You Know

Micah 6:3-5 ESV

“O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I wearied you? Answer me!
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt
and redeemed you from the house of slavery,
and I sent before you Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam.
O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised,
and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him,
and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

The condition the Lord Jesus is showing me of many of his people today, especially in America, is one of rebellion against God. For, many people who profess the name of Jesus do not revere him as their Lord (owner-master). They have forsaken their Lord to follow after the gods of this world. They deal corruptly. And, they have despised the Lord and his salvation in order to hold on to and to feed the desires (lusts) of their sinful flesh.

Yet, even though they will not honor him as their Lord and master, and they have chosen to live in adultery against their Lord, instead, and to pile their sins high to heaven, yet they make public pretenses of their adoration and praise of him. For, they want to appear righteous in front of other people. And, they may even be fooling themselves into believing that God should be pleased with their false worship of him. But, it is false, because their actions speak louder than words. And, their actions speak adultery, not love.

Yet, God sees these false accolades as a trampling of his courts, because their worship of God is not true worship, but it is for show, and thus it is hypocritical. Basically, it is a slap in the face to God to dishonor him privately and then to publicly act as though one is serving the Lord.

So, God is reminding his ungrateful and his rebellious people of his great salvation. He wants to remind those who have taken his grace lightly and his salvation for granted, that he means what he says. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Faith in Jesus Christ involves death to sin and being reborn by the Spirit to a new (transformed) life in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).

The blood of Jesus was shed for us to purchase (redeem) us back for God, so we are no longer our own, but we are God’s possession, for we were bought with the price of the blood of Christ. Thus, we are to honor God in all that we do. We are to leave our lives of sinful practices behind us, and we are to be changed in heart and mind away from sin to obedience to our Lord. And, then we are to walk (live our lives) now according to the Spirit of God and no longer in agreement with the ways of our sinful flesh.

Micah 6:6-8 ESV

“With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Yet, many of these who pretend righteousness outwardly, to impress other people, but who dishonor God by their lifestyles, especially in private when no one else is looking, will also often act as though they don’t know what to do to please God. But, it isn’t that they don’t know, or that they have not heard, or as though God has never before told them, for he has. But, it is that they want to continue in their sinful lifestyles, and so they act as though they don’t know what to do, because they don’t want to do it.

And, so some of them will literally repeat the same arguments over and over and over again, possibly hoping for a different answer from God if they argue their case long enough. But, the answer never changes, because God never changes, and his Word never changes. And, so their arguments are futile. But, that doesn’t stop them from trying. For, their goal is to hold on to their addictions and to excuse away anything which would tell them that they have to give those up to follow Jesus.

And, so they will pray, and they will ask God what to do to please him, and they may ask him to show them what he wants out of their lives, too, and they may even inquire of him as to his will for their lives. But, it is vapor, for they don’t mean it, and they have no real intention of listening or of heeding God’s Words. And, God knows that, too.

So, the answer back is “God has told you, O man, what is good.” And, he has told you, O woman, too, what he requires of us all. We, who claim to know Jesus Christ, are not ignorant of his statutes and of his holy and righteous requirements of those who would follow him with their lives.

And, what is justice? It is righteousness, morality, uprightness, honesty, honor, and decency. And, what is kindness? It is honesty, sympathy, compassion, consideration, thoughtfulness, love and benevolence. It is doing for others what is truly best for them, in God’s sight, selflessly thinking about their needs above our own, and above our own reputations, too. And, it never lies to anyone, not even telling “white” lies to spare people’s feelings. For, lies are never kind. Speaking the truth in love is kind.

And, what does it mean to walk humbly with our God? It means we submit to his Lordship over our lives. It means we surrender our wills to the will of God for our lives. It means we die with Christ daily to sin and self, and we walk (conduct our lives) according to his righteousness and holiness, and no longer according to our sinful fleshly (lustful) desires.

Micah 6:9-13 ESV

The voice of the Lord cries to the city—
and it is sound wisdom to fear your name:
“Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it!
Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,
and the scant measure that is accursed?
Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales
and with a bag of deceitful weights?
Your rich men are full of violence;
your inhabitants speak lies,
and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow,
making you desolate because of your sins.

The main thing that the Lord is pointing out to me here, I believe, is how so many in today’s market-driven, flesh-driven institutional church have bought into and are promoting a gospel other than the one Jesus and his NT apostles taught. What they are propagating is a false grace gospel, which is diluted to make it more appealing to human flesh and to the world.

But, it isn’t just that they are spreading this false grace gospel, but they are fiercely opposing and attacking the true gospel and its messengers in order to deceive and to trick people into believing their lies and into rejecting the truth. So, in a sense, they are setting road blocks for the true gospel to go forth because they have convinced so many people to reject the truth, because they have convinced them that the truth is a lie and the lies are the truth.

Basically, what they are spreading as truth is half true, but the other half is a lie, and thus what they are spreading is false. Most of them will teach the truth of Jesus Christ, with regard to his death on a cross, and how he took our place so that we can have salvation from sin. But, they leave out the other half that says he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. They also leave out repentance and obedience to Christ, and they call those works-based salvation.

But, because they are teaching that we don’t have to repent of our sins, and we don’t have to obey Jesus Christ for salvation, they are giving people a false hope of eternal life with God, and they are giving themselves and their followers free license to continue in their sinful addictions and in fulfilling the lusts of their flesh. For, they are convinced that their sins no longer matter to God and so it doesn’t matter how much they sin, for they feel heaven is guaranteed them no matter what.

But, scripture doesn’t teach that. It teaches us that Jesus died to deliver us out of our slavery to sin; to put sin to death in our lives. And, it teaches that faith in Jesus Christ means we die with Christ to sin, and we are born again of the Spirit of God in a kind of metamorphosis, and we now follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his Word and we submit to his Lordship over our lives (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Ac. 26:16-18; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 12:1-2).

Scripture also teaches that we will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap decay (destruction). But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. And, if we walk (conduct our lives) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live with Christ for eternity (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

So, know the truth, for the truth will set you free. If you want to live with Christ for eternity, you must die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness – all in his power and strength at work within you, and for the glory of God.

Jesus is the Sweetest Name I Know

Lyrics and music by Lela B. Long, bef. 1925

There have been names that I have loved to hear,
But never has there been a name so dear
To this heart of mine, as the name divine,
The precious, precious name of Jesus.

There is no name in earth or Heav’n above,
That we should give such honor and such love
As the blessed name, let us all acclaim,
That wondrous, glorious name of Jesus.

And someday I shall see Him face to face
To thank and praise Him for His wondrous grace,
Which He gave to me, when He made me free,
The blessed Son of God called Jesus.

Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
And He’s just the same as His lovely name,
And that’s the reason why I love Him so;
Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know.

*Copyright is in public domain

Friday, January 4, 2019

 

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