Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 October 2017 Psalm 37:7a.

Psalm 37:7a.   Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: 

And this God-given Sunday might just be another rainy day in my area, like the past two days were. However friends, that should not stop us from gathering in the Lord’s sanctuary to worship and fellowship in joyful abandon, while His indispensable and indisputable Word strengthens our hearts, minds, bodies and souls, for that’s what the Lord desires of us. 

And just tonight I read this interesting quote in an article titled ‘Fun Challenged’ in the September Edition of the In Touch Magazine that immortalizes what I’m talking about. The quote is attributed to the theologian Simon Chan, who says: “Christians who do not play together do not worship well together either, since worship is a ‘religious form of play.’ Both at play and at worship the Christian community enjoys its Sabbath rest.” 

Now isn’t that the God-awesome truth friends? Christians should be the happiest and most joyful people on the planet because of what our great God and our wonderful Saviour have done for us! And I believe, both as Christians and as secular people, we have forgotten how to have fun, to laugh and be merry and carefree, which are all healthy aspects of a well-lived life. We’re taking our messed up, strife-filled world too seriously. 

Remember Jesus has already been victorious over hell, death and the grave and we have every reason to rejoice. So, on this the Lord’s Day, let’s lighten up and sing this wonderful old hymn ‘The Church’s One Foundation,’ with lyrics by Samuel John Stone (1839-1900) and music by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876). Let’s raise our voices to heaven in sacrificial praise and sweet harmony, so that there can be absolutely no doubt of our sincere and everlasting allegiance to Jesus. 

‘The Church’s one foundation Is Jesus Christ her Lord; She is His new creation By water and the Word: From heav’n He came and sought her To be His holy Bride; With His own blood He bought her, And for her life He died. Elect from every nation, Yet one o’er all the earth, Her charter of salvation, One Lord, one faith, one birth; One holy Name she blesses, Partakes one holy food, And to one hope she presses, With every grace endued. 

’Mid toil and tribulation, And tumult of her war, She waits the consummation Of peace for evermore; Till, with the vision glorious, Her longing eyes are blest, And the great Church victorious Shall be the Church at rest. Yet she on earth hath union With God the Three in One, And mystic sweet communion With those whose rest is won: O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we, Like them, the meek and lowly, In love may dwell with Thee.’ 

Ah mih people, what a joy it is to sing praises to our High Priest and heavenly Advocate Jesus Christ, for He has been so wonderful to us, when He did not have to! Now let’s hear some choice tidbits from His Word based on our Bit: ‘Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him:’ Yes my fellow believers, those are absolute words of wisdom! And all the great men and women of faith practiced it and some even wrote about it. 

Listen first to Jesus when He described the signs of the end times to His disciples. ‘And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall perish. In your patience possess ye your souls.’ (Luke 21:19) As followers of Christ we just have to be trusting and patient and persevering, because that’s what His discipleship calls for. 

Now hear Bruh Paul in his treatise to the Romans, concerning ‘Life in the Spirit.’ ‘For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for (it)? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) wait (eagerly) for it.’ (Rom.8:24-25) Yeh friends, true faith in Jesus is all about hoping, waiting and persevering to the very end! 

And nobody says this better than the author of Hebrews. ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience (endurance), that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.’ (Heb.10:35-36)  And there’s no better example of waiting on God than the patriarch Abraham. After the Lord promised to bless and multiply him, he waited for 25 years for Isaac, the promise to show up. The author of Hebrews tells us: ‘And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.’ (Heb.6:15) 

And we’ll close with these words of Bruh Paul as he talks to the church at Rome about ‘Unity in Christ.’ ‘For whatsoever things were written aforetime (beforehand) were written for our learning, that we through patience (perseverance) and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation (comfort) grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Rom.15:4-6) 

Oh friends, that is exactly my prayer for us today; that we come together in fellowship and worship, and enthusiastically and sincerely glorify and exalt our heavenly Father, for He richly deserves our reverence and exaltation! Much LOVE!

…waiting patiently…and eagerly on God…is wisdom of…and for the ages…

 

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 September 2013 Matthew 16:18

Matthew 16:18.    And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter (a stone) and upon this rock (large rock) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Oh Friends, it’s one more morning, one more day! And though it looks like it might be a rainy day in my area, it certainly won’t stop the outpouring of new mercies, blessings, manna and forgiveness from heaven above. Don’t you just LOVE the faithfulness and LOVING-kindness of our wonderful God? Nothing stops His daily benevolence to His children, although we most often don’t deserve it.
 
And all God’s people declared a loud and joyful shout of, “Praise the Lord God Jehovah for His unceasing goodness to the children of sinful men!’ And that’s certainly how it ought to be my brethren!
 
Anyway, I want to clear up something that I said yesterday, which was, and is liable to cause some confusion. In the last scripture I spoke of getting some wise words ‘from the Rock – Petros, Peter.’ Thankfully one of my readers pointed out the problem, that some people would take it to mean that Peter was the ‘Rock’ on which Christ intended to build His church.
 
And this would be totally plausible after reading our Bit. ‘And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter (a stone) and upon this rock (large rock) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ 
 
Now let’s get some background on it. This scripture came up after Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was. And the ever bright and feisty Simon chirped up: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona (son of Jonah): for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt.16:16-17)
 
Jesus was saying there that Simon had achieved that conclusion through spiritual insight. Then He launched into our Bit.
 
I believe the problem comes from the translation of the Greek words used in the original; ‘Petros and Petra.’ The first, ‘Petros’ which we translate as Peter, apparently means a small stone, while ‘Petra,’ means a large rock. The distinction has obviously gotten lost in the English translation. And though Jesus’ next words tend to convey the ‘Rock’ meaning, we’ll see differently afterwards.
 
After our Bit, Jesus tells Peter: ‘And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: And whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ (Matt.16:19)
 
But Jesus says the same words to all the apostles later on when talking about lost sheep. ‘Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ (Matt.18:18)
 
Now hear the scholars take on the subject. ’16:18. The Greek word used for rock (petra) is played against the name Peter (Gr. Petros). Some use this passage to teach that Peter was the foundation stone of the church, that he had a primacy among the apostles, and that he became Bishop of Rome. The verse will scarcely bear the first of these propositions, and certainly none of the others.
 
Peter may be meant by the rock, but he is not the exclusive foundation. For the twelvefold foundation of the apostles of the church, see Ephesians 2:20 and Revelation 21:14. This seems borne out by the fact that the same words are spoken to all the disciples in Matthew 18:18 as are spoken to Simon Peter in 16:19. Therefore the rock or foundation of the church is the confession (ultimately, the doctrine) of the apostles, which became normative for the true church.’
 
Oh Friends, I surely hope that clears up any confusion my words may have caused yesterday. And to make life easier for us all, (smile) I’ll quote two of the other appropriate scriptures the scholars referenced, beginning with the one from Revelation. Here John is talking about the New Jerusalem which an angel spiritually carried him away to see. ‘And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in (on) them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.’ (Rev.21:14)
 
Obviously Peter was not the only foundation stone of the church, though he played a large part in its creation and continuation. Now turning to the Ephesians scripture. Bruh Paul is here telling them about the unity of all believers.
 
‘Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed (being joined) together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord.’ (Eph.2:19-21)
 
Yes my brethren, Jesus came and tore down all the barriers between Jews and Gentiles, ripped down the veil of the old temple and laid the foundation of His church on the work of the apostles and prophets, with Him being the corner stone.
 
As Jesus said when relating the parable of the wicked husbandmen: ‘Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner (cornerstone): this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?’  (Matt.21:42)
 
There Jesus is quoting the words of the psalmist, (Ps.118:22-23) words that were written long before He came to earth in human form, thus again proving the importance of the Old Testament as a foreshadowing of the New.
 
Ah mih people, I do hope that today’s message will bring some clear or even clearer insight into the rock situation with Peter. He was important in the foundation of Christ’s church, but not the rock, or even the chief stone. Much LOVE!
 
…the Church’s ONE foundation…is Jesus Christ her Lord…She is His new creation…by water and the Word…