"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Thursday, April 11, 2024

WISDOM GLEANINGS FROM PROVERBS:

Hearing and Applying the Written Word of Truth

PROVERBS 22:17-21

INTRODUCTION: In a day and age in which the very existence of truth is doubted or relegated to nothing more than relative truth (“What’s true for you isn’t true for me”, and vice versa), we face the challenge of shining the light of GOD’s Truth revealed in His Word before this dark world.

Shining this light is more than reading the Bible, but knowing GOD and His Word, having studied it, with the intent of living it out. It’s in the living out of GOD’s Word that we shine the brightest. We can do so confidently with all assurance and be completely narrow-minded only because GOD has the monopoly on truth, and He is eager to share with those who are searching for and those who love the truth!

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Friday, April 5, 2024

PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS: MATTHEW 25:1—13

PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS


MATTHEW 25:1—13

For more on MATTHEW 25, check out this expositional treatment from our TTUF study on the book of MATTHEW!

To watch the video teaching on Facebook, click here.

Why Did JESUS speak in parables?

Parables are good teaching aids but only to those who desire and love the truth; the LORD Jesus spoke in parables to illustrate truth to truth lovers.
To those who reject truth, declared by Him Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, the Messiah, parables are both a judgment and a mercy.
A judgment because parables bar any truth-rejecters from receiving more truth; it denies them any greater revelations from GOD. This is however also a mercy, in that even greater and more severe judgment would come upon them if they DID receive more truth and rejected it as well (the LORD Jesus explains all this in MATT 13:10-17)!

MATTHEW 25:1-4
1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 "Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 "Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them. 4 "but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps
.

The subject in this chapter is the Kingdom of Heaven. Specific to this particular parable is the matter of shining the Light while on the way to the wedding of the Lamb, but who are these ten virgins?

From the Jamieson Fawcett and Brown commentary we have the following:
“[these]…virgin attendants [for the] Bride, who go forth at night with lamps and are ready for the appearance of the Bridegroom, conduct the Bride to his house and go in with him to the marriage.
“…But as in the parable of the Marriage Supper, the Bride [herself] doesn’t come into view at all... The virgins and the Bridegroom [hold]… all the intended instruction: … believers couldn’t be represented both as Bride and Bridal Attendants without incongruity.”
In my opinion these ten represent Israel – those who will come to know and express saving faith that the Messiah is Y’shua (those with oil in their lamps), and those who do not express faith (who have no oil). The conduct of this bridal party that meets the bridegroom is very traditional in Jewish customs. And these ten brides maids lead the bride to her bridegroom.

The bride of Christ, which is the church (2 COR 11:2) has indeed been led to her bridegroom (Christ Jesus Himself; LK 5:34-35) by Israel. How so? Through the holy revelation that GOD inspired through Israel’s prophets that testified of the coming Messiah who would be a “light to the Gentiles” (ISA 42:6), Who is Himself the Son of Abraham, the Son of David. However I think the identity of these ten virgins isn’t as important as the lesson they teach us!

These ten virgins are divided into two groups: five of them were wise, and five were foolish. What made them different? It wasn’t only that the wise had oil in their lamps, and five did not. The wise also brought “vessels with their lamps” both of which were full of oil. They brought a backup supply of oil!

The wise would be able to shine the light of their lamps for an extended period of time, anticipating that it could be a long while before the bridegroom appears. So they need to faithfully keep their lamps shining. That shows spiritual wisdom, faith, foresight; it demonstrates proper preparation, patience and watchful diligence. The foolish exhibited none of these qualities, and the light from their lamps, at best, without oil would be short lived. They’d be left in darkness! King Solomon declared:
ECCLESIASTES 2:13
Then I saw that wisdom excels foolishness [just] as light excels darkness.
MATTHEW 25:5-7
5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.


These five virgins without oil aren’t exactly scoffers. But like scoffers, they fail to shine the light, to watch and pray, and are in danger of becoming scoffers themselves. Scoffers believe the LORD is delaying, He’s slack in His coming, and they mock the idea of His Second Advent (2 PET 3:4-9).

Their response to this perceived “delay” brings about a terrible witness: they say, “my Master delays His coming”. Then what? In MATT 24 they “began abusing their fellow servants”, they took part in drunkenness: “under the influence not just of wine” but of the world, [watch for the idea of “drunkenness and soberness” in a bit in 1 THESS 5]). They think the worst of the LORD, that He is uncaring or ‘too late in coming’.
2 PETER 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
The LORD isn’t slack, He is suffering long (patient!), wanting all to come to repentance.
And as He suffers long, delaying His arrival to judge unrepentant sinners, to end the reign of evil, He currently seeks to save the lost. And we are to remain watchful, prayerful, and faithful in shining GOD’s Light of Gospel truth:
The LORD said in MARK 13:32-33
32 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 "Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is
.
Heed” – to be aware, perceive, ‘to understand the times’; know what’s going on prophetically!
Watch” – sleeplessness [in the context of this parable we could say, spiritual insomnia], to keep awake, don’t doze off! Pay attention!

Prayerfulness should be connected to watching (“watch and pray”) and understanding the prophetic signs of the times and the coming of the LORD (It’s what Daniel did in DAN 9 when he read a prophecy given by Jeremiah, re: the return of Israel from captivity. He prayed!).
In the model prayer the LORD taught us (MATT 6:9-10): “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven”. This is regarding the coming Messianic Kingdom that will throw down the kingdom of antichrist (DAN 2).

MATTHEW 24:42,44
42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

LUKE 21:34-36
34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares
[“distractions”] of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 "For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:4-9
4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,


“…they all slumbered and slept.” There were those who were without oil that I believe “slept”. The Greek implies “sleeping deeply, soundly”. The others, presumably those with oil “slumbered” that is, “dozed off intermittently”. So while none kept watch with 100% vigilance, there was the endeavor on the part of those with oil to keep watch.

Our hearts look with expectation for the LORD’s coming kingdom and of His reward for faithful, diligent service:
COLOSSIANS 3:23-24
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

LUKE 12:32-35
32 "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 35 Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning;


“Girding the waist” – that is, bringing your carnal nature into submission by the power of Christ and bearing our cross (Apostle Paul talked about "keeping my body under" in 1 COR 9:27); this allows us to be free of those ‘devil-designed distractions’ in this world and for the Spirit of GOD to burn brightest in you!
“The bridegroom is coming!” Even though our LORD tells us that no man knows the day or the hour, some claim that “after deep study of the Scriptures they know the day of the rapture!” … NOT!

I heard once that this Bible Scholar figured out that Christ would return precisely at 3:15 a.m. His friend said, “Really?... 3:15 am? what time zone?”
To which the scholar replied, “I don’t know!

In this parable, the bridegroom arrives “at midnight”. Indeed the LORD will return when human history is at the spiritually darkest time of all time – when Satan and the Beast are worshiped globally. We don’t know the day or the hour, only the “times and the seasons” (1 THESS 5:1-2).

MATTHEW 25:7
Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.


The Herodian lamp is that oblong clay vessel with a handle on one end and a spout on the other. But those used in the Middle East for wedding processions were actually torches: they had a long hollow handle with a funnel shaped top that held long, thick wicks down the shaft of the handle. Those shafts were full of oil and so those sorts of “lamps” were easy to walk with, rather than the traditional Herodian lamp. They would burn for a long time before requiring more oil.

They “trimmed their lamps”; they cut away excess wick that has burned. This reminds me of circumcision, the cutting away or crucifying the sinful flesh. The very thing that the fire of GOD’s Spirit is intent on burning away. GOD desires to spiritually burn up and cut away the old you and refine the new you!

The fire of GOD purges us and brings purity to our character. As we know, “oil” in the Scriptures represents the Holy Spirit, They who have their lamps (and vessels) full of oil are indwelt and filled with the Spirit of GOD.

Any lamp full of oil and with a trimmed wick will burn clear and bright. As we cut off (that is “trim”) those sinful practices, sinful thoughts and sinful prizes, and being filled with the Spirit, Christ will be seen all the clearer in our lives!

What if those lamps had some sand in them: how much oil could they hold? Not as much as a clean, empty lamp. Those born again, saved by faith, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb saints are those that GOD desires to see FULL of the Spirit – so we seek GOD in our desire to rid our vessels of the “sands of sin” as it were! Then we can walk in the power of the Spirit – faithful, sanctified, bold witnesses of GOD’s Gospel! Less sand, more oil; less sin, more Spirit!

Those without the oil have not the Spirit of GOD. Lighting those wicks will result in burnt destruction. These sort have a form of godliness (the lamps without oil look just like the other lamps filled with oil) but they deny the power of godliness, that is: the Spirit of GOD that shines through us, sanctifies and transforms us saints is absent in them.
2 TIMOTHY 3:1-5
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control [their waists are not “girded”], brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.
They have religious externalism but no expression of Christ’s righteousness living in them. They are truly “unholy” and “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”. Full of the “sands of sin”. And GOD doesn’t know them!

MATTHEW 25:8-10
8 "And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9 "But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' 10 "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut
.

There is no sharing of oil between these bride’s maids. Those without the oil must go to those who provide such.

We saints are branches who are to abide in the Vine that is Christ from Whom we receive this eternal life, the eternal Spirit and produce fruit. You will never see a branch abiding in another branch that abides in the Vine. My salvation counts for nothing to you. Yours counts for nothing to me.

Young person, you’re not a part of the Kingdom of GOD because your parents are saved. Christians, you’re not saved because you belong to SHINE BRIGHT Church or any other fellowship. You must belong to The Church of the LORD Jesus Christ – being a member of the body of Christ, having received Him as LORD and Savior! Then you’re able to have your vessel full of oil, the Holy Spirit. But you can’t borrow oil from another (unless their name is JESUS! And He lets you keep it)!

Those without oil recognized their need once they saw that their lamps wouldn’t stay lit, and they left to procure the necessary oil, but too late. The bridegroom came, and only the wise: those ready, watchful, and praying; those whose lamps were full of oil, trimmed and burning brightly were welcomed in!

MATTHEW 25:11-13
11 "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' 12 "But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' 13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.


Note that these other five bride’s maids return, still with no oil! They claim the bridegroom as “Lord” but they “deny Him by their wicked works”. We were all once without GOD; we were all children of darkness. But then by faith we received salvation and came to know GOD Who knows us as His own, purchased of blood (GALATIANS 4:8-9).

MATTHEW 7:21-23
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness
[wickedness, iniquity]!'

Three times they say “in Your Name” implying that they know JESUS. But He never knew these practitioners: these who live a lifestyle of sinful wickedness!

Lamps shining the light should never be hidden, but have GOD ordained “good works” put on display to a dying world:
MATTHEW 5:14-16
14 You [church] are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before others [in your house, in GOD’s house, in other people’s houses], that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Those “good works” are spoken of in EPH 2:10; they are ordained of GOD and accomplished through us, we who are GOD’s artistry or “workmanship”. As we allow GOD to work in us the beautiful nature of Christ to deeper and greater degrees, it’s then that those works He has prepared for us are accomplished wonderfully, and to His glory!

Let’s be shining that light as a testimony to the Word of Life and Truth and as a rebuke to the perverse:
PHILIPPIANS 2:15
that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.
Lamps whose light in the Holy Revelation of GOD’s Word leads us safely through this world full of darkness and deception:
PSALM 119:104-105
104 Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
The Lamp of GOD’s Word searches us, reveals sin and impurities, and calls upon us to repent, to willingly yield to the sanctifying fire of His Spirit!
PROVERBS 20:27
The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart.

PSALM 139:24
…see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
GOD’s Light remains ever and always victorious over spiritual darkness! Our victory in the here and now depends on us shining GOD’s Light through our lives.
Kerosene lamps that are filthy and dusty – the light won’t shine so clearly will it? Clean that glass up so the light will shine brilliantly. GOD’s Light shines best through clean vessels which are suitable for the LORD’s use (homework assignment: 2 TIM 2)!
JOHN 1:4-5
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [“overcome”] it.

REVELATION 16:15
Behold, I am coming as a thief [unpredictable]. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.

 

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Monday, March 25, 2024

TRIUMPHANT TRILOGY – PSALM 22,23,24 - PSALM 24: The Messianic Kingdom

Three Psalms, Three Tenses 

PSALM 24: The Messianic Kingdom 

INTRODUCTION: As we indicated previously, there are often great reservoirs of truth contained in triplicate such as in ROMANS 6,7, and 8 (Part One, Two and Three). We have looked at this triple treasury of truth as found in PSALM 22, 23 already and are currently examining and 24.

In PSALM 22 we saw the Suffering Servant and Savior Who paid the ULTIMATE of ultimate sacrifices, Who shed His own blood, Whose soul the Father made as an offering for sin. It is finished and has been (by our reckoning) for two thousand years! Done deal!

Then in PSALM 23 we see the LORD Jesus as the Good Shepherd Who tends His flocks with tender care, compassion and correction. Indeed, He is the Chief Shepherd (one might say THE Senior Pastor of the body of Christ, His church). This is and has been His current occupation (among others) since the dawn of the church age (but let’s not forget He’s been the True Shepherd of Israel for much longer and will manifest Himself as such to them at the time appointed by the Father).

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Wednesday, March 6, 2024

GLEANINGS From PROVERBS 22:10-12 - The PURE & The PROFANE

PROVERBS 22:10-12 -The PURE PEOPLE and the PROFANE


Let’s turn to the Holy Revelation of GOD’s Written Word!!

To hear this message as taught at SHINE BRIGHT Church (3/06/24) click here!

INTRODUCTION: This world can be divided between truth lovers and truth haters; those who glorify GOD and those who glorify themselves, those that worship GOD and those that mock GOD. Those who walk in the Light of the LORD, and those who love darkness rather than the Light.

The LORD Jesus came with a sword (MATT 10:34-36), this sword of truth, to divide humanity into identifiable categories: those who love and follow Him, and those who hate and reject Him.

These two groups of people consist of the pure and the profane, and both groups are growing more and more in their respective conditions, motivations and desires. As GOD’s Glorious Revelation puts it:

REVELATION 22:11
He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still
.

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Monday, February 26, 2024

STUDY In NEHEMIAH: TRIUMPH by TRANSFORMATION – Ch. 9, Part 2

INTRODUCTION: In the midst of the severe and devastating judgment of GOD upon rebellious Israel, the prophet Jeremiah wept; he was deeply grieved at seeing his homeland destroyed due to his people’s obstinate rebellion.

Yet in the midst of this judgment, the prophet was inspired by the Spirit to write the following:
LAMENTATIONS 3:22-23 
22 Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness
.
His Word of Truth was declared, that though He knew Israel would be unfaithful, fall into apostasy, prefer other gods to YHWH, still He promised to regather His (wholly undeserving) people back into the land according to His grace. He Himself would come to restore and reign over His sheep; bless, keep, and protect them all (DEUT. 28:24-28; ISA 1:2-9; HOS 5:15; EZEK 36:22; ISA 11:11; ZECH 10:10).

We see the same with the life of David: It was in 2 SAMUEL 7 that GOD established His unconditional covenant with the King of Israel, and it wasn’t until four chapters later that he committed adultery with Bathsheba and made arrangements to have her husband killed! Yet GOD’s promise to David remained intact, even though there were dire consequences because of his sin against GOD and Him alone (PSA 51).

Here in Nehemiah, the LORD is demonstrating His lovingkindness, in bringing His people back, using His man to bring about not just the restoration of the Holy City, but the Holy (sanctified, set apart) people of GOD.

In this second half of Chapter Nine, Nehemiah continues where we left off in Part One of this study, extolling the LORD in the record of history where GOD proved Himself faithful at every turn!
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Saturday, February 17, 2024

NO CROSS, NO CROWN

ARE WE RAPTURE READY?

Once we are caught up together to meet the LORD in the air, He will bring us, His children by spiritual rebirth to our Father’s House (JOHN 14:1). We will dwell forever in heaven with our Father, the LORD Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, with all the saints we read about in the history of the Bible, all the saints we’ve been blessed to know and miss so very much because they’ve gone ahead, and all of the heavenly host! How many of you are looking forward to this time??

Q: Have you ever heard a Christian say this, or perhaps you’ve even said this yourself? 
I don’t care about getting rewards in heaven, I’ll just be glad to BE THERE!” Well, we’ll look at what those rewards are for, on what basis those rewards are given, and then we’ll see why we should be passionate about obtaining them!

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