Saturday, February 28, 2009

Whom Do You Say I Am?

Psalm 141:1-10; Mark 8:27-30 / 1 Peter 2:1-10

I. Who Is Jesus?

A. Jesus raised the question; what did the public think? “And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? (Mark 8:27)

B. The Apostles knew the common opinions. “And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.” (Mark 8:28)

C. Some people were looking for the prophet promised through Moses; perhaps the age of Moses would return.I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.” (Deuteronomy 18:18-20)

D. It could be that Jesus is a restoration or even a reincarnation of Elijah. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:” (Malachi 4:5)

E. Perhaps Jesus is actually a risen John the Baptist. “But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.” (Mark 6:16)

F. Mark answered the question in the first sentence of the gospel and then kept proposing the question in various ways; Christianity rises or falls with the answer. “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;” (Mark 1:1) “And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:41)

II. Jesus Made the Question Personal

A. Jesus moved from the general to the specific, getting personal. “And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (Mark 8:29a)

B. Peter made a profession of faith. And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. (Mark 8:29b)

C. The personal answer must be settled before taking the question to the public. “And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. (Mark 8:30)

III. The Answer Matters

A. The intermediate answers are not options; Jesus is all or nothing. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,” (1 Peter 2:7)

B. Will Jesus be your stone of stumbling? “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (1 Peter 2:8)

C. Or will you profess that Jesus is more important than any other thing in life? “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 but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Philippians 3:8-10)

D. Say what is on your heart; make your profession so that everyone can hear it. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)

E. Courts have little interest in testimony given after the judge passes sentence. “Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8-9)

F. Paul explained what Peter was answering and called people to invest in Jesus as he and Peter invested with all they had. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10) “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)

G. Who would risk eternity for what cannot be? The psalmist Asaph put it this way,Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” (Psalm 73:25)

“For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:11)

What Does God Want?

I. God Calls People To Acknowledge Him

A. God is the ultimate authority above all other authorities, and when He says we should come to Him with thanksgiving, the only option is to do so. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” (Psalm 95:2-3)

B. No other authority amounts to much; all of life’s other claims pale in comparison. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. (Psalm 86:8-10)

C. The maker has an indisputable right to be acknowledged. “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.” (Psalm 95:6) “But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. (Jeremiah 10:10)

II. That Call Is Personal for the Redeemed

A. God finds the worship of His people beautiful. “So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him. (Psalm 45:11)

B. God is speaking to the elect—people redeemed with the blood of Jesus. “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

C. God redeemed people to glorify Him; worship is central to that process. “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:26-27)

D. As people draw near to God and He draws near to them, two propositions emerge in believers. “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (John 20:28)

III. God Does Not Share

A. God states that He is jealous and prohibits fraternization with other gods. “But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:” (Exodus 34:13-14)

B. Everything which contributes to displacing God in the human heart is abominable and must be excised. “The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.” (Deuteronomy 7:25-26)

C. Jesus acknowledged the centrality of God in His dispute with Satan at the start of His earthly ministry. “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4:10)

D. The right focus on God alone can impact 1,000 generations. “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:5-7)

E. When people get the right focus on God, He draws them to Him; what incentive could be more powerful? “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15) “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:1-3)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Things Are Looking Up

Psalm 57

I. Sometimes Up Is the Only Direction To Look

A. When life closes in on believers, the time has come to look up to God for His mercy and take refuge with Him. To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” (Psalm 57:1) See 1 Samuel 22 [Adullam] and 24 [Engedi]

B. Under conditions which make the world panic, believers remember Providence and turn to God. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.” (Psalm 57:2-3) Puritans spoke of the Valley of Vision.

C. Believers take danger very seriously, acknowledging the perils they face. My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.” (Psalm 57:4) “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.” (Daniel 6:22-24)

II. Darkness Displays Light

A. Times of danger and disaster provide occasions for God to display love for His blood-bought saints. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.” (Psalm 57:5)

B. Enemies and tormentors continue to harass God’s people when it is the enemies themselves who will be destroyed by what they do; God turns evil back on the evil-doers. “They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.” (Psalm 57:6)

C. Read Providence. The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.” (Psalm 9:15-16)

III. Praise God from Life’s Depths

A. Believers always rejoice because they know God will do what is best. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” (Psalm 57:7)

B. Experience with God teaches believers to look for God’s success in every situation; Christ provides what the situation demands. “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:10-13)

C. The realization that God means Romans 8:28 is enough to awaken any easy-going Christian; believers who understand see everything in hopeful context. “Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.” (Psalm 57:8)

D. Confidence in Providence is a powerful theme for world evangelism. “I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.” (Psalm 57:9)

E. There are no bounds or hidden restrictions to God’s mercy. “For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.” (Psalm 57:10) In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.” (Isaiah 54:8-10)

F. Not only should individual believers glorify and enjoy Providence, all creation should join in rejoicing. “Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth. (Psalm 57:11)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Importance of Being Uncomfortable

Deuteronomy 12:30-32

I. Pain Can Have Benefits

A. The Great Physician fights disease; false religion is a deadly infectious disease. “When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.” (Deuteronomy 12:29-30)

B. Treat moral infection for what it is and take precautions. “Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.” (Deuteronomy 12:31)

C. Physicians prescribe precise dosages; so does God. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. (Deuteronomy 12:32)

D. To get good results, follow the directions closely. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

E. Poisons can masquerade as medicines; the fact that the medicine show entertainer said the snake oil would cure the problem is not a guarantee of success. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Matthew 7:15-16)

II. Take the Indicated Medicine

A. People in pain seek relief; Jesus set the subject in theological context. “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mark 2:17)

B. The Great Physician’s office is open. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)

C. Eliminate infection. If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:” (Deuteronomy 13:6-8)

D. Some problems require surgery. “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.” (Zechariah 13:2)

E. Adopt a healthy life style. I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:” (Revelation 2:2)

F. Check for hidden illnesses before they become major illnesses. “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” (Revelation 2:14-15)

III. Good Health Is More Comfortable

A. The Heidelberg Catechism describes the comfortable—healthy—life. What is your only comfort, in life and in death? That I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of His own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil; that He protects me so well that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that everything must fit His purpose for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him. “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:8)

B. Christ is the perfect medicine for human trouble. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:7-8) “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

C. Practicing Christians do not require supplements or intellectual nutraceuticals. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Psalm 55 – Remember Absalom and Ahitophel

I. David Stated the Problem

A. David appealed for God’s help because worries overwhelmed life. “To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David. Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;” (Psalm 55:1-2)

B. Wicked people, acting from the corruption of their own lives, oppress believers; Absalom saw an opportunity to take advantage of David for personal gain. “Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.” (Psalm 55:3) 2 Samuel 15-18

C. Reflection on betrayal can be as damaging as the actual evil being perpetrated. “My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.” (Psalm 55:4-5)

D. The temptation to escape can become a controlling passion under oppression; cowardice can masquerade as caution.. “And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.” (Psalm 55:6-8)

II. Oppressors Will Develop Problems in Turn

A. Enemies of grace use their evil methods on themselves even as they appear to be in charge. “Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.” (Psalm 55:9-10)

B. When evildoers possess the instruments of power, everyone and every institution will suffer from the corruption; ultimately corruption corrupts. “Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.” (Psalm 55:11)

C. Evil compounds when the evildoer is someone close who should have carried, rather than imposed, burdens. “For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.” (Psalm 55:12-13)

D. David consigned such moral saboteurs and quislings to Hell; Scripture holds out little hope for people who have tasted the truth and then turned from it to do evil. “We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.” (Psalm 55:14-15) “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” (Hebrews 6:4-8)

III. Trust Is the Remedy and Consolation

A. David did not strike back but left the account settling to God; the Lord does not forget abused believers or their tormenters. “As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalm 55:16-17) “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

B. In the midst of strife, God gives believers peace. “He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.” (Psalm 55:18) “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)

C. Behavior which troubles believers is actually directed against God and will invoke Heaven’s wrath; if the tormenters understood repentance and grace, they would not risk their own souls to do wicked things. “God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God. He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.” (Psalm 55:19-20) “And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I [Judas] shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely.” (Mark 14:44)

D. The smooth form of oppression does not ameliorate what transpires. “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.” (Psalm 55:21)

E. Let God handle the worrying. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22)

F. Sending people to Hell is God’s business; leave justice to Him Who causes evil to punish itself. “But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.” (Psalm 55:23) “He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.” (Psalm 7:15-16)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Can You See Anything?

Jeremiah 31:15-22; Mark 8:22-28 / Isaiah 44:1-8

I. Jesus Heals the Blind

A. Inability to see and failure to see are both massive problems; each is a metaphor illustrating the other. “And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.” (Mark 8:22) Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?” (Mark 8:18)

B. Healing the blind man is one of many miracles which the people of the region saw and ignored; all reality glorifies God except for those too blind in heart and mind to see what God is doing. “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” (Matthew 11:21)

C. This hurting person was only one of many people whom Jesus blessed; where Jesus is lifted up, life becomes better for those who turn to Him. “And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.” (Mark 6:55)

D. Healing the blind is one of the prophesied marks of the Messiah; changed lives have a persuasive power no jihad can match. “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” (Isaiah 35:5-6)

E. God’s grace is focused but not stingy; the Savior is the help of the helpless and the consolation of the disconsolate. The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5)

II. Grace Acts in God’s Time

A. Jesus acted for the benefit of this sufferer, not to bring attention to Himself or to promote His own cultural campaign. “And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.” (Mark 8:23)

B. Saul, the persecutor of believers, had to be stricken blind and led away by hand before he also could be healed and transformed into Paul the evangelist of the Gentiles. “And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. (Acts 9:8)

C. People do not see until God opens eyes. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.” (Revelation 3:18)

D. Healing began partially; growing in grace over time is normal for believers. “And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. (Mark 8:24) “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:18)

E. God will not stop till He finishes what He starts; healing the blind man is evidence for the perseverance for the saints. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.” (Isaiah 32:3) “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:17-18)

III. God Finishes What He Starts

A. Jesus kept working on the sufferer until the man saw clearly. “After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.” (Mark 8:25)

B. Just as revelation is progressive, so is grace. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. (Proverbs 4:18)

C. The good gifts of God are specific, not general; Universalism has a certain charm for the fallen mind, but it does not have Biblical support. “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” (Matthew 13:12)

D. Confidence in God is fundamental to progress in the gospel and the full Christian life; the man trusted Jesus enough to follow him out of town in hope Jesus would finish what He had begun. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6) “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

E. Can you see anything? Eyes healed by Jesus see eternity in the marvelous light of grace. “And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.” (Mark 8:26) “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (1 Peter 2:9)

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