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So Abram departed...

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So Abram departed...

Genesis 12:4-7

1. The price that Abram was not yet ready to pay (Haran).

 

The city, Ur of the Chaldeans where Abram had been educated was a center of many idolatrous cults, but especially dedicated to the moon god, Nannar. Abram was born when his father Terah was already 160 years of age. (Compare Genesis 11:32 with Genesis 12:4) Terah had taken his whole family, along the river Euphrates in the direction of Canaan. Terah stopped in Haran, 800 km from Ur of the Chaldeans, more or less half way and he never moved again. He died at the age of 205 and he had never seen Canaan. Abram did not make many mistakes in his life but those he made were paralyzing ones. Haran for Abram became a symbol of wasted years. Death of a father is painful but for Abram it was instead a blessing.

 

2. In Canaan at last! (Gen. 13:15; 15:18; 17:7-8; Gal. 3:16)

 

When Abram finally reached Canaan, he built an altar to the Lord in Shechem (between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim). By building the altar Abram:

 

- expressed his public testimony regarding his belonging to the Lord;

- established a principle of worshipping God;

- showed that he trusted in God’s promise.

 

The altar at Shechem was the first altar that was built for the Lord in Canaan. Later Isaac (Gen. 26:24-25), and then Jacob (Gen. 33:18-20) built altars in Shechem to commemorate the revelation of the Lord.

 

The presence of the unfriendly approaching inhabitants of Canaan was not a discouragement for Abram who lived by faith. Abram kept the balance between building ‘the altar for the Lord’ (Gen. 12:7- 8), and ‘the pitching a tent.’ (Gen. 12:8).

 

God worked through Abram having in mind the environment where His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ would be born. It was God who chose Canaan as the place where the “Salvation of the world” was going to come down.

 

3. Vision of God and dedicated Abram’s step of faith.

 

- Vision is a result of faith. If it is difficult for me to trust God, it is going to be difficult to accept His vision for my life.

 

- Vision will influence my approach to the question of worshipping God. My love for God and my fascination of God is going to be expressed in my way of worshipping God. Abram was moving forward because he loved God. The way of worshipping God is influenced by the size of my God.

- Vision will result in letting God have control of my life. In the beginning Abram had some difficulties concerning the ‘control question.’ He had to learn a lesson of concentrating on God’s vision for him, because only then God was blessing him.

Dr. Czeslaw Bassara ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; www.proword.eu)

   

Sir, we would see Jesus!

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Sir, we would see Jesus!

John 12:21

It is significant that Greeks as Gentiles were present at the last Passover of the Lord Jesus. They were no longer interested in their mythology and religion. They knew that the Lord Jesus was different than their gods. They did not come to discuss or quarrel with Him. They wanted to see Him. We do not know about the conversation that these people had with the Lord Jesus, but we know that they came, because they wanted to see Him! The children of today are like those Greeks; they want to see the Lord Jesus, too. Do they see Him in us?

How different people saw the Lord Jesus?

John the Baptist saw the Lord Jesus as the sin bearer of the world! ‘The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ (John 1:29; Heb. 10:10-12)

The Apostle Peter saw the Lord Jesus as the only means of eternal life! ‘Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.’ (John 6: 68)

The thief on the cross saw the Lord Jesus as the Saviour who knew no sin! ,And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.’ (Luke 23:41)

The Roman soldier saw the Lord Jesus as the Son of God! ‘Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.’ (Matt. 27:54)

The Apostle John saw the Lord as the Supreme Lord! ‘And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.’ (Rev. 1:17)

Stephen saw the Lord Jesus as the One welcomes home! ‘And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. (Acts 7:56)

Those people had a privilege of seeing the Lord Jesus! What about the people who live with us? They want to see the Lord Jesus! What about the new generation? Children need to see the Lord Jesus. It is not enough to tell them about the Lord Jesus. They must see Him!

How do we see the Lord Jesus? The way we see Him will determine whether we go to heaven or not. The way we see Him will determine how we show Him to others who have never seen Him. We cannot show Him without seeing Him first. Some see Him as a great man. Others see Him as a great prophet. And others see Him only as an example to follow.

He is the only sin bearer of the world! He is the only means of eternal life! He is the Saviour who knew no sin! He is the Son of God! He is the Supreme Lord! He is the One who welcomes us home!

Dr. Czeslaw Bassara ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; www.proword.eu)

   

Serve one another in love

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Serve one another in love

(Gal. 5:13)

Are we servants?

Most people don’t like to be thought of as servants. It’s probably easier to think about serving God, because He is so high and mighty and so obviously superior in every way. It’s a little bit easier to say, ‘Lord, I serve You!’ to an all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful God than it is to say that to someone we consider our equal or perhaps even our lesser in some respects. ‘For you, dear friends, have been called to live in freedom, not to satisfy your sinful nature, but to serve one another in love.’ (Gal. 5:13) The Greek word translated here as ‘serve’ is ‘douleuo’, which means ‘to be a slave to.’ So to serve one another in love is to be a slave to one another in love, to yield to, to obey, to do someone’s bidding, and to do so in love.

The Lord Jesus came not to be served, but to serve

The Lord Jesus said He ‘came not to be served, but to serve.’ (Mark 10:45). The Lord Jesus ‘made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant.’ (Phil. 2:7). The Bible says that ‘Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His steps.’ (1 Peter 2:21). His Father sent Him as a servant. The Lord Jesus had the love and humility to do that for us, and He asks that we follow His example. That takes a lot of humility, but with such sacrifices come great rewards.

The mutual nature of Christian ministry

The Apostle Paul reveals the mutual nature of Christian ministry. There are many such ‘one another’ verses in the New Testament. Here are some of them:

Building loving fellowship one with another:

‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ (John 13:34-35). ‘Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.’ (1 Thess. 4:9).

Love one another to fulfill the law:

‘Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.’ (Rom. 13:8).

Increase our love one for another:

‘We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.’ (2 Thess. 1:3).

Abound in love for another:

‘May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.’ (1 Thess. 3:12).

Love each other deeply, to cover a multitude of sins:

‘Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.’ (1 Peter 4:8).

Dr. Czeslaw Bassara ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; www.proword.eu)

   

Relationships in my family

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Relationships in my family
 
Col. 3:18-4:1 (Compare with Eph. 5:22-6:3)
 
Historical setup
 
When the Apostle Paul wrote his Epistle to the Colossians he had in mind a picture of what families looked like back when the Gospel began to spread across the Roman Empire. Families were made up of husbands who dominated their wives, fathers who ruled their children with an iron hand, wives who resented and sought to undermine their husbands, and children who rebelled against their parents.
 
‘Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.’
 
Husbands in that society already ruled over their wives. Why then was the Apostle Paul telling believing wives to do what they already did? The words that the Apostle used in Greek make it clear that he was asking wives to willingly submit to their husbands. Nowhere did the Apostle tell the husband to force his wife into submission. He was telling wives to go beyond what was required. Wives were not to submit with resentment. They were to be gracious and choose to respect their husbands’ place in the family. They were to create an atmosphere of heaven at home.
 
‘Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.’
 
In Col. 3:19 the Apostle Paul asked of husbands an extra measure of grace, too.  Instead of ruling over their wives according to their legal rights, believing husbands were to go further and love their wives. Was it not unjust that the Apostle told husbands to love their wives while wives were to voluntarily submit to their husbands? The word the Apostle used here is ‘agapao’ and it was used to describe the sacrificial love, with which God loved the world (John 3:16). It is the same word that the Apostle used to describe the Lord Jesus’ willingness to submit Himself to die for our sins. In Eph. 5:25 he used this kind of expression for husbands: ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.’ (Eph. 5:25). Husbands were to give a constant direction in sacrificial love.
 
The Apostle Paul was not asking less of husbands compared to what he asked of wives.  He told husbands to give an extra measure of grace and lay down their lives for them. Christ’s sacrificial love should be the model for how a husband loves his wife. Both husbands and wives are to be in submission to one another as to the Lord. Each was to go beyond what was required. Without the help of God for both, husband and wife, married life will be limited and weak. 
 
Christian marriages and families
 
Most marriage partners think that marriage is all about what each is going to get out of the relationship: comfort, security and attention. How often such an approach makes spouses lazy in their relationships. Marriage, like God’s other institutions, was never intended as a comfort zone for lazy people. Marriage is a radical step and is not intended for anyone who is not prepared to surrender his own will and to be wholeheartedly submissive to the will of another person.
 
‘Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord!’ 
 
The New Testament emphasizes the role of children in the family. In the introduction of the Epistle to the Colossians (in 1:2), the Apostle points out to whom his Epistle is addressed: ‘to the holy and faithful brothers…’ This expression applies not only to believing husbands and wives, but to believing children as well. Children who by God’s grace became ‘holy and faithful brothers’ were not only noticed, but were treated very seriously. The Apostle reminded them to be obedient to their parents. They were not to be obedient because their society required to do so, but because it was pleasing to the Lord. It is true that only believing children can and have a desire to live in a manner pleasing to God. Obedience to parents is a blessing for children and it has to be encouraged, but never at the expense of faithful following of the Lord Jesus. The more obedient the believing children can be, even towards non-believing parents, the stronger their testimony for the Lord will be. Believing children should be ready to fulfill their privilege towards their parents, whether their parents are believers or not. 
 
Disobedience towards parents is an open rebellion against God. It is rejection of God’s Word. (Rom. 1:28-30; 2 Tim. 3:1-5). By nature children are sinful and selfish. It is so easy for them to be disobedient, but by the power of God believing children can obey their parents with joy and thus bring glory to God! 
 
By God’s grace:
 
1.             A wife can submit to her husband the way God expects!
2.             A husband can love his wife the way God expects!
3.             Children can be obedient to their parents the way God expects!
 
 
Dr. Czeslaw Bassara (
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 ; www.proword.eu)
   

Rejoicing with the truth

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Rejoicing with the truth

1 Cor. 13:6

Why is ‘telling the truth’ stressed so strongly among believers?

Telling the truth is without question a crucial biblical principle. Many of the problems of modern society are the result of careless handling of truth. Being able to trust the reliability of family members, friends, and work associates is vital to healthy relationships. God expects the word of His children to be truthful in all ways.

Pilate asked the question two thousand years ago, ‘What is truth?’ Some ask such a question ironically, seeking to prove there is no absolute standard of truth. Personal integrity demands that we look for a serious answer to this question. Is truth a specific fact that can be proved? Is truth anything that works, or solves a problem? Is truth something different for every person?

Meaning of truth

Truth is not relative. It does not vary from person to person or from situation to situation. As believers, we must search for the truth that is universal, stand up for it even when the present-day culture rejects it. We are to defend truth ‘in love’ (Eph 4:15). With many voices in the world claiming to have discovered the truth, many are deceived by false teaching. The only truth that can be trusted is the truth stated by the Creator and recorded for us in the Bible.

Bible truth is both personal and practical. It calls on us to live the truth as well as to speak it. Bible truth is moral as well as factual. All around us is deception and falsehood. Hypocrisy presents an outward appearance of truth and honesty but masks hidden misuse of the truth. It is hypocrisy to play concern for the wellbeing of others when the show is to gain praise and human recognition. It is hypocrisy to pretend devotion to God and righteousness when egocentric acts and evil habits rule the heart.

Honesty

Honesty is a matter of truth and truthful behaviour. Honesty speaks truth even when it is not to the advantage of the speaker. Breaking a promise strips one of a reputation for honesty and truthfulness. Intellectual honesty is openness to all truth even to that which may contradict deeply held personal opinions. Sincerity is honesty in expressing oneself; the Lord Jesus described Nathanael as ‘an Israelite, in whom there is nothing false’ (John 1:47). A person can be truthful in a superficial way without being an honest person. The truly honest person ‘rejoices with the truth’ (1 Cor. 13:6) and is angered by dishonesty.

Warning

Fraud sounds like a dishonesty that would be found only in the world, but if the Apostle Paul had to admonish believers to avoid sin in his day, we must be doubly careful to do what is honest in our dealings with fellow believers. ‘The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated [or defrauded]? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.’ (1 Cor. 6: 7 - 8)

Believers are called to model, both in word and in practice, truth that reflects the very character of God who is holy!

Dr. Czeslaw Bassara ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; www.proword.eu)

   

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