Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wednesday, April 29th: Numbers 5-6, Revelation 16 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 5-6; Revelation 16

We see from our  Numbers passage that mankind is unavoidably dirty and impure - simply from living in this fallen world.  We are both ceremonially unclean from the ordinary actions of human life (like childbirth, sex, death, etc) and from sinful actions.  This demonstrates the truth that we sin because we are sinful creatures.

This sinfulness alienates us from our holy God, and that gap can only be bridged by the atonement of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Rayburn had some thought-provoking points in his sermon about the Nazirite vow....
 the passion for godliness that is expressed in the practice of the Nazirite vow will always offend a moderating, accommodating, compromising, worldly church.

So here is the challenge of this text for us in our self-regarding, comfortable, indulgent world. You say, because you are a Christian, that Christ is more important to you than your pleasures: wine or food or entertainment or anything. Really? Prove it. And if you are not willing to prove it in some demonstrable way – for your sake, for the sake of others, and for the Lord’s sake supremely – why not? Is the Lord not worth it? Is salvation not worth it? Do you want only such a Christian life such as can be lived with little or no effort?

Are you really willing to be separated from the realm of sin and death, to give your life-force to God without reservation? Are you really? Prove it. If you are a Christian surely you have from time to time felt the desire to prove it. Well, prove it. Undertake the same sort of self-denial the Nazirite did and do so for the same reason. Are you willing to offer to the Lord your life in some way that others in our world – others perhaps among your Christian friends, even your family – will certainly find over-zealous, fanatical, akin to refusing to attend the funeral of your mother or father. Are you really willing? Prove it. And if you aren’t really willing to take such steps – such steps as the godly have taken before you through the ages of Christian devotion – why not?..

There are things in our lives that need to be rooted out. There are things in our lives that need to be put in and we are to let nothing stand in the way. We love God because he first loved us. We boast in nothing but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. But, we will, come what may, put on holiness in the fear of the Lord; we will not be deterred from growing up as high in godliness as we can by God’s grace and our own concentrated effort. And one principal way in which this is done, in which this has always been done, is to take steps to put that godliness into practice in ways that matter, to embody it in specific commitments before the Lord.

A vow is a promise you do not have to make; but once you have made it you must keep it. Serious Christians know that; you must keep your vows. And yet serious Christians make those vows and those commitments anyway because they know that this is a biblically approved, a divinely ordered way of taking great steps forward and upward in everything that is pleasing to God.

In our Revelation passage we see that when people become entrenched in their sin, the obvious judgment of God does not turn them to repentance like we think it would/should, but rather causes them to shake their fists in rebellion against Him.

RayburnIt is this fact, by the way, that explains in some significant measure the reality of hell. It is important for us to know this and to include this as part of our explanation for what is, of course, one of the principle objections that people have to the Christian faith. Hell would be hard to explain if it were inhabited by those now sorry for their sins, entirely aware of the foolishness of their unbelief, and wishing to repent. How could God continue to punish such people? But that is not what people will be like in hell. We see that here. God’s judgment does not bring them to repentance and the knowledge of the truth. It does not sweeten their spirits or soften their wills. They become still more defiantly unwilling to submit to God. This is the fearful thing about human sin. It creates a blindness and a hardness of heart so profound that nothing can penetrate, least of all the truth. Every tongue may finally confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, but many tongues will make that confession bitterly and unrepentantly....

For the non-Christian this text is a solemn warning to seek the Lord while he may be found and to call upon him while he is near....

And for the believer it is another reminder to take every sin, especially the sins that so easily beset us, seriously. To refuse to give in to them. To allow them no entrance and no peace in your soul, lest they sink their hook and be impossible to get out and then over time take full control.

 Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Numbers 7-8; Revelation 17


Pamela said...

15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”)''

We don't expect a thief to come. Sometime last Fall, our son Kaden's bike was stolen from our garage. The thief came in unannounced. The thief was quick. The thief snuck by us (we didn't even notice at first that Kaden's bike was even missing!). If we had been awake and watching, maybe we would have seen what happened. May we anticipate instead of just react.

Conrad said...

I noticed too, as Rayburn mentioned, that the sinners did not repent and give glory to God while He demonstrated His wrath in the NT reading.

It is interesting how hard our hearts can become if we are not careful. It is a daily task of coming back to our Lord and constantly seeking Him and reading His Word so that we can stand the tests we encounter every day.