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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Psalm 75

Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.  

When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.  The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.

I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn:  Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.  For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.   But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.  

But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.  All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

In commenting on verse six, "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south." Charles Spurgeon wrote "Men forget that all things are ordained in heaven; they see but the human force, and the carnal passion but the unseen Lord is more real far than these. He is at work behind and within the cloud."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Marks of the Righteous

 The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory. Psalm 64:10

In Psalm 64 the righteous are distinguished from the wicked by this one verse. The 'righteous', throughout the scriptures, are seen as those not trusting in their "own righteousness" or seeking "to establish their own righteousness". The 'righteous' see that all their "righteousnesses are as filthy rags" in the sight of a holy and righteous God. The righteous understand that unless their "righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees", they shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. The righteous are those who see that "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness", they are those who have "the righteousness which is of God by faith".  The 'righteous' spoken of in our text are those who have been "made the righteousness of God in Him", that is in Jesus Christ!

So how do they know they are 'righteous'? What are some distinguishing marks of the righteous man or woman? These are questions that all professing believers should give serious consideration. It seems our text gives the answer in a very simple form, read it again;

The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.

The righteous are identified as those who are glad in the Lord. Their happiness is in God. They are glad with the person of God, they love His holiness, His law. His purposes and His ways. They rejoice in the Son of His love, Christ Jesus. They rejoice in His life, sufferings, death, resurrection and ascension back to the Father. They love His appearing and look for it constantly, not so that they may escape the troubles of this world but in order to be like Him and enjoy Him forever. Their joy, happiness and gladness does not rise and fall according to the circumstances and events in this world.

How does one know that they are righteous? They know they are righteous because they trust in him. The righteous are identified by their faith in God. They have this mark, that they believe the One whom God sent into the world to save sinners!

In John 6, after some strong words by our Lord the scriptures tell us that "many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him". The Lord then asked "will ye also go away?" "Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." The righteous shall trust in Him! They will not trust in a religious system, not in church ordinances, not in their own actions and deeds. They will submit their hearts to no other gods. They shall trust Him and Him alone. 

How do they know they are righteous? They know they are righteous because "the upright in heart shall glory". From the heart, the very center of their beings, they will boast in the living God. There is no lip service here, people may walk around in this world saying, Lord, Lord, and talk about God, and give some semblance of glory but they have their reward. Paul wrote of them in Phil 3:18-19 when he penned these words, "for many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:  whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things". But the righteous, the righteous will glory in Him from the very depths of their souls! 

The righteous, though they are beset by enemies on every side; Satan seeking to devour them, the world despising them, the flesh struggling hard within, and the final enemy death, in the midst of all this the righteous will glory in the Lord Jesus Christ. The righteous will say with Paul, "but God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world".

A righteous soul will enter into the words of the prophet Jeremiah when he said, "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD."

I pray that we may be found in the company of these who are glad in the Lord, are trusting him and in their hearts glorying in him!

Friday, March 4, 2011

What is a true ministry?

From a message that E.W. Johnson preached from 2 Kings 2:19-25 in 1983 he made this statement;

--what is a true ministry? We serve! We serve! We serve God! According to His word. By the grace of His spirit. We serve not our lust, nor our pride, nor our covetousness, nor man and his world. We serve God.