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December 20, 2016, 12:00 AM

Why was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords Born in a Manger?

All of Israel seemed to look forward to the birth of the Messiah as a deliverer, but they missed it; His birth seemed to happen in spite of and them right in their face.  It seems one of the only celebrative notice we have record of from the so called religious of that day was of Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-38).  Simeon’s prayer was a blessing in itself; “Lord, now lettest thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”

It wasn’t done in a corner or in secret, it had been prophesied almost from the foundation of the world in Gen 3:15 where the seed of the woman was prophesied to bruise the serpent’s head.   A heavenly host had filled the sky saying “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward man”.

It seems difficult to find a wink or a nod to the religious hierarchy of the day.  The scripture doesn’t seem to share anything of Mary’s qualification beyond the humble, submissive answer she gave the angel “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to they word” (Luke 1:38)  Mary did give us some insight when we read, "And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.  He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever." (Luke 1:50-54)

He was God in the flesh, but he was born in a manger, likely in a barn with animals, because there was no room in the inn.  There was no room for the creator of the ends of the earth?   Surely his advance team had overlooked something; but the advance team was God himself.  The humbleness is 100% pervasive; we’re meant to “get it”.  The humbleness carried through his life:  “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”  (Luke 9:58) 

The announcement of his birth was not to the ‘in’ crowd, or the king, but to lowly shepherds in the field.  The birth illustrates there is absolutely no respect of persons with God, and certainly not according to man’s hierarchy.  “For there is no respect of persons with God” (Rom 2:11).  …and we can’t have respect of persons either: “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” (James 2:9)

Every part of Jesus’ birth and life seems to confirm James 4:5 and 1 Peter 5:5: “Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”    “…but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.  (Luke 16:15)

He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:11-12)  

We want to live in a way to receive Him daily in our heart and life.

Bro. David Cosby

December 13, 2016, 12:00 AM

Tell Me The Story Of Jesus

1 John 4: 9-11 states, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”  

The love of this story isn’t a feel-good, surface or skin deep love, but a deep, righteous, self-sacrificial love.  He could not doubt have said, “let there be salvation” and just as the worlds were formed at His word, I believe we could have had salvation.  In the plan He set up, the righteous God of Heaven couldn’t forgive / excuse sin and provide his Holy, Righteous Spirit in our hearts without a blood sacrifice to redeem us from Sin.   And so Jesus left the splendor of heaven to be born among sinful men, to be our high priest.  “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”  Hebrews 4:15

To feel the love and peace we feel at Christmas seems much more natural than in the shadows of the anguish and evil around the cross, but He was born to be a sacrifice for our Sin.

We sometimes sing a song,
"Tell Me the Story of Jesus" by Frances J. Crosby

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,

Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
“Love paid the ransom for me.”

The birth (and death) of Jesus brings a deeper meaning to that final verse of the first reference:  “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”  (1 John 4:11).  It is so much deeper than the awe inspired by today’s praise worship, but extends to real self sacrificial love.  “And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Bro. David Cosby

December 5, 2016, 12:00 AM

Living a Victorious Life-Part 4-Sin Defined

The following is the fourth part of the Living a Victorious Life Bible Study held on September 25, 2015.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 states, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
Galatians 5:13-26 states, "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."
As the study on Living a Victorious Life continues after New Year, these questions will be discussed:
 Can we accidentally Sin?
 Is temptation Sin?
 What is Chastisement?
 What is the secret to living Victorious/Holy?
 Can we lose our salvation?

November 28, 2016, 3:12 PM

Living a Victorious Life-Part 3-The New Covenant

The following is the third part of the Living a Victorious Life Bible Study held on September 25, 2015.

In Hebrews 8:7-12 we read, "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.  For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:  And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."
Romans 8:2-4 states, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Hebrews 9:24-28 reads, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:  Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;  For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to die, but after this judgement:  And as appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement:  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." be continued next week.

November 21, 2016, 12:00 AM

Living a Victorious Life-Part 2-Purpose of the Law

The following is the second part of the "Living a Victorious Life" Bible Study held on September 25, 2015.

God defined or gave knowledge of sin by giving his people the Law during the time of Moses.  The law was the ten commandments and the numerous precepts given to Moses.  These are all described in the first five books of the old testament.  The Ten Commandments are listed twice in the Bible, first at Exodus 20:1–17, and then at Deuteronomy 5:4–21. Both versions state that God inscribed them on two stone tablets, which he gave to Moses.

As time passed God further explained his requirements.  In Proverbs 6:16-19 we read, "These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."

What was the Purpose of the Law?  In Romans 3:20 we read, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."  Galatians 3:23-25 states, "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." be continued next week.

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