things and experiencing things I never could have imagined when He saved me. I am surrounded by the evidence of grace!
v. 5-6 The Expansion Of Grace – Jacob adopts the two sons of Joseph and gives them an inheritance among Joseph’s brothers. He is, in effect, giving Joseph the double portion of the firstborn. When the inheritance of the nation of Israel was given our many years later, there was no tribe of Joseph, but there were the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim.
The grace that was active in Jacob’s life flowed from him to the successive generations. In other words, because of the grace of God that was on him, he was able to hand down a heritage, a legacy, to those who followed him. That is what we ought to be doing today. Just as Jacob handed down his blessings to his grandchildren, we ought to strive to hand down the gifts of God’s great grace to those who are following after us. I want to hand down a legacy of preaching, worship and obedience to God to those who come behind me.
v. 12-20 The Economy Of Grace – In these verses, Jacob blesses Joseph’s sons. But, Jacob gives the blessing of the firstborn to Ephraim instead of Manasseh. Joseph tries to intervene, suspecting that Jacob just couldn’t see what he was doing, (v. 18). But, Jacob was carrying out the will of the Lord and he knew exactly what he was doing, (v. 14, 19).
In the kingdom years, Ephraim became the most powerful and populous tribe in Israel, with Manasseh being second. God gave the blessing to whom He chose.
That is the way of grace. God blesses whom He will. God uses whom He will. God chooses one over another without explanation. When we see another person being blessed more than ourselves, there is a human tendency to become jealous. We should praise God for the simple fact that He even blesses us at all. We certainly do not deserve it! Any blessing of God on our lives is pure grace. Anytime the Lord uses us at all, it is pure grace. I look around today and I thank God for His grace!
JACOB REFLECTED ON THE PROMISES
Jacob concludes his reflections on his life by remembering and restating the promises of God in his life and to his offspring. These promises belong to us as well today.
v. 21 Their Heritage – God had a plan for Israel. He led them into Egypt and one day He would lead them out and back to the land of Canaan. They had a heritage! God had made certain promises to their fathers, and He would keep those promises to His people.
We have a heritage too! Our spiritual fathers believed God. They loved Him and they lived for Him. They preached Him and they praised Him. They left us a legacy of worship, holiness and pure religion. We would do well to honor our heritage. I am not looking for a place to change roads. I am not looking for a new way. I am confident that the God Who sent revival in the days of our fathers will send it again in our day. I am confident that the God Who blessed the church in the days of our fathers will continue to bless the church in our day. I am confident that God will continue to honor His Word and keep His promises.
v. 21 Their Helper – “God will be with you.” Jacob dies by reminding Joseph that God will never forsake His people. He will walk with them and stand with them until we leave this world for Heaven.
We live with that same promise today, (Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20). Think about it, God is with you all the time, watching over all you do. He is there to protect you, sustain you, encourage you, bless you and use you. He is our helper!
v. 21 Their Hope – One day God would visit His people and He would, deliver them from Egypt and carry them home to Canaan. That was their blessed hope, and that was just what God eventually did for them. ( The plagues and the Exodus.)
We have that promise as well. Our Lord is coming back for His people, (1 Thes. 4:16-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-52). That is His promise, (John 14:1-3), and that is what He will do when the time is right.
Conc: I praise God that I can remember some great things the Lord has done in my life. I praise Him that I can look around today and see His hand at work right now. I bless His name that I have some promises for my future. Like Jacob, I can go to my death knowing that I have been blessed by my Lord. What about you?
Are you saved?
Can you see the providential work of God in your life?
Are you surrounded by His blessings today?
Are you “standing on the promises”?
If these things are true of you and your life, you are a blessed individual. And, you should take the time to thank the Lord for His blessings and His grace in your life. If not, then you need to come to Jesus today and you need to be saved. If He has spoken to you, please come to Him today.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Where He Leads I’ll Follow” By William A. Ogden (1885)
Sweet are the promises, kind is the word
Dearer far than any message man ever heard
Pure was the mind of Christ, sinless, I see
He the great example is, and pattern for me
Where He leads I'll follow
Follow all the way
Follow Jesus ev'ry day
Sweet is the tender love Jesus hath shown
Sweeter far than any love that mortals have known
Kind to the erring one, faithful is He
He the great example is, and pattern for me
List to His loving words, "Come unto me!"
Weary, heavyladen, there is sweet rest for thee
Trust in His promises, faithful and sure
Lean upon the Savior and thy soul is secure
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Thursday, May 24, 2012
Almighty Father, Faithful God, we fear the anger and wrath of our God, for He can become angry enough to destroy all those who will not believe in Jesus and obey Him. Help us to be one of Your faithful and powerful intercessor on behalf of all lost souls. Teach us not to focus on ourselves and our situations so that we might see how to pray for the needs of others. Give us strong faith to believe our prayers can make a difference in their lives. Show us the people we need to pray for today. Show us how to specifically pray for them. Help us to reach out to them with Your Love and Spirit. Bless them as You have blest us. This we pray and ask in the name of Jesus our Savior. Amen!
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