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  1. A Christmas Message for Fathers – Luke 1:1-25

    November 28, 2012 by Pito

    Zacharias and Elizabeth were barren. In His great plan for His Messiah, God gave them a son whose name was John. John prepared the way of the Lord by preaching repentance to the nation of Israel.

    When the angel Gabriel announced the “good news” to Zacharias, he doubted. Zacharias had good news to proclaim, but because of his lack of faith, he couldn’t. He was made a mute until John was born. We, the Church, must believe God, no matter what the circumstances are. We must believe that He is “working all things together for our good,” no matter our trials or how distant He may seem to us at times.

    The angel told Zacharias the gospel, the good news, which he explained as “turning the hearts of the fathers back to the children.”  This is the heart of the gospel. It is not an optional add on. Godly fathers are to bear the image of the Fatherhood of God in their families. A father is to imitate God the Father as a man of action who not only is a giver of life but also a sustainer of life in each of his children and also in his wife; as a deliverer who hears his children’s cries, who knows their sorrows, and who rescues them through the teaching of God’s Word and through loving, consistent discipline;  as a model, especially, for his sons to imitate Jesus, the Son of God, who did what He saw His Father do, to grow up sons and daughters to devotion and loyalty first to their earthly father who then passes on devotion and loyalty to their Heavenly Father; as a father who delights in his children in the doing of his will as he is always striving to reflect the Father’s will.

    A godly father is to imitate the Father as a promise-keeping father; as a father of blessing who grows his children up with confidence and a voice of approval; as a father who has the loyalty of his whole family; as a father of sacrifice, doing and giving of himself and all he has for his family and for others; as a father who both loves his enemies but at the same time protects his children and as a father who is content without the need for reciprocity.

    It takes a real man to follow God’s directions that will produce the godly culture for the blessing of families, the Church and the world.

    It often seems so overwhelming. How are fathers to accomplish all these things? By the power of the Spirit of God.   Zechariah 4:6    “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying , Not by power, nor by might, but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts.”  May the Lord grant us much strength to fulfill our calling as fathers! We must be men full of faith, not doubting God as Zacharias did.

     


  2. Death by Representation (II Samuel 21)

    November 17, 2012 by Pito

    In this story seven grandchildren of Saul were hanged because the house of Saul was a “bloody house.” Saul had murdered Gibeonites with whom Joshua and all Israel had made a covenant many years before (Joshua 9).

    Because Saul broke this covenant, broke the oath his ancestors had made, God brought a famine upon Israel. It lasted three years before David inquired of the Lord as to its cause. David then accepted the settlement put forth by the Gibeonites that some of the children of Saul should be made to pay for Saul’s infraction. Seven grandchildren of Saul, who were likely toddlers when Saul broke the covenant, were selected and hanged before the Lord. The famine was stayed, the wrath of the Lord was appeased and the people got relief.

    It is not politically correct to embrace the truth of this story. “Too harsh,” some say. “The God of the Old Testament is now a God of love and peace.” These fail to appreciate the fact that the Bible is one book, with One God, who is unchangeable in His being. So how are we to understand the death of Saul’s grandchildren for his sin?

    The answer is found in the Trinity. They are mutually representative, that is, they totally and fully represent each other in their deity in all its essence. We should not be surprised to observe that God deals with His creation on the same principle-representation.

    Adam represented the human race. “They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of his sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all his posterity descending from him by ordinary generation.” Westminster Confession of Faith IV.1-3

    As we all sinned in Adam, Saul, a new Adam, represented his house so his “bloody house” had to pay for his sin against the Gibeonites.

    God is so deadly serious about keeping oaths that He kept His oath by sending His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins on the cross. Jesus is our representative. God commands and expects us to keep our oaths, our vows, our word to each other. Psalm 15 says, “The righteous man swears to his own hurt and changes not.” Failing to keep this faith results in famines, disasters, and all sorts of confusion. Let us resolve to do what we say, to keep our word, for the glory of God and the establishment of His kingdom on earth. If we purpose to keep our word, no matter what, the blessings of God will come upon us and overtake us to our eternal benefit and the fruit of it will bless all nations in Christ Jesus.


  3. Loyalty to the King

    November 7, 2012 by Pito

    As David returned in triumph to Jerusalem, he made three contacts he had made on the way out; Shemei, Mephibosheth (Ziba) and Barzillai. Each one of these men demonstrated humility, contentment and loyalty to the king. Loyalty to the King means loyalty to each other.

    Yet, in this world of sin Christians have a daily fight with the seed of the serpent and David was no different. Upon arriving in Jerusalem he learned of another rebel, Sheba by name, who was fomenting insurrection in Israel. Many Israelites forsook David but the tribe of Judah proved their loyalty and welcomed David back to power as their king. Loyalty to the King means loyalty to each other. These events foreshadowed the eventual split into two kingdoms, the northern ten tribes and Judah and Benjamin in the south..

    While Joab appeared to be loyal to King David, he apparently had his own agenda, kingmaker. In order to pull this off he murdered Amasa, his commanding officer. Next, he gathered all the army together under his command and David allowed it to happen.  Fake loyalty undermines the kingdom.

    The divisions in David’s house were a prophesy of the eventual dividing of the kingdom of Israel. God told David that the sword would not depart from his house and here we see it. The unity that brothers should have kept was lost. Would Israel ever be united again? Would the nations ever again see Israel in all her glory and power?

    Yes! “For you are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    The Israel of God has been united through the broken body and the shed blood of our Lord Jesus. Israel is one. We have been liberated and how do liberated slaves act? “For he who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap eternal life.”

    Loyalty to Jesus means loyalty to each other. Let us partake of His loyalty at the Table that we may be loyal to each other.


  4. Same Song, Second Verse (II Samuel 18)

    November 4, 2012 by Pito

    In the history of the church we see the same things happening over and over again that we see happening in the Scriptures. It is amazing how in all the stories of the Bible, we meet ourselves and our sin. Absalom’s rebellion was not new then and our rebellion now is no different. Same song, second verse, give us time, we’ll make things worse.

    Heeding the wise counsel of his friends, David stayed away from the battlefront. He gave command not to hurt his son Absalom, but Joab killed Absalom anyway. As he was hanging in a tree, Joab pierced him with three spears and ten young men finished the job.

    David, as a father, still loved his son but he mourned excessively when he learned of his death. Christians grieve also, but not without hope. We remember that death is not the end and that there is a treasure stored up for us in the heavens, even Jesus, our exceeding great reward.

    After David returned to Jerusalem as the rightful, God-anointed king, the people were in confusion. Their rebel leader was dead “so now what do we do?” they asked themselves. When you lose your leader, your shepherd, it is natural that you ask yourselves the same question. Eventually all the tribes accepted the rule of David once again. There was peace again in Israel, if just for a little while.

    Like David, King Jesus was rejected by Israel. Unlike David, they did not embrace Jesus with one heart. Rather, as Peter said at Pentecost “you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”

    But Peter added, “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses…Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ.”

    We celebrate this same risen King this morning, a King who is establishing the new Jerusalem on the earth through His Church. Let us with festive jubilee lift up the Lord in our hearts, singing with those saints of old, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”  Let us partake of His body and blood with the joy that only our King can give. Come and welcome to the Table of our risen Lord.


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