“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour and life.” Proverbs 22.4
When I was in Bible College, we used to jokingly say to our friends, “Have you read my new book, Humility and How I Obtained It?” We were joking about something about which we knew very little. Humility is not something about which any Christian should make jokes. As the verse above states, it is a significant part of a life of intentional service for Christ.
So what is humility? May I suggest that humility is realizing who I am and in Whose sight I am living? How can any child of God view himself in any other way than humble when he realizes that the Creator God of heaven and earth made the choice to redeem him through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ? How does that make one rich, as the verse states? We are rich through our RELATIONSHIP with God through Christ. We are rich in the promise we cling to of an eternal RESIDENCE in heaven. We are rich in the REALIZATION that the immutable God who saved us will keep us without fail. The list is almost limitless.
The PROMISE FOUND in these words should lift one’s spirit today. “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.” When I see God for who He really is (the fear of the Lord), I am promised (1) riches, and (2) honour and (3) life. Another translation reads like this: “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” We are honored by God if we never find honor among men. It does not matter how this world sees us as long as we are walking in humility before God and we fear Him in the true sense of that word.
This word life can hold so many thoughts. But I want to focus our attention on the promise of everlasting life. What greater honor can God bestow upon His children that giving them the PROMISE and POSSESSION of everlasting? I can think of nothing greater. Just my thoughts …
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3.16
I am constantly amazed at the way people who are professing believers characterize God. Instead of viewing Him as a loving Heavenly Father, they characterize Him as some despot in some far off place who is waiting to zap one of His children if they step out of line. That may seem a little harsh to some, but over the years I have heard that concept suggested more than once.
So, what is John telling us here in this verse? He is telling us how we RECOGNIZE the love of God. “He laid down his life for us … ” If there were ever a question about HOW MUCH God loves us, that question was answered at Calvary. A kindred verse with this one is John 3.16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Some times we quote that verse from memory with little thought for what we have just said. What more could God the Father do to demonstrate His love for us? He only had ONE son and He sent him to DIE for my sin and your sin. The question that we as God’s children must never ask is this, “I wonder how much God loves me?” His love cannot be measured.
A little boy was playing while his father was reading the paper. He went over to where his dad was sitting and tugged on the paper and said, “Daddy, I love you a hundred dollar’s worth.” That was the largest amount of money he could imagine. He went back to playing. In a little bit, he went back over to his dad again, tugged on the paper again, and said, “Daddy I love you a hundred miles worth.” That was the greatest measure he could think of. After playing a few minutes more, he went back to his dad one more time, tugging on the paper. This time he said, “Daddy, I love you SO much.” That could not be measured. Then he was happy and went on playing.
God SO loved the world … you and me … and that love cannot be measured. Just my thoughts…
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5.8
This whole week our hearts and minds have been on the crucifixion and resurrection if Christ. If someone were to ask “Which one is more important?” I would have to say that you cannot separate them one from the other. Both Christ’s death AND His resurrection are essential for the plan of salvation to be completed. IF He only dies, then the grave wins and Satan says, “I win!” But praise the Lord on the third day Christ AROSE.
The verse above gives us one of the clearest declarations of God’s love for us. It was because of God’s love that He sends our way that Christ went to the cross. And that display of God’s love was done “while we were yet sinners.” Make no mistake; God did not save us because we are somehow worthy of being saved. He saved us because He loves us and the perfect sacrifice was made in His Son.
The thing about which you and I must be concerned is this; is what are we doing TODAY show God and the watching world that we love Him and He has made such a difference in us that others want to change their lives because they see Jesus in us? As we work our way through this Easter weekend, let’s pay special attention to the opportunities that God provides us to be a verbal witness to those whom we encounter.
There must be no hypocrisy such as that displayed by the Pharisees in the New Testament. They were all concerned about how they LOOKED to those who were watching. Jesus called them “whited sepulchers” and said they were full of dead men’s bones. Take a moment, bow your head, give your all into the hands of God’s Holy Spirit and watch what God can do through you. Just my thoughts …
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6.23
I remember my first job. I started passing papers for the Cincinnati Enquirer. It was a morning paper that meant I had to get up pretty early to deliver the papers. I was excited to be receiving an income, although it was somewhat meager. I liked having a “wage” coming in. My first regular job was working in a shoe store. And again, I appreciated a wage after I had finished my work.
Funny thing about Satan, he says he is going to pay a wage to all who spend their entire life serving him. But I am afraid most people who are serving him haven’t really thought the “wages of sin.” The verse written above says that the wage Satan is offering is death.
This is a very special weekend in the lives of many people. Some churches offer a Good Friday service for those who want to attend. It has been my experience over the years that many people who don’t normally attend church like to attend Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Here is a bit of information that they need to think about. Satan doesn’t really care if you attend church – Good Friday, Easter, Christmas – as long as you don’t get radical and begin believing that God can change your life for the better. Satan doesn’t even care if you read the Bible, as long as it never changes you.
Now let me ask a question. Would you rather receive a wage that promises to send you into a Christless eternity or a gift that will guarantee a place in heaven because you have received eternal life? This GIFT of eternal life is what Christ is offering to all those who will take the time to hear the message of hope that brings eternal life.
I don’t understand how someone can hear the gospel message of hope and then reject it because they want to go on enjoying their life of sin. The greatest GIFT I have ever received in ETERNAL LIFE and want to do all in my power to help others enjoy that gift too. Just my thoughts …
“On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, (13) Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet Him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” John 12.12-13
Most of us know what a “fickle crowd” is. They act one was at one moment, and then do the exact opposite the next moment. The “much people” mentioned in the verse above would certainly fit the mold of a “fickle crowd.” On Sunday – Palm Sunday, named for the branches of palm trees that were used to welcome Jesus to Jerusalem – shouted His praise on Sunday, but on the next Wednesday they shouted “Crucify Him” (John 19.6). That is a dramatic change if I have ever seen one.
I would quickly acknowledge that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were the ones responsible for calling for His crucifixion. They were the ones who worked the crowd up into a frenzy. Look at their praise: “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Here they were recognizing that Jesus really was the King of the Jews. He was who Pilate said He was: “king of the Jews”. (John 18.33)
Let’s step away for a moment from this scene over 2000 years ago and ask ourselves this question: “How do I treat Jesus in my daily life? Do I live as though He is REALLY the king of my life?” There is a great old hymn whose words to the first verse and chorus go like this:
King of my life, I crown Thee now,
Thine shall the glory be;
Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow,
Lead me to Calvary
Lest I forget Gethsemane;
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.
What needs to change in your life and mine before He actually becomes the king of our lives? Could it be absolute surrender to His ultimate and absolute lordship in our lives? Something to think about! Just my thoughts …
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5.1
“Stand fast … ” What does that mean? We might say something like, “Fasten your seat belt.” Or “Don’t let anyone push you away from what you know you believe.” It is interesting to take note of Paul’s context here. He is telling us to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free … ”How is it that we have freedom or liberty in Christ? Paul is warning the Galatian believers against going backward in their faith rather than forward.
The Galatian believers were struggling with going back under some of the things that the Law required of them before they were Christ followers. The liberty of which Paul spoke was the liberty found in Christ to live without the burdens of the Law. Remember that John records for us these words: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8.32)
When you and I follow the words of Jesus, we are FREE. Remember that “ … the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1.17) Matthew records these words of Jesus: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5.17)
There is a great closing line in this verse: “ … be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Once we turn loose of things that held us back from knowing Christ and/or serving Christ, we must never go back to them. When Christ saved us, He saved us FROM our sins to a liberty that can only be FOUND in Him. Let us ENJOY the freedom we have in Christ and never look back at the “yoke of bondage” that enslaved us. Just my thoughts …
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” John 7.38-39
Jesus is speaking here in the Temple area to those who would take time to hear Him. He states at the very outset that His remarks are for a particular group of people: “He that believes on me … ” So His comments are directed particularly to those who had already made the decision to follow Him.
But what was the special element in these remarks that would peak anyone’s interest? I believe it is found in v. 39: “ … this spake he of the Spirit … ” The day of Pentecost had not yet occurred (as we see happening in Acts 2). So while the Holy Spirit had appeared for specific purposes to empower some in the Old Testament, His permanent dwelling place in the hearts of believers had not yet occurred.
Jesus continues with: “ … which they that believe on him should receive:” Here was clearly a promise to which they could look forward. We read these words in John 20.22: “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:” He has already told His disciples that He would not leave them comfortless. I believe these men received the Holy Spirit at this time, based on the tense of the verb used here, which means that it should happen at once.
When Jesus ascends back to heaven then He will send the Holy Spirit to every believers, but these men were special to Him. The one thing you and I can count on today is the ever-abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Let’s allow this “river of living water” to flow through our lives and allow Him to affect others through us. Just my thoughts …