Newsletter #302 - December 2003 - By Shepherds Chapel - http://www.shepherdschapel.com/
You can quickly figure people out by listening to them talk about their hopes. Many think of hope only in respect to this world. Some have hopes well beyond this world. As long there is life there is hope. We as Christians have eternal life, so there is always hope. In the Greek Manuscripts the word "hope" can mean "trust or expectancy". The etymology of the Hebrew word for "hope" is to "put a rope on it and bind it". When you are hoping for something, put a rope on it and don't let it get away. Let's begin our study in the Book of Ezekiel. The Lord placed Ezekiel in a valley of dry bones. They were spiritually "deader than a hammer". What did God tell Ezekiel to do in order to make them live?
Ezekiel 37:9 Then said He unto me, "Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, 'Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.' "
"Prophecy" means "teach". What was he to teach? Verse 4 tells us "the Word of the Lord". You students of His Word know that the 4 winds of Daniel 7 and Revelation 7 relate to the very last days. When the 4 winds blow, it is the 7th Trump and Christ's return.
Ezekiel 37:10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11 Then He said unto me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.'
If you don't have God as part of your life, if all you know in the world is living from paycheck to paycheck, you are missing out. You have lost all hope. You need help. That is the reason God sends teachers. His Word brings life. His Word brings hope.
Ezekiel 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; 'Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
When people hear the Word of God, they are no longer spiritually dead. Their lack of hope melts away.
Ezekiel 37:13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put My spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.' "
Father wants His children to live. He wants you to have a good quality of life and to be happy. Do you know why? You are an ambassador for Christ, if you call yourself a Christian. Unbelievers look to you as an example of what it means to be a happy Christian with hope for eternal life. Turn with me to the Book of proverbs. Man can make plans, but the outcome is in God's hands.
Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
Every word you utter is inspired of the Lord, if you are in Him and He in you. He loves you and directs you. That is pretty powerful friends.
Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. 3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
Your thoughts, your plans and your hopes will prosper, if you commit your work to Him. This is important. Ask Him to be in your life. Ask Him to help you.
Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
All souls, including those of the wicked, belong to God (Ezekiel 18:4). That includes every last one of us.
Proverbs 16:5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. 6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
"Fear" would be better translated "reverence". If you revere the Lord, you want nothing to do with evil. You realize evil robs you of Father's many blessing.
Proverbs 16:7 When a man's ways please the LORD, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
God has the power to change the mind of your enemies. Remember, He owns their souls as well as yours.
Proverbs 16:8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
You never get ahead with ill gotten gains.
Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
We all head down the wrong road from time to time. If you love the Lord and are serving Him, He will direct your steps back on to the right path. Put your hope and trust in Him. Let's continue our study in Luke. Jesus had been crucified. He told the disciples He would rise in 3 days, and they were going to meet Him in Galilee. Some of the disciples are going i the wrong direction.
Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
"Emmaus" means "warm baths" in the Greek language. I guess they were feeling a little stressed out. They have lost hope. They have lost focus on what Christ told them.
Luke 24:14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them.
They didn't recognize the Lord. Why? Divine intervention is at work for our benefit. Keep your eyes open.
Luke 24:16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. 17 And He said unto them, "What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?"
Salvation had been opened to all who would believe.Death had been defeated. And, they are sad?
Luke 24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto Him, "Art Thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?"
Jesus has first hand knowledge what had come to pass in Jerusalem. He was right there for it all.
Luke 24:19 And He said unto them, "What things?" And they said unto Him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
They had seen the miracles with their own eyes, but their eyes are blind at this point.
Luke 24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and have crucified Him.
These disciples of Christ hd lost hope. Don't you ever doubt the Word of God! You get a rope on His Word and hang on tight. His Word will come to pass.
Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
They believed their hope was for naught. It had been 3 days, and they thought He wasn't going to meet them as promised. They had no faith, or they wouldn't be going for warm baths instead of Galilee.
Luke 24:22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23 And when they found not His body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that He was alive.
Things are coming to pass exactly as Christ had told them they would. They had reason to be very hopeful.
Luke 24:24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but Him they saw not."
Jesus told them to meet Him at Galilee, not at the spa. They were looking for Him in the wrong place. They weren't listening to the words of the Lord.
Luke 24:25 Then He said unto them, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?"
They had a multitude of Scriptures in the Old Testament telling of the crucifixion and glorification, and they are walking in doubt.
Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.
It was written. That's why we need to be familiar with prophecy, especially that which has not been fulfilled. It is like reading tomorrow's newspaper. Tie a rope onto His Word, and hang on. Lets go to Roman's.
Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
This is written to God's elect. If you want to be bound by hope, be careful what you ask God to reveal to you. Once revealed, it is reality not hope of faith.
Romans 8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
God will help with their weaknesses. He will move them to do what He wants done.
Romans 8:27 And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
God has a plan. The elect need to be taught His plan. Don't neglect to plant seeds, when given the opportunity.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
Our purpose really isn't important. It is His purpose that is important.God will see that it is accomplished.
Romans 8:29 For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
We aren't talking about free will here. We are talking about predestination of the elect from the 1st world age.
Romans 8:30 Moreover whom He did predestinate, them he also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.
Those who stood with Him in the 1st earth age have already been judged. That is why He can intercede in our lives. Father utilizes many of you to teach those dry bones of Ezekiel 37 God's Word. His Word is where they can find life and hope.
In His service,