The blood of Abel

(Heb 12:24)  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

 

There are three references to the blood of Abel in the Bible, each indicating that the shedding of his blood by Cain was a type of the shed blood of Christ. The first mention of blood in the Bible is God’s accusation of Cain killing Abel and the blood speaking to God (Gen 4:10).

      God does not over look the shedding of innocent blood. The Bible speaks of the shed blood crying out to Him (2 Ki 9:26; Psa 9:12; 72:12-14; Heb 11:4. If an innocent person is found dead without as city, God gave instruction for an inquisition to the closest city to discover the person guilty of shedding that blood and a sacrifice was to be made in order to deliver that city from consequences from God (Deut 21:1-9). God does not want innocent blood to be shed and He made provision for the protection of a person to be kept safe from what we call an accident (Deut 19:9, 10). God also

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Be ye separate

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

 

      The doctrine of separation from the “unclean thing” is lost or ignored by most Christians today. There are few churches that teach or practice Biblical separation. In a technological world and work place, it is not easy to always discern our separation. In the context of the text Paul is warning about being unequally yoked together with unbelievers and urges us to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor 6:14; 7:1).

      The Bible speaks of “unclean things” in various verses and referring to different matters. Although often times they refer to literal unclean things – things that are dirty, contaminating or actual garbage or waste – they are representative of spiritual uncleanness.

      Passages dealing with uncleanness: Leviticus 5:1-2 “ . . .  if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is

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Be instant

(2 Tim 4:2)  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 

        Paul was writing to young Timothy from a Roman prison, where he was awaiting his execution. Though he was facing certain death, Paul was still concerned for Timothy and all others under his tutorage and desired to give guidance and instruction to them. Paul knew from experience the need for this teaching as he was first a practitioner of it before giving it to others. In the face of the incipient apostasy of the day and also in the moral and spiritual decay of today, Paul’s words are very appropriate.

      The word used here is translated several ways in different verse – be present, be at hand, come upon, to stand by. The main idea is simply “be there, doing what needs to be done at the time it is needed”. In the context, it means Christians are responsible to be there with the right words from the word of God – words of exhortation, doctrine, reproof (if needed), even words of sympathy; words given patiently, even when rebuffed by the hearer. Paul tells us that

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Add to your faith

2 Peter 1:5-8 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

        Many Christians, young and older, experience doubts and uncertainty and sometimes look back to where the Lord has brought them. They experience an up and down walk with the Lord which causes more doubts and uncertainty. If the condition persists they may end up returning to their former life and become disillusioned over spiritual life.

        Peter gives instruction to help those in this type of situation of experience and says if what he instructs is followed the person will be fruitful, fulfilled and remain on the pathway to heaven. The people Peter addresses are Christian but struggling in their walk. One misunderstanding some have is to think that Christians are always up and never experience valleys in their life. Christians experience valleys but we should not

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Assurance before God

(1 John 3:19)  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

 

      John tells us that we can have assurance before God, but there is a chain of reasoning with it. In the text verse he says “we shall assure our hearts before Him.” But it is the end result of his other teachings/exhortations to Christian love in action. In verse 18 he says “if we love the brethren in deed and truth”. A lack of that heart assurance condemns us – verse v20 – and if our heart does not condemn us then we have confidence toward God.

      The word for assure means to persuade and the word confidence means free speaking. Being persuaded means there is no doubt – we know that we know Him. Free speaking is to be able to say anything; this speaks of prayer. Too often Christians like to claim assurance before God without following God’s commands or even simple Christian etiquette  to be able to possess it. They profess assurance loud and long all the while their hearts are condemning them because of some interpersonal problem they have with another Christian

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Another Jesus

(2 Cor 11:1-4)  Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. {2} For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. {3} But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. {4} For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

 

      The Jesus of most T-shirts, bumper stickers or other “showy” things is not the Jesus of the Bible. The Baby Jesus in the manger at Christmas time or the “buddy” Jesus of Nashville singers, or the “success-counseling Jesus of prosperity/positive preachers. The popular Jesus may be the romantic Jesus of the Christian crooners, the rhythmic Jesus of Christian rock, or the reforming Jesus of liberals. But none of these are the real Jesus preached by Paul Who saves people from

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A righteous desire

(Mat 6:33)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

      Jesus came preaching the kingdom saying, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The King was present and He was calling upon all to repent and prepare for God’s coming kingdom. John preceded Him preaching repentance and preparing the way for His coming to Israel. Many went out to John and were baptized of him and seeking to know what to do – “And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?” John proceeded to give them various instructions.

      Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount in which He taught many kingdom principles and exhorted His hearers to seek God’s kingdom first and foremost. In this sermon, Jesus gave possible distractions to seeking God’s kingdom and urged a continual pursuit of the kingdom.

      A first priority. Seeking God’s kingdom first means also seeking His righteous. Paul said that the Jews tried to establish their own righteousness – “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of

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A tree of life

Proverbs 3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
 
The Tree of Life God planted in the Garden of Eden had power to retard the aging process even of sinners. After Adam and Eve sinned God had to prevent them from eating of it in their fallen state – “ And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” Men have long sought out the “Fountain of Youth” in quest for longevity of life; many today try to stay and look as young as possible. They exercise, take vitamins and food supplements; use anti-aging products, anything to prevent the onset of age. Many even use hair color, face lifts and other type medical procedures to prevent the “appearance” of age. The original Tree of Life is presently in paradise planted along the
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Three-fold deliverance

(Psa 116:8)  For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.

 

      The Psalmist testifies to what the Lord has done for him. Verses 3 & 4 describe what he was going through at the time. We can all relate to this to one degree or another. The word sorrow means first, a cord, rope, territory, but also carries the idea of pain, travail, sorrow. The psalm has no heading to indicate that it relates to a particular time, but if David is the author, we may assume it was during a time of great trouble and perhaps danger for him. He was surrounded by these troubles and he probably felt that his death was imminent. He was experiencing all the emotions and pains that went along with his situation. Then he cried unto the Lord and sought refuge in his God.

      When we call upon the Lord for salvation, He is gracious and merciful to save us, redeeming our souls from the sorrows and pains of hell. But God does far more than just redeem our souls and save us from hell and eternal punishment. That is

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But God

Ephesians 2:4 (KJV)
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
 
God makes all the difference! There was a time when the whole world was in bondage to sin and death. But God! That little word “but” says different things depending upon where it is placed in a sentence or thought. For example: “I know what the Bible says, but . . .”. “I know that is the law, but . . .” “The doctor says there is no cure but . . .” “The world is full of sin and wickedness but . . .”
The first two are us trying to eliminate our self from what is right, while the other two express a hope beyond the situation. In each we could add “God” after the “but” and in each case it makes all the difference. How many times have I heard a young man or woman try to tell me how it is right to leave their spouse by one of these very forms of “but” placing – “Pastor, I know it is not right to leave him/her, but . . .”
Sin is very prevalent in the world
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Living without fear

(Heb 13:5-6)  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. {6} So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

 

      Fear is a great motivator or hindrance in life. Fear can move us to do great or amazing things – such as a little woman who lifted a car off of her trapped child, or the man who jumped far beyond his capabilities because he was in danger and fear took him beyond his normal abilities.

      Fear can also hinder us as well. How often have we told a lie because we were afraid that telling the truth would put us in a difficult situation? Take a child who breaks a vase or something else when no one is around and the crash brings a parent running. The child is asked, “Did you do that?” and being fearful they lie and say, “No”. We lie to avoid exposing our self to unwanted scrutiny or embarrassment – if we fall or do something foolish and get

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Life is precious

“Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; 25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; 26 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers.”

 

      Since the ruling of the Supreme Court in Roe verses Wade, over 61 million unborn babies have been killed through the “legalized” practice of abortion. The numbers are probably higher than that since the 2011 World Almanac reporting through 2006 indicates that California and New Hampshire do not report abortions and there are yearly usually one or two other states that also do not report the number of abortions performed. How many doctors, teachers, preachers, mothers and fathers have been aborted we’ll only know in eternity, but the problem exists in spite of any call for stopping this whole sale murder of innocent babies.

      God is the Creator of all life and He has given us guidelines concerning the taking of life. He makes

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Life is precious

“Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; 25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; 26 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers.”

 

      Since the ruling of the Supreme Court in Roe verses Wade, over 61 million unborn babies have been killed through the “legalized” practice of abortion. The numbers are probably higher than that since the 2011 World Almanac reporting through 2006 indicates that California and New Hampshire do not report abortions and there are yearly usually one or two other states that also do not report the number of abortions performed. How many doctors, teachers, preachers, mothers and fathers have been aborted we’ll only know in eternity, but the problem exists in spite of any call for stopping this whole sale murder of innocent babies.

      God is the Creator of all life and He has given us guidelines concerning the taking of life. He makes

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The goal of teaching the law

1 Timothy 1:5   Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

 

The Commandment:

      God gave the commandments to us through Israel to show us the difference between what we naturally think and do and His ways of righteousness. We do not naturally do the right because of the fallenness of our nature. We do those things that are contrary to God’s ways (Eph 2:2-3; Jude 10) and unless we are changed by the power of God, we will continue to do them. Paul contrasts proper teaching against false doctrine and teachings. Paul says that Christ is the goal of the law for righteousness (Rom 10:4). But to Timothy, he tells us that the goal of teaching God’s law will result in three main traits.

 

Charity:

      The Greek word agape is elsewhere translated love, but it iss not just love, but love out of a pure heart. Paul says that the proper teaching of the commandment will produce love out of a pure heart. The issues of life proceed out of our hearts and they need not only

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Record mass killings

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

 

      A recent article in our local newspaper told of the new high in mass killings in 2019 and most were committed with guns. Many will look at that and proclaim re-newed efforts to limit, ban or severely restrict firearms by private citizens. Others will look at those statistics and declare that it is due to the president’s policies, sins or whatever else they want to complain about. Yet there are those serious people who read it and are rightly concerned and desire that some remedy be found to either cure the problem or lessen those facts.

      In order to understand the problem we must recognize that we are living in a fallen world that has been seriously crippled and affected by the original sin of Adam and Eve. Along with the many diseases of the body, there are also effects on the mental capacity of many people and these can be maneuvered and manipulated by outside stimuli into evil and fatal actions. There are catalysts that bring them to those points and Scripture tells us some serious areas that are prevalent today.

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All things new

Revelation 21:5  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

                New Year’s Day – it carries the idea of something new and it is a time when many celebrate and make resolutions that will affect them and perhaps others: something new or perhaps something old with new determination. The most often made resolution is to lose weight or get into shape for the next year. But all too often the month of January is not closed until most of these are broken or abandoned.

            In our Scripture text for the week God says that there is coming a day when He will make all things new. When God says He will do something you can depend upon it, so we can look forward to having all things new someday. The Bible speaks of a new heaven and earth wherein dwells righteousness. This world has been corrupted by man’s fall and the prevalence of sin abounding on every hand.  We hear it on the news and read about it in the papers and on the internet – killings, stealing,

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Christmas

Luke 2:6-7 (KJV)
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

 

      Christmas Day has almost arrived and I can almost hear the laughter, squeals of delight and expressions of thanks as children and adults alike open presents from one another. Too often we try to enjoy this day through sleepy eyes and worn out bodies – we have exhausted ourselves trying to get ready for this day and in a few minutes it is all over.

      God laid His gift to the world in a manger in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago and that gift is still thrilling those who find Him today. Some advertisers say their gift is one that keeps on giving, but in reality, it is God’s Gift that keeps on giving. Jesus was a man born to die – die for our sins and those of the world so that “whosoever will” may come and receive the forgiveness of sins and know they

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Whosoever will

Luke 2:8-11 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 

      The announcement of the birth of Jesus was first to the common people of the land – shepherds. These were definitely the “blue collar” workers of the day. They were not very well thought of among society and especially those in authority. They were not considered to be proper witnesses in trials to some, yet God chose them to be the recipients of the announcement by the angels.

      Jesus was not born into royalty or in a palace, but in a lowly manger. Here any and all could come to worship and bow down before Him. If He had been born in a palace then

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How important are angels?

(Heb 1:14)  Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

 

      How important are angels in God’s plans and purposes for us and the world? Our text tells us that they are spirits that minister to those who are the heirs of salvation. They are ones who serve the Lord God, their Creator and do what He desires of them . According to Jesus they are about children (and probably adults as well) – “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”  The suggestion being that they are to protect little ones.

      One of the candles of the Advent ring is called the Angel Candle and represents those angels involved in the Christmas account. Gabriel was sent to Zacharias to announce to him that he and Elizabeth would have a son in their old age and he would be the fore-runner of the Messiah. Then Gabriel went to Mary to announce to her that she was to be the mother of Jesus. He

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Advent

2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
 
This is the Advent season and first Sunday, December 1, is the first Sunday in Advent. Many churches light candles on an “Advent Ring” to commemorate the coming of Christmas. Some use four candles and others five candles with the fifth candle being in the center of the ring. Some churches do not participate in this type of service feeling that it is unnecessary and too much “Romanish” for Protestant churches to include in their services. However, the reason for Advent is to focus our attention upon the approaching season and encourage us to look to the real reason for the season – Jesus Christ. Each candle represents an aspect of the coming of Christ into the world to be our Savior.
The first candle is called the “Prophecy” candle and represents the many prophesies that were given to us through the men God used to pronounce them. Our text verse tells us that we have a
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