Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Tue, 7 Nov 1995 08:46:30 +-100 Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 56 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Genesis 18 - The three visitors of Abraham 2. Proverbs 10:16 - The labour of the righteous and of the wicked 3. Galatians 3:2,3 - The Spirit received by the hearing of faith 1. Genesis 18 - The three visitors of Abraham ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Reading: Gen. 18:1 - 22:24 Text: Gen. 18:1-22 1 And the LORD appeared The LORD appeared unto Abraham. unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes Three men stood by him; they seemed to and looked, and, lo, three be men unto Abraham. In reality, One of men stood by him: and when them was the LORD Himself, and the he saw [them], he ran to other two were angels. This appears meet them from the tent from the continuation of the story. door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 And said, My Lord, if now "If I am worthy of this favour and I have found favour in thy friendship, pass not away from me". sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 Let a little water, I "Let me give you some water that you pray you, be fetched, and may wash and refresh your feet, and wash your feet, and rest that you may have some rest". yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel Bread, that is all sorts of food. The of bread, and comfort ye text also says "therefore are ye come". your hearts; after that ye Abraham means that God has led them to shall pass on: for therefore him in His providence. are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead [it], and make cakes upon the hearth. 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave [it] unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8 And he took butter, and We see the hospitality of Abraham, who milk, and the calf which he stood by to serve them. had dressed, and set [it] before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. 9 And they said unto him, Where [is] Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will One of the three men is foretelling certainly return unto thee that Sarah will have a son. At this according to the time of moment, Abraham knows that one of the life; and, lo, Sarah thy three men was not a common man, but at wife shall have a son. And least a prophet, since he foretold Sarah heard [it] in the tent this. door, which [was] behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah Sarah was too old to have children, [were] old [and] well according to human thoughts. stricken in age; [and] it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed Sarah did not believe it, and laughed. within herself, saying, She laughed "within herself", so nobody After I am waxed old shall I could see or hear it; also she was in have pleasure, my lord being the tent behind the man. So, they could old also? hear nor see that she laughed. 13 And the LORD said unto One of the three men, who is the Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah speaker, is here called the LORD. It laugh, saying, Shall I of a appears that this man, the LORD, also surety bear a child, which knows the thoughts of Sarah, because He am old? knew that she laughed, what was neither visible nor audible. He also knew what she thought in herself. Clearly, one of the three men is the LORD Himself, appearing in human form. 14 Is any thing too hard "Nothing is too hard for Me", says the for the LORD? At the time man, who is the LORD. appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 Then Sarah denied, Sarah feared because her sin was saying, I laughed not; for discovered. Because of this fear, she she was afraid. And he said, denied the truth. But this does not Nay; but thou didst laugh. help: "Nay, surely you laughed", said the LORD. 16 And the men rose up from They moved to Sodom. What are they thence, and looked toward going to do there? Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, Shall One of the three men, the LORD, begins I hide from Abraham that to speak of His work to Abraham. thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham All nations will be blessed in the seed shall surely become a great of Abraham, that is, in his posterity. and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he "I have elected him, that he will will command his children instruct his house that they may keep and his household after him, the way of the LORD, in doing and they shall keep the way righteousness and justice". of the LORD, to do justice and judgement; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20 And the LORD said, The sin of the people is so grievous Because the cry of Sodom and now, that it has risen to heaven. Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and God will check now if the people have see whether they have done fulfilled the measure of their sins. altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22 And the men turned their Two of the three men turn to Sodom. faces from thence, and went These two men were angels, as appears toward Sodom: but Abraham from the first verse of the next stood yet before the LORD. chapter: "And there came two angels to Sodom at even". (Genesis 19:1) But One of the three men is the LORD, before Whose face Abraham still stands. Then Abraham is going to plead for the people, that the LORD might not destroy them, if there are still some godly people in the cities. Even if there were but ten righteous people, then the LORD will not destroy the cities. But we know, that only Lot was righteous. And as long as Lot was in the city, the LORD could not destroy them. But the two angels will lead Lot out, that he not perishes with the rest. The whole wicked rest was destroyed through the fire coming down from heaven. This is a picture of what will happen in the end of the days of the earth, when all the wicked people will be judged according their works, and when all the righteous people, the children of God, will be led out in safety, before the final destruction of the city "Earth". How happy are then all the children of God. They will be protected by Him. They may say with the Psalmist: "Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea". (Psalms 46:2) It is true and certain, that they who dwell in the secret place of the most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. They say of the LORD: "He is our refuge and our fortress: our God; in Him will we trust." God will cover them with His feathers, and under His wings they shall trust. His truth shall be their shield and buckler. They also shall not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flies by day, nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand of ungodly shall fall at their side, and even ten thousand at their right hand, but it shall not come nigh them. Only with their eyes they shall behold and see the reward of the wicked. Why? Because they have made the LORD their refuge; they made the most High their habitation. No evil shall befall them, neither shall any plague come nigh their dwelling. He shall give his angels charge over them, as we saw in Lot who was led out by the angels. These angels will keep them in all their ways. They shall bear them up in their hands, lest they dash their feet against a stone. Blessed are they, who made the LORD their refuge. 2. Proverbs 10:16 - The labour of the righteous and of the wicked ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The labour of the righteous is to life: the fruit of the wicked is to sin. Proverbs 10:16 This is again one of the wise words of king Solomon. This king was a son of David. And also in his sayings, this can be seen. His father, David, had said in one of his Psalms: "A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked." (Psalms 37:16) Solomon walks in his footsteps, and confirms his father's words by saying the words of our text: "The labour of the righteous is to life: the fruit of the wicked is to sin." Centuries later, Paul the apostle shows the truth of his doctrine, by again repeating the same things. Speaking of the righteous, he says: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. (Romans 8:28) And speaking of the wicked, he says: "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23) The labour of the righteous is to life. It may be that the righteous man has nothing more than that, for which he labours hard. He eats the labour of his hands, and that labour is to life. When he has food, clothing and accommodation, he does not desire anymore. It is not his wish to be rich and eminent, but he is content when he is able to care for his family. He not only cares for his family, but also tries to help others, when they are in need. He is "working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." (Ephesians 4:28) All the righteous labours for is that he may do good; it is to life. The fruit of the wicked is to sin. The fruit of the wicked, it may be the fruit of his labour, or the fruit of his theft; however he has acquired his fruit, it is used to sin. Or, it tends to sin. He uses his money to kindle his lusts, his pride and his luxury. He uses his fruit to do evil instead of good. He hurts therewith, and becomes hardened in his evil ways. In short, the fruit of the wicked tends to sin. When he has left some money, he does not give it to the poor, but lays it out on his sin. We see that the same things can be used in good or in evil ways. The same money; the same fruit of our labour; you can do two opposite things with it. You can use it to life, or to sin. The natural man, as he is born, uses it to sin, but the spiritual man, when he is born again, sometimes, when not his old nature sits on the throne, uses it to life, through the power of God. 3. Galatians 3:2,3 - The Spirit received by the hearing of faith ---------------------------------------------------------------------- This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Galatians 3:2,3 The congregations in Galatia were founded by Paul, when he preached there the faith in Jesus Christ. No, I must say it better: The congregations in Galatia were not founded by Paul, but by God, Who gave His Spirit. While Paul was preaching the faith in Christ, God worked the faith in the hearts of the hearers, and they received the Spirit. It may be that they formerly had tried to keep all the commandments of the law, but they had not received the Spirit through that. Through the keeping of the law, the Spirit was not given by God. But when Paul began to preach, all changed. While he was preaching, and evidently setting forth Jesus Christ crucified, God co-operated and gave His Spirit. In this way, several congregations were founded in Galatia. After Paul had continued his work also in other places, to establish congregations there, other preachers took over his place in the congregations of Galatia. But soon it appeared that they were not as Paul. They seemed to preach the same, but in fact, they taught a wholly different gospel. They taught that you cannot obtain salvation by faith only, but that also the works of the law are necessary. "People", they said, "besides believing that Jesus is the Christ, you also should keep the law, be circumcised, and do all other things we command you". After Paul had heard of this false prophets, and that they destroyed true faith in Galatia, he began to write a letter. From this letter our text is taken. He writes: "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?" (Galatians 3:1) They were fallen from the truth, not so much on purpose, but rather through being bewitched. They were bewitched by the false prophets, who came in the clothes of sheep, and feigned themselves to be Christ's true servants. But they bewitched the Galatians, preaching a half faith, which is no faith at all. Paul has so clearly showed them Christ, that it was as if Jesus had been crucified before their eyes. And yet, they forgot this, and followed the false teachers, who brought their hearers back to the covenant of works. But let now God show who speaks the truth! When did He give the Spirit? Did He sent down the Spirit when they were trying to keep the law, or when they heard of the faith? "This only would I learn of you", says Paul. Let God be my Witness. "Received you the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" The answer of the Galatians will be, without doubt: "We received the Spirit, when we believed, and not when we tried to keep the law". Then Paul answers: If you then got the Spirit through faith, and not through works, why have you then returned to that old law? To that law, which never has given life to you? Why did you not continue in faith only? Why did you forsake the faith, through which you received the Spirit? And Paul continues with: "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" This means: You began with receiving the Spirit, and why have you now returned to the outward forms of the law? They did not give life to you, so why have you begun with life, and wish to be made perfect by death? This is the regrettable result of the sermons of the false prophets. These law-preachers seem to be solid. For, who will not consider solid such preachers, who urge on keeping the law? Such preachers, you not often hear, they will say. Many preachers are as loose as sand. They all are lawless. So, when there finally appears a preacher of the law, who would not welcome him? But it is false. The law-preachers cannot give you the Spirit. God shows which preaching He prefers, by withholding the gift of the Spirit to the one, and giving Him to the other. We should look out for preachers who are not called by God. Such hand- made prophets don't have the real knowledge of God. What they preach is but of own fabrication. Either they are too heavy, or they are too light. Either they go too far on the one side, and begin to preach the law as the way to heaven. Or they go too far on the other side, and preach a lawless religion. But God's called ministers, taught of God, will tell you the real way to heaven. They tell you the way as it is described in Scripture. They are the true prophets, of whom it is said: "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee" (namely the words of the true teachers), "saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." (Isaiah 30:21) When such ministers see some of their flock departing from the way at the left hand, they warn him. "This is the way, walk in it!" And when they see someone departing from the way at the right hand, they warn also him. "This is the way, walk in it!" It is a narrow way, which leads to heaven. Too many have erred. Take heed then, that also you will not err. "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13,14) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- email@example.com "A Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel" Institute Practical Bible-education Web: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/ipbe-home.html Written by Teus Benschop -- firstname.lastname@example.org ---------------------------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-056.txt .