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who is unholy

Holy, as you may know, means set apart, separate.

We know that God is a special kind of Holy—in fact He is thrice holy—Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts! He’s surrounded by angels protecting the unsuspecting passerby of this immense holiness, as if the throne and smoke and shaking and all that were not enough.

In Jewish culture there were two classes of stuff. Stuff here refers to people and things. There were holy things and holy people, those set apart from the rest of the stuff for God’s service, and then there was rest of the stuff.

The interesting thing is that objects and people who were not holy would be called common. Of course there were extremes of common and unholy, but as a class anything that was not set apart specifically for God’s service was considered unholy—common.

But the cross changed something—drastically.

It was so drastic that it was years after Pentecost before the apostles even got what was going on.

The book of Acts jumps the time line in decades more or less. If you look at the chapter number, staring with about chapter 10, you will find yourself more or less that number of years beyond the cross. OK—it’s a really rough estimate, but Peter’s encounter with Cornelius in Acts 10, was something like ten years after the death and resurrection of Christ.

Ten years after Jesus told them to go into all the world and preach to everyone.

Ten years since the blood of Jesus washed away all our sin.

Ten years since: God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. - (2 Corinthians 5:19 NASB)

So Peter’s up on the roof and is drawn into a trans where an angel offers him a ham sandwich.

Here’s the verse that really nailed it for me this morning though:

And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. - Acts 10:28 NASB

Let me emphasize:

I should not call any man unholy or unclean.

Hmmmmmm

Do you suppose there were wicked men in Peter’s day?

Do you think some might have been considered evil?

Let me be clear. This did not mean they didn’t need to repent and believe. This did not mean they didn’t need to hear the gospel. On the contrary, the command was to preach to every man, woman and child that Jesus Christ is Lord.

What it meant in context was, instead of being against these non-jews and seeing them as the enemy, Peter needed to treat them as the precious harvest that the Lord Jesus wanted to bring into His garner.

The darker it seems, the more the world needs the light of the gospel to shine. The Lord can work in any amount of darkness to change hearts—to call His enemies in His service.

I urge you today (Ben, I’m talking to you, dude) to look through the eyes of Peter and see, no man is unholy today. No man is beyond the reach of the gospel. As I have said many times, Jesus can speak anyone’s language.

benheadshot1Thanks for sticking it out to the end today.

Shine where your plugged in,

Ben

10

I had one of those “Oh WOW”s tonight.

We are studying John 16 in our Home group and talking about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Just for the record – this wonderful person – the Holy Spirit is the most neglected and misunderstood member of our wonderful 3 in 1 God.

In any case we read this:

He [God the Holy Spirit] will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. - John 16:14-15 NASB

Let me connect a few dots here and then I want to link this thought to one other passage.

Point 1 –All things that the Father has belong to Jesus.

We know that God has everything – all things temporal and spiritual – all things tangible and intangible. There is not anything that God does not own.

All of that all-ness that belongs to God – is the possession of Jesus.

Jesus has everything – temporal and spiritual… [you get the idea – right?]

Point 2 – The Holy Spirit take what belongs to Jesus (see point 1) and discloses it to us. Disclosure – like revelation – like removing the veil. Some translations render it “declare.”

How does the Holy Spirit do this? By reminding us of what Jesus said. By glorifying Jesus and reminding us of His words – His promises – His commands – His reprimands.

Peter opens his second letter like this.

seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. - 2 Peter 1:3-4 NASB

Point 3 – By the knowledge of Him (the Holy Spirit will glorify Him and remind us of what He said) we receive everything we need for life and godliness.

This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He gives us what the cross bought us by way of revealing truth to us.

Point 4 – through precious and magnificent promises we partake in the divine nature.

What!!!

That’s right – in John 16 when Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will take what belongs to Jesus and disclose it to us, He is saying that He is giving it to us. His declaration makes it so, in us. Remember this is the one who made declarations in a vacuum and created everything that is. When these words are passed over us and to us, and penetrate us – we partake – take part in – the divine nature.

BN Writers Page 150Ok – chew on that for a while, and I will see you again next time.

See ya!

Ben

6

IMG_0692

It all starts in creation. Sabbath starts when time starts. Before creation, no time, no Sabbath, with the beginning of counting days, we begin marking Sabbaths.

As I mentioned last week, I have been reading a book by Rabbi Daniel Lapin called “Thou Shall Prosper.” It is a business book, but he makes some fascinating observations about the way the orthodox Jew reads and understands scripture.

He makes this awesome point that God’s rest in creation was not a reaction to the hard work of creation, but the culmination of it. He had the Sabbath in mind before He began to create. In Rabbi Lapin’s words, Sabbath was last in creation, but first in thought. It was the goal of creation, not a reaction to it.

That said, what I want to do today is simply share some OT scriptures and briefly highlight some points.

By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. - Genesis 2:2-3

Completed:

I can hear God’s voice saying “It is finished.” But creation is not a painting that will hang on a wall, or sit in an attic. Rather, it is a living, breathing, spinning, glowing, growing, whirling, orbiting, procreating, extravaganza. And when God sits and rests, He is not folding arms across chest, He is interacting with, breathing life into, speaking to, and singing over it with all His considerable heart.

Rested:

This word “rested” is the root word for the Hebrew “Sabbath.” That is basically the topic for the week, so I won't dwell on this sub-point.

Blessed:

Then He blessed the Sabbath – oh how I love the word blessed! You can see just a few verses earlier that God’s blessing is more than a happy wish.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." - Genesis 1:27-28

As you can see God’s blessing, as I have said before carries with it assignment, authority and ability. God gave Adam and Eve something to do, He gave them the right, the dominion to carry out His instructions and He gave the ability to carry it out. To read more check out “The Three ‘A’s of Blessing.”

So what has He assigned, authorized, and enabled the Sabbath to accomplish? Think on that for a while! Perhaps we can tackle that one on Friday Q&A.

Sanctified:

Next thing to notice is that He sanctified it. He made it holy. He set it apart. He made it district from all other days. Again from the book “Thou Shall Prosper” Rabbi Daniel Lapin says (which I have confirmed here) that in Hebrew, week days do not have their own names with the exception of Sabbath. Just as in creation, they were, and are called the first day, the second day, and so on, with the exception of Sabbath, which is not call the seventh day, but is called REST.

God sanctified it, but He commanded us to keep it holy. As we will see further into the Old Testament, much of the judgment that Israel suffered was because they did not keep the Lord's Sabbath holy, but rather allowed them, these centuries of sabbaths, to be profaned. And how would one profane the Sabbath? Work. Work is the great pollution of this holy day.

Well, I guess I bit off more than I could chew. I was hoping to do the Old Testament in one day, but, in order to keep things from getting way out of control, I will come back to this tomorrow.

For today, let’s meditate on this question. What is the Sabbath commissioned to do in the life of a believer? [Tweet This]

Ben NelsonBlessings on you today

See you tomorrow.

Ben

5

There is this crazy train of thought running around inside my head – perhaps headed for an idea train wreck, but I am sure you will let me know if I crash and burn.

Here is the thing.

God is Holy – in fact He is Holy Holy Holy

One part of holiness is separation – sort of a “set apart”ness. And God’s holiness sets Him so far apart – so completely set apart – that He is unapproachable.

Many times I am overwhelmed by a realization of the great holiness of the Father. The problem with this is that it puts me right there beside Isaiah, in Chapter 6 where he cries out

Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 6:5

Sometimes we forget that God has actually dealt with this problem once and for all.

Yes – His holiness can rock my world, and seemingly amplify my sin in my own eyes, but He is no longer asking me to stay back, to keep away.

No longer does only one man have the privilege (perhaps dreaded privilege) to enter the Holy of Holies.

Now you and I are called into His presence.

We are told, at the very time we feel the greatest temptation, that moment that our enemy, the accuser, is saying “if you were a real Christian, you would not even have thought of that” – right then – that is the time the Father calls us to His throne.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:15-16

Do you see it?

It tells us in no uncertain terms, since Jesus has been tempted, He “gets it.” And that is why we must screw up our courage, stir up our daring, and walk right into the throne room of All Might God, King of the Angel Armies. [Tweet This]

And what will we find there? What awaits us?

… so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

In His throne room we find, first, mercy because, we all know we need mercy . What we don't get is what we deserve! We don't get the fiery wrath of a holy God! Nope - Jesus got that at Golgotha.

And grace to help.

So there it is. Right in the middle of our sinful day, we sense the tug of the Spirit, we head over to the throne room (easy access granted to all who will be thankful and praiseful) and the Father  forgives all that has come before, and dispenses to us the exact implement of grace needed to face the temptation we are currently combating.

Don’t let the presence of temptation cause you to run for the bushes and put on your fig-leaf bloomers! Head to the throne and get the grace you need to face the day.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Shine where you are plugged in!

Ben

If you have been following along you know that we have spent the last couple weeks pondering Jesus’ warning about false prophets and Jude’s vivid description.

There is so much more in this tiny book of Jude

  • The way of Cain
  • The error of Balaam
  • The rebellion of Korah
  • Fallen angels
  • The prophecy of Enoch

I am not going to spend the time to unpack all of it in this series. (I heard that deep sigh of relief)

To close the Jude portion of this conversation I would love to leave you with Jude's stellar benediction.

Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling,
and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God our Saviour,
be glory and majesty, dominion and power,
both now and ever. Amen. ~ Jude 24-25 (KJV)

I used the King James because – well – I am holding the chalk!

Here it is -

I commit you to Him (Him who) Him, Jesus.

He – Jesus – is able to keep you from falling (do you believe that? I mean really believe that.)

He – Jesus – is going to present you to the Father (do you feel worthy to be presented to the Holy of Holies as a gift to the King of Kings and the Lord of the Angel armies?)

He – Jesus – is going to present you faultless!

This suggests something mind blowing to me. I always picture myself like Isaiah being like – woe is me – I am undone - when I get to the presence of God, but what if (please proceed with grace here) what if – WHAT IF, Jesus presented me before God and I was faultless? [Tweet This] What if, when Jesus presented me to God, I had nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to be forgiven for, nothing to hide from His holiness. What if, when Jesus presents me to the Father, I am as pure as Jesus is?

Is anyone excited yet?

Makes me want to shout

Glory to the only wise God our Savior

Glory and majesty dominion and power both now and for ever to the only wise God our Savior!

Do you see what kind of wisdom it would take to come up with a plan whereby a scoundrel like me could become a worthy gift to be presented to the most awesome, and amazing, and fabulous being – the holiest of holies – the King of Kings – the Lord of Lord – Almighty God.

Be blessed today.

My mind is spinnig, and my heart soaring as I write this. Hope you are feeling a bit tipsy by now too.

BenCome back tomorrow – let’s see what happens next.

Ben

Hallowed is not a word we use much today. We hear a throw back to it in the word Halloween, but there is not much we can learn from our grand October holiday about what Hallowed means.

Well, here's a surprise for you. It is a verb not an adjective! That caught me by surprise. I would have said that it simply meant that God’s name had the characteristic of being Holy, or set apart, but that is not exactly it.

It is more like we are to hallow, or reverence the name of God, but I am still not satisfied with the word reverence, because it has little meaning to us today.

One thing we might be able to understand is that the Name of God must be kept separate from anything that is not holy. This is a bigger deal than just keeping it away from that which is dirty, or ugly, like using His name to curse rather than bless.

You see Holy is not the opposite of evil, it is the opposite of common, or normal, or regular. Let that sink in for a minute. Holy is the opposite of normal. We are to make His name stand so far above normal as to be supernormal (or you could say supernatural.)

Frankly this is why I cringe just a little when folks use OMG so freely. I hate to hear God’s name (or even just a quick reference to it) used in such a common manner, so regular and every day.

The third commandment, which God gave Moses for His people, was “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Exodus 20:7) I have often said when we are married a wife takes her husband’s name, and so it is when we are born again. We take Christ’s name, Christian. When we live a life that looks nothing like Christ we are taking that name in vain!

Let us, not only in our prayers, and in our words, but by our life Hallow His Name! [Tweet This]

MeWhat can you do today to Hallow His name?

Thanks for reading today. Let’s live it.

Ben

"Holy And Anointed One"  Written by John Barnett