In Genesis 26, we continue to see the story of Abraham continued through Isaac. Just as God was with Abraham and blessed him – even in spite of his behavior at times, we see that He was also with Isaac and blessed him – even in spite of his behavior at times. Again, the biographical details of Isaac’s life serve to reveal to us the character of God.
“Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance.” (Prov. 14:9)
How do you handle being wrong? What do you do when you realize you are guilty of something? More often than not, we respond with anger or bitterness. We might become defensive and start pointing out the things other people do wrong so that our error does not seem so bad. Or we might try to justify ourselves by explaining why our “wrong” was not really wrong. If we can convince ourselves that we did not do anything wrong, we assume that we can escape the guilt. Or we may feign sorrow and remorse so that others will feel bad for us or leave us alone…even if we have no intention of changing.
All of these are common responses of guilty people. While they might be understandable, that does not make them right. And at root, they all share one thing in common: the refusal to rightly acknowledge wrongdoing and seek forgiveness and reconciliation.
In Ephesians 3:16, Paul prays that his readers would be strengthened with God’s power through the Spirit who lives in them. This is a bold prayer. Can we even fathom having the power of God strengthening us? And what would that even look like? After making his request, Paul continues – in verses 17-19 – by answering those questions. Put simply: the reason Paul wants them to be strengthened with God’s power through the Spirit is because he wants them (and us) to have a real and intimate fellowship with God and Christ. It may seem odd to think of connecting God’s power and intimate fellowship with Him, but that is precisely what Paul does in these verses.
We saw last time that God knows everything. Today, I want to push one step farther: not only does God know everything, but He also knows what to do with everything He knows. This is the distinction between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge has to do with facts. Wisdom has to do with the application of facts. Knowledge is the accumulation of data. Wisdom is the application and use of that data. It is possible to have knowledge without wisdom, but it is impossible to have wisdom without knowledge. Not only is God “omniscient” (meaning He knows everything) but He is also all-wise. Put simply: this means that God knows precisely what to do with all the things He knows. Based on His perfect knowledge, He knows what is best and most valuable and most worthwhile, and He also knows the best way to reach and obtain those things. He knows everything, and He also knows how best to put all that knowledge to use.
This week we continued looking at Mark’s account of Jesus’ life by looking at Mark 5:21-43. This passage closes a section beginning with Mark 4:35 in which Jesus faces progressively stronger opposition – and proves Himself mighty over it all. Notes and audio can be found here.
We also continued walking through Revelation by looking at chapter 12. This chapter begins a section which passes back over some of the same terrain and gives us further insight into what will happen at the end. God and Satan are in a cosmic war. Satan has been defeated but not destroyed. Nevertheless, Satan still rages because he knows his time is short. Audio can be found here.
We have seen before that God is not limited in any way. He is eternal – meaning He is not limited by time. He is also everywhere – meaning He is not limited by space. Today, we will see another way in which He is not limited: He knows everything. In fancy “preacher language”, He is “omniscient” – which means “all-knowing”.
It is easy to forget – especially in the affluent Western civilization in which we live – that we are actually in the middle of a war zone. Most people – including Christians – are unaware of that fact. For the most part, their ignorance stems from the fact that the war is mostly invisible. It is not a war for land or territory but for authority and worship. I am talking, of course, about the cosmic battle between God and Satan. It has lasted for thousands of years and even though Jesus has struck the blow that seals the victory, Satan continues to lash out even in his final death throes.
But why do we care? Why does it matter to us? It matters because we are part of the war – whether we like it or not. Continue reading Pick Up Your Sword
This past Sunday, we continued walking through the Gospel According to Mark by looking at Mark 5:1-20 – a story that serves yet again to show the power of Christ over all things – even evil spirits. Notes and audio can be found here.
We also continued our sermon series through the book of Revelation by looking at Revelation 11. This is a chapter meant to show us that God knows His people and will hold them fast through every trial and tribulation that comes. Moreover, He will make sure that His word is proclaimed – no matter how bad it gets. And in the end, Jesus will reign forever and ever. Notes and audio can be found here.
In Ephesians 3:14, Paul actually utters the prayer which it seems he began to utter in 3:1. If you look back at Ephesians 3:1, it seems as if Paul begins to say something before getting “sidetracked” by a discussion about the mystery of God and his place in proclaiming it. Because verse 14 begins with the same phrase as verse 1, it seems likely that Paul has resumed his thought after the “digression” of verses 2-14. And what was Paul’s “original thought”? Prayer. He was about to offer up a prayer for his readers. So as we look at the last part of chapter 3, we are looking at a prayer of Paul – much like the prayer in 1:15-23. This is a prayer offered by Paul on behalf of his readers that turns out to actually be inspired of God and useful to teach us. So what can we learn from Paul’s prayer?