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Practical Confidence

August 17, 2017

“Faith, in actual common use, tends to mean a practical confidence. Rarely, if ever, do we use it of a mere-opinion, however distinct, lying passive in the mind. To have faith in a commander does not mean merely to entertain a conviction, a belief, however positive, that he is skillful and competent. We may entertain such a belief about the commander of the enemy with very unpleasant impressions on our minds in consequence. We may be confident that he is a great general in a sense the very opposite to a personal confidence in him. No, to have faith in a commander implies a view of him in which we either actually do, or are quite ready to, trust ourselves and our cause to his command. And just the same is true of faith in a divine Promise, faith in a divine Redeemer. It means a reliance, genuine and practical. It means a putting of ourselves and our needs, in personal reliance, into His hands.”

-H.C.G. Moule
Bishop of Durham

Our Triune Savior

August 14, 2017

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.” (Titus 1:2-4)

“Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:10-13)

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;” (Titus 3:4-6)

Salvation is ours because we have a Savior. The Savior is God the Father and the Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ. These are not contradictory statements. The salvation given to men is the work of the Triune God.

God is Trinity. He is One God who is comprised of three Divine Persons. Each person of the Trinity is fully God, and fully distinct from the others. The Father is fully God, but the Father is not the Son or the Spirit. The Son is fully God, but the Son is not the Father or the Spirit. The Spirit is fully God, but the Spirit is not the Father or the Son. This the great mystery of the Trinity, God is One who is Three.

All three persons of the Trinity are actively involved in your salvation. Salvation is not the idea of the Father forced upon the Spirit and the Son. Salvation is the work of the Son imposed upon the Father and the Spirit. All three persons of the Trinity were and are actively at work in bringing salvation to men and in your own salvation. In love the Father sends His Son to save. The Son suffered to accomplish salvation. The Spirit applies the work of salvation to the person. Salvation is the work of the Triune God.

God’s Love Toward Man

August 7, 2017

Salvation is not a reward. Salvation is not a wage. Salvation is a gift. Salvation is never given because of some work of righteousness. God did not look through the ages to see who would do good things for Him and then determine to save those ones. God did not look at the individual’s basic goodness, devotion or obedience and determine to save those worthy of His pardon.

Salvation is given according to God’s mercy. God’s mercy shows kindness and favor to those who do not deserve it. His mercy witholds judgment. God’s mercy is pity towards guilty men that stirs Him to defer judgment. The mercy of God gives pardon to those who deserve punishment. The mercy of God saw man’s deplorable condition and stepped in to rescue us from death.

God initiated salvation. When man was in sin God’s kindness and love toward men appeared. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) Salvation is available because God so loved the world. He saw man’s need and stepped in to redeem. No one is saved because he realized how much he needed salvation and sought out God for deliverance. Those who are saved are saved because God in His compassion provided a means for men to be rescued from their guilt and condemnation. You are saved because of the kindness and love of God that provided the means for you to be saved.

God in His mercy washes away sin. God the Spirit washes by regeneration. At salvation the heart is cleansed. The sinner is born again and made new. The prayer of David in Psalm 51 is also the promise of God to those who will believe Him. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Blot out all my iniquities.” At salvation, the Christian is delivered of all guiltiness before God. Pardon is given and the sin stained heart is made clean. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Is. 1:18) “The blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

Not only is sin washed away, righteousness is given. The grace of God gives righteousnss to those who believe. The grace of God does not give the ability to become righteous. The grace of God does not make it possible for the faithful to earn salvation. The grace of God gives full salvation. The grace of God has provided everything needed for a full salvation. The grace of God does everything needed to save. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Salvation is entirely God’s gift. It is His work fully accomplished for those who believe.

Why I Don’t (Usually) Preach Topical Sermons

August 3, 2017

Though verse-by-verse expositional preaching has been gaining in popularity it is still unfamiliar to many church goers. One of the most common types of preaching is topical. A topical sermon is one that starts with an idea and then draws from various, disconnected passages of Scripture to build the outline and content of the sermon. Topical sermons address a wide range of topics, covering things like marriage, the importance of church, the inspiration of the Bible, addiction recovery, the latest national tragedy or the most recent political controversy. In the last five years I have preached less than a dozen topical sermons during the Sunday morning service.

Instead of following the topical method I usually preach a verse by verse exposition of an entire book of the Bible. An expositional sermon draws the key idea and major points of the sermon from a single, unified passage of the Bible. The sermon may refer to other portion of Scripture to support the key points of the sermon, but it draws the major ideas from a single passage. Expositional preaching is not necessarily verse by verse, but when I preach I start at the beginning of a book and work through every verse until reaching the end of the book. Why do I preach like I this?

I believe the Word of God is sufficient for everything the Christian needs for a Godly life. (2 Peter 1:3) I believe the best way for Christian’s to grow is on a steady diet of God’s Word (1 Peter 2:3) I believe only the Word of God is powerful enough to pierce the heart, convict of sin, bring to saving faith and transform the person. The study of the Bible is not the advanced course for those who really want to be spiritual. The study of the Word is the basic, kindergarten level course for Christian growth.

I preach this way because God has commanded me to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2). Paul instructs the man of God to “Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Timothy 4:13) The words of Paul follow the same pattern as that found in Nehemiah 8:8, “So they ready in the book of the law distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” As a result, I strive to read a passage, give understanding of the meaning and help the person make sense of how the Biblical truths apply to their life.

Expositional preaching is the only truly timeless and always timely preaching. Expositional preaching is the most relevant preaching on the planet. Discourse and lecture on the opinions of the preacher, constant responses to the latest major news event or appeals to the longings of the community will ultimately leave the congregation with little real Biblical training.

This is not to imply that every topical preacher is in error, nor that every preacher should follow my method. The real issue is not what order the minister follows in preaching the Word, provided he rightly preaches the Word. Topical messages and consecutive exposition can both be used as platforms to launch the preacher into his own ideas and opinions. Handling the Word rightly requires the preacher read, explain and apply Scripture.

The Word of God is the authority over my preaching calendar. The preaching of Scripture is the center of the church gathering. I want people to hear the Word read, explained and applied. I want them to love the Word and to obey the Word. I want to draw to the church people who truly want to know truth. In the end I preach this way because God’s Word is enough. No matter what is going on, the careful consideration of God’s truth is always profitable.

Tapestries of Teaching

July 27, 2017

The Bible is not all about Jesus. The Bible is not all about salvation. Viewing the Bible as all about one thing is too simplistic. The Bible does not present itself as a monolithic work that develops one single theme from beginning to end. While I would personally like to say the Bible is all about the glory of God, even that answer is not sufficient. A better, but still deficient, description of the Bible is that it is the story of God’s work in His creation to redeem a people unto His eternal praise through the suffering, death and exaltation of God the Son.

The great overarching storyline of the Bible includes many themes. The promise of the coming of a deliverer is a major theme of the Bible. God’s eternal plan to redeem a people to Himself is a major theme of the Bible. The glory of God as seen in His rule, wisdom, grace, salvation, judgment and holiness is a major theme of the Bible. Another significant theme of the Bible is the nature and perfection of the Bible. Another major theme is the wickedness of man. Still another significant theme in Scripture is the character and perfection of God. Yet another important theme is the obligation of God’s people to live according to His rule. Many threads are woven into the tapestry of the Bible. These many threads are all connected to form one grand display. To pull out one thread and treat it as the whole ruins the fabric of it all.

Some Old Testament passages were written to teach of the first coming of the Messiah. Some were written to teach of the second coming of Christ. Some were written to teach the right way to live as the people of God. Some were written to show the continued unfaithfulness of God’s people. Some were written to show of God’s final conquest over all rebellious peoples. Some were written to show the character of God, others to teach His nature and others to reveal the character of men. To bypass those purposes to focus on redemption, the cross or the person of Jesus is to miss out on the many profitable teachings of God’s Word. The Christological method reduces God’s Word to one theme. Though it may be the greatest theme, the message of Jesus is not the only chord played in the Bible.

Reducing the Bible to a single subject abbreviates the theology of the Bible. If every passage is about Jesus, where does the Bible teach of God the Father or God the Spirit? The doctrine of the Trinity matters. The Father and the Spirit are not learned only by looking at Jesus. Jesus told Thomas, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” but He did not say that learning about Him was the only way to learn about the Father. In His earthly ministry Jesus took care to teach about the Father. For example, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught about the Father’s perfection, omniscience, justice, forgiveness, compassion and sovereignty.

Jesus used the Old Testament to instruct about the Father. Are we to read the Old Testament passages about God the Father as actually about God the Son? Does the Old Testament teaching of the work of Holy Spirit actually describe the work of Jesus? While the Triune God is One, yet each person in the Godhead exercises distinctive functions. To reduce everything in the Old Testament to be about Jesus risks overlooking the Father and the Spirit. Jesus Himself taught Old Testament passages as if they had a meaning that was not Him. A failure to recognize the various themes in the Old Testament strips it of the detail and contrast that makes it truly beautiful.

Seven Ways to Change the World

July 24, 2017

Paul wrote the letter to Titus to guide him in the establishment of healthy churches on an island that was infamous for its corruption. Titus was to lead the believers into behavior that was appropriate to the glory of the gospel. The challenge facing Cretian Christians was how to live Godly lives in the middle of a culture that was notorious for its wickedness. This problem was faced by nearly every church in the New Testament era.

How to live Godly lives in a wicked culture is a problem that churches throughout history have had to face. It is a problem that churches throughout the world still face today. The church in America today is struggling with how to respond to a culture racing to dive deeper into the sewer of sin.

How does the Christian live in this day? What should he do in a time when the nation has rejected all semblance of godliness? What is the best way to live for Christ and promote the kingdom of God in America today? Various answers have been given, but few seem to give serious consideration to the Biblical instructions. Titus 3 gives seven commands to the Christian that are specifically designed to teach Christians how to live for God in a godless culture. The seven commands are:

  • Voluntarily comply to the government
  • Obey all authorities
  • Have a readiness to do good works
  • Do not slander others
  • Do not be argumentative
  • Have a gentle disposition
  • Have a gentle humility

These seven things set the Christian apart from the world. These are some of the things that the Roman history recorded as remarkable about the early Christians. Though these things do not seem all the remarkable, yet they are unique in the world. These things don’t seem all that powerful or compelling, yet the Bible and history shows the impact of “quiet and peacable life”. Christians who live out these Biblical principles will have a far more powerful and permanent impact on a pagan world than a conservative controlled congress and a traditionalist led Supreme Court.

Banning abortion, defining marriage Biblically, pushing homosexuality back into the closet and cracking down on drug use will not save a single soul. These are good things, but the Christian realizes the deeper need of the addict, the pervert and the murderer is the gospel. This is what the epistle to Titus taught the Cretians and what it teaches Christian’s today. The need of this day is for Christian’s who proclaim the gospel with their lips and who uphold the gospel with their life. The need of the godless culture is to see Christians who possess godly character that shows off the beauty of the gospel.

At Rest

July 20, 2017

A friend passed away last weekend. Thinking again about death reminded me of a couple quotes that I find especially compelling. Here are a thousand words worth far more than any picture.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21

“How ominously these words follow each other in the text—“live,” “die.” There is but a comma between them and surely as it is in the words so is it in reality. How brief the distance between life and death! In fact there is none. Life is but death’s vestibule and our pilgrimage on earth is but a journey to the grave. The pulse that preserves our being beats our death march and the blood which circulates our life is floating it onward to the deeps of death.

Today we see our friends in health, tomorrow we hear of their decease. We clasped the hand of the strong man but yesterday and today we close his eyes. We rode in the chariot of comfort but an hour ago and in a few more hours the last black chariot must convey us to the home of all living.

But blessed be God, there is one place where death is not life’s Brother, where life reigns alone. “To live,” is not the first syllable which is to be followed by the next, “to die.” There is a land where death knells are never tolled, where winding-sheets are never woven, where graves are never dug. Blessed land beyond the skies! To reach it we must die. But if after death we obtain a glorious immortality, our text is indeed true—“To die is gain.”

O Death, why do you not spare the Church? Why must the pulpit be hung in black. Why must the missionary station be filled with weeping? Why must the pious family lose its priest and the house its head? O Death, what are you doing? Touch not earth’s holy things! Your hands are not fit to pollute the Israel of God. Why do you put your hand upon the hearts of the elect? Oh stop! Stop! Spare the righteous, Death, and take the evil! But no, it must not be. Death comes and smites the best of us all. The most generous, the most prayerful, the most holy, the most devoted
must die. Weep, weep, weep, O Church, for you have lost your martyrs. Weep, O Church, for you have lost your confessors. Your holy men are fallen. Howl, fir tree, for the cedar has fallen! The godly fail and the righteous are cut off.

But stay awhile. I hear another voice. Say you unto the daughter of Judah, spare your weeping. Tell the Lord’s flock, cease, cease your sorrow. Your martyrs are dead but they are glorified. Your ministers are gone but they have ascended up to your Father and to their Father. Your
Brethren are buried in the grave but the archangel’s trumpet shall awake them and their spirits are ever now with God. Hear the words of the text, by way of consolation, “To die is gain.” Not such gain as you wish for, you son of the miser. Not such gain as you are hunting for, you man of covetousness and self-love. A higher and a better gain is that which death brings to a Christian.

Why weep we, the saints to Heaven? Why do we need to lament? They are not dead, they are gone ahead. Stop, stop that mourning, refrain your tears, clap your hands, clap your hands!

What? Weep? Weep for heads that are crowned with garlands of Heaven? Weep? Weep for hands that grasp the harps of gold? What? Weep for eyes that see the Redeemer? What? Weep for hearts that are washed from sin and are throbbing with eternal bliss! What? Weep for men that are in the Savior’s bosom? No! Weep for yourselves, that you are here. Weep that the mandate has not come which bids you to die. Weep that you must tarry. But weep not for them. I see them turning back on you with loving wonder and they exclaim, “Why do you weep?” What? Weep for poverty that it is clothed in riches? Weep for sickness, that it has inherited eternal health? What? Weep for shame, that it is glorified? And weep for sinful mortality, that it has become immaculate?”
– Charles Spurgeon

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
John 11:11, 25-26

“A good Christian, when he dies, does but sleep: he rests from the labours of the day past, and is refreshing himself for the next morning. Nay, herein death has the advantage of sleep, that sleep is only the parenthesis, but death is the period, of our cares and toils. The soul does not sleep, but becomes more active; but the body sleeps without any toss, without any terror; not distempered nor disturbed. The grave to the wicked is a prison, and its grave-clothes as the shackles of a criminal reserved for execution; but to the godly it is a bed, and all its bands as the soft and downy fetters of an easy quiet sleep. Though the body corrupt, it will rise in the morning as if it had never seen corruption; it is but putting off our clothes to be mended and trimmed up for the marriage day, the coronation day, to which we must rise.”
– Matthew Henry

Against Mimes

July 17, 2017

The contemporary church in America seems to have displaced preaching. Modern culture does not like to be lectured at, so preaching should be replaced with a dialogue. The lower literacy and lower education of many working class people means they cannot follow the logical development of a sermon, so preaching should be replaced with compelling stories that stir the emotions of the hearer towards a desired response. People have many different learning styles, and the monologue only appeals to auditory learners, so the sermon should be supplemented with video, art, drama, music and motion. People come to church for a religious experience that can be found in many ways, so the sermon is not necessary. An art gallery can stir some people in ways a sermon cannot. An interpretive dance team moves others. An exciting concert can reach others. Some people don’t like going to church at all, so church can be held in a coffee shop with a few friends sitting around an iPhone listening to an inspiration U2 album. Preaching has fallen on hard times.

The pastor is commanded to speak. Popular or not the preaching of the Word of God is essential to the health of the church and integral to the work of the pastor. The ministry of the man of God is a vocal ministry. I know that seems to be a statement of the obvious, but amaingly the obvious has managed to be overlooked by many. The minister is to utter the truths of God’s Word.

He is not called to turn them into a dramatic mime. He is not commissioned to create incredible graphic designs. He is not sent to sway the world through compelling movies. He is sent to speak the truth of God. The post modern worldview believes that all truth is relative, nothing is absolute but all truths are subject to the circumstances of culture, individual and personality. As a result church growth and ministry experts insist that pastors need to spend less time lecturing. New, innovative ways of communicating have to be employed that will not suffer from the horrible stigma of preaching.

A new worldview is gaining ground, a world view that believes truth is personal. Truth is defined by the individual for his needs at that time and is unopposable by any one else. Authoritative preaching is even less tolerated. The experts now say the preacher must find ways to connect with his hearers by sharing his story, entering into their story and somehow helping them discover God for themselves.

The Bible has a problem with these views of ministry. “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” “We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” (1 Corinthian 1) The method of communicating God’s message is prescribed by God. He knows how the world will react. The minister is not an innovator, but a herald sent out by his King to announce the King’s proclamations. The pastor must preach the truth of God’s Word. The proclamation of the Word of God is the only means God has ordained for the salvation of souls and the growth of believers.

P.S. I don’t actually dislike mimes. I just wish they’d speak up a little.

Warning! Allegories Ahead

July 13, 2017

The historical-redemptive hermeneutic believes every passage in the Old Testament finds its ultimate meaning in Jesus. This is not the process of drawing gospel applications from any passage in the Bible. A skillful teacher can swiftly bridge from any point in the Bible to the plan of salvation. The Christological hermeneutic believes Jesus is the correct interpretation of any passage. This method utilizes allegorical interpretation to find Jesus hidden in the Old Testament.

The allegorical method of interpretation looks beyond the literal meaning of the passage to find hidden, spiritual truths. C. I. Scofield employs a Christological and allegorical method when he says of Genesis 1:16, “The greater light is a type of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. Morally the world is now in the state between Genesis 1:3 and 1:16. The sun is not seen, but there is light. Christ is that light, but shineth in darkness comprehended only by faith. Dispensationally the church is in place as the lesser light, the moon, reflecting the light of the unseen sun. The stars are individual believers who are lights.” (Scofield Reference Bible) Allegorical interpretations are not limited to a Christ-centered approach.

Pope Gregory practiced notoriously bad allegoricalism. He said in regard to the book of Job, “Believing hearers have been gathered from various manners of 1ife, a truth which is first declared generally by the mention of (Job’s) daughters, the same is afterwards brought before us in detail by the specification of the animals. For what does he set forth in the seven thousand sheep, but some men’s perfect innocency, which comes from the pastures of the Law to the perfect estate of grace? what again is signified by the three thousand camels, but the crooked defectiveness of the Gentiles coming to the fulness of faith.” Pope Gregory said of Rebekah’s journey to meet Isaac, “The Gentile state is signified by the naming of a camel; and hence Rebecca on going to Isaac is brought on a camel’s back, in that the Church, which hastens from the Gentile state to Christ, is found in the crooked and defective behaviour of the old life; and she, when she saw Isaac, descended, in that when the Gentile world knew the Lord, it abandoned its sins, and descending from the height of self-elation sought the lowly walks of humility; and she too in bashfulness covers herself with a veil, in that she is confounded in His presence for her past life.”

Terrible examples of allegorical interpretation abound. Fully realizing the misuse of anything does not disprove its validity a crucial point can still be made from these examples. The allegorical meaning is determined by the creativity of the interpreters imagination. Job’s three thousand camels could be representative of Gentile believers, the three thousand saved on the day of Pentecost, the Great White Throne of Judgment that is to take place 3,000 years after the Jesus’ resurrection or the depredations of sin upon the heart of man. Allegorical interpretation is unbridled. Because the Bible does not declare that every portion of the Bible is an allegory of Jesus the interpreters conclusion is unbounded and subject to whatever fancy suits him.

For example, and this example was presented by a proponent of the historical-redemptive hermeneutic to illustrate its proper use, Ecclesiastes 9:14-15 says, “There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.” Ralph Erskine, an 18th century Scottish preacher, said the city represents the world and the church of God. The great king is either God, Satan or sin and death. The wise man is Christ who delivered the city by the wise plan of salvation. The preacher is not sure what the rest of the verse means, but he is sure that Jesus is in there.

Instead of concocting an attempt to make every passage of Ecclesiastes about Jesus, why not proclaim what Ecclesiastes is about. Worldly wisdom is empty. Though wisdom is better than the might of armies even a wise man is brought to nothing. Lasting wisdom is the wisdom that fears God. The conclusion of the whole matter is to fear God and keep His commandments. When the text is understood as it is written a bridge to the cross becomes clear. The reader does not need a doctorate in imagination. Any one can follow the text and see the truths it contains. When the emptiness of human wisdom is understood the natural tension that arises will provide ample opportunity to point to the cross. Jesus does not need to be found hiding in a little city to lead people to the gospel. The gospel can be reached from Ecclesiastes but Ecclesiastes is not about Jesus.

Mining the text to discover Jesus overlooks the obvious treasures that are there. Some portions of the mine have richer ore than others. Some jewels are more valuable than others. Do we throw away the ruby because it is not a diamond? Looking deeper for non-existent treasure does not make the text richer. Delight in the treasure that is present.

Peculiar Grace

July 10, 2017

The grace of God who appeared is the Savior whose second appearing Christians await. The grace of God who appeared is God. Jesus our Savior is God. The Divinity of Jesus is a major theme throughout the New Testament. It is declared repeatedly in the gospels. It is affirmed by the apostles in Acts. It is taught in the epistles of Paul. It is believed in the letters of Peter, James, John and Jude. It is gloriously proven in the letter to the Hebrews. It is undeniably displayed in the book of Revelation. The entire New Testament declares that Jesus is God.

The belief and confession of Jesus as God is essential to salvation. This is what Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus.” Jesus is Lord. He is God. He is the Creator of the Universe, the One who holds everything together and who will bring everything to His desired end. Jesus is no great teacher. Jesus is no powerful prophet. Jesus is no mighty miracle worker. Jesus is the very God of Heaven. He is the One described in 1 Timothy 6:15-16 as “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” The same God who is the grace of God who did appear is the glorious God who will appear.

The grace of God appeared to set apart a special people for Himself. The Christian is a unique treasure set apart for Him. The nation of Israel provides a brilliant illustration of this idea. God called Abraham out of Ur and set him apart from all the other people of the world. He sent Abraham to a land that would He would give to his descendants. God promised to make Abraham’s family a great nation. In a remarkably short period of time the family of Abraham grew to become the nation of Israel numbering a couple million people. God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt in a way so dramatic all the world heard of it. God led Israel to the land He had promised Abraham and proceeded to conquer that land for Israel. God placed Israel at the center of the great world empires, gave them a system of worship unlike anything practiced anywhere else in the world and set them apart to be His nation. Israel was unique among the nations of the world.

That is why God told Israel at Mt. Sinai, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Exodus 19:4-6) That is why it says in Deuteronomy 7:6, “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”

In the first epistle from Peter the same kind of phrases are used to describe the Christian today. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (1 Peter 2:9) God gave Himself for you to set you apart to Himself as His own special treasure. God rescued you from sin and set you apart for Himself.