The Urgent Message of the Gospel (Teaching 5 of 5) – Video & Outline

Following God Series
Delivered at Harlem Reformed Church, 2013

God is Righteous; God Hates Sin

  • Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7 – people were made in God’s image, with an eternal component (God’s, “breath of life”).  They were meant to spread life throughout the world.  
  • Gen. 3:6; Rom. 5:12,19 – Sin entered humanity
    • Gen. 6:5-7; Ps. 5:5; 51:5; Rom. 1:18-32; 3:23; 6:23 – Sin = rebellion from God.  It brings wrath and hatred from an eternal, holy God.  All humans are sinners from birth and have earned God’s eternal wrath.

A Righteous God Enters A World Of Sinners

  • Malachi 3:1-3; 4:1,4-6 – God is going to come with fire of judgment and stand in judgment against sinners.  The sign of His coming will be a messenger that turns hearts back.
  • Mt. 11:10; 17:10-13; Mk. 1:2; 9:12-13; Lk. 1:13-17 – John the Baptist is the messenger.
  • Lk. 3:16-17 – Jesus is the Lord whose way John prepared.  Jesus would bring fire of judgment just as was predicted (see Mal. 3:2).  But…


  • Lk. 4:34; Jn. 3:16-17; 12:47 – Jesus brought the good news of salvation when He came to earth
  • Rev. 22:12 – Jesus will return to earth as Judge
    • Gen. 6-8 – the ark was built before the flood / Mal. 4:2 – those who fear God were healed and given life instead of judgment / Lk. 3:16-17 – the Holy Spirit was given before fire
  • Mark 1:15 – repent and believe the Good News:
    • Lk. 15:18-20 – repentance = a change of mind and action in choosing God as Lord
    • Jn. 8:24; 1 Cor. 15:1-5 – the good news = (1) Jesus Christ is fully God / fully Man, (2) Christ died for your sins, (3) Christ was buried, (4) Christ bodily resurrected.    
    • Rom. 10:9-10 – belief must be in the heart
    • Lk. 18:9-14; Rom. 3:21-26; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 1:13; etc. – trust/faith in Christ alone brings eternal life, and the life of the Spirit within you is the evidence

The GOOD NEWS Explained: Jesus Took The Judgment Upon Himself

  • Gen. 3:7,21 – Adam and Eve’s naked flesh had to be covered by the slain life of another 
  • Exodus 12; John 19:14; 1 Cor. 5:7 – Jesus as the Passover Lamb:  Ex. 11:4; 12:7,8,13, 29 (cf. Matt. 25:6) – At Midnight, judgment comes.  Only those covered by the Lamb’s blood were spared from death, and they alone also had the Lamb within them (by eating).
  • Gen. 6-8 – Jesus as the Ark: Gen. 6:7,13,17-20; 7:17-24; 8:11; 2 Pet. 3:5-7 – God’s judgment killed all flesh, but the ark incurred the wrath/judgment for those inside.  A dove with an olive branch confirmed the judgment complete, just as the Spirit in us (Who came as a dove, see Luke 3:22) confirms our judgment finished (see Jn. 19:30).

The GOOD NEWS Continued: Jesus Paid the Full Price of Sin – 

Sin (in Adam) – Gen. 3:6Redemption (in Christ) – 2 Cor. 5:21
Gen. 2:8; 3:1-3,8 – sin began in a gardenMk. 14:32; Jn. 18 – a garden brought obedience from Christ and betrayal from men, both precursors to redemption
Gen. 3:7-10 (cf. 2:25) – sin brought shameHeb. 12:2 – the cross brought Christ shame
Gen. 3:7 – sin revealed nakednessJohn 19:23-24 – Christ died naked
Gen. 3:9 – sin brought separation from GodMatt. 27:46 – Christ was separated from God
Gen. 3:12-13 – sinners took on nature of Serpent/Satan (Satan means “Accuser”)John 3:14 – The crucified Christ is depicted as a serpent on a pole.
Gen. 3:18 – sin brought thornsMatt. 27:29 – Christ took thorns on His head
Gen. 3:19 – sin brought sweat on man’s faceLuke 22:44 – Christ had sweat on his face
Gen. 5:5 – The sinner died physically1 Cor. 15:3-4 – Christ died physically
Gen. 2:7; 3:9,22-24 – sin merits eternal deathCol. 1:19; 1 Cor. 15:3-4 – Christ (as the Eternal God) took on eternal death
Comparison and Contrast of Adam’s Sin versus Christ’s Redemption

Also, as the first record of human sin was within a female (Gen. 3:6), so the Redeemer dwelt in a female (virgin) first (Matt. 1:23).  And as the sin-spreader was a male (Rom. 5:19), so the redemption-spreader is Male (Luke 3:23).

  • Rom. 5:18 – 1 righteous act undoes 1 evil act in those “born again”…
  • Ex. 21:23-25 – “life for life” – Christ’s suffering and death justly paid what we owe
  • 1 Cor. 15:45,47 – “Last Adam” = He put an end to all that came from Adam; “Second Man” = He marks the beginning of a new race of people who live through His blessed life
    • Gen. 4:3-4 – God accepted the slain lamb, not the cursed earth
    • Jer. 18:4 – “Spoiled vessel” = life of Adam; “Another vessel” = Life of Christ
    • Luke 3:22,38 – “son of God” = Adam (not that he was divine, but was made directly from God’s hands; “Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” = Christ

Our Job & The Second Coming of Christ:

  • Eph. 5:22-32; 1 Cor. 11:12 – As Christ’s bride, formed from His life (think of Eve and Adam), the church births and nurtures this new race of “born again,” redeemed people
    • 1 Thes. 2:8 – How?  With our words, and the Spirit’s power and character in us
  • 2 Kgs 7:9; James 4:14 – Our “vapor of a life” is in the gap between Christ’s 1st coming as Savior, and 2nd coming as Judge.  We are building the ark while the world laughs at the idea of a judgment to come.  We are preparing houses with the Lamb’s blood while the world mocks the idea that death would come at midnight.  We are doing our part to give Christ the greatest reward we can for His suffering and His work.  This is TRULY good news for every human being…we fully deserve EVERYTHING Christ paid.      

God’s Love (Teaching 4 of 5)

Following God Series
Delivered at Harlem Reformed Church, 2013


Images of God (Teaching 1 of 5): Jesus gives us a perfect Image of the Invisible God. | Beholding Jesus: The Perfect Image of God (Teaching 2 of 5): Jesus is revealed to humble hearts through the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit. | Jesus’ View on the Bible (Teaching 3 of 5): Jesus affirms the O.T. and N.T. together as THE authority in everything they proclaim.

  • 1 John 4:8,16 – God is love.
  • Isaiah 9:6; John 8:58; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; etc. – Jesus is God.
  • Thus, Jesus is the definition of love!  We learn love from Jesus, as we study the Bible…

From Bible: Rom. 12:9; 1 Cor. 13:4-7; Psalm 97:10; Prov. 3:11-12 – Love: 1. Hates evil, 2. Disciplines, 3. Is truthful, 4. Is filled with grace, humility, and forgiveness

From considering Jesus – Love: Hates evil (Heb. 1:8-9); Disciplines (Rev. 3:19); Is filled with grace and truth (Jn. 1:14); Is humble (2 Cor. 10:1); Comes to save His people’s sin (Matt. 1:21)

From watching Jesus in action – Love:

  • Calls for repentance (Mt. 4:17; Mk. 1:15)
  • Values people; urges a measure of kindness and generosity to all (Lk. 6:35; 10:37; 12:6-7; 14:13)
  • Came for sinners seeking salvation (Lk. 5:32; 7:34; 19:10; Jn. 3:16) 
  • Forgives sinners, heals the sick, frees prisoners, delivers the oppressed, ministers to the poor (Mt. 9:1-8; Lk. 4:18; 5:20; 7:48; 9:11; 13:11-12; 17:19; 23:34; Jn 4:49-50; 8:36; etc.)
  • Weeps and grieves over death (Jn. 11:33-35)
  • Provides food for the hungry (Mt. 14:13-21; Mk. 6:30-44; Lk. 9:10-17; Jn. 6:1-14)
  • Came to serve, not be served (Mk. 10:45; Jn. 13:4-5; 21:9-13; Jn. 19:27)
  • Desires to give peace and joy to His followers (Jn. 14:27; 15:11; 16:33)
  • Rebuked cities (Mt. 11:20); called His generation, “faithless and perverse,” (Mt. 17:17).
  • Made demands (Mt. 28:19-20) and strict charges to His followers (Mk. 16:14); rebuked them (Mk. 16:14), and said things like: “You of little faith;” “Get behind Me, Satan!  You are an offense to Me… you are not mindful of the things of God;” (Mt. 14:31; 16:23).  
  • Offended religious people who trusted in themselves (Mt. 15:12), saying things like: “You think evil;” “Evil and adulterous;” “Blind;” “Hypocrites;” “Brood of vipers!” “Son of hell;” “You err;” “They will receive the greater condemnation;”  (Mt. 15:12; 9:4; 12:39; 22:18; 12:34; 23:15; 22:29; Mk. 12:40)
  • Physically forced people out of God’s temple (Mt. 21:12-17; Jn. 2:13-17)
  • Picture: Imagine a father who purely loves.  He takes care of his children’s needs and more, while also disciplining them when they go astray.  He shows kindness to others he encounters, but does not care and provide for them as he does his own children.  And finally, he sternly confronts and rebukes any people that would pose as a threat to his children in misleading, hurting, or killing them.
  • Conclusion: Love extends a measure of mercy and grace to all, but extends a much fuller degree of mercy and grace to those who recognize their need for Him and surrender to Him (this includes correcting and rebuking us).  Love opposes those who are self-sufficient and reject Him (strongly opposing them if they claim to follow God, and are leading others astray)…The climax of God’s love is shown in 1 act that would forever change the course of history…Stay tuned for next teaching.

Jesus’ View on the Bible (Teaching 3 of 5)

Following God Series
Delivered at Harlem Reformed Church, 2013

Note:  See John Wenham’s, Christ and the Bible, 3rd Ed. for a more thorough treatment of this subject.


Images of God (Teaching 1 of 5) – Recap: Studying Jesus will show us what God truly is like (see Heb. 1:3).

Beholding Jesus: The Perfect Image of God (Teaching 2 of 5) – Recap: The Old Testament, New Testament, and Holy Spirit speaking to humble hearts are THE ways we can accurately know Jesus.  And the gospel accounts give us an authoritative and reliable picture of Jesus’ words and life.

Jesus’ view on the NATURE of Scripture

The Scriptures are God’s Word, Truth without error.

  • Matt. 4:4 – “every word” is from God (cf. Deut. 8:3); Luke 24:25 – “all” of the words of the O.T. prophets are to be believed
    • Matt. 5:17-18 (cf. Luke 16:17) – even the jot and tittle
      • The “jot” is the smallest letter in the Hebrew language.
      • The “tittle” is shaped like a comma, and was used to differentiate Hebrew letters that looked alike.
    • Matt. 22:32 – Jesus’ argument hinged on the English word, “am”
    • Matt. 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37 – Jesus’ argument hinged on, “my”
    • John 10:34-35 – Jesus’ argument hinged on the letter, “s” (“gods” vs. “God”)
  • Matt. 19:4-6 – Jesus quotes the words of Gen. 2:24 as words that God said 
  • Mark 7:9-13 – Moses’ writings were part of “the word of God” to be obeyed, and contrasted the “tradition of men” taught by religious leaders
    • John 5:37-47 — “[God’s] word” (John 5:38) = “the Scriptures” (John 5:39) = “[Moses’] writings” (John 5:47) 
  • Matt. 22:41-44; Mark 12:35-37 – Jesus recognizes David’s words in Psalm 110:1 to be the words of the Holy Spirit
  • John 10:34-36 – “your law” = “the word of God” = “the Scripture”
    • Scripture cannot be broken” (v. 35)
  • John 17:17 – “Your word is truth”
    • “This verse is interesting because Jesus does not use the adjectives alethinos or alethes (‘true’), which we might have expected, to say, ‘Your word is true.’  Rather, he uses a noun, aletheia (‘truth’), to say that God’s Word is not simply ‘true,’ but it is truth itself…Thus we are to think of the Bible as the ultimate standard of truth, the reference point by which every other claim to truthfulness is to be measured.” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 1994, p. 83)
  • Jesus recognized that Scripture accurately predicted events before they happened: Matt. 11:10 (cf. Lk. 7:27); 26:24,31(cf. Mk. 14:27; Zech. 13:7),53-56; Mark 9:12,13; 14:21,49; Luke 4:16-21; 18:31-33; 21:22; 22:37; 24:25-27,44-47; John 5:39-47; 13:18 (cf. Ps. 41:9); 15:25 (cf. Ps. 35:19); 17:12

The Scriptures are the final authority and judge.

  • Matt 4:3-11 – Jesus’ only appeal to authority against Satan was the “written” word
  • John 12:47-48 – the word of God will judge on the last day (cf. Rev. 19:15)
  • John 10:35 – they cannot be broken
  • Matt. 15:3-9; Mark 7:9-13 – Jesus condemned those who did not obey Scripture
    • Matt. 22:29 – thinking and acting contrary to Scripture makes you wrong
  • John 17:17 – “This verse is interesting because Jesus does not use the adjectives alethinos or alethes (‘true’), which we might have expected, to say, ‘Your word is true.’  Rather, he uses a noun, aletheia (‘truth’), to say that God’s Word is not simply ‘true,’ but it is truth itself…Thus we are to think of the Bible as the ultimate standard of truth, the reference point by which every other claim to truthfulness is to be measured.” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 1994, p. 83)

The Scriptures are relevant to all people at all times.

  • Matt 22:23-33 – Jesus says to the Jews of his day, “Have you not read what was said to you,” (v.31), about words God spoke to Moses 1,500 years ago

The Scriptures are knowable to everyone willing to follow them.

  • Matt. 11:25; John 7:17 (cf. John 8:43; 10:27) – a surrendered heart to God will open understanding of the Scriptures, by the help of the Holy Spirit.
    • Mark 4:11-12; Luke 24:25; John 5:37-40 – those with hard and disobedient hearts will not understand
  • Matt. 9:13; 12:3,5,7; 15:3; 19:14; 21:42; 21:13; 22:29,31; John 3:10 – Jesus presumed that people could read the Scriptures and understand their meaning
    • John 20:30-31; Col. 4:16; Heb. 13:24 – similarly, John, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews all said their writing was understandable to those reading
  • Matt. 4:4,7 – we can avoid deception in the Scriptures by letting the Bible interpret itself.

The Scriptures maintain spiritual life.

  • Matt. 4:4 – the Bible is essential nourishment to live

The Scriptures provide a completely sufficient revelation of God. 

  • Luke 16:29-31 – The Old Testament was sometimes called “The Law and the Prophets,” therefore, Jesus is teaching that the Scriptures provide more revelation for those in this life to trust God than even observing a resurrection.

The Scriptures provide a sturdy foundation to build on.

  • Matt. 7:24 – only those who heard and obeyed God’s word would withstand storms

Jesus’ view on the SCOPE of Scripture

Old Testament

  • Matt. 23:35; Luke 11:50-51 – “from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah” – The murder of Abel was recorded at the beginning of Genesis (Ch. 4), and Zechariah’s murder was the last killing recorded in 2 Chronicles (Ch. 24).  The Jewish Bible of Jesus’ time (and even to this day) held the exact same books that are found in the Old Testament of Protestant Bibles, though the order was different: Their first book was Genesis, and their last book was 2 Chronicles.  Thus, Jesus affirms the entire O.T. by referencing its bookends.
  • Luke 24:44 – “the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms” – The Jewish Old Testament (which holds the same content as current Protestant Old Testaments) was divided into three sections: (1) The Law of Moses, (2) The Prophets, (3) The Writings (with Psalms being the first and largest book in this division).  This is still true today, and Jesus here acknowledges this as the complete record of Old Testament books.
  • Throughout the gospels, Jesus references the Old Testament prolifically, and  always considers it authoritative and historically factual.

New Testament

When Jesus lived, no New Testament books had been written, so He didn’t refer to them specifically.  However…

  • Matt. 7:24-26; 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 6:46-49; 21:33 – Jesus saw His words as necessary for a proper spiritual foundation and forever infallible.
    • Cf. Mk. 13:32 – “not even…the Son” — this verse goes with the previous, and shows that Jesus saw His words as the strongest authority on a matter, though this particular matter (of His return) was unknown to Him.
    • 1 Cor. 7:10-11; 1 Tim. 5:18; 6:3; Heb. 2:3 – the early church also saw a need to know Jesus’ words
    • John 18:9, 32 – Here, Jesus’ words are said to be fulfilled by later events.  Thus, they were seen as prophetic and authoritative (they needed to be fulfilled).  And, they are seen as on par with the Old Testament Scriptures that also had to be “fulfilled” (see John 12:38; 13:18; 15:25; 17:12; 19:24, 36; Acts 1:16; etc.)
  • Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; John 5:22 cf. 12:48 – Jesus claims that a person’s reception of His words directly relates to their eternal judgment
  • John 5:24-25; 6:63; 7:15-17; 8:26-28,37-38,40,43-47; 12:48-50; 14:10; 15:3,7,15; 17:8; 18:37 – Jesus shows in these passages that: (1) His teaching and words are the teaching and words of God; (2) A man’s eternal life depends on their response to His words (See John Wenham’s, Christ and the Bible, 3rd Ed., 1994, pp. 57-58).
  • John 13:13-20 – He acknowledged Himself as Teacher and Lord, and receiving Him (and thereby His words) is equal to receiving God and His words.
  • Matt. 28:18-20 – Jesus saw His words as carrying all authority and needed to be taught to others
  • Matt. 13:3-23; Mark 4:3-20; Luke 8:5-15 – In “The Parable of the Sower,” Jesus is clearly the “Sower” and His word is the “seed.”  Therefore, He saw the reception of His words as directly related to what would happen in the hearers’ lives.
  • Matt. 5:18 – Jesus says that the Law will not have a jot or tittle pass away.  However, this comment was in the midst of His preaching about the law, where He repeatedly says, “But I say to you…”  Thus, it is implied that just as the law will not have a jot or tittle pass away, neither would His teachings (which carry equal authority to the Law) have a jot or tittle pass away.
  • “Truly I say to you,” – this phrase is a favorite expression of Christ.  He says it 31 times in Matthew, 13 times in Mark, and 6 times in Luke.  Similarly, He says the phrase, “Truly, truly, I say to you,” 25 times in John (See John Wenham’s, Christ and the Bible, 3rd Ed., 1994, p. 55).  These are words of absolute authority, and contrast the phrase of biblical prophets (“God says…”), or the words of great men (“I believe or think…”).
  • Matt. 13:16,17; Luke 10:23-24 – He saw His words as incredibly significant, and anticipated by prophets and righteous men for ages
  • Matt. 11:25-27; Luke 10:21-22 – Jesus claims special position as the ONLY one who truly knows the Father and can make Him known to others  
  • Matt. 28:19-20 – Jesus commissioned His apostles to teach His words to others
    • Matt. 23:34 – Scribes were sent as people who recorded words in writing. 
    • Rev. 1:19 – Jesus commissioned John to write His words in Revelation
    • John 14:26 – the Holy Spirit would remind the apostles of Jesus’ words
  • John 13:20 – to receive or reject an apostle sent by Jesus, is to receive or reject Jesus himself.
  • John 16:13-15 – through the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ words would extend beyond what He taught in the gospels
    • Acts 1:1 – the gospel accounts are only the beginning of what Jesus did and taught
    • John 21:17; Acts 26:16 – Peter and Paul were commissioned by Jesus to nourish the church by their message
      • Though Jesus only says to Peter, “feed my sheep,” in Matt. 4:4 He explains that God’s word is the true food people need, and thus He presumably meant for Peter to feed believers with God’s word, as he is seen doing at the very beginning of the church’s formation (see Acts 2), and the very beginning of Gentiles coming to Christ (see Acts 10).
  • John 10:3-4 – Jesus said His followers will differentiate His words from the words of strangers.  Thus, we can know that the 27 N. T. books received by Christians throughout history truly are God’s Word.
  • Rev. 22:18-19 – this warning not to add or take away from the words of “this book” applies to the book of Revelation primarily.  However, since the content of the book of Revelation demands it to be placed at the end of the N.T., it can secondarily be applied to the entire N.T., and even the whole Bible.


Jesus views the writings of the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament as the inerrant, infallible word of God, and the final authority on any content it touches.

Various Other Evidences of the Gospels’ Trustworthiness (Teaching 2 of 5, Supplement)

Following God Series
Delivered at Harlem Reformed Church, 2013

  • The O.T. tells us that Messiah would be a prophet like Moses, a king like David and Solomon, a Judge, and God Incarnate.  As Moses’ words and actions were written down as Scripture, and the words and actions of the other major prophets were written as scripture, and David’s words and actions, as well as the other kings, were written as Scripture, and the Judges’ words and actions were written down as Scripture, and ultimately all of God’s major words and actions were written down as Scripture, it is strongly implied that the O.T. intended the words and actions of Jesus (who is the fulfillment of all these things) to be recorded as Scripture.
  • Matthew, Mark, Luke, John give a 4-fold view of who Jesus was.
    • These–no more, no less–have always been received by the church.
    • God has said that a matter is established by 2-3 witnesses, and that a 3-stranded cord is trustworthy.  The gospels provide 4 witnesses–all independent of each other–giving trustworthy confirmation of who Jesus is.
  • Gospel stories are confirmed throughout Scriptures, before being written:
    • 1,500-450 BC — The O.T. records in amazing detail all of the major events of Messiah’s life, just as they were fulfilled in Jesus.
    • 50-70 AD – Paul largely wrote before the gospels were written, yet confirms the major events of Jesus’ life, as well as specific words and details later writtenin the gospels.
  • Precedents and Principles of God applied to the gospels:
    • God is truthful (Heb. 6:18), so it would be impossible for Him to leave a record of Himself that is less than truthful.
    • God is sovereign and all-powerful, so He is capable of preserving a truthful record of Himself.
    • God places value on the written word (as evidenced in the O.T.), and therefore it is consistent that He would leave a record of His Son in written form
    • God hates false images and loves His Son, so it is unthinkable that He would leave misleading information about His Son for generations of faithful people to follow.

Beholding Jesus: The Perfect Image of God (Teaching 2 of 5)

Following God Series
Delivered at Harlem Reformed Church, 2013


Images of God (Teaching 1 of 5) – Recap:  God is invisible (1 Tim. 1:17).  He can be known through his visible creation (Rom. 1:20), especially human beings (James 3:9), but there is also sin present in this creation.  Thus, we must look to Jesus (God the Son) as the “exact Image” of God (Heb. 1:3).  

Right and Wrong Views of Jesus

Matt. 16:13-15; 2 Cor. 11:4 – There were right and wrong views of Jesus during His ministry and in the time of the early church.  There are right and wrong views of Jesus today.

God’s Solution: Revelation

  • Matt. 16:16-17 – God-given REVELATION is the key to rightly seeing Jesus

What is our role in receiving God’s revelation?

  • Matt. 11:25-30 – utter dependence on God
  • John 7:17 – willingness to obey Him
  • Matt. 5:8 – it is foremost a matter of the heart
  • Psalm 25:9 – humility

How was Jesus revealed to the first Christians?

  • Mark 16:15-20; Luke 10:1-11,17-20; John 14:10-11 (cf. Acts 10:38); 15:26-27; Acts 2; Hebrews 2:3-4 – through His words (often spoken through others) & through works of the Holy Spirit
    • What are the works of the Holy Spirit?
      • 1 Cor. 2:4-5; 12-14; 1 Thes. 1:5; Gal. 5:22-23 – power gifts; changed life
      • John 16:7-11; 1 Thes. 1:5 – conviction of sin
      • 1 Cor. 2:9-16 – revelation and understanding

How is Jesus revealed now that He has ascended and His original apostles have passed away?

  1. The Holy Spirit remains as a witness (Jn. 14:16; Acts 2:39; 1 Cor. 13:9-10)
  2. The Old Testament reveals Jesus (Luke 24:25-27; 1 Cor. 15:3-4)
  3. The New Testament reveals Jesus.  Picture: Josh. 1:7-8 – when Moses was gone, a written record of his words and deeds led Israel
    • Luke 16:19-31 – the Scriptures give adequate revelation of Jesus for those who didn’t physically see Him resurrect
    • Aside: Moses is a type for Christ. Both: born while infants are being killed, taken to Egypt in infancy, rejected by their own people, in desert for a period of 40 before public ministry began, confronted the serpent and performed healings at beginning of ministry, turned water into blood/wine as first sign to the people, a substitute for people, interceded for the people, prophet, laid down positions on the throne, delivered the people from bondage, stood as mediator between God and man, had arms held up in the midst of a war while 2 men stood by their sides, appointed 12 and 70 people at times, married a Gentile bride (for Jesus, it was the Church) that was contested by Israel, and many more!

Can we trust the written record of Jesus that we have in the Gospels and New Testament?

  • Luke 1:1-3; John 19:35; Acts 1:21-22; Acts 2:22; Acts 26:24-26; 1 John 1:3; 2 Pet. 1:16 – eyewitness testimony
  • Matt. 10:20 (spoken to “these twelve,” v. 5); Mark 13:11; 16:20; Luke 12:12; 24:49; John 14:25-26; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 1 Cor. 2:10; 1 Peter 1:12 – apostolic testimony in operation with the Holy Spirit
  • Matt. 28:19-20; John 15:20; Acts 5:2-4; Eph. 2:20; 1 Thes. 2:13; Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:2; Jude 1:17 – the apostles and their message, as confirmed by the Holy Spirit, was authoritative
    • Matthew and John’s gospel came from apostles directly
    • Mark’s gospel has well been recognized to be Peter’s words, and therefore also is directly apostolic
  • 2 Peter 3:15-16 (see also Acts 22:14; 26:16) – Peter recognized Paul’s writings as carrying Scriptural authority as well
    • 1 Thes. 2:13; 1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Cor. 13:3 – Paul confirms this
  • 1 Tim. 5:17-18 – Paul recognized Luke’s writings as carrying Scriptural authority
    • Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3 – Luke wrote 2 books, carefully researched, and given God’s stamp of approval
  • John 10:27; 1 Cor. 2:11-16; 1 John 2:27; 4:6 – all who receive Jesus receive His Spirit and can depend on this Spirit to help them recognize the authoritative writings of the Apostles
    • There were warnings that people should test the words of “leaders” (Matt. 24:23-24; Acts 17:11; 20:30-31; 2 Cor. 11; 1 Thes. 5:21; Heb. 13:9; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1; Jude 1:3-4; Revelation 2:2), so the N.T. was not blindly accepted, but was discerned to be truly Scripture by early church.
  • Book of Acts; Romans 15:18-19; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; Hebrews 2:3-4 – the Spirit confirmed the apostles’ message by signs and wonders, and transforming lives
  • Luke 24:27,44; 1 Cor. 15:3-4 – Finally, the message of Jesus as told in the gospels was foretold and confirmed by the Old Testament, written hundreds of years beforehand.  For instance, the O.T. says that Messiah would be: God, born of a virgin, named Jesus, born in Bethlehem, rejected by His people, teach in parables, perform miracles, die for their sins, bodily rise, ascend, etc.  

God’s Pattern of Revelation: The Word + The Spirit = Light 

  • Genesis 1:2-3 – Light comes when God’s Spirit and God’s Word work in conjunction

Images of God (Teaching 1 of 5)

Following God Series
Delivered at Harlem Reformed Church, 2013


Matthew 7:13-23; Luke 6:46; 13:22-30 – Many will be deceived that they followed God, only to have Jesus tell them it was all an illusion.

  • Matthew 13:24-30,36-43; 25:1-13 – this will include those who externally seem like really good Christians (the tares/weeds looked like wheat, and the virgins are a symbol of outward purity)
  • Leviticus 10:1-2 – Two sons of Aaron, full of zeal, approached God on their terms–not His terms–and were killed by God.  
  • Leviticus 8 – Both were consecrated and anointed priests
  • Leviticus 16 – this is the Day of Atonement, a day fulfilled perfectly by Jesus’ sacrifice and our trust in Him, and it gives a direct contrast to Leviticus 10:1-2.  This is God’s way to approach Him.

God’s Commands

Exodus 20:1-6:

  1. Do not worship false gods (v. 3)
  2. Do not worship man-made images of the true God, or anything else (vv. 4-6)

God’s Image

  • John 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:27 – God is spirit.  God is invisible.
  • Rom. 1:20 – God communicates His invisible nature through visible creation
  • Genesis 1:26-27; 2; 5:1-2; Luke 3:38 – Adam and Eve were made in God’s image.  They were THE visible images of the invisible God: 
    • Man is alive (Gen. 2:7) | God is alive (2 Cor. 6:16)
    • The man and woman were multiple people, yet one substance (Gen. 1:27 – “He created him [singular]…He created them [plural]”; Gen. 2:22,24) | God is one substance, yet made up of multiple (i.e. 3) Persons (Gen. 1:26 – “God (singular) said, ‘Let us (plural) make man’”; Matthew 28:19 cf. Mark 12:29)
      • Man is a tripartite being (spirit, soul, body — see Gen. 2:7; Heb. 4:12; 1 Thes. 5:23) | God is a Tripartite being (Matthew 28:19 cf. Mark 12:29)
    • The bride was formed from the man’s life when his side was pierced and he was put to sleep (Gen. 2:18-25) | the bride of Christ was formed from Christ’s life when His side was pierced and He was put to sleep (see Ephesians 5:25-32 and John 19:33-34)
    • Man had dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:26) | God has dominion over everything (2 Chronicles 20:6).
    • Man thinks and creates (Gen. 2:19) | God thinks (1 Cor. 2:11) and creates (Gen. 1:1).
    • The life of man was meant to reproduce and spread (Gen. 1:28) | God’s life is meant to reproduce and spread (Acts 12:24).
    • Man and woman communicated by speaking words (Gen. 3:17) | God communicates by speaking His word (Matt. 4:4).
  • Genesis 3:6-19 – God’s image became corrupted and marred due to sin
  • Gen. 3:12-13 – they took on the nature of the “Accuser”, which is what Satan means.
    • 1 John 2:10 – all who are not born again with God’s Spirit are children of Satan
  • Genesis 9:6; 1 Corinthians 11:7; James 3:9 – even after this image was corrupted, man still carries God’s image in some ways.  We are fractured pictures, showing some things of God, while not giving a completely trustworthy picture.
    • Gen. 3:12-13,21 – man showed the nature of sin and Satan, while also reflecting God’s heart to redeem
    • Malachi 1:6,8,14 – in the midst of Israel’s sinfulness, various human relationships could still illustrate what God is truly like
    • Luke 11:13 – evil fathers show aspects of God as our Father
    • Conclusion: humans give some ideas of God, but cannot be trusted to perfectly reflect what the invisible God looks and acts like any more.  We need a clearer picture, lest we approach Him on false terms that lead to Him ultimately rejecting us when we meet Him face to face!


Jesus is the “exact representation” of God’s nature (Hebrews 1:3, NASB), and the “beloved” Son of God (Luke 3:22).  Furthermore, He is the “only begotten Son” (John 3:16).  Thus, just as a son is the representation of his father, so we can know exactly what the invisible God is like through his only visible Son.  

Discussion:  Jesus no longer walks the earth in the form He did 2,000 years ago.  So how can we clearly see and know what Jesus (God the Son) is like, and thereby know exactly what God (the Father) is like?

The Work of the Holy Spirit

  • The Holy Spirit bears witness to and glorifies Jesus: John 15:26–27, 16:14
  • The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin: John 16:8–11; cf. I Thessalonians 1:4–5
  • The Holy Spirit gives new birth and spiritual life: John 3:3–8; cf. Titus 3:5
  • The Holy Spirit dwells in us: John 14:15–17; cf. I Corinthians 6:19
  • The Holy Spirit teaches us truth: John 14:26, 16:13
  • The Holy Spirit empowers: Acts 1:8; cf. Acts 4:31; I Thessalonians 1:4–5
  • The Holy Spirit enables prayer: Romans 8:26; I Corinthians 14:14–15
  • The Holy Spirit works in spiritual warfare: Acts 13:6–12; Acts 16:16–18
  • The Holy Spirit and miracles: Acts 9:32–35; Acts 9:36–43
  • The Holy Spirit guides/leads/directs: Acts 8:29; Acts 10:19–20; Acts 13:2; Acts 16:6–7; Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18
  • The Holy Spirit transforms people: Galatians 5:22–23; Romans 5:5; II Thessalonians 2:13
  • The Holy Spirit gives assurance: Romans 8:16; I John 3:24; I John 4:13

Entering the Rest (Full Version)

Rest in the Promised Land

The first purpose of the Promised Land is rest.  We can see this clearly in David’s 95th Psalm:

Today, if you will hear His voice:

“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,

As in the day of trial in the wilderness,

When your fathers tested Me;

They tried Me, though they saw My work.

For forty years I was grieved with that generation,

And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, 

And they do not know My ways.’

So I swore in My wrath,

They shall not enter My rest.’”

(Psalm 95:7-11)

Here, the Promised Land is called God’s “rest”, which shows that the two things are really one and the same.  God’s Promised Land is God’s Rest. 

In fact, man’s work is directly related to man’s sin.  Adam’s sin brought about incessant toil to all men all of their days (see Genesis 3).  But now in this Psalm, we see the words “My work” in verse 9, and “My rest” in verse 11.  It is only by God’s work that man can enter God’s rest.  This is a divine principle that we must see to have any progress in our Christian life.  When Israel finally gave up trying to save themselves, and called on the Lord, He began to work – saving them from Egypt’s oppression – so that they could cease their work and bondage and enter the Promised Land of Rest.

God’s Creation and Rest

This is the very principle we have set before us at the beginning of creation:

In the creation God worked from the first to the sixth day and rested on the seventh.  We may truthfully say that for those first six days he was very busy.  Then, the task he had set himself completed, he ceased to work.  The seventh day became the Sabbath of God; it was God’s rest.

But what of Adam?  Where did he stand in relation to that rest of God?  Adam, we are told, was created on the sixth day.  Clearly, then, he had no part in those first six days of work, for he came into being only at their end.  God’s seventh day was, in fact, Adam’s first.  Whereas God worked six days and then enjoyed his Sabbath rest, Adam began his life with the Sabbath; for God works before he rests, while man must first enter into God’s rest, and then alone can he work.  Moreover it was because God’s work of creation was truly complete that Adam’s life could begin with rest. (Watchman Nee, Sit, Walk, Stand, p. 16)

Ephesians: Sit, Walk, Stand

How does this translate to Christianity?  It has been said that “of all Paul’s epistles, it is in Ephesians that we find the highest spiritual truths concerning the Christian life” (Sit, Walk, Stand, p. 11).  It is therefore worthy of note that Ephesians begins with this injunction: God “raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus: …for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, that no man should glory” (Eph. 2:6-9, Revised).  This letter in which is found such high and lofty truths for our Christian walk, has this humble beginning, that we sit before we walk.  This is God’s plan for us.  Notice the contrast of sitting as opposed to working.

Most Christians make the mistake of trying to walk in order to be able to sit, but that is a reversal of the true order.  Our natural reason says, If we do not walk, how can we ever reach the goal?…But Christianity is a queer business!  If at the outset we try to do anything, we get nothing; if we seek to attain something, we miss everything.  For Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE…

Walking implies effort, whereas God says that we are saved, not by works, but “by grace through faith” (2:8)…We began our Christian life by depending not upon our own doing but upon what he [Jesus] had done.  Until a man does this he is no Christian; for to say: “I can do nothing to save myself; but by his grace God has done everything for me in Christ,” is to take the first step in the life of faith….”Sitting” is an attitude of rest.  Something has been finished, work stops, and we sit…

What does it really mean to sit down?  When we walk or stand we bear on our legs all the weight of our own body, but when we sit down our entire weight rests upon the chair or couch on which we sit.  We grow weary when we walk or stand, but we feel rested when we have sat down awhile….So also in the spiritual realm, to sit down is simply to rest our whole weight – our load, ourselves, our future, everything – upon the Lord.  We let him bear the responsibility and cease to carry it ourselves. (Sit, Walk, Stand, 14-16)

Jesus & Rest

Doesn’t Jesus say during his earthly ministry, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working,” (John 5:17)?  We see that God was hard at work to secure our salvation, and how amazing is Jesus’ cry on the cross: “It is finished!”  God has done all the work, just as God did all the work in saving Israel from Egypt’s bondage.  And what is our responsibility from here?  The same as Israel’s responsibility: to rest in God’s work.

In Hebrews 3:7-4:16, the writer of Hebrews takes the passage we began this section with (Ps. 95:7-11), and explains its implications to us who have been saved.  After quoting this passage, the writer says: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Heb. 3:12).  This shows what it takes to enter God’s rest: belief.  And how much this agrees with the command to “sit” seen in Ephesians, as we are asked to “sit”, believing that God has done the work.  This is why Israel was not able to enter the Promised Land of which God brought them out of Egypt for that very purpose: “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Heb. 3:19).  

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.” (Heb. 4:1).  This Promise Land of Rest remains obtainable to believers, in fact we are told to “be diligent to enter that rest” (Heb. 4:11).  What a paradoxical statement that can only be true in light of Christ’s finished work!  “Be diligent to rest,” or we could say “Strive to rest.”  The only work we are told to do is to rest, but what a work this is for Christians (especially those bred on American ideals that you can do anything you put your mind to).  This is such a difficult concept for Western Christianity, yet so pivotal in our study of the normal Christian life.  We must rest in God’s work!  We must rest in God’s work!  How many more times do we need to say it before we believe?  There is a statement in Philippians in which Paul says that he and his companions, “have no confidence in the flesh,” (Phil 3:3).  He doesn’t really mean no confidence in the flesh, does he?  Maybe just not a lot of confidence in the flesh?  Maybe it is hyperbole to make a point?  NO!  Paul literally means he has no confidence in the flesh.  NONE.  He has learned to enter the rest, and has charged us to “be diligent” to do the same.

“For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” (Heb. 4:10).  This is the meaning of rest: ceasing from your works.  When Jesus’ disciples asked Him what they shall do to work the works of God, His response was plain, simple, and I dare say reprehensible to many Western Christians today: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:29).  Your work is belief (which the Israelites did not accomplish, and for their unbelief they were led to wander the desert).  Nothing more, but nothing less.  

Christians & Rest

This especially goes to those Christians who have been Christians for awhile, and feel that they need to do something to please the Lord who has done so much for them.  It is those particular Christians (whom I have been from time to time), that need to hear this solemn word: REST.  “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Heb. 3:14).  We do not become partakers of Christ by willing ourselves to be like Him, or by striving to do the works He did.  Yes, He promised we would do His works and even greater works than these, but the way in which we do this is by belief, and from true belief of the heart, our works will flow out.  We must first sit, before we walk.  It is interesting that Peter names so many virtues that Christians should follow in his second epistle (knowledge, self-control, godliness, etc.), and in fact says that “if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10), but gives a very simple answer for why the Christian man is not doing these things: he “has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins,” (2 Peter 1:9).  This answer agrees with Paul’s.  The source of life comes from seeing and remembering Christ’s work.  

The secret to our Christian walk, and one of the reasons God has brought us out of “Egypt” is to enter His Rest.  A Rest that He has worked so hard on, and a rest that we would defame if we tried to add our own works.  

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)   

Rest & Fruit

In Matt. 7:17, Jesus speaks of this fruitfulness produced on earth: “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”  And later He says, “by their fruits you will know them” (Matt. 7:20).  His main point is that you can tell what type of man someone is by the fruit they produce, by their outward actions.  Only good trees are able to bear the good fruit worthy of the Promised Land.

The tendency for many believers, however, is to try to manufacture good fruit from a bad tree.  Let me explain.  Paul says, “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (Ro. 7:18).  This is a sobering statement that many of us are slow to realize.  Does Paul really mean nothing?  Surely some things good come from the flesh?  We reason with ourselves in this sort of way, because we’d all like to think of ourselves as “not perfect, but better than the average guy”.  This is why Paul’s statement is such a heavy, piercing sword that we must either deny or agree with.  It is the same with his statement in Phil. 3:3 in which he says he has “no confidence in the flesh”.  Oh, how many of us nod in agreement with this statement, then live out every day in the confidence of our flesh?  This is what I meant when I said that we try to manufacture good fruit from a bad tree.  Any fruit that comes from our flesh will never be worthy of the Promised Land.  This is more than a doctrine, this is a truth.  We must realize that the Promise Land of fruitfulness is a Promise Land of rest.

Jesus says, “Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5).  According to this passage, our job is never to bear fruit.  Let me repeat: our job is not to bear fruit!  We are given one job, and that is to “Abide in Me”, where the “Me” is Jesus.  When we do this, God’s life produces the fruit in us.  This is the only way to produce the fruits promised in the Promised Land.  

Jesus says to abide (or stay) in Him, and He will produce fruit.  And what is the formula given to enter God’s rest: “hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,” (Heb. 3:14).  How similar they seem, and in fact, they really mean the exact same thing.  To enter the Rest and to produce fruit are the equivalent of entering the Promised Land, and they both are accomplished by the believer in one simple way: faith that Jesus has finished the work.

Does this sound too simple?  For many in the West I think it does.  They say, well, there has to be something we can do for the Lord, because He has done so much for me.  We have such a works-based attitude.  Anything we set our mind to we can do.  But please, please, say along with Paul that you will put “no confidence in the flesh”.  It may sound passive to merely abide in the Lord and He will produce fruit, but it is in fact a very active duty to rely on the Lord and not yourself.  It takes much trust, and it is the only way to produce eternal fruits.  Romans 4 makes it very clear that it is faith, not works, by which we will be justified: “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.” (Ro. 4:2).  And when this faith is real and alive, it will always produce fruits pleasing to God (see James 2:14-26).


Believing God’s Word = REST = Abundance of fruits

Doubting God’s Word –> leads to Sin = Work = NO FRUITS

for we walk by faith, not by sight –

2 Corinthians 5:7

knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him…that we should no longer be slaves of sin

Romans 6:6

reckon yourselves dead indeed to sin, but alive to God

Romans 6:11

God’s Work, Our Rest

  • Genesis 1:1-2:3 – God worked 6 days, rested on the 7th.  Man’s first day was God’s day of rest.  They never saw God create, but knew that it was done.  Dwelled in a garden filled with fruits (Gen. 2:8-9)
  • Genesis 3 – Satan made them doubt God’s Word (Gen. 3:1-5).  Doubting God’s Word led to sin (Gen. 3:6).  Specifically to Adam, God punished him by forcing him to work all of his days (Gen. 3:17-19).  The work only ends when he DIES.  Adam and Eve no longer enjoyed an abundance of fruits (Gen. 3:24).
  • John 5:17 – Jesus is busy at work during His ministry.
  • John 19:30 – Jesus declares that the work is finished.
  • John 6:28-29 – Our only work is to believe in Jesus.
  • Psalm 95:7-11 – Israelites did not believe in God’s work (v. 9).  They were not allowed to enter the Promised Land, which God calls “My rest” (v. 11)
  • Hebrews 3:7-4:16 – Psalm 95 is explained.
    • 3:6 – we dwell in Christ as long as we believe 
    • 3:7 – Even though David wrote, it is accredited to Holy Spirit
    • 3:12 – Evil heart = unbelieving heart
    • 3:14 – we share in Christ as long as we believe
    • 3:17 – word for “bodies” is more appropriately “corpses”, signified that before they physically died they did not have any life because they sinned
    • 3:17-19 – sin = disobedience = unbelief.  All of these are the same.  Belief is key.
    • 4:1 – the promise of rest applies to us today.  There is a possibility of coming short of this rest?
    • 4:2 – we come short of resting if we do not believe God’s Word!
    • 4:3 – when you believe in God’s finished work, you enter the rest
    • 4:4-5 – God had already finished the work, but they still weren’t able to rest because they didn’t believe that the work was finished.
    • 4:5-8 – Israelites did not enter the rest.  Then, about 500 years later, David wrote this Psalm 95.  The argument that the writer of Hebrews is making is that rest is available to anyone who will believe in God’s finished work, as long as the day is called “today” (this is really a catch, because every present day is called “today”).
    • 4:9 – this rest = Sabbath rest
    • 4:10 – secret of rest: do not work, but believe that God has already finished the work!
    • 4:11 – our only work is to strive to enter the rest (John 6:28-29).  This is very difficult for us, because we want so badly to work instead of trust that the work is done, and wait for Christ to work everything out in us.
    • 3:13; 4:12; 4:16 – THREE ways to help us continue resting in God’s finished work:
      • Encouragement from other believers (3:13)
      • Word of God (4:12)
      • Prayer (4:16)
  • Colossians 2:14,16-17 – We are not required to celebrate feasts, Sabbath days, and other things anymore because Christ is the substance.  Christ is our Passover Lamb.  Christ is our Firstfruits.  Likewise, Christ is our Sabbath.
  • Romans 14:5 – Celebrating a literal Sabbath day every week is optional.  Do what is right in your own mind (but do not judge others in celebrating a literal Sabbath [Col. 2:16])
  • Promised Land is known for two things: 1) Rest  2) Fruitfulness – when you are truly at rest and believing that Christ has already done the work, true fruits will follow
  • John 15:1-6 – Our only job is to abide in Jesus (we do this by faith).  It is God’s job to produce the fruits.  When we abide in Christ (this happens by walking out of faith), He will supernaturally produce the fruits in our lives.  The secret to Christianity is not in trying (this is a deception).  The secret is trusting.  God will do, He will just wait until you allow Him to work.
  • Deut. 6:10-11 – all the things in the Promised Land are noted with the phrase: “which you did not”.  God gave cities they didn’t build, houses they didn’t fill, vineyards they didn’t plant, etc.  This is the secret of our Christian walk.  To not try to build or plant, but just rest in the faith that God has already built and planted.  God has finished the work, you have NO work to do.  Only believe that it is done.
  • Phil. 3:3; Rom. 7:18 – there is no good fruit we can produce with our flesh
  • Gal. 2:20 – “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”
  • Romans 7 – at first, Paul struggled trying not to sin (he “willed” it to happen), then he realized that sin was a law that could not be stopped.
  • Romans 7:25-8:2 – there is a law greater than the law of sin.  Our job is to trust God’s Spirit.
  • Ephesians 2:1-6; 8-10 – sitting comes before walking.  When we are standing, our weight rests on our own feet, when we sit, our weight rests on something outside of ourselves.  Only when we are sitting/resting in another power separate from our own can we really live for Christ (our resting allows God to move).  Ex: man moving in a car by sitting.  Ex: crippled man moving in a wheelchair by sitting.
  • “Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE” – Watchman Nee

Hudson Taylor describes his experience with the REST

“…my mind has been greatly exercised for six or eight months past, feeling the need personally and for our Mission of more holiness, life, power in our souls…I prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for meditation – but all without avail.  Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me.

“I knew that if only I could abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not.  I would begin the day with prayer, determined not to take my eye off Him for a moment, but pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, and constant interruptions apt to be so wearing, caused me to forget Him.  Then one’s nerves get so fretted in this climate that temptations to irritability, hard thoughts and sometimes unkind words are all the more difficult to control.  Each day brought its register of sin and failure, of lack of power.  To will was indeed ‘present with me,’ but how to perform I found not.

“…Instead of growing stronger, I seemed to be getting weaker and to have less power against sin; and no wonder, for faith and even hope were getting low.  I hated myself, I hated my sin, yet gained no strength against it.

“…I knew I was powerless.  I told the Lord so, and asked Him to give me help and strength.  Sometimes I almost believed that He would keep and uphold me; but on looking back in the evening – alas! there was but sin and failure to confess and mourn before God…

“All the time I felt assured that there was in Christ all I needed, but the practical question was – how to get it out.  He was rich truly, but I was poor; He was strong, but I weak.  I knew full well that there was in the root, the stem, abundant fatness, but how to get it into my puny little branch was the question.  As gradually light dawned, I saw that faith was the only requisite – was the hand to lay hold on His fullness and make it mine.  But I had not this faith.

“…McCarthy, who had been much exercised by the same sense of failure but saw the light before I did, wrote (I quote from memory):

‘But how to get faith strengthened?  Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One.’

“As I read, I saw it all!  ‘If we believe not, he abideth faithful.’  I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed!) that He had said, ‘I will never leave thee.’

“’Ah, there is rest!’  I thought. ‘I have striven in vain to rest in Him.  I’ll strive no more.  For has not He promised to abide with me – never to leave me, never to fail me?’  And, dearie, He never will.

“…it is a wonderful thing to be really one with a risen and exalted Saviour, to be a member of Christ!  Think what it involves.  Can Christ be rich and I poor?  Can your right hand be rich and your left poor? or your head be well fed while your body starves?  “The sweetest part, if one may speak of one part being sweeter than another, is the rest which full identification with Christ brings.  I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine.  It makes no matter where He places me, or how.  That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient.  It little matters to my servant whether I send him to buy a few cash worth of things, or the most expensive articles.  In either case he looks to me for the money and brings me his purchases.  So, if God should place me in serious perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength?  No fear that His resources will prove unequal to the emergency!  And His resources are mine, for He is mine, and is with me and dwells in me.

“…I am no better than before.  In a sense, I do not wish to be, nor am I striving to be.  But I am dead and buried with Christ – ay, and risen too!  And now Christ lives in me, and ‘the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’” (Hudson Taylor)

“But are you always conscious of abiding in Christ?”  Mr. Taylor was asked many years later.

“While sleeping last night,” he replied, “did I cease to abide in your home because I was unconscious of the fact?  We should never be conscious of not abiding in Christ.”

“Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret”



  • Luke 17:7-10
    • Ministry in field is different than ministry in the house (v. 7)
    • FIRST question: Is your Lord satisfied? (v. 8)
      • “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:9)
      • Romans 12:1-2: must present bodies as living sacrifices to satisfy the Lord
      • Word search for God being satisfied: only one place in Scriptures does it mention God being satisfied – Isaiah 53:11 (God’s satisfaction is found in His work on the Cross)
  • Ezekiel 44:4-31
    • 44:9 – you cannot enter house with any flesh (Philippians 3:3)
      • 44:11 – those of the flesh could only “stand before” the people (wait for man’s commands)
    • Ezekiel 44:15: “they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood”
  1. COME NEAR – it is not possible to minister to the Lord at a distance (although we can follow at a distance (Mt. 26:58))
  2. STAND BEFORE ME – Must stand and wait for Lord’s commands (Ex. 40:34-38)
  3. OFFER THE FAT – consecrate resurrected life (Romans 6:13)
    1. fat is excess life, surplus life…points to resurrected life?
    2. Exodus 29:10-14 –  consecration of priests: blood poured out at base (v. 12); fat burned on altar (v. 13); flesh burned outside camp as sin offering (v. 14)…sin offering
  4. OFFER THE BLOOD – blood forgives sins (Heb. 9:22)
    1. Pouring out blood = pouring out natural life (Lev. 17:11,14)
    2. Offering blood speaks to pouring out of natural life (Luke 24:39…Jesus had no blood after pouring out natural life) 
  • 44:17-18 – they could not wear clothes that made them sweat
    • sweat = work; consequence of the curse (Gen. 3:19)
  • 44:20 – hair must be short
    • a man’s short hair is a symbol of glory to God (1 Cor. 11:3,14)
    • ministry inside the house involves giving glory to our Head (Christ)
  • 44:21 – can’t have wine
    • wine is symbolic of the fruits of service to man (compare Song of Solomon 1:2 with 1:6 and 7:12), and the pleasures of the world (Ecclesiastes 10:19)
    • “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth – For your love is better than wine” (Song of Solomon 1:2)
  • Romans 6:7,10-19
    • 6:7 – first, know that you have already been crucified with Christ
    • 6:11 – second, reckon yourself crucified (this is seen in resting in God’s finished work, and choosing to walk by faith rather than sight)
    • 6:13 – third, present your resurrected life to God (consecration)
      • the word translated present has “an active sense for which the R.V. translation [King James Version] ‘present’ is greatly to be preferred.  ‘Yield’ contains a passive idea of ‘surrender’…which is not in keeping with the context here in Romans” (Normal Christian Life).
      • Presenting relates to members of your body (6:13,19)
        • God requires that all your members belong wholly to Him
      • “alive to God” (6:11), not to ourselves
      • Ex: “On one occasion a Chinese brother was traveling by train and found himself in a carriage together with three non-Christians who, in order to beguile the time, wished to play cards. Lacking a fourth to complete the game, they invited this brother to join them.  ‘I am sorry to disappoint you,’ he said, ‘but I cannot join your game for I have not brought my hands with me.’  ‘Whatever do you mean?’ they asked in blank astonishment.  ‘This pair of hands does not belong to me,’ he said, and then there followed the explanation of the transfer of ownership that had taken place in his life.  That brother regarded the members of his body as belonging entirely to the Lord.  That is true holiness.” (Normal Christian Life, 102)
      • “present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness” (6:19)
        • holiness = being separated unto God (even animals and things were said to be sanctified)
        • giving yourself wholly to Christ = holiness
      • ROMANS 12:1-2 – presenting our bodies is ministering to God!
    • 6:16 – “SLAVES”
      • slave = possession of another (Jesus purchased you by His blood, and you present your members to Him)

An Example of Consecration…

  • Mark 6:38-44
    • Loaves and fishes were presented wholly to Jesus (v. 41)
    • Jesus blessed and broke the loaves (v. 41)
    • After the breaking and blessing, the food satisfied about 5,000 people (v. 44)
    • Jesus commanded nothing to be wasted (John 6:12)

Old Testament Example…

  • Exodus 12 – PASSOVER FEAST
    • Ex. 12:1-2 – The calendar changed so that the month of Passover became the first month of the year (symbolizing a new beginning)
    • Ex. 12:3 – Lamb chosen 4 days before slaughter (Jesus chosen 4 days before His crucifixion…John 12)
    • Ex. 12:5 – Lamb must be perfect
    • Ex. 12:7,13 – blood put on outside of house, spares firstborn from dying
      • Blood is atones our sins to allow new life
    • Ex. 12:8,11 – they consumed (in haste) the perfect lamb that had been slaughtered
      • Romans 6:6 – we died with Christ
    • Ex. 12:29-30 – only Israelites (who had blood of lamb) were able to have the new life that came from their body (the first born)
      • Romans 6:11,13 – we receive new life
    • Ex. 13:1-2 – all new life was to be consecrated to the Lord
    • Ex. 13:11-12 – consecrated when you are in Canaan, the land of Rest (Ps. 95:11; Hebrews 3-4)
    • Ex. 13:16 – mark on hand and forehead is sign that you belong to the Lord