Ephesians (Program #30) – The Church for God’s Wisdom According to God’s Purpose
Ephesians reveals more clearly than any other writing in the New Testament, that the Church is the eternal purpose of God. In fact it goes so far as to say that God’s multifarious wisdom is made known to the universe through the Church. But how can that be? Because when we look at the Church, most often all we see are the difficult people, bringing all their difficult problems and failures with them into the Church. Well, problems and failures and how God deals with them is just exactly the environment He needs to fully display His infinite wisdom, His multifarious wisdom.
Ephesians (Program #1) – Introductory Word to the Book of Ephesians (1)
Many books in the New Testament deal with practical issues associated with sinful fallen man with his struggle with problems, failures and difficulties. These books are written from the perspective or point of view of the sinner. One book in the New Testament however, uniquely takes God’s perspective, God’s view – and that book is Ephesians. Because of this very fact, many scholars consider this book to be the highest of all in Scripture. What this book reveals primarily is the church – the church not as an organization, a society or a school but as the center and focus of God’s eternal purpose. God desires us to see the church and to value the church as He does. But in order to do so, we need to climb up to that same vantage point and view the church from the heavenlies as God does.
2 Corinthians (Program #40) – The Minister’s of the New Covenant (13)
2 Corinthians chapter seven is very unique in the New Testament. It’s hard to find even a thread of teaching or doctrine in this chapter. But rather we are allowed into Paul’s heart to touch the deep and intimate feelings that he has regarding the believers in Corinth.
7: 3…”you are in our hearts...”
7:4… “I am filled with comfort, I overflow with joy in all our affliction.”
This is the apostle, fully restoring and fully reconciling those whom he had previously rebuke for their many failures and sins in his first epistle to the Corinthian church.
Although we may only see his tender emotional feelings been expressed here. Under all is his strong desire for the church in Corinth even all the believers and the entire body of Christ to be brought up to the standard that he revealed in another of his epistle, Ephesians. Ephesians 4:16
16 “..all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”
To see this link between 2 Corinthians 7 and God’s eternal purpose in Ephesians is rare glimpse into the depth of the riches in God’s word.
Lamentations (Program #3) – The Third Lamentations (2)
The prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament had much to be sorrowful for. For all around him is God’s judgment. This judgment fell upon God’s people Israel because of their degradation and their unfaithfulness. It also fell upon the nations that surrounded Israel for opposing God’s people and His purpose. And finally God’s judgment fell upon the prophet himself, not so much for his own failures and sins but rather because the prophet Jeremiah properly identified with his people Israel and thereby shared in their judgment. It was these sufferings that brought him to pour out his heart and soul to Jehovah in the short book called Lamentations. But in so doing, we see some wonderful passages that can be immense help to those of us in the New Testament economy. For Jeremiah learned to practice three marvelous things that sustain him and likewise can sustain us. We will look at these three in today’s program.
Jeremiah (Program #10) – A Word concerning Israel’s History
Many people think the book of Jeremiah is not easy to read nor to understand. Well, it maybe hard to ready because it seems to be full of the failures and degradation of God’s people, Israel. Yet despite page after page of such failures, there are wonderful crystals of God’s economy and of the new covenant and of Christ Himself. It’s hard to understand because much of it is based on the history of God’s people and what has led up to the time when God called a young man, even still in his mother’s womb to be a prophet for Him and speak on His behalf to the rebellious and unfaithful people of Israel. This was the prophet Jeremiah.
Much of the history in the Old Testament concerns the great failures and sins of the children of Israel. They were all the time disobedient to the Lord, transgressing His laws and straying far from Him in their deeds and actions. Yet in Jeremiah we get a clear window into how God interprets and evaluates the failures of His people. In chapter 2, He tells Jeremiah of the two great evils committed by Israel, His people. What would He enumerate above all the others? But the answer reveals much about God’s heart and about our own living before Him.
1 & 2 Kings (Program #14) – The Reign of Jehoahaz, Jehoash, and Jeroboam over Israel
In reading the Old Testament it’s easy to become lost at times in page after page of history because much of the Old Testament is devoted to telling this history, the history of God’s people Israel in both their triumphs and in their many failures. To study it in this way does have some values, but if that is the extend of our realization of the Old Testament, we will miss a lot. In fact, we will miss the Lord’s burden for us in that portion of Scriptures. For both the Lord Jesus Himself in His direct speaking concerning the Old Testament and the apostle Paul in example after example of how he applied the Old Testament made it clear that in reality the Old Testament is a book of types and symbols that if properly understood reveal Christ to us in marvelously clear pictures that can often convey more of the spiritual reality than even the direct and condensed passage of the New Testament. One of the great types of Christ in the books of history surely is the prophet Elisha, who typified Christ in his living, his ministry and as we will see today even in his death.
1 & 2 Samuel (Program #21) – The History Concerning David (8)
The first two kings of Israel present us with two distinctly different patterns. Both began their monarchy by being selected and anointed by God, but any similarity ends there. Saul, the first king, was intent on one thing, and that was establishing and building up his own monarchy. What he was building up was absolutely for himself. David who replaced Saul was also intent on one thing. But for David, that one thing had nothing to do with his own kingdom. His focus was God’s kingdom. What he was building up was for God’s kingdom, not for his own.
The result of their two lives tells us a lot about how we should approach and conduct ourselves in the kingdom of God. Saul and his three sons died a humiliating death, and the honor and the glory that surrounded his kingship in the beginning was completely lost. David on the other hand, despite some serious failures, became an important person in God’s plan and even in the accomplishment of His eternal economy.
Numbers is a book that records many wonderful items related to God’s people Israel and their journey through the wilderness on their way to the good land. But it also records some of their greatest failures. Perhaps the greatest among these was that spoken of in chapter 25 where many among Israel committed fornication and adultery with some of the idolatrous and pagan people dwelling in the land. This brought in God’s judgment as seen by the plague that fell upon Israel consuming 24,000. But this judgment served as kind of purifying of the people and it enabled them eventually to go in and possess the land that they have been 40 years journeying toward. The renumbering of God’s people for the possession of the good land is our topic today.
In the Old Testament book of Numbers there is the story of a gentile prophet named Balaam. The Moabite king Balak had hired him to curse and prophesy against God’s people Israel, who Balak the king greatly feared. Yet at each instance, as much as Balaam desire to please the king, whatever he spoke concerning Israel turned out not to be a curse but a blessing. These parables recorded in Numbers 22 through 24 had a greater impact than just the Lord’s frustration of a heathen king with an evil intention towards God’s people. These parables actually revealed how God views His people, whether the nation of Israel in the Old Testament or the church in this age despite the failures and weaknesses. God sees the church as glorious, victorious and beautiful. How can this be? it’s because He sees the church, the believers, in Christ.