There is a popular show on TV called The Walking Dead. Although I have never seen an actual episode, the commercial made it clear it is all about the aftermath of an apocalypse and zombies.
While the bible does not specifically refer to the unsaved as “zombies” but when we really think about it that is exactly what we were. Those apart from Christ are walking about the earth with no hope, children of wrath, just waiting for the day of eternal judgment.
Today’s sermon comes from Voddie Bauchman, who at the time was Pastoring a church in Houston, TX but now is Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Zambia.
Voddie Baucham: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil
To become a Christian is to be enlisted in a war, one that is fought on three main fronts. In this session, Rev. Voddie Baucham will remind us how the world, the flesh, and the devil work against the kingdom of God. He will explain why battle, struggle, and hardship should not surprise us as Christians.
As India fights to become a purely Hindu nation, our brothers and sisters in Christ there continue to suffer and die. Your prayers are needed as they continue to stand for Jesus in the land of countless false idols and gods.
A daily prayer request from Barnabas Prayer is available from the “View Daily Prayer” link below. The prayer is also available on Facebook, Twitter, and as an insert in our free bi-monthly Barnabas Aid magazine.
Today: Wednesday 13 January 2021
An evangelical missionary from Switzerland was murdered in Mali by Islamic militants in September 2020. Beatrice Stöckli (59) had been kidnapped and held captive for over four years by a group called Jammat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM). Three other European hostages and a Malian politician were released by JNIM about a month later, reportedly in exchange for over 100 jihadists who had been captured by the Malian authorities. Beatrice had had an earlier experience of kidnapping in 2012 when she was held for nine days and tortured. On her release, the terrorists warned her not to come back to Mali. Despite this, she decided that she would return to her ministry in Timbuktu. Pray that her many years of work in Mali will bear much fruit in this country where Christians are about 2% of the population.
Before we delve into Chapter 5 we need to address the issue of why God is worthy of Adoration and Praise, as well as what the differences between the tow are.
The bible is full of references to God’s worthiness to be Worshiped and Praised, Psalm 145:3,being just one example. When we consider as a whole the Love, Mercy, Sacrifice (Calvary) and Promises of God no other god is more worthy or even in the same conversation. God’s divine attributes and accomplishments, His ongoing providence for His elect warrant an esteemed response (Adoration and Praise) with solemn purpose.
The Life of true holiness is rooted in the soil of awed adoration -J. I. Packer
A child of God should be a visible beatitude for joy and happiness, and a living doxology for gratitude and adoration. – C.H. Spurgeon
People only have true understanding when they look at everything from God’s perspective. Authentic wisdom begins when we understand that God is to be the object of our devotion, our adoration, and our reverence. – R.C. Sproul
Adorationis; The act of paying honors to a divine being; the worship paid to God; the act of addressing as a God. While Praise is, The expression of gratitude for personal favors conferred; a glorifying or extolling.
The differences are subtle, Adoration infers a intense reverence while Praise is an expression of approval. Some of you are questioning Praise teams and such at this moment. Adoration and Worship are closely linked while the two are different from Praise.
Confused yet 🤷♂️. Praise is the joyful recounting of all God has done for us. It is closely intertwined with thanksgiving as we offer back to God appreciation for His mighty works on our behalf. Worship, however, comes from a different place within our spirits. Worship should be reserved for God alone (Luke 4:8). Worship is the art of losing self in the adoration of another. The following article may help in understanding:“What is the difference between praise and worship?”
Okay, all that to get to Rev Chapter 5 and our actual text for today v.11-13. If we needed further evidence that God was worthy of Adoration and Praise the bible tells clearly the day is coming when all creation will do just that.
v.11 –And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
v.12 – Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
v.13 –And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
The fours beast and 24 elders v.8 fall down before the lamb of God (Christ) and begin singing a new song of adoration and praises to Christ Jesus proclaiming His worthiness to execute righteous judgement v.9.
Verse 11, begins the response of the unfathomable number of angels to the song by the beasts and elders. They cry out in unison v.12Worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” (AMP). Soon they are join by all creation, And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them,
It is matter of joy to all the world, to see that God deals with men in grace and mercy through the Redeemer. He governs the world, not merely as a Creator, but as our Saviour. The harps were instruments of praise; the vials were full of odours, or incense, which signify the prayers of the saints: prayer and praise should always go together. Christ has redeemed his people from the bondage of sin, guilt, and Satan. He has not only purchased liberty for them, but the highest honour and preferment; he made them kings and priests; kings, to rule over their own spirits, and to overcome the world, and the evil one; and he makes them priests; giving them access to himself, and liberty to offer up spiritual sacrifices. What words can more fully declare that Christ is, and ought to be worshipped, equally with the Father, by all creatures, to all eternity! Happy those who shall adore and praise in heaven, and who shall for ever bless the Lamb, who delivered and set them apart for himself by his blood. How worthy art thou, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of our highest praises! All creatures should proclaim thy greatness, and adore thy majesty. – Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
There are many ways in which we can daily show Adoration and Praise to God> Here are just a few:
Share the Gospel: The uncompromised Gospel, not your testimony the Gospel, Matthew 28:18-20
Study: to show yourself approved and worthy of being a servant of the Lord, 2 Timothy 2:14-19
Pray: Be in the mindset to rejoice and pray in every circumstance, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 especially when it comes to the Adoration of God:
Introduction to Adoration
Of the First Part of Prayer, which is Address to God, Adoration of Him, with Suitable Acknowledgements, Professions, and Preparatory Requests
My spirit being composed into a very reverent and serious frame, my thoughts gathered in, and all that is within me charged in the name of the great God carefully to attend the solemn and awful service that lies before me and to keep close to it, I must, with a fixed attention and application of mind and an active lively faith, set the Lord before me, see his eye upon me, and set myself in his special presence, presenting myself to him as a living sacrifice, which I desire may be holy and acceptable to God and a spiritual service; Romans 12:1(ESV) and then bind this festal sacrifice with cords up to the horns of the altar, Psalm 118:27(ESV) in such thoughts as these:
v.7 – Our bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth.
We have all had moments when life seems hopeless, like we have one foot near the grave. When nothing seems to be cohesive, nothing seems to be able to go in our favor, life is like a bunch of splitters of wood cast about haphazardly.
v.8– But mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.
What to do when life seems so desperate? David’s response, Praise and focus on God, mine eyes are unto thee, have faith in God, in thee is my trust, focus on the eternal,leave not my soul destitute. This last one to me is most significant. In times of trouble we have a tendency to focus on the present storm, when our eternal destiny is really much more important.
Mine eyes are unto thee, O GOD the Lord. If you would keep your mind fixed in prayer, keep your eye fixed. Much vanity comes in at the eye. When the eyes wander in prayer, the heart wanders. To think to keep the heart fixed in prayer, and yet let the eyes gaze abroad, is as if one should think to keep his house sate, yet let the windows be open.—Thomas Watson.
v.9 & 10 – Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape. David makes a final plea for safety from his persecutors.
Snares, Gins, Nets. The usual method of capturing or killing the lion in Palestine was by pitfalls or nets, to both of which there are many references in the Scriptures. The mode of hunting the lion with nets was identical with that which is practised in India at the present time. The precise locality of the lion’s dwelling place having been discovered, a circular wall of net is arranged round it, or if only a few nets can be obtained, they are set in a curved form, the concave side being towards the lion. They then send dogs into the thicket, hurl stones and sticks at the den, shoot arrows into it, fling burning torches at it, and so irritate and alarm the animal that it rushes against the net, which is so made that it falls down and envelops the animal in its folds. If the nets be few, the drivers go to the opposite side of the den, and induce the lion to escape in the direction where he sees no foes, but where he is sure to run against the treacherous net. Other large and dangerous animals were also captured by the same means. Another and more common, because an easier and a cheaper method, was, by digging a deep pit, covering the mouth with a slight covering of sticks and earth, and driving the animal upon the treacherous covering. It is an easier method than the net, because after the pit is once dug, the only trouble lies in throwing the covering over its mouth. But it is not so well adapted for taking beasts alive, as they are likely to be damaged, either by the fall into the pit, or by the means used in getting them out again. Animals, therefore, that are caught in pits are generally, though not always, killed before they are taken out. The net, however, envelops the animal so perfectly, and renders it so helpless, that it can be easily bound and taken away. The hunting net is very expensive, and requires a large staff of men to work it, so that none but a rich man could use the net in hunting. Besides the net, several other modes of bird catching were used by the ancient Jews, just as is the case at the present day. Boys, for example, who catch birds for their own consumption, and not for the market, can do so by means of various traps, most of which are made on the principle of the noose, or snare. Sometimes a great number of hair nooses are set in places to which the birds are decoyed, so that in hopping about, many of them are sure to be entangled in the snares. Sometimes the noose is ingeniously suspended in a narrow passage which the birds are likely to traverse, and sometimes a simple fall trap is employed.—J. G. Wood.
If you are a Truly Converted Christian and actively engaged in the biblical mandate to share the Good News you will experience difficulties in this life for like Christ the world will HATE us.
We have choices, give up, fight on our own or like David, fight with Fragrant Prayerto the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Conqueror of Death.
I lay down and sleep, for you, LORD, make me to dwell in safety. Psalm 3:5(ESV)
You have commanded your angels concerning me, to guard me in all my ways; to bear me up in their hands, lest I strike my foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11-12(ESV) And they are all ministering spirits, sent out to serve for the good of those who are to inherit salvation. Hebrews 1:14(ESV)
When perhaps there has been but a step between me and death, 1 Samuel 20:3(ESV) and when I have felt that I have received the sentence of death, 2 Corinthians 1:9(ESV) and have been ready to say, “In the middle of my days I must depart; I am consigned to the gates of Sheol for the rest of my years”; Isaiah 38:10(ESV) yet in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction and cast all my sins behind your back. Isaiah 38:17(ESV)
When the snares of death have encompassed me and the pangs of Sheol have laid hold on me, I have called on the name of the LORD and have found that gracious is the LORD, and righteous, yes, my God is merciful; I have been brought low, and he has saved me, Psalm 116:3-6(ESV) and has delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling. I will therefore walk before the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 116:8-9(ESV)
v.5 –Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.
Of all the verses of Psalms this and the following may be one of the hardest to interpret. Let the righteous smite me… David is basically saying he would prefer to be severely reprimanded, corrected, rebuked etc. by a righteous person than be in the company of evil. So he will pray for them.
The righteous, etc.The minister cannot be always preaching; two or three hours, may be, in a week, he spends among his people in the pulpit, holding the glass of the gospel before their faces; but the lives of professors, these preach all the week long: if they were but holy and exemplary, they would be as a repetition of the preacher’s sermon to their families and neighbours among whom they converse, and keep the sound of his doctrine continually ringing in their ears. This would give Christians an amiable advantage in doing good to their carnal neighbours by counsel and reproof, which now is seldom done, and when done it proves to little purpose, because not backed with their own exemplary walking. “It behooves him”, saith Tertullian, “that would counsel or reprove another, to guard his speech with the authority of his own conversation, lest, wanting that, what he says puts himself to the blush.” We do not love one that hath a stinking breath to come very near us; such, therefore, had need have a sweet scented life. Reproofs are a good physic, but they have an unpleasant reception; it is hard for men not to throw them back on the face of him that gives them. Now nothing is more powerful to keep a reproof from thus coming back than the holiness of the person that reproves. “Let the righteous smite me”, saith David, “it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head.” See how well it is taken from such a hand, from the authority that holiness carries with it. None but a vile wretch will smite a righteous man with reproach for smiting him with a reproof, if softly laid on, and like oil fermented, and wrought into him, as it should, with compassion and love to his soul! Thus we see how influential the power of holiness would be unto the wicked, neither would it be less upon our brethren and fellow Christians. Holy David professed he would take it as a kindness for the righteous man to smite him; yea, as kindly as if he broke a box of precious oil upon his head, which was amongst the Jews a high expression of love. –William Gurnall.
v.6 – When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.
Most commentators agree David is speaking about those who would oppress him. At some point all our unrighteous oppressors will come to know the truth we spoke, why? Because all our words spoken in Christ are surelywords; for they are sweet. That is why a true Christian never stops sharing the Good News.
They shall hear my words; for they are sweet.This is especially true of all the words which David spake by inspiration, or the Spirit of God spake to him; articulately in his book of Psalms; concerning the Messiah, the covenant of grace, and the blessings of it; of the rich experiences of grace he had, and the several doctrines of the gospel declared by him; which were sweet, delightful, and entertaining to those who have ears to hear such things; or whose ears are opened to hear them, so as to understand them and distinguish them, but to others not. –John Gill.
No one likes to be corrected, however the correction of a righteous man is but a sweat savor to God. Respond in kind with a Fragrant Prayer of your own for both those who would persecute and profit you. Also, do not neglect the thank God for the times of discipline that drew you nearer to the cross.
Supplication to God for Others
We must pray for the whole world of mankind, the lost world; and thus, we must honor everyone, 1 Peter 2:17(ESV) and, according to our capacity, do good to everyone. Galatians 6:10(ESV)
I pray, as I am taught, for all people, believing that this is good and pleasing in the sight of God my Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth and of Jesus Christ, 1 Timothy 2:3-4(ESV) who gave himself as a ransom for all. 1 Timothy 2:6(ESV)
O let your way be known on earth, Psalm 67:2(ESV) that barbarous nations may be civilized, and those who live without God in the world may be brought to the service of the living God; Ephesians 2:12(ESV) and thus, let your saving power be known among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; yes, let all the peoples praise you: O let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Psalm 67:2-4(ESV)
For Support While Being Disciplined
Though for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, yet later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness and proves to be for my good, that I might share your holiness. Hebrews 12:10-11(ESV)
I have had reason to say that it was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes; Psalm 119:71(ESV) for before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. Psalm 119:67(ESV)
It has been but for a little while, and when it was necessary, that I was grieved by various trials; and I beg that all the trials of my faith may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom, though I have not seen, I love; though I do not now see him, yet I believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, and am longing to receive the outcome of my faith, the salvation of my soul. 1 Peter 1:6-9(ESV)
There was a disannulling or cancelling of the old law in order to gain access (through Christ) to God
Jesus oath to God made Him high priest
Because of that oath we are guaranteed a better covenant, an unchanging priesthood and a means of salvation
v.26-28 Jesus is a better High Priest than any before him
Wherefore – Nine letters with a POWERFUL meaning, have you been paying attention to all I have written previously? You know my overbearing push for context, context context. Here it is again the writer of Hebrews demands we read in context how the Levitical Law applies to Christ Jesus.
he is able – Because of everything we have previously read and determined to be true (God can’t lie) we understand that Christ alone is able to be this High Priest
also to save them – Man proved incapable of saving himself, that is following the old covenant. Only God Himself the possessor of a supernatural Divine power could intervene and save mankind.
to the uttermost – Note we are not save FROMbut saved TO. So often I hear folks say Jesus saved me from…. well ain’t that nice 🙂 . Jesus saved me to the uttermost,that is as Matthew Poole puts it; to perfection, to the full, to all ends, from sin, in its guilt, stain, and power; from its consequents, the curse, and wrath, and eternal death.
that come unto God by him, – Another thing I often hear from professing “Christians” is “I made the decision” and trusted in Jesus… Really now all by your little ol’ self. I know I sound condescending but think about it they are saying they are numero uno, A number one, all about me. They decided and God had no choice in the matter. This is the same sovereign God of the universe, the Omnipotent, Omniscience and OmnipresentIAM, but you make the decisions.
There is only one Biblical way to God and Salvation and that is beingcalled by the Holy Spirit, through Christ Jesus unto repentance and Salvation. Is it Dogmatic, yes! Is it God’s plan yes.
seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. – While Jesus was able to live a perfect (sinless) life, even true Christians can not. Thanks be to God, we have a Risen Savior who loves to make intercession for us at the throne of Grace 1 John 2:1-2. John Gill comments on this:
he is the one and only Mediator; and he is a very prevalent intercessor, he always succeeds; and he does this work readily, willingly, cheerfully, and freely; and all this proves him to be able to save; for though the impetration of salvation is by his death, the application of it is owing to his interceding life; had he died and not lived again, he could not have saved to the uttermost; his life is the security of his people’s, and he lives for them, and as their representative; the blessed, effects of which they constantly enjoy.
If you are reading this and feel your heart strings being tugged upon by the Holy Spirit I pray you will not delay. You do not need some fancy words or formal prayer simply acknowledge that He (Christ) is able, to save a sinner like you, repent of (ask forgiveness) of your past sins against a Holy God, and ask Christ to save you to the uttermost.
In it’s simplest form our text for today can be broken into two(2) sections. First v.1-8, the Wise Men seek after the newborn King (Christ). Secondly v.9-12 we see them worshipping the Christ child.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Matthew 2:1-8
Those who live at the greatest distance from the means of grace often use most diligence, and learn to know the most of Christ and his salvation. But no curious arts, or mere human learning, can direct men unto him. We must learn of Christ by attending to the word of God, as a light that shineth in a dark place, and by seeking the teaching of the Holy Spirit. And those in whose hearts the day-star is risen, to give them any thing of the knowledge of Christ, make it their business to worship him. Though Herod was very old, and never had shown affection for his family, and was not himself likely to live till a new-born infant had grown up to manhood, he began to be troubled with the dread of a rival. He understood not the spiritual nature of the Messiah’s kingdom. Let us beware of a dead faith. A man may be persuaded of many truths, and yet may hate them, because they interfere with his ambition, or sinful indulgences. Such a belief will make him uneasy, and the more resolved to oppose the truth and the cause of God; and he may be foolish enough to hope for success therein.
MHC Commentary on Matthew 2:9-12
What joy these wise men felt upon this sight of the star, none know so well as those who, after a long and melancholy night of temptation and desertion, under the power of a spirit of bondage, at length receive the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with their spirits that they are the children of God. We may well think what a disappointment it was to them, when they found a cottage was his palace, and his own poor mother the only attendant he had. However, these wise men did not think themselves baffled; but having found the King they sought, they presented their gifts to him. The humble inquirer after Christ will not be stumbled at finding him and his disciples in obscure cottages, after having in vain sought them in palaces and populous cities. Is a soul busy, seeking after Christ? Would it worship him, and does it say, Alas! I am a foolish and poor creature, and have nothing to offer? Nothing! Hast thou not a heart, though unworthy of him, dark, hard, and foul? Give it to him as it is, and be willing that he use and dispose of it as it pleases him; he will take it, and will make it better, and thou shalt never repent having given it to him. He shall frame it to his own likeness, and will give thee himself, and be thine for ever. The gifts the wise men presented were gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Providence sent these as a seasonable relief to Joseph and Mary in their present poor condition. Thus our heavenly Father, who knows what his children need, uses some as stewards to supply the wants of others, and can provide for them, even from the ends of the earth.
This carol is an anonymous folk song, probably from the seventeenth century. Its text was first printed in nine stanzas by Davies Gilbert in Some Ancient Christmas Carols (1823). Most modern hymnals use six of these nine stanzas, eliminating the fifth, seventh, and ninth from Gilbert’s text. The second stanza is historically inaccurate, because it implies that the shepherds followed the star, while it was actually the wise men. Most hymnals leave this stanza intact, but a few correct the first line or omit the whole stanza to avoid this issue. Otherwise, the biggest discrepancy is in the spelling of “Noel.” The English form is “Nowell,” which is retained in about half the hymnals. The other half use the French form “Noel.” Whichever form is used, the word ultimately derives from the Latin “natalis,” meaning “birth.”
The carol tells a story loosely based on the Gospel accounts in Luke 2 and Matthew 2 of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth, with the shepherds, the star, and the wise men. The first two lines of the final stanza calls us to action – as the wise men reverently worshiped the Christ, so we should “with one accord sing praises to our heavenly Lord.” The last two lines recall that our Lord is the Creator and the Savior of the world.– Hymary.org
While not being 100% biblically accurate it never the less imposes upon us an important lesson. All Wiseman, even those who know not Christ as of yet as Lord and Savior should seek His truths. Please pray for those who the bible calls “stiff-necked” and refuse to yield to the Holy Spirit’s call.
The angels announce Jesus Birth and call the shepherds to visit.
Angels were heralds of the new-born Saviour, but they were only sent to some poor, humble, pious, industrious shepherds, who were in the business of their calling, keeping watch over their flock. We are not out of the way of Divine visits, when we are employed in an honest calling, and abide with God in it. Let God have the honour of this work; Glory to God in the highest. God’s good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, redounds to his praise. Other works of God are for his glory, but the redemption of the world is for his glory in the highest. – Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
Angels we have heard on high, comes from a traditional French carol, “Les Anges dans nos Campagnes“ that was translated from French to English by Bishop James Chadwick (1813-1882) with the music we sing today being credited to Edward S. Barnessomewhere around 1937. It first appeared in Holy Family Hymns (1860) and The Crown of Jesus Music (1864, adapted by Henri Friedrich Hémy).
The references to our text are quite obvious; Angels, shepherds, Bethlehem, him in a manger laid. The most striking however is the refrain itself:
Gloria in excelsis Deo,which is the Latin translation of v.14 Glory to God in the highest,
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31), and to enjoy him for ever (Ps. 73:25-26)
There are many things worth Glorifying God for but none top this one event. God could have chosen so many ways to deal with rebellious and sinful man, (destruction, forsaken, etc.) but chose to to send a Savior, His only begotten Son.
“Angels we have heard on high” is a song for believers to invite the world to come and celebrate the most glorious event in all of history, God incarnate as man.
I pray this year and throughout the next sing praises in your heart,Gloria in excelsis Deo, and and share that joy and glory with the world.
Ezra being informed, by some of the princes who complained unto him, of the marriages of many of the Israelites with the people of the land, the Canaanites and others, was greatly grieved and distressed, Ezra 9:1-5, upon which he made a confession of their sins to God, with great shame, sorrow, and contrition, and deprecated the evils which they deserved, Ezra 9:6-15.
Upon Ezra’s prayer and confession, it was proposed by Shechaniah, that those who had married strange wives should put them away with their children, which they swore to do, Ezra 10:1-5, and proclamation was made throughout the land for all to meet at Jerusalem in three days’ time, and accordingly they did, Ezra 10:6-9 when, at the exhortation of Ezra, all agreed to it, and persons were appointed to see it done, and the work was finished in the space of three months, Ezra 10:10-17 and a list of the names of those is given who had married such wives, and now put them away; of the priests, Ezra 10:18-22, of the Levites, Ezra 10:23,24, of the other Israelites, Ezra 10:24-44. – John Gill’s Commentary