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Pastor Scott Markle

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#396755 Shepherding The Flock - Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Lord Of Glory – James 2:1...

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 11 December 2014 - 02:13 PM

Weekly Sermon

James 2:1 reads, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.”

Herein the Biblical prohibition is delivered that we must not attempt to combine a daily Christian walk of faith with the practice of showing respect to persons.  Involved in this presentation is the truth that our daily walk of faith is centered upon “our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.”  By referring to the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord Jesus Christ, James was publicly confessing his inclusion among those who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.  In addition, by declaring that the Lord Jesus Christ is “the Lord of glory,” James was also confessing his belief in the true identity and full deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Just as David referred to Jehovah of hosts as “the King of glory” in Psalm 24:7-10, and just as David referred to Jehovah God as “the God of glory” in Psalm 29:3, and just as the apostle Paul referred to God the Father as “the Father of glory” in Ephesians 1:17, and just as Stephen referred to the One who met who Moses through the burning bush as “the God of glory” in Acts 7:2, even so James here refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as “the Lord of glory.”  Before Jesus sacrificial death on the cross and bodily resurrection out of the dead, James, as well as Jesus other biological brethren through Mary, had not accepted Jesus’ claims as the only-begotten Son of God and as the eternal Savior of the world.  Yet it is apparent that after his encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:7, James discarded his unbelief and wholeheartedly placed his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and sovereign Lord.  Indeed, he set his wholeheartedly devotion upon the Lord Jesus Christ as “the Lord of Glory,” as the One in whom dwells all the majestic fullness “of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9)  Even so, there are six facets of truth in this title, “the Lord of glory,” for us to consider.  In this first part of the message, let us consider the first three of these truths.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is by divine nature majestically glorious.

Speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, John 1:14 declares, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God the Father.  He is God the Son, the Second Person of the eternal Godhead.  As such, He possesses all of the divine glory and majesty in His Person by nature.  From eternity past He is the majestically glorious Son of God.  Even so, in John 17:5 He prayed unto God the Father, saying, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”  Furthermore, He is the almighty Creator of all.  “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3)  “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:16-17)  Even so, all of the creation, from the heavens above, to the earth beneath, to all that is contained in them, reveals the majesty of His divine glory.  Thus in 1 Corinthians 2:8 God’s Word declares that if “the princes of this world” had known the wisdom of God in the gospel, they would not have crucified the One who is the very “Lord of glory,” who is by His eternally divine nature the very Son of God.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the revelation of God the Father’s glory.

Speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, John 1:18 declares, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”  At that time when the Lord God had led the children of Israel unto Mount Sinai, Moses made request unto the Lord God, saying, “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.” (Exodus 33:18)  Unto this request the Lord God gave answer in Exodus 33:20-23 – “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.  And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.”  No living person can look upon the full glory and majestic radiance of God the Father’s face and remain alive.  Yet our Lord Jesus Christ is God the Son born and manifested in human flesh. (Galatians 4:4; 1 Timothy 3:16)  Even so, as God the Son manifested in human flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ perfectly reveals the fullness of God the Father’s divine glory.  Even as the opening portion of Hebrews 1:3 teaches, God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, is the very brightness of God the Father’s glory and is the express (or, exact) image of God the Father’s person.  Just as the cloud of majestic radiance that rested upon the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38) and that filled Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chronicles 7:1-3) revealed the divine glory of God the Father in the time of the Old Testament, even so our Lord Jesus Christ is the fully reveals the divine glory of God the Father for this time of the New Testament.  Indeed, the fullness and glory of God the Father is actually embodied in our Lord Jesus Christ.  “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9)  Thus in 2 Corinthians 4:6 gives the report, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  Yea, the divine glory of God the Father is fully revealed “in the face” (that is – in the Person) of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is exalted by the Father unto heavenly glory.

Speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, Hebrews 1:3 declares, “Who being the brightness of his [of God the Father’s] glory, and the express image of his [God the Father’s] person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”  Even so, speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, Philippians 2:6-11 proclaims, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Indeed, we should confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is “the Lord of glory;” for at this present time He sits upon the throne of heaven in glorious majesty at the right hand of God the Father.  Again speaking concerning the working of God the Father’s mighty power, Ephesians 1:20-22 proclaims, “Which [mighty power] he [God the Father] wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.”  Indeed, our Lord Jesus Christ sits as “the Lord of glory” on the throne in heaven at the right hand of God the Father; for God the Father has highly exalted Him far above all others, and has given Him a name above all other names, and has given Him all authority over all of the creation.  Yet again speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:22 states, “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”  And yet against 1 Timothy 3:16 gives the report, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God [that is – God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ] was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”  Who is the Lord and King of glory?  Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, He is “the Lord of glory.”
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#396551 Concerning Daniel 9:24-27

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 09 December 2014 - 10:56 AM

Concerning the above posting --

 

I recognize that postings such as that which I have presented above are often found to be controversial, and I expect nothing different with the above posting.  I also recognize that more controversial postings generally generate the most amount of commenting over the shortest period of time.  Recognizing these things, I wish to present the following burden:

 

It is generally my burden to respond unto others as much as I am able with a manner of thoughtfulness and thoroughness.  However, such thoughtfulness and thoroughness requires a greater amount of time (time which I do not always have available due to other, greater responsibilities).  Even so, if this thread explodes with comments as is so commonly the case for such "controversial" threads, then I simply will not be able to respond adequately to every comment.  As such, I request the patience (and possibly even, looooongsuffering) of those who comment and contribute.




#396542 Concerning Daniel 9:24-27

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 09 December 2014 - 10:06 AM

(Note:  This posting is somewhat lengthy; however, those who generally follow my posts will not find this to be much of a surprise.)

 

Concerning Daniel 9:24-27 –

 

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

 

As the context of Daniel 9 reveals, this prophetic utterance was delivered unto Daniel, who had been confessing the sins of his people Israel and praying for the Lord’s mercy upon his people Israel.  Indeed, when the angel Gabriel delivered this prophetic utterance unto Daniel, he specifically indicated that the focus of its revelation concerned Daniel’s people Israel and Daniel’s holy city, Jerusalem, as per the opening line of verse 24 – “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy [that is – Daniel’s] people and upon thy [that is – Daniel’s] holy city [Jerusalem].”  Furthermore, the angel revealed that these “seventy weeks” were determined by the Lord God upon Daniel’s people, the Israelites, and upon Daniel’s holy city, Jerusalem, for a six-fold purpose as signaled by the six infinitive phrases that complete verse 24. 

 

This six-fold purpose of the Lord our God concerning Daniel’s people, the Israelites, and Daniel’s holy city, Jerusalem, are as follows:

 

1.  “To finish the transgression” – Herein the word “transgression” is singular, indicating that it refers unto the entire rebellion of the Israelites against the Lord their God as a single unit of sinful fault.  Indeed, the Hebrew word that is translated by the English word “transgression” indicates a breaking away (or, departure) from a relationship or covenant with another.  Thus these “seventy weeks” are determined by the Lord God in order to bring about a completion to the sinful departure of the Israelites away from Him.  As such, we could expect that after these “seventy weeks” are concluded, the Israelites will never again depart from the Lord.

 

2.  “To make an end of sins” – Herein the word “sins” is plural, indicating that it refers unto the individual activities of sin that the Israelites might commit against the Lord their God.  Thus these “seventy weeks” are determined by the Lord God in order to bring about a completion to the sinful activities of the Israelites against Him.  As such, we could expect that after these “seventy weeks “ are concluded, the Israelites will never again commit sins against the Lord.

 

3.  “To make reconciliation for iniquity” – Herein the word “reconciliation” indicates the ideas of atonement and forgiveness and of reconciliation thereby.  Thus these “seventy weeks” are determined by the Lord God in order to bring about His forgiveness upon the Israelites for their sinful departure from Him and for their sinful activities against Him, and to bring about thereby the reconciliation of the Israelites unto Himself and unto His blessed fellowship.

 

4.  “To bring in everlasting righteousness” – Herein the phrase “everlasting righteousness” reveals the spiritual condition into which the Lord God intends to bring the Israelites through His work of reconciliation.  He intends to bring them into a spiritual condition of “everlasting righteousness,” not into a condition of righteousness from which they might again fall, but into a condition of righteousness from which they will never fall again.  Indeed, this is the spiritual condition into which the Lord God will bring the Israelites at the completion of these “seventy weeks.”

 

5.  “To seal up the vision and prophecy” – This phrase appears to indicate that all of the Lord’s prophetic utterances concerning the Israelites (especially concerning His judgments upon the Israelites) will be brought to their conclusion through the completion of these “seventy weeks.”

 

6.  “To anoint the most Holy” – Herein the phrase “the most Holy” refers to the Most Holy One, the promised Messiah of Israel.  According to the New Testament Scriptures, we learn that this Most Holy One, that the Messiah, is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  Thus these “seventy weeks” are determined by the Lord God in order to bring about the literal anointing of the Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords over all the earth.  As such, we could expect that the literal return of our Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords (See Revelation 19) will occur at the completion of these “seventy weeks.”

 

Now, in this context the phrase “seventy weeks” may be literally understood as “seventy sevens,” wherein the English word “weeks” is employed for the idea of “sevens.”  The reason that the English word “weeks” is so employed is because a week is the most natural grouping of seven when we encounter the element of time sequences.  However, the Hebrew idea of “sevens” is not limited only to a group of seven days, but can refer to any grouping of sevens within the sequence of time.  With this understanding in mind, we move to verse 25, wherein greater detail is revealed concerning the first sixty-nine of these “seventy weeks” (or, seventy sevens).

 

The opening portion of verse 25 reveals that the first sixty-nine of these “seventy weeks” will encompass the time period “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince.”  Thus these first sixty-nine sevens will begin with “the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” after their seventy years of captivity by the hand of the Babylonians (See Ezra & Nehemiah).  Thus also these first sixty-nine sevens will conclude with the coming of “the Messiah the Prince.”  Now, the distance of time between these events are known by historical record to be greater than a period of sixty-nine literal weeks.  Rather, we understand by the historical record that the distance of time between these events encompassed a multitude of years (indeed, 483 years).  Therefore, we are brought to understand that the “seventy sevens” of this context are a reference unto seventy groupings of seven years each.

 

Now, the report of verse 25 is not presented with a simple designation of threescore (sixty) and nine “weeks” (sevens), but with the dividing of two parts, the first being “seven weeks” (seven sevens) and the second being “threescore and two weeks” (sixty-two sevens).  This seems to indicate that something of significance will also occur at the completion of the first “seven weeks” (or, forty-nine years) of these sixty-nine weeks (sevens).  Even so, the closing line of verse 25 appears to reveal what this “thing” of significance is – “The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”

 

Since verse 25 has recorded the beginning and the ending for the first sixty-nine “weeks” of the “seventy weeks,” we would now logically expect verse 26 to report the events of the seventieth and final “week” of these “seventy weeks.”  Indeed, human logic would move us to expect that the seventieth and final “week” of these “seventy weeks” would follow immediately after the first sixty-nine “weeks” are completed (since the number seventy does follow immediately after the number sixty-nine).  However, this seventieth and final “week” of these “seventy weeks” is not actually and specifically mentioned until verse 27.  Rather, verse 26 gives a report concerning events that occur “after” the “threescore and two weeks” (after the first sixty-nine “weeks”) without making any specific reference to the seventieth and final week.

 

What then are these events that occur after the first sixty-nine “weeks” (483 years), without any specific indication that they fall in the seventieth and final “week” (7 years)?  Verse 26 appears to give report concerning three things, saying, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”  Herein the preposition “after” does not indicate that these things occur at the end of the first sixty-nine “weeks” (483 years), but indicates that these things occur after the first sixty-nine “weeks” (483 years) are already concluded.  Furthermore, it is worthy of notice that verse 25 did not specifically state that the first sixty-nine “weeks” would conclude with the cutting off of the Messiah the Prince.  Rather, verse 25 simply indicated that the first sixty-nine “weeks” would extend “unto the Messiah the Prince” (and thereby conclude), without specifying the activity of the Messiah the Prince to which it was referring.  (Personally, I believe that verse 25 is referring to the beginning of our Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry as initiated by His baptism.)

 

So then, what are the three things which verse 26 indicates occur after the conclusion of the first sixty-nine “weeks” (483 years)? 

 

1.  The Messiah will be cut off in death, not for His own sake, but for the sake of others.  According to the New Testament Scriptures, this would be a prophetically reference unto the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross. 

 

2.  “The people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city [that is – Daniel’s holy city, Jersusalem, as per the contextual statement with which verse 24 began] and the sanctuary [that is – the temple in Jerusalem].”  Now, in this statement there are two elements of information that are worthy of notice in relation to the context.  The first of these elements of information is that there is “a prince that shall come” unto the Israelites and unto the city of Jerusalem who is not referenced as their Messiah.  The second of these elements of information is that this “prince that shall come” is not the one himself who comes against Jerusalem in the event of verse 26 to destroy the city and the sanctuary (temple) therein.  Rather, it is the people of which he will be a part that come against Jerusalem in the event of verse 26 to destroy the city and the sanctuary (temple) therein.

 

3.  “The end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”  This statement appears to indicate that the destroying of the city Jerusalem and of the temple in Jerusalem will end with utter desolation upon the Israelites, and that the Israelites and the city of Jerusalem will continue to suffer ongoing desolations thereafter.

 

Finally, with verse 27 we come to the concluding verse of this prophetic utterance and to the specific reference unto the seventieth and final “week” (7 years) of these “seventy weeks.”  The opening line of this verse indicates that some “he” will “confirm” some “covenant with many” (apparently among the Israelites, since that is the focus of this prophetic utterance as per the opening statement of verse 24).  In fact, this “he” will “confirm” this “covenant” with these Israelites for a period of “one week” (that is – a period of one seven, or of seven years).  Then this verse indicates that in the middle of this seven year period (after 3.5 years), this “he” will “cause the sacrifice and oblation” of the Israelites “to cease” (apparently ending his seven year “covenant” with the Israelites).  Finally, this verse indicates that this “he” will bring a form of desolation upon the Israelites and the city of Jerusalem, and that this “he” will do so for the purpose of “the overspreading of abominations” upon the Israelites and the city of Jerusalem.  Indeed, this verse indicates that this desolation will continue upon the Israelites and the city of Jerusalem “until the consummation” (until the completion) of the seventieth “week,” and thereby of the “seventy weeks.”

 

So then, who is this “he” of verse 27?  Grammatically, the closest antecedent to this pronoun in the context is “the prince that shall come” who was mentioned in verse 26.  Furthermore, in the context there is no other reference to “the prince that shall come” of verse 26 in order to explain who he is and why he matters and was mentioned at all in verse 26.  As such, I would contend according to these principles of grammar and context that the “he” of verse 27 is “the prince that shall come” of verse 26.  Now, it is again worthy of note that this “prince” is not referenced in verse 26 as being the Messiah, but that he is in some way related to the people who would destroy the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary (temple) therein in the destroying event that is prophesied in verse 26.

 

In conclusion, let us consider the grammatical and contextual gap that is presented in this passage between the conclusion of the sixty-nine “weeks” and the beginning of the seventieth “week.”  Verse 25 clearly speaks concerning the beginning and conclusion of the first sixty-nine “weeks,” and verse 27 clearly speaks concerning the beginning of the seventieth “week.”  However, the events of verse 26 are presented between these other two records.  Indeed, as we have already noted, verse 26 does specifically indicate that the events which it records occur after the sixty-nine “weeks.”  Yet verse 26 makes no specific reference whatsoever to the seventieth “week.”  Furthermore, verse 27 specifically makes reference to the beginning of the seventieth week, and then reports concerning events that will proceed from that point.  Yet verse 27 does not specifically indicate that the events which are recorded in verse 26 are included in that seventieth “week.”  As such, we may understand from the flow of the grammar and the context that there is some form of gap in time between the first sixty-nine “weeks” (483 years) as recorded in verse 25 and the seventieth and final “week” (7 years) as recorded in verse 27, and that the events of verse 26 will fall within that gap in time.




#396475 Shepherding The Flock - Audio Sermon - Wisdom Crieth Without (Part 4 Of 4)

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 08 December 2014 - 01:16 PM

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#394814 Shepherding The Flock - Have Not The Faith With Respect Of Persons – James 2...

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 26 November 2014 - 02:58 PM

Weekly Sermon

James 2:1-4 reads, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.  For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

With James 2:1-13 we come to the sixth paragraph of this epistle.  This paragraph is the first of two lengthy paragraphs in James 2, encompassing the entire first half of the chapter.  In providing pastoral counsel for a spiritually mature walk in the believer’s life, this paragraph directly confronts those who are showing sinful partiality against the poor and needy in favor of the rich and prestigious.  This contextual setting for the paragraph is immediately introduced in verse 1, wherein the caution is given, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.”  Again in verse 4 the confrontation is presented, “Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?”  Yet again in the opening line of verse 6, the further confrontation is proclaimed, “But ye have despised the poor.”  Finally, in verse 9 the condemnation is delivered, “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”  Thus with these four declarations, this paragraph is unified concerning the sinful practice of showing partiality against the poor and needy.

James 1:26-27 had revealed three essential elements to that which the Lord our God would define and accept as a pure religious life.  These three essential elements were the Spirit-filled communication of a bridled tongue, a selfless compassion for the poor and needy, and a separated character from this world’s corruption.  Now James 2:1-13 specifically confronts those who were not demonstrating a selfless, loving compassion for the poor and needy by showing partiality against them. 

Already James 1 has provided warnings against various characteristics of unrighteousness.  James 1:6-7 has warned against wavering with doubt in the Lord our God.  James 1:11 has warned against maintaining a priority after the ways of materialism.  James 1:13 has warned against blaming the Lord our God for sinful temptation.  James 1:15-16 has warned against thinking that we can get away with sin.  James 1:20 has warned against yielding to the influence of selfish wrath.  James 1:22-25 has warned against being a hearer only of God’s Holy Word.  Finally, James 1:26 has warned against joining our religious life with an unbridled tongue.  Yet James 2:1-13 now moves from general warnings to direct confrontation and condemnation of unrighteous behavior.

In a broad manner, this paragraph can be divided into four parts.  First, verse 1 presents the prohibition against showing partiality.  Second, verses 2-4 present the problem with showing partiality.  Third, verses 5-7 present the presumption of showing partiality.  Fourth, verses 8-13 present the principle to prevent showing partiality.

The Prohibition against Showing Partiality

James 1:1-13 begins with the direct prohibition against showing partiality, saying, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.”  Although James intended to present a significant rebuke against their sinful behavior, he approached these believers with the direct address, “my brethren,” in order to reveal the love of his pastoral burden for them.  As such, he sought to motivate their hearts unto repentance and obedience.  The specific precept and prohibition to which he would draw their attention was that they must not show “respect of persons.”  Yea, the manner in which James presented this prohibition implied that they were already engaging in this sinful behavior, even as he more directly accused them in verses 4 & 6.  Thus James, under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, was instructing them to stop showing “respect of persons.” 

Yet this prohibition is not presented in such a simple fashion – that believers must not show “respect of persons.”  Rather, this prohibition is presented in a more detailed fashion – that believers must not attempt to have “the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory” in union with the practice of showing “respect of persons.”  Indeed, a daily walk of faith in our Lord and a practice of showing “respect of persons” are not spiritually consistent and compatible with one another.  Rather, these two behaviors are spiritually contrary to one another.  Thus we believers, who are called by our Lord unto a daily walk of faith in and fellowship with Him, must not be characterized by a spirit of partiality.

The Problem in Showing Partiality

In order to reveal that the sin of showing partiality was a real problem amongst these believers, James presented a hypothetical illustration in verses 2-3 – “For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool.”  This hypothetical illustration concerned two visitors that came unto the assembly of these believers during a church gathering.  The first visitor was clearly a rich individual, as made apparent by the prominent gold ring and the obviously expensive apparel.  The second visitor was clearly a poor individual, wearing dirty, work stained apparel (in direct contrast to the rich individual’s “goodly apparel”).  The hypothetical illustration continued with the response of these believers unto these two visitors.  On the one hand, the response unto the rich visitor is presented as one of respectful favoritism; and with this favoritism he is invited to sit “in a good place.”  On the other hand, the response unto the poor visitor is much less favorable; for he is instructed to stand off to the side or to sit on the floor at the foot of the speaker’s footstool. 

Now, although this illustration was strictly hypothetical, it did reflect their actual behavior and did reveal the real problem of their partiality against the poor in favor of the rich.  Thus in verse 4 James delivered a confrontational rebuke in order to pierce their conscience, saying, “Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?”  The first half of this rebuke confronted their actions; the second half confronted their attitudes.  Yes, they were being “partial in themselves.”  Yes, they were showing sinful discrimination within their very assemblies for worship of “the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.”  Furthermore, this action of partiality was rooted in an evil attitude of heart.  In their hearts they had become judges who were characterized and motivated by evil thoughts.  Indeed, this is the primary spiritual problem with showing partiality against the poor in favor of the rich.  It is motivated by the evil thinking that an individual’s value is determined by external appearance rather than by heart character.

The Presumption of Showing Partiality

Having sought to pierce the conscience of these believers through the question of verse 4, James proceeded to call for their renewed attention with the opening line of verse 5, saying, “Hearken, my beloved brethren.”  Thereby James forcibly, yet lovingly called them to consider a two-fold spiritual contradiction in their practice of showing partiality against the poor in favor of the rich.  First, James called them to consider the contradiction between God’s choosing of the poor and their despising of the poor.  Even so, in verse 5 he continued with the rhetorical question, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”  As such, the answer to this question is to be understood as an affirmative.  Yes, the Lord our God tends more often to choose “the poor of this world” for His own.  This He does because “the poor of this world” tend more often to put their trust in Him, rather than in the things of this world.  Yet with the opening line of verse 6, James confronted these believers, saying, “But ye have despised the poor.”  In direct contradiction to God’s attitude toward the poor, they were despising the poor by showing partiality against them.  Indeed, by showing partiality against the poor, they were standing contrary to God Himself.  Even so, the practice of showing partiality against the poor must be recognized as a sinful presumption against the Lord our God.

Yet James had a further set of questions for them to consider.  In showing partiality against the poor, they were also showing partiality in favor of the rich.  Thus second, James called them to consider the contradiction between their favoritism toward the rich and the hostility of the rich toward them and toward their Savior.  Even so, in verses 6-7 he added the rhetorical questions, “Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?  Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?”  Certainly, James was not indicating universally that every single rich individual maintained such hostility toward these believers.  Rather, he was speaking generally of the rich in the majority as a class.  As such, the rich were lording it over these poor believers in an oppressive manner.  As such, the rich were forcing them into the public courts in order to exploit them.  As such, the rich were engaging in blasphemy against the all-worthy name of their Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  How practically foolish was it for them to show favoritism toward those who demonstrated such hostility toward them.  Even more, how spiritually ungodly was it for them to show favoritism toward those who demonstrated such blasphemy against their Savior.  Indeed, by showing favoritism toward the rich, they were joining in union with blasphemers against God.  Even so, the practice of showing favoritism toward the rich must also be recognized as a sinful presumption against the Lord our God.

The Principle to Prevent Showing Partiality

However, there is a Biblical principle that will motivate us not to show partiality.  Even so, verse 8 reveals that principle, saying, “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.”  According to our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 22:39, all of the rules and regulations in the law of the Lord our God and King concerning our relationship toward others are encompassed under this principle – “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”  “But,” as James 2:9 declares, “if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”  To show partiality, to “have respect to persons,” is contrary to the law of love.  Thus it is a direct, definite commission of sin.  Indeed, when we show respect of persons, the law of the Lord our God and King judicially convicts us as being guilty transgressors. 

Yet if we might defend our practice of showing “respect to persons” as being just a small, insignificant matter, verses 10-11 give the truth, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.  For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill.  Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.”  Indeed, if we actually kept the whole law of the Lord our God and King, and yet offended the love of love by showing “respect to persons,” we still stand guilty as lawbreakers.  Even if we offended the law in only this one point, we stand guilty before the Lord our God and King as transgressors of His proscribed law.  We stand guilty before Him of having disregarded His authority over our lives. 

Thus verses 12-13 conclude this paragraph with an earnest instruction and admonition, saying, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.  For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”  As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we should ever be careful both to speak and to act in accord with the law of love toward others.  Indeed, we should ever be careful to so speak and to so act because we ever recognize that we must give an account unto the Lord our God for our every word and our every action.  We shall then be judged by the law of liberty.”  Therefore, we should now live according to the law of liberty.
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#394645 Shepherding The Flock - Audio Sermon - Wisdom Crieth Without (Part 3 Of 4)

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 25 November 2014 - 11:37 AM

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#394395 A Response To Brother "prophet1"

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 23 November 2014 - 02:49 PM

First, to the moderators I must acknowledge that I had no real clue where best to place this thread.  If it is in the wrong place, I am more than willing for a correction to be made.

 

Second, to all I give an explanation for this thread.  In the thread on Matthew 24, I employed the phrase "holy of holies" in one of my postings.  In response to this, Brother "Prophet1" presented the following reproof --

 

Holy is an adjective.

There can be no such thing as "Holies".

Try using the Scripture, instead of parroting men.

The Scripture calls it the "Most Holy Place".

The Scripture doesn't use the word "rapture", which in English is an abstract and not a concrete noun, so it couldn't possibly be the name of an event.
In fact, by definition, rapture is imagined.

Satan has more than one trick up his bejewelled sleeve, and extra-Biblical terms is one of them.

You've dashed your foot against a stumbling stone, and fallen into Rome's mire, Brother. 

Of course, I'll be ridiculed and chided for this post, but, no matter.

The children of Light are watching,
His sheep hear His voice. 

 

It is my intention to provide a response to this reproof against me by Brother "Prophet1."  However, I did not wish to hijack the other thread and thereby to turn it aside from its primary focus upon Matthew 24.  Thus I am presenting my response in a new thread posting.

 

Third, to Brother "Prophet1" I would first present my intention with this posting -- (1) to acknowledge a fault, (2) to present a defense, and (3) to return a reproof.

 

1.  My acknowledgement of fault -- I must acknowledge that in the King James translation the phrase "holy of holies" is never employed.  Furthermore, I must acknowledge that the King James translation does indeed employ the phrase "the most holy place" for the innermost holy place of tabernacle/temple.  Therefore, I will acknowledge that for the sake of Biblical precision and Biblical understanding, it would have been better that I employed the phrase "the most holy place;" and I shall pursue such a change in the future.  (However, I do also recognize the truth of Brother "Beameup's" posting #45 concerning the Hebrew as God the Holy Spirit originally moved the Old Testament writers to communicate.  As such, I recognize that in Hebrew an adjective can be used as a substantive (in the place of a noun), and that the doubling of the Hebrew adjective for "holy" would present such a meaning as "the holy place of holy places."  With this understanding in mind, I am unwilling to acknowledge any doctrinal error on my part; and thus I am unwilling to acknowledge any sin as having been committed.)

 

2.  My presentation of defense -- You declared that there is no such thing in the English language as the noun "holies."  This is not strictly accurate.  In the Webster's New World College Dictionary 4th edition, the word "holy" includes the following within its definition presentation -- "n., pl. --lies a holy thing or place."

 

3.  My return of reproof -- In your reproof against me, you made the following statement, "Satan has more than one trick up his bejewelled sleeve, and extra-Biblical terms is [are] one of them."  Now, the doctrinal truth concerning Satan certainly is a matter of Biblical doctrine.  Yet in God's Holy Word there is no indication whatsoever that Satan has a "bejeweled sleeve."  In fact, the word "bejeweled" is not found anywhere whatsoever throughout the entirety of the King James translation.  Furthermore, in God's Holy Word there is no indication whatsoever that Satan even has sleeves.  In fact, the word "sleeve" is not found anywhere whatsoever throughout the entirety of the King James translation.  Therefore, as my return of reproof, I shall "parrot" a reproof that I recently encountered, "Try using Scripture.  Satan has more than one trick . . . , and extra-Biblical terms is [are] one of them."  Indeed, the thrust for this return of reproof is not that I myself actually believe it is an inherent sin to employ doctrinal terms that are not strictly found in the King James translation.  Rather, the thrust for this return of reproof is that if you intend to reprove others on the ground of this position, I would counsel you to remain strictly consistent in your own communication, lest your contradiction to yourself create damage to your credibility.

 

 

(Edited to correct typographical errors.)




#394322 Matthew 24

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 22 November 2014 - 02:11 PM

Thank you, Scott & Geneva, for carefully reasoned posts to explain your understanding of the passage.

 

Like Geneva, I find it strange that you do not see the temple timing destruction in the Lord's answer. If we read Mat. 23 before 24 . . .

 

Brother "Covenanter,"

 

With this posting I do not intend to deliver my response to the substance of your posting.  I do yet intend to do so; however, I will require a certain amount of time in order to present that response in the manner that I am presently considering.  On the other hand, I am making this posting in order to present a defense of my approach in my first posting and in order to present an acknowledgement of fault on my own part.  

 

First, my defense of self -- In my first posting, I was seeking first to answer the question of the original posting directly according to the context of Matthew 24.  That the direct audience for our Lord's teaching in Matthew 23 was both the multitudes (including the religious leaders of Judea) and Christ's disciples is to be acknowledges according to the Biblical record, as per Matthew 23:1.  However, that there is a change in direct the audience for our Lord's teaching from Matthew 23 to Matthew 24 should also be acknowledged according to the Biblical record, as per Matthew 24:3.  Furthermore, in my first posting I was seeking to present the focus of our Lord's answer unto the disciples' question (in Matthew 24:3) as it is recorded in Matthew 24:4-31.  That there are parallel passages to be considered in both Mark and Luke is to be acknowledged.  However, dealing with those parallel passages was the thrust of my posting.  Indeed, in the opening line of my second paragraph concerning Matthew 24:4-31, I did make the statement, "What then do we find in our Lord's answer as presented in Matthew 24:4-31.  To me, it is worthy of note that throughout this passage . . . ."

 

Second, my acknowledgement of fault -- In presenting my first posting concerning Matthew 24;1-21, I did recognize that there was a parallel passage in Mark 13; and I did take it into some small amount of consideration (since a significant amount of consideration thereto was not my primary purpose).  However, I did not at all recognize that there was a parallel passage in Luke 21.  This was a fault on my part, and I do acknowledge it as such.  In a future posting (as time will permit), I do intend to remedy this fault on my part.




#394319 Matthew 24

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 22 November 2014 - 01:49 PM

 

I disagree. Compare this section of verses - [Luke 19:39-44] 

With this - [Matthew 24:2]

 

In my opinion describing, in Matthew 24, the following way - [Matthew 24:15-21]

Sounds like the same situation to me.

   And it is the same time in each book.
 
I would like to also add, in support of this statement - [Luke 21:20-24]

 

Brother Pittman,

 

When you presented your posting last night, I did not have the time to respond thereto.  It was my intent to deliver a response some time today as time might permit.  Since that time, you have edited your posting to add the passage from Luke 21:20-24 and Brother "Covenanter" has also presented his posting wherein he also brought forward the teaching of Luke 21:20-22.  This causes a small difficulty for me.  Do I now respond as I originally intended to your posting as it was originally delivered, without a consideration of your edited addition and of Brother "Covenanter's" posting; or do I attempt to respond unto all of these as a single unit?  First, I will acknowledge that there is a form of "dove-tail" between the passages that you originally included in your posting and Luke 21:20-24 (as added by you and presented by Brother "Covenanter.")  However, I do indeed intend in this posting to present my initial thoughts of response to your posting as it originally was presented (without a consideration of Luke 21:20-24).  On the other hand, I also do intend to provide a more thorough response concerning Luke 21:20-24 and its relationship to Matthew 24:1-31.  Also in this posting I intend to make some small parenthetical references to your addition and Brother "Covenanter's" presentation of Luke 21:20-24, which I shall present in a different color scheme for the purpose of recognition.  I pray that this method of presentation will be acceptable and understandable.

__________________________________________________

 

It appears from your posting that you would see an equivalency between the following three passages -- Luke 19:39-44; Matthew 24:2; and Matthew 24:15-21.  Even so, I wish to present some thoughts concerning the teaching of these passage and concerning the relationship of these passages to one another, wherein they do and wherein they do not present a direct connection to each other.

 

Luke 19:39-44 -- "And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."

 

Luke 19:41-44 presents our Lord's grief over the city of Jerusalem, as per verse 41 -- "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it."  Then in verses 42-44 our Lord delivered a pronouncement of judgement upon that city.  Throughout this pronouncement our Lord employed the third person, singular pronouns "thee," "thou," "thy," and "thine" a significant number of times.  Grammatically, the antecedent for these pronouns is found in the phrase "the city" as presented in verse 41.  As such, our Lord spoke unto and concerning the city of Jerusalem as a singular, personified individual.  What about the inhabitants of the city?  These our Lord referenced in verse 44 as the children of the city within "her."  (Note: I here employed the feminine pronoun "her" since that is the gender by which we usually personify a city.  I do recognize that our Lord Jesus Christ did not directly specify a gender in His personification.)   So then, what is involved in our Lord's prophetic ("For the days shall come upon thee . . .") pronouncement of judgment upon the city of Jerusalem?

 

1.  The enemies of Jerusalem shall surround the city with a military siege, as per verse 43.

2.  The enemies of Jerusalem shall conquer the city and tear it down to the ground, as per the opening line of verse 44.

3.  The enemies of Jerusalem shall lay the inhabitants of the city down to the ground with death, as per the second line of verse 44.

4.  The enemies of Jerusalem shall so tear down the city that no two stones of the city will remain one upon the other, as per the third line of verse 44.

 

 

Matthew 24:2 -- "And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."

 

In Matthew 24:1 it is recorded that one of Jesus' disciples directed His gaze upon the physical wonderment of the Temple buildings.  Verse 2 records our Lord's response.  It is worthy of note that our Lord does not at all focus upon the physical wonderment of the Temple buildings, but rather upon the coming destruction of those very Temple buildings.  Specifically, our Lord prophetically proclaims the judgment that the Temple buildings would experience such destruction that no two stones of the Temple buildings would remain one upon the other.  

 

What then are the connections and differences between Luke 19:33-44 & Matthew 24:2.  First, the difference -- Luke 19:33-44 only speaks specifically concerning the city of Jerusalem, not concerning the Temple in Jerusalem; whereas Matthew 24:2 only speaks specifically concerning the Temple in Jerusalem, not concerning the city of Jerusalem.  However, it is to be acknowledge that in speaking concerning the city of Jerusalem, the statements of Luke 19:33-44 by definition must also include the Temple in the city of Jerusalem.  On the other hand, the connection -- Both passages indicate that the coming destruction of judgment will cause no two stones to remain standing one upon the other.  As such, I am compelled to acknowledge that these two passages are indeed speaking concerning the same event of judgment upon Jerusalem and the Temple therein.  (Thus far, I believe that we would be in agreement.)

 

 

Matthew 24:15-21 -- "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."

 

Throughout this passage we find one reference to the Temple in Jerusalem, through the phrase "in the holy place" as employed in verse 15.  Herein there is no reference to the destruction of that Temple, and no statement to indicate that no two stones would be remaining one upon the other.  Rather, there is a reference to some "abomination of desolation" that will "stand in the holy place" (probably, the Holy of Holies) within the Temple.  As such, this reference implies the necessity for the Temple itself to be standing (not destroyed) in order for this event to occur.  (Now, one might contend that the destruction of the Temple buildings will occur immediately after this event.  However, the actual statements of Matthew 24:15-21 make no direct statement concerning this.)  In addition, although Matthew 24:16-21 does instruct the inhabitants in the land of Judaea at that time to flee unto the mountains, there is no direct reference at all in this passage to the city of Jerusalem itself or to that cities destruction.  As such, a direct connection between Matthew 24:15-21 and Matthew 24:2/Luke 19:41-44 is lacking in the direct statements that they actually present.  

 

(Now, here is the point at which I must acknowledge the addition of Luke 21:20-24 into the discussion.  Indeed, I am compelled to acknowledge a direct connection between Luke 21:20-24 and Luke 19:41-44/Matthew 24:2.  Furthermore, I am compelled to acknowledge that Luke 21:5-ff stands as a parallel passage to Matthew 24:1-ff.  Thus I can understand that manner by which you have made the connection between Matthew 24:15-21 and Luke 19:41-44/Matthew 24:2, that is -- through their connection to Luke 21:20-24.)




#394173 Shepherding The Flock - A New Verse Card & Magnet For Thanksgiving

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 21 November 2014 - 12:55 PM

The following presents the front and back of the verse card. 
The magnet would then be of the front of the verse card.
Picture
Picture

To purchase this memory verse cards or its corresponding magnet, you may go to the following page:
Premium Quality Verse Cards


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#394171 Shepherding The Flock - Audio Sermon - Wisdom Crieth Without (Part 2 Of 4)

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 21 November 2014 - 10:20 AM

Indeed, if we believers do not learn the Biblical process of repentance for our own daily walk, we will continually be walking after our sinful flesh, never returning unto a walk after the Holy Spirit.  Since we commit sin regularly (even daily, yea even multiple times per day, which is not at all to be justified simply because it is so regular, and since everyone else is doing it also), the Biblical process of repentance for the believer's daily walk is actually a spiritual basic for the Christian life (just like daily Bible study and meditation, a constant prayer life, walking by faith, etc.).  It is a spiritual shame (and to our spiritual downfall) that we do not possess a better understanding and grasp of this Biblical truth and spiritual reality.

 

In preaching and teaching, I have been known to pose the following case --

 

1.  How many of you have committed a sin of any kind at least once each day this past week?

 

2.  When you committed that sin, did it break you fellowship with God your heavenly Father and with Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, so that you ceased to walk in the light of their fellowship and began to walk in the darkness of your sinful flesh?  Indeed, you did; for God's Word declares this to be so.  Indeed, this is true no matter what the sin may have been.

 

3.  What is the only way to deal with that sin in order that you might be forgiven and cleansed by God and in order that you might be restored unto fellowship with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?  According to God's Holy Word, the only way is through broken-hearted repentance of that sin.

 

4.  Did you come to Biblical repentance of those sins that you committed each of the days over this past week?  If you did not, then you are not yet forgiven, not yet cleansed, and not yet in a right fellowship with God your heavenly Father and with Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior.  On the other hand, if you did, then at the very moment of your repentance, by the abundant grace and mercy of God, you were immediately forgiven, immediately cleansed, and immediately restored to fellowship.

 

Indeed, I would proclaim with great force -- We believers will NEVER experience a Biblical, Holy Spirit revival until we learn the Biblical process of repentance for our daily walk!!!




#394007 Shepherding The Flock - Pure Religion And Undefiled Before God – James 1:27

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 18 November 2014 - 03:56 PM

Weekly Sermon

James 1:27 reads, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” 

As we have previously noted, James 1:26-27 presents a clear contrast between a faulty religious life that is lacking in spiritual substance and a faithful religious life that is rooted in spiritual substance.  This contrast is seen in that verse 26 closes with the statement, “This man’s religious is vain;” whereas verse 27 opens with the statement, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this.”  Even so, verse 26 presents the case of a religious life that is vain, being spiritually profitless; whereas verse 27 presents the case of a religious life that is valuable, being spiritually pure.  Therefore, as we focus our attention upon verse 27, we observe more closely the case of a religious life that is valuable, being spiritually pure – “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this.”

Grammatically, this verse can be divided into three parts.  First, there is the declaration of God’s classification for pure religion – “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this.”  Second, there is the description of loving compassion in pure religion – “To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.”  Third, there is the description of separated character in pure religion – “And to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

The Substance of Acceptable Religion

In the opening four words, James 1:27 begins with a declaration concerning the spiritual substance of acceptable religion.  Thereby we learn that an acceptable religion is a spiritually “pure religion and undefiled.”  As we have noted, in this context the word “religion” refers specifically to a diligent observance and dedicated performance of religious activities, duties, and services.  Thus an acceptable religious life, an acceptable observance and performance of religious activities, duties, and services, must be rooted in a spiritually pure and undefiled substance of character.  These two descriptive words “pure” and “undefiled” are synonyms, the first giving the description from the positive perspective and the second giving the description from the negative perspective.  The combination of these two synonyms strongly emphasizes the necessity for a religious life that is rooted in the spiritual substance of a godly character.  To be acceptable, our religious life must be rooted in the Spirit-filled purity of a heart that is truly in righteous fellowship with the Lord.  To be acceptable, our religious life must be undefiled by any selfish motivations and hypocrisies of the flesh. 

The Standard for Acceptable Religion

As that opening line of James 1:27 continues, it presents a declaration concerning the spiritual standard for acceptable religion.  “Pure religion and undefiled” is that which is viewed as such “before God and the Father.”  It is not our own view concerning the spiritually pure and undefiled character of our religious life that matters.  It is the view of God our heavenly Father that truly matters.  If He does not approve of our religious life, then it really does not matter if we ourselves or anyone else approves thereof.  Indeed, our religious life may appear pure and undefiled outwardly before others.  Yet the Lord our God examines the true substance of our character and motivation.  His standard is THE standard.  Thus to be truly acceptable, our religious life must be rooted in a character and motivation of heart that pleases Him.  As our Creator God, He is the authoritative Judge of our heart character and of our religious life.  As our Heavenly Father, He is the gracious Savior who is ever worthy of our righteous priority in heart and of our pure religion in worship. 

The System in Acceptable Religion

The opening portion of James 1:27 declares, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this.”  Herein the phrase “is this” introduces the system in acceptable religion.  Now, this verse does not present an exhaustive list of the activities, duties, and services in “pure religion and undefiled before God.”  Yet it does present two of the essential elements in “pure religion and undefiled before God.”  Indeed, these two elements are often neglected.  Yet these essential elements are so characteristic of “pure religion and undefiled before God” that without them there can be no genuine claim to such a pure and undefiled religious life. 

The first essential element of pure and undefiled religion presented in James 1:27 concerns the principle of loving compassion toward the needy.  “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.”  Being the two categories of individuals who were the most likely to experience the greatest level of affliction and need in that day, the “fatherless [orphans] and widows” are presented herein as a representative for any and all who are needy and helpless in affliction.  In this context, the word “visit” means more than just making a social call to see such needy individuals and to speak a word of comfort unto them.  Rather, it means going forth to help such individuals “in their affliction.”  Indeed, it means going forth with a personally active and practically beneficial involvement to help relieve their need.  In addition, it means helping them although it is very likely that they shall never be in a position to return the favor.  As such, this element of pure and undefiled religion deals with our spirit of loving, sacrificial compassion toward others in their need.  Even so, in 1 John 3:16-18 the instruction is given, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”  Now, such loving compassion toward the needy is an essential element of “pure religion and undefiled before God,” and without it there can be no genuine claim to such a pure an undefiled religious life.

The second essential element of pure and undefiled religion presented in James 1:27 concerns the principle of separated character from the world.  “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”  Herein the word “world” refers to the evil system of this world in its ungodly philosophies, priorities, practices, and pursuits.  It is a system of ungodliness that pervades every aspect of the human culture around us and that is governed by “the prince of this world,” the devil himself. (John 14:30)  As such, this present evil world is utterly selfish in its foundational essence and is completely contrary to the Lord our God and His way of righteousness.  Even so, 1 John 2:16 reveals the truth, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”  In addition, James 4:4 pronounces the rebuke, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?  Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”  Certainly we believers dwell in this world physically.  Yet we are not to be of this world spiritually.  We are never to be conformed unto the ungodliness of this world’s evil system. (Romans 12:2)  Rather, we are faithfully and fervently to guard ourselves, in both our attitudes and our actions, against this world’s ungodly pollution.  We are to be holy “in all manner of conversation,” in every aspect of our character and our conduct. (1 Peter 1:15)  We are to be “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts” and to “live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” (Titus 2:12)  Yea, keeping ourselves “unspotted” by any of this world’s ungodly pollution is our constant, continual responsibility before the Lord our God.  Indeed, it is the responsibility of each believer to keep his own self “unspotted from the world.”  Therefore, we must be constantly, consistently, continually, and carefully vigilant to guard ourselves spiritually; for this present evil world is constantly, consistently, continually, and characteristically seeking to corrupt us spiritually.  Furthermore, whenever we do become “spotted” with the selfish, sinful pollution of this world, we must quickly cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. (James 4:8)  Yea, we must be cleansed through the humble confession of broken-hearted repentance; for “if we confess our sins, he [God our heavenly Father] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)  Now, such separated character from the world is an essential element of “pure religion and undefiled before God,” and without it there can be no genuine claim to such a pure and undefiled religious life.
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#393949 Shepherding The Flock - Audio Sermon - Wisdom Crieth Without (Part 2 Of 4)

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 17 November 2014 - 11:12 AM

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#393705 Shepherding The Flock - This Man’S Religion Is Vain – James 1:26

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 12 November 2014 - 02:00 PM

Weekly Sermon

James 1:26 reads, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”

As we have previously noted, James 1:26-27 presents a clear contrast between a faulty religious life that is lacking in spiritual substance and a faithful religious life that is rooted in spiritual substance.  This contrast is seen in that verse 26 closes with the statement, “This man’s religious is vain;” whereas verse 27 opens with the statement, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this.”  Even so, verse 26 presents the case of a religious life that is vain, being spiritually profitless; whereas verse 27 presents the case of a religious life that is valuable, being spiritually pure.  Therefore, as we focus our attention upon verse 26, we observe more closely the case of a religious life that is vain, being spiritually profitless – “This man’s religion is vain.” 

Grammatically, this verse can be divided into four parts.  First, there is the condition of spiritual appearance – “If any man among you seem to be religious.”  Second, there is the contrast of selfish communication – “And bridleth not his tongue.”  Third, there is the condemnation of self-deception – “But deceiveth his own heart.”  Finally, there is the confrontation of spiritual emptiness – “This man’s religion is vain.”

The Spiritual Appearance

The opening line of James 1:26 presents the condition of spiritual appearance, saying, “If any man among you seem to be religious.”  In this context, the word “if” indicates, not a rare possibility, but a common reality.  As such, the scenario of this statement is Biblically assumed to be an actual case and an existing problem among us as believers.  Yet the phrase “any man” (or, any individual) indicates that the warning of this verse is not specifically pointed to a specific category, but is generally proclaimed to us all.  Indeed, the spiritual fault that is revealed in this warning can overtake any one of us at any given point throughout our Christian walk.  Yea, we all must ever be spiritually vigilant lest we “seem to be religious,” but possess a religious life that is spiritually vain in our Lord’s sight.  As we have noted, in this context the words “religious” and “religion” refer specifically to a diligent observance and dedicated performance of religious activities, duties, and services.  Thus due to such a diligent observance and dedicated performance of religious activities, duties, and services, we may meet the condition of spiritual appearance.  In doing these things, we may “seem to be religious.” 

Now, the word “seem” can refer either to that which seems true before others or to that which seems true unto one’s self.  Since the later condemnation of the verse is that this individual “deceiveth his own heart,” we conclude that this statement is intended to indicate that which this individual thinks concerning himself.  In this context this statement speaks concerning this individual’s opinion of himself.  Through his diligent observance and dedicated performance of religious activities, duties, and services, he thinks himself to be godly in character and right with the Lord.  He supposes that such a diligent observance and dedicated performance of a religious life fulfills his spiritual responsibility as a doer of God’s Holy Word.  Yet it is not our own assessment of our Christian walk that matters.  Rather, it is our Lord’s assessment that matters.  Even so, the Lord our God pronounces His assessment of this individual’s religious life in the conclusion of the verse, saying, “This man’s religion is vain.”  Often we believers, in our estimation of our own spiritual condition, substitute the apparent value of diligent, dedicated religious activity for the actual value of a transformed, godly character.  Often we have an external “form of godliness,” while denying the inward “power thereof.” (2 Timothy 3:5)  Often we draw nigh unto the Lord with our mouths and honor Him with our lips, while our heart is not right with Him. (Matthew 15:8) 

The Selfish Communication

Yet the opening line of James 1:26 does not reveal the entire scenario concerning this individual’s condition.  In fact, the conditional word “if” with which the statement begins encompasses a second description of his spiritual conduct.  As we have noted, the opening line of the verse presents the condition of spiritual appearance, saying, “If any man among you seem to be religious.”  Then the verse continues with the contrast of selfish communication, saying, “And bridleth not his tongue.”  Thereby a contrast is made between this individual’s perception of his spiritual condition and the revelation of his selfish communication.  Although he thinks himself to be godly in character and right with the Lord, yet his unbridled tongue reveals something different about his character and about his walk with the Lord.  Indeed, this individual is diligent and dedicated in religious activity.  Yet he possesses a glaring spiritual fault and failure.  This individual is characterized (as the present tense of the verb indicates) by an unbridled tongue.  Yea, the fault for this unbridled tongue is attributed directly to him; for he himself is presented as the one who “bridleth not his tongue.” 

Herein it is implied that our tongue is like a wild horse that must be strictly guided and guarded with a bridle lest it wildly run away with us.  Furthermore, it is implied herein that a characteristically unbridled tongue reveals an ungodly character.  This is founded upon the Biblical principle that “out of the abundance (or, character) of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matthew 12:34)  There is a direct spiritual connection between our mouths and our hearts, between our communication and our character.  Thus an unbridled tongue reveals that our character is not guided and governed by the Spirit of God, but by the selfishness of our flesh.  So then, what is the nature of an unbridled tongue?  James 1:26 does not provide a specific description thereof.  However, James 3:7-10 declares, “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” 

An unbridled tongue is one that runs wildly and destructively with selfish communication.  It may indeed speak blessing and honor toward and about the Lord God in religious services.  Yet biting and bitterness characterizes its communication toward and about others.  Such a tongue will be filled with the grievous communication of self-exaltation, carelessness, foolishness, harshness, complaining, backbiting, tale bearing, evil speaking, anger, malice, deception, etc.  It does not speak graciously, lovingly, or wisely.  It does not speak “that which is good to the use of edifying” and that which ministers God’s grace to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)  Yea, an unbridled tongue will be especially offensive when it is joined with a diligent, dedicated religious life.  In such a context, the unbridled tongue will often speak to undercut the religious conduct and spiritual character of others in order that its own conduct and character may look more favorable. 

The Self-Deception

Although the individual described in James 1:26 thinks himself to be godly in character and right with the Lord, the Lord our God through His Holy Word presents a condemnation of his self-deception, saying, “But deceiveth his own heart.”  Due to his diligent, dedicated religious activity, he may conclude that he is godly and righteous; yet his characteristic failure and fault of an unbridled tongue reveals that he has deceived “his own heart.”  He may or may not have deceived others through his diligent, dedicated religious life; but he certainly has deceived himself.  The evidence of his diligent, dedicated religious activity, upon which he has set his focus, is not in itself enough to prove a godly character.  In fact, the characteristic failure and fault of his unbridled tongue, having a direct connection to the character of his heart, proves an ungodly character.  Yea, the evidence of his unbridled tongue cancels out and overrules all the evidence of his diligent, dedicated religious activity.  Therefore, this individual deceives himself with a false estimation of his religious conduct.  By considering only his religious activity, he continually misleads and deludes himself thereby into a false view of spiritual reality.  Yea, he continually yields his heart to the spiritual delusion that a diligent observance and dedicated performance of religious activities, duties, and services is all that is required to define a godly character and to be right with the Lord.  Indeed, such an individual needs to quit congratulating himself concerning his religious activity, and needs to come unto conviction of his ungodly character. 

The Spiritual Emptiness

In the closing line, James 1:26 concludes the case with a confrontation of spiritual emptiness, saying, “This man’s religion is vain.”  The phrase “this man” refers specifically to the one whose case is described in the verse.  Yet having a direct connection to the phrase “any man” that is found in the opening line of the verse, the phrase “this man” refers to any one of us believers who fulfills the conditions of the verse.  For any of us who think ourselves to be religiously right with the Lord, but who do not bridle our tongues, our religious activity, no matter how diligent and dedicated it may be, is spiritually vain.  In such a case, our religious activity and service is spiritually unprofitable in our Lord’s estimation and shall not receive our Lord’s blessing.  In such a case, our religious activity and service is spiritually unprofitable for our walk with the Lord and for our ministry unto others.  In such a case, our religious activity and service is spiritually unprofitable because it is not rooted in a godly character, but is corrupted by an unbridled communication.  In such a case, our religious activity and service represents a faulty religious life because it is only a religious form without the spiritual reality.  In such a case, although we may esteem our religious activity and service highly, we actually need to come unto broken-hearted repentance of our ungodly character and our unbridled communication.
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#393495 Shepherding The Flock - Audio Sermon - Wisdom Crieth Without (Part 1 Of 4)

Posted by Pastor Scott Markle on 10 November 2014 - 11:21 AM

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