HELP FOR OUR HUMAN FRAILTIES

In Mark 9:14-29, we read of the boy that Jesus healed, who had a deaf and dumb spirit and who often had fits.  Jesus asked the father whether he believed the boy could be healed and the father cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Words could not express that piercing emotion—that deep-seated need for help to overcome his human frailties.

I have often thought of the pitiful concubine in Judges 19 whose frailties caused her to run away from her husband and back to her home.  In her father’s house she had affection and familiar things that made life easier, but the Lord says she was unfaithful.

Did she make vows when her father sold her?

What happened that caused her to run away?

We are not told those things, but we know she was at least “unfaithful” to the covenant her father made with her new owner.

She did not run off with a lover.

She ran home!

Not only did she lack faith, but she also was not submissive.   Judges 19:2 says, “And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house to Bethlehemjudah and was there four whole months.”

Those strong words define the frailties that made up her character.

On the other hand, Sarah was blessed to have a “familiar friend” and a brother who became her husband. The new land and the people were strange to her, but her husband was the solid rock that brought her through it all.

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:9-12).

THIS is yet another reason why one’s life companion must be chosen carefully and must be a disciple of Christ (2 Cor. 6:4). Many young people find someone who is “in the church,” but fail to realize that not all church members are children of God (Matt. 13:38-40).

WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:” (Eph. 5:8).

Light is the opposite of darkness. The Bible speaks of light as the symbol of God’s presence and righteous works. “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” (1 Tim. 6:16). Physical light has been associated with God’s presence, while spiritual light is associated with His knowledge, truth, and righteousness since creation. Darkness, on the other hand, symbolizes ignorance, error, evil, and the works of Satan.

God and His Word are frequently pictured as lights or lamps to enlighten and guide the believer down the dark roads of life. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” (1 John 1:5-6). “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105). The Psalmist also declared, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Psa. 27:1). Light is also used as a symbol of holiness and purity. Paul counseled the Christians at Rome to “put on the armour of light” (Rom. 13:12).

The New Testament presents Jesus as the personification of light or divine illumination: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). He is the one who brought the truth and knowledge of God into the world (John 1:18). Jesus plainly stated that those who rejected this divine light would bring judgment upon themselves. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:19-21). Jesus and the New Testament writers extended the figure of light to include faithful Christians, who were called “children of light” (Eph 5:8).

Hating the light will bring condemnation. Turning to the light brings salvation, as He said: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Col. 1:13-14). Walking in the light is not just believing a certain doctrine. Walking in the light, which is God’s word, is walking according to God’s direction for us””doing what He says. That light, when it enters our hearts, gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).

Jesus not only brought the light, but He walked according to the light and therefore is our example of what it means to be light. We need to grow in that light, both in knowing the light as well as becoming a light to others. God’s prophesy (the word of God) is that light which shines and needs to grow brighter and brighter until the day star rises in our hearts! (2 Pet. 1:19). The more of God’s truth and word we understand the brighter the light. Paul prayed that the Colossians would be filled with all knowledge and spiritual understanding, which would mean all light (Col. 1:9-10). Truly the day star comes closer and closer the more knowledge and understanding we add. When we live according to that light we do many good deeds which glorify the Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Our obedience glorifies our Father. We are admonished to walk as children of light (Eph 5:8), which we do when we obey more and more of His commands.

QUESTIONS:

1. RESEARCH QUESTION: Many ancient cultures were fascinated with light and its implications. Using a concordance or a Bible dictionary, find as many examples as possible of ancient people whose religions called for the worship of light or the sources of light (stars, moon or the sun). As much as possible, give examples from scripture of what God thought of these people.

2. Who were the people who sat in darkness, and what “great light” did they see (Matt. 4:16; Luke 1:79)?

3. What is the light of the body? What happens to people whose “eye is evil” (Matt. 6:22-23: Luke 11:34-36)?

4. Why did men love the darkness (John 3:19)? Did they comprehend the light (John 1:5)?

5. What was Jesus called (John 8:12; John 12:35)?

6. What was the purpose of “the light” (John 12:46; Acts 26:18)?

7. DISCUSSION QUESTION: If we hate our brother for any reason, where are we dwelling (1 John 2:8-9)? Can we be saved in that condition? Please also consider 1 John 4:20.

8. If we walk in the light, what do men in the world see (Matt. 5:16)?

9. What does it mean that the day star can rise in our hearts (2 Pet. 1:19)?

10. How can the light of God shine more and more in our hearts and actions (Col. 1:9-10; Matt. 5:16)?

GOD’S CHILDREN WILL BE LIKE HIM

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

When 1 John 3:2 says we are the sons of God, John appears to be speaking of the resurrection. The only indication of being like Him was something John had never seen. John had seen the heart of Christ and therefore the Father (John 14:1-8), so he is not talking about growing in the heart of Christ in this verse. We must settle on the alternative idea of being like Him in the resurrection.

Paul had his hope set on the resurrection. He first described the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:37-44, and then he made the contrast between Adam and Christ very clear. We have been born in the image of the earthly in the fact that we are in Adam’s physical image (1 Cor. 15:49). We are in the form of man (Phil. 2:6-8). Paul then noted there will come a time when we will be in the image of the heavenly (1 Cor 15:49). The image of the heavenly was in full context of the resurrection. Paul also noted that Christ was the first fruits of our resurrection (1 Cor. 15:19, 23).

Jesus’ resurrected body is glorious (Phil. 3:21). On the road to Damascus, Paul saw the resurrected Christ in a marvelously glorious body that was so magnificent that he was totally blinded by it. Moses saw God’s glory when he saw the back of God, making his face to shine. The children of Israel could not look on Moses’ face because it was so bright. However, when Paul saw the resurrected Christ, it must not have been the eternal body of Christ, since John says it does not yet appear what we shall be (1 John 3:2). If Paul had already seen what we shall be, then John would not have said it is unknown what we shall be.

Jesus asked the Father to give Him the glory He had before the foundation of the world. In the book of Revelation, we may have a picture of the kind of glory God has. “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away; and there was found no place for them” (Rev. 20:11).

When Christ returns, we shall see Him as he is; however, just seeing Him is not our only hope. We also have the hope of being like Him (1 John 3:2). The Holy Spirit testified through Paul that in the resurrection our physical bodies will be transformed to be like His glorious body (Phil. 3:21). All of God’s children, from the least to the greatest have this hope of being resurrected in the image of His glorious body. John said that it does not yet appear what we shall be. However, he further testified that when we see Him we will be like Him. What a marvelous hope we have in Christ””not only to inherit an eternal home in heaven with Him, but to have a body like His as well.

QUESTIONS: 1. In the resurrection, what body will Christians have? (1 Cor. 15:42-44)

2. Are the first fruits of the cotton crop the same as the rest of the crop? What about a wheat crop? What is the meaning of the term “first fruits”?

3. Explain how Jesus was the first fruits of our resurrection.

4. Romans 8:18 speaks of a stark contrast between the glory that shall be revealed in us and something we have to endure. What is that? (Acts 14:22)

5. What was David prophesying about in Psalm 17:15?

6. What was the image of the earthy in 1 Corinthians 15:49?

7. What two kinds of bodies are described in Philippians 3:21?

8. According to Matthew 22:30-32, what will we be like in the resurrection?

9. Luke 20:36-38 also talks about the resurrection. How is that described?

10. Can we go to heaven in flesh and blood as we are today (1 Cor. 15:50-58)? Describe what will take place that day.