Sunday, July 1, 2018


Jack Davis

“I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” – Psalm 18:3.

Our forefathers (in the U. S.) were possessed of strong determination to become an independent nation. Some of them had the burning desire to worship God after the dictates of their hearts, but their freedom from an iron-fisted rule did not come without great cost.
Their declaration of independence, was related to much shedding of blood. The liberty from their enemies’ control was to be enjoyed as a complete deliverance – and thus they called upon the Lord.

I am certain that our greatest freedom from our enemies is to be realized as we become most dependent upon the Lord. Our enemies can only bind and hinder us as we try to conduct our lives in independence of Him. Hence dependence upon Him produces the greatest independence possible.


Declaration of our independence: I Cor. 7:22-23, “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” We, being purchased out of sins slave market (redeemed by the Blood), are free, free to serve, honor and worship the Lord. Glorify Him with all that we are and do, as well as what we say.


“I will call upon the LORD.” In the first three verses of this 18th Psalm, David seems to express a three-part resolve, of which this is the third. In verse one, “I will love thee.” “In whom I will trust,” verse 2. He has made his decision from past experience it is evident, as he tells us what the Lord is: what he had become unto Him. Humanity is told to call upon the Lord, bringing their request boldly to the throne of grace. We are promised sweet blessings, and the richest benefits in so doing. Yet we find that the only ones that consistently follow through are those that also truly love and trust Him.


“The LORD who is worthy to be praised.” Oh yes, He is worthy! But who realize His altogether worthiness? Is it not those that, “worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh?” Who can say with convincing certainty, “He is worthy of all our worship,” other than those that love Him, trust Him, and call upon His Holy name? Those that stay in close, personal contact with our Lord realize victorious Christian living. Such believers are feasting at Jesus’ feet, and fighting the good fight of faith on their knees. Thus in prayer and praise we are being preserved.

Who knows by experience the total worthiness of His praise? Oh, what a privilege we have of knowing our Lord personally, intimately, in the sweetest closest communion. It is there, in prayer, that we gather much material for praise. In praise, we give God the glory for the victories won in prayer. These go together well. A happy Godly life cannot be separated from prayer and praise (Phil. 4:6-7 and I Thess. 5:16-18).


“So shall I be saved from mine enemies.” The psalmist thus expresses such confident assurance. We may also know now that He is able to save to the uttermost (Heb. 7:25). We have the need and the privilege to be experiencing His saving power in our daily lives – body, soul and spirit. He has saved us; He does save us; and He always will save those who call on Him in truth, in the way and time that is best for us (II Cor. 1:8-10).

OH yes, God’s people do have their enemies no matter how Christ-like they are. Enemies have we that are powerful, wily, deceitful, and fierce. There are always enemies of  God’s grace, enemies of the cross of Christ, but the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Lord’s people (without and within). Prayer and praise in peril, seem to be the main way God would have us deal with our enemies that involves the world, the flesh, and the devil. In prayer, we, by faith, flee to His presence knowing that He is always there, placing ourselves under His protection, depending on His mighty power instead of defending ourselves.

Prayer is not just informing the Lord of our plight, for He knows all that we have need of. It is not pleading with Him. Prayer is not overcoming divine reluctance, but rather laying hole of His loving willingness. It is the Lord’s purpose to save. He has made full, provision for our deliverance. As we yield to Him and trust Him, He is performing a deliverance that will soon be complete (Phil. 1:6).

It is good for us to remember as we place before Him our dependent resolve that divine rescue often follows, or is preceeded by a requesting and rejoicing.


Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, Kansas

The ultimate purpose of this Church Age is to prepare a group of redeemed human beings to be a Bride for Jesus Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit is going on today in the lives of believers who are yielding to the divine working of God. Apostle Paul speaks of this in Philippians 3:7-14. A careful study shows that Paul was not speaking of gaining salvation, when he writes, “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 but dung that I may win Christ.” He is speaking of a work that will change him into a completely yielded child of God with a close place with the Lord Jesus. This brings the believer to a place of complete yieldedness to the Lord, where all is counted loss for Christ.

Let us consider the phrase, “...that I may win Christ.” No where in the Bible does it teach that we win salvation by any good works. In fact the opposite is taught i.e Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He has saved.” Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved by faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Not of works lest any man should boast.” Also in Philippians 3:11, Paul says, “Not as though I have already attained.” This word means in the GK. “To seize or attain.” No where does the Scripture say we must strive to gain salvation to become a child of God. The word used in verse 13 “apprehend” means almost the same thing, “to seize, attain, apprehend.” Paul sums up his desire in verse 14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

In other portions of Paul’s writings he speaks of the race course, likening it to our spiritual day by day journey to achieve this place as the winner. ( I Corinthians 9:24-27). The wonderful place we desire - is to be yielded to Christ completely so that He can work in us by the Holy Spirit to prepare us to be the Bride of Christ. Paul speaks specifically about this in II Corinthians 11:1-3, “Would to God you would bear with me in my folly, and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

God has made provision that every believer in Christ could be in that company of believers who will make up the Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ. The sad thing is that not all will avail themselves of that glorious place. Satan deceives believers and lulls many to sleep. (I Thess. 4:13-5:8). The Lord warned that we are to watch and be ready for His soon appearing. In Revelation 19:1-10 we see a beautiful scene in heaven, when all the church is gathered unto the Lord. Not all who there are the Bride. Read this passage. In verse 7 we see the “great multitude” introducing the Bride, who had “made herself ready.” There are other groups in heaven also who are not the Bride.

The purpose of this introduction about the Bridal company is to talk further about a parable that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 13:45-46 - “ The Goodly Pearl.” In verse 45 “the Merchant man” speaks of Christ who came to the world “seeking goodly pearls.” God has made provision for each believer to be His “pearl of great price.” Sadly, all will not let Him do His work in them. The word “goodly” in the Gk. means “beautiful, good, literally or morally virtuous.” The Lord Jesus came to earth to seek a Virtuous Bride. Proverbs 31:10 says, “Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies.” The word “virtuous” in the Hebrew language means “strength, valor, and moral character.” Jesus came down to call a people who would yield to Him completely and love Him supremely. He gave up all He had with the Father to find this Pearl.

Verse 46 shows what Jesus Christ did: “He went,” He sold all that He had,” and “He bought it.” The text says He was “seeking goodly pearls.” This speaks to us that provision is made for every believer to be that beautiful pearl that Jesus is looking for right now in this Age of Grace. Here we find, “Who, when He had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that He had, and bought it.” II Corinthians 5:21 tells us “For He hath made Him sin, who knew no sin, for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” He condescended and gave up all that He had with the Father and became a human being in order to die and save us. That’s how greatly He esteemed the “Pearl of great price.” This pearl represents the Bride of Jesus Christ.

And oyster is an ugly thing, and represents us in our Old Adamic state. It is rough, rock hard, and almost impossible to open. We were found in the dark depths of the Ocean of Sin in a very corrupt state. Oysters grow in water that is often smelly and has a bad flavor. This is so typical of all the human race, when Jesus found us. We were hopeless! He saw the worth of what the Oyster would produce though she was in a deep dark place. He came to that place and “made Himself of no reputation and took upon Himself the form of a servant (slave)” in order to rescue us. Hebrews 12:2 states, “ Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

What causes the pearl to grow in the ugly old oyster? The Lord works a work from the inside out. As we yield He does His work in us. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” Philippians 2:13. The pearl in the natural depth realizes an irritant bothering her. It is usually a parasite as an intruder, and not a grain of sand. This intruder into Gods’ plan is “sin.” If the parasite stays in the oyster it will destroy the oyster. God gave the Oyster a defense mechanism, a fluid to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of the coating, called “nacre” is applied until a lustrous pearl is formed. This speaks to us that God is working a little at a time to change us into His image and make us ready to be that pearl of great price. We might liken the fluid (nacre) to the Holy Spirit who is constantly at work to make us into that beautiful pearl. This work is an inward, often unseen by others, work.

Pearls are formed sometimes by a bead of shell being implanted in the Oyster, but the non-nucleated pearl is much more valuable. The longer a pearl is grown in the mollusk the larger the pearl and its value increases. A natural pearl of value is found in less than one in every 10,000 wild oysters. Natural pearls created without human intervention are very rare. A string of natural South Sea pearls can cost more than 75,000 pounds. God does this work in us as we yield to Him. Our will must be surrendered to Him or this work cannot be finished. Others may not see the work, (as hidden away in the oyster) but the Lord, the Master Workman does, and has promised to finish the work He has begun. The only thing that hinders this is our will.

He did not look at the ugly shell, or the depths in which we dwelled or the worm or parasite of the old nature. He saw the beauty of what we would be when He molded us and His Spirit coated us with the beautiful righteousness of Christ. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through His poverty might be rich” II Corinthians 8:9. Revelation 19:7, says, “ Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.” Our job is to yield to His working in us.

Matthew 13:46 says, “Who, when he had found one pearl of great price” Jesus is looking and finding the “virtuous one” the only one of her mother-(Song of Solomon 6:9)” mentioned in Proverbs 31:10, whose “price is far above rubies.” This one captured His attention is “far above rubies.” Choose now to let the Lord work in you to be ready for this exalted place.

God’s Grace Teaches

Gordon Crook

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11-14

God’s grace is not just some idea or some philosophy. It is the reality of God reaching out to fallen man. It is the expression of God’s love manifested in His Son Jesus Christ. God didn’t just talk about mercy and grace, He demonstrated to us through Jesus. In the Old Testament, God lays out His plan for reaching out to us, and of providing for our need.

God’s grace brings unto us the free gift of salvation that makes us righteous in His sight. In Romans we learn that none was able to make themselves right with God, and none could stand in God’s presence for all were sinners. We needed a substitute to take our deserved punishment so God’s righteousness could be satisfied. And so, God’s grace appeared in the form of Jesus Christ. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Many think that teaching grace is bad because it gives place for people to live their lives any way they please. Nothing could be further from the truth. God’s grace teaches us something very different. Thinking that grace teaches licentious living is a result of a reprobate mind that has not understood the truth of God’s Word. A true revelation of God’s grace will humble us before God. Licentious living is a result of man’s pride leading him to ignore God’s grace.

The result of God’s grace is a new life; the life of Jesus, in us. It brings change and renewal. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4

That new life is pleasing to God, not me trying to please myself (licentious living), or even me trying to please God. It is me yielding to the life of Christ that is now in me.

God’s grace compels us. It draws us, and it moves us to be pleasing unto Him. This is a result of a revelation of our complete lack of ability and goodness without Jesus.

What does God’s grace teach us? What are we learning? To live soberly (sound in mind); we are not fooled by the enemy to follow the world. We live righteously and godly; our lives reflect the life of Christ as we go through this world. Our revelation of the grace of God causes us to want to share it with others.

The key is found in verse 13. We are looking for something. God’s grace gives us the right, ability and desire to look forward to something that supersedes this world and its desires. We are not truly of this world, and are not stuck in this evil world. We have a marvelous hope of the coming of our Lord that we might be where He is. John 14.

The grace of God has appeared in the form of Jesus, and there is yet another appearance that brings us to the peak of God’s grace. It is a happy hope and is glorious beyond our understanding. That hope keeps us looking for Jesus. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” Philippians 3:20. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2Timothy 4:8

Those that have had a revelation of God’s grace, are loving and longing for the coming of Jesus.

God had a purpose in sending His Son to bring us salvation through His sacrifice. He was purchasing (redeeming) us for His special purpose. We are a peculiar (special) people.

The ‘good works’ come as a result of God’s action of grace. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. As those that have been purchased by a price; the precious blood of Jesus, we are equipped to live godly lives that are pleasing to Him who paid the price for us. What have you learned from God’s grace?


Verta Giddings

Chapter 21:15-40; 22:1-30; 23:1-22
Paul’s Arrest

In the last lesson Paul was ready and willing to go to Jerusalem, even though he had been warned by the  Spirit that he would be bound and delivered into the hands of the Gentiles. He still knew it was the Lord’s will for him to go. He was told right after he was saved, that he would suffer for the sake of the Lord Jesus, and he was willing to do this.  Today we will learn what took place when he arrived at Jerusalem.

First Paul went to the believers in Jerusalem and they were happy when he told them how many had been saved on his last missionary journey – Act 21:15-20. After that, he went to the temple to speak to the unbelieving Jews. He wanted so to reach the men of Israel, enough that he was willing to make a vow and go into the temple with some others. He took that opportunity to worship the Lord, as he said in  Acts 24:11. This was to last seven days. When that time was almost ended, there was a terrible uproar. Some Jews from Asia, saw Paul in the temple. They stirred up the people claiming that Paul was teaching men everywhere against the Law of Moses. They even claimed he had taken a Gentile into the temple. They just imagined that, for they had seen him with a Gentile before that somewhere in the city of Jerusalem – Acts 21:27-30. The angry people ran and drew Paul out of the temple and even went about to kill him. V. 31.

How Paul’s life was saved from this angry mob – Vs. 32-40. The chief captain took soldiers and rescued him from those evil people. They had even been beating Paul before that. The Roman soldiers really didn’t know what to do with Paul so they bound him with chains and demanded to know who he was. The accusers were all mixed up for they all cried out different things. Then the soldiers carried him away from those folks to the castle. As Paul was led into the castle, he asked to speak to the chief captain. He told this man that he was a Jew of Tarsus. He asked in Greek if he could speak to the people. That must have surprised Lysias, the chief captain. Paul was allowed to speak to the Jews in their own language.

Paul’s message before the multitude – Chapter 22. When the people knew he was speaking their own language, they listened. Then he told them about his early life, about his persecution of the believers in Jesus before he became saved on the road to Damascus (Acts chapter 9). He told of that great light that had come on his path. He told about being blinded by the light. He said when he was in Damascus that Ananias had come to him and told him he was chosen by the Lord to know His will and see Jesus, and hear His voice. Ananias had told him he would be a witness about what he had seen and herd. Then he told how, when arriving in Jerusalem, after he had been saved, he was praying in the temple. There the Lord had told him to leave and go to the  Gentiles, for those Jews wouldn’t hear him. That seemed to be enough for the Jews listening to Paul. They didn’t want to hear that the Gentiles should hear about God. They became even more angry. They cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air. The chief captain had to have him brought into the castle. He said to beat Paul. As they bound him with thongs, Paul said to a soldier – “Is it lawful for you to scourge (beat) a Roman who wasn’t even condemned?” That put fear into them. Since Paul was born in the free city of Tarsus, he was a Roman citizen. The chief captain asked him directly if that was true. They just had to keep him over for another day.

Paul spoke before the Sanhedrin – the Jewish Council – Chapter 23:1-10. Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. He told them he had lived in all good conscience before God. They didn’t want to hear that. Then Paul, who was a Pharisee, took the opportunity to “divide” the group by saying he was a Pharisee himself and believed in the resurrection. That didn’t set well with the Sadducees, for they  didn’t believe in anything at all supernatural. The two groups began to argue and fight.  The chief captain had to again rescue Paul from violent men.

The Lord stood by Paul in the night – Acts 23:11. He told him to be of good cheer, for he had testified of Him in Jerusalem, and that he would witness of Him in  Rome.

The conspiracy to kill Paul – Acts 23:12-22.
Forty men banded together and bound themselves under a curse that they would not eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. These men wanted the chief priests and elders to have the chief captain bring Paul down the next day, pretending to ask him something, just so they could kill him. Paul’s nephew heard of this and got to the chief captain and told him about it. He told him what he knew. The chief captain listened and believed him, but told him not to tell anyone.

This is as far as this lesson takes us. Was Paul safe, even though there was plenty to make us think otherwise? We know they could not take his life until it was the right time. This was not the right time. He had not yet witnessed before kings. The Lord had said that Paul would go to Rome. God cannot go back on His word. Paul could rest in that, we are sure. Are you safe in the Lord’s hands? Definitely you are. You can witness for Jesus, and nothing can happen to you unless the Lord allows it. His timing is right every time.
To be continued


Debra Isenbletter

The Valley of Zephathah (II Chron. 14:1-11). Zephathah means “place of watching,” therefore this is the Valley of Watching. This is the valley that Asa had to face and again, this is a valley where a battle takes place. This is the valley where the child of God Watches what the Lord does! In the account given of Asa’s reign, we find that “In his days the land was quiet ten years” (v. 1). This king’s reign began with no battles, and during those ten years Asa was busy for he spent those first ten years of his reign doing the things that would strengthen God’s people spiritually. What he did was preparation for a battle that would come later. Asa took away several things and he built several things. For everything taken away in our lives that are defiling or hurtful, the Lord adds that which will strengthen, but the taking away comes first.

Asa “took away the altars of the strange gods” (v. 3) and he “took away the high places and the images.” Then once those things were taken away he commanded God’s people “to seek the Lord God of their fathers and to do (obey) the law and commandment” of the Lord” (v. 5). He begins to lay a foundation that will strengthen God’s people spiritually. But Ask doesn’t stop there, he not only begins a work that builds up the people spiritually, but he focuses on a need that is natural. As “build fenced cities in Judah” (v. 7), he made walls about the cities (v. 8).  He prepared an army, “mighty men of valor,” 300,000 from Judah and 260,000 from Benjamin. Asa did all this when there was no war, and no treat, but all these preparations, both spiritual and natural were necessary.

At the end of ten years the enemy  rose up against God’s people, a million strong, but Asa was ready and went out to meet them. The place where the battle took place was the “valley of Zephathah” or the “Place of watching.” This is the place where they would watch the Lord deliver them. “Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah” (II Chron. 14:10). Asa, though he has an army, though he has fortified his cities, though he has prepared the people by telling them to seek the Lord, he is still dependant upon the Lord. Asa goes to the Lord in prayer, for he knows that any victory and strength must come from the Lord. He cries unto the Lord and says, “help us, O Lord our God; for we rest in thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude, thou art our God; let not man prevail against us” (v. 11).

This valley which was a “place of watching” was also a place of resting, it is a resting in the Lord, an utter trusting in the Lord, though the enemy could not see this. Asa knew that he would have to fight this battle, he went into this valley prepared to fight, but he also knew that because the people had sought the Lord for ten years and obeyed His commandments that they would fight in the strength their God provided, in the strength they found in His name. When the battle began, “the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah” (v. 12). Who smote the enemy ? The Lord did. An enemy army of over one million strong set against a little over 500,000 and what happened? That great multitude fled before the people of the Lord and “they were destroyed before the Lord, and before His host” (v. 13). There is the key to their victory, it is the Lord and His host, and the two cannot be separated. The king and the people watched the Lord deliver them. It was the Lord Who defeated the enemy but He did it through His people. He fought with them and he fought through them. Sometimes the Lord goes before us and fights the battle and sometimes He wants us to fight, sometimes we cannot avoid a spiritual battle with the enemy. But whether we do nothing or whether He fights through us, the battle is still His and the victory is still His. We watch what He does and rejoice in the victory!
To be continued


By Orville Freestone

Lakewood, Colorado


“Those who walk in the steps of that faith
of our father Abraham” Rom. 4:12.

The apostle Paul wrote that the things that happened to the ancients were written for our learning, that we should not repeat their mistakes and errors, but learn from their experiences of faith (I Cor. 10:11). Abraham is certainly one of the greatest persons of history, not just of the Bible. After four thousand years he stands tall as an example of faith and as one of the foundations of western culture and thought. His imprint is deep in history. He is especially noted in scripture for his faith. Paul challenges us to follow in the steps of Abraham’s faith. What are they?

His first step of faith is that He believed God. God made seven promises to Abraham: “I will make you a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, you shall be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you, I will curse him who curses you, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1-3 ) Abraham believed what God said, even though it seemed impossible. This changed Abraham’s life: he became a pilgrim of faith. We, too, can believe God, and our lives will be changed.

Abraham’s second step of faith is that he obeyed God. It is difficult for us to comprehend what God’s command to Abraham meant, to leave his family and country and go to where he knew not. Our times are very different from him. To belong to a family and tribe was security. When he left Ur, he left one of the great cities of his day. But he obeyed God, went out to where he knew not, and became a pilgrim of faith. (Heb. 11:8-9) Peter assures us that we are pilgrims of faith and that we, too, can obey God. (I Peter 2:11)

The third step of Abraham’s faith is that he worshiped God. Wherever he went he build altars (Gen. 12:7; 12:8; 13:18; 22:9) and he returned to those altars to worship. (Gen. 13:4) Too often, when Christians move to a different place, or take another job, the church where they will worship is not a part of the plans. Then, when distance from their church is too great or there is none where they go, they become church drop-outs. The admonition to not forsake the assembling for worship (Heb. 10:25) is for our spiritual welfare.

The fourth step of Abraham’s faith is he trusted God. Genesis 15:6 reads “he believed in the Lord, that is he put his faith in the Lord, he trusted Him. He believed that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead, if that was necessary to fulfill His promise. (Heb. 11:18-19) This was a test of faith more severe than we are likely to have and we too, can trust the Lord for our lives. Like him, we can trust God’s promises to us. It is greatly important that we understand what are the promises of God for us. It is not true that “every promise in the Book is mine.” Some of the promises in the Bible are of judgment for the unbelieving. Other promises are to Israel and not for us. We do have “exceeding great and precious promises” on which we can trust our lives. It is important that we know what they are.

These are the steps of the faith of Abraham and we can walk in them too. But like us, at times Abraham’s faith failed. When there was a famine in the land of Canaan Abraham took his family to Egypt to survive. (Gen. 12:10) He lied about his relation to Sara causing problems all around. This was certainly not of faith, but God graciously protected them. When it became apparent that Sara could not have a child, they resorted to a common law of that time that a slave could be a surrogate mother for an heir. (Gen. 16) God soon made it clear that this was not what He had in mind. Only trouble came from this. Again in Genesis 20, Abraham lied about Sara being his wife. Again, the result was grief. It took a while for Abraham to learn that “works” are not faith. Even so, Abraham did walk by faith and became “the friend of God.” (II Chron. 20:7) These are lessons that we, too, must learn.

 Portraits of Christ

E. J. Davis

I like finding these portraits of our Lord in the scriptures. This one is found in I Peter 2:25 – Christ, The Shepherd and Bishop of Our Souls. Let us go back in this chapter and make our way down to this 25th verse. Several exhortations are given for believers to live a life that gives honor and glory to God.

We will start with verse 17. “Honor all men,” this word “Honor” in the Greek has the meaning of “value.” Value all men is not easy for our flesh, but we possess the Life of Christ and He died for all mankind. “Love the brotherhood,” they are family, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We may not agree doctrinally on some matters, but they are still family and we love all the family of God. “Fear God,” the Greek word used here means “to be in awe, reverence.” We not only know Him as our creator, but as our redeemer and that is awesome. “Honor the king,” Give due respect for God set them in that very place and that makes them accountable to rightly exercise the authority committed to them.

V. 18 – Servants are under masters, as are employees, students and underlings in the military, saints should be subject, not only to the good and gentle, but to those that are harsh. Vs. 19-21 – It is thankworthy even when we endure suffering wrongfully, if we serve them as service unto God. Christ suffered in silence, may we follow His example and manifest the grace of God in all circumstances, for this is well-pleasing to God. Jesus left everything in the Father’s hands, and so should we. God’s grace will enable us to triumph. Jesus said, “Bless are ye, when men revile and persecute you, saying evil against you falsely for my sake.” We shall be vindicated in the Lord’s own time and rewarded. I Cor. 4:5, “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: then shall every man have praise of God.”

V. 22 – God’s Lamb was pure and spotless in every way, thus the perfect sacrifice for sinners. I Jn. 3:5, “He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” V. 23. - He meekly and patiently endured all shame and indignities that wicked men did unto Him. The Father vindicated Him when He raised Him from the dead. V. 24 – He who had no sin, took upon Himself all our sins and God’s judgment of sin fell on Him. Ps. 42:7, – “all thy waves and thy billows (of judgment) are gone over me.” By His stripes we were healed, body soul and spirit.

We love Him, Who first loved us and we desire that our lives bring glory to Him. The flesh always puts self first, but the life of Christ within says, Yes in every little detail to God’s will. V. 25 – It is the grace of God that we have been brought to know Christ as our Shepherd who cares for us in every way. The portrait or type of Christ as our Shepherd is no precious.

A shepherd or sheep-master was constantly with his flock, day and night, feeding them guarding them with tender care. Jesus words in John chapter 10, “I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” (V. 11). “I know my sheep, and am known of mine” (V. 14). “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (V. 15). “He putteth forth His sheep, He goeth before them, the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice (V. 4).

I am so glad we can say like David (Ps. 23:1), “The Lord is MY Shepherd; I shall not want.” He is also the Bishop or overseer of my soul, guiding and directing my way through life. We can’t expect any better treatment from this world than our rejected Lord. We need not be surprised when our testimony is rejected by most and accepted by only a few. But we are here to be a light in this darkened world. “This little light of mine, I’m go to let it shine.”

Col. 3:23-24, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Rev. 22:12, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me…”. It is far better to have the approval of the Lord than the commendation of the world. May we manifest the characteristics of the life of Christ daily, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.