A Scriptural Study Newsletter edited by Elder Vernon Johnson

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

 

 

Twelve times three equals a change in Worship

The number twelve is used greatly in scripture as a representative of the whole. It is also a number used to reflect government or ruler ship. There is certainly an order to the number. God has given us the heavens to rule the day and night, and the number twelve is reflected in the 12 months which make up our year. The day has twelve hours, as does the night. Israel was divided into twelve tribes, and of course, there were twelve apostles. An excellent exposition of the number in scripture has been put together by Elder Vernon Johnson and can be found online at www.dentonpbc.org under Associations. It is well worth your time to peruse the entire section.

I noticed in a reading of the scriptures recently where the number twelve appears three times in close proximity. In the eighth chapter of Luke, Jesus has just cast out the Legion of demons from the possessed man in the country of the Gadarenes. They made it clear as a community he was unwelcome and they insisted he leave their coasts.

But immediately on his return, a welcome reception:

Luk 8:40 And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people [gladly] received him: for they were all waiting for him. Luk 8:41 And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:
Luk 8:42 For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.
Luk 8:43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,
Luk 8:44 Came behind [him], and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.
Luk 8:45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press [thee], and sayest thou, Who touched me?
Luk 8:46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.
Luk 8:47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.
Luk 8:48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
Luk 8:49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's [house], saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.
Luk 8:50 But when Jesus heard [it], he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
Luk 8:51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden
Luk 8:52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.
Luk 8:53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.
Luk 8:54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.
Luk 8:55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.
Luk 8:56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

What wonderful teaching about faith in this chapter, not only on behalf of Jairus, but the woman in bloody distress as well. But let’s look at the scenario from an overhead view – that of the mission of Jesus, keeping in mind our context of government and worship.

Here is Jesus, first, rejected of men, and then gladly received. Jairus – the name means God enlightens - a ruler of the synagogue, comes to Jesus with a plea for help. His daughter – his beloved family member lies dying. In similar fashion the worship system of the Jews lies dying, the end of their government and economy with God.

And on His way to heal the daughter, a woman, with an issue of blood came to touch the hem of his garment.

Again, twelve years, we are told, and in addition, she has wasted all her living seeking a cure. The constant bleeding made her unclean in the law. She could not enter the temple; she likely saw no hope, help or consolation among the local assembly. She is not to be among a crowd of people, pressing in and among them under any circumstances. Her desperation to enter the crowd in clear violation tells us this is a woman who has nothing left to lose.

The old law service – if I can be blunt here – was a bloody, bloody contract. There was no end to the animals that had to be slaughtered, nor did they accomplish the removal of a single sin. In fact, the volume of animals that came across the altar could have exhausted the entire wealth of Israel, and indeed, it was all their living.

Yet the faith of this woman, in touching the hem of the garment of Jesus as he pushed through the crowd, was sufficient to grant her healing, whereas many others were touching him and seeking a blessing as well.

Immediately her blood was staunched, her issue healed. The long reign of blood was gone from her life, as it would soon be gone from the law service. Jesus said that He perceived virtue depart from Him; and in a short time later, when He gave His life on the cruel cross, it would be virtue departing from Him that ended the bloody sacrifice of the law forever. His perfect blood would staunch the flow forever. Ironically, the shedding of innocent blood stopped the flow of ceremonial blood forever.

And now, in the same setting, he goes to the house of Jairus, and raises the girl, aged twelve, who in our government scenario is a new opportunity, a new life, a new form of worship, a new ruling manner of service.

Chapter nine begins immediately and we see our twelve government picture completed:

Luk 9:1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

Luk 9:2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

Does the blood of Christ bring new government and worship? Do the math.

Bro. Royce Ellis


Reaping What We Sow

Gal. 6:7 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

The above admonition tells us that we should not practice self deception by believing we can mock God by living after the flesh and claiming to be the disciples of Christ. The above sets forth a certain principle of God's dealing with his children on matters of how they live their lives. As Old Baptists we love the "shalls" of the scriptures. There are two "shalls" in verse 8 above. These are certain consequences to the actions we take in this life.

Paul compares the behavior of the child of God to the sowing of seed in the field and the subsequent reaping of what was previously sown. In the above analogy there are two fields: the flesh and the Spirit. Obviously for a person to be able to sow to the flesh and to the Spirit, he must of necessity have both flesh and spirit. You cannot sow a field that you do not have. Only God's born-again children have both flesh and spirit. Those who have not been born of the Spirit only have flesh. They can only sow to the flesh. You cannot sow to the Spirit unless you already have spirit. In the above analogy, Paul is addressing church members. He is addressing the members of the churches of Galatia. These people have both flesh and spirit as they are born-again children of God.

When we live to satisfy our fleshly desires we are sowing to the flesh. When we live to satisfy the desires of the spiritual inner man we are sowing to the Spirit.

Paul tells us that there are certain consequences depending on which field we sow into. If we sow to the flesh by living to satisfy our fleshly desires, the consequence is that we will reap corruption in our lives.

If we sow to the spirit by living to satisfy the desires of the spiritual inner man we will reap life everlasting. This is not getting everlasting life, for those who have been born of the Spirit already have everlasting life. It is to enjoy the blessings of that life which we already have.

There are numerous examples in the scriptures where children of God sowed to the flesh and reaped corruption. We now look at some of these examples:

1. David sowed to the flesh when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed on the battlefield. Subsequently, David saw four of his sons die by violent action. He also had rebellion in his own household and his own son Absalom take and violate ten of his concubines. David lost the joy of his salvation because of having sown to the flesh.
2. Isaac deceived Abimelech the king of the Philistines by telling the people that Rebekah was his sister, when in fact she was his wife. Isaac was rebuked by Abimelech because of this, but Isaac reaped further corruption when his own wife, Rebekah and younger son Jacob, conspired to deceive Isaac into giving the blessing unto Jacob thinking that it was Esau. Isaac, thus practiced deception and then was deceived. He reaped what he sowed.
3. Jacob joined with Rebekah to deceive his father, Isaac. Subsequently, Jacob went to Padanaram to escape the wrath of Esau and there fell in love with Rachel, the younger daughter of Laban, his uncle. Jacob agreed with Laban to serve him seven years for Rachel. When the time was completed and Jacob was supposed to be given Rachel, Laban deceived Jacob by giving Leah his older daughter to be the wife of Jacob. Jacob sowed deception and then he reaped deception.
4. Jacob took advantage of the carnal lust of Esau for a pot of beans and bargained with him for the birthright. Then Jacob deceived his father, Isaac, into giving the blessing unto him instead of Esau. Subsequently, Jacob had to flee for his life from the anger of his brother who purposed to kill Jacob for what he had done.
5. Abraham and Sarah agreed on a scheme to help the LORD out by having Abraham take as a second wife Sarah's handmaid, Hagar. The child born of this union was named Ishmael. Ishmael mocked Isaac, the promised child, at the time of his weaning. The fleshly actions of Abraham and Sarah resulted in a dislike between Ishmael and Isaac and the descendents of these two boys are still fighting in the world today.

While there are many more examples in the scriptures of people sowing to the flesh and reaping corruption, we also note that the time of reaping is often much later than the time of sowing. Just because we do not see immediate consequences to our actions does not mean there will not be consequences. As our text says, we reap what we sow.

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Above we dealt with the negative consequences of reaping corruption by sowing to the flesh. Now we look at the positive consequences and assurances of a certain blessing by sowing to the Spirit.
Some examples of those who sowed to the Spirit, who subsequently reaped everlasting life, are as follows:

1. Enoch walked with God three hundred years. Enoch enjoyed the close fellowship with God for the three hundred years that he walked by faith with God. Subsequently, he was translated that he should not see death for he had this testimony that he pleased God.
2. Noah, sowed to the Spirit by being obedient to the command of God and building an ark. Subsequently, Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives all escaped the flood that destroyed the earth during his day. In addition, they had the knowledge that God was with them and was leading them during this whole ordeal. Noah sowed to the Spirit and reaped life everlasting.
3. Peter and the other apostles sowed to the Spirit by leaving all and following the Lord. Mark 10:28 "Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life." Like Peter, I have experienced some of these things in my own life.
4. Every time a group of the Lord's humble people sow to the Spirit by gathering in His name, they reap of that everlasting life that God has given them: Matt. 18:19 "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Paul concludes his argument by encouraging the disciples of the Lord to be diligent in doing good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. We are sowing to the Spirit every time we do good to others. The Lord said: John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Let us not be weary in well doing. Let us not faint. The Lord will abundantly bless us in due season.

Elder Vernon Johnson

 

Primitive Baptist