What Are You Waiting For?

  1. Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member on the Sanhedrin, was waiting for the kingdom of God.  He asked for the body of Jesus from Pontius Pilate (Mark 14.43; Luke 23.51) .
  2. A whole multitude of people was praying outside as Zacharias burned incense within the temple.  They marveled that he lingered so long, but when he came out, he could not speak to them due to his unbelief (Luke 1.21).
  3. Simeon, a just and devout man, waited for the consolation of Israel.  While waiting the Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would not die until he saw the Messiah (Luke 2.25).
  4. A multitude was always waiting for Jesus (e.g., Luke 8.40).
  5. Religious leaders were always lying in wait for Jesus (e.g., Luke 11.54) and Paul (e.g., Acts 23.21, 30).
  6. When Jesus taught the people to seek first the kingdom of God, he taught them to be like men who wait for their master to do his bidding when he returns from the wedding (Luke 12.36).
  7. The sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed waited for the moving of the water at Bethesda.  An angel would stir the water in order heal those of whatever disease they had (John 5.3).
  8. Jesus commanded His disciples to wait for the Promise of the Father (the baptism of the Holy Spirit; Acts 1.4).
  9. A devout soldier was waiting upon Cornelius continually (Acts 10.7).
  10. Cornelius waited for Peter, and God brought him salvation through the apostle (Acts 10.24).
  11. Paul waited for Silas and Timothy, and the Lord used this to burden him for Athens (Acts 17.16).
  12. Paul left his companions because of men plotting against him.  His friends waited for him at a meeting place in Troas (Acts 20.5).
  13. Paul was waiting when he shouldn’t have been.  Ananias told him to arise and be baptized, and wash away his sins, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22.16).
  14. Men aboard an Alexandrian ship headed for Rome waited and continued without food for fourteen days (Acts 27.33).
  15. The creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8.19).
  16. We eagerly wait for the adoption, the redemption of our body (Romans 8.23).
  17. If we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance (Romans 8.25).
  18. We are eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1.7).
  19. When believers come together to eat the Lord’s Supper, they should wait for one another (1 Corinthians 11.33).
  20. Paul waited for Timothy (1 Corinthians 6.11).
  21. Christians eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith through the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5.5).
  22. We eagerly wait for the Savior who will be coming from Heaven (Philippians 3.20).
  23. We wait for the Son of God from Heaven.  The Father raised Him from the dead, and He will deliver us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1.10).
  24. Christ will appear a second time to those who eagerly wait for Him (Hebrews 9.28).
  25. Christ Himself is waiting at the right hand of God until His enemies are made His footstool (Hebrews 10.13).
  26. Abraham waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11.10).
  27. The farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and later rain.  Likewise we are patiently waiting for the coming of the Lord.  It is surely at hand (James 5.7-8).
  28. The Lord waited while Noah built the ark.  He waited with divine long-suffering to save eight souls from the worldwide flood (1 Peter 3.20).  Nobody else responded to His compassion communicated through His preacher, Noah.

Six Affirmations of a Dyed-in-the-Wool Dispensationalist

The Sunday before He was crucified, Jesus entered Jerusalem and fulfilled prophecy as the triumphal King tragically rejected.  When the clamor of that day came to an end, Jesus “looked around at all things” (Mark 11.11).  He is the Man of Sorrows standing alone in His Father’s house which had become a den of thieves.

 
Monday morning, Jesus approached a fig tree for some breakfast.  It was filled with nothing but leaves.  He curses the tree and cleanses the temple.  Peter noticed on Tuesday morning that the fig tree had withered (Mark 11.21).  Jesus connected the temple cleansing with the cursed tree.  Empty, fruitless worship comes from corrupt leadership.

 
Jesus debated this corrupt temple leadership on Tuesday.  They questioned His authority (Mark 11.27-12.12), the legitimacy of withholding or paying taxes to Rome (Mark 12.13-17), and the doctrine of the resurrection (Mark 12.18-27).  One scribed inquired about the greatest commandment in the Scriptures (Mark 12.35 ff.).  As Tuesday draws to a close, Jesus is leaving the temple with His disciples.  He ascends the Mount of Olives with them, and laments over Jerusalem (see Matthew 23.37-39).

 
The disciples are thinking of the fact that Jesus has just said that Jerusalem’s house is left to Israel as a place of desolation. “Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here’” (Mark 13:1)! The disciples just heard that the temple would be left desolate.  They struggle with the fact that this could be true.  How could this magnificent temple be left deserted?  Jesus answers, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Mark 13:2).

 
Jesus not only affirms the desolation of the temple, but He also tells the disciples that it will be destroyed.  The destruction will be complete.  Jesus affirms that not one stone shall be left upon another.  Here is where we have room for differences in interpreting this passage.

 
Some believe the fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction took place completely in 70 AD when Titus, son of Vespasian, took Jerusalem and destroyed the temple.  Josephus, an ancient historian of the Jewish Wars, wrote:

While the sanctuary was burning … neither pity for age nor respect for rank was shown; on the contrary, children and old people, laity and priests alike were massacred (VI.271).

 
I believe that since some stones have been left one upon the other, the prophecy of Jesus in Mark 13.2 has not been completely fulfilled.  This awaits a yet future day. Why do I believe this?

 

  1. I believe in a literal interpretation of Scripture.  Scripture gives an objective standard by which we may measure the way we look at each prophecy.  This does not mean that I do not hold to literary features such as symbolism, hyperbole, allegory, and so forth.
  2. I believe in a clear distinction between Israel and the Church.  That is, God will fulfill promises to Israel in specific ways and deal with that particular nation in the future as He said.  These promises made to the nation of Israel will not be fulfilled through the church.
  3. I believe Christianity will grow increasingly corrupt and apostate as time marches forward.  That is, “in the last days perilous times will come …men will be lovers of themselves …lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim 3.1-5).  So, I look at the world as getting increasing worse as the last days come.  Jesus states, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”  This is not pessimism but an optimistic view of reality.
  4. I believe that the church will be removed from the world before a literal seven-year tribulation which will fall upon the nation of Israel.  This pre-tribulational rapture means that Jesus “will keep [the church] from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Rev 3.10).  The purpose of the Tribulation is to turn Israel’s eyes to the Messiah they pierced (Zechariah 12.10).  The pouring out of God’s wrath has occurred at the cross for believers.  We shall be saved from that hour of tribulation upon the unbelieving world.
  5. I believe Christ returns at the conclusion of the tribulation period in great glory – the glorious revelation of the King.  The literal kingdom of the Lord Jesus upon the earth will begin.  This millennial reign of 1,000 literal years fulfills the Davidic Covenant and Old Testament promises made to Israel.
  6. I believe in the Eternal State.  Christ will reign forever and ever.  We shall reign with Him.  We shall always be with the Lord.

About Confession and the Believer

Confession brings cleansing (1.9).  “If we [as Christians] confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

This is a third class condition in Greek.  That is, we have the potential to confess or not confess.  If we do, we are forgiven and cleansed.  We are now real when it comes to our sin.  If we don’t, we won’t experience forgiveness of cleansing even though we are still children of God.

What is that we confess?  Sinsspecific ones that we sin every day.  We say what God says about our sins (homologeo – speak same word), but we take responsibility for our sins too.  We don’t deny our guilt (1.8) or disagree with God about sin’s presence in our lives (1.10), but we acknowledge that we are guilty before Him …that we have willfully sinned.  Our confession is heartfelt and specific.

It’s not enough to say, “God, I’ve sinned today many times, please forgive me.”  Instead, we confess all known sins.  By the way, it would be impossible to confess every sin.  When we confess our known sins, God is faithful and just.  He keeps His promises without compromising His justice or righteous requirements punishing sin.  This is possible because Jesus satisfied them!

God forgives us.  He releases us from our debt.  He does so because Jesus took our guilt upon Himself and shed His blood for us on the cross (cf. 2 Corinthians 5.21).  God also cleanses us.  He makes us morally pure.  The cleansing we are given every day is accomplished through Jesus’ blood.  Notice too that the verse tells us that God will not only cleanse us from the sins we confess but from all unrighteousness.  Every shred of darkness and gloom dissipates and is removed from us when we confess.  We may know enter the sphere of God’s glorious light!

As one man put it,

Though Jesus’ work on the cross is the basis of all cleansing, “we must be willing to confess our sins. God’s provision and man’s responsibility go hand in hand” (Kistemaker on 1 John, 247).

Be real about your sin before God.  God will respond faithfully to your honesty.

With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; with the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks.” (Psalm 18:25–27)

Believe On …Believe In …Believe Into

Believe on…

    

  1. Many believed on the Lord for salvation (Acts 9.42).
  2. The gift of the Holy Spirit was given to those believing on the Lord Jesus (Acts 11.17),
  3. The Philippian believe believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and was saved (Acts 16.31).
  4. Crispus and His house believed on the Lord Jesus (Acts 18.9).
  5. John the Baptist directed his converts to believe on Jesus Christ who would come after him (Acts 19.4).
  6. Acts 22.19 states that Paul beat and imprisoned believers who believed on Christ.
  7. Romans 4.5 states that faith is accounted to those who believe on God who justifies the ungodly.
  8. Who believes on Christ will not be put shame (Romans 9.33; 10.11).
  9. Those who believe on Him have everlasting life (1 Timothy 1.16).
  10. God is believed on in the world by even the Gentiles (1 Timothy 3.16).
  11. He who believes on Christ will by no means be put to shame (1 Peter 2.6).  The elect and precious one in the text is Jesus.
  12. God’s commandment is that we should believe on the name of the son of Jesus Christ (1 John 3.23).  Verbal – pisteusomen

All these references use the phrase believe on by utilizing the Greek preposition epi as an independent word or a  part of a compound word.  The exceptions are Acts 19.4, which uses eis (into or in) and the verbs pisteusomen in 1 John 3.23.

Believe In…



The preponderance of the NT phrases are communicated “believe in” 56 occurrences in 54 verses.  The prepositions epi and en (prefix or independently) are used in all except Mark 9.42 (pisteouonton),  a supplied preposition in John 5.24 (pisteouon), Romans 10.14 (pisteusousin), and Titus 3.8 (pepisteukotes).  Eis is used more than enEis offers the possibility of translating the preposition as into.  The idea then is to believe into Christ.  Any thoughts on why this is the case?  Are these stylistic only?  Interchangeable?

A Worthy Walk – Part 3

“You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2.10-12).
Within these three verses we see the character, conduct, and catalyst of the Christian.  Character precedes conduct, but it is formed by incentive, namely the catalyst that drives every believer.

Christians are devout, just, blameless, and sacrificial.  Notice that I’m not saying that we are striving to be these things.  I’m saying that we are these things if we belong to Christ.  Our character and its day-by-day, moment-by-moment formation is a work of God.  It is a result of our dependency upon Him and what He has revealed about Himself.  Godly, Spirit-filled lives are the product or fruit of a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.  They do not come because one keeps all the rules.  This character, in turn, flows into conduct that produces holiness for the glory of God.

The Conduct of the Christian

This conduct is specifically directed toward believers in the text.  We are devout, just, blameless, and sacrificial among those who believe according to verse 10.  The actions which flow out of such character involve exhortation, comfort, and a steadfast insistence that other believers walk even as the mighty cloud of witnesses surrounding us (Hebrews 12.1).

We exhort and comfort one another.  Exhort comes from the Greek verb parakaleo.  The Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete.  He is the one who encourages and brings comfort.  Since the Holy Spirit indwells our spirit and is called alongside of us for the battle, we are to comfort one another.  We are to pour courage into one another.

Paul uses this word in Philippians 2.1.  He writes, “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one mind, of one accord” (Philippians 2.1-2).  He is speaking of the idea of encouragement and links it to the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

We are of the same mind when we have the mind of Christ.  We exhort one another when we conduct ourselves as Christ would if He were physically present with us.  This is how people see Christ today.  They see Him in us.  The Holy Spirit makes this possible.

We seek to comfort and encourage.  Both exhortation and comfort work hand-in-hand.  When someone loses courage in the battle, it’s up to Spirit-filled believers to bring comfort and encouragement in order for all of us to press on in the fight.  But if we walk in the flesh, we will cause discomfort and discouragement.  We will come across as callous, uncaring, and self-righteous.  The best position for us is firm ground so that we might lift up the fallen.
We also charge one another.  We implore or insist that we have conduct that flows out of a relationship with God the Father through God the Son empowered by God the Spirit.  But our insistence is fatherly insistence.  And that insistence must have a goal.  Verse 12 reveals the goal:  “That you would walk worthy of God.”

The aim of our conduct is to realize a church in which all walk worthy of the God who calls us.  Any other goal is fleshly.  So, our character flows into conduct.  But God also provides powerful incentive in this verse.  More about this in the fourth and final installment on a worthy walk.

The Lost Art of Seeking Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind (James 1.5-6).

Once you realize how important it is to have the wisdom of God in order to serve God, you will have people seek to draw you back again to the wisdom of this world. They think that they are looking out for you, but they are diverting you from the path that God intends for you.

Spiritual wisdom is not found in the academic subjects that you are studying. Spiritual wisdom comes from the Scriptures. It is the skill to apply them to your life. If you are faithful in the pursuit of wisdom, you will offend people. If you please people, you will isolate yourself from God. But you must obey God, and not man.

This passage of Scripture is written to Jewish Christians that find themselves scattered due to persecution in Jerusalem. They are falling into various trials. Their faith is being tested. This will produce patience, and this patience must have its perfect work.  It must be complete, lacking nothing. But how? How do they know they are going the right direction? What if they are making the wrong choices? They need wisdom. How do they find it?  How do we find it?

  1. Spiritual wisdom is God’s gift. The LORD put wisdom and understanding into men so that they could build a beautiful sanctuary for Him (Exodus 36.1-2). The LORD gives wisdom to men in order to produce healthy crops (Isaiah 28.23-26). But our need is for spiritual wisdom. God has revealed to us through His Spirit that which eye cannot see and ear cannot hear. He reveals that which He has prepared for those who love Him. We have received the Holy Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God (1 Corinthians 2.9-12). This is the wisdom that is from above (James 3.17). “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1.17). The Spirit provides us with wisdom and understanding …with counsel and power …with knowledge and the fear of the LORD (Isaiah 11.2). The eyes of your understanding are opened by the hope of God’s calling (Ephesians 1.18). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. He will guide us into all truth (John 16.13). We have an anointing from the Holy One and by Him we know all things (1 John 2.20). The anointing abides or dwells deeply within us. We have teachers, but for real wisdom all we need is the instruction and illumination of God’s Holy Spirit (1 John 2.27). We have understanding and wisdom thanks to Jesus Christ. Our goal is to know Him who is true. We are in Him who is true, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the true God; knowing Him is eternal life (1 John 5.20). Unsaved people are referred to as natural. They do not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to them; nor can they know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2.14).
  2. Spiritual wisdom is received through prayer. We must live according to the Word of God. So we must know what the Word of God says. But we cannot understand the Word of God apart from prayer. Incline your ear to wisdom. Listen to the Word of God. Apply your heart to understanding. Cry out in prayer for discernment. Lift up your voice for understanding. Seek after wisdom like you would seek for silver and hidden treasures. “The LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2.2-6). We need the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, the eyes of our understanding being enlightened; that we may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1.17-18). Pray and ask that we all might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Colossians 1.9).
  3. Spiritual wisdom is assured because of the power and promise of God. God is good to give to those who ask. He gives liberally and without reproach. God’s hand is always open. Don’t ignore it. He will not be stingy. He will not spurn you when you ask Him for wisdom. He delights in this. It will be given to you. When, how, and to what extent is all in His hand. But He will give it. All you must do is seek wisdom from the hand of God in sincerity and in truth. Ask in faith, with no doubting (James 1.6). God may withhold something specific that I ask for. But I will receive something better instead. I really believe that. God has the power and God is willing. If I doubt either one of these simple facts, I make God a liar. I don’t ask and expect to receive because I’m worthy. I ask and expect to receive because I am weak. If I thought I was worthy, God would resist me. I believe I shall have wisdom simply because God has promised to give it to me.

Many are unaware of their need for wisdom. They are competent when it comes to thinking. But they trust in their own hearts. Proverbs 28.26 states that those who trust in their own hearts are fools, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered. If you lack wisdom, trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3.5-6).

Some people are discouraged because they know they need wisdom and they don’t seem to have it. If we focus on how big the problem and difficulty is, then we will be terribly discouraged. We are insufficient to meet the need in our own strength. If we focus on God, our hope is strengthened because He has promised and He has the power to deliver. God can establish strength in the lives of others even through babes and nursing infants (Psalm 8.2). The treasure of God is in earthen vessels so that the excellence and power of God may be seen (2 Corinthians 4.7). God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12.9). We will sink beneath the waves if we doubt in the power of God to rescue us (Matthew 14.30-31). If we doubt, we cannot expect to receive anything from the Lord (James 1.7). If we believe, then in accordance with our faith let it be to us (Matthew 9.29).