Monday, March 16, 2015

Welcome

March is now posted.

Check out the latest Bible Study on "Galatians" and "Philemon"

We will be posting the Glorious Gospel articles individually below. The previous month's publication will be found under the Archive tab as pdf's. We will begin posting some studies, as pdf's and as ebooks in the coming months.
THE SPIRIT’S STRIVING



“And the Lord said, my spirit shall not always strive with men, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years” – Gen. 6:3.

God is a spirit, and seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and truth. But man also is flesh, having a fallen nature, for he has turned away from God. Humanity by nature, since the fall, is opposed to God. God is longsuffering, therefore His Spirit has long, lovingly, tenderly plead, and powerfully contended with man. From our text, and from I Peter 3:20, we understand that He waited, and waited, and waited while the Ark was preparing. These horrible conditions grieved the heart of our Holy God. In this chapter, we have described fleshly opposition to the Spirit of the living God reaching its peak, foretelling of another day preceding judgment by fire.

In all this, thank God for the Holy Spirit’s testimony of Noah, he found grace in the eyes of the Lord, He was righteous, and walked with God. God talked with Noah and he listened. He wasn’t a forgetful hearer. Noah was receptive to the Holy Spirit’s striving, and responsive to the Word of God. He prepared and was preserved from the wrath of divine judgment, and was used to re-people the earth.

We learn from Hebrews 11, how God’s Spirit had dealt with him, He being warned of God, was convinced that God would keep his promise. He believed that God could and would do what He said even though it had never happened before. He was so certain, that he undertook this one-hundred-twenty year project of preaching and preparing. He got at it and stayed with it, and most amazing, he did it God’s way.

He “moved with fear.” The action of God’s Spirit had its intended effect, he was inspired, motivated, and moved to do God’s will. It would be wise for all of us to have this attitude toward God and His Word. Noah had great reverence for God; His Person, who God is, the eternal self existent one; His Power, what he is able to do; and His Promise, that He means what He says. God’s Spirit moved Noah to prepare, and by faith’s righteousness he became an heir, I truly appreciate the way the Holy Spirit genders faith in our hearts and moves us toward our inheritance. He, Noah, “condemned the world.” His act of faith, obeying God’s Word, had this effect on the world. The Spirit of God, through Noah, dealt with others and convinced his family, to the saving of his house. All the others turned a deaf ear, mocking until it was too late. He was indeed a preacher of righteousness, and it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Jesus said: “nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you, And when He is come, He will reprove (convict, convince) the world of sin, and of righteousness, righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now” – John. 16:7-12.

The Spirit was sent to deal with us about our sin, showing us how far short we come of His holy requirements and glory. He earnestly contends with us to cause us to realize that God is right in all He says and does, and our great need for His righteousness. The Holy Spirit solemnly warns us of coming judgment if we do not accept His remedy for our sin. Therefore, what must our attitude be now, today, if His Spirit will not always strive with man? What has it been? Our history in relation to God’s Spirit has not been very good, either ancient or recent. While His Spirit has been pleading, we generally have been  obstinate in some measure or form.

“Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, where-with he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” – Heb. 10:24-29.

Sinning wilfully, in its three aspects, or areas; “trodding under foot the Son of God, counting the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and doing despite to the Spirit of grace;” has been generally thought to be that which was done by Christ rejectors during His time of public ministry here. I do not believe that these actions were limited to that day. Today, as we see the day of Jesus’ return swiftly approaching, these attitudes become more and more manifest in Christendom. There are those who are literally missing the mark, failing to measure up to God’s standard, and ultimately are missing God’s best. “Wilfully” expresses persistence in sin deliberately, on purpose, hatefully, which in a sense seems to differ with that committed unthinkingly, or in ignorance, or from weakness. Yet, we know that God’s Spirit will check His people.

Trod under foot God’s Son – to mock, ignore, spurn, scorn. In order to do this, or have such an attitude toward Jesus, mankind must by-pass the Holy Spirit, for He (the Holly Spirit) reveals Jesus to us as the One that God deigns to honor.

Count the blood an unholy thing – to be disregarded as common, ordinary, worthless, useless. There are many so-called bloodless religions today. Again, it is the Holy Spirit that will cause our hearts to esteem the proper worth of the blood that has provided for our sanctification. His blood must be trusted in to realize its worth. To God, Jesus’ life blood was uncontaminated and precious, and to the believer, priceless.

The attitude of “despite to the Spirit of grace” expresses wanton insult, to treat shamefully, to ignore one’s presence. In the gospels, we read of those who realized the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is evident that some even intellectually recognized His influence, yet inwardly resisted His voice in order to make it less and less audible until finally silenced. The Spirit of God was sent to bring man into the saving knowledge of the truth and would make grace and truth a reality in our lives. It is interesting to consider the insight that king David had to the grace of God. In Psalm 19:12-14 he requested deliverance from errors, secret faults, presumptuous sins, and the great transgression. And also he desired to be pleasing to the Lord in mind, and mouth. Praise God, as His Word is written in our hearts by the Spirit of the living God (II Cor. 3) we realize the answer to these requests. We know that it is accomplished not by trusting in the wisdom of men but in the power of the Holy Spirit.

“Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: but He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: because they said, He hath an unclean spirit” – Mark. 3:28-30. The wonderful works which Jesus did as he walked as a Man, He performed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Those signs and wonders were clear indications that He was indeed the Son of God, as well as the promised messiah. Their dangerous attitude and most deadly act of unbelief was (I believe) attributing the works of the Holy Spirit unto the unholy spirits. A dangerous act which predominates today is claiming much flesh works, to be the works of the Holly Spirit. This doesn’t go unnoticed, either.

Many are the ills of the human race because of their obstinacy toward the Spirit of God. We read of man resisting, hardening against, tempting, grieving, questioning the Spirit. “For that he also is flesh.” This gives a clear indication as to why God’s Spirit has striven with man down through the ages. It also make us realize why this will not always be true.. Jesus said, “That which is born of flesh, is flesh, and that which is born of spirit is spirit” and “Ye must be born again” – John 3:5-7. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you they are spirit, and they are life” – John 6:63. He also said, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” – Mt. 26:41. God has provided and purposed that no flesh will glory or boast in His sight. The apostle Paul wrote, “In my flesh (fallen nature) dwelleth no good thing” – Rom. 7:18. In Gal. 5:16,17 we read that the flesh and spirit are contrary to each other, and in Rom. 8:3-8 we see that the flesh, or fleshly mind is enmity  against or hostile toward God, not subject to the law of God. Let us who are born unto the realm of the Spirit yield wholehearted submission, being receptive to God’s Word and responsive to His Spirit.
– J. D.

THE LAST DAYS

Anita Clark


"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come." II Timothy 3:1

Do you know this? Do you see that we are nearing the end of the age - the end of time? Wake up saints of God. Jesus Christ could come at any time. No more delay. No more put off yielding your life to Christ. The word "perilous" in this verse in the original Greek means "difficult, dangerous, furious, and fierce." This is what we are seeing all around us in the world today.

The Scripture comes to mind, where Jesus spoke to His disciples, as He was about to go to the cross said, "Let not your heart be troubled,: ye believe in God, believe also in me" (John 14:1).

The word "troubled" means "to stir, or agitate or roil water." Life is full of trouble, especially in these last days. The Satanic hosts are more fiercely arrayed against the children of God than ever before. Rev. 12:12 says, "...he knoweth that he hath but a short time," referring to Satan in the later part of the tribulation of seven years coming upon the earth very soon. I never dreamed that I would see and hear of the atrocities that are happening in the world today.

ISIS - Is expanding its territory and recruiting thousands of fanatic killers from all over the world. One writer said, "We (Americans) are not able to fix anything in the third world nations. The Holy War is here." This was a discussion concerning the youth in these underprivileged nations, and what America might could do to fix the situation of the hopelessness of the youth in third world countries that makes them want to become part of ISIS. Some would like America to try to fix all the world’s problems, but that is impossible. The problems are not fixed by all of man’s efforts. God has given a chance to be saved and changed to each individual in the world. If man does not accept that invitation by God, then Satan will enter and snare youth to seek recognition in some of these cruel and vile ways, i.e. joining up with jihadist.

INTEL: ISIS PLANNING ATTACKS ON U.S. SOIL -this report by writer Aaron Klien, says "Egypt, now at the forefront of fighting ISIS, is warning it has intelligence revealing the global jihadist group is planning a worldwide offensive this spring or summer that could reach targets within the United States." The article goes on to say, "An Egyptian intelligence document, the contents of which were obtained by the news agency WND, warns that while the U.S. has been attempting to maintain a coalition to fight ISIS, the Islamic terrorist organization has itself been hard at work building a sustainable coalition of jihadist gunmen."

ISIS cells have already committed terrorist attacks in France, Denmark, and Libya. They will try to attack here in the U.S.A. also. We must trust in the Lord our God for His help. We pray that the possibility of attack on American soil will cause some to cry out to God for His help, and that many will receive Christ and be delivered from the wrath to come during the predicted tribulation.

According to Daniel 9:27 the prophesied time of tribulation will begin with a Peace Treaty made with Israel and will usher in a time of short-lived peace on the earth before the wrath of God is poured out in full. Jesus said, "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matthew 24:37). What were the days before the flood like? Genesis 6:5 -7 & 11-13 tells us, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth; and it grieved Him at His heart. And God looked upon the earth and, the earth was filled with violence. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

BEHEADING AND BURNING OF CHRISTIANS AND OTHERS BY ISIS - Several hundred people, mostly Christians have been beheaded or burned alive by this terrorist group. Our hearts cry out for the dear saints of God being martyred in this manner, but of course they are immediately ushered into God’s presence We think we suffer greatly here in the U.S., what if we were there in those foreign places, where they are literally giving their lives for Christ.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS - As we have reported in previous months in this article, we are in the middle of four consecutive blood moons called a tetrad. This has occurred only three times in the last 600 years. In history when there has been the occurrences of these tetrads taking place on Jewish Feast days, as these have, there has followed incidences of pertaining to the nation of Israel. 2014 and 2015 has brought disastrous incidents concerning Israel already, i.e the rocket battles with the Palestinians, the examples of anti-Semitism and persecution in many countries, and the dangers and war with ISSI. As time goes on, we will see more and more incidents coming to the fore. At the present time ISSI is in the Sinai Dessert, which adjoins Israel, and they are warring in Syria, just to Israel’s northern border. ISSI is determined to wipe Israel off the face of the map, but also, to annihilate all (even Muslims) who don’t agree with their hate filled ways.

The dates of the blood moons in 2015 are April 4, the Passover of Israel and September 28, the Feast of Tabernacles. We don’t know what else will take place on or around these dates, but we will see as time goes on. We cannot predict that Jesus will come then, but Christ could come at any moment as recorded in I Thessalonians 4:13-18, where it is recorded His pre-tribulation call for the overcomers of the Church Age. It behooves us to be ready, as Jesus said. God knows all about these conditions on the earth and we need not worry. He will have His way in the earth. We are seeing portends of His judgement coming in the seven years of tribulation which is rapidly coming upon the earth.

Jesus spoke in Matthew 24:6-8, "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nations shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilence and earthquakes in diverse places. All these things are the beginning of sorrows." Actually, what we are seeing now is not even comparable with the horrible things that will happen during the seven years of tribulation. "For then shall be the great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21).

However, we didn’t expect to see some of these things happening before the Lord’s return before the tribulation. No doubt God is warning that the time is short, and it is time to yield to God and be ready. Paul says, "And that knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation [deliverance] nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying" (Romans 13:11-13). Surely, Jesus is coming soon.
Grow Up



That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; Ephesians 4:14


God's desire and intent for each of His children is that we should grow up spiritually. This is not something that just happens over time just because we are saved. It also is not something we can make happen in our own effort.

From v.11 of this same chapter, we see that God provided pastors and teachers for the perfecting and edification of the saints. And in 1 Peter 2:2, we find, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:" So, we have pastors and teachers to teach us the Word of God so that we might grow up.

Then, we find in John 14:26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." We have been given the Holy Spirit to teach us. Nothing will be gained by reading the Bible without the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to our hearts. This is why unbelievers cannot understand the Bible. They lack the Holy Spirit.

And finally, we need faith. In Hebrews 11:3, we read "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." The key part of this verse is "Through faith we understand." Again, the Bible does not make sense to the unbelieving mind.

Growing, or maturing, as is the real meaning of the word "perfect" in scripture, requires only that we study God's Word and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to our hearts. By faith we receive what He reveals to us, and He works maturity in us. As we get started, we take in the "milk," things that are simpler and more on the surface. As we mature, we take in the meatier things that require some chewing. Hebrews 5:14 "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."

Maturing implies increasing in knowledge, understanding, wisdom and character. Spiritually, this can only be accomplished as mentioned above. There is nothing else in this world that can bring about spiritual maturity in our lives. The world will talk about spirituality, and writes many books on the subject that explain how to become "spiritual." Their idea is some man made spirituality where they attempt to act a certain way and call that spirituality. It is simply empty attempts that lead to nowhere.

So, what is the purpose of spiritual growth and maturity? Is there any value in this pursuit? Why would we spend our time studying the Bible and praying? In Ephesians, we find this in the context of walking worthy and bringing glory to God. There is eternal value. Those that aspire to bring God glory, will desire to come to spiritual maturity.

Gordon Crook

RUTH

Debra Isenbletter


Ruth 2:17 – “So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.”

What did Ruth continue to do after her meal? – She continued to labor, she continued to glean! Again, to “glean” means “to gather” or “pick up,” this is labor, it is hard work. Ruth is unaware of Boaz’s extra provision for her (v15-16) and if she had not gotten up and continued to glean she would have missed it. We see that the meal she had and fellowship she enjoyed at Boaz’s table aided and added to her desire to serve. This is how Ruth began her day and how she ended her day, she is an example of a “good and faithful servant” (Mt 25:23) and of those who do not grow “weary in well doing” (Gal 6:9; 2 Thess 3:13).

And how long did Ruth continue to labor? – “until even,” (evening or dusk). She kept gleaning until the sun set. She felt an urgency, a burning desire, and this is the same urgency and desire that our Lord Jesus felt as He served, for He said: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (Jn 9:4). Boaz had passed that urgency on to Ruth and Jesus passes that urgency on to us. We must labor while we can.

Ruth used every moment, every opportunity to gather grain, to serve! She was “redeeming the time” (Eph 5:16). She continued to labor because she wanted more and because of this she received more! And notice that is after her meal with Boaz that she will glean the most! The more we labor for the Lord, the more we receive from the Lord!

What did Ruth do with what she had gleaned? – She threshed it: “and beat out that she had gleaned.” To “beat” comes from “to knock off,” this is what it means to “thresh.” Usually a stick or a rock would be used to beat the stalks to separate the grain from the chaff. This was additional labor. It took time and effort to do this. Ruth will “knock off” the husks, all that can’t be used. Only when she does this will she truly be able to see the fullness of the blessing from Boaz and from her labors. She will take home the fruits of her labors, in a way she is taking home “the finest of the wheat" (Ps 81:16; Ps 147:14).  Matthew Henry writes: “She took care not to lose what she had gathered, but threshed it herself, that she might the more easily carry it home, and might have it ready for use. “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting, and so loseth the benefit of it, but the substance of a diligent man is precious (Prov 12:27).” The same holds true for us.

In type, what is Ruth “gleaning” and “beating out? What is this a picture of?” This pictures a full appreciation of and appropriation of the Word of God. This is searching the Word: “searching the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11), like the Bereans. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing [handling] the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15). This is meditating on the Word, it is to “think on these things” (Phil 4:8), those things that are found in the Word, in Paul’s gospel, those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. This is proving the Word. We are to “prove all things” (1 Thess 5:21). This is a picture of those who daily read and meditate of God’s Word.

At the end of the day, the end of gleaning, the end of threshing, we see what it is that Ruth has gleaned. “And it was about an ephah of barley.” An ephah is a measurement for grain. The amount ranges from 2/3 a bushel, ¾ a bushel to a bushel. This would weigh from 30-52 pounds and was enough to feed her and Naomi for a long time. What wonderful results and fruit from Ruth’s labor. Ruth had no idea when she was gleaning that it was this much, she was gathering a few stalks here and there, and later some precious bundles left for her. At the end of the day when she put it all together, it was more than she expected, beyond what she expected. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think …” (Eph 3:20). How glorious are His riches and blessings that are waiting for us to lay hold of, to willingly and joyfully labor for and when we do labor, we find at the end of the day an abundance that overwhelms and more than meets our needs!
Continued next issue
THE DISPENSATIONS


Earlene Davis


Fifth Dispensation: The Age of Law

This Age has also been called the Mosaic Covenant. This legal dispensation began at Sinai (Ex. 20) and ended at Calvary. Moses was the steward, but Joshua, Samuel and David were also prominent characters during this time. “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after” – Heb. 3:5.

God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt was on the ground of His covenant of Promise He made with Abraham in pure grace. “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob” – Ex. 2:24. But at Sinai Jehovah’s relationship to Israel was placed upon a different bases.

God bid Moses to say unto His people, “Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine; and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” – Ex. 19:5. The Lord was not referring to His covenant with Abraham, because there were no conditions attached to it. God proposed to make another covenant, to which there should be two parties – Himself and Israel: a covenant of works that Israel must keep if they were to enjoy the conditional blessings attached to it.

In response the people of Israel unanimously and boastfully said, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do” – Ex. 19:8. So God made a Covenant with Israel. Moses was on the mount with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments – Ex. 34:27-28. It was man’s responsibility to keep all of the holy law of God. Man miserably failed. In fact they had broken the commandments before Moses could even come down off Mount Sinai with them.

As Moses “came nigh unto the camp…he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses, anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount” – Ex. 32:19. The tables of stone lay broken on the ground, symbolic of the people breaking God’s Law.

Why couldn’t man keep the Law of God? “The law is holy and the commandment holy, and just, and good…For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin” – Rom. 7:12,14. God was instructing man that he is a sinner and unable to keep His holy law.

Then why did God give man the law he could not keep? “What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God…for by the law is the knowledge of sin” – Rom. 3:19,20. “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound” – Rom. 5:20. “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” – Rom. 7:7. “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made…the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (not by the works of the law) – Gal. 3:19,24.

The law was never given to men or to Israel as a means of salvation, in fact it put the sentence of death upon us. “For the wages of sin is death” – Rom. 6:23. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” – Rom. 8:3. “God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ…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” – Eph. 2:4,5,8,9.

This dispensation ended with judgment upon the Lord Jesus Christ. God poured out His wrath upon His Son hanging upon the Cross bearing our sin. Israel did suffer the judgment of being put out of the land of promise and the land was judged also.

Next issue: The Age of Grace

Monday, February 2, 2015

TRIUMPH IN CHRIST

Jack Davis

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” II Cor. 2:14-16

I have read that the figure of speech that the Apostle Paul used here came from an ancient Roman ceremonial; in which they honored the conquering hero for a decisive victory over a foreign foe. They celebrated the conquest with a triumphal procession. They marched through the city spreading garlands of flowers in his path, and burning incense to the victor. Strong translates, “causeth us to triumph,” “to make acclamatory procession;” Vine has it, “leadeth us in triumph.” The Amplified Bible says, “Who in Christ always leads us in triumph – as trophies of Christ’s victory.” It is also translated, “Who leads us in the train of Christ’s triumph.”

All thanks belongs to God for all our victories. When Paul gives thanks here he speaks for himself, but also includes those of like faith. “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” – II Cor. 9:15. Thanks be unto God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” – I Cor. 15:57. There is no defeat in Him, there is no victory without Him. As captain of our salvation He always leads from victory unto victory. When we go with Him, wholly following Him we can never be defeated, but are more than conquerors through Him that loves us.

When we fail to fully follow the Lord, the losses we experience need not mean total defeat. Yet there is no excuse for the believer remaining in defeat. Losses here and there can be stepping stones, expensive yet profitable lessons, if we learn from them not to trust ourselves. For the arm of flesh will certainly fail us. Paul wrote, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is of  God” - II Cor. 3:5.

When we are persuaded to trust some formula, plan of action, or programmed reaction, we miss out on what God’s power can do, in dealing with our problems. Paul wrote, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” – I Cor. 2:4-5.

To speak of triumph gives evidence of conflict, a battle being fought, warfare being waged, a foe being conquered. It’s not too long after we become a part of the family of God that we begin to realize that there is something fiercely opposing us in order to bring our utter defeat. As we go on we become aware that we are running against a powerful resisting force that is restraining and strength draining. With the prince and power of the air, the rulers of spiritual wickedness in high places against us, we shouldn’t wonder that Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing.” Thank God that He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church. It encourages us to read that “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him” – Isa. 59:19. It is indeed a blessing to be able to say with Paul in troublesome times, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” At times like these we had better know that the weapons of our warfare are mighty through God” – II Cor. 10:4.

In II Chron. 20, we have an interesting illustration of some of the truth expressed here. We read of a great multitude gathered against king Jehoshaphat and Judah to do battle. The multitude included the armies of three nations. When the king was told this he feared and set himself to seek the Lord. He gathered the congregation of Judah and prayed before them. In his prayer he reminded God of His promise to hear them in their affliction and give help. He told the Lord that he had no might against this great company, nor did he know what to do. He said to God; “Our eyes are upon thee.”

God then anointed one to tell them not to be afraid, but to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” They were told to go out against their enemy for the Lord would be with them. Jehoshphat then led his people in worship.

He admonished his people also to believe in the Lord their God. He then appointed singers unto the Lord, “that should praise the beauty of holiness” as they went out before the army, and to say, “Praise the Lord for his mercy endureth forever.” When they began to sing, and praise the Lord, the Lord set ambushments against their enemies, who then began to slay each other. After they had warred against themselves, all Judah had to do was walk in and gather the spoils of victory. These were spoken of as an “abundance of riches and precious jewels.” We read that there was no much wealth that they couldn’t carry it all and Judah was three days in gathering it.

They then returned to Jerusalem and to the temple in triumphant procession, “with psalteries, harps, and trumpets, and with joy: for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies.” This is also a good illustration of the truth in Phil. 4:6,7 of prayer, praise, and prevailing peace. Hallelujah! Our adversaries will multiply, confederate, and take counsel against us, then as God intervenes, they will ambush each other, and we are to walk in and take the spoils of victory

ROUTED COMBATANTS & RESCUED CAPTIVES: I have read that this Roman ceremonial not only involved those he had delivered, but also those he had defeated. The aroma of the burning incense would carry a far different meaning to one than the other. I appreciate Berkly’s translation that says; “maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” It reads like this, “Who evidences tbrough us…the fragrance that results from knowing him.”

 Oh what a joy to consider the victory Jesus has won! In Colossians 2:15, we read: “having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” In other words, He mightily disarmed, stripped off from himself (out stripped) principalities and powers and robbed them of their prey, then exposed them to open contempt in celebrating His triumphant act.” I greatly enjoy reading Ephesians 4:7-10, in this connection. “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also the ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

What a privilege to wholeheartedly follow the captain of our salvation. He is indeed a winner, THE WINNER. He went into upper sheol and preached to the spirits in prison. Though He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, He arose and ascended on high, captivating a captivity. He not only freed captives from deaths prison house, but led triumphantly into a new captivity, the trophies of His victory.

DEATH OVERCOME BY THE OUTPOURED LIFE: Death has had its sting, its shadow, its sentence, and savour, but Jesus has provided the answer for every related ill. Humanity has been so painfully stung to death by sin. The suffering has lasted so long, but praise God, Jesus, who was made sin for us, has tasted death for every man, and has taken the sting out of death for the believer. We had “the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us” – II Cor. 1:9-10. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the Judgment” – Heb. 9:27. Jesus has so wonderfully met death’s appointment for us, answered the sentence of death against us, and paid our debt. A dark shadow of gloom and fear has long hung over fallen humanity. Jesus died as a man in the place of fallen man, “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death that is the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage: – Heb. 2:14-15.

To us then, death is only a shadow that hung over our sky, but we have a good Shepherd that walks with us through death’s dark valley. Thank God we just pass through, and are not there to stay. In the mean time His rod and staff are a comfort to us, along the way. As He walks with us, He makes us to know that one happy day, all the dark shadowy clouds of death will be finally and forever rolled away.

Death has indeed an unpleasant odor. After the death of Lazarus, Jesus went to the tomb and said, “Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, said unto him Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he had been dead four days” – Jn. 11:39. In Paul’s description of the old creation, he wrote, “Their throat is an open sepulchre.” By nature there comes from us the odors of death. Jesus said, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. Anything and everything coming out of the old creation carries the smell of death. This is so repulsive to the spirit of the living God, and any that are spiritual, those who feed on the Word of God and have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The way we can keep from expelling the smell of death, is to walk in the spirit. As we walk in the spirit, we walk in love, and the sweet savour of Jesus Christ comes forth from our life and ascends unto God - Eph. 5:1-2.  As we go on in victory, presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, worshipping God, the fragrance of holy incense issues forth to mankind as well as ascending up before God (Rev. 5:8-9 and 8:3-4; Rom. 12:103). As Paul poured out his life unto God, for the saints, his life was the sweet smelling savour of Christ unto God. He joyed and rejoiced and the Philippian saints with him. Also in turn the attitude of those people in their giving emitted the fragrance of Christ unto God (Phil. 4:18).

We read in John 12:3 of the odor of the costly ointment filling all the house where Jesus was anointed. One day soon the sweet savour of full overcomers in worship poured out upon Jesus will fill all that heavenly house. Oh! That will be the aroma of life, and victory unto ecstatic bliss. Thank God for the victory, in spite of the sting, sentence, shadow, and savour of death. Although those who believe not, or continue to walk after the flesh may sense the savour of death, yet as Christ leads us in the train of his triumph, we send forth the sweet savour of life and victory.
–  J. D.