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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Monday, January 16, 2006

Recovering a Right View of God

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Ephesians 5:1-2
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Daily Scripture Reading - Isaiah 6

Puritan Catechism
Question #12 - What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the state wherein he was created?
Answer - When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; (Gal. 3:12) forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death. (Gen. 2:17)

Devotional Thoughts
Recovering a Right View of God – Ephesians 5:1-7

The Wrong View of God1 John 4:8

Ask anybody on the street to describe God and eventually they will come around to 1 John 4:8. There the Bible tells us that God is love. Immediately, our fallen minds can lead us astray with just this small tidbit of information about the true nature of who God is and what God is! Fallen mankind, you see, does not understand love at all. To men and women without any spiritual or Scriptural discernment, love is an emotion, a warm fuzzy that accompanies infatuation. It is something that makes you feel good about yourself and about the one you love.

Love is often seen as toleration, or putting up with all sorts of sin, just because after all, we love the sinner. Have we not all heard that line before? Love the sinner, hate the sin? Well, God hates the sin and the sinner! (Psalm 11:5). We are taught though that God loves everyone equally. (Yes, He does love everyone, but not equally! (see 1 Tim 4:10 for example). In fact, this delusional view of love teaches that God loves everyone and so as a result will not send anyone to hell!

This is an overstatement of one attribute of God's character, His love, and unfortunately, it is an overstatement of an unBiblical form of love that is really a perversion and a misrepresentation of what God is and what love is!

So many people see a god of their own making. They see an all-loving god who is nowhere close to matching the God of the Bible, and is therefore no god at all, but an idol of their own imagination. So how can we have a right view of God?

Defining Love1 Cor 13:1-8a; 1 John 2:3-6; 5:3

Love, as we define it Scripturally, is a choice of the will that we make in relation to how we view and treat another person. Love, further, is defined as obedience to God. Yes, it really is that simple. To love God is to obey Him.

So how do we define love? 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 does a fine job of giving us the characteristics of true, Scriptural love. Give the chapter a read and meditate on all that it says about love. And remember, God is love!

The Right View of GodIsaiah 6:1-8

Once we see love for what it is and is not, we see that there is more than emotions at work here. Love is a decision. And God is love. So how can we get a right view of Him even beyond seeing how He embodies love?

In this chapter in Isaiah, the prophet sees God. And what he sees tells us much about both God and about men! First we see that God is Sovereign – He is sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. The angels there around the Throne who are guarding His glory proclaim this truth, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!"

To give something emphasis in the Bible the author or speaker repeats a phrase. Jesus said often "Verily, verily", meaning "truly, truly" and emphasizing the truthfulness of what He was about to say. And the one characteristic of God that is most emphasized on the Bible is seen right here. Above all else, God is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY. He is perfect and good and perfectly good. He cannot sin. It is not that He does not sin, He cannot sin, by His own very nature as a perfect and righteous Being. God cannot sin. He is HOLY.

When Isaiah sees this glory, this ultimate holiness and perfection, he is struck by one singular reality. He cries out, "Woe is me! I am undone!" What does he mean here? Well, this in the Hebrew language is actually a curse. He curses himself! Woe is me. I am undone. When compared to the holiness of God Isaiah sees immediately his own utter sinfulness and cries out that he is cursed and "coming apart at the seams."

He cannot stand in the presence of such holiness. And yet, so many today have such a low view, such a humanized view of God, that there is nothing Holy, extraordinary, or even fearful about Him. If that is true of your view of God, then you are not looking at GOD!

Isaiah's response is such in this chapter that as he is cleansed by the coal from the altar, representing the atonement of Christ for his sin, then Isaiah immediately changes his cry. It is now, "Here am I; send me." He is now ready and waiting to serve His Lord. Often I think people do not obey God because they do not know Him and certainly would not recognize Him if they did see Him. When we do recognize Him for Who He is, we can do nothing less than curse our sin and abandon ourselves in His service.

Imitating God - Ephesians 5:1-7

When we see God for Who He is, we are expected to imitate what we see! The imitation of God is best understood as the process of sanctification – being conformed to the image of Christ – to be made like Him. How are we sanctified? By the Word of God! How do we imitate God? “Follow” Jesus! John 17:14-17

Here is a brief outline for your own study from this passage that shows us what it means to imitate God!

Imitate God - vs.1

1. Be Holy

a. We are Commanded – Lev. 11:45; 1 Peter 1:13-16
b. We are Enabled – 2 Peter 1:3-4; James 1:21; 2 Thess. 2:13-15; 2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 8:28-30

2. Hate what God Hates – vs. 1

a. “Top Seven” – Proverbs 6:16-19
b. Lying – Prov. 13:5; Zech. 8:17; Ps. 119:104, 128, 163
c. Evil – Ps. 5:5; 97:10; Prov. 8:13; Amos 5:15; Is. 61:8; Heb. 1:9
d. Idolatry – Jer. 44:4-5; Deut. 16:21-22
e. False Worship – Amos 5:21-24; Ps. 119:113; 139:21-22; Rev. 2:6
f. Violence – Ps. 11:5

3. Love what God Loves (and commands us to love) – vs. 1

a. Our Enemies – Mt. 5:43-48; Lk. 6:27-35; Rom. 5:8; John 3:16
b. One Another – 1 Peter 1:22-23; Prov. 8:17; John 13:34; 1 John 4:7
c. Salvation – Ps. 40:16; 70:4
d. Mercy and Righteousness – Micah 6:8; Is. 61:8; Jer. 31:3
e. Truth (the Word) – Zech. 8:19; Ps. 119:97,113, 119, 127, 159
f. Our Neighbor – Ps. 3:23; 69:36; Mt. 19:19; 22:37
g. Husbands and Wives – Col. 3:19; Eph. 5:25, 28, 33; Titus 2:4
h. GOD – Deut. 6:5; 11:1, 13, 22; 19:9; 30:6, 16; Joshua 22:5; 23:11; 1 John 5:2-3

Live as is Fitting for Saints – vs. 3-7

We are expected to live like what we are – redeemed and holy! In obeying the command to imitate God, we have learned that we are to be holy, be loving, and avoid Satan’s counterfeits, which are the enemies of holiness and love.

1. Avoid these things, not even to be named among saints (vs. 3)

a. Fornication – immorality, any sexual sin, lack of sexual discipline, lack of

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 and 6:13-20 deals with the issues of immorality in the church. This immorality is a lack of discipline and control in the realm of sexual desires. That lack of control proves a perversion of true love. The desire is for self-fulfillment and gratification no matter the means necessary to fulfill those desires. Counterfeits, though, do not ever produce lasting results and the evil desire continues to grow and consume. The immorality leads to the impurity mentioned next. Lack of control leads to lack of purity.

b. Uncleanness – impurity, anything unclean, rotten, decayed, sexual corruption

The unhindered and selfish desires corrupt further. The desires originate in the corruption of our heart and lead to the corruption of our mind and our body.

c. Covetousness – greed, self-will, self-gratification (to take instead of give)

The focus of any counterfeit is to promise the love and purity but deliver the perverse and unclean. Greed is at the root of impurity. We want for ourselves. We are self-serving. We have no regard for others. We actually use others to get what we want!

d. Not to be Named – not tolerated or even suspected

Don’t even let these things be suspected or much less tolerated among His elect! Colossians 3:1-17. Put these things to death if they “pop” up in your thoughts! Don’t excuse selfish desires, crucify them. Deny yourself.

e. As Fitting for Saints – not proper for “holy ones”

These things are not proper for His holy ones. Who are saints? How should saints live?

2. But Rather Giving of Thanks (vs. 4)

In contrast to sexual sins and corruption we are to be thankful people. What does gratitude have to do with proper living?

a. Neither Filthiness – general obscenity, disgraceful
b. Nor Foolish Talking – silly talk, moronic speech, stupidity, low (in the gutter)
c. Nor Coarse Jesting – innuendo, turning something said or done into the obscene (even the innocent is perverted)

(From point 1 – sexual sin leads to corruption rooted in greed. It is all for Self.)
(From point 2 – obscene speech, moronic talk, and innuendo prove the presence of sin.)

These things prove the condition of the heart! They reveal self-centeredness. They expose the corruption of the inward man.

d. But Rather Giving of Thanks – Imitate God - Be Holy, Be Loving, Be Thankful

Philippians 4:4-9 - To not be grateful is to say, “I deserve all I get and have.” Lack of thankfulness proves selfishness. However, to give thanks reveals self-less-ness, we recognize undeserved grace in every area of our lives. Gratitude shows that the heart is not full of self but concerned for others. It is indeed the very opposite of greed. We either want to get or give. Greed or Gratitude!

3. Idolater or Inheritor? (vs. 5)

a. Idolater – unredeemed, worship of another god, especially self

Those who worship at the altar of self prove that they are unregenerate! A saved person CANNOT and will not live like this, participating in these sins habitually. See 1 Cor. 6:9-11, Gal. 5:17-21, and 1 John 3:4-10.

b. Inheritor – kingdom citizens (the sphere of the redeemed)

What have you inherited in Christ? Who you serve shows your “god.” Does your life evidence that you are redeemed or that you serve self in every situation. Is your life all about you – pleasing yourself, being happy and content? Or is it about God – serving and pleasing Him by being obedient to His Word?

4. Wrath Comes on the Sons of Disobedience (vs. 6)

a. Don’t be Deceived – perverted love leads to punishment
b. Empty Words – devoid of truth

Words that say, “It is okay to sin from time to time. We all fail. Just confess it and move on.” These are dangerous words, words devoid of truth. God does not tolerate sin. We cannot excuse it! We must deal with it as He does. The wages of sin is death – anything that causes death is to be held in proper perspective!

c. The Wrath of God – Eph. 2:1-3
d. The Sons of Disobedience – Rom. 1:18-32

5. Therefore, do not be Partakers with Them (vs. 7) – 1 Thess 5:9-11, 16-20

a. Partakers – partners
b. In their Sin – evil companions
c. In their Judgment – suffering wrath

Conclusion – Live as is fitting for saints. Be Holy. Be Loving. Be Thankful.
Avoid Satan’s Counterfeits. Enjoy your inheritance NOW!

It all comes down to who we are serving. Who do we worship? Who has priority in our lives? It is self or is it God? A comparison of God’s love and Satan’s counterfeit, lust, will help reveal the god (God) we serve.

“The world claims to want love, and love is advocated and praised from every corner. Romantic love, especially is touted. Songs, novels, movies, and television continually exploit emotional, lustful desire as if it were genuine love. Questing for and fantasizing about the “perfect love” is portrayed as the ultimate human experience. It should not be surprising that the misguided quest for that kind of love leads inevitable to immorality and impurity, because that kind of love is selfish and destructive, a deceptive counterfeit of God’s love. It is always conditional and is always self-centered. It is not concerned about commitment but only satisfaction. It is not concerned about giving but only getting. It has no basis for permanence because its purpose is to use and exploit rather than to serve and to help. It lasts until the one loved no longer satisfies or until he or she disappears for someone else.” (MacArthur’s Commentary on Ephesians, pages 199-200).

God’s love is permanent. God never changes. He never leaves. Do you love Him and prove your love by obedience? 1 John 5:3.

Puritan Voices
We are reading a small portion each day from a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon titled, A Wise Desire taken from Psalm 47:4.

A Sermon
(No. 33)
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, July 8, 1855, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark

"He shall choose our inheritance for us."—Psalm 47:4

THE CHRISTIAN IS ALWAYS pleased and delighted when he can see Christ in the Scriptures. If he can but detect the footstep of his lord, and discover that the sacred writers are making some reference to him, however indistinct or dark he will rejoice there at: for all the Scriptures are nothing except as we find Christ in them. St. Austin says, "The Scriptures are the swaddling bands of the man-child—Christ Jesus, and were all intended to be hallowed garments in which to wrap him "So they are; and it is our pleasant duty to lift the veil, or remove the garment of Jesus and so behold him in his person, in his nature, or his offices. Now, this text is concerning Jesus Christ—he it is who is to "choose our inheritance for us," he in whom dwelleth all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge is the great Being who is selected as the head of predestination—to choose our lot and our portion, and fix our destiny. Verily, beloved brethren, you and I can rejoice in this great fact, that our Saviour chooses for us. For were we all to be assembled together in some great plain, as Israel was of old, to elect for ourselves a king, we should not propose a second candidate. There would be one who stands like Saul, the son of Kish, head and shoulders taller than all the rest, whom we should at once select to be our king and ruler of Providence for us. We would not ask for some prudent sage or deeply taught philosopher; we would not choose the most experienced senior; but, without a single moment's hesitation, directly we saw Jesus Christ, in the majesty of his person, we should say, in the words of the Psalmist, He who redeemed us, he who ransomed us, he who loved us—"He shall choose our inheritance for us."

I remember once going to a chapel where this happened to be the text, and the good man who occupied the pulpit was more than a little of an Arminian. Therefore, when he commenced, he said, "This passage refers entirely to our temporal inheritance. It has nothing whatever to do with our everlasting destiny: for," said he, "We do not want Christ to choose for us in the matter of heaven or hell. It is so plain and easy that every man who has a grain of common sense will choose heaven; and any person would know better than to choose hell. We have no need of any superior intelligence, or any greater being, to choose heaven or hell for us. It is left to our own free will, and we have enough wisdom given us, sufficiently correct means to judge for ourselves, and therefore, as he very logically inferred, there was no necessity for Jesus Christ, or any one, to make a choice for us. We could choose the inheritance for ourselves without any assistance." Ah! but my good brother, it may be very true that we could, but I think we should want something more than common sense before we should choose aright. For you must recollect that it is not simply the choosing of heaven or hell; it is the choosing of pleasure on earth, or of pain of honor or of persecution; and very often the man is bewildered. If it were just simply hell that a man had to choose, none would prefer it; but since it is the sin which engenders hell, and the lust which brings him on to punishment, there comes the difficulty. For by nature we are all inclined to follow the way which leads downwards, we are naturally willing to walk the road which leads to the pit—we do not seek the pit itself, but the road that leads to it—and were it not for sovereign grace, none of us would ever have followed the path to heaven. I am daily more and more convinced that the difference between one man and another is, not the difference between his use of his will, but the difference of grace that has been bestowed upon him. So that if one man has his "inheritance in heaven," it will be because Christ chose his inheritance for him; and if another man has his place in hell, it will be because he chose his inheritance himself. We do need some one to choose for us in that matter; we want our Father to fix our eternal destiny, and write our names in the book of life, otherwise, if left to ourselves, the road to hell would be as naturally our choice as for a piece of inanimate matter to roll downwards, instead of assisting itself upwards.

However, to come at once to our text, and leave every other person's observations alone, "He shall choose our inheritance for us." First, I shall speak of the text as being a glorious fact—"He shall choose our inheritance for us." And, secondly, I will speak of it as being a very just and wise prayer—"He shall choose our inheritance for us."

I. First, then, I shall speak of this as being A GLORIOUS FACT.

It is a great truth that God does choose the inheritance for his people. It is a very high honor conferred upon God's servants, that it is said of them, "He shall choose their inheritance." As for the worldling, God gives him anything, but for the Christian, God selects the best portion, and chooses his inheritance for him. Says a good divine, "It is one of the greatest glories of the Church of Christ, that our mighty Maker, and our Friend, always chooses our inheritance for us." He gives the worldling husks; but he stops to find out the sweet fruits for his people. He gathers out the fruits from among the leaves, that his people might have the best food, and enjoy the richest pleasures. Oh! it is the satisfaction of God's people to believe in this exalting truth that he chooses their inheritance for them. But, since there are many who dispute it, allow me just to stir up your minds by way of remembrance, by mentioning certain facts which will lead you to see clearly that verily God does choose our lot, and apportion for us our inheritance.

And, first, let me ask, must we not all of us admit an over-ruling providence, and the appointment of Jehovah's hands, as to the means whereby we came into this world? These men who think that afterwards we are left to our own free will by choosing this or the other to direct our steps, must admit that our entrance into the world was not of our own will, but that God there had his hand upon us. What circumstances were those in our power which led us to elect a certain person to be our parent? Had we anything to do with it? Did not God of himself appoint our parents, native place, and friends? Could he not have caused me to be born with the skin of the Hottentot, brought forth by a filthy mother who should nurse me in her "kraal," and teach me to bow down to Pagan gods, quite as easily as to have given me a pious mother, who should each morning and night bend her knee in prayer on my behalf? Or, might he not, if he had pleased, have given me some profligate to have been my parent, from whose lips I might have early heard fearful, filthy, and obscene language? Might he not have placed me where I should have had a drunken father, who should have immured me in a very dungeon of ignorance, and brought me up in the chains of crime? Was it not God's providence that I had so happy a lot, that both my parents were his children, and endeavored to train me up in the fear of the Lord? To whom do any of you owe your parentage—be it good, or be it bad? Is it not to be traced to the decree of God? Did not his predestination put you where you were? Was it not the Lord who appointed the place of your birth, and the hour thereof? Look again at your bodies, do you not see the doings of God there? How many children are born into the world deformed? How many come into it deficient in some one or other of their faculties? But look at ourself. You are perhaps comely in person, or if not, you have all your limbs; your bones are well set, and you are strong—must you not trace this up to God? Do you not see that he arranged the commencement of your life for you? You might have opened your career there, or there, or there; but he placed you there in that particular spot, without asking your leave. Did he turn to you and say, O clay! in what shape shall I fashion you? Or, did he who begat you ask you what you would be? No: he made you what he pleased, and if you have now the possession of your faculties and limbs, you must acknowledge and confess that there was the decree of God in it. And, still further, how much of the finger of God must we discern in our temper and constitution? I suppose no one will be foolish enough to say that we are all born with the same natural temperament and constitution. I am sure there are some persons who differ a great deal from others, at least I should like to differ a little from them—some of those with whom you could not sit a single moment without feeling that you would rather stand in a shower of rain, and get dripping wet than sit on a sofa by their side; some persons are so exceedingly warm in their tempers that they actually burn a hole in their manners and conversation—they cannot speak without being cross, and testy and angry. Now, although such persons often indulge their temper, yet we must allow that, in some measure, they are excusable, because they can trace it to the nature which their mother gave them, (as the worldly poet would say) or rather, that temperament with which they were bore. As if there should be others here who are naturally amiable—who have a kind loving spirit—who are not so easily moved to wrath and passion; in whom there is not so much of that absurd pride which makes man exalt himself above his fellows: who has formed them aright or fashioned them so well? Has not God done it and proved himself a Sovereign? And must we not see in this that God in some way or other has fixed our destiny, from the very fact that the opening bud of life is entirely in his hands? It does seem rational that since God appointed the commencement of our existence, there should be some evidence of his control in the future parts of it.

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship


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