AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH September 19,, 2010
A Presbyterian Church,
Following the Bible without Qualification,
the Lord Jesus Christ
EATING THE WORD IS FAR FROM, ABSURD!
Ezekiel 2-3, Mark 1,I Corinthians 12:13
EAT THE WORD, DIGEST THE TRUTH, AND APPLY IT
Ezekiel was one of the prophets at work immediately before the destruction of Jerusalem. Commanded, as seen in Ch. 2, to speak to Israel, deemed "a rebellious nation", "stiff-faced and hard-hearted", or unbending and blatant, or impudent and ornery. They kept their faces from repentance, set on sin, and their hearts from softening, set in stone. To God, they would not listen, from evil they would not relent, from transgression they would not repent.
Hence Ezekiel, being set on his feet, was sent to them to speak the word of God to them, "whether they hear or whether they refuse," and "they will know a prophet has been among them." Ezekiel for his part was not to be afraid of them, or their words, "though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions", but speak to them the word of God; and indeed it was God who would act for Ezekiel:
"Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead, so do not be afraid of them,
nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house."
Amidst these things in Ezekiel 2-3, we find at 3:1-5, that the prophet is asked to EAT the scroll of God's words, and then go to the people to speak.
"Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with the scroll that I have you."
Ezekiel ate it and it was "like honey for sweetness." Thus the interest of God is love and mercy (as in Ezekiel 33:11, Micah 7:19ff.), and to be near His word with, as for Ezekiel, a BELIEVING HEART IS SWEETNESS; but as you see in Revelation 10:8ff., when John ate "the little book", it became bitter in the stomach. That is, in both cases, though the love of God is moving to select and find His people among so many, yet the wild-minded, hard-hearted response leaves only judgment, which is bitter, to come.
As is the whole world of today, now declining into the condition shown as Revelation moves towards its end, so then in Ezekiel's day, was the case for Judah and the Temple. It was terminal with hope. Now the whole world is terminal with an end in view.
Then, misused, religion became an incubus, and equipped with idolatry, as now, it became a ground of judgment. It is not false prophets who make a nation great, but rather ruin it (Jeremiah 23).
Those now sent,
invent gods who do not acknowledge the Bible and Jesus Christ
or worship bread,
as in Mass - far from physically being His body,
or else manufacture new evasions:
are a wake for judgment.
As to the bread, it is statedly IN REMEMBRANCE of Him. More is invention. Nor do the other false prophets fare better, who have spiritual blooms substituting for the second coming personally of the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, who is to return in a way like that in which He went (Acts 1): after the sufferings, the glory! Some churches want to re-create creation, some salvation, some spiritual affairs, with multiple baptisms of the Spirit (never BIBLICALLY mentioned, though many infillings indeed occur - Acts 3:19-21). Thus are the pilgrims renewed and strengthened on the way, granted seasons of refreshing as the word of God declares.
As with Israel then, there seems no limit to human invention and contention, the brow hard like rock, the heart set in its own prison. Yet instead of this, man needs not to play with the word of God, add adulterants and needless preservatives to it, toy with toppings for it, but to eat it, taking it in the intimacies of his mouth, into his system, using it for life, and personally being filled with it. INGEST, DIGEST and APPLY, this is the need.
THE EATING OF ROLLS AND SCROLLS - Ezekiel 2-3
It is then, the word of God which is to be eaten, not spiritual fast food. You see that in Revelation 5, where history itself paused until one was found to open the scroll for which they all waited, and ONLY THE LAMB OF GOD could open it, and did. Then it rolled. Then history was unveiled, with judgment at first and heaven the haven at last. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar, says Proverbs 30:6. But how "eat" the scroll ?
Like a roll, you eat it with your mouth, chew it with your teeth, digest it into your system, and using the energy derived, apply it with your life. It is the sweetness of love which has prepared the food, and love is the keynote to communication between God and man, except that when the offer of love is rejected, and the hard heart of man is exhausted in its travails, resisting mercy to the death, then judgment supervenes. This world is now full of it, a thing some, in their privileged nations, do not yet realise. Yet even now, these with things like massive floods hit the headlines, touching tens of millions, and famines wreak havoc in the earth, slaying millions more, while atomic bombs bring fear to many (foretold in Luke 21:26), from the hands of religious godlessness. Threats of extinction come from the lips of the deluded, like a vile vomit of hatred. You cannot plunge your teeth into and infest your inward life with what derides, degrades or dismisses Jesus Christ without bringing shame on your own name, as you show shame for his. There is no scope for compromise or equivocation.
This is where President Obama has so misled his people. You cannot serve two masters.
"Either he will hate the one, and love the other;
or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other,"
Matthew 6:24, as in Luke 16:13). You cannot make much of Islam, which rejects Christ as the Son of God, Redeemer required for man, place of pardon and Judge, call the Koran a Holy Book amid much congratulation, and then expect such sharing of shame to be called righteousness.
If someone calls your wife a slut, is this to be a source of agreement ? If someone says she is NOT what she seems, and that her name is wrongly held in high esteem, in fact not true in what she claims, that her reputation is based on what is not fact: do you then hold out the hands of peace, and call such words holy! God forbid. President Obama is now talking about Ephesians 4 where it says that all bitterness should depart, amid the Christian family, who indeed should likewise "put on the new man", as testimony of their knowing the Lord. While it is true that bitterness is not to the point, and that love expands beyond the body of Christ, since it is like that, yet the rules of life in Christ are not the same as those concerning wolves who gobble up His people, or defame the name of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. That is what is done systematically in the Koran.
Hatred of man yields to love of man, indeed; but aversion to those things which defile the name of Christ must not stop with emotion, but rather must the flock be protected, not by anointing with accolade what assaults Christ, but by seeking the good of its people while rejecting the wrong recipe for this end, with strength, addressed with personal integrity. For the difference, the sin of misled priests and their invading adherents, as to MEANS, Christ died; for their pardon, He lives, but when it is rejected and defamed as with Islam, even to adopt, or respect or dignify or exalt or honour it, let alone call it holy, this becomes betrayal of Christ. No calling can countermand this: a good leader is first led, and one fair to all does not cease to be a person whose values will speak as loudly from throne as from coal mine.
It is indeed true that we should LOVE Moslems and seek their good. In this, Obama is of course right; but it is equally true that these verses for Christians by no means require us to cease to denounce the evils, show their errors, attest the truth which condemns Islam, as Christians, and reject whatever advances its efforts to show itself powerful, its dominating preoccupation and danger. Many are its incitations to victory in war till Allah has sway (cf. Divine Agenda Ch. 6, a thing so well attested in Robert Spencer's work, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam). As with Ezekiel, as with Christ in Luke 9:23-26, there is a word of God and there is no other, and whether you dwell with scorpions (Ezekiel 2:6), or "savage wolves" (Acts 20:29, Matthew 7:15)), you do not relent, but adhere to it, apply it and exalt CHRIST ONLY as pre-eminent (Phil. 2:8-11). As with Paul, cast down imaginations, bringing every thought into captivity to Christ!
This is very different from being captivated by Islam, or unfactually singing its praises as a religion of peace which nearly took over Europe by force. By all means allow freedom, and seek the good of all, whether of Islam or Hinduism or other; but let there be no yielding on the part of any who names the name of Christ, and no ostentation towards such things on the part of any nation which seeks to honour Him (whatever pockets of this and that may be in it), without this simple realisation. For the individual, this means HIS shame on you at judgment; and for the nation, you are engaging in seeking that it be NOT exalted. Righteousness exalts a nation, and God, the God of the Bible is its definition. Truth IS intolerant of error; but this does not mean that love relaxes its hold in grace, merely that deception does not have an entry into any Christian heart, and what a nation resolves to BE, becomes what it is going to BECOME! There then is its base for judgment.
Like a salad ROLL, so the SCROLL, the word of God, and nothing else or other, is to be chewed, meditated on, and digested, assimilated into thought and applied, realised into life. You must regard it, whether President or pauper, as the word of God, distinctive, His, unmoulded by time, uneroded by compromise, unmarred by qualification and synthesis, like bread mixed with blood or dirt, and so act, loving your enemies indeed, but NEVER joining with them in principle or practice, in their contrary ways. You must be fair to all, but join in deed, word and spirit only with those who are His, and thus keep His words. It is not enough to cite His words; their tang should make them felt, and with their energy one should always speak distinctively as a Christian, though scorpions, or loss of votes, be the result.
THE SET TIME - Mark 1:15
When Christ Himself came to His ministry, after being 40 days in the wilderness, fasting and with wild beasts, tempted, choosing aright, He came out declaring that "the set time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel," (Mark 1:15).
There are many words designating time in Greek, but the one here chosen has a special force (kairos). It may be rendered as "a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for".
It was in fact that set time given by Daniel. Just as Jeremiah declared to Judah there would be 70 years of Babylonian exile for its sins, so Daniel in 9:24ff. said there would be times measured in sevens for each one, till Christ the Messiah died, being cut off, with nothing left for Him. As in Isaiah 53:1-6, this was because on Him would be laid the sins of all restored by Him. Thus we now had seven league boots, and history was to be seen in 69 of these groups of 7 years: then would the Messiah come.
That 483 years leads (as in Christ, the Citadel Ch. 2), to a date of approximately AD 26. In the middle of the remaining time (as there were 70 groups of 7, there was one left, and this 'midst' then meant three and one half years later, half of seven - and that space in fact appears the time of Christ's actual ministry), the sacrifices would cease. Indeed as Christ died, the very veil of the temple was torn asunder (Matthew 27:51), ending the divine authorisation for temple sacrifice, because of the final sacrifice in ONE PERSON, for ALL TIME, in Jesus the Christ (Hebrew 7-10). The 70 lots of seven given by Daniel, these had a starting point: they were set from the time of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, so enabling the dating of Christ's coming.
Thus just as He knew that the APPOINTED TIME, when things were brought to crisis, the KAIROS had come, so also Christ acted. Firstly, He made Himself ready in the temptation; then He ANNOUNCED the SET TIME had come. Thirdly, He demonstrated it in His power and vast healings which set the nation alight, as did His words and His dynamic in all to which He was sent, fulfilling all the specifications made for the Messiah in the Old Testament prophets (who, amazingly, despite his rejection of Christ as Lord, Muhammad deems people sent from God! a real misled muddle in that prophet!).
Thus not only had the set time come, as Christ announced, but He SHOWED that it had done so in power, in sacrifice and in service. In declaring the kingdom of God was at hand, He was announcing the new epoch where the Gospel would indeed be preached to the poor (Isaiah 61), and the scope remaining for the exhibition of God Almighty on earth, would now know no change: for it would be of Him, and from Him, set at nought though He was. HIS. as Daniel declared. is the Kingdom which does not fail or end (Daniel 7:25), and to Him will all nations bow (Daniel 7:13-14).In this, it is categorically unlike all other empires and kingdoms.
His has come to save; He will come to judge (Acts 17:31). In the meantime, however, He must not be set at nought by any Christian, be he leader or other, nor must any congratulate what sets Him at nought, in this crucial feature, that it removes His authenticity, revokes His testimony, alters His word or makes a new 'Christ' who has nothing in history: one who issues from the mind of someone 600 or so years later, or from any other mind of today, a season abounding as Christ predicted, with false prophets (Matthew 24:24). Just as such errors are vast, so is any other meander from the SET TIME OF CHRIST. The kingdom is at hand, has no further events before it is consummated, is in His name, and HE has bought the pardon which brings one freely within it (Matthew 20:28). There is no other (Acts 4:11-12), though all the world is seeking something synthetic, or false, untested, unproven, the word of man. Of all of this beware!
THIS, the word of God, and not another, it must be chewed, meditated on and realised to the uttermost. It must be appreciated, for by Him, we who are His, LIVE.
THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT - I Corinthians 12:13
Finally, let us realise that when Christ was once baptised, John the Baptist protested that he should be baptised by Christ, not vice versa. However, the anointing of the priest was a solemn Old Testament practice (Numbers 8), and so it was done, and the Holy Spirit like a dove anointed Him, while His Father spoke from heaven, identifying Him as His beloved Son. Indeed, in the transfiguration (Matthew 17), He was not only identified, but this was added from the Father: "HEAR HIM!"
In parallel, John the Baptist had indicated (Matthew 2) that though he baptised with water, the Messiah coming, would baptise with the Spirit. This is that confirming power and grace given, like energy from bread, sent from the Father by the Son (John 15:26), and this spiritual baptism as in I Corinthians 12:13 BRINGS ONE INTO THE BODY of Christ. As with other baptism, it is a code for coming into the covenant, but this time, expressed with life-giving power in the name of Christ. It is never specified as repetitive, as shown above, merely being a ONCE for all thing like water baptism; and there is none who is a Christian, who does not have the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9).
This acknowledged, however, and fanciful multiplications displaced, let us rejoice that as the word is food, so the Spirit brings water (John 4:14, 7:37ff.). Thus is our thirst quenched because of Christ, balm applied by the Spirit, grace given with power to act. EAT the word of God: the Spirit strengthens you with might in the inner person, to apply it, and encouraging you, brings love, joy and peace. No less does the Lord bring faithfulness, which all Christians must highly esteem, as that of Peter and John (Acts 3-4), in confronting misled priests with their false doctrine, with the courage of lions. In this, they did not wound, but themselves were whipped. WHO then suffered! Christ does not authorise violence against others in His name: this is left to those who, lacking truth, use force instead. Rejoice therefore in the Lord, being steadfast and immovable, full of faith and His Spirit, forgiving but not forgetting whose you are: in the truth. STAND and remain standing. Eat the word of God and live by it, in Him whose it is.
Finally, let us realise that when Christ was baptised, though John the Baptist protested that he should be baptised by Christ, not vice versa. However, the anointing of the priest was a solemn Old Testament practice, and so it was done, and the Holy Spirit like a dove anointed Him, while His Father spoke from heaven, identifying Him as His beloved Son. Indeed, in the transfiguration (Matthew 17), He was not only identified, but this was added from the Father: "HEAR HIM!"
In parallel, John the Baptist had indicated (Matthew 3:11) that though he baptised with water, the Messiah coming, would baptise with the Spirit. This is that confirming power and grace given, like energy from bread, sent from the Father by the Son (John 15:26), and this spiritual baptism as in I Corinthians 12:13, BRINGS ONE INTO THE BODY of Christ. As with other baptism, it is a code for coming into the covenant, but this time, expressed with life-giving power in the name of Christ. It is never specified as repetitive, as shown above, merely being a ONCE for all thing like water baptism, and there is none who is a Christian, who does not have the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9).
This acknowledged, however, and fanciful multiplications displaced, let us rejoice that as the word is food, so the Spirit brings water (John 4:14, 7:37ff.). Thus is our thirst quenched because of Christ, balm applied by the Spirit, grace given with power to act. EAT the word of God: the Spirit strengthens you with might in the inner person, to apply it, and encouraging you, brings love, joy and peace. No less does the Lord bring faithfulness, which all Christians must highly esteem, as that of Peter and John (Acts 3-4), in confronting misled priests with their false doctrine, with the courage of lions. In this, they did not wound, but themselves were whipped. WHO then suffered! Christ does not authorise violence against others in His name: this is left to those who, lacking truth, use force instead. Rejoice therefore in the Lord, being steadfast and immovable, full of faith and His Spirit, forgiving but not forgetting whose you are: in the truth. STAND and remain standing. Eat the word of God and live by it, in Him whose it is..