Monday, July 3, 2017

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“PILLARS” – Part 2


Jack Davis



PAUL A PILLAR: “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bounds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me…” – Acts 20:22-24.

The Lord made Paul a pillar and his stand had a stabilizing influence on others, and has yet even down to our day. He was certainly concerned about other’s standing. This attitude is most powerfully expressed in I Thessalonians three; read and consider. I also appreciate the way he said it in Galatians 2:5. “To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.” Some fail to stand for the whole counsel of God, because they have not laid hold of the truth of the Gospel. They do not know. Others fail to stand because the love of the truth has not fully taken hold of them. I am so glad Paul stood when those that seemed to be pillars showed some instability.

THE MAKING OF A PILLAR: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all you care upon him, for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” – I Pet. 5:6-11.

From the epistles written by Peter, and God’s record concerning him, we find several good lessons on how pillars are made. Although Peter had proven unstable, yet passing through much suffering, the Lord had made him strong. He seems to write from experience in expressing the best attitude for becoming a spiritual pillar. That is, committing (4:10) submitting (5:6) and casting all our care upon Him (5:7). As we learn to rest upon God’s exceeding great and precious promises, we sense our pillows becoming a pillar. This is beautifully illustrated in Jacob’s experience at Bethel – Gen. 28:11-22. For us, because of faith’s dependance upon God’s Word, we find our place of rest is also a place of security. Cushions become columns. It seems Hannah said it well in her prayer and praise of I Samuel 2:1-10; consider and feast.

In the times that Peter had said no to the Lord, it is evident that he was being taught to say yes (Mk. 14:29,31). Peter had boasted in self-confidence that he would not be offended, and said, “I will not deny thee in any wise,” When Jesus foretold His going to the cross, Peter began to rebuke Him saying, “This shall not be unto thee.” When God was showing Peter that the Gospel was going to the Gentiles, Peter first answered, “Not so Lord.” Thank God, in each of these he learned better. These each had a part in his stablishing, strengthening, and settling. In becoming a pillar, Peter was lifted, gifted and sifted, and we are also.

LIFTED: In Matthew 14:22-33, we read of Peter and the disciples being saved from a watery grave. We read of them being out in the ship in the midst of the sea, and they were tossed with the waves: for the wind was contrary. They were troubled when they thought they saw a spirit walking on the sea. But Jesus spake to them saying, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” It is so comforting to listen to Him speak such to us when we are tossed and troubled.

Those words seem to soothe and satisfy the disciples, except Peter. He seemed to want more; he talked to Jesus saying, “bid me come to thee on the water.” Because of this he had a special experience with Jesus. I believe the Lord appreciates those that invite His invitation to step out on faith. Some may think of Peter as one who stuck his foot in his mouth, or really stuck his neck out, and had his lack openly manifested before the rest of the disciples. Although this is true, nevertheless the rest of them did not have the experience that Peter did. They, so to speak, just played it safe. Peter actually “walked on the water, to go to Jesus.” While it is true that when he saw the wind, he began to sink and cried out to the Lord to be saved, he was also caught by the outstretched hand of Jesus and brought into the ship personally. How wonderfully lifted was he. It is by the saving hand of Jesus that we are lifted from the guttermost to the uttermost.

We can joyfully sing “Love Lifted Me.” “The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifted up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them” – I Sam. 2:7-8. If any man be able to spiritually, uprightly stand, he must be divinely “lifted.”

GIFTED: As God would use us to bring others into spiritual benefit and stabilizing in fluence, He would make us realize that we are “gifted” as stewards of the manifold grace of God (I Pet. 4:10-11 & Eph. 4:7-15).

Jesus asked the question recorded in Matthew 16:15, “Whom say ye that I am?” V. 16, “Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, The Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which; is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose shall be loosed in heaven” – Mt. 16:16-19.

Peter is thus gifted with the precious privilege and grave responsibility to act in harmony, to conduct himself in agreement with the will of heaven. He had been intrusted with some of heaven’s valuables. Keys are symbolic of authority, but be it remembered that what Peter, the disciples, and even the church are given, these express representative authority (Mt. 18:18-20). Our apostle Paul was given some wonderful keys for the church, but it is only Jesus Christ that is said to be the one that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth.

Peter was later to greatly exercise this gift in turning the gospel key at Jerusalem (Acts 2:14-36), and in verses 37-41, we see the results: then at Samaria (Acts 8:14-25), again acting in harmony with heaven. Even in the case of Simon the sorcerer, also in Caesarea in the house of Cornelius, he once again used the gospel key to open a door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 10:23, 34-43), and the results, verses 44-chapter 11:1.

Shortly following Peter’s confession of Jesus being the Christ, the Son of the living God, and Jesus telling him how blessed (fortunate, favored or privileged) he was, we read these words. “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those things that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” Mt. 16:21-25.

When Peter began to rebuke Jesus, Satan was evidently speaking through Peter’s flesh. It is a mystery to us how this could happen if we do not see the two natures in the believer. How could he, who had made so profound confession, received such blessed enlightenment, and given gracious responsibility, do such a thing? We know that the carnal mind is enmity with God. Satan will operate through the flesh, use human sympathy to discourage us, and try to drive us back from doing the will of God. Jesus in verses 24-27 shows the importance and necessity of judging our own flesh. If we allow the self-life to rule in us, we will do the bidding of our adversary, and suffer loss of eternal profit. One of the hard lessons in the development of true pillars is total rejection of anything from the flesh (our fallen nature). This gives us the reason for the sifting.

SIFTED: “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both unto prison, and to death” -Lk. 22:28-33.

Peter did not know all that was in his heart; neither do we. Although Satan had to get permission to get at Job and Peter, why was it allowed? Even though we may be wonderfully lifted, and richly gifted in being made pillars, these do not exclude us from being powerfully sifted. The lifting and gifting are part of that which makes the sifting necessary. The Apostle Paul found this to be true also – II Cor. 12. But praise God, the shake-ups no matter how rough they may seem, serve to remove the chaff (that which pertains to the flesh). These also show where the real substance is, proving the value of that which cannot be removed. There is much to be considered on this subject, yet not covered here. I do thank God that when all the sifting is over, we will finally come into the full realization of our lifting and gifting. Then full overcomers will be finally set as pillars in that everlasting temple.

THE LAST DAYS


Pastor Anita Clark

Carbondale, KS


"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God and eschewed [or turned away from evil]" Job 1:1.

Apostle James wrote of Job in his epistle chapter 5:11, "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy." Most of the time when we think of someone enduring suffering and pain, we think of poor old Job. His trials were unique, and very difficult. As I thought upon his life and his overcoming adversity, I thought also of Apostle Paul and his sufferings. The Lord led me to contrast these two men and their sufferings. That’s what this message is about.

WHAT JOB SUFFERED - CONTRASTED WITH PAUL’S SUFFERING
Job lived in Old Testament times. Commentators don’t really know where he came from, or how he fits in with other Bible characters. Although, little is known about him, he is lauded for his patience as the saying goes, "the patience of Job," being ascribed to anyone who endures trouble for a period of time. Job lost his children to death, all his natural wealth, his wife’s respect for him, and so called friends came to supposedly comfort him, but instead berated and condemned him. On top of that he was afflicted with boils all over his body, with terrible pain. Finally, deliverance came from the Lord.


Acts 9:16, God spoke to Ananias and told him, "For I will show him [Paul] how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake." Immediately upon his conversion to Christ the sufferings began. Read the account in the book of Acts. Then note the account in II Corinthians 11:23-33. Although he suffered terrible beatings and stoning and ship wreck while trying to spread the Gospel, he was victorious.

In II Corinthians 4:8-12, Apostle Paul mentions some of his trials. "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. Always bearing about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you." In II Corinthians 12, He tells about a great trial, which God had allowed in his life. This trial was to keep him humble before God because of the great revelations he had received. He calls it "a thorn in the flesh." (VS. 7). Just as Satan attacked Job bodily, only by God’s permission, Apostle Paul was given an infirmity, [Gk. meaning - "malady, disease, weakness, sickness.]. He prayed to be delivered three times and God did not take the problem away. It seems this thing continued the rest of his mortal life, until his death as a martyr.

THE DURATION OF THEIR TRIALS CONTRASTED
According to Usher, Job’s trials began in 1520 B.C. and ended in 1521 B.C. - a period of one year. Contrasting the sufferings of the life of Apostle Paul with Job’s, starting with Paul’s conversion in Acts 9. until his statements in II Timothy 4 concerning, "I am now ready to be offered" was about 31 years. So Paul’s suffering was of much longer duration than Job’s, but you never hear anyone say, "O the patience of Apostle Paul." Yet, Paul spoke so often of being patient in our trials and having confidence that the trials are working in us eternal benefits.

CONTRAST OF WHY THEY EACH SUFFERED
Job suffered to because God was working many things in his life. He was a victor with the Lord. The account of Job was written for our learning and admonition. The book let’s us in on many secrets we would not know otherwise. For example, Satan can at this time go into the presence of God and accuse us to God, even though we know by other Scripture that he has been cast out of the heavens and is now the God of this world (II Cor. 4:4). One day he will be cast out completely from the presence of God down to the earth, (Rev. 12) and will never be allowed up there anymore, and finally thrown into the "bottomless pit" for one thousand years. After that he will be put into the Lake of Fire forever.

We learn from Job that God can and will give us strength to endure. And, we also learn to praise God in everything as he did. What a blessing and comfort Job’s life is to us.

In contrast, Apostle Paul through his epistles teaches us that what he suffered, and also what we suffer in life has a reason. In II Timothy 2:12, he says "If we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him." As we suffer and take victory over it all, by trusting in God, and like Job and Paul (never accusing God falsely), we will be rewarded - the greatest reward being to rule with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what Paul learned and taught. There is a race to run and a crown to win.

Job was a victor and is an Old Testament Worthy of Faith. He will have a wonderful place in heaven, but Paul was God’s chosen vessel to preach to the Gentiles and whosoever will, a message of overcoming and gaining a glorious place of ruling and reigning with Christ. Paul’s suffering to bring the Gospel that will prepare us for the glory is a far greater message than that of Job’s.

Paul’s message in Philippians 3:7-8 proclaims the essence of his teaching to us, "But what things were gain to me; those I count loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them as dung, that I may win Christ." Paul desired that glorious place of ruling and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ above anything he might have had in this natural life. He gave up everything in the natural to gain everything the Lord has prepared for those who desire to please Him completely.

What is your goal in your Christian life? Is it to barely, to get to heaven? There is so much more to gain for the one who pursues the Prize of the high calling in Christ. (I Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 3:10-15.) Salvation is the gift of God and is not merited, but by grace alone, but here is a prise of our high calling and that is gained if we endure the sufferings of this present life with victory, in order to rule and reign with Christ for eternity.

Faithfully Afflicted




“I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, and that you in faithfulness have afflicted me.” Psalms 119:75

While considering a study of God’s faithfulness, I came across this verse. It caused me to consider carefully what it means that God is faithful.

First, we need to understand what it means to speak of God as being faithful. Faithfulness is one of God’s characteristics. By that I mean that it is not something that God achieves or aspires to. It is not something that He becomes, it is an integral part of His being. This is true of all of God’s characteristics.

God’s faithfulness is demonstrated in His unchanging nature. Hebrews 13:8. “It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23 We always like to think about the things that God does for us that we think are nice and wonderful.

However, God’s faithfulness especially extends to our spiritual needs. His greatest interest in us is our spiritual growth. This means He will do what is necessary to bring about increased growth in our lives.

It is interesting that the Psalmist seems to acknowledge gratefully God’s affliction. He knows the necessity of the trial for his life. “Wherein  you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:6-7

However, we can most assuredly trust in Him to not allow greater trial than we can stand. 1 Corinthians 10:13. We can trust Him no matter what comes our way. Job said it best; “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:” Job 13:15

God is faithfully working in the lives of those that will trust Him as Job did. He is producing something that will glorify Him for eternity. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

So may we with the Psalmist, show forth your loving kindness in the morning, and your faithfulness every night,  Psalms 92:2
Gordon Crook

RUTH


Pastor Debra Isenbletter

Springfield, Missouri


Ruth 4:9 – “And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi.”

In this verse and the next we see Boaz’s words of confirmation and acceptance of his responsibility as kinsman-redeemer for Ruth. He begins by addressing his words to two groups. He speaks “unto the elders” and “unto all the people.” We have two groups of witnesses, a double witness!

The first group is the 10 elders. If we look at this in type, as Sister Mary Bodie teaches, we see in these 10 elders a type of the 10 commandments of the Law. These commandments show the standard of the law (righteousness) and are a summary of the law. They witness to the legal transaction that has taken place; they witness that Ruth has been redeemed. They witness that only one man is willing and able to do this, Boaz and he will do it by obedience and by grace. What a contrast, what a picture of Christ and His obedience to the Law and His grace transferring that obedience to us and redeeming us; making us righteous!

The second groups are “all the people.” Notice the word “all.” I thought about how that this word “all” in looking at our redemption by Christ. First, the fact that ALL the Law was a witness to this redemption, all the ceremonial law, all the civil law, every aspect of the law. And then ALL the prophets were witness were witness to this redemption, to include Moses, all the major and minor prophets, and that includes ALL the scriptures, to include those known as the writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Job, etc.). There are glorious, wonderful, precious scriptures all through the Word of God that point to our redemption. God’s promise to Adam (Gen 3:15); His promise to Abraham (Gen 12:2-3). His promise to David (2 Sam 7:13). Those are just a few. And Jesus when He spoke to the two men traveling to Emmaus, spoke about His death and resurrection, and he began “at Moses and all the prophets” and “he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

I think that “the people” can also picture several types of witnesses. They could picture the disciples who were witnesses and were told to bear witness of what they had seen and heard (John 15:17; Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8; 2:32;4:33;5:32). They can picture the Apostle Paul, who was called to be “his witness unto all men” (Acts 22:15) and all those that “preach the word” (2 Tim 4:2)

Ultimately all the scriptures, all the promises that prophesy of the Redeemer and Redemption are for “all the people.” They were there, they saw it, they heard it. There are witnesses everywhere that cannot be denied concerning our redemption. Witnesses through His Word and witnesses through His people. We all are witnesses of the work of our Kinsman-Redeemer!

What does Boaz call upon them to do? Boaz says to these two groups present: “Ye are witnesses (testify, record) this day.” In other words, they were “to testify” – this is what was spoken. They were “to record” – this is what is written. A verbal and a written testimony – a double testimony – a legal testimony – an unshakeable and unbreakable record!

What is it that Boaz says he has redeemed? He has redeemed EVERYTHING! He says, “I have bought all.” He has bought Naomi’s husband’s property: “all that was Elimelech’s” and Naomi’s sons: “all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s,” to include Ruth, the widow of Mahlon. Boaz has redeemed much more than just a “parcel of land” (Ruth 4:3), he has redeemed it all; he has redeemed everything that needed redemption. This is a FULL redemption. I can see in this is a picture of everything that Adam lost because of his sin and the fall, all has been redeemed. Jesus says, “I have bought it all:” All the earth that Satan had dominion over; all of creation that groans and waits for that redemption; it is all the people that lay hold of that redemption. It is everything!

We are not told how much it cost Boaz; we only know that it was costly. And like the unknown price Boaz paid, we cannot fully comprehend the cost of our redemption, the price that Jesus paid, the suffering He went through, we can only thank Him and come and receive freely what He has bought for us through His shed blood.

Finally we see from whose hand Boaz redeemed this, he says “of the hand of Naomi.” Naomi is the widow of Elimelech and the mother of Chilion and Mahlon and the mother-in-law of Ruth. She is acting on behalf of Ruth. She had taught Ruth, prepared Ruth and sent Ruth to Boaz. Naomi in this reminds me of Paul, who espouses us and prepares us for our Bridegroom (2 Cor 11:2).

Ruth 4:10 – “Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.”

Boaz concludes his words with this declaration concerning Ruth. In verse 9 he spoke about the property, now in this verse he speaks about the person. He declares that he has redeemed Ruth. He says, “Ruth … have I purchased to be my wife.” She will no longer be known as “the wife of Mahlon,” for his death has freed her to marry another (Ro 7:2) and from this point on she will have a new husband and be known as the wife of Boaz. This is the promise and place we have and as Paul says, the only way that we can bring forth fruit (like Ruth) unto God. “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Ro 7:4). 

Boaz says that he has “purchased” her, or another rendering is “redeemed,” which means “to buy” or “to set free by paying a price.” Both the land and Ruth needed to be redeemed, to be set free. Both the land and Ruth had to be purchased, a price had to be paid and it was a great price. I thought about Jacob who labored for Rachel, he had agreed to 7 years though it seems like a long time, Jacob says “they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” After that he was given her sister and had to labor another 7 years but I believe that first statement holds true for the second 7 years he labored. He labored for love and love made the cost worth it all. (Gen 29:18-30). That is the love of Boaz and the love of our Kinsman-Redeemer, of Jesus!

Boaz doesn’t say, “I am going to purchase,” instead he says, “have I purchased” or “I have purchased.” He sees it as already done! This is his purpose of heart! The moment he said, “I will do to thee all that thou requirest” (3:11) it was done. The moment he said he would “do the part of a kinsman” (3:13) it was done.  The moment he said accepted “the right to redeem it” (4:5-6) it was done.  He saw her redemption was a finished work in his heart, nothing would move him from it. We were “chosen before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4).  Jesus was willing to pay that price and we were redeemed with His precious blood “before the foundation of the word” (1 Pet 1:20) Redemption was planned, He knew the cost!

Boaz then declares publicly and officially before all the witnesses the purpose of redeeming Ruth, it is to marry her, for he says she will “be my wife.” This is a fulfillment of Ruth’s request, “spread thy skirt over thy handmaid” (3:9), this is a fulfillment of his promise to her (3:11) and he willingly, joyfully declares this before all present. After this declaration, Boaz goes on to declare his second purpose in redeeming Ruth.  It is go give her a son, for he says: “to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.” The word “raise up” means to “continue” or “establish.” The “name of the dead” speaks of Naomi’s eldest son, Mahlon. He had died, but his name, his line would not die but “continue” on.  For Boaz to do this concerning Mahlon’s name, he must first marry Ruth.  It will be through her marriage to Boaz that a son will be born.  This son will carry on his father’s name and line. This son will receive his father’s inheritance. Boaz sees it as done, he sees the fruitfulness of this union with Ruth.

There are two places that Boaz says Mahlon’s name will not be cut off from. First: from his brethren: “from among his brethren. Another translation of this is:  “so his name will not disappear from among his family” (NIV). Next: from his city: “from the gate of his place” and this can be translated: “from the town records” (NIV) or “from the court (gate) of his birth place.” The words “cut off” mean “to be lost” or “to perish” or to “cease to exist.” His line, his name will continue and be recorded in the official records and down through the years, through his children, that name will continue.  His line, will inherit the land and pass it on to future generations. Without a son, that line would disappear, but with Ruth and Boaz’s union, that line will continue. This was practical, it is about the purpose of the law of the kinsman redeemer (Lev 25:23-34; Deut 25:5-10). The purpose was to preserve the name and protect the property of families in Israel. There would always be someone to inherit the land and carry on the family name.

Today, as children of God, the redeemed of the Lord, we bear a new name, it is the name of the New Creation and there was an old name that was cut off at Calvary, it was the Old Creation. Paul teaches that something was cut off, and something to be put off. (Eph 4:22; Col 3:9-10). And by our obedient lives and union with Christ we can declare Boaz’s final words to those listening.  Boaz says, “ye are witnesses this day” and it is the second time he states this. There will be no doubts, no misunderstanding about this redemption. Today, each of us has a great privilege and responsibility set before us concerning our redemption and our kinsman-redeemer, Jesus. We are “witnesses this day” to what has happened in our lives. It has been witnessed by God, by the Spirit, by Christ, by the Word, now let it be witnessed by the World!

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES





Chapter 9:32-43 – Peter’s Work in Lydda & Joppa

After Peter (and John) left Samaria, they preached in many villages of the Samaritans – and then returned to Jerusalem – Acts 8:25. Peter kept on preaching wherever he went, and came to Lydda. This was still in Judah, near Joppa. He came there to the saints -V. 32. This is another name for a Christian, or a believer in Jesus.

 There he found a certain man named Aeneas. He was paralyzed and had been bed-ridden for 8 years. Peter said to him – “Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed.” Peter may have remembered how Jesus healed the one sick of the palsy (same thing as this man Aeneas had). In that case, Jesus told the sick one, “Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house” – Mk 2:11. The beds in those days were not like the ones you have in your home. It was just a mattress or a pad of some kind. That wouldn’t have been hard to pick up and take with him. Aeneas rose up immediately. Then it says in V. 35 that all those who lived in Lydda and Saron saw him and turned to the Lord.

We must remember that Peter heard Jesus say, even before He went to the cross, that after He was gone that the disciples, and others who believed in Him, would do greater works, and we suppose it means more of these works, than He did while He was here – Jn. 14:12. Then just before Jesus went back to heaven, he told the ones who watched Him go that they would lay hands on the sick and they would recover – Mk. 16:17-18. These signs would follow their ministry. You can see that the healing caused people to come to the Lord. That was the purpose of the sign.

Those in Joppa heard about the healing. A woman there named Tabitha had died. They even had prepared her body for burial. Peter was sent for, to come right away. When he came he found she had been placed in an upper room. This woman was also called “Dorcas.” She must have been a very kind and loving person, for it says she was full of good works and almsdeeds. Peter was taken to the room where the dead woman lay. The other believers felt so badly about her death. All the widows stood there weeping. They were showing the clothing she had made while she was with them.

Peter knew that just feeling sorry about it wasn’t enough. There had to be faith for this woman to come back from the dead. For this reason, we suppose, he had them leave. Peter kneeled down, and prayed. He turned to the woman’s body and said, “Tabitha, arise.” She opened her eyes, and sat up when she saw Peter. Peter gave her his hand, and lifted her up. Then he called the saints and widows, and presented her alive.

This miracle reminds us somewhat of the time when Peter’s wife’s mother lay sick of the fever. Jesus came and touched her hand and the fever left her - Mt. 8:14-15. Perhaps Peter also remembered when Jesus took Jarus’ daughter by the hand when the people said she was dead – Lk. 8:40-42, 49-56. The maid was dead, and so was Tabitha. In Luke 8:55 it says the maid’s spirit came again. When people die, the spirit leaves the body. So when anyone is raised from the dead, the spirit again comes into the body.

Peter had a wonderful ministry. He must have believed the things Jesus had said would take place as they preached the gospel. We can see that he could have even imitated Jesus, which is all right to do. We have a wonderful message to give to people. We are not telling that we can go around raising the dead. It could happen, of course. One thing we can do, however, is preach about Jesus who is the resurrection and the life. If people will believe on Him, they will some day be raised from the dead and go to heaven. This means they will live there forever.

The result of Tabitha’s healing was that it become known all around that area and many believed in the Lord – V. 42.

Peter stayed there in Joppa for many days with a man named Simon, who was a tanner – V. 43.
Continued next issue.

ONE STOOD IN THE GAP

By Earlene Davis



“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” Ezekiel 22:30

God sought for a man, but found NONE that should make up the hedge, like a fortifying wall and stand in the gap before Him, interceding for man’s need. 

When Adam and Eve revolted against the clear command of God unto them, sin became a reality in the human race and death was ever present. Man desperately needed redemption. For this vast immense task God the Father sought a man. Thank God, He found Him in Christ Jesus.

God in His great love and mercy gave His only begotten Son to come and die for mankind; that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (Jn. 3:16). Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God willingly became man, born of a woman and of the Holy Ghost (Gal. 4:4 & Mt. 1:20). “Then said He, Lo, I come to do they will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Heb. 10:9-10).

Jesus cried out upon the cross, “It is finished and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost” (Jn. 19:30). His work of redemption was finished. He made up the hedge, standing in the gap undertaking for man’s need and fulfilling the will of the Father. Thus bringing God and man together – Fellowship restored. Ps. 69:4, “I restored that which I took not away.” Praise God for His grace!

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God…” I Jn. 3:1-2. Praise God, praise God!

Now that the work of redemption is finished, God is still seeking for men to carry out His will today. God is using believers that yield to the Christ life within them to His glory. We are called upon to stand in the gap interceding for others what ever the need may be (salvation, healing, restored fellowship, etc.). I Tim. 2:1-4, we are to pray for all men and those in authority, for God would have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. Eph. 6:18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…”.

We can intercede and lift up ones to the throne of God, taking part in our priestly ministry. For we know we have a faithful High Priest an intercessor, Jesus Christ which sitteth on the right hand of God and ever liveth to make intercession for His own (Heb. 7:24-25; 8:1). He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God BY HIM. He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph. 3:20).

We can learn from different ones that stood in the gap and interceded – like Abraham in Gen. 18 when the Lord revealed to him that He would destroy Sodom because of their grievous sins. When the angels turned their face toward Sodom, Abraham stood yet before the Lord, interceding, for his nephew, Lot, who lived in that city.

 In New Testament language, Lot, a believer was dwelling in the world among evil unbelievers. Abraham started asking the Lord that if 50 righteous were in the city, would God spare the place for the 50 righteous therein. He said, shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? The Lord answered that He would spare the city if He found 50 righteous therein. Abraham asked, if it lacked 5 of the fifty and the Lord gave the same answer. Abraham proceeded and ask if 40 and then he asked if 30 and finally asked if 10 be there and the Lord said he would spare it if there be 10. Abraham left off asking, for surely there were 10. Well we know the story, there were not even 10 righteous in Sodom and the Lord destroyed it.

Did the Judge of all the earth do right? Oh yes. Gen. 19:15-16, “And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.” Verse 29, “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.”

We also read in Psalm 106 of Israel’s rebellion again and again toward God after he had so wonderfully delivered them. Verses 21-23, “They forgot God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea. Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.” In God’s mercy He did not destroy them, but they did suffer judgment.

In Isa. 59 we read of mankind’s sins and their calamities. Verses 2-4, “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear…None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.” Verses 15-16, “…and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment…he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.” There was no intercessor to stand in the gap, but God mercifully brought salvation by His Divine Arm, Christ, providing a robe of righteousness for man through our only savior.

John 3:14-15, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” We know this speaks of Christ lifted up on the cross. But may we lift up our Lord and stand in the gap. Selah!
Earlene Davis