The Theology of God’s Calling (Romans 11:29) – The Theology of Work

1.0 Introduction

God’s Call in the Person (Romans 11:29), involves Work (Secular or Sacred), Service (Ministry) and Life – Romans 11:29“For God’s Gifts and His Call are irrevocable” (NIV). God’s Calling is the demonstration of His Love and Initiative, but more, it is through Service (Ministry) that we come to an appreciation God, better.

1.1 Theology of Work

Genesis 2:15 “And the LORD God took the man (Adam) and put him into the Garden of Eden to till it and to keep it” (KJV). This involved Man’s (Adam’s) Calling (Vocation). Adam was created to work, and his work was meaningful. From the beginning it was God’s Plan that Adam worked and be a responsible Steward of God’s Creation. Adam and his Descendants, with their privileges and responsibilities were to live and move in Kingly Fashion.

  • The word “dress” (till) from a root meaning to serve.
  • The word “keep” means “to look after or to have charge of.”

Point 1:

Adam’s responsibility was in fulfilment of a need described in Genesis 2:5b “There was not a man to till the ground” (KJV).

Point 2:

God intended that work is good, noble, and excellent and is the reflection of a Partnership with God in the care of His (God’s) Creation. Thus, work is important, significant, and valued by God – 2Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”  

Point 3:

With Fall of Adam & Eve, and the entrance of Sin, work became “toilsome”Genesis 3:17-19 “And unto Adam He said, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistle shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (KJV).

Point 4:

We must never confuse work with toil or denigrate (belittle) the joy and privilege of work just because it involves toil; we must strive together for the recovery of the meaningful and joyful work.

Point 5:

Unfortunately, we have been deeply influenced by the strange notion that work is bad and should be avoided. God’s Word exhorts that the Person who is too lazy to work should not be supported – 2Thessalonians 3:10b “If any would not work, neither shall he eat” (KJV).

Point 6:

More Work – Our diligent and faithful in “small things” will be rewarded with “more work:” 

  • Luke 12:48b “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (KJV).
  • Matthew 25:29 “For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath” (KJV).

Point 7:

Work is one of the central expressions in our life as Christians, and to do well and efficiently is one of the critical aspects of our spiritual maturity – Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are Serving” (NIV).

Point 8:

Deep within the psyche of People of many cultures and societies is the notion that all which is manual is menial. People are inclined to think that work that done with our hands is less important, significant, or valuable than work that can be described as being done with the mind, such as managing, writing, speaking or teaching, which are important, nevertheless, basically, in the Body of Christ, there are two broad groupings of spiritual gifts:

  • There is the “speaking gift” – Speaking forth the “Oracles” (“Burdens”) of God – should be “God’s Word” based – 1Peter 4:11a (KJV) “If any man speaks, let him speak as the Oracles (Logia = Divine Utterances, used in the Classical) of God.”
  • There is the “serving gift” – the Person who works “behind the scenes” – helping to make the Public Ministry possible – 1Peter 4:11b (KJV) “If any man minister (serve), let him do it as of the ability which God giveth.”

Both, “the speaking gift” and “the serving gifts” are important to the Body of Christ because not everybody are Teachers or Preachers, which tends to get the “lime-light and recognition” but there are those “behind-the-scenes” service ministry in seeing that the physical aspects of the Church are in place and properly functioning. Hardly anyone ever sees the work that they do. In fact, if they do their job properly, few People even think about it; their work is taken for granted by most of the Members of the Congregation. Furthermore, in Scripture we are encouraged to work with our hands, and consistently those who are masters of a craft are celebrated, such as those who designed and created the Old Testament Tabernacle, Bezalel, a Craftsman is the first person in Scripture who is said to be filled with the Spirit (Exodus 35:30-35).

Also, the Woman of Proverbs 31 is praised as one who worked with her hands. There is probably a measured of truth in the suggestion that only as we learn to work with our hands, mastering a craft as a means of employment or as a form of recreation, are we truly integrated with our bodies – when we live entirely in our heads we may miss out on a major dimension of life.

Point 9:

Sabbath RestGenesis 2:2b-3 “On the Seventh day, God rested from all His work. And God blessed the Seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all His work of creating that He had done” (NIV). The weekly Sabbath rest is instituted, not for God because God does not need to rest, but for us. The biblical theology of work also includes the explicit call for weekly Sabbath Rest, when we set our work aside and take time for worship, fellowship, leisure, and recreation, because we are not merely Workers; we are God’s Children. Our work is never the primary expression of our identity, and through the weekly Sabbath Rest we re-establish our identity in God and in His love, acceptance, and grace toward us (Exodus 31:13-17). We violate the meaning of work when all we do is work, when we lose a rhythm and routine of work and play, work and prayer, work, and Sabbath Rest.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned

The Benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14) (Part 2)

1.3 The Grace of Christ

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is the demonstration of God’s Love for our Salvation. The word “Grace” and “Graciousness” have the same root in the Greek. “Grace” is God’s free and unmerited favour towards the undeserving and ill-deserving. The word “Grace” is frequently used in the Bible. It is mentioned more than 50 times in Paul’s letters to the Romans, Corinthians, and Ephesians. Three important facts about “Christ’s Grace:”

Christ’s Grace is intimately related to God the Father’s Love. The Law is derived from God’s Holiness, Righteousness and Goodness:

  • Christ’s Grace is from God’s Love, a manifestation of His Love, God’s Love is prepared for our hearts, but Christ’s Grace is for our Need.
  • The Purpose of Christ’s Grace is to show God’s Love. Because God Loves us, He works for us and sends His Son {Jesus} to us to accomplish the Work of Redemption so that we may receive Christ’s Grace for the Forgiveness of Sin – Ephesians 1:7 “In Him (Christ) we have Redemption through His (Christ’s) Blood, the Forgiveness of Sins, according to the riches of His (Christ’s) Grace.”
  • Everything that God does is Christ’s Grace. It is His Expression of His (Father’s) Love for us (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:5, 2:4-5, Titus 3:4).

Christ Grace is manifested in Faith. Since it is Grace, it need not be worked for; no self-work is required of us except to have Faith; in fact this Faith is also God’s impartation – Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by Grace are ye saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a Gift of God – not of works, lest any man should boast.” This is the basis and manifestation of Christ’s Grace (Romans 4:4-5; 11:6).

How is Christ’s Grace obtained? The Law was given through Moses, but Grace and Truth come through the Lord Jesus Christ – John 1:17 “For the Law was given through Moses, but Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ.”

  • The Law came to us through Angels and Moses, but Grace came through God Himself via Jesus (2Timothy 1:9-10; Ephesians 1:6; Titus 3:4; John 1:17).
  • The Law is an addendum (addition) outside Christ, but Grace is the Design in Christ.
  • Whether Christ’s Grace has been given to us in Time or Eternity, God’s Grace is received in Christ.
  • Christ’s Grace comes with Joy. The root word in Greek for Grace (Charis) and Joy (Chairo) is the same showing a close connection between Christ’s Grace and Joy; not “happiness,” as “happiness,” comes from “circumstance, situation, happenstance.”  

Believers in Christ do not only receive God’s Forgiveness of our Sin, but also other Blessings like being set free from Sin, being Protected, being Healed, and being lifted in Hope – this is “the joy of the LORD is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b).

1.4 The Love of God

In English, one word is used to express “love.” But in Greek, there are different words:

  • Erhós, refers to sexual, base, and immoral love. This word is never used in the Bible though commonly found in classical Greek.
  • Phileó, refers to human and emotional love like the love of friends, sibling, and parents – the reply of Peter to Jesus question (John 21:15-17).
  • Agapaó, refers to the noble and pure of God’s Love. The greatest expression of Love is to “give.” John 3:16 says “For God so loved (agapaó) the world that He gave His only begotten Son….” God expresses His Love for humanity by “giving” His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God the Father’s Love (Agapaó) is describes in 1Corinthians chapter 13:4-8a “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” God’s Love “cast out fear” (1John 4:18); and nothing can separate us from the Father’s Love (Romans 8:35, 37-39). God’s Love is immeasurable (Ephesians 3:18-19). God’s Love acts as “His Shield” upon us (Psalm 5:11-12). His Love cannot fail (Psalm 36:5-7). The Fruit (single) of the Spirit: “Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” – Foundational is LOVE.  

1.5 The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

The word in the Benediction “Fellowship” means “having Communion.” It signifies the kind of relationship like that of the Partnership in business, with the single purpose, to achieve the common aim. Thus “Fellowship” (koinonia) means:

  • Having Communication: The Holy Spirit by His Presence gathers all Christians together to Fellowship. He offers Spiritual Gifts to each Believer so that we might share and minister to each other, and to the World (1Peter 4:10,11; 1Corinthians 12; Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:11-16).
  • Taking Part: The Holy Spirit enables us, in 2Corinthians 8:1-5, Paul mentions that the Church of Macedonia was willingly taking part in the Work of the Saints by contributing their giving. “Taking part” is translated from the same word as “Fellowship” and “Communion.”
  • Being in Partnership: The Holy Spirit enables us, having the same aim and determination. Philippians 1:5 puts it as “Partnership in the Gospel.” This is the encouragement that all Churches should take.

1.6 Amen

“Amen” is used at the end of a Prayer. It means “let it be so” is incomplete. The term “Amen” essentially means “it is faithful” or “that is true” – Revelation 3:14b (KJV) “These things saith the Amen (Jesus), the Faithful and true Witness.” The word “Amen” appears 175 times in the Bible, 25 times in the Old Testament and 150 times in the New Testament. The word “Amen (Verily, Verily)” is used 25 times in the Gospel of John and Jesus used the word “Amen (Verily, Verily)” 101 times. The word “Amen” was used by the Children of Israel in the time of Moses. It does not only signify the end of Prayer, but also the urgent wish of the Person who Prays. A few clarifications from the Bible help us to understand the usage of the term “Amen:”

Faithful – “Amen” means “Faithful” or “Truthful” as in one of the many Sacred Names of God and our Lord Jesus Christ – Revelation 3:14 “And unto the Angel of the Church of the Laodiceans writes: These things saith the Amen, the Faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the Creation of God.” It shows that God is Faithful and Trustworthy. Deuteronomy 7:9 and Isaiah 65:16 tell us that God is the Faithful and Truthful God.

Steadfast – Since God is Faithful, His Covenant is also Steadfast. “Steadfast” in the Old Testament is one of the meanings of “Amen”

  • Isaiah 55:3 “I will make you an Everlasting Covenant, my Steadfast (Amen) sure love of David.”
  • 2 Corinthians 1:20 “For all the Promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the Glory of God by us.”

Obedient – Obedience signifies a vow, willingness. In the Old Testament, it indicates that “Amen” is also used during vow-taking. For example, in the latter part of chapter 27 of Deuteronomy, several times the word “Amen” is used as a response to indicate the willingness of the People to accept blessing/punishment. The same use of “Amen” is found in the responses by the woman and the people in Numbers chapters 5 and Nehemiah 5:12-13

Unity – The Church is the Body of Christ. Believers can express their Unity through the declaration of “Amen.” During the Service a brother/sister may lead in Prayer, but the Prayer represents the Prayer of all Members of the Body and we express our Unity by saying “Amen.”

Deep Expression – In the four Gospels, our Lord Jesus often uses “verily, verily” as an adverb to emphasize what He says. In the original “Amen” is used (Matthew 5:18, 26; Mark 3:28; 8:12; Luke 4:24; 12:37, etc)

Strong Confident – Revelation 22:20 “Amen, Come, Lord Jesus.” The “Amen” is like the Signatory on the Document – Unalterable and Unchangeable. In the same way, the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is sure, reliable, and unalterable.

1.7 Exhortation

In conclusion, the Benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14) is given at the end of each Worship Service by the Senior Pastor/Pastor to bless the Congregation, trusting that they would depart to share this blessing with their families and others. Therefore, it is beneficial for the Congregation to stay behind to receive this “Benediction-Blessing.”

The Benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14) (Part 1)

1.0 The Statement

The New Testament’s Benediction is found in 2Corinthians 13:14 – “The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God (the Father), and the Communion (Fellowship) of the Holy Spirit be with you All. Amen.”  The Greek word for “benediction” is “eulogia,” and is formed by “eu” which means “good” and “logia” which means “word.” Therefore “eulogia” means “to express good words.” The common translations of eulogia is: “Eulogy, Praise, Greetings and Benediction.” The Benediction in the Old Testament is recorded in Numbers 6:24-26. This Benediction is given when the Priest leave the Temple after Prayer. He (Priest) would stand outside, raise his hands, and blesses the People who had gathered there. His Blessing would be:

  • “The LORD blesses thee and keeps thee.” (Number 6:24).
  • “The LORD makes His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee.” (Number 6:25).
  • “The LORD lifts up His countenance upon thee and gives thee peace.” (Number 6:26).

1.1 The Old Testament

The Priestly Benediction as recorded in Numbers 6:24-26, is important to Israel and the Church:  

  • “The LORD blesses thee and keeps thee,” is the declaration of the blessing of God the Father. – The First “LORD” (Numbers 6:24) who “blesses and keeps us” corresponds with God the Father. Ephesians 1:3 says, “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.”
  • “The LORD makes His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee” is the declaration of the blessing of God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. – The Second “LORD” (Numbers 6:25) who “makes His face to shine upon us and is gracious to us” corresponds with Christ, who is “the Image of God” (2Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15). No human has looked into God the Father’s Face, but our Lord Jesus Christ, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). No one was ever so gracious as Jesus, for “Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). 
  • “The LORD lifts up His Countenance upon thee, and “gives thee Peace” is the declaration of the blessing God the Holy Spirit. – The Third “LORD” (Numbers 6:26) who “lifts up His Countenance upon us and gives us Peace” corresponds with the Holy Spirit. He is sent to lift up Jesus. Speaking of the Holy Spirit’s Ministry, Jesus teaches “He (Spirit) will glorify Me (Jesus), for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14). The “Fruit” of the Holy Spirit is “Love, Joy Peace….(Galatians 5:22-23). The Kingdom of God is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:7). The Holy Spirit lives in us and keeps us in perfect peace!

The use of “The LORD,” 3 times in Numbers 6:24-26, corresponds with God the Father, God the Son {Jesus}, and God the Holy Spirit. Thus, in the Old Testament, the three Persons in the Godhead (Father, Son {Jesus} and the Holy Spirit) is revealed in the Benediction in Numbers 6:24-26. The Benediction is asking God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit to bless, to be gracious and to give peace to His People. The Benediction in the Old Testament lets the People know that the God who is blessing them is the Highest and all Transcending God.

1.2 New Testament

2 Corinthians 13:14 (KJV) “The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you All. Amen.” The Benediction in the New Testament draws Believers closer to God and establishes a more intimate relationship by means of:

  1. The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. The Love of God the Father.
  3. The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

There is no Reconciliation and Relationship without the Redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ.   Why is “the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” put before “the Love of God” in 2Corinthians 13:14? From a theological view point the order should be reversed, but as Benediction, the order is correct:

  • It is through Jesus Christ that the Believers come into their Relationship with God the Father – John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
  • It is through Christ we receive God’s Love – Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountain shall depart and the hills be removed, but My Love shall not depart from you, nor My Covenant of Peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has Mercy on you.”
  • It is through Christ that a Believer enters a life of Fellowship (Communion) with the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 17, 26; John 15:26; John 16:13-15; 1John 2:20, 27).

Thus, Christ’s Grace than is the door through which we enter God the Father’s Love and the Fellowship (Communion) with the Holy Spirit. – Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by GRACE you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Nine Transformation Principles (Leviticus 26:1-13)

1.0 The Statement

2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) “If My people who are called by My Name and shall humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” God Promises, in His Word, that if the Nation of Israel walks in obedience to His (God’s) Word, with a worshipping attitude – Leviticus 26:3 (KJV) “If ye walk in My statutes and keep My Commandments, and do them,” the Nation of Israel will see the Manifestation of God’s transforming power and the healing of the land. There are nine pieces of evidence:

1.1 Ecological Health

“I will send you rain in its season in the season, and the ground will yield its crop and the trees of the field their fruit” (Leviticus 26:4, NIV).

1.2 Economic Health

“Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land” (Leviticus 26:5, NIV).

1.3 Personal Security

“I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down, and no one will make you afraid” (Leviticus 26:6a, NIV).

1.4 Civil Security

“I will remove the beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country” (Leviticus 26:6b, NIV).

1.5 Victory Over Enemies

“You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. Five of you will chase a hundred and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you” (Leviticus 26:7-8, NIV).

1.6 God’s Favour

“I will look on you with favour and make you fruitful and increase your members, and I will keep My covenant with you” (Leviticus 26:9, NIV).

1.7 Abundance of Provision

“You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new” (Leviticus 26:10, NIV).

1.8 God’s Provision

“I will put My dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people” (Leviticus 26:11-12, NIV).

1.9 Freedom and Respect

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt (spirit of the world – 1John 2:15-17) so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians. I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high” (Leviticus 26:13, NIV).

How to Handle an Offender (Proverbs 24:29)

1.0 The Statement

Everyone is plagued in some way by people who dislike or even hate us for one reason or another; sometimes we “make” Offenders; we alienate or offend people and they become our “Adversaries.” Their dislike may or may not be justified. Sometime people simply dislike us for no apparent reason. They may be threatened by us, differ with what we believe or have what it commonly referred to as a “personality clash.” Unwilling to live and let live, they are antagonistic toward us; they choose to live “at war” with us, sometimes overly attacking, other times waging cold war of criticism or manipulation.

There are different kinds of Offenders who assail us in various ways; but no matter how they come packaged, they are hard to cope with. And because we do not know how to handle them or our feelings about them (they make us angry, and we hit back). We let them inflict needless pain and stress on us. As they affect our live, we want to retaliate, thereby intensifying the problem.

The Book of Proverbs contains sound advise on how to handle “Offenders,” which indicates God knows we would have them. They are a part of life, an outgrowth of our basic sin nature. We cannot avoid them, but we can eliminate the influence they exert over us.

1.1 Never Seek Revenge

First, never seek revenge; we must be honest enough to admit we want to “get” at our Offenders; that we want revenge. We want to defend ourselves against further attack, hurt them back, get even and retaliate. God knows this will be our reaction:

1.1.1 God Warns

Proverbs 24:29 (KJV) “Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.” God warns us against seeking revenge because “vengeance belongs to the LORD, and He will repay it” (Romans 12:19b). If we take action into our own hands, we have step into the place of God and seek vengeance upon our Offender. What will become of us if God should render to us according to our evil works?

We need mercy at God’s hand, and shall we render nothing but rigid justice to our fellow men in direct opposition to God’s Royal Law of Love? When we revenge injuries at our own discretion, we may do hurt to our Offenders, but we do much greater hurt to ourselves; for the punishment of malice and revenge to which we expose ourselves is far worse than any vengeance which our feeble arm can inflict.

Let us therefore show ourselves to be the Disciples of Christ by loving our Offenders and recompensing evil with good. Thus, we shall “heap coals of fire upon the head of our enemies (Offenders)” (Romans 12:20-21) but following an opposite course, we heap them on our own to our destruction.

“Heap burning coals on the head” means to give a burning sense of shame. In Egyptian ritual a man purged his offence by carrying on his head a dish containing burning coal on a bed of ashes. The verse quoted is Proverbs 25:21 (LXX) but omitting the closing words and the LORD shall rewards thee. Treat our Offender kindly; this may soften his hard heart and take away his evil disposition. The best way to get rid of an Offender is to turn him into a friend (Bruce). Therefore, let good triumph over evil. 

1.1.2 God Commands

Proverbs 20:22a “Say not thou, I will recompense (repay) evil.” God commands that we must not pay evil for evil. If private revenge is allowed, it would soon fill the Land with confusion and blood. By indulging in revenge, we would be driven on to make very disproportionable returns for the wrongs done to us.

We might wreak our vengeance on the blameless as David would have done if Abigail had not disarmed his fury. We might bring upon ourselves the guilt that make ourselves miserable, in regret all the remainder of our days.

Most wisely, therefore, and graciously we are forbidden to avenge ourselves, or so much as to say that we will do it. It is a bad thing to have any thought of revenge, but if we say, or swear, that we will take satisfaction at our own hand from him who has offended us, we are entangled in a dangerous snare of the Devil who will endeavour to persuade us that our honour is doubly engaged by the provocation received, and by our word to take revenge. God, who is Perfect Justice, can handle the wrongs we suffer but we are not. Reprisal will only make things worse, so we are told not to wage any counterattacks against our Offenders.

1.1.3 Wait on the Lord

Proverbs 20:22b “But wait for the LORD.” If we suffer the wrongs done to our credit and estate to pass not taking revenge, says one person, I expose myself to every shaft of malice, and may expect still greater injuries than those I have already received. There is no fear for that because the LORD commanded us to wait for Him. We do not like to wait but demand immediate justice, instant vindication. But God commands us to wait on Him because:

  • God Promises DeliveranceProverbs 20:22cAnd He shall save (deliver) thee” – The LORD promises to deliver. We are not able deliver ourselves or save ourselves from those who have offended us.  However, if we wait on the LORD, He promises to deliver us from those who have offended us. We must forget about who have offended us and concentrate on our relationship with the LORD. When we obey, when we do what He asks us, we have victory, and the LORD is free to deal with those who have offended us without any interference from us. 
  • God Promises PeaceProverbs 16:7 “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He maketh even his enemies (Offenders) to be at peace with him.” God promises “peace” from those who have offended us –We cannot make our Offenders to be at peace with us, but God can when we relinquish control of our Offenders to Him. 

1.1.4 Control Our Emotions

Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirreth up strifes, but love covereth all sins.” Hatred does not harm our Offenders; it debilitates us. We must also control our emotions toward those who dislike us and whom we dislike. It is normal to hate someone who is making our life miserable; who does us an injustice, lies about us, hurts our feelings, or misjudged us; who undermines us to others or manipulates to put us in a bad light – Offenders do all those things and more. But no matter what our Offenders do to us we must not hate them. If we hate our Offenders, we are letting them make us to sin because Proverbs 14:21“He who despises his neighbour sins”

1.1.5 Control Our Actions

Proverbs 25:8 “Go not forth hastily to strive, lest that know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.” In dealing with our Offenders, we must squelch our inclination to overact; we need to control our actions as well as our feeling. If we wage a verbal battle against an Offender, when the time comes for us to present a legitimate argument, no one will listen, and we will be embarrassed.

1.1.6 Minister to Our Enemies

Proverbs 25:21,22 “If your enemy (Offender) is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” Instead of retaliating, hating, or railing against our Offenders, we are to minister to them; to do whatever we can to assist them because God will reward us: Difficult it may be to put into practice, we should serve our Offenders. We hurt ourselves if we fight with them; we will be blessed if we minister to them.  Our Lord Jesus Christ presented this same truth when He taught: Matthew 5:39, 44 “Do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also….Love your enemies (Offenders), and pray for those who persecute you.” The message is clear, we are never relieved of our moral responsibilities because of the way the Offender treats us. There are no limits on God’s Love and there must be no restrictions on ours. That is why God’s Word admonishes us to maintain a loving, compassionate attitude toward our Offenders, even when God deals with them on our behalf.

1.1.7 Do Not Rejoice

Proverbs 24:17-18 “Rejoice not when thine enemy (Offender) falleth and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth. Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away his wrath from him (our Offender).” The LORD commanded us not to rejoice when our Offender Falls; and do not let our heart be glad when our Offender Stumbles. This is a hard instruction. It is difficult not to cheer and clap our hands and dance around the place when our Offender Falls. Hard not to laugh and be glad inside because he finally got what was coming to him.

  • Reason – Proverbs 24:18Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away his wrath from him (our Offender).” But gloating when an Offender Falls or Stumbles displeases the LORD, and He may back off when He is intervening for our behalf and benefits. If we rejoice not, the LORD will continue to deal our Offenders, otherwise He will spare them. Difficult as it may seem, all rules of Christian conduct apply in our dealings with our Offenders, and when we follow the LORD’s Word, we will have victory over our Offenders.
  • Warning – Proverbs 17:5b “He that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.” If we rejoice over the sudden misfortune of our Offenders, we are mocking the God who has providentially visited upon them their affliction.

The Just Shall Live by His Faith (Habakkuk 3:16-19)

1.0 The Statement

Habakkuk 3:16-19 (NIV) “I heard, and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the Nation invading us. Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour (Salvation). The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music, on my stringed instruments.”

Habakkuk 3:16-19 is one of the greatest confessions of faith found anywhere in Scripture. Habakkuk faced the frightening fact that his Nation will be invaded by a merciless Enemy (Chaldeans – Habakkuk 1:6). The Prophet knows that many of the people will go into exile, and many will be slain. The land would be ruined, and Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed. Yet he tells God that he will trust Him no matter what happens! His demonstration of faith is in three areas:

1 Patient Waiting on the Lord

Habakkuk 3:16 (NIV) “I heard, and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the Nation invading us.” – If Habakkuk had depended on his feelings, he would never have made this great confession of faith:

  • Looking ahead, he saw the Nation heading for destruction, and that frightened him – “The Nation invading us” (Verse 16c, NIV).
  • When he looked within, he saw himself trembling with fear – “My heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled” (Verse 16, NIV)
  • When he looked around, he saw everything in the economy about to fall apart – “The fig tree does not bud and there no grapes on the vine,…..the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,…..there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls” (Verse 17, NIV).
  • When he looked up by faith, he saw God, and his fears is managed – “Yet I will patiently wait” (Verse 16b, NIV).

Habakkuk walks by faith (Habakkuk 2:4b “The just shall live by his faith,” KJV) by focusing on God’s Greatness and His Glory. One of the marks of faith is the willingness to wait patiently for the LORD to work: “Whosoever believes shall not act hastily” (Isaiah28:16, NKJV).

When we run ahead of God, we get into trouble – Moses failed when he tried to deliver the Nation of Israel by his own hand, ending up committing murder (Exodus 2:11-12).

God’s Wordstates: “In quietness and confidence shall be our strength” (Isaiah 30:15b; Habakkuk 3:19a “The Sovereign LORD is my strength”):

  • Habakkuk could wait patiently because he knew that God was at work in the world – Habakkuk 1:5 (NIV) “Look at the Nations and Watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even it you were told.”
  • Habakkuk prayed that God’s Work would be kept alive and strong – Habakkuk 3:2 “LORD, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”
  • God commanded Habakkuk to wait – Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV)“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, waif for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”  

God’s Promise is God’s Enablement. No matter what we see and no matter how we feel, we must rest (wait patiently) on God’s Promise and not allow ourselves to “fall apart”Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7). Whenever we find ourselves getting “up-tight” within, we can be sure that we need to stop, pray, and wait on the LORD, before we do some foolish thing. Keep in mind these three verses:

  • “Stand Still” (Exodus 14:13).
  • “Sit Still” (Ruth 3:18).
  • “Be Still” (Psalm 46:10).

2. Rejoice in the Lord

Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.” The Destruction – By the time Chaldeans was through the Land of Judah, there would not be much of value left – Habakkuk 2:17 (NIV) “The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed man’s blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.”  And Habakkuk 3:17(NIV) “The fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,…..the olive crops fails and the fields produce no food,…..there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls.

  • Buildings would be destroyed.
  • Treasures would be plundered.
  • Farms and orchards would be devastated.

The economy would have fallen apart and there would be little to sing about – Habakkuk 3:19b “For the director of music, on my stringed instruments.

  • Habakkuk’s Joy – Habakkuk discovered that God was his joy – Despite the total destruction and devastation (Habakkuk 2:17; 3:17), Habakkuk declares that he will still rejoice in the God of his Salvation (Deliverance). Here is one of the strongest demonstrations of faith in the Scriptures – Habakkuk 3:18 “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in God of my Salvation.” Habakkuk could not rejoice in the circumstances, but he could rejoice in his God!Habakkuk’s testimony reminds us of Apostle Paul’s admonition: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1Thessalonians 5:16-18).
  • Habakkuk’s Strength – Habakkuk also discovered that God was his strength, his salvation, and his song (Isaiah 12:1-2; Exodus 15:2; Psalm 118:14):His Salvation – Habakkuk 3:18b (KJV) “God of my salvation.” His Strength – Habakkuk 3:19a (KJV) “The LORD God is my strength.” His Song – Habakkuk 3:19c (KJV) “To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.”

Though Habakkuk’s heart pounded, his lips quivered, his legs trembled at the coming calamities (Habakkuk 3:16), yet the Prophet burst into song and worshipped the LORD. The LORD gives us “Song in the night” (Psalm 42:8), if we learned to wait patiently on Him and rejoice in Him.

3. Reliance on the Lord

Habakkuk 3:19a (NIV) “The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk’s heart was pounding, his lips quivered, and his legs trembled (Habakkuk 3:16), yet:

  • He could stand and be sure-footed as a Deer.
  • He was able to run swiftly and go higher than he had ever gone before.

Habakkuk’s Secret was his reliance on the LORD – “The Sovereign LORD is my strength” (Habakkuk 3:19a, NIV):

  • This is one of the reasons why God allows us to go through trails because trials draw us nearer to Him and lift us above the circumstances – Deuteronomy 32:13a (KJV) “He (God) made him ride on the high places of the earth.”
  • David experienced this when he was being chased by King Saul: “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights” (Psalm 18:32-33, NIV).
  • G. Campbell Morgan said: “Our joy is in proportion to our trust. Our trust is in proportion to our knowledge of God” (G. Campbell Morgan, “The Westminster Pulpit,” London: Pickering and Inglis, Vol.6, pg.153).

4. Summary

Habakkuk teaches us to face our doubts, fears, and questions honestly, take them humbly to God, wait for His Word to teach us, and then worship Him no matter how we feel or what we see. God does not always change our circumstances, but He can change us to meet the circumstances. That is what it means to live by faith – Habakkuk 3:4b (KJV) “The just shall live by his faith.”

Grace and Truth (John 1:17)

1.0 The Statement

John 1:17 (NKJV) “For the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” The proper understanding of “the Law through Moses” and “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” is important to our Christian walk

Moses – Old CovenantJesus – New Covenant
1. The Law is given1. Grace and Truth came
2. By or through Moses2. By or through Jesus Christ
3. The Mediator of the Old Covenant3. The Mediator of the New Covenant
4. The Law is given – to the Person4. Grace and Truth is Personified
5. To the Nation of Israel5. To the Church

John 1:17, the Law (of Moses) is not contrasted with Grace but with “Grace and Truth” in perfect balance in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. If it is “Grace” only, it may lead the Person/Church into antinomianism (antinomianism comes from two other words: “anti {against}” and “nomos {the Law}” with the danger that the Individual/Church could twist “the Grace of God into lewdness (lasciviousness) and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4b), which is apostasy (2Thessalonians 2:3a – “The Great Falling Away”); and if it is “Truth” only the danger is that the Individual/Church turns it into letterism or legalism which is the other extremes (2Corinthians 3:6 – “letter {legalism} kills”). One of the best illustrations of the balance of “Grace and Truth” in Jesus Christ is found in John 8:2-11. 

1.1 The Setting

The Scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in the very act of adultery – John 8:3a (NKJV) “Then the Scribes and Pharisees brought to Him (Jesus) a woman caught in adultery.” They brought the adulterous woman without the male Adulterer (which is against the Law – Leviticus 20:10) to Jesus as He was teaching in the Temple precincts – John 8:2, 3b (NKJV) “Now early in the morning He (Jesus) came again into the temple, and all the people came to him; and He sat down and taught them…….And they had set her (the adulterous woman) in the midst.”

1.2 The Confrontation

The Scribes and the Pharisees represented the Law of Moses – they uphold Moses by presenting the adulterous woman to Jesus (“Grace and Truth” Personified – John 1:17) and wanted to know what Jesus has to say: John 8:4, 5 (NKJV) “They said to Him (Jesus), ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the Law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” The Scribes and the Pharisees set out “to trap” and so as to accuse Jesus of not fully upholding the Mosaic Law – John 8:6a (NKJV) “This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him.” The Scribes and Pharisees professed to uphold the Law of Moses and used it against Jesus (“Grace and Truth” Personified – John 1:17). Jesus stooped down and began to write on the ground (John 8:6b); He made as though He did not hear them, as He (Jesus) knew their motives, as He knew the heart of them (John 2:24, 25). The Scribes and Pharisees kept at Jesus – John 8:7a (NKJV) “So when they continued asking Him.” Jesus stood up and challenged them: John 8:7b (NKJV) “He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘he who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Jesus stood again and continued writing on the ground (John 8:8).  

1.3 The Conviction

Jesus now gave the challenge depended on the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin on the Scribes and Pharisees (John 16:8-11). The Scribes and the Pharisees, after hearing Jesus’ challenge, were convicted in their conscience left one by one from the oldest to the last – John 8:9a (NKJV) “Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last” (Romans 2:12-16, 22a). Jesus was left with the adulterous woman, none of the Scribes and the Pharisees picked up the stone and stoned her – John 8:9b (NKJV) “And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”

1.4 Grace and Truth

The Scribes and the Pharisees were convicted by the Holy Spirit with the Law of Moses and the Law of Conscience (John 8:9b); then, Jesus stood up and saw that the Scribes and the Pharisees have all left and asked the woman: “Where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10). Although the woman was guilty of the adulterous affair, nevertheless, the Law cannot condemn her alone without the adulterous man – Leviticus 20:10b (NKJV) “The adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” The woman answered Jesus: “No one Lord!” (John 8:11a). The grand climax of this episode; here we see “Grace and Truth” Personified in Jesus – Jesus said to her: “Neither do I condemn you” (John 8:11b) – Jesus did not condemn her because she has already been judged by the Law of Moses, when the Scribes and Pharisees brought her before a Rabbi (Jesus) – Jesus spoke His Forgiveness, that is GRACE; but Jesus added: “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11c) – that is TRUTH. Grace and Truth met together in perfect balance in the Person of Jesus Christ John 1:17b (NKJV) “But grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (Psalm 85:10). This Principle is also found in the Pauline Romans Epistle: “Moreover, the Law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more; so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reigned through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord…….What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! (God forbid! KJV). How shall we who have died to sin live any longer therein” (Romans 5:20, 21; 6:1, 2, 15, NKJV); if Jesus had only said, “Neither do I condemn you,” without adding “Go and sin no more” – the woman could have taken Jesus’ statement as saying that Jesus did not condemn her for her adulterous act, and that she could go on living an adulterous lifestyle. Jesus applied both “Grace and Truth” to the woman, because Jesus is “Grace and Truth” (1John 1:17b). Grace always reigns through righteousness but is joined to Truth; Grace is never divorced from Truth – this is sound theology!!

Psalms 133 – Unity and Anointing (Part 2)

2.0 Dew on Mount Hermon

Psalm 133:3a (KJV) “Like the dew of Hermon, and like the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion.” – The Second Illustration is the Dew of Mount Hermon upon the Mountain of Zion – Mount Hermon is the highest peak in Israel, located to the extreme North of the Promised Land.  At its slopes the four tributaries of the Jordan River begin. Snowcapped much of the year, it symbolized abundant moisture, God’s Gift to the dry land. The plants survive on the dew for the long, rainless summers of Palestine. Nightly, as the temperature drops, the humility in the air condenses to provide the needed moisture for plants. Its dew is heavy, and it is this heavy dew that also falls upon the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, situated on Mount Zion (Psalm 48:2). Since the dew comes from Heaven, it too is an apt image of God’s Blessing, because the Brethren Dwell together in Unity. 

  1. The Dew typified Holy Spirit in His Reviving Power through the “Life-Giving” Word of God – Deuteronomy 32:2a (NIV) “Let my teaching fall like rain and my Word descend like dew,” God’s Blessing that brings Fruitfulness.
  2. The “Anointing Oil” and the “Dew” – remind us that “Fruitful-Unity” is not something that we “worked up” but that God sends down. According to Delitzsch “Nowhere in the whole country of Israel is so heavy dew perceptible as in the districts near to Hermon.”
  3. This abundant of Dew from Mount Hermon is carried to Zion by the cold current of air sweeping down from the north over Hermon. – Such is the value and Power of “Fruitful-Unity” of the brethren – It is Refreshing, Quickening and Invigorating!!
  4. Dew comes from above and illustrates that “Fruitful-Unity” is from God, that comes upon Zion (the General Assembly of Believers – Hebrews 12:22-23), when brethren dwell together in “Fruitful-Unity!”
  5. When the brethren in the Church dwells together in Unity, the Divine Blessing permeates the Whole Congregation – J.J. Steward Perowne (“Commentary on Psalms”) states: “It is not the refreshing nature of the dew, nor its gentle, all-pervading influence, which is the prominent feature. That which renders it to the poet’s eye so striking an image of brotherly concord, is the fact that it falls alike on both Mountain.”
  6. The “Fruitful-Unity” comes from God’s Spirit, flowing over us like Oil, and the Heavy Dew (Reviving Power & Life-Giving of the Holy Spirit), descending upon us, bringing God’s Blessing of Life
  7. Our Unity comes from the Spirit of God flowing over us like Anointing Oil, and the Heavenly Dew descending upon us, bringing God’s Blessing of Life – Eternal Life, forever and ever. It is only God’s Spirit and His Promise of Eternal Life that will break down the sin in our hearts, crucifying our selfishness, making us one. As Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is.” Now let us live in it!!

2.1 Blessing of Life

Psalm 133:3b (KJV) “For there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” – Two illustrations (Psalm 133:2-3) –  the Desired Unity is both Fragrant as Oil; and Refreshing as Dew.

  1. The quality of both the Oil and the Dew is pervasive (all-encompassing) and diffusive (widely spread).
  2. The Oil does not rest on head, but flows down upon Aaron’s beard, and to the collar; and the Dew does not remain on Hermon but flows down on the Mountain of Zion.
  3. The Holy Spirit Who is both the “Oil” (Isaiah 61:1-3; Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:9), and the “Dew” (Psalm 72:6; Hosea 6:3; 14:5), possesses and is possessed by the whole Church of God, overleaping all Racial, Social, Cultural, and Sectarian Distinction – the Life of the Holy Spirit is imparted, so the Church has “Life for Evermore” (Psalm 133:3). True Unity is an Organism, not an Organisation (Ephesians 4:11-16).
  4. The Strong Accent on God’s Initiative – “The LORD commanded the blessing.”  What is God’s Gift – “Life for Evermore!” Unity and Brotherly Harmony released God’s Blessing – “God’s Life.”  The expression: “Life for Evermore,” is not found anywhere in the Old Testament except in Daniel 12:2.
  5. “Fruitful-Unity” not only gives life to the Individual and the Church but also makes the Individual/Church “a Living Example” to the World and helps draw others to Christ.
  6. “Fruitful-Unity” Renews and Revitalize Ministry because there is less tension to sap our energy.

Thus, it is important to be connected to each other in the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:16) and allowed the Holy Spirit to produce the “Fruitful-Unity” and “Fruitful-Anointing,” which will result in Personal as well as Corporate Success – The Individual and the Church will experience the “Refreshing Presence of the LORD” (Acts 3:19) – “the Dew” of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 133:3a).

Psalms 133 – Unity and Anointing (Part 1)

1.0 The Text

Psalm 133:1-3 (KJV) “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments, like the dew of Hermon, and like the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”

1.1 Psalm 133

Psalm 133 is the 14th Psalm of the 15 “Songs of Decrees.” Most Bible Expositors agreed that Psalm 133 is a Psalm of David. Of three verses extols the pleasantness and the preciousness of the Unity of Brethren. The lessons of Psalm 133 are both appropriate and relevant to Believer/Church, today, for the Unity, which is taught, is an essential condition for those who Worship together “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). The conditions described in Psalm 133 are necessary for God’s Anointing and Blessing to the Individual/Church. The real problem of the Church is the Leaders and Members do not understand and experience “brokenness:”

  • Isaiah 66:2b (KJV) “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My Word.”
  • Psalm 34:18 (KJV) “The LORD is near unto those who are of a broken heart, and saveth such as he of a contrite spirit.”
  • Psalm 51:17 (KJV) “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.”
  • Isaiah 57:15 (KJV) “For thus saith the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and lofty place, with him also who is f a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Psalm 133 is about Unity among Believers; Commentators identify it as a Wisdom Psalm. Psalm 133 is the occasion of the uniting of all the Tribes of Israel, after seven or eight years of Civil War (2Samuel 5:1; 1Chronicles 12:38-40) – “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” It thought runs from the Definition of Unity (Psalm 133:1) to a Description of Unity (Psalm 133:2-3). Psalm 133 is a literary gem. The word “good” (towb) occurs twice:

  • Brotherly Unity is “Good” (Psalm 133:1).
  • And the flowing oil is “Good” (Psalm 133:2).  

As or like occurs twice: (a) like the good oil (Psalm 133:2); (b) and like the dew of Hermon (Psalm 133:3). Upon occurs four times: (a) upon the head; (b) upon the beard; (c) upon the skirts; (d) upon the mountains (Psalm 133:2-3). Flowing down (yárad) occurs three times, translates ran down, went down, and descended. Beard occurs twice (Psalm 133:2).

Dr. Dwight L. Moody preached a Sermon in which he noted that Christians in his day wanted influence. Instead, Moody said, what they need is Power, the Power of the Holy Spirit. This is the Power that we need to tear down the walls, freeing us to love one another again. This is the Power that we need, and it cannot be elected or bought or sold. In fact, when one man tried to buy it long ago, the Apostle Peter replied, “To hell with you and your money” (Acts 8:20, J.B. Philips). 

1.2 Unity Defined

Psalm 133:1 (KJV) “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” The premise is stated. The word “good” means fulfilling or perfect. The word “pleasant” means “delightful, lovely and beautiful,” denotes our response to being together.

  • The word “pleasant” is used in the Hebrew for the harmony of music.
  • The word “pleasant” is used in the Hebrew for the pleasantness of the corn field, when the field is filled with corns.
  • The word “pleasant” is used in the Hebrew for the sweetness of honey.

A thing or situation may be good without being pleasant or pleasant without being good. But if a pleasant thing is to be good, it must be good before it is pleasant. Fraternal concord (unity) is good in its source, nature, and effects, and pleasant to God, to us, and to others.

This Unity is not Catholicity, or Ecumenicalism or Denominational. When the New Testament says: “the dwelling of brethren also together in unity,” it speaks of the “Unity of the Faith, and the Maturity to the Full Stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13) brought about by the Fivefold Ministry Gift of the Ascended Christ, of: “Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers” (Ephesians 4:11).

The Unity declared in Psalm 133 is possible because of “the Promise of Blessing” through the Messiah’s Reign, which came at the End of Psalm 132.

The first step to Unity is “brethren dwell together” – The idea of dwelling together should probably not be taken literally. It is doubtful that the Psalmist is referring to a family living under one roof (Deuteronomy 25:5), especially in the light of Psalm 133:2, 3, we take David to be addressing the value and benefit of Spiritual Unity for God’s people.

The emphasis is not outward casual acquaintance but “brotherly love” (Hebrews 13:1) – both Individual and Corporate responsibility to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3b). True Unity is beneficial – the Fellowship is a joy for everyone, and that joy is rooted in a mutual commitment to working out difficulties and refining relationships.   Unity gives us a sense of purpose and completion that resulted in “Goodness and Pleasantness.”

1.2.1 Unity & Anointing –

The word “good” in Psalm 133:1 and the word “precious” in Psalm 133:2 are the same Hebrew word: “towb” – by using this one Hebrew word “towb” to describe both “Unity” (Psalm 133:1) and the “Anointing Oil” (Psalm 133:2) – God’s Word indicates that Unity and Anointing are inseparable and are linked – Unity and Anointing functioned together, creating the Great Synergy. 

1.2.2 Fruitfulness –

The Hebrew word “towb” which means “good” (Psalm 133:1) and “precious” (Psalm 133:2) also means “fruitfulness” – thus, the Unity spoken of in Psalm 133 is “Fruit-Producing Unity” (Psalm 133:1), and not just agreement. This Unity results in “Fruit-Producing Anointing” (Psalm 133:2). God’s Word teaches that “Fruitful-Unity,” not agreement, produces “Fruitful-Anointing” of the Holy Spirit.

1.2.3 Pleasant –

The word “pleasant” (Psalm 133:1) means “delightful, lovely and beautiful,” denotes our response to being together – it denotes the “enjoyment of each-other-company” – The word “pleasant” is used in the Hebrew for “the harmony of music; pleasantness of the corn field, when the field is filled with corns; the sweetness of honey.” Thus, when we are in unity, our relationship with one another is: “Harmonious, Pleasant and Sweet.”

1.2.4 Priestly Ministry –

Psalm 133:2b indicates Aaron in his Priestly Function, which included the Ministry of Intercession – thus, the dynamic of the “Fruitful-Unity” resulting in the “Fruitful-Anointing” that produces Effective Intercession. This releases the Spiritual Power and Authority to the Body of Christ, by the Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

1.3 Unity Explained

Psalm 133:2-3a (KJV) “It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments. Like the dew of Hermon, and like the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion.”  The emphasis on Unity is upon the Pattern of the Hebrew’s life, in which the family and tribal live in harmony with each other. David describes the Pleasantness of Unity with two poetic images. The first is “the Anointing Oil’ of the High Priests, and the second is the “Dew of Mount Hermon:”

1.3.1 Aaron’s Anointing

Psalm 133:2 (KJV) “It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments.” The first illustration is the “Anointing oil” – specifically the Anointing of Aaron, the High Priest:

  1. “It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments.” The word rendered “precious” here means “good.” The “Anointing Oil” is the sacred perfumed oil used for Anointing the High Priest (Exodus 30:23). It is poured upon Aaron’s head (Exodus 30:22-33) when consecrated to office. The oil is a type of the Holy Spirit in His Sanctifying Power. The illustration given here is not only on the fragrance of the oil (precious = good), and its abundance. The oil does not remain upon the head but flowed downward, thus sanctifying the whole body. All the Members shared the Blessing.
  2. This Anointing, which followed a ritual bath, set Aaron apart. There is reason to believe from the Anointing of David with oil and the immediate coming of the Holy Spirit upon him, that the oil represented the Blessing and Presence of God’s Spirit (1Samuel 16:13). This would also account for the singular description of the oil flowing down Aaron’s beard and “running down on the edge” (literally, “mouth”) of his garments.”  Thus, the Unity of the Brethren is like Aaron, covered with the Oil of the Spirit. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Unity (Ephesians 4:3). It is the Spirit who makes us one, levelling the walls that stand between us, as He (Spirit) Authors God’s New Creation in us and Anoints us with Himself (2Corinthians 1:21-22).
  3. The Holy Oil with which Aaron was Anointed at his Consecration into the Priesthood is a sweet-smelling compound of myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, and cassia, in olive oil. It is a unique composition, never to be imitated, and to be used for the Anointing of the High Priest and the Vessels of the Tabernacle (Exodus 30:22-33). The interpretation of the five ingredients is taken from Song of Solomon 4:12-14, which lists the nine plants and spices in the garden (heart) of the Bride of Christ, and Galatians 5:22-23, which enumerates the Nine Fruit of the Spirit that the Spirit of God cultivates in the garden of our hearts:
    • Myrrh represents “Meekness” – “Meekness” is the strength of character, a virtue that enables a person not to retaliate when offended.
    • Cinnamon typifies “Goodness” – “Goodness” is a quality of being good. The person harness himself from doing evil.
    • Calamus represents “Gentleness” – “Gentleness” is a precious virtue (1Thessalonians 2:7; Psalm 18:35; 2Timothy 2:24).
    • Cassia represents “Humility” – “Humility” is a must in order to have unity with others, because unless we have the humility of heart to prefer others before ourselves, we tend to strife (Philippians 2:3).
    • Olive Oil represents “Peace” (Genesis 8:11) – The olive branch is an International Symbol of Peace. We have peace with people around us, not having any hard feelings or offenses toward others.
    • In order to experience true Unity of the brethren, to its fullest extent, these five virtues (“Meekness, Goodness, Gentleness, Humility, and Peace”) must be worked out in every Believer’s life. Therefore, let the Members of the Body of Christ seek to cultivate these Five Virtues (Meekness, Goodness, Gentleness, Humility and Peace) of the Anointing Oil. The “Anointing Oil” is therefore very precious, just like the Unity of the Brethren!!
  4. Anointing is done at God’s Direction (Exodus 30:22-33), in His Ways, with His Authority, and any Blessing it conferred is from God. In Psalm 133:2 the threefold repetition: “running down,” “running down,” and “down” – the Hebrew uses the same verb each time – emphasises that the Blessing of Aaron’s Anointing is from above, that is, from God.  The Unity of the Brethren is compared to the Precious Anointing Oil that is poured on Aaron’s head and flowed down his whole body to the bottom of his garments. In other words, he (Aaron) is completely covered with the Anointing Oil, which represents the Anointing (James 5:4). The Lord Jesus Christ was Anointed with the Holy Spirit Without Measure (John 3:34). The Brethren who dwell in Unity will experience this Great Anointing both Individually and Corporately!
  5. The Anointing Oil of Aaron is the Blessing from God to him, but he (Aaron) is the High Priest, which mean that he in turn blessed others. The description of the Anointing Oil running down from his head-to the beard-to the skirts, suggests the blessing of Unity flows from one person to another, in the Body of Christ. 
  6. The Anointing Oil is the symbol of the Holy Spirit in His Sanctifying Power. The illustration given here is not only on the Fragrance of the Oil (Precious = Good), and its abundance but that the Anointing Oil does not remained upon the head but flowed downward, thus Sanctifying the whole Body of Christ. All the Members shared in the Anointing!!
  7. God’s Anointing breaks the yoke – Isaiah 10:27 (KJV) “The yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing” – the yoke of division, strife in the Church will be broken when God’s Anointing of the Holy Spirit flows.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

The Jethro’s Principles (Exodus 18:13-23) (Part 2)

Principle 3 -Teaches the Word

Exodus 18:20 (KJV) “And thou (Moses) should teach them Ordinances and Laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” Moses has threefold responsibilities:

  1. Teach them Ordinances and Laws – Theory (Exodus 18:20; Philippians 4:9).
  2. Show them the Way to Walk – Lifestyle (Exodus 18:20).
  3. The Work to do – Practical (Exodus 18:20; Isaiah 2:1-5; 2Timothy 2:2).

The Potential Leaders should be taught God’s Word (“Ordinances and Laws”) – 2Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for inspiration in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

  • For “doctrine” (what is right).
  • For “reproof” (what is not right).
  • For “correction” (how to get right).
  • For “instruction in righteousness” (how to stay right).

1. The Doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture is important; the Doctrine that Satan attacked since the beginning (“Yea, hath God said?”– Genesis 3:1). God’s Word is Infallible and Reliable because:

  • God is the God of Truth – Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice; a God of Truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.”
  • Jesus is “the Truth” – John 14:6 “Jesus said unto him, I am the way the Truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”
  • The Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Truth” – 1John 5:6b “And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is Truth.”
  • The Scripture is “the Word of Truth” – John 17:17 “Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy word is truth.”

2. The Holy Spirit used men of God to write the Word of God – 2Peter 1:20-21 (NKJV) “Knowing this first, that no Prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit of God does not erase the Personality of the Writers. In fact, God in His Providences prepared the Writers for the task of writing the Scriptures. Each Writer has his own distinctive style and vocabulary. Each Book of the Bible grows out of a special set of circumstances. In God’s preparation of men, in His guiding of history, and in His working through the Spirit, God brought about the miracles of the Scriptures:

  • Revelation is the communicating of truth to man by God.
  • Inspiration is the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the Bible’s Writers, which guaranteed that what they write is accurate and trustworthy. The inspiration is the recording of the communication in a way that is Infallible.

3. 2Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for inspiration in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The Word of God is profitable:

  • For “doctrine” (what is right).
  • For “reproof” (what is not right).
  • For “correction” (how to get right).
  • For “instruction in righteousness” (how to stay right).

A “born-again” Christian who studies God’s Word and applies what he learns will grow in holiness and avoid many pitfalls in this world.

4. The Word of God equips us for service (2Timothy 3:17). A person can become “a man of God” if he studies the Word of God and applies it to his life. Men of God named in the Bible were basically men of God’s Word. God’s Word:

  • Perfects – Complete, in fit shape, in fit condition. It is implies being fitted for us.
  • Furnished – Equipped for Service. In other words, God’s Word furnishes and equips the Believer so that he can be effective in God’s Work (Ministry).

The Jethro’s Principle of the Purpose of Bible Study (not Academic – Bible School for diploma/degree) is to understand Doctrines and to Equip of the Saints for the Work of the Ministry (Ephesians 4:12), so that others can come to the Knowledge of the Truth (Ephesians 4:13-16). Training based in intellectual achievements with emphasis on academic diplomas/degrees, is good and may be necessary, in the longer term, but for the current Jethro’s Principles, situations, may/may not produce the Leadership needed to win lost souls to Christ or build Growing Churches. Teach the Potential Leaders from God’s Word and Guide their lives in living out God’s Word.

Principle 4 – Shows Them the Work

Exodus 18:20 (KJV) “And thou (Moses) should teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.”

1. The Potential Leaders after they have been taught for a season must be engaged in doing – Acts 1:1b “Of all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (Marks 6:30; Ezra 7:10; Matthew 5:19). The Principles of “Do & Teach” shown in God’s Word:

  • Jesus – Acts 1:1b “Of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.
  • Prophet – Ezra 7:10 “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it. And to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.”
  • Apostles – Mark 6:30 “Then the Apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.
  • Kingdom of God – Matthew 5:19 “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandants, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

If we teach the Potential Leaders on soul-winning – then immediately sent them out to win souls. If we teach the Potential Leaders on Divine Healing and Deliverance, then they should be exposed to in the practical. This is Christ’s method of mentoring – Matthew 10:1“And when His had called unto Him His twelve Disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”

2. Jesus’ Training is on the job and short-term with both the twelve Apostles and the Seventy Disciples (Matthew 10). Jesus demonstrates what they should do, and then sent them out to do the same thing.

3. Training should be kept to about six-monthly intervals because the longer the training program, the less effective the Potential Leaders. The Trainees should be put “on the job training” to use the knowledge acquired. If necessary, the Trainees should be brought back for further training, periodically, in upgrading.

4. The Training should be 50% teaching and 50% doing. What is taught should be put into practice (doing). Keep the emphasis on practical training. The Training is bible-centred, short-term, and practical. Dedication and commitment are expected of the Potential Leaders.

Principle 5 – Transfers the Anointing

Numbers 11:16-17 (KJV) “And the LORD said unto Moses, gather unto Me Seventy men of the Elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the Elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the Tabernacle of the Congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there, and I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.”

  • Joshua – Deuteronomy 34:9 (KJV) “And Joshua, the son of Nun, was full of the Spirit of Wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him. And the children of Israel hearkened unto him and did as the Lord commanded Moses.”
  • Joshua – Numbers 27:20 (KJV) “And thou (Moses) shall put some of thine honour upon him (Joshua), that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.”

Laying on of hands for the impartation of the Anointing is an important aspect (but most neglected) Principle in Leadership Development. Without the Enabling Power (Anointing) of the Holy Spirit the Potential Leaders will find God’s Work a heavy burden. Jesus never sent a Person to represent Him without Anointing him with the Power of the Holy Spirit:

  • Matthew 10:1 (KJV) “And when He had called unto Him His twelve Disciples, He gave them Power (Authority – the Anointing) against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”
  • Luke 10:1, 18-19 (KJV) “After these things the Lord (Jesus) appointed other Seventy also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place, where He Himself would come…..And He (Jesus) said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you Power (Authority – the Anointing) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
  • Acts 1:8 (KJV) “But ye shall receive Power (Authority – the Anointing), after the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” 

Jesus began His ministry only after He had been Anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit, at His water-baptism (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10) – Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath Anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent Me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

1. A successful Leader who carries a strong Anointing of the Holy Spirit in his life should be involved in the training of Potential Leaders and pass the Anointing to them by the laying on of hands. The example of Moses – Joshua (Numbers 27:15-23; Deuteronomy 34:9); Moses – the Seventy Elders (Numbers 11:16-17); Elijah – Elisha (2Kings 2:9-15). 

2. The transference of Anointing is God’s Sovereign Act using the Person, for His (God’s) Glory, for example:

  • JoshuaNumbers 27:20 (KJV) “And thou (Moses) shalt put some of thine honour upon him (Joshua), that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.”
  • JoshuaDeuteronomy 34:9 (KJV) “And Joshua, the son of Nun, was full of the Spirit of Wisdom; for Moses, had laid his hands upon him. And the children of Israel hearkened unto him and did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
  • Seventy EldersNumbers 16-17 (KJV) “And the LORD said unto Moses, gather unto Me seventy men of the Elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the Elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the Tabernacle of the Congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there, and I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.”
  • Elisha2Kings 2:9-15a (KJV) “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit (Anointing) be upon me…..And when the sons of the Prophets, who were looking on at Jericho, saw him, they said, the spirit (Anointing) of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.

It seems in the Early Church, the Leaders and the Congregation spent times of fasting, prayer and ministering to the Lord (Acts 1:14; Acts 13:1-4). Out of such times, the Holy Spirit spoke and Anointed them, and they went out Empowered by the Spirit and successfully fulfilled their Ministries.

Principle 6 – Transfers the Burden

Exodus 18:21-22 (KJV) “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all seasons; and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge; so, shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.” Numbers 11:16-17 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto Me……the elders of Israel…..that they may stand…..with thee. And…..they shall bear the burden of the people with thee.” The burden upon Moses is too heavy (Exodus 18:14, 18). Jethro, Moses’ father-in law gives him a word of wisdom by suggesting that he (Moses) brings in a Team of “qualified men” (Exodus 18:18,19-23)

  • Jethro’s proposal is good. Moses is to organise the camp so that every 10 families rather than persons, thus following the natural tribal division, have somebody to talk to about their problems. It a ruler of 10 could not solve the problem, it could be referred to the ruler of 50, then 100, and then 1,000 (Note: Numbers 31:14, 28) indicates that the Army is organised on a similar plan (1Samuel 22:7; 1Chronicles 12). After that, it would be referred to Moses himself.
  • D.L. Moody may have had this in mind when he said: “I would rather put 10 men to work than do the work of 10 men.”
  • A system such as this would separate the simple problem (“small matter”) from the more complex matter (“greater matter”) so that Moses would be freed to be Shepherd, Official Representative and Administrator of the “Church in the Wilderness” (Acts 7:38).
  • This arrangement would also test the seriousness of the people, for not all of them would be willing to let the ruler “take their case to a higher court.”
  • It is advisable to yoke a younger Leader to an experienced older Leader in order to bring forth patience endurance of the younger Leader.
  • Look out for the person who reaches out for responsibility and accountability rather than authority because authority without responsibility and accountability damages God’s work and His people – Not Lordship1Peter 5:2-3 “Feed (shepherd) the flock of God….Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.” God makes us Overseers over His flock (Acts 20:28; 1Peter 5:2) and we are not to be lording over His flock (1Peter 5:3). Leadership position should be used to teach, bless, heal the broken-hearted, break bondage, and restoration (Luke 4:18).
  • Responsibilities of Rulers – Exodus 18:21 (KJV) ““Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” Men who have been placed over to rule (rule = standing as example) God’s people must demonstrate that they have:
    • Rule over their own spirit (Proverbs 16:32; 25:28).
    • Rule over their own household (1Timothy 3:4, 11; Titus 1:6; Abraham – Genesis 18:19; Joshua – Joshua 24:15).
    • Rule over the House of God (1Timothy 1:5).
  • Placed as Leaders to lead and rule over the thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, according to one’s ability to handle (Note: Some have rejected the Jethro’s Principle because it is given by Moses’ father-in-law, and that, if the advice is taken literally, there would have been 78,600, judges in all, over the Nation of Israel).
  • Judges – Men able to always judge the people (Exodus 18:22; Deuteronomy 1:16-17). Discernment not critical is needed. Give good counsel, and answers to the problems, insight, decisions based on principle of God’s laws, not poor judgement:
    • Judge with justice (Isaiah 1:17; Deuteronomy 1:16).
    • Judge with mercy (Psalm 101:1).
    • Judge without partiality or favouritism (Proverbs 24:23; Deuteronomy 1:17).
    • Judge beyond natural sense (Isaiah 11:1-5).
    • Judge with knowledge, understanding and wisdom (2Chronicles 1:7-12; Deuteronomy 1:13).
    • Men to bear the burden with Moses (Exodus 18:14-18, 22; Numbers 11:11-17).
    • Men with the same spirit upon them (Exodus 18:25; Numbers 11:16,17; 1Corinthians 1:10; Psalm 133).
  • Since Israel is a strong patriarchal society, the emphasis is on men, but throughout Scripture, the Lord called and used many gifted women to serve Him and His people.
  • Moses’ Responsibilities – Exodus 18:19b-20 (KJV) “Be thou for the people to Godward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God. And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.”
    • Moses is to represent the people before God, interceding and seeking God’s direction in the difficult cases – “Be thou for the people to Godward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God” (Exodus 18:19b, KJV). 
    • Moses has threefold responsibilities – “And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do” (Exodus 18:20):
      • Teach them Ordinances and Laws – Theory (Exodus 18:20; Philippians 4:9).
      • Show them the way to walk – Lifestyle (Exodus 18:20).
      • The Work to do – Practical (Exodus 18:20; Isaiah 2:1-5; 2Timothy 2:2).
    • The measure of ability and commitment is the measure of responsibility, which becomes the measure of authority and the measure of the person’s accountability. The person only has authority where he has responsibility and commitment. The Jethro’s Principle illustrates the “Team Ministry” under Moses.