When you speak with people about the Book of the Revelation they almost always have a dark, mystic view. They see the events described in the text as worrisome events that haunt their minds and cause dread and fear to lurk in their hearts. Revelation however is meant as an encouragement to the believer.
How many times have we sat and asked the Lord. “Why do the bad guys always seem to win?”, or “Do you even care what is going on down here?” Even David wrote. “Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.” (Psalm 94:3-7)
Revelation is an answer to these questions, you see God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7). The Lord has had a plan of redemption from the very beginning of time. You see when man fell, God was not surprised by the Adam’s choice to rebel against him. He instituted his plan of salvation (Genesis 3:15). Revelation is God’s message of love to those who have been faithful. Those who have suffered for Christ. Those who have been obedient. In fact throughout Revelation you find seven blessings that are given to the faithful. They are referred to as the Seven Beatitudes of Revelation.
The Seven Beatitudes of Revelation
Revelation 1:3 – Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Revelation 14:13 – And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
Revelation 16:15 – Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Revelation 19:9 – And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Revelation 20:6 – Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Revelation 22:7 – Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Revelation 22:14 – Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates in to the city.
You see my fellow believer you have nothing to fear in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. This is the Lord revealing the end game. He is giving this as a means of encouragement to the persecuted. Yes there are warnings to the unfaithful, and to the enemies of Christ. However, to the believer there are strong words of encouragement. We get to see how the Lord, does in fact, have a plan to conquer the enemy. So then read Revelation with joy and thanksgiving in your hearts!
The Christian Post reported on a study that was released by Gordon-Conwell’s Center for the Study of Global Christianity; which said,that over 900,000 Christians were Martyred for their faith in the last 10 years. This plays out to an average of one Christian being martyred every 4-6 minutes. In America we would like to think that the martyrdom of the saints is a thing of ancient past.
We have books in our bookshelf that give descriptions of the early church and other time periods where Christians were martyred, sometimes by other christian sects. We pull the book down and haphazardly read an account and say, wow, I would have stood up just like that Christian. We then pat ourselves on the back, because we are such a good christian and then put the book back on the shelf, and sit into our lazy chair to watch some comedian on TV made fun of Christians or God. In truth, persecution of Christians world wide is higher than it has ever been.
In the 20th and 21st Centuries, more Christians were martyred than any other time in history. That means that more Christians have died, for their faith, in the last 118 years than in the preceding 19 Centuries. The numbers are growing, while we sit and grow fat. We bury our heads in the sand and tell ourselves it does not concern us. Yet this relentless murder of Christians is pandemic of the entire world, including in America, where violent and legal attacks are carried out on a routine basis against Christians. NE News Now reported that across the globe there are more than 200 million Christians that are threatened because of their faith. This is a consensus revealed in 105 of the 190 nations in the world.
All of this goes on while,in American church, we have watered down gospel. A gospel that actually is not the gospel is preached instead. We have become a nation of Christians who have ears that itch to have pleasing self-centered, even devilish doctrines entreated to us. World know preachers of mega churches go on interview after interview and openly proclaim that they do not teach the gospel, because there is no money in it. Instead, the church in America had been inundated with a “name it and claim it” gospel. Sin and consequences are not discussed in the pulpit. American churches have desecrated themselves before God and man, and no longer stand for the truth. Instead of confronting sexual immortality, and infant murder, they welcome it into their churches and in some- even ordain that which should be expelled.
Self-help and the way to financial happiness have become the mantra of the mainstream American church. We are so absorbed and praying for that new house, or new car, or other ways of pleasing our own covetous desires that we have left God out or our churches, schools, business, legislation, families, and our own hearts. We no longer care to reach the lost, instead we try not to offend them and try to act like them, to show how accepting we are. We have lost the love that gives us the need to be objective and warn the lost that they will die in their sin without accepting the truth of Jesus. We have become the ones that the Lord said, “In that day, I will say, depart from me for I never knew you.”
You know how I know this? Take a look at John 15:18-27. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.He that hateth me hateth my Father also.If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
Here Jesus says that the world will hate you. We can expect this because it hates Jesus. A young Pakistani Christian invited some friends and family to his home after he was converted from Islam to Christianity. He showed them the Jesus movie. They told him that if he didn’t stop showing that movie he would be killed. He continued his mission, and invited another small group to his home and showed them the Jesus movie. Two nights later, a group of men stole into his home and cut him to pieces. Stabbing this young Christian to death because of his love for Jesus.
Jesus said that if you were of the world the would would love it’s own. But because you are of the Kingdom of Heaven, the world doesn’t know you. Because they do not know you, they hate you. You are reminder to them of sin that they are guilty of. You are a reminder that there is a just and righteous God who will judge sin, and who will destroy all who live in sin. They hate you because you have spoken to them and revealed sin. This is the same reason they hated Jesus.
But Jesus said that he has sent us a comforter, the Holy Spirit. Who indwells all who believe. The Spirit of God in Christ is who gives us the ability and courage to speak the truth. We, who believe, are not concerned with these worldly issues. Who cares who said what? Who cares about that new car, or new house? We are not of this world. We are just passing through while on mission. We are missionaries of Jesus, each one of us. We are here to do exactly what Jesus did, bear witness to the truth. We are here to tell the whole truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are here to expose the lie of the false teachers and false prophets who teach that God will give you a new boat if you just pray hard enough or give enough money to their false religion. We are here to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. People are dying for Christ. However, allot more are dying without Christ. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). Maybe we need to stand up, before there are none of us left to bring the message.
The Book of Isaiah has always fascinated me. There is so much to discover in these pages. Isaiah among other things discusses the future tribulation and the millennial kingdom; the salvation of the Servant-Messiah and God’s plan for peace. There has been allot of debate over who authored the Isaiah scrolls and when they were made. The debate is very important because it either validates or lays to naught the prophetic aspects of the book of Isaiah. The prophetic nature of Isaiah is extremely important to Judaism and Christianity alike.
For Christianity the importance of Isaiah can be revealed in
the number of times it is references.
The prophet Isaiah is referred to approximately eighty-five times in the
New Testament. While some of these are repeated references
there are still at least sixty-one passages in Isaiah that are used as a single
Jesus launched his ministry by reading from the school of
Isaiah. This shows the necessity of the
accuracy of the book of Isaiah. Jesus
could not have said that he is fulfilling this scripture if it was not already
accepted as scripture by the Jews of his time. Here is the portrayal recorded
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his
custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to
read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when
he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of
the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the
poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the
captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are
bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and
he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that
were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This
day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. (Luke 10:416-21).
The New Testament the Book of Acts chapter 8 refers to a
Eunuch that was converted to Christianity by the use of the scriptures recorded
in Isaiah and how they related to prophecy fulfilled by Jesus Christ. The Lord sent Phillip to meet with this man
to teach him from Isaiah all the things concerning Jesus. The man believe and
was subsequently baptized.
How great a find was discovered in 1947 among the Dead Sea
Scrolls. In this archeological find was
located an intact and in “perfect” condition, 2nd Century BC scroll
of the text of Isaiah. It has been
compared to the oldest know text, about 980 AD and is astonishingly
accurate. In fact, scholars have
concluded that it is an exact copy. This lays waist to claims that the
prophecies of Isaiah concerning the Servant-Messiah, the Millennial Kingdom,
and God’s Plan of Peace were added later in time by editors of the text. You see if you believe in divine inspiration
then you must also believe in divine preservation. If God cared enough to inspire the writers of
the Bible then surely he would preserve that message also.
If he preserved it then we can trust what is written. We can trust the prophecies. We can trust the fulfillment of the
prophecy. We can look forward to the
restoration of Israel. We know that
Jerusalem will be the capital of the world because we know the prophecy of our
Lord establishing his kingdom here on earth in Jerusalem for 1000 years. Through the seed of Abraham the whole world, every
nation, all of creation will be blessed.
We know this because the scripture has been preserved by God
We also know this.
That Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53. When it says, “Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and
afflicted. But he was wounded for our
transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our
peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).
That means that Jesus did actually take
our burdens of sin and he carried our sorrows and despairs to the cross. It also means that we witnessed the
chastisement of God that he took for us.
He was beaten, and mocked, and died for his love of mankind. Jesus took our punishment like a loving older
brother takes the blame for his siblings.
He died for us. We know this
because scripture prophesied this. We
know this because the New Testament recorded it for us. We can trust it because God himself preserved
the witness in the accuracy of the text.
This is the truth that sets you free.
Jesus was sacrificed to pay the debt of sin for you and for me. We are indebted to Jesus for our very lives. By
accepting this truth he promises to give us a life that we cannot
comprehend. He said a more abundant
life! More life than we know of. That is amazing love.
James talked about enduring trials, but what kinds of trials was James talking about? I found this in Hebrews and thought that it was applicable to what we are discussing. It is important for us to understand that faith results in actions. Sometimes these actions are quite sever. However, going through these trials build us up in Christ and gives us the endurance needed to run our race well. Below is a table that shows some people in the Old Testament who were tested.
Two things of note. First, in Hebrews 11:29 the author briefly mentions when Israel crossed the Red Sea. Now something that may be overlooked in the casual reading of this little verse… each individual had to make a decision to trust God and pass through the waters. Any one who would have stayed behind, even though they would be “elect” of God would have died at the hands of Egypt (the World system). Those who truly believed God and used that faith to move forward were spared death. Without faith in God they would have never moved.
Second is the entirety of Hebrews 11:35-40 shows the trials that others before us have had to go through. These things they endured not only demonstrated their faith, but; gave a benefit for us. Without these martyrs we would not have examples of what faith looks like in action. We would not have the benefit of being able to trust in the Lord without seeing the faithfulness of God in their sufferings. We could even go so far as to say that without the trials of the faithful who have gone before us, we would not know God. Why then do we go through trials.
Offered Isaac in obedience of faith and trust in God
Blessed Jacob and Esau’s future trusting the promise of God
When dying Blessed his sons future trusting the promise of God
Commanded his bones be brought out of Egypt; believing God
Hid him 3 months without fear
Refused to be a son of the Pharaoh’s daughter
Kept the Passover in obedience through faith
Moses and Israel
Passed through the Red Sea in obedience through faith
Joshua and Israel
Fell the Walls of Jericho by obedience to the Lord
Received mercy salvation
Subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, etc… all through obedience in faith
Take some time this week to search out these examples and see what these saints did because of their faith. If we believe that Jesus is the Lord and stand in that faith, then we will receive trials. Trials are a good thing. Trials help us to grow and mature in our faith. Trials help us to trust more on the Lord and his promises. Trials help others to trust in the Lord and give an opportunity for others to learn how to respond in trials, and to encourage their own faith and endurance.
I spoke with a friend a day or two ago. She was concerned because her son was getting
old enough to leave the fold now. She
was concerned with the usual things that we as parents get concerned
about. If you have lived through this,
or are currently going through this situation, then you know what I am talking
about. This is a heart wrenching time
for a parent. It has been 18 years where
the mom and dad have been caring for the needs of their child. They have tried hard to prepare them for this
inevitable day. All their hopes and
aspirations are tied up in the fruition of the life of labor and love they have
poured into their little baby, who is now a young adult. Have they been good parents?
What if their young one fails? How will they be able to help? Will their child ask for help? Did I prepare them enough for them to be successful?
But probably the most heart wrenching question for a Christian parent is, “Will
they continue in their faith?” Will they walk away from God and never return?
In a study done by Lifeway Research, author Ed Stetzer,
relays that 70 percent of high school students who attended church on a regular
basis, for at least one year, will stop going to church during their years of
higher education. There are allot of
reasons for this, but most do not intentionally stop going to church. That is, it is not that they could not wait
to get away from their oppressive Christian parents so that they could leave their
archaic religion. Most just get caught up
in their new busy life. Juggling of
study, school, work, and the development of new friendships distract them from their
previous priorities. Some will get
distracted for a while, maybe some for several years, but most will eventually
return. Probably when they start their
own families. There are a few who will
get distracted far beyond measure. Some will
forsake their childhood upbringing in favor of some college professor’s views,
or do the world views on life, sex, and politics that permeate the college
campuses. We can find throughout scripture examples to prove that the Lord does
not abandon his children.
In Luke chapter 15 we find the story of the prodigal son. In this story the youngest son makes a plea
for his half of the inheritance and leaves home. This rebellious son then squanders his
fortunes in a foreign land and winds up being homeless and penniless. After much soul searching he decides to
return home and beg forgiveness in hopes that he can work on the family estate
as a hired hand. When he returns his
father is overjoyed. The father’s love
overflows from deep in his heart and he rejoices over the return of his son
with a great feast and a party. The
oldest son, who remained obedient is put off with this forgiveness his younger
sibling received. He is caught up in his
own selfish interests to see the miracle that has happened.
This story has many different points at which we can tear it
apart and find some universal truth or a great life application. I have many times used this parable as a part
of my testimony, because I was also a wayward son who had returned. If you are not familiar with this story it
can be found in Luke 15:11-32.
Here in this passage we see a man that did everything
right. He raised his kids in a
God-fearing home. He taught them the
value of good hard work. He taught them about the Lord. He taught him the customs of their people,
and how to be good men. He instructed
them in the way of their faith. Yet one
of his children fell away. This is the
case for many of us parents.
We can teach, and discipline, and hold our breath till we
are blue in the face, but some of our children will go away form their faith. We can do everything right. Still our loved one abandons the truth and
rebels against God. I should also
mention that we can do everything wrong, and yet our child finds God. The point here is that faith is a personal
decision. Our job is to pray for them,
teach them, and reinforce the instructions of life and hope in Christ. Teach them the wisdom of knowing God and the
advantages of living a godly lifestyle.
We are to give them an understanding of God that they can use in life’s
decisions. But the decision is up to
them. Each man (woman) is responsible to
God for themselves. This is why the father
The father in Luke 15 knew when his son asked for his share
of the inheritance and left that he was already lost before his feet his the
road. He also knew that he could not
stop him. He knew that while his son was
in rebellion that he was already dead spiritually. I am sure that his heart was broken. Something that we cannot miss though. The father knew his son had to make the
When his youngest son asked for the money his father did not
argue with him. His father could have
told him, that money is not yours yet, you do not have a right to it. His father could have drilled him with all
kinds of questions, he could told him how foolish he was, and what a bad son he
is. He could have struck out in
anger. The father had all of the
authority and right to do any or all of these things. Instead he listened. He gave his son an opportunity to learn a
life lesson that his son needed.
This father also trusted God to return his son to his faith.
The father knew that the son in his heart did believe in God and that this
little light of faith would be used by God to steer him home. I am sure he held onto Proverbs 22:6. The father had hope. He knew that God loved his son also, just as
much as he did. He knew that God would
not abandon his son.
This hope is evident in verse 20 of Luke 15. It says, “But when he was yet a great way
off, his father saw him.” This father was looking for the return of his
son. He expected the Lord to deliver his
son. He rose up and looked for him every
day! We don’t know how long the
timeframe is of the story, but it was long enough for the son to lose his
inheritance, take a slum job, deal with starvation, and finally repent. The son swallowed his pride and came with
full intention of making things write with his father no matter what the
This story can tell us so much about the love of God. When the son returned the father did not care
where he had been, or what he had done.
He only say his son. His baby was
coming home. I think about this and I
think about my own son. He is a grown
man, but every time I look at him, I still see the little infant that I held
for the first time at his birth. I know
the heart of God by this memory. With
all that I love my son and no matter what he has done or where he has been, I
still see this little baby in my hands.
That I like to think is the way that God sees each of us. This father in our story just saw his baby,
crying and beaten up by life, returning home.
This father who loved his son, put his arms around him. Nothing else mattered.
This is what Jesus made possible. No matter how far we go. No matter what we have done. No matter how
rebellious we have been. Jesus made a
path home for us, for our children. Have
hope in the Lord. Your heavenly Father
has not abandoned you, and will not abandon your son or daughter. Yes there are some hard lessons in life to
learn. No we cannot shelter our children
from consequences of their own decisions.
However; we can have confidence that the Lord will never leave or
Exodus 20: What do the 10 Commandments Mean for the Christian?
It is true the Law cannot make one righteous. Neither does the keeping of the Law sustain our salvation. However, Paul on several occasions states that we should not let Grace be an occasion for sin. In other words we should not let our freedoms be taken to far, and thus make the reason for our Grace be lost. Turning to Exodus 20 we can get a good understanding of the 10 Commandments and how we can apply them in our Christian lives, not for salvation or works of justification, but because scripture says that we should do works of righteousness. James 4:17 “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” How we choose to live out this freedom that has been given us in Jesus Christ is a direct reflection of the heart. These are just short paragraphs to get you thinking.
The first commandment “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”(.3) is a pretty straight forward translation. The Hebrew words used here are quite easily put to the English text of the King James Version. The word “gods” is the plural form of Elohim. This word indicates that there will be no other rulers, judges, divine ones, angels, works or special possessions of God. The word “before” is the Hebrew word paniym, which means face and is used here to indicate “before my face”, or “in from of” or “in presence of”. So the command is quite clear, Thou (you) shalt (will not) have anything that has authority over you before me. A Christian should not let anything interfere with the sovereignty of God over their lives. No other authority is to reign supreme over the Word of God. No government, carrier, relationship, or other aspect of our lives should be allowed to stop us from obeying the Word of the Lord. We should live outward lives that indicate who has supreme authority over our lives. That supreme authority is God Himself.
The second commandment “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image (v.4) When looking at this commandment we can see that the meaning “to cut or engrave”. Specifically it comes from the Hebrew pecel (peh’-sel) meaning idol or image. So the understanding is that we are not to make any image as an idol. The command goes on to include any likeness of anything that is in heaven, or in the earth, or in the sea, in fact it goes so far to say not even under the earth. Nothing should be made that is to appear to represent God, or any other idol. One should note that an idol is something that is obsessed over. We cannot use anything made by hands or in creation to represent God for worship of any kind. Our affections should be solely placed on God, nothing should be used to represent God, because we run the risk of worshiping what is created rather than the creator. We do not bow to crosses, the Eucharist, or to anything other than God himself. God will not share his worship with anything else.
The third commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (v.7) This commandment is a warning that we should not take (bear), or lift up either literally or figuratively the name of the Lord. The meaning is that we should revere the name of the Lord, and should not take it lightly. We are not to frivolously use the name of the Lord to seal an oath, or to in effect evoke the Lord on our behalf. God is not a djinn to be uses as we will or conjured up for our purposes. With this comes a sense of respect and personal accountability. If we cannot use the Lord for an oath, then we must be honest and trustworthy in our speech and actions. We are to have a name that brings respect to the Lord. We are to honor the name of the Lord. The end of this commandment is frightening. The Lord says that He will defend His own name. Anyone who disrespects Him will be held accountable to Him. We should then live in truth and in Spirit giving honor and respect to the name of the Lord in our speech and our actions.
The forth commandment “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” (v.8) The Hebrew word for remember is zakar (za-kar’), and is used to cause to remember or as a memorial. The later verses further explain that there were seven days that God used to create the earth, and on the last day, God rested. This is a day to be kept in memorial of the provisions of God. In six days he created everything that was needed to sustain his creation. Then he rested. God took a break for his labors because they were completed. The Sabbath is referred to in the Jewish culture as a
Holly day which means basically an intermission. Much like where we get the word sabbatical. This is a time to get away from everything, to make a complete break to clear the mind, and spirit. This is a time of renewal. Even batteries need to be re-charged or replaced from time to time. Jesus said that the Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath. God knows we need a time to recharge and get away from all or our labors and worried. We need a time to clear our minds and to “just be still”. We need time to relax and remember why we are working so hard. Spend some downtime with the family. Take time off from all work and all work related items. Relax and enjoy the blessings the Lord has brought. If not you will weary yourself and suffer burn out. You will lose productivity. You will lose your joy, and you relationship with Christ will suffer, along with your relationship with your church, family, and friends. Your ministry will suffer if you do not take time away, and push the reset button.
The fifth commandment “Honor they father and thy mother.” (v.12). The word honour in is from the Hebrew kabad (kaw-bad’) and can be used in a positive or negative manner as most root words can. Given the context of the verse, mainly, that it will add longevity to your life or a better quality of life, it can be understood that it is to be used in a positive manner. So then it can be meaning to abound with, or to promote, be rich in, or to be honorable. So then we are to treat our father and mother with abundant honor. How then do we do this? The showing of respect is the primary way that a king is honored. Shows of respect mean; proper use of language in their presence, bringing of gifts, sharing of blessings from God (resources, food, income, health benefits, lodgings, etc…), spending time with them (sharing special moments, letters, birthdays, celebrations), showing affections towards them, respecting and supporting their decisions, understanding that without their guidance and provisions you would not be where you are today. Showing honor is a lifestyle of respect and gratitude.
The sixth commandment “Thou shalt not kill.” (v.13) The sixth commandment seems like such a simple statement. Yet often times it is added to in order to say that capital punishment is not biblical. However, this commandment says that you shall not “kill”. The Hebrew word is ratach (rä·tsakh’) meaning to slay, or murder. To murder is to deprive of life according to the Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language 1828. 1 John 3:15 does specify that the application of this is more than just a physical act. The writer tells us that “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer:” This is because God looks into the intentions of the heart. Not only do I need to refrain from murdering someone in a physical sense, but I need to rebuke hatred in my own heart for others that may or may not have offended me. If I have allowed prejudice to establish a beachfront of sin in my heart, to hate, thus to be guilty of murder. This commandment has nothing to do with the power or authority of the government or of law enforcement, but everything to do with love of others; instead of selfish hatreds.
The seventh commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (v.14) This command is actually pretty straight forward. The word for adultery here is the primitive root na’aph (nä·af’) in Hebrew. This word is “to commit adultery” it is usually meant from a man and always refers to the wife of another man. It is a strong word and is associated with idolatry. You will not worship (love, adore) another man’s wife. Wow this is so beyond the physical act of sex with another man’s wife. Now we can see why Jesus said that to look after another man’s wife in lust is to commit adultery. That is because the original command actually says the same thing. No looking at another man’s wife to worship her in your heart, to love her in an ungodly manner. No actual sexual contact either. To do so you actually break not only this commandment, but the first, second, and tenth commandments as well. How dangerous the lusts eyes and the desires of our hearts can be.
The eight commandment “Thou shalt not steal.” (v.15) Now here is one that we always try to shorten, however; when we look at the Hebrew word use here we can see that there is no short order to this command. Ganab (gä·nav’), the Hebrew root, means to thieve (literally or figuratively) by implication, to deceive, or carry away; to get by stealth or deception. What then do we say to this? You will not practice theft either literally or figuratively by obtain by stealth or deception. You cannot take what is not yours literally you cannot. Neither can you take what is not yours through con, or ruse. You cannot take what is not yours through deceptive trade practices. You cannot be dishonest in your dealings would not be too far of a stretch. I think it could be summed up as this, if you want it, work for it. If you agree someone can earn a wage, then give them a fair wage. If you work for a fair wage then give the work that is do.
The ninth commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” (v.16) To bear here means to answer (respond, testify, speak, sing, cry, give). The word for false is pretty simple and it means to lie (false, falsehood, falsely, vain, wrongfully, deceitful). Finally we can see the word witness which in the Hebrew means to evidence either abstractly (conceptually), specifically (explicitly, practically) or in record (as a source). This means you cannot lie about anyone, or any event either as a matter of oath, or as a matter of speculation. Jesus put it this way, let your yes be yes and your no be no. When you start to talk about things or people that you do not know you put yourself in danger of being judged in the same manner that you judged them. If you have to give witness as a matter of record for a court or an incident at work then you should speak plainly, never speculate and only relay the facts. You should avoid answering open ended questions, as these questions are designed to make you speculate. Being a witness is to present the details as you saw them, not others. Keep your conversation clean, no gossip. Be honest in word and in deed. Never lie and never listen to rumor, so you do not spread a lie and become a false witness. Remember loose lips sink ships. More than one church has been destroyed form the inside out because of rumors and innuendo.
The tenth commandment “Thou shalt not covet.” (v.17) To covet is to from the root chamad (khä·mad) in Hebrew and means to desire (take pleasure in). It is meant in a form that means to delight greatly or find desirable of precious. It can be used to mean delight, desire, or to lust after. I think we all know what this means. We can enjoy our neighbor’s good fortune, and celebrate with him in his blessings. We are not to desire to have the blessings that he has though. We should be content with what the Lord has blessed us with. We do serve the same God and we can never be happy for others if we are always comparing what they have to what we do not. The verse gets pretty explanatory, you will not desire your neighbor’s wife, servants, his means of living, any of his possessions, or his lifestyle. Ok that’s my neighbor’s stuff, what about the guy in TV? What about the guy done the block? Well lucky for us the definition of neighbor has already been litigated before the Messiah. Take a look at Luke 10:25-37. In there a lawyer sought to define what a neighbor was with Jesus. Jesus put is simple, everyone is our neighbor and we are to show mercy to our neighbors. We are then to be content with what we have. We are not to look to anyone else but God.
In summation I quote Romans 13:9. “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” We are to treat everyone as we want to be treated. We are to love everyone as God loves us. You see if I love someone, then I want the best for them. I don’t desire to take what they have, because it makes them happy, and I love them and want to see their happiness. This is indeed to true sign of a believer, that we should love one another because God is love and everyone that loves is born again from God and knows God (1 John 4:7).
I was walking through Walmart about 2 days after Christmas, we needed some small food items, so I thought I would just kill some time while Dana Smith shopped. As I was walking I noticed a child and his mother, he was leading her by the hand and pointed to a toy that he wanted.
I thought how strange that this soon after Christmas they should be buying him a toy. Considering this I had to stop and evaluate my own reasons for looking around, when I really did not need anything. Was I too, just looking to consume something else that I did not need?
Then something else hit me. How often do I talk with others about things that I wish I had? How often do I look at someones car, or some other item for sell and say, wow I wish I had that? Maybe I don’t say it out loud, but I still say it in my heart. If so, then am I really believing that I have everything I could possibly need in Christ?
Covetousness can lead us into a form of idolatry. Idolatry is putting making a graven image (man-made) and making it more important than God. I know we all know the pitfall this can be. But let us consider the scripture on our words.
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5 KJV
You see our conversation reveals our hearts. Everyone knows this simple truth. If you have conversations with unbelievers or other believers and all you talk about is what you do not have, this is a tell-tale sign that you are not walking in the Spirit. It also tells others that either you are a hypocrite or that the Jesus thing is not all it’s cracked up to be.
We should guard our conversations. Lucky for us this verse shows us how to change our motivations in our heart. It says that we should be content because we know that Jesus said that HE will never leave us, or forsake us. This means that he is always looking out for our best interests. We can have confidence in him that we lack nothing that is needed.
Let our conversations so reflect the satisfaction we have in Christ. Let our mouths speak of the great and wondrous things he has done in creation, and in our very lives. Delivering us through storms, trial, and temptations. He keeps us from evil, sparing our hearts and minds of guilt and anguish. He was the one who sought us out, to deliver us from death, and restore a loving relationship with him. Life and I mean all of life is ours in him.