Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Tue, 12 Mar 1996 08:24:53 +-100 Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: ChrExp, The Scriptures opened, 74 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Exodus 35:5 - A willing heart accepted 2. Jeremiah 9:25,26 - Circumcision of the heart 3. 1 John 5:5 - The world outdone 1. Exodus 35:5 - A willing heart accepted ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly reading: Exodus 35:1 - 38:20 Exodus 35:5 Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; Among those that say to serve God, are two sorts of people. The first group, the true worshippers, serve Him with a willing heart, and the second group, the fake worshippers, "serve" Him unwillingly, that is, they are the hypocrites that have no desire in God's service. God accepts the willing people, but He rejects the unwilling ones. In our text, God commanded the people to bring offerings to Him, to build the tabernacle in the desert. But attend to His words. He does not merely command to bring the material to Him, but He says that they should do it willingly. No, more strongly, He only accepts it from them that are willingly. He even doesn't speak of the unwilling, because they don't count. This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying: Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a -- WILLING HEART --, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; Whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring the offering. Who has an unwilling heart, let him keep his offering, and let him not lumber the Lord with that material. The Lord only accepts willing people, but He rejects the unwilling ones. God had commanded the willing hearted to bring their offering unto Him. In the 22nd verse you read that they indeed obeyed. Not unwillingly, but with a willing heart. "And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold". The true worshippers find great delight in God's service. They come unto His house with a willing heart. God has touched their inward parts, and has made them willingly. He has renewed their inner parts, so that they do His will. But the hypocrites, though they might do the same acts as the true believers, yet they do it not with their whole heart. They perform the outward acts because it is expected from them. But they find no pleasure nor delight in serving God. When they give from their goods to God, they do so grudgingly, and they study how they can give as less as possible. But those that have a willing heart, besides that they give of their goods, give also themselves to God. Paul, knowing that God only accepts the willing giver, admonishes the congregation. He says: "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver", 2 Cor. 9:7. Knowing that God accepts the person that gives offerings with a cheerful heart, and knowing that He rejects those that offer unwillingly, we now understand why He rejected sometimes the offering of certain persons, and why He sometimes accepted the offerings of other persons. We know that God accepted the offering of Abel, but rejected Cain. We read that in our Scriptures. "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect", Gen. 4:3-5. Knowing that the Lord requires a willing heart, and rejects the unwilling person, we now understand the difference between Cain and Abel. Though they performed the same outward act, namely bringing an offering, yet their hearts were different. And God is a God Who looks in our hearts, and sees and knows all what lives therein. All our thoughts are opened before His all-seeing eye. The hearts of both Cain and Abel were opened before Him. We may ask how it was possible that Abel was willingly, and Cain not. The apostle gives us a decisive answer. He says that the difference between the brothers Cain and Abel lies in the faith. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh", Heb. 11:4. Abel was acceptable for God only through His faith. We know that faith is the gift of God. So, God first gave Abel the faith, and by faith was his heart cleansed and purified, and made willing, and through faith also he was accepted by God. It was through faith that Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. And it is also through faith that the Israelites from our text, both men and women, were made willing. Through faith they gave their offerings, and were accepted by God. The unbelievers, when they serve God, do it grudgingly, but the true believers do it with a willing heart. 2. Jeremiah 9:25,26 - Circumcision of the heart ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Jeremiah 9:25,26 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart. The LORD will take both the circumcised and the uncircumcised, and will punish them all together. The circumcised are reckoned among the uncircumcised heathen. There is no longer any difference between Israel and the nations. The name of Israel is called in one breath with the names of the surrounding nations. Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and Ammon, and Moab; they all are thrown on one heap, and they all will be punished. Maybe that some of them are circumcised in the flesh, and some not - that doesn't matter. God will punish them all. The reason is that, though all these nations are uncircumcised, and though Israel is circumcised in their flesh, yet they are uncircumcised in the heart. The circumcision in the flesh doesn't count if the heart is full of disobedience and enmity against God. The difference there was between Israel and the surrounding nations has vanishes. Israel has become, through their unconverted heart, like the nations. There is no reason of boasting on some outward circumcision, because it doesn't count when you are wicked. You may do all outward acts that God requires, as circumcision and the like, but if your heart is uncircumcised, then it is all in vain. The LORD, in our text, announces the coming punishment because of all their great and terrible sins. But He does so not without warnings. In fact, there have been masses of warnings before, but Israel refused to listen. God has always send His prophets to His people, but they have always killed them, or at least refused to listen to them. An example of such a warning is in the fourth chapter of Jeremiah. In verse four we read: "Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings." Israel was circumcised in their flesh, but because their doings were evil, their circumcision didn't count. Therefore, o people, take away the foreskins of your heart. That is, circumcise yourselves, namely your heart. What does your outward circumcision avail? Nothing, because your doings are evil. So, if you keep the law, then circumcision if fine, but if you break it, the outward circumcision is useless. Paul, knowing the prophets, tells us the same. He says: "For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision", Romans 2:25. He says that the breakers of the law are like the uncircumcised heathen, and hereby he gives us the same doctrine as Jeremiah. Paul continues in the next verse with: "Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?" Jeremiah already begun telling that the circumcision and the uncircumcision is the same in the case of disobedience, and Paul continues with saying that it is also the same in the case of obedience. The reason that these are the same, he elsewhere tells us. "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love", Gal. 5:6. In our text the people of Israel are accused heavily, because they refused to walk in God's ways, and to do God's will. The reason of their disobedience is their uncircumcised heart. One might ask a question now. If a circumcised heart is necessary to do God's will, how then can one get such a heart? Can one give himself such a heart? Is one able to give himself a renewed heart, or is he unable? Moses gives us the answer. He says that God will do that. The renewed heart is a gift of God, says Moses. Listen to him: "And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live", Deut. 30:6. Only with a circumcised heart, one can love God properly. Only then one can love the LORD his God with all his heart, and with his entire soul. Only then one can live until eternity. We see then that the renewed heart is a gift of God. This is the doctrine of Moses, and this also is what we everywhere read in the New Testament. The regeneration; the renewed heart; the circumcision of the heart; this all is the work of God. Because of this requirement, the renewed heart, to serve God and do His will, Paul says that the Jew is the one with a renewed heart. "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God", Rom. 2:28,29. In our text, we read: "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart". In later ages, when Stephen perceives that the people of his time are as disobedient as their fathers, to whom Jeremiah spoke, he says: "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One", Acts 7:51,52. We see that the people considered it enough when they were circumcised only in the flesh, and that they neglected the renewing of their inward parts. They boasted in their flesh, but forgot that God requires a pure heart. Let us learn from it. How foolish were they. They gloried in their circumcision, but didn't seek to be righteous for God. Because of that they were under the dominion of the wrath of God, as we see in the words of our text. In this world of sin and sorrow, ending soon in death and judgement, how foolish is it for men to glory in their flesh. How foolish also are we when we boast in our knowledge, in our health, in our money, in our strength, in our power, or in any other thing which leaves us under the dominion of sin and wrath of God. And at the end of our life, we should give an account of this all; of all our doings. When we have gloried in our flesh, then this will increase our punishment. No, if we glory, let we glory in the LORD. Those are the true Israel who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in their own flesh. Let we prize the this distinction, which is a gift of God, and will last forever. Let we seek it diligently. 3. 1 John 5:5 - The world outdone ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 John 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? We have a struggle here down. Our battle is with the world, and all that is therein. We fight against sin, satan, world, and evil. If we were to fight in our own strength, we should soon be defeated. No, stronger, if we had to fight alone, then we should be cast down instantly. The world is so strong, and we are so weak. Who among us is able to fight against the superior power of the world? We would be cast down at the same moment we took up the sword. Who then is the one that overcomes the world? None will beat the world in own strength. There is but one means to strike down the world, and that is in the power of God. "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" Here we have it. Through that power which we receive through faith, we are able to overcome the world. Who is the person that outdoes the world? It is he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God. True faith then is that faith, which rests on Jesus Christ, the Mediator between God and men, the Son of God, our Messiah. That is true faith. Every other faith is useless. When one rests on Jesus through faith, he will be able to overcome the world. God strengthens the believers, as often as he rests in true faith on the Son of God, and He gives him power to fight against the whole world. Let then the world show its enmity against the followers of God; let them proclaim their enmity. Nothing avails them. They are unable do harm the believers, whenever they fight in the power of God. Who is the one that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God? There is a war on earth. The world fights against the children of God. This spiritual war is very dangerous. The enemy aims at the extermination of all true religion, and employs all means to that goal. We have a spiritual war with the worldly lusts. These lusts fight against our soul. "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul", 1 Pet. 2:11. The fleshly lusts seem to be so friendly, but they have deadly weapons under their clothes. They "war against the soul", in order to rob it of its communion with God. But who is he that overcomes these fleshly lusts, and all what is in the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God? One of the apostles, having experience in these terrible war, once said: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me", Philip. 4:13. Through Christ, Which strengthens me, I can do all things. Through Him, I am able to wage the most terrible war against the world and all what is in it. The regenerated have a war. Their conflict with the world is very sharp. They are often cast down, but not for always. Through the power of God, the believer, though cast down, will rise up again, and renew the battle. Having gained more experience, and knowing his enemies better, he will fight more powerful, through faith. The faith, that is the cause of the victory over the world. It is the means, and the instrument, and the spiritual armour by which we overcome the world. Through that faith, we stick to Christ. Through Him, we look down on the world, and oppose it. It is the faith in Jesus the Son of God, that sanctifies our hearts, and that purifies it from our sensual lusts. By these lusts, our great enemy the world obtains sway and dominion over our souls. We become slaves of the world though our lusts. But through faith, we overcome the world. This world is to be despised. We have a better abode than this world, which is kept for the fire. When the world will vanish away, together with the heavens, then our abode is still with God. Let we then fight against the world, which tries to seize us in its claws, that we might perish together with it. When we will not overcome the world, then it will overcome us, to our eternal ruin. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God? Jesus said: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing", John 15:5. Without Christ, we are outdone. But when we abide in the vine, that is in Christ, then we will bring forth much fruit. One of that fruits is the overcoming and the beating of the world, together with our fleshly lusts. That is a very good fruit. Only through faith, we can bring forth that sweet fruit. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that abides in the vine, that is in Jesus Christ? Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? And "who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son", 1 John 2:22. This denier will be the slave of the world, and its own lusts. He will make a god of his belly. This unbeliever will perish together with the world. But the one that believes, will overcome the world, and will be saved. His home is not here down, but with God. Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- firstname.lastname@example.org "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 -- email@example.com ---------------------------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-074.txt .