Friday, February 1, 2019

Pleasing God

Jack Davis

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Rev. 4:11
This Subject found in scripture sets before us the highest standard, which demands sincere focus, offers a most pleasant occupation, and personal PRIVILEGE. Think about it. Why were we created? Born? What is God’s reason for your being? Why were you divinely purchased by the blood of the Lamb? Rev. 5:9-12. Who has creative and redemption right to all of you and yours? He or she that lives to please oneself alone, is a very unhappy, empty, shallow, unfilled person. A real sense of wellbeing, and supreme satisfaction is enjoyed by one who pleases another. We each decide who we will please and where we can find lasting satisfaction.

Purposing to please God is not a passive but an aggressive attitude. Eph. 2:10, “…we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph. 4:24, “…put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Col. 3:10, “…put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Also read Rom. 9:14-23. By presenting ourselves (bodies) a living sacrifice, we prove in experience what gives our dear Lord pleasure. Rom. 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The accomplishment of this purpose involves the Trinity, as well as the will, the word and the work of God. The Father promised that which He purposed. The Son has paid for and provided it. Then we find this being wonderfully performed and produced in the lives of yielded believers by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Ps. 149:4, “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.” Ps. 147:10-11, “He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.”

Is it possible that our Father takes pleasure in pleasing us? That is in our finding our pleasure in Him? Ps. 16:11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasure for evermore.” Ps. 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” The Psalmist asks in Ps. 116:12-13, “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.” We please Him by taking all that He offers, and seeking all that He has for us. Jesus said in Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

The pleasures of sin are temporary and costly. Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death…”. Gal. 6:7-8, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption…”. Prov. 21:17, “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man…”.

But who can tell how profitable it will be to have pleased God while we are here? Is it cost effective? Can we set the price over against the profit? We are able to sing by faith, “It will be worth it all.” The Apostle Paul lets us know that it will be far more than worth it all, Rom. 8:17-18, “…if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” II Cor. 4:17-18, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (beyond comparison).

Twice in First Corinthians we find the expression, “as it hath please him.” Read especially I Cor. 15:35-49. Often our Father uses the things of the natural creation to illustrate for us spiritual truth. God determines the seed of all creation, and gives to every seed its own body. It is important for us to know that in all creation He has indeed a great over all design. In His precious Word He has laid out His blueprint for us. This great design is not something to which we try to make ourselves doggedly resign, such as saying, “Oh I hate this but if I have to, I guess I have to.” He has made His pleasure for us a joyous privilege, counting on Him, and submitting to Him to bring us completely in line with His good pleasure. He plans to give us an eternal, glorious, heavenly, spiritual body that will radiate the evidence of how well we have pleased Him in these temporary, natural, vile bodies of humiliation. Glory, Glory, Glory to God!
I Cor. 12:18, “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” Eph 4:7-8, “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.” V. 12, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
It is good for us to realize that God does the setting and gifting of the members of the body of Christ according to His good pleasure, where we can best function, benefit and be a blessing to the rest of the body. We please our dear Lord as we faithfully fulfill the place that He has given us. We are to grow in our place as we feed on the Word and drink in of the Spirit. Thus the greatest accomplishment of our lives individually is found in doing God’s will for each of us. We can’t please God by fretting over what some one else is or is not doing. When Peter asked Jesus, “What shall this man do?” Jesus answered him, “What is that to thee? Follow thou me.” It is the way we fulfill our place presently that will determine the manifestation of God’s pleasure permanently.


Anita Clark, Pastor

Grace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace, wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2.
God has justified us because of His grace to us. “Justified” in the Greek in which it was written originally means, “to render innocent, or regard just or to make righteous.” This is the act of God, when a sinner comes to Jesus Christ and is born again (John 3:5-7). He is justified. This act is because of the GRACE of God.
The word “grace” in the Greek means “a gift, unmerited favor.” Someone has said that it means “Something for nothing to the undeserving.” Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “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.” In Romans 3:21-24 the Apostle Paul says, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe for there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” While Titus 3:4-6 says, “But after the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” These are the acts of God when a sinner comes to Jesus and is born again by believing in Christ as their Savior.
Note that this “regeneration” or being “born again” is not just cleaning up the old self. Not just our making resolutions to do good, but giving to that seeking person a new spiritual birth. In Titus 3:5 the word “regeneration” means “spiritual renovation.” This act of the Holy Spirit is not just a patching up or cleansing of our old self, called the old creation, but giving a spiritual new birth. This new birth is only the beginning of Grace working in our lives. To merit the grace of God we have to have some quality of our character that shows we deserve a reward. We don’t have anything of ourselves to offer God, worth anything, before we are born again. That’s why the Word of God classed us sinners.
Grace - because of it millions of people have been born into the family of God, and are made a New Creation in Christ. Grace is a priceless gift. We never deserve it by our own goodness. What did we deserve? Hell, Punishment, The Lake of Fire. Titus 2:11-13 says, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men (or all mankind).” How marvelous! No one will not have an opportunity to receive. Not one will be able to stand before the Judgment and say, I never heard of the grace of God.” The word “appeared” in this verse means in the Greek. “To shine upon, to become literally visible or known.” God would not be a just God if He did not offer salvation to all people. See I Peter 3:9.
Also, in Titus 2:12 we see that Grace is our teacher. This word “teacher” means in the Greek, “to train up a child or educate, discipline, and instruct.” Isn’t this a wonderful thought? Romans 6:14 says, “We’re not under the law but under grace” Grace teaches us how to live a Godly life in this world. Vs. 13 - Instructs us where to focus our eyes, as we’re walking in the Grace of God, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and 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.”

Still Standing?

Gordon Crook

Even the strongest of men can only stand for a limited amount of time. It becomes necessary to sit or lie down eventually. Spiritually we cannot stand at all on our own. We must rely on God in order to stand fast.

We are told that God’s word stands forever. It is unmovable, and untiring. It also is settled. “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” Psa 119:89.  That means that God is not changing His mind about what He has said. Many have tried over the centuries to add or take away from what God has said, even claiming to have heard from God Himself. Well, you can be sure that God is not giving any different “Word” today than He has already given us in His Word (The Bible). Gal 1:6-9.

We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that God is like us, and needs to take back something He has said. Or, maybe He needs to say something different because things have changed down here. God’s Word is just as true and applicable today as it was when it was written. Things on this earth may have changed, but man’s heart has not changed. Man’s attitude toward God has not changed.

We need God’s Word, because it is tried and abideth forever. “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.” Psa 18:30. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 1 Pet 1:23. No other book, or writing of any sort can make the same claim. What man has to say, or write, is only good for the moment, and will change with time. God can see the end from the beginning, so nothing catches Him by surprise. The Word of God is perfect forever.

The Bible, as a book, has miraculously survived through many attempts to destroy it. Many men had to give their lives to keep the Bible intact, but God has made sure that there was always someone He could use to preserve His Word to us. “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Pet 1:25. Please do not take for granted that you have a Bible, or maybe more than one.

The Word of God cannot pass away, and God will accomplish all that His Word says. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isa 55:11. Some think that God is not going to keep His Word. We know, from reading the Old Testament, that God does keep His Word. We can be very sure that He will do all that He says.

So, in this world of uncertain and changing times, we need something that is certain and unchanging. God’s Word is certain, and it does not change, because God is certain, and does not change. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Heb 13:8.

The Gospel of Grace

Carolyn Brown

Springfield, Missouri

The gospel of grace is the portion of the Word God entrusted to the Apostle Paul, regarding the free gift of His Son to us, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in order that we might have abundant life. It is the message of the new covenant wherein the law has been written in the hearts of those who rest on Jesus. It has a three-part unfolding for those who receive its message.
First, justification, the acknowledging of our inability to be right before God and by faith laying hold of Jesus for our righteousness. We are accepted in God’s Beloved, redeemed, forgiven. We have peace with God to replace the enmity that was once there. We have access into a harbor of rest wherein we stand perfect before God. Here is the throne of grace to which we can come boldly. What a contrast with the old economy in which the law continually pointed an accusing finger.
But now we have entered a realm in which there is no condemnation. This is sanctification. The flesh cannot work here for the law of the Spirit of life only is the regulator. The Holy Spirit applies the mighty power of the Word to our lives so that we might be conformed to the image of Jesus. He must strip us of all the old rags of our self-effort, of all dependency in our natural abilities and attainments. He must separate us from those who would hinder His work in us. He must teach us through many experiences to trust Jesus, to lean on, depend upon, yea, even to cling to Him.
God’s grace is always there, sometimes exhorting us onward or comforting our hearts or gently lifting us up when we grow faint; grace is the teacher instructing us to be sober and righteous (or just), and to have a reverential attitude toward God. Always grace stand between us and sin.
Lastly, grace cuts a straight course for us and has in view only one thing – the glory of God. This is glorification. Far greater will His glory be or His inheritance among His saints if they have yielded to grace’s gently persuasion. When these earthly vessels are clothed upon with a body of glory like unto Jesus’ own, what an exultation of God’s grace there will be. Grace will have become glory. Oh praise the Lord for that fast approaching day!

LIVING THINGS – Living People

E. C. Richards

Gen. 3:21. Out of the sentence of death, immediately came life by redemption. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Though redemption depends on the death of the Redeemer, the purpose of the work was never death, as the zenith of it all, but to give life. Just precious to this, Eve was named the mother of all living, and so she was. She started life for us all. We must never forget that even as she bares the stigma of going into sin, she started the human race as a redeemed individual and taught her children so. I respect her.

“After These things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, “LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of  Damascus? And Abram said, behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, this shall not be thine heir…And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be” Gen. 15:1-5.

Here, our father of the faithful was given a lesson of the continuance of life by the stars. They are a symbol of a multitude, and of permanence. Though they will be changed, they are the oldest and most permanent part of creation that we know. What a stupendous progeny Abraham has already had! The Word of God, the Son of God, the gospel of God all have come to the rest of us through this illustrious people. When will its stream of life stop multiplying? Not until the end of the millennium which is a thousand years plus the interval, whatever it is, until it begins. Of course, we realize this is a spiritual seed, but it had to start natural, as we all do, and it is all an unbroken line of life, not of death.

I Samuel 25:29. “Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sting.” “Bundle of life” is one of the precious expressions of Scripture, so like the Holy Ghost in His expressiveness. You can see the way it is: interrelation of David and God in life, a matter of containment, of inseparability. So it is with us all who believe, especially actively believe.

On into John 11:25-26. We see the great involvement of life through the One of resurrection and those taking hold of that great principle. The whole gamut of death may be turned into the exact opposite – life. That is anyway you look at it. We get all taken up with the terrible bugaboo of the body and its decease. It is serious, and the devil bears down on it severely; on those who go before they go; and its effect on those who remain after they are gone. Nevertheless, Jesus Christ, the One of resurrection bears down on life.

Verse 25 of the above Chapter: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Amen, Hallelujah! God has us bound for life; He makes it surround the death of the great Man, but death is not an end in itself as the morbid Easter actors make it. Then Verse 26, the bombshell: “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Believest thou this?” I hope so, friends. Martha had some difficulty in doing so. We have the privilege of entering into life, God’s great purpose of life for His people: livers, not perpetual diers.

Then I Peter 4:1-2, “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin, That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” And Verse 6, “For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

These verses seem difficult, but remember God has His own area, and we ours, and He gives us facts according to His viewpoint, not ours, as we are conditioned to think. It is not easy for us to see the way He thinks looking on humanity dead in trespasses and sins; for being away from Him is death, not some oblivion we conjure up in our minds. See here, the guiding factor is the will of God, where the flesh never enters.

Christ suffered; and flesh suffered extinction with His natural life. But how do we know? Good old verse 6 – the gospel preached, even to those dead men, and He judges so, your only escape. But aha! We don’t stay dead; we live according to God in the Spirit, Hallelujah! Again our lot is life, not death. God loves living things. Death has done its dastardly worst upon Christ, and praise the Lord, we are coming out of the ordeal alive. Bless His name!

Ranks in the Resurrection

E. J. Davis

Ranks in the Resurrection is part of the revelation God revealed to our Apostle Paul. I Cor. 15:21-23, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” Death comes to all men, but only those who believe on Christ shall all be made alive (resurrected) in Him. “Every man in his own order.” The Greek word (Tagma) for “Order” means, ’something orderly in arrangement (a troop), a series or secession’- Strong’s Concordance. Vine’s Expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words, says this is a military term, denoting a company and is used metaphorically in this verse of the various classes of those who have part in the first resurrection (which started with Christ resurrection). So it read, “every man in his own order or rank. Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.”
The Greek word rendered “coming” (parousia) means ‘presence.’ His coming or presence will continue through the millennium when the last trumpet shall sound. I Cor. 15:52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” There can’t be a last trumpet without trumpets before it.
Verse 35, “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” In verses 36 through 42, Paul uses the natural to illustrate the spiritual to answer this question. The different kinds of grains, and of men, animals, fishes birds, celestial bodies, terrestrial bodies, the glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, another glory of the stars, and one star differeth from another star in glory. “So also is the resurrection of the dead.” Different ranks in the resurrection is plainly taught here. They differ even as men differ from animals and animals differ from one another. Ezek. 34, God likens His people to cattle and sheep and says, He judges between fat cattle and between lean cattle.
Consider the difference between believers, they do not have equal victory over the world or over their own flesh. Some lay hold of being “preserved blameless” and some do not. I Thess. 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Just as there are different kinds of flesh, so there are differing degrees of Christian experience which necessitates different ranks or orders in the resurrection. There is no other meaning to Paul’s illustration, “So also is the resurrection of the dead.” Believers are finding their rank today. Some refuse the first rank, choosing a lower rank by their walk. It cost something to renounce the world. After receiving Christ some go no farther spiritually.
God wants His children to grow. II Pet. 3:18, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” Believers should desire the new man, to grow and mature in Christ. Believers who stay a babe spiritually or have a worldly walk will be raised in a lesser rank. The provision is all of grace, but we must lay hold of the offer and press on to full development. This means denying self, it means suffering and sacrifice. I Tim. 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
Even Paul said in I Cor. 9:27. That he kept his body in subjection, lest that by any means, he should be disapproved or miss the mark. By experience we learn the subtile trickery of our own flesh. Either we make excuses and deceive ourselves or we count with God, that we are dead unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6). We count what God says is true and yield to the Christ life in us, and we gain the victory over our own flesh. Every step forward separates us more from the world and even worldly minded friends. Titus 2:14, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purity unto himself a peculiar people (Peculiarly His own), zealous of good works (of faith).”
Of course this arouses Satan to come against us, but we go on in faith. Eph. 6:11-12, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, again the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” A conflict not all saints know. Some draw back, not able to take the trials. It may be more lonely, but we have the assurance of I Pet. 1:8, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with Joy unspeakable and full of glory.” We begin to see and feel as God sees and feels. What a privilege is ours.
Christ’s resurrection guaranties our resurrection. There is a better resurrection, an out-resurrection, out from the believing dead. That is how Phil. 3:11 reads in the Greek text. “If by any means I might attain unto the (out) resurrection of the dead.” A rank raised earlier than the rest of the church. All believers are in the resurrection, but suffering with Christ obtains a better resurrection. II Tim. 2:12, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him…”. I Cor. 15:51, “Behold I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” But only those who have fellowshiped His sufferings, shall know the fellowship of His glory. The prospect of reigning con-jointly with Christ should inspire us. May we “look unto Jesus the author and finished of faith” Heb. 12:2. Trust Him completely to bring down all rule, power and authority in us. The book of Revelation, tells of different ranks going up at different time, which I will write of at another time.