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BLESSED ARE YE…


Posted By on Jul 19, 2017

In Matthew 5, known as the Sermon on the Mount, it begins with happy truths. Blessed means happy.

Matthew Henry comments: Christ begins his sermon with blessings, for he came into the world to bless us (Acts 3:26– Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.) as the great High Priest of our profession; as the blessed Melchizedec; Genesis 12:3 is the promise:  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

The Son of God came not only to purchase blessings for us, but to pour out and pronounce blessings on us.

Thomas Watson, one of the original Puritans remarked that the Sermon on the Mount “is a piece of spiritual needlework, wrought about with divers colors, here is both usefulness and sweetness.” He calls this sermon, “a garden of delights, set with curious knots. Throughout our Lord’s sermon delight will come to each of us.

I would add to Mr. Watson’s remarks, that a good sermon is laced with both truth and beauty of the Scriptures; explanation and application for life and living, with controlled intensity of the power in the Holy Spirit bringing it clearly to hearts and minds. The Sermon on the Mount as in all sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ are apples of gold in settings of silver.

As wonderful a sermon that His sermon on the Mount is, each beatitude has its challenges. Each has a negative then a positive because of the negative.

Matthew 5:3-11…

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

These verses do not mean that in the natural realm are these blessings will be fully enjoyed now because they are future, but it does mean that in the natural is that though future they already are ours.

These are hopes, expectations, divine guarantees. These are not earthly or natural or temporal blessings as all earthly blessings or happiness’s are but spiritual and eternal. While they are to be yet realized, they still, due to the One who promised them, make the soul and spirit rejoice, thus even the body can find joy in these promises. They strengthen the resolve of each of us that though in this world these things will not come to pass, we can still find happiness knowing that they are soon to find fruition in the world to come.

Though they are our promises made by our Lord and King, we Christians are not the only happy ones. Notice the similarity of promises that the Lord makes to those who are not part of the Family of God: Luke 6:23-26  Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

We begin today with a consideration of the Second of Blessings: Chapter 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

I must say this before launching out into the deep, and that is exactly true. These beatitudes are an abyss of spiritual truth. The contents of which are unfathomable. The deeper one attempts to scale its depths the more difficult it becomes. This is because they are words for the ages. They are the words of God! True they appear simple at a glance but the more we try to explain their meaning the more tongue tied we become and we soon realize that we simply cannot do it. The best we can do is to try, in our vernacular, our limited vocabulary, our minute and incredulously finite intelligence, to do our best. Though deep we should not attempt to gain some understanding of these blessings, else what would be their worth to us?

It is, of course, a paradox to say, “Happy are they that grieve!” but that is exactly what this beatitude means. The ministry of grief, mourning, and sorrow as affecting the development of Christian character is set forth in detail in the New Testament. Tribulation results in patience (Romans 5:3,4). It yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11). Godly sorrow leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). What a generous and merciful arrangement of Almighty God that even life’s sorrows shall bless and reward his servants! “Sweet,” indeed, “are the uses of adversity.” Why should Christians mourn? They mourn for the world which lies in the darkness of sin. They mourn for the sins that mar their own lives. They mourn for loved ones and members of their families out of Christ. They mourn for the slain who have fallen in the encounter with the evil one. They mourn from those sorrows and bereavements which are the common lot of all men. How unspeakably blessed, therefore, is the promise of our Saviour, “THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED!”

Nicholas Thomas Wright is a leading British New Testament scholar and retired Anglican bishop. In academia, he is published as N. T. Wright, but is otherwise known as Tom Wright. Between 2003 and his retirement in 2010, he was the Bishop of Durham. He has written a new book entitled After you believe. I know who he is but must confess that I have not as yet purchased his book.

Here is his purpose, goal, and description of the Beatitudes: Page 103. “What Jesus is saying, rather, is, God’s future is arriving in the present, in the person and work of Jesus, and you can practice, right now, the habits of life which will find their goal in that coming future.”

Page 106.  “Now that I’m here, God’s new world is coming to birth; and, once you realize that, you’ll see that these are the habits of heart which anticipate that new world here and now.” These qualities, “purity of heart, mercy, and so on are not, so to speak, “things you have to do” to earn a “reward,” a “payment.” Nor are they merely the “rules of conduct” laid down for new converts to follow…They are, in themselves, the signs of life, the language of life, the life of new creation, the life of new covenant, the life which Jesus came to bring. (p. 106)

If he is right, and he sounds good to me, then the Beatitudes are given for us to practice as things we are to work on in our lives to better exemplify Christ who is in us, the hope of our glory:

We are to be a humble people.

We are to be a people who deep within ourselves are sorrowful for our offences against God. Remember, mourning is an internal thing.

We are to be slow to anger, quiet and not obtrusive, speak when invited, listen to others. Quick to forgive others as Christ forgave us.

We should seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Everything else will be added to us.

Christians are quick to show mercy, give the down and out something to lift them up. Remember the great and tender mercy in God’s dealing with us.

Christians are people of peace. Peace with honor, but peaceable not warlike. Peace of conscience, peaceable in action.

If persecuted and ridiculed for our faith remember that so was Christ.

We should not be quick to take offense when standard or libeled. We must remember that the prophets were so treated, should we expect less?

It would seem at first glance that verse four is an anomaly, a deviation from what would seem to be against the common norm that would suggest there is no comfort attached to sorrow. Jesus says clearly that there is a definite connection between sorrow and comfort…for Christians.

First sorrow, then comfort. I would not want to preach on the subject of mourning if there was not comfort to follow.

Someone has said that mourning is like a dark and ominous cloud above, and our tears are the rain drops that pelt our cheek, and then in time, the Sun peeks through and brings its warmth and comfort to our face.

Another has suggested we must go through a valley of tears to reach paradise – life itself is at times like a dark valley of tears isn’t it?

And why should that not be so for us? Should the servant not be as his Master? And didn’t our Master, the Lord Jesus have to suffer much? Did he not have to first endure the cross before receiving His Crown? And was He not comforted, was not his body saved from corruption? Was he not raised from the dead according to the Scriptures? Did He not ascend to His rightful home, throne, and Father? Blessed, happy, enjoying happiness and the favor of God; enjoying heavenly blessings and given all authority in heaven and in earth?

  1. F. Bruce, now deceased, was a Biblical scholar who said: “There can be no comfort where there is no grief.” Grief is an emotion we all, if not already have experienced, will at some point experience. If you have grief and you are a true believer know that you will find comfort, in God’s own time.

The devil would have mankind to believe that the way to true happiness is the accumulation of worldly goods and experiencing worldly pursuits. He would have you believe that if you expend enough energy and effort you will find true happiness. What the liar from the beginning would want you to believe is that the idea that happiness is what you can make it to be in this life, for nowhere does the devil give any idea that there is a life to come – His philosophy is, make merry and be happy for tomorrow you die. Make the most of this life for this is it baby. Do unto others before they can do unto you.

The kind of mourning the Lord is talking about is a spiritual mourning. He is not talking about mourning over the passing of a loved one will bring happiness. When Jesus speaks of a poverty of spirit he is not referring to gold and silver. Make no mistake in thinking that our church has nothing to do with bringing spiritual blessings.

If you have ever attended a church that has experienced real revival of spirit, where the members caught again the joy of the Lord through the preaching of the gospel—where men and women who came thinking that they were attending a motivational kind of revival, found to their profound amazement that something happened deep in their soul that urged them to give their lives to God get baptized, join the church, and have agreat desire to learn more about this Jesus and enjoy all His benefits, and share them with others.

This is the purpose of church. This is why it is a necessity that you take the preaching of the good news to heart, learn to live it, learn to love it, share it with others.  Everyone is to be winners of souls, to be disciples, to get involved in the ministry by more than one day a week. This begins with the leadership of our church as well. We who you have chosen to lead must not be like the sons of Aaron; Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest’s office. 4 And Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD, when they offered strange fire before the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’s office in the sight of Aaron their father.

Whatever that strange fire was which they put in their censers and used before the Lord, the judgment that befell them was signal and impressive. And here reference is made to the fact that they died without issue, as if to mark the barrenness of the sacrilegious. Did it not appear that inherent disqualification for the priesthood, the moral blindness or self-will which was shown in their presumptuous act, had been foreseen by God, who wrote them childless in His book? This race must not be continued. Israel must not begin with priests who desecrate the altar. Matthew Henry

The initial thought in verse 4 is that mourning will bring comfort for the child of God. But what is it that would cause him so that he should mourn? The answer is SIN! Sin is pandemic and sin is the cause of all sorrow. Sin brings us to mourn, to suffer. When sin entered, death followed close behind.

Ultimately, we who have believed on Jesus will find everlasting comfort for the day is nigh when sin shall be put down forever, this is our expected comfort. There will be, one day, no more reason to mourn because sin shall be no more.

Whatever the sorrow, sorrow is always the result of sin. I believe that we do not mourn enough over sin and its results. I believe we are as disgusted by sin as we ought to be.

Ravi Zacharias relates a true-life story as it relates to sin: One of the most powerful stories I have ever heard on the nature of the human heart is told by Malcolm Muggeridge. Working as a journalist in India, he left his residence one evening to go to a nearby river for a swim. As he entered the water, across the river he saw an Indian woman from the nearby village who had come to have her bath. Muggeridge impulsively felt the allurement of the moment, and temptation stormed into his mind. He had lived with this kind of struggle for years but had somehow fought it off in honor of his commitment to his wife, Kitty. On this occasion, however, he wondered if he could cross the line of marital fidelity. He struggled just for a moment and then swam furiously toward the woman, literally trying to outdistance his conscience. His mind fed him the fantasy that stolen waters would be sweet, and he swam the harder for it. Now he was just two or three feet away from her, and as he emerged from the water, any emotion that may have gripped him paled into insignificance when compared with the devastation that shattered him as he looked at her. “She was old and hideous…and her skin was wrinkled and, worst of all, she was a leper….This creature grinned at me, showing a toothless mask.” The experience left Muggeridge trembling and muttering under his breath, “What a dirty lecherous woman!” But then the rude shock of it dawned upon him—it was not the woman who was lecherous; it was his own heart.

Later in life, something happened to the “lecherous” man or this story in the life of Malcolm Muggeridge, as it happens to many. As to Jesus Christ Muggeridge came to say:  And You what do I know of You? A living presence in the world; the one who, of all the billions and billions and billions of our human family came most immediately from God and went most immediately to God, while remaining most humanly and intimately here among us, today, as yesterday and tomorrow; for all time. Did You live and die and rise from the dead as they say? Who knows, or for that matter, cares? History is for the dead, and You are alive. Similarly, all those churches raised and maintained in Your name, from the tiniest, weirdest conventicle to the great cathedrals rising so sublimely into the sky they are for the dead, and must themselves die; are, indeed, dying fast. They belong to time, You to eternity. At the intersection of time and eternity nailed there, You confront us; a perpetual reminder that, living, we die and, dying, we live. An incarnation wonderful to contemplate; the light of the world, indeed.

Fiat lux ! Let there be light ! So everything began at God’s majestic command; so it might have continued till the end of time history unending except that You intervened, shining another light into the innermost recesses of the human will, where the ego reigns and reaches out in tentacles of dark desire. Having seen this other light, I turn to it, striving and growing towards it as plants do towards the sun. The light of love, abolishing the darkness of hate; the light of peace, abolishing the darkness of strife and confusion; the light of life, abolishing the darkness of death; the light of creativity, abolishing the darkness of destruction. Though, in terms of history, the darkness falls, blacking out us and our world, You have overcome history. You came as light into the world, that whoever believed in You should not remain in darkness. The promise stands for ever. Your light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Nor ever will.

End Here

PART TWO – Beatific Verities or Happy Truths

Read all 8 beatitudes. As we can see each beatitude is listed in order. So, we say incorrectly that there are 8 total. But this would not be true for the New Testament is replete with Beatitudes or Happy Thoughts.

Matthew 5:3-10 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

By count, there are eight Beatific Verities Jesus taught his disciples sitting, in my imagination in a half circle facing the Master who, while sitting on the side of a high hill set forth the moral virtues that define a Christos or in our English, Christian. Virtue in this case means “Moral, or that which pertains to behavior that comes from an internal characteristic that defines right from wrong.

If we say of a man or woman that he or she is a moral person, we mean that he or she is a good person, and that he or she adheres to good behavior. There are people who it might be said are Amoral, meaning without morals, therefore bad behavior.

The Law of God, for example is “moral” because it relates to the high standards set forth by Him by which all of which mankind is to adhere.

But it also means “authority.” When we say that we are saved by “virtue” of the blood of Christ, we mean that the means of our salvation is obtained only through the shedding of his precious blood, that is to say by the “authority” of his precious blood.

So, in the case just mentioned, “virtue” is a noun. But it can also be an adjective. If we say a person is a virtuous person, it becomes something that describes that person.

If you are a Christian, you are a virtuous individual. If you say you are a Christian by your works then you are saying by virtue of my good deeds I am a Christian, you are not a Christian. For no one is a Christian by virtue of his good works, but by the virtue of the Blood of Christ.

behavioror  here are many beatitudes in Scripture, sayings that bring happiness.

 

The gospel, for example is a Beatific Verity, “Happy Truth.” – it is good news. News that iIt is the power of God unto salvation!

Salvation itself is a Beatific Verity or “Happy Truth.”

Isn’t the fact that are sins are forgiven is a Beatific Verity or “Happy Truth.”

The fact that by faith, which is in itself a Beatific Verity or “Happy Truth” a gift from God to His elect…faith that in the blood of Christ, considers it sufficient to pay the full price for our sin, thereby making it as though we had never sinned…the word is Justified, or pardoned for our crimes against God. That is a “Happy Truth,” a truth that brings happiness and joy to a believer’s heart.

.o be clear…the 8 Beatitudes –The declaration of blessedness made by our Savior to particular virtues, but they are virtues only of a Christian. They refer not to unbelievers. They are virtues exclusive to those in the faith, because virtue means in a broad sense, “moral  goodness.”

These beatitudes are not progressively given but are the possession of the Redeemed at the New Birth mentioned in John 3.

The philosophy of the world is in opposition to the idea of mourning saying that all mourning should be avoided if one is to be truly happy. What we are taught from our childhood is to:

Forget your troubles Come on get happy You better chase all you cares away Shout hallelujah Come on get happy Get ready for the judgment day The sun is shining Come on get happy The lord is waiting to take your hand Shout hallelujah
Come on get happy We’re going to the promised land We’re heading across the river Wash your sins away in the tide It’s all so peaceful on the other side

The sun is shining Come on get happy The lord is waiting to take your hand Shout hallelujah Come on get happy We’re going to the promised land We’re heading across the river Wash your sins away in the tide It’s quiet and peaceful on the other side [Chorus] Come on get happy Chase your cares away Shout hallelujah Come on get happy Get ready for the judgment day.

 There is no truth in this song…and that is the problem because our sinful selves would like to think that all one has to do is as the song goes:  “forget your troubles, get happy, chase your cares away” Nothing is said about repent, or mourning over what sin has brought upon mankind, just forget as if forgetting sins, cares, troubles is the answer to our sin problem.

Just get happy, so says this song, and you will be ready for the judgment day.

Carnal people will live as if the world is a carnival and live accordingly…The world’s teaching is that conforming to the fashion of this world your cares and troubles will go away and in the forgetting you will find true happiness. The Scriptures say otherwise:

2 Timothy 3:12-17  Paul writing to Timothy: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. There is no denying this – we will be persecuted for our faith. Still our Lord advises that happy are they that mourn…

But he also declares:  that evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

All sin is rebellion; lawlessness; disobedience to God’s laws. Therefore, as Christians we should hate sin. God does! When we sin as people of God we are told to seek the forgiveness of God. I wonder however, if that ought to be our main motivation…forgiveness? If it is forgiveness that should be our main motivation then why forgiveness? Are we seeking forgiveness knowing that sin brings punishment or should we not first seek forgiveness because we have offended God? I think that we often seek God’s forgiveness so we would not feel the hand of God’s chastisement and give little thought to what really happens when we sin—that it is our Holy God that we have offended. Should we not realize that sin separates us from the presence of God and in the act of sinning God leaves.

Three things concerning sorrow that must be understood if there is to be comfort following sorrow:

  1. Sorrow, lamenting or mourning. Sorrow is the heavy sense of uneasiness or pain of mind which is produced by the loss of any good. Sorrow is hope frustrated, expectation destroyed, joy dashed. It is the sense that all good is gone or taken from us. It results in sadness, grief, the flow of bitter tears and heartache. So is it sorrow only to escape correction and in sorrow forget the worst thing that we have sinned against a Holy God—this is a kind of worldly sorrow-sorrow for the chastisement from God. Godly sorrow is a sorrow that leads to repentance – Sorrow for anything done or said; the pain or grief which a person experiences in consequence of the injury or inconvenience produced by his own conduct.
  2. 2.In theology, the pain, regret or affliction which a person feels on account of his past conduct, because it exposes him to punishment. This sorrow proceeding merely from the fear of punishment, is called legalrepentance as being excited by the terrors of legal penalties, and it may exist without an amendment of life.
  3. Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelicalrepentance and is accompanied and followed by an amendment of life. Webster 1828

In his second letter, one of commendation, Paul wrote to that penitent assembly.   2 Corinthians 7:9-10  Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance : for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

What a wonderful lesson learned here. The letter of condemnation previously written by Paul on account of the leaders refusal to discipline sinning church members, which included:  incest, going to court against one another, consciousness of pride and worse, turning the Lord’s Supper into a gluttonous performance of drunkenness, selfishness,  and refusing to share with the poorer of the assembly a portion of their food and libations. All of which demonstrated grievous sin and dereliction of duty toward God.

In this second letter, upon hearing the good news of the work done by Titus  the Corinthians saw their sin as offense against God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. They repented, Paul  commends, and God restores.

Paul said that as harsh as his first letter was, that it did them no damage, rather it turned them from their sins to acknowledge their offense and do seek restoration to serve God through repentance.

Paul as a steward of God’s Word, disciplined the Corinthian Assembly. So we see here that when discipline is instituted to the members of the church, they properly mourn over their sinfulness which leads to repentance. Paul’s letter was not to destroy that church but to bring it to restoration. Which, evidently it did.

No doubt Titus led them to repentance and restoration by following the Scriptural method our Lord set forth in Matthew 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

God’s purpose in our mourning over sin.

  1. That we would acknowledge our sin.
  2. That in the acknowledgement we would realize our offense.
  3. That in realizing our offense we would repent.
  4. That fellowship broken due to our sin might be restored.

Godly sorrow will do that and will bring life back into the church, but worldly sorrow, that is sorrow concerning the damage (including condemnation) caused by non-repentance, produces only death of the church itself.

Sorrow that leads not to repentance is simply sorrow after a worldly sort, which, leads to death. It is fearing the discipline of God without acknowledging that not only is sin destructive to the one who has sinned, and not only that sin affects the lives of others, and that it affects and infects the entire church. More importantly all sin is a direct offense to The Holy God!

Worldly sorrow then, is not simply being sorry for having sinned (in the case of the Corinthians it was most if not all the church that sinned),  but an off-handed feeling of, “Well, I wish I had not sinned in this or that manner”, which shows a lack of concern the damage done by the sin, or a lack of concern over offending God, and finally worldly sorrow is more concerned about what the consequences may be to one’s self. Be not deceived, “Numbers 32:23- be sure your sin will find you out.

1 Kings 21:20 ff…Ahab was an enemy not only to God but to God’s minister Elijah. Ahab sold himself to sin; of choice, and as his own act and deed, he loved the dominion of sin. Don’t make the mistake thinking that Ahab was a fool. He is a fool who believes there is no God to offend. Ahab’s mistake was he thought he could prove God the fool by a hypocritical and false repentance, be not deceived God will not be mocked.

Jezebel Ahab’s wife stirred up Ahab to do wickedly. That man’s condition is very miserable, who has made the word of God his enemy; and very desperate, who reckons the ministers of that word his enemies, because they tell him the truth. Elijah, God’s prophet reproved Ahab of his sin. And Ahab put on the disguise of a true  penitent and in doing so humbled himself before the eyes of man, yet his heart was not humbled nor unchanged before God. It was an outward act of an inwardly sinful, unrepentant man. God allowed Ahab to live but brought death and destruction to the house of Ahab – his generation to the 3rd and the 4th. If a generation is 40 years in length then, roughly for 160 years each succeeding generation, in some way, suffers for the sins of their fathers.

What could be worse than God bringing his wrath down on one’s self or to bring his fierce anger down on one’s own family for 160 years?

True, Ahab humbled himself but it was not because he feared consequences or that he sorrowed for his offense against a Holy God. His repentance was hypocritical. All that changed was his royal robes and he put on the rags of a penitent beggar only to impress the public eye.

Consider the on-going suffering of some families that you may know of, maybe your own family, that appear always be in some kind of trouble, some bad thing always happening to one or more of the members, year after year. All due to some sort of ungodly behavior. This may very well be a continuing consequence of an ancestor’s sin. Some long-forgotten sin (from the family perspective) that brought the particular correction in question that was meant not to destroy but to encourage repentance, but ignored.

Before continuing I must add lest a misunderstanding occur which is, that all family problems; all the mishaps in their lives; all their sicknesses; all bad things that happens including possibly a premature death of any one or more of family members may be  the result of some sin that is in their own lives or in the lives of some ancestor near or far! We must not say that all bad things that come our way or unfortunate circumstances that many find themselves in or that randomly happens during the course of a life time is a result of a sin that they or an ancestor committed at one time or another!

Indirectly all things terrible are indeed a result of SIN capital letters! The wages of sin, inherent in the DNA of every man, woman, and child, is DEATH. But not the result of any particular sin a person has committed.

The question may be asked: Well how is one to know who committed the sin that has brought such pain to one’s family? And what if that person has long since died? Is there no hope for relief for me or my family members?  What about sins we ourselves have committed, but have forgotten, and have not been repented of?

Even our dear Lord Jesus mourned over Jerusalem’s rejection of Himself – Matthew 23:37

Let me explain. The answer is one the one hand there is no way can you know in such an instance after so much time has passed.  However, if your family is constantly suffering mishaps, sickness, and death time and time again you may be sure it is due to  something someone in your family tree, present generation or past, has done or is doingthat is causing the continuation of God’s correction, and will continue to be so.

But you say, “I was not the one who committed the transgression against God, why should I be punished for something I did not do?”

Indeed, the propensity to follow the same sinful past as did the ancestor  is passed through the blood line just as a terrible disease may be passed from generation to generation.

But, and please receive these considerations: It is not the guilt of sin of the ancestor that is passed to the 3rd and 4th generation.  It is not the wages of sin which is death,  is passed on. It is not consequences of the sin  that is passed to the 3rd or the 4th generation, It is not the penalty part of what is passed on.

Notice what Moses says in Deuteronomy 24:16 the fathers shall not be put to death for the children (s. sins), neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

Notice however, this speaks in the present tense. 2 Chronicles 25:4 But he slew not their children, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, where the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin.

Consider Ezekiel 18:19…Read to verse 32

The answer is that It is none of the above, rather it is the natural consequence that is passed on which is… the propensities, inclinations, and tendencies to sin, these sin remains in the family blood line until the generations have passed. If the one who committed the sin repented of it, then no possibilities  of the sort mentioned is passed to succeeding generations.

To look a bit deeper in this matter further, these propensities, inclinations, and tendencies to sin in a blood line may be the reason, I say may be the reason, God disdains inter-racial marriage! ‘May’ being the qualifier… be the reason! LIKE FATHER…LIKE SON!

Notice what Jesus has to say concerning this continuation: Matthew 23:29-32- Read!…

Repentance may not undo the damage to a person or his or her family but it will stop any further correction.

Job declares: I have borne chastisement I will not offend any moreJob 34:31

Also, understand the meaning of where it says in the Word of God that: The chastisement of our peace was the pain which Christ suffered to purchase our peace and reconciliation to God. Isaiah 53:5.

However, whatever we name it, sorrow, grief, or mourning, all is a consequence of the sin nature to which all have in our natural D.N.A.! – The shepherd and sweet singer of Israel said in, “I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalms 51.

By explanation: Whether or not an unrepenting ancestor is in your family or mine – the inclination and propensity to sin still exists in our own blood line.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned , and come short of the glory of God…Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.  Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. You see, for this verse that even in death there will be comfort.

 

Chapter 5: verse  4 is in  two parts: First, there is an affirmation or assertion that godly people in mourning, and sorrow are blessed people; Second, a reason that they are blessed people is because in mourning over sin (always the reason either directly or indirectly) asserted is that they shall be comforted.

This is not to imply that the tears of Christians are not as bitter as the tears of people who do not know the Lord as their Savior. It does insure that only Christians in mourning  sorrow are blessed, happy, and only Christians will be comforted.

Among other comments on this subject are that on the one hand, it must be stressed that it is believers and only believers whom God will comfort in their sorrow. And on the other hand it is the godly person living godly in Christ Jesus that though in mourning, he  will be comforted – Psalms 4:3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.

This statement requires that Scripture define itself rather that you think this comes from my mind.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 that for the godly person, mourning’s purpose is to lead to repentance and  repentance will turn to joy. Paul writes:  Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort.

We learn then that first of all:  All saints (Christians) are blessed: Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. We should note that it is not necessary to ask God to bless us with spiritual blessings, because according to this verse he already has. The believer is a citizen of heaven and the spiritual blessings count for most to him. In a word Spiritual blessings are defined in Psalm 103:1-2: as benefits: Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits.

Secondly: Christians (saints) are blessed because for salvationtheir sins are not charged to them: they have been justified by their faith. (Psalm 32:2) Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.

This is the meaning of Romans 7:17 and 20, verses that so many struggle with due to the seeming convoluted manner that the apostle presents them: But as Paul said here,  It is no longer I that sin but sin that dwelleth in me. That is to say that it is sin in general that is the cause of all sorrow. And he in mourning, repents, and finds his comfort in God.

The key word is at the beginning of his statement in  Romans 7:17-20 Now (: Now! Meaning not as in the past but now in my present state as a Christian… that is unlike in my past when I was not a Christian, …it is no more I (that is, I in my new self when I sin (sin), it is sin  dwelling (still dwelling)  in me. Then it is no more I (the new Paul)  that do it, but sin (the old Paul) that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: (and that) for to will is present with me (my fleshly nature); but how to perform that which is good I (my new nature) find not (how in my flesh, my old nature).  19 For the good that I would I do not (in my new mind): but the evil which I would not (in my new mind), that I do (for in my fleshly nature I do)). 20 Now if I do (in my flesh) that I would not (in my new mind), it is no more I (in my new mind) that do it, but sin that (still in my flesh my old mind) dwelleth in me.

We must let the Scripture mean what it says and not mean  what it does not say, which in this case the Scripture is talking about two natures: 1. The fleshly old man due to his remaining  sin nature. 2. The spiritual man, or the man with his new nature acquired when he was saved and was given a new spiritual  nature which is the divine nature given to us at the new birth..

To bring these verses into my sermon is in reality a summation of the concept of sin that brings mourning and the comfort that follows in the life of every true believer. First the mourning that we do when we allow the sin nature to rule and second when we do not allow the sin or old nature to have dominion over our new nature.

Most definitely it is not to mean or refer to sinless perfection but in fact refers to the daily battle our new nature (spiritual) has with our remaining old (fleshly) nature. Romans seven is talking about a man who knows the daily battle he, in his new nature faces.

If we accomplish nothing more I pray to God we will have settled this long- standing matter and be comforted in it. There is no other way to look at this passage and ever find satisfaction or comfort in it.

We have much to comfort us when it comes to the benefits of our salvation, redemption, and justification.

Time will not allow to mention every spiritual blessing that comes to mind but you might want to write down a few and make a study of our spiritual benefits which will be of great comfort to all who will do so.:

Eternal life (John 3:15-16, 36; Romans 6:23; 1 John 5:11-13).

Forgiveness of sin (Colossians 1:14; Ephesians 1:7; 4:32).

Reconciliation to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Romans 5:8-11).

Justification, declared righteous (Romans 5:9; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

No condemnation by God (Romans 8:1, 33-34; 5:16).

Salvation (2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 1:15; Matthew 1:21).

Redemption (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 3:24; Colossians 1:14).There are  many more that follows but they are the basic foundation of knowing what the Spirit has built upon.

who are truly the  saints of God?  Peter says in 2 Peter 1:4 saints are those who are the partakers of the Divine nature. This happens instantaneously at the new birth. This means that we who belong to God through faith in Christ now have two natures: One is called ‘flesh’ the other is called ‘spiritual.’ Each, the flesh and the spirit, have certain defining attributes.

Note: Galatians 5:19-25 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

As we can see the works of the flesh are works. They are not emotional nor of a renewed mind but the works of an unrenewed life. The renewed life with the new (not renewed old nature)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

That which is of the Spirit are not works but are proof of the behavior pattern  that reveal holiness and lead to a lifestyle of godliness and good works for which we were newly created (Ephesians 2:10).

We then, at the new birth retain both the old nature, the works of the flesh, and  are given our new nature: the fruit of the Spirit both of witch  are in constant conflict  one with the other. This will remain the case until we throw off the robe of this life (the flesh) and put on the robe of righteousness in the new life (the spiritual).

Isn’t that the message Paul gives us in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It (the fleshly body of this death)  is sown in corruption; it (our new body and glorified body)) is raised in incorruption: 43 It (the old fleshly  body) is sown in dishonour; it (the new spiritual and glorified body) is raised in glory: it (the fleshly body)  is sown in weakness; it (the new glorified body)  is raised in power: 44 It (the old fleshly body) is sown a natural body; it (the new spiritual and glorified body) is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body—old fleshly body that from dust returns to dust,, and there is the spiritual and glorified body that is resurrected and enjoy everlasting freshness and goodness in heaven.

We all have the nature of Adam but we who are justified in his blood by faith, are partakers of the Divine nature of Jesus Christ as well — 1 Corinthians 15:22-26  For as in Adam all die , even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. Comfort, Comfort, Comfort! It is also true of all Saints that they have the seed of God abiding in them:

1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Now, by further explanation of this verse: It is important that we understand both what the Bible means in what it says and what it does not mean in what it says.  It means that the one born of God cannot sin (go on sinning), and (is no longer a sinner—a sinner sins naturally – the saint of God is still in part sinful. He is one who is no longer a sinner who practices sin, but while in his  present body is sinful, that is he may and will sin, but will mourn over that sin, repent of it and be comforted.

According to the verb tense John uses, to not sin means does not live a life style of habitual sin. John has already told us in 1Jn. 1:8 If (in our flesh) we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. The grammar John indicates is speaking about are the occasional acts of sin of which we are all plagued.  John however, is speaking of a settled, continued lifestyle of sin. He is not teaching here the possibility of a sinless perfection. Having briefly surveyed the difference between a saint of God and a sinner worshipping other gods (little G), it should be of comfort that in knowing the Lord as Savior, that all of our tears (mourning’s) are known of God. David mourned over the time when the Philistines took him — Psalms 56:8 Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?

This is precisely the point in Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

OTHERS WHO MOURNED AND WHY:

Mourning is an emotion God gave to our first parents just before they were cast out of the Garden of Eden. Mankind has been in mourning ever since. As such mourning is considered by some as negative emotion when in fact it is a positive emotion. Mourning is not misery, it is the result of it. It is through mourning we find the way to comfort in our griefs.

Adam and Eve mourned because the ground was cursed for man’s work and suffering would come through child birth. Both were comforted knowing that through them a Savior would come that would forgive sin and redeem sinners.

Abraham had many sorrows but was comforted in the fact that he believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.

The prophet Samuel mourned over the fact that God demoted Saul as king over Israel. He was comforted when God provided another king more worthy of leading the people of God – David the progenitor of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jacob mourned for Joseph when told by his sons that Joseph  had been mauled and killed by a wild beast Genesis 37:32-35 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no. 33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. 34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. 35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.

David mourned over Absalom’s death- although Absalom “stole the heart of the people” and set himself in place of David his father, David loved Absalom and grieved over his death — 2 Samuel 19:1  And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom . Samuel 19:2  And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son.

John 11:35 – Jesus wept. He mourned over the unbelief of both Mary, Martha, and his disciples. But when at the site of the burial of Lazarus we read: John 11:38-43

38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus , come forth.

Martha and Mary mourned over the death of their brother Lazarus. But were comforted when Jesus brought him forth from the tomb.

The widow of Nain mourned When Jesus  came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. (Luke 7:12-15). She was comforted when Jesus put life back into her son.

All Creation mourns laments, groans with mourning… — Romans 8:22-9:1

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Even our dear Lord Jesus mourned over Jerusalem’s rejection of Himself – Matthew 23:37   O Jerusalem , Jerusalem , thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

 

The seeming paradox is that is we have on the one hand Grief, and on the other, Comfort—but the paradox is satisfied when we understaned that “There can be no comfort where there is no grief.”

May it be said that grief and comfort co-exist? I believe so. Grief itself is a ‘noun’ indication of some thing, and ‘comfort’ shares the action with grief, that is it participates with grief as a rail car participates with The  engine—one follows the other, but only for the soul saved by grace through faith.

The Lord Jesus was well acquainted with grief…Isaiah 53:2-5  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

We who are born again, being  possessors of the first fruits of the Holy Spirit groan, mourn, and lament as we await the redemption of our bodies when we on  Resurrection morning, experience our glorified bodies to rise and connect with  all the redeemed of the ages, all  whose souls and spirits have long since passed into glory, and those who are yet to be in attendance of the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. Hebrews 12:23

Hebrews 4:15-16  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are , yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

 

BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN… There is a lot of civil disobedience these days all over the world. America is no exception. We do not like what we are seeing happening on the streets of our cities. If however civil disobedience violates God’s command against murder, violence of any kind, stealing, destroying another person’s property, then God is indeed outraged!

For our own sins. For our sinful nature, our indwelling sin. Our sin of unbelief. Our infirmities of age. The infliction of the ravages our bodies and minds caused by the disease of sin that infects our bodies.

All the sins we have committed and the sins that permeate the world of mankind that we along with the world of men commit with little thought against a God of love, grace, and mercy, grieve the Spirit, and dishonor the Gospel of Christ.

Actually, we do not like to even talk about sin. To some people a discussion on the subject of sin is passed off as being a relative term and when seen by any particular society they might debate of what is sin and what is not sin.  Better stated what is sin for you may not be sin for me. However, we do an injustice to people if we remove the teaching of the exceeding sinfulness of sin… In fact Renouncing sin is the great proof of spiritual union with, continuance in, and saving knowledge of the Lord Christ. (Matthew Henry).

Be assured you who know Christ that you may be comforted in this life in prospect of an everlasting life in heaven where there will be no more mourning.

All by: The God of all comfort comforts us by Christ. By the Spirit of God, whose work and office it is to comfort; by the Scriptures of truth, which are written for our consolation; by the promises of the Gospel, through which the heirs of promise have strong consolation; by the ordinances of it, which are breasts of consolation; and by the ministers of the word, who have a commission from the Lord to speak comfortably to them; and then are they comforted, when they have the discoveries of the love of God, manifestations of pardoning grace, through the blood of Christ, and enjoy the divine presence: and they shall be comforted hereafter; when freed from all the troubles of this life, they shall be blessed with uninterrupted communion with Father, Son, and Spirit, and with the happy society of angels and glorified saints.

Do not get the wrong impression about the cause of sin. The body itself does not sin. Sin as an activity, a way of life, a way of thinking, and in contrary and an abomination to God. You may not consider yourself as a sinner, but if you have not received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are a sinner condemned already to a Christ-less hell. Come to him this very day and be born again.

Christ came to save sinners, to save the lost from their darkness.

Let me share with you the voice of all comfort—the voice of God through the prophet…Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Beloved, praise God, Bless the Lord every born anew child of God, Sin no more, but when and if you do, mourn, oh, yes, mourn and be exceeding sorrowful over that sin, that transgression, that rebellion, that disobedience to the will of God for you. Mourning will lead you to repent of your sin, and then…you will be comforted. Amen!

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Romans-Introduction


Posted By on Jul 19, 2017

AN INTRODUCTION AND EXPOSITION OF THE EPISTLE OF ROMANS WRITTEN UNDER DIVINE INSPIRATION BY THE APOSTLE PAUL TO THE CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLIES IN ROME TO BE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BY ALL BELIEVERS IN ALL AGES EVERYWHERE.

J.A. Beet remarked that the epistle to the Romans in Paul “we have an author worthy of the epistle. In this epistle, we have a work worthy of Paul.

There are many books written by many authors that are worthy of our reading but for the sheer originality, clarity of presentation, power of expression, strength of purpose, none, not one author or historian can match the writings of Paul. Only the Bible itself taken as a whole body of work can make such a claim.

TEXT: ROMANS 1:1-6

Saul, According to Acts 23:6 Paul’s father was a Pharisee, therefore a Jew. Saul was born in Tarsus now Turkey then a province of Rome therefore “free born” in an area of Roman rule he automatically became a citizen of Rome as well as a Citizen of Israel. (This is true even today in our country that if a immigrant mother born her child in the US he was automatically a free born citizen of this country). When did he begin to be known as Paul? The answer is that Saul’s name was also Paul by virtue of his birth in Tarsus. Acts 9:11And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus : for, behold, he prayeth…It was the custom then of dual names and  common in those days. From that verse on, Saul is always referred to in Scripture as “Paul.” [Source: Got Questions.org]

Paul, by his own words: was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, a Pharisee of Pharisees. Meaning, he was zealous for Judaism and an enemy of Christians who he felt were blasphemers worthy of exile, imprisonment, and or death. He was a slave to the Law of Moses and to the Temple in Jerusalem.

That all changed in a literal flash of light and what to those accompanying him sounded like thunder but was instead the voice of the LORD.  While on his mission to Damascus to round up all Hebrew Christians he met Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and was instantly converted, called, commissioned, separated, and sent to the Gentiles. But first he had to continue to Damascus where he would meet one Ananias where the Lord informed him that Paul was to be the chosen vessel of Jesus Christ, be baptized, and sit with Christian men for a period of time learning the truth, becoming familiarized with the Way, the Truth and the Life and to prepare to begin the great work in God in man that would to this day be spoken of everywhere in every place where two or more Christians would be gathered—There he would learn how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

Saul the persecutor now Paul, the “chosen vessel to bear the name of Christ to the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.

This epistle as do other such letters from Paul begins with a salutation: Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.

  • To be a Friend of God is a high privilege; Jesus himself referred to us on occasion as “friends.”
  • To be a son of God is a greater privilege; Christ’s sonship is different than ours. His was God begotten, not created, but eternal. We, on the other hand are sons of God by the new birth and adopted into God’s family – He is our Heavenly Father.
  • To be set forth as an Apostle, even one who by his own admission was “born out of due time ” Is of even greater worth”. Paul means that the appearance to him came after Jesus had ascended to heaven. This apostle was highly favoured, but he always had a low opinion of himself, and expressed it. When sinners are, by Divine grace, turned into saints, God causes the remembrance of former sins to make them humble, diligent, and faithful.
  • To be a servant (slave)  of God is the greatest of all privileges and the highest of all divine honors because a slave/servant [Doulos] counts nothing of self; an owner of nothing, and wants only to please his Lord and does so by believing  that  God is all in all. Adam Clarke [a rough quote]

To be a servant of Jesus Christ connotes sacrificial obedience; constant and energetic zeal and fulfilled performance to the will and purpose of God. Such a person serves his master with love and respect.

He is bound not by chains of iron but with cords of love.

Not by constraint of cruelty of men, their whips and ropes but by love, mercy, grace, and truth.

He is separated to serve and not to sleep. Matthew Henry writes: See what a blessing the husbandman’s calling is, and what a wilderness this earth would be without it. See what great difference there is in the management even of worldly affairs. Sloth and self-indulgence are the bane of all good. When we see fields overgrown with thorns and thistles, and the fences broken down, we see an emblem of the far more deplorable state of many souls. Every vile affection grows in men’s hearts; yet they compose themselves to sleep. Let us show wisdom by doubling our diligence in every good thing.

Servants suffer willingly for their Master… James Packer gives us insight to the meaning of “Servant. “In our English New Testament “servant” usually represents the Greek doulos (bondslave-one who is purchased by another)). Sometimes it means diakonos (deacon or minister); this is strictly accurate, for doulos and diakonos are synonyms. Both words denote a man who is not at his own disposal, but is his master’s purchased property. Bought to serve his master’s needs, to be at his beck and call every moment, the slave’s sole business is to do as he is told. Christian service therefore means, first and foremost, living out a slave relationship to one’s Savior (1 Corinthians. 6:19-20).

What work does Christ set his servants to do? The way that they serve him, he tells them, is by becoming the slaves of their fellow-servants and being willing to do literally anything, however costly, irksome, or undignified, in order to help them. This is what love means, as he himself showed at the Last supper when he played the slave’s part and washed the disciples’ feet.

When the New Testament speaks of ministering to the saints, it means not primarily preaching to them but devoting time, trouble, and substance to giving them all the practical help possible. The essence of Christian service is loyalty to the king expressing itself in care for his servants (Matthew 25: 31-46).

Only the Holy Spirit can create in us the kind of love toward our Savior that will overflow in imaginative sympathy and practical helpfulness towards his people. Unless the spirit is training us in love, we are not fit persons to go to college or a training class to learn the know-how or particular branches of Christian work. Gifted leaders who are self-centered and loveless are a blight to the church rather than a blessing.

But again, why would any man be willing to suffer as Paul…and by the way as so many other men and women have served their Lord, welcoming death rather than to deny Christ.

2 Corinthians 6:5-10 5 In stripes , in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

2 Corinthians 11:23-30   Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watching’s often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

            The question may be why would anyone be so willing, without constraint, to endure the physical and surely emotional pain, and survive rejection and finally the awful death that Paul suffered?

One might answer by saying, “he endured for Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God.” His suffering and demise is well documented but would this be enough reason to go through what this man did simply because he was dedicated to another?

Maybe. But I believe there was an even greater motive in view… Philippians 3:8-14 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

            Paul was able to look beyond his suffering by: pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus…THE RESURRECTION!

It may be argued that the Lord does not expect us to endure the pain, persecution, and personal privation as he required from Paul. But would that be true? I think not. Why? Because what was expected of Paul is indeed expected of you and me, although in different and various other ways.

True, the Lord may not require us to suffer as Paul suffered but I believe the least that is expected of us is found in Micah 6:8 — He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?  

Rather than to outline what it is to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk with God in humility, Let me share with you something that Matthew Henry suggests: Men will part with anything rather than their sins; but they part with nothing so as to be accepted of God, unless they do part with their sins. Moral duties are commanded because they are good for man. In keeping God’s commandments there is a great reward, as well as after keeping them. God has not only made it known, but made it plain. The good which God requires of us is, not the paying a price for the pardon of sin and acceptance with God, but love to himself; and what is there unreasonable, or hard, in this? Every thought within us must be brought down, to be brought into obedience to God, if we would walk comfortably with him. We must do this as penitent sinners, in dependence on the Redeemer and his atonement. Blessed be the Lord that he is ever ready to give his grace to the humble, waiting penitent.

Whatever is required of us our motivation ought to include giving our gratitude, love, and devotion to Jesus Christ with the knowledge that as Paul we too shall be raised from the dead — 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

THE EPISTLE

The Salutation…

Paul. When we send a card or letter to another person we usually sign our name at the end of the document. Paul, as was the custom in his day to introduce it at the beginning. See other Epistles of Paul.

  1. Called to be an apostle. Linguists tell us that “To be” is not in the original. Paul states that he is “an apostle and called,” not by men, but by the authority of Jesus Christ. The designation “apostle” means “one-sent.” This is different that being a disciple which means “learner or student.” And, for a time he was but soon that designation would not apply for he would become an Apostle which means “one sent.” Many would agree that Paul was second only to Jesus Christ when it comes to Christianity.

When God has something he wants us to do, such as we often hear someone say, “God has called” me into the ministry or to some other task. We do not always know the particular moment of our calling. It may take us some time to realize that we are indeed called to some particular purpose but we should all know that as Christians we are all called…either to Christ for salvation or to some specific purpose which may be a short or long term calling. In any case Paul reminds us in verse 6 and 7 that we are all called of Jesus Christ.

In the case of Paul, his calling was instant and specific. You will remember that he was called when he “saw the Lord,” an essential to apostleship. A true New Testament apostle had to have seen the Lord to be qualified to be an apostle. 1 Cor .9:1; Acts  26:13-18 where we see not only that Saul (Paul) actually saw Jesus Christ but at that very moment and for the first time received his commission. Those priests, Pharisees, and Scribes took issue later on with Paul and endeavored to destroy his claimed apostolic authority.  He often found it necessary on several occasions to show that his commission was directly from the Lord therefore true.

  1. Separated. Having received his commission he was not yet ready to set out to the work to which he was Set apart which was to do the work of an apostle of Jesus Christ (see Acts 9:1-19). Christ had set him apart, arranged for his baptism and training among brothers concerning a more in depth doctrinal teaching. From the moment of his calling however, his whole life was consecrated to one task, the glorification of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the lost elect and to preach Christ and him crucified. One monumental task with many and varied objectives. To this task Paul never wavered, no not even toward the end of his life when he joyed in the work of the ministry and looked forward to his departure from this earth to stand in the presence of His Lord and Savior. The awl of suffering for Christ’s sake was driven through his ear lobe the moment of his conversion. He would serve his Lord faithfully out of deep and devoted love even up to the moment the sword would fall, severing the head of Paul from his body and before it fell prostrate to the floor the soul and spirit f Paul the apostle was embraced by the Master he so lovingly served. Paul would say, the prospect of being with Jesus is a far better thing!

Paul makes a wonderful declaration that I have come to realize in reading Paul. That declaration is found  in Galatians 1 verse 15 where he boldly states that his calling, indeed his separation was in the plan of God in eternity when he says: But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen (gentiles); Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood…

A wonderful lesson is found in verse 15 where he says that God separated him at the moment of his birth! I have been queried in the past concerning the time when I knew God had called me into the gospel ministry. I will state that “as a boy” I felt the hand of God on my life and the implantation in my soul to be a minister of the gospel. But I cannot tell you the exact moment of my calling. Paul came to realize when for him, though he did not realize it, came at the moment when he took his first breath outside of his Mother’s womb!!!

It will benefit us to know that calling and separation unto the gospel does not mean that Paul was immediately ready to embark on his course of work for the Lord.  Note in verse 16 he says that I conferred not with flesh and blood…The Lord did not send this new reborn lamb into the lair of the wolf unprepared. In first Corinthians 1:1 Paul says that his call to apostleship was through the will of God, and by his commandment I Timothy 1:1 …and Sosthenes our brother–!

I cannot tell you for sure, even if you thought it strange that Paul would include another man in regards Paul’s personal calling. But I can tell you who Sosthenes was  that he was the “chief ruler of the synagogue in Corinth” and the same man who was taken and beaten by the Greeks becasuse he was a Jew Acts 18:17.

I might suggest why Paul includes him here. While there is no definitive explanation that  I can find, it seems to me reasonable to assume that this chief ruler while at first an opponent of Paul, had later become a believer and the same Sosthenes then became a Scribe in the employment of Paul who defended and trumpeted Paul’s claim to be an authorized apostle of Jesus Christ.

Which he had promised afore, etc. Paul, was not a self-called apostle but one whose life’s ministry was determined and a fulfillment of God’s long-cherished plans, and had been promised through the prophets of the Old Testament.

Concerning his Son. Paul’s mission while simple was not easy to carry out however, when God calls a man to ministry, and thought the ministry not applauded by men, God always enables a truly God called man to endure with patience. The call may in the end seen by men as foolish especially if it may be ultimately cost him his life. Still, God will honor not so much that minister’s so-called success, He will give him a crown of glory and say to his servant, “well done.” In many cases this may be, thought wonderful, the only honor he will receive. A Christian, every Christian is called to proclaim that Christ is Lord  Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Born of the seed of David. The nature of David and the nature of God are combined in the Son, according to the flesh. This is an important and vital statement in describing Jesus Christ through your calling.  He is the Messiah come in the flesh, human yet divine, man yet God.  Anyone who denies this have the spirit of the antichrist. are pointed out in this and the next verse. As to his human body, he was a descendant of David, his mother being of David’s lineage. It is not necessary for us to defend this fact but merely to let the Holy Spirt do what he does with the word of God!

Declared to be the Son of God. Some conclude that Jesus never said he was the “Son of God.” This is literally true. However if it could be proven that he was the Son of God therefore the Messiah, the King of kings and Lord of Lords by his own declaration it is found in John 13:13

Where he says to his disciples on the occasion of the washing of their feet: Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am .  Still it is argued that his statement does not directly prove his eternal Son-ship but there is one thing recorded and witnessed in the New Testament where in this he is vindicated.

The vindication that Jesus Christ is the God-man, the Son of the living God, the Savior of lost men is not found only in his perfect life, or in his many miracles, or in his awful mistreatment by men and religionists, nor even by his cruel death on the cross. The final and most important event that “declares” Jesus to be God’s Son is to be found in His resurrection from the dead! Yes, his claim to be the Son of God Though in human form his life and death was demonstrated to be divine by power, it is especially proven by the greater miracle of his own resurrection from the dead (Romans 1 verse 4).

According to the spirit of holiness. You might be interested in knowing what spirit raised Jesus from the dead. It was not his human nature though pure and without sin. However, it is implied by the text that there may be a spirit unlike his human spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. Instead Paul uses the phrase, “the spirit of holiness.”  It was not directly by the Holy Spirit and must be noted that this is a contrast according to the flesh that is his human likness and nature in Rom 1:3, but refers to our Lord’s holy spiritual and divine nature. Thus the two natures of Jesus: human and divine. As a man he was  descended from David (verse 3) therefor human, therefore man, but His  pure, holy life was from God . One was a human nature; the other was a divine nature. This nature is spoken of as “the spirit of holiness,” because it is contrasted with sinful flesh.

By  whom. That is to say “through”  Jesus Christ. Or by virtue of the fact that “all authority” in heaven and in earth has been delegated to Jesus Christ to all believers, apostles and all who are in Christ to be of Christ. Matthew 28:18-20 All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

We have received. In “we” Paul is speaking of himself, and  to other apostles, and to all believers. The work of the apostle is to go into the farthest reaches of the earth. Not all of us can or are sent into all the earth. Neither however is this command given only to apostles. If it were to mean only the apostles, then there would be none now or since then to go into all the world. So, the question arises, “who” is to carry out this command now that the apostles have long since departed into heaven?

The answer is found in Ephesians 4:1-16 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Grace. Verse 6. The grace, the favor and mercy of heaven is granted to all saints. Though not all believers that are saints all are called to be apostles. In fact there are no apostles like unto the apostles of the New Testament. But verse six reminds all of us that there is a calling to Christ to salvation and obedience. There is a calling, not necessarily a more noble or higher calling that an apostle, but a calling to love others through Christ and  to serve him within the measure of one’s faith, obedience, and natural abilities. All Christians are called to his purpose, to proclaim that Jesus is the anointed Christ of God and by him and to him and through him are all things. Our calling is as of old, that is to proclaim the gospel to people wherever we may be and to abstain from all appearance of evil.

Apostleship. All saints were not apostles, but one must be a saint to be an apostle. Without the general grace he could not have the special gift of apostleship.

For obedience to the faith. The apostleship was given in order to lead all nations to obedience to the faith. The faith is a synonym for the gospel. Observe that it is a system of obedience. In the apostolic age there were no recognized believers but obedient believers.

Among whom are ye also the called. From among “all nations” (Rom_1:5). The members of the church at Rome, though partly Jews, were mostly Gentiles. They had heard the gospel call, had obeyed it, and were now “the called of Jesus Christ.” In the next verse, they are said to be “called to be saints.”

To all that are in Rome. To all Christians in Rome. The letter is addressed to the church in the great imperial city. Rome was the capital of the world, the home of Nero, the emperor, the largest city on earth, supposed to contain about two million inhabitants.

Saints. All Christians were called saints by the New Testament writers. Any one consecrated to a holy life is a saint.

Grace to you and peace. This is the ordinary New Testament Christian salutation. It is the expression of a prayer that God the Father and our Lord may bestow favor and peace upon them. The Father is the source, and our Lord Jesus Christ the mediator and procurer of these blessings. Whenever we say or write to another Christian (for we are not even to wish “God Speed” to an unbeliever) or any other such greeting or farewell saying, we are in truth uttering a prayer for God to bless that person in some manner or another. We must be careful to actually mean such a prayer else our words be vain (empty).

 

 

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