The Bavarian city of Nördlingen is unique. It sits in the middle of the Ries Crater, a large circular depression caused by the impact of a huge meteorite a long time ago. The immense pressure of the impact resulted in unusual crystallized rock and millions of microscopic diamonds. In the 13th century, these speckled stones were used to build St. George’s Church. Visitors can see the beautiful crystal deposits in its foundation and walls. Some might say it has a heavenly foundation.
The Bible talks of a different kind of heavenly foundation. The Lord Jesus came to our world from heaven (John 3:13). When He went back into heaven after His death and resurrection, He left His followers who became the “living temple” of God, of which He is the foundation. The apostle Paul says, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11).
The church building in Bavaria is built on a foundation from pieces of rock from the physical heavens. But the spiritual church—all believers in Christ—is founded on the ultimate heavenly foundation, Christ Jesus (Isa. 28:16; 1 Cor. 10:3-4). Praise God that because of what Jesus has done our salvation is secure.
The Rock of Ages will endure;
Nor can that faith be overthrown
Which rests upon the “Living Stone.” —Anon.
Stop Fighting God
Streams In The Desert
And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day (Genesis 32:24).
God is wrestling with Jacob more than Jacob is wrestling with God. It was the Son of man, the Angel of the Covenant. It was God in human form pressing down and pressing out the old Jacob life; and ere the morning broke, God had prevailed and Jacob fell with his thigh dislocated. But as he fell, he fell into the arms of God, and there he clung and wrestled, too, until the blessing came; and the new life was born and he arose from the earthly to the heavenly, the human to the divine, the natural to the supernatural. And as he went forth that morning he was a weak and broken man, but God was there instead; and the heavenly voice proclaimed, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”
Beloved, this must ever be a typical scene in every transformed life. There comes a crisis-hour to each of us, if God has called us to the highest and best, when all resources fail; when we face either ruin or something higher than we ever dreamed; when we must have infinite help from God and yet, ere we can have it, we must let something go; we must surrender completely; we must cease from our own wisdom. strength, and righteousness, and become crucified with Christ and alive in Him. God knows how to lead us up to this crisis, and He knows how to lead us through.
Is He leading you thus? Is this the meaning of your deep trial, or your difficult surroundings, or that impossible situation. or that trying place through which you cannot go without Him, and yet you have not enough of Him to give you the victory?
Oh, turn to Jacob’s God! Cast yourself helplessly at His feet. Die to your strength and wisdom in His loving arms and rise, like Jacob, into His strength and all-sufficiency. There is no way out of your hard and narrow place but at the top. You must get deliverance by rising higher and coming into a new experience with God. Oh, may it bring you into all that is meant by the revelation of the Mighty One of Jacob! There is no way out but God.
At Thy feet I fall,
Yield Thee Up My ALL,
To suffer LIVE, OR DIE
For my Lord crucified.
Don’t Be In Danger Of Judgment
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:21-22).
IDEA: To understand what Jesus is saying about the real substance of God’s righteousness, we need to keep four factors in mind as we interpret what He is saying.
PURPOSE: To help listeners read the teaching of Jesus intelligently.
What do you think Jesus is doing in Matthew 5:21ff when he talks about our needing a righteousness that goes beyond the conduct of the scribes and Pharisees? Is He giving us a more stringent set of rules to follow? Is Jesus giving us a tougher law?
To understand what Jesus is saying, we must be aware of how to listen to Him.
I. We must read what He says in the context of what He has already taught in the Sermon on the Mount:
Have you ever had something you said taken out of context? What happened?
II. We must realize that Jesus preached in Palestine in the first century.
In that oral culture, preachers and teachers loved to tell stories.
They told stories without explaining them. The parables don’t work in the same way as illustrations do.
We use illustrations to explain an abstract concept to our hearers.
The Near Eastern speaker tells a story but lets the listeners figure out the point for themselves. The listener comes to the lesson intuitively.
III. Sometimes the speakers in the first century used hyperbole to make a point.
Jesus said that we must “hate” our families before we can be his disciples (Luke 14:26). That’s strong stuff. Is Jesus saying that we must cherish harsh feelings toward those who are closest and dearest to us? What is He saying?
Later in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:29), Jesus is talking about lust, saying, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out.”
Do you think Jesus meant that literally?
Would that be helpful advice for someone addicted to pornography?
IV. Jesus wanted to pound home the principle that having a righteousness expressed in the Law isn’t merely doing the commandment as it appears on paper. Obedience lies in the spirit in how we keep the command.
If we fail to keep that in mind, we will turn what Jesus said into another set of laws.
Moses Had Faith
From; Discover The Word
“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command. By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (Hebrews 11:23-26).
Idea: Sin is disobedience to what I know God wants me to do.
Purpose: To help listeners realize that sin is often an attitude more than an act.
When I was younger, I remember evangelists taking off on a phrase in Hebrews 11:25 about Moses: “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.”
How do you think the evangelist applied the phrase “the pleasures of sin”?
I. The phrase probably isn’t referring to the indulgences of the appetites.
Notice two men who are mentioned next to each other and who had much in common: Joseph and Moses (Hebrews 11:22-23).
Joseph lived in Egypt from the time he was 17 years old. He rose to the top of the Egyptian government.
He was made the secretary of agriculture. He was in charge of all the grain in both lower and upper Egypt.
He enjoyed the perks of that position (Genesis 41:41-43).
Joseph was a wealthy man.
He had the confidence and ear of the Pharaoh.
Moses was also a man of power, wealth, and influence in Egypt.
He had the title “son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”
He had wealth and education (Acts 7:22).
II. Why do you think the writer of the letter to the Hebrews says that Moses turned his back on “the pleasures in Egypt”?
Do you think the lifestyle involved in being part of Pharaoh’s court was more wicked than in Joseph’s time?
Was Joseph’s position in Pharaoh’s court a compromise with evil?
Were the first 40 years that Moses spent as part of Pharaoh’s court lived in sinful indulgence?
III. The “pleasures of sin” would be the sin that Moses would have committed by turning his back on God’s people and God’s call.
Apostasy is choosing some value as being more important than Christ (Hebrews 10:30).
Joseph, as an official in Pharaoh’s court, protected God’s people by his position. But Moses, as an official in Pharaoh’s court, would have had to put himself in opposition to God’s people.
It isn’t necessarily wrong to be part of Pharaoh’s court, but it is a sin if God has called you to a different life or to another place.