Sunday, April 16, 2017

PROPITIATION-what an odd word! But so very important to us...

PROPITIATION-what an odd word! The Bible definition of the word helps us understand why it is an important word for those searching for some meaning and grace in their life.

The Bible Definition of Propitiation-What is it? Why do I need it?
that by which God is rendered propitious, i.e., by which it becomes consistent with his character and government to pardon and bless the sinner. The propitiation does not procure his love or make him loving; it only renders it consistent for him to exercise his love towards sinners.
In Romans 3:25 and Hebrews 9:5 (A.V., "mercy-seat") the Greek word hilasterion is used. It is the word employed by the LXX. translators in Exodus 25:17 and elsewhere as the equivalent for the Hebrew kapporeth , which means "covering," and is used of the lid of the ark of the covenant ( Exodus 25:21; 30:6 ). This Greek word (hilasterion) came to denote not only the mercy-seat or lid of the ark but also propitiation or reconciliation by blood. On the great day of atonement the high priest carried the blood of the sacrifice, he offered for all the people within the veil and sprinkled with it the "mercy-seat," and so made propitiation.
In 1 John 2:2; 4:10, Christ is called the "propitiation for our sins." Here a different Greek word is used (hilasmos). Christ is "the propitiation," because by his becoming our substitute and assuming our obligations he expiated our guilt, covered it, by the vicarious punishment which he endured. (Compare Hebrews 2:17, where the expression "make reconciliation" of the A.V. is more correctly in the RSV "make propitiation.")

Most pastors say that the main purpose of the death of Christ was to bring sinful men to God. However, I would like to suggest that an even greater problem was solved in the atoning work of Jesus Christ. The Cross solved the problem of how to bring a holy and righteous God to sinful men. Through redemption (sin-ward), reconciliation (manward), and justification, man is brought to God, but through propitiation (God-ward), God is brought to man.

PROPITIATION-A word worth remembering— Romans 3:24-25

"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation." The basic meaning of propitiation is "appease" or "satisfy." What did the death of Christ appease or satisfy in the nature of God? In his very nature, God is holy and righteous. He can have no fellowship with anything that is sinful, including sinful men. Thus, God's wrath burns hot against sin and sinners because he must judge all sin. If he does not do this, he is not acting according to his perfect character. But, in love, God sent his Son Jesus Christ to be the perfect sacrifice for sin. No mere human being could have atoned for the sins of men because all are sinners. But Christ, who was a perfect human as well as truly divine, became the perfect sacrifice for sin. God poured out his wrath against sin on the person of Jesus Christ. Thus, the death of Christ appeased God's wrath and satisfied his holy, righteous demands against sin.

God took out his wrath on Christ instead of on sinners. Now anyone who will place his faith and trust in Jesus Christ as personal Saviour from sin will receive the forgiveness of sins, and the wrath of God will never again come down upon that one because Christ bore God's wrath on that believer's behalf. Why? Christ satisfied the holy, righteous demands of God against sin. Now, through the death of Christ, a holy God and sinful men can meet and God can have fellowship with men.

Some have translated the word "propitiation" as "mercy seat," looking back to the Old Testament and the sprinkling of blood on the mercy seat on the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement was a most significant feast day for Israel because it was then that the high priest entered into the holy of holies in the tabernacle to make an atonement for the nation of Israel (Lev 16:1-10). In the tabernacle, the dwelling place of God was the holy of holies, and no man was allowed in this place except the high priest who could go in only once a year on the Day of Atonement.

In the Holy of Holies stood the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark contained several articles such as Aaron's rod that budded and a pot of manna, but the main article was the Ten Commandments. On top of the Ark was the mercy seat, the dwelling place of God. Two cherubim (angels) were on either side of the mercy seat, and above it was the pillar of cloud and smoke (the Shekinah glory). The Ten Commandments pointed to the fact that all men had broken the law and were sinners; the Shekinah glory represented the holiness of God — men were sinners and would be judged by a holy God. The mercy seat stood between sinful men and God.

On the Day of Atonement, the high priest put on special garments of white and underwent special purification to offer sacrifice for the sins of Israel. He offered a bullock for himself and a goat for the people. Since no one else was allowed inside and since a slight mishap in his ritual could cause his death, a cord was tied around his ankle in case he died before God in the holy of holies. Then he took the blood in one hand and a censer of fire in the other, and went through the veil. He put down the censer and threw special incense on it so the room was filled with smoke — no man could see God and live. Then he entered the holy of holies to sprinkle the blood — one time towards heaven and seven times on the mercy seat.

Two goats were sacrificed, one was killed and the other kept alive. This was for the sins of Israel as a people. The congregation of Israel would watch with breathless anticipation as they saw the high priest take the blood of the slain goat into the holy of holies to sprinkle it on the mercy seat to appease God's wrath against their sins and to cover those sins for another year. Every Israelite wondered, "Will God accept this sacrifice? Will our sins be covered for another year? Or will God bring immediate judgment on us because of our sins?" When the High Priest came out of the holy of holies the people breathed a sigh a relief because they knew that God's wrath had been appeased for another year and they needed not fear judgment.
How could they know their sins had been forgiven? The high priest came out and placed his hands on the head of the live goat, confessing the sins of Israel. Then he let the live goat go free into the wilderness. This speaks of the fact that these sins were forgiven and put away by God.
Jesus Christ is our mercy seat. All the sacrifices of the Old Testament looked forward to the Lamb of God who would take away sin forever: 
"Nor yet that he [Christ] should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb 9:25-28).
Christ's death propitiated, appeased or satisfied, the holy, righteous demands of God against sin. Go was perfectly satisfied with the death of Christ. As a propitiatory sacrifice, Christ's death made a provision for sins to be forgiven and put away, not just for a year but forever:
"For thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back" (Isa 38:17b).

"And thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" (Mic 7:19b).

"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us" (Ps 103:12).
God can and will make the vilest sinner clean. Yes, thought your past be dark and hopeless, He can wipe out your past sins. He doesn't want you to clean up your life to become a Christian. He wants you to receive Jesus Christ who alone can forgive your sins, and then God himself will begin to clean you up. He wants you to come as you are. No matter what you have done, Jesus Christ will forgive. He will give you a new life.

The most important thing that could ever be said about the death of Christ is that God is satisfied with it. If he, the righteous Judge, is pleased to remit all penalties against us by virtue of what the Saviour did on the cross, then there is no case against us forevermore. We can never again stand under God's wrath if we have trusted in Jesus Christ.
"Through faith in his blood." There is no salvation apart from the shedding of blood. "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb 9:22). Christ's blood witnesses that a life has been laid down — a substitutionary sacrifice.

Believe it or not, some denominations today are removing references to blood from their hymnals and prayer books because they consider this a first-century concept not necessary for the scientific twentieth century.
"There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood,
Shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved to sin no more.

E'er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die."
"To declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." One might ask, "What provision did God have for sin before the death of Christ, for a righteous God must judge sin?" In the Old Testament, sin was simply covered, not taken away. It was Christ's death that made the final atonement for sin. All Old Testament sacrifices pointed forward to the Lamb of God Jesus Christ who would be the perfect sacrifice for sin, and all Old Testament sacrifices depended on Christ's then future sacrifice for their effectiveness.


"To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness." God has made a declaration to all the world of his righteousness at the cross. In the death of Christ, God has solved the sin problem!
"That he might be just." A holy, righteous God must judge sin and the sinner or he cannot be God. He is absolutely just in judging sin and the sinner!
"And the justifier." In love, God devised a way in which he could justify men, declaring them righteous. His solution was that in the death of Christ for sin God poured out his wrath on Christ, who did not deserve it, instead of on sinners, who most certainly did and do deserve it. Through the death of Christ, one can receive forgiveness of sins and be declared righteous so as never again to stand under the wrath of God.
"Of him which believeth in Jesus." Christ's death is only effective for those who believe in him, that is, to those who trust and commit (abandon) themselves to him alone as personal Saviour and Lord. 

If you're reading this and feeling lost or hopeless there is a reason you read this today. It doesn't cost you money, I have nothing to gain by telling you this: God already dealt with sin but there is only one way, His way, of accepting what God has already done. Your Happy Easter egg surprise can only come through Him who gave His life on a wooden cross between two thieves. His name is Jesus. He rose victorious over death and sin. Call upon Him and ask Him to forgive your sins. In spite of all the negative you hear, there is only one WAY to the Father and that is through his Son, Jesus. (John 14.6)

For Jesus Christ,

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Like a Thief in the Night

This is NOT meant as a means to strike fear in the hearts of readers to convert to Christianity quickly because THE END IS NIGH! I don't believe that to be an effective way of convincing people that Jesus Christ can make a difference in their lives. The Bible never was meant to be a book of dos and don'ts. It was meant to give us a picture of who God is and of how much love He has for his creation. He is a God of love and a God of judgement, but there is no reason for anyone to perish in hell because Jesus made a way out of judgement. Christians are NOT PERFECT! If we profess to be we are liars, but we are a redeemed people. Look up that word and you will see a picture of not a hateful God but a God who always had in mind our ultimate reconciliation through Christ...but only through Jesus Christ. You may be an antagonist against Christian thought but I ask you to just read this and look at the world picture today. Jesus said it would be like this in the last days. Ask yourself if you really have all the answers and have no need of a Creator who loves you and wants you to know Him.

Pastor Ray Pritchard walks his talk so I ask you to look carefully at what is written here and ask yourself some questions. The biggest one is are you ready if what he has written here comes to pass today, or tomorrow, or next week...

Like a Thief in the Night

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

What is the fate of the earth?

It depends on what you mean, and it depends on who you ask. Jonathan Schell made a splash when he wrote The Fate of the Earth in 1982. He predicted utter catastrophe through global nuclear war. It terrified many people with its graphic description of a world gone over the edge. After the nukes have been launched, society is destroyed, and billions are dead. It seemed all too real 35 years ago.

Should we still be worried today?

In some ways, the danger seems greater now than then. Experts tell us North Korea has developed a nuclear warhead and is actively experimenting with rockets capable of reaching the United States. A high-level North Korean defector says that the dictator Kim Jong Un is desperate to maintain his power  is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US and its allies.

I noticed this recent headline from The Independent: World War 3 is Coming. The article notes that both world wars in the 20th century were unanticipated. No one can say with certainty where the next world war will begin, but the author suggests Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific as the most likely flashpoints.

Speaking of all the trouble in the world, Pope Francis said, “World War III has begun, piecemeal.” We know what he means: a battle here, an outbreak there, a terrorist attack in a big city, a revolution in the Middle East, and the relentless spread of nuclear weapons. One thing leads to another, and then you have Armageddon.

So how close are we to the end of the world?

Since 1947 a magazine called the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has kept the “Doomsday Clock,” a symbolic clock that shows how close we are to global catastrophe. As the situation in the world gets better or worse, the hands of the clock are set closer or further away from midnight. The clock has been adjusted seven times since its inception when it was set at 7 minutes before midnight. It was moved back to 17 minutes before midnight in 1991. Since then the minute hand has come closer and closer to midnight, due to the spread of terrorism, the rise of rogue nuclear states, and increasing instability in the world. In early 2017 the Doomsday Clock was reset to 2 ½ minutes until midnight, the closest it has come since 1953.

How will the world end? Man has his answers, but God always gets the last word. The Bible says “the end of all things is at hand” (1 Peter 4:7), and Jesus said, “Yes, I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:20 NLT). The Apostle Paul said, “You know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for the coming of the Lord is nearer now than when we first believed (Romans 13:11 LB).

I spoke with a Christian leader in Kenya who said, “These are not the last days. These are the last hours.” Here is my challenge to you. Read the Bible and study its description of the world situation when Jesus returns. Then pick up the newspaper and read it. You will be amazed at the similarity between the Bible and today’s headlines.

With that introduction, let’s turn to our text—1 Thessalonians 5:1-11. In this passage, Paul reminds us of four things we already know about the end of the age.

I.  We Know the Coming Destruction             

“Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape” (vv. 1-3).

Paul uses a particular term to describe the end times. He calls it “the day of the Lord.” That’s a phrase found in many places in the Old Testament. It describes any moment when God suddenly interrupts the normal flow of life and “breaks in” to time and space. The prophets used the term to describe God’s judgment on the pagan nations surrounding Israel. In fact, throughout history there have been many periods that might be called “the day of the Lord.” But those little “days” look forward to the big “day” at the end of history.

Our text tells us we know three things about the coming Day of the Lord at the end of the age: First, it will come suddenly, like a thief in the night. Why did you lock your door last night? You did it because thieves normally come during the darkness while you sleep or while you are away from home.

Second, it will be a period of great destruction. This refers to the vast judgments described in the book of Revelation, when the seals are broken, the trumpets sound, and the bowls of God’s judgment are poured out on the earth. All those terrible events take place during a seven-year period called “the tribulation.”

Third, there will be no escape. Here is the most important fact we need to know about the future. When the Day of the Lord finally comes, and God’s fury is poured out on the earth, there will be no place to hide. Paul compares it to a woman in the throes of childbirth. Every woman who has ever been pregnant knows what I mean. For months you wait for the day to come. You don’t know the exact day, but you sense when it is getting close. Finally, you say to your husband, “Sweetheart, it’s time to go to the hospital.” He may try to argue or reason with you, but it doesn’t matter. When the time has come, you’ve got to go because the baby is on the way. You can’t ignore those sharp pains and you can’t make them go away.

The same is true of the Day of the Lord. When God’s judgment is poured out on this earth, no one will escape. The world cannot escape the tribulation period. Your only hope is to find the way of escape through the Lord Jesus Christ.

II.  We Know Our Identity     

“But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness” (vv. 4-5).

Light and darkness symbolize the two great divisions of the human race—the saved and the lost. Note two key words in this text: “you” and “we.” Christians belong to the light and to the day, not to the darkness or the night.

The coming of Christ will clearly reveal those two kinds of people. Today it can be hard to tell because the sons of light live side by side with the children of darkness. Even though we have fundamentally different values and lifestyles, we share the same space, live next door to each other, we may listen to the same music and cheer for the same teams. Often we work in the same office together.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a person is a believer or not. But when the Day of the Lord finally comes, the difference will be perfectly clear. We who belong to the light won’t be caught by surprise when Jesus returns and sudden destruction comes to the earth.

III.  We Know Our Duty                  

“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.  But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet” (vv. 6-8).

In verse 6 Paul uses two words to describe how we ought to live while we wait for Christ’s return. First, we must be alert. The word means “to make a determined effort to stay awake.” We all have trouble with that from time to time. Maybe you stayed up too late last night watching TV, or you had to write a term paper, or perhaps you’ve been working extra hours at your job. We all know there are “morning people” and “evening people.” Spiritually we are called to be “morning people” for God. Some of us need some caffeine—literally and spiritually--because we are in danger of becoming spiritual sleepwalkers.

Second, we must be self-controlled. The word means “serious-minded” or “earnest.” That doesn’t mean dour. Christians should enjoy life. Later on in this chapter Paul tells us to “rejoice always” (v. 16). We don’t need to be so serious all the time that we never laugh and never relax. The word “self-controlled” means to maintain your poise in an unsettle world. This person is neither overly excited nor indifferent to the things that happen around him. You find out if you are self-controlled when everything in your life is spinning out of control. Can you keep your cool when everyone around you is losing theirs? Can you keep from replying to an angry email or a hostile tweet or a critical comment on Facebook? The self-controlled person can walk away from a fight. Can you?

I love the phrase “keep calm and carry on.” That perfectly describes how Christians should live in a chaotic world.

Verse 7 specifies certain things that have no part in the Christian life. These are things associated with the evils of the night. Drunkenness serves as a prime example of how the unsaved live. This speaks to where we hang out, the parties we attend, and the people we choose as our closest friends. We are to have no part of a drunken lifestyle because we are people of the light and those things belong in the darkness. Be filled with the Spirit, not with alcohol (Ephesians 5:18).

We must be alert because the enemy attacks on every hand.
We must be self-controlled because we are always on duty.
We must reject moral compromise because it can only drag us down.

Soldier, Put On Your Uniform

Verse 8 tells us to put on the breastplate of faith and love. Just as the breastplate covered the vital organs, even so faith in God and love toward our brothers and sisters protects us in the time of battle. Then we are to put on the helmet of the hope of salvation. This protects the mind and produces clear thinking.  What is the “hope of salvation”? It is the certainty that if we die before Jesus returns, we will go directly to heaven. If we live until his return, it is the certainty that we will be raptured off this earth to meet the Lord in the air. Either way we’re going to be delivered—whether alive or dead we’re going to meet Jesus very soon.

There is a moral value to the Second Coming of Christ. While we wait for his return, we live in a world that is hostile to spiritual truth. A battle rages all around us for the hearts and minds of men and women. It is also a battle for our culture and for our nation. Every Christian is a soldier in that battle.

We must do three things in light of Christ’s return:

 Wake up! (verse 6)
 Clean up! (verse 7)
 Dress up! (verse 8)

Jesus is coming again, and we will meet him when he comes, whether by resurrection or by rapture. Is that just wishful thinking? Can anyone be sure they are going to meet the Lord someday? The last section of our passage answers that question.

IV. We Know Our Destiny                       

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (vv. 9-11).

The word “destiny” means “an appointed end.” We all plan for the future. You probably know what you are going to do tomorrow. Perhaps you’ve got some goals in mind for next year or for the next 5 years or the next 10 years. Maybe you’ve got some career goals in mind that you hope to accomplish someday. But no matter how well you plan, you can never be sure what will happen in the future.

God’s plan for you is so certain that we may call it a destiny. Paul calls it an “appointment.” Here are three statements to ponder:

God knows where you came from.
God knows where you are right now.
God knows where you will end up.

What is the destiny of the saved?

1.  Not to wrath

If you know Jesus, you are not destined for the terrible destruction associated with the coming Day of the Lord. We can go further and say if you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you are not destined for eternal hell. There is such a place, and some people will go there, but that is not your destiny if you know Christ.

2. To receive salvation

The phrase means “full deliverance.” We are not appointed to wrath but to “full deliverance.” Who will do this for us? Verse 9 gives us the answer: “Our Lord Jesus Christ.” Why would he do this? Verse 10 answers that: “He died for us.” That’s the substitutionary atonement of Christ. He died in my place on the cross, bearing my sin, taking my shame. That’s the only basis for the assurance of salvation: the knowledge that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and for me.

Let me sum up the message of this passage in just four simple words: Our Destiny is Deliverance. If you know Jesus Christ, you are completely delivered from the wrath of God—now and in the future.

Are you ready for Christ to return? Are you ready to meet him today? What if he were to return in the next 24 hours, would you be ready or would you be ashamed to see him?

Maybe you don’t even know how to answer those questions. Paul tells us the answer in this passage:

Your Identity Determines Your Destiny

Think of the words Paul uses in this passage:

              Light and darkness
              Sleeping and waking
              Night and day
              Us and them
              Wrath and Salvation

Your choice is ruin or rescue, destruction or deliverance!

The unbelieving world will not escape. All that man has built crumbles when Christ returns. If you don’t know Jesus, you have a date with judgment. Your future is wrath, judgment, and tribulation. And you will not escape!

Are You Ready?

Jesus is coming. Are you ready? 
He may come today. Are you ready?

God’s Word tells you the truth. There is no reason to be unprepared. If Jesus comes today and you aren’t ready to meet him, you will have only yourself to blame.

How can you escape the terrible wrath to come? Our text tells us the answer: It is through Jesus who died for us. You must transfer your trust to him. Open your heart to him. Ask him to forgive your sins. Believe that he died for you and rose from the dead. Crown him as the King of your life and the Lord of your heart.

If Jesus were to come today . . . and he may . . . would you be ready?

I read the story of a businessman who took his young son with him when he went to work. When they got to the building where he worked, the father told his son to stay by the door and soon he would return for him. But he got busy, the hours passed, and somehow he forgot what he had said. He ended up going out a different door than the one he had entered.  When he got home, his wife asked him about their son. Worried and fearful, he hurried back and found his son where he had left him. He was tired, cold, hungry and scared, but he was waiting just as he had been told to do. When he saw his father, he smiled and said, “I knew you would come. You said you would.”

It’s been 2000 years, and some of God’s children feel tired and hungry. We wonder why Jesus hasn’t come back yet. Perhaps he has forgotten us. Perhaps he made other plans. It’s been a long time from our point of view, but he’s only been gone for two days from heaven’s perspective (cf. 2 Peter 3:8). He said he would come back—and he will.

Fear not, child of God.
Keep believing.
He hasn’t forgotten you.
Soon Christ will return for his own.

With this hope we lay our loved ones to rest in the sacred soil of death. With this hope we rise each morning, look to the eastern sky and say, “Maybe today.”

Christian, do you know what time it is?
The clock is ticking for all of us!

It's later than it's ever been.
It’s time to put off the deeds of darkness.
It’s time to put on the armor of light.
It's time to take Jesus with you everywhere you go.
It's time to get serious about your faith.
It's time to stop sleepwalking through life.

Look! Do you see the first rays of dawn? The night is almost over, the sun is rising. Jesus is coming soon.

Get ready!

Have patience, child of God. Your Savior is on the way.
Take hope, defeated Christian. The Lord is at hand.
Be encouraged, suffering saint. The trumpet will soon sound.

Jesus is coming again.

Ponder this final thought. If Jesus comes back before the sun goes down, what will happen to you? All eternity hangs on your answer to that simple question.

See you next blog,

Risky Business

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