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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Unity # 20: He Has Provided All
Unity # 20: He Has Provided All
Theme Song: By Faith
Your glory will be revealed to all mankind. You are the Great King, the Mighty Warrior by our side. What a dreadful thing it is to fall into Your Hands, the Hands of the living God. Teach us to keep Your Name holy, not to speak of You in vain, but to uphold Your true Character: Your justice, Your infinite unfailing love for righteousness and Your people and Your infinite and dreadful hatred against wickedness and all that is devoted to destruction. We do not want to leave You, Abba, Father. Where else can we go? Help me to have Christ’s attitude towards all men. Jesus Christ is Lord and He has come in the Flesh.
In Jesus Christ’s Name,
In last week’s letter, I spoke of the Covenant of Peace which God has established for His people through the blood of Christ. By this Covenant, we are reconciled to God through Christ, and experience the eternal Life of knowing Christ. This knowledge of Christ increases over time in the lives of all believers until they see Him Face to face and the knowledge of Christ is perfected. Even when the children of God stray, the result of the Shepherd’s discipline and omnipotent search-warrant is a peaceful harvest of righteousness and a magnificent restoration marked by exceeding underserved Spiritual growth. He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or think. As God spoke through the prophet Zechariah , “Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope; this very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you” (Zech 9:12). He repays the locust eaten years of His painful loving discipline. This letter is about God’s certain provision of all the needs of all of His people from all time through His grace shown at the cross.
Dear saints, our God will truly supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19). This promise is not simply for some saints, or with regard to some or most of their needs. God surely will meet all of our needs. Those of us who feel that we lack something, whether Spiritually or physically, can trust in the faithful Provider for He will surely give His children all that they need. King David said, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends, and his descendants are a blessing (Ps 37:25-26).” An important principle we must consider is God’s perspective of what is considered a need in our lives. For many lust and do not have so they commit murder. Some are envious and cannot obtain, so they fight and quarrel. God says that they ask and do not receive because they ask with wrong motives, so that they may spend it on their pleasures. Those who are friends with the world are adulteresses and live in hostility towards God. For whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us. He gives us a greater grace. He is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:1-6). Thus, our needs do not involve anything that is born either consciously or subconsciously from a love for the world. Rather our needs involve what is a part of God’s will for our souls to be preserved under His New Covenant. For He has made an everlasting Covenant with us, ordered in all things, and secured; for all our salvation and all our desire, will He not indeed make it grow (2 Sam 23:5)? Our needs comprise of whatever is required according to the will of God for each of His children to be sanctified entirely by the God of peace and for our spirits, souls, and bodies to be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls us, and He also will bring it to pass. (1 Thess 5:23-24) Remember the great salvation that our Lord Jesus Christ has accomplished for us. The Father who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered”. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loves us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:32-29) Dear saints, because we have been regenerated, our only desire is to know Christ, to glorify Him, to obey Him, and to remain in Him. Thus, our only needs are what our Father deems necessary for these things to be fulfilled in our lives. So may we never fear or worry over our earthly needs, for our Father has secured our souls for eternity. He has secured our justification and our progressive sanctification both of which comprise the eternal Life of knowing Christ, our only heart’s desire. Christ tells us not to be worried about our life, as to what we will eat or drink nor for our body, as to what we will put on. For those who are not regenerated and still love the world seek all these things. Our heavenly Father knows that we need all these things. But we must seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to us. (Matt 6:25-33)
We have been discussing that when people profess Christ as Savior, and yet continually refuse to obey Him, they undergo the irreversible hardening of the heart resulting in damnation (Heb 10). Thus, if our needs are those very things required for our ongoing perseverance in our faith, our needs consist of what is required for our obedience and ongoing bearing of good fruit/works and what is required for our escape from temptation. God is able to make all grace abound to us, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, we may have an abundance for every good deed. He scattered abroad. He gave to the poor. His righteousness endures forever. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply our seed for sowing and increase the harvest of our righteousness; we will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for our obedience to our confession of the Gospel of Christ and for the liberality of our contribution to the saints. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Cor 9:8-15). Now the God of peace who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal Covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equips us in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen (Heb 13:20-21). God grants us the request made in the Lord prayer to lead us not into temptation, but to deliver us from evil. For no temptation has overtaken us but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that we will be able to endure it (1 Cor 10).
Often our needs are for the Words that proceed from the mouth of God. It is written that man shall not live on bread alone, but on every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matt 4:4). Often we cry out for greater filling of the Holy Spirit. If we, even when we were evil, knew how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will our heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13)? Jesus said that if anyone is thirsty, let him come to Him and drink. Those who believe in Him, as the Scripture says, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. Here Jesus was speaking of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive. (John 7:37-39) Often we need wisdom. If anyone of us lacks wisdom, we should ask of God, who gives to all generously without reproach, and wisdom will be granted to us. But we must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8) Other times, we need gratitude, hope, joy, and peace. Paul prayed that the Colossians would be firmly rooted and built up in Him and established in their faith, just as they were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude (Col 2:7). He prayed for the Romans that the God of hope would fill them with all joy and peace in believing, so that they will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:13).
As Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him” (Matt 7:7-11). For those who are regenerated, they abide in Christ, and His Word abides in them. Thus, when they ask for anything according to His will and in His Name, it will be granted to them (John 15:7).
When God’s children are temporarily trusting in the things of the world to satisfy them He may do to them as He did to the Israelites. He led them in the wilderness for forty year that He might humble and test them to know what was in their heart, whether they would keep His commandments or not. He humbled them and let them be hungry, and fed them with manna which neither they nor their fathers knew, that He might make them understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. In His grace, their clothing did not wear out on them, nor did their feet swell during those 40 years. (Deut 8:2-4) In the weakness of His people, His glory and strength are revealed to them. Though Paul pleaded three times that the thorn in his flesh would be removed, God told Paul that His grace is sufficient for him, and that His power is perfected in weakness. For this thorn was given to Paul to keep him from exalting himself. In fact, though Paul initially prayed for the thorn, the tormenting messenger of Satan, to be removed, God gave him the thorn as a gift to prevent him from becoming proud unto damnation because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations. As Paul understood this he said, “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:7-10). He was filled with comfort and overflowed with joy in all his and his fellow saints’ affliction (2 Cor 7:4). For in a great deal of affliction and deep poverty of the saints the abundance of joy overflowed in the wealth of their liberality (2 Cor 8:2).
The Lord says that behold, He extends peace to us like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream (Is 66:12). He tells those who thirst to come to the waters. He tells those with no money to come, buy, and eat. He asks us why we spend money on what is not bread and our wages on what does not satisfy. He tells us to listen carefully to Him, and eat what is good, and delight ourselves in abundance. He tells us to delight ourselves in His abundance, to incline our ears and come to Him, to listen that we may live. For He has made an everlasting Covenant with us! (Is 55:1-3)
Dear saints, listen to Paul’s introduction in his letter to the Ephesians:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. Eph 1
Final Judgment Sermon by John Piper
Dying as a Means of Loving Sermon by John Piper
Love in Christ,