Words of Life ~ APPOINT

We find in our study of the word APPOINT the concept of the authority of one over another. There are two persons or things involved. One who has the authority and the power to accomplish appoints someone or something according to his wishes. Beginning in the Old Testament, it is God who appoints and accomplishes what He desires.

From the beginning of time, as Creator, God is the authority, we and His creation are appointed according to the power of His holy will.

Old Testament  H7896
Strong’s Concordance defines APPOINT, shiyth shēthto; put, set
The same word is used for make, made, shew, laid; the first use of put in Genesis 3:15 is the first promise of salvation.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

God appointed conception for Eve in the birth of Seth Genesis 4:25

And for the birth of Isaac.

Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Genesis 18:14

 Rebecca appointed to be the wife of Isaac.  Genesis 24:14 
 for all the cattle of Egypt died. Exodus 9:5
for the children of Israel to keep the Passover. Numbers 9:2|
for cities of refuge  Joshua 20:9

During warfare
Men were appointed with their weapons of war Judges 18:16  and appointed signs, Judges 20:38

Kings were appointed to rule over Israel, 1 Samuel 25:30

The Levites were appointed unto all manner of service of the tabernacle of the house of God. 1 Chronicles 6:48
Prophets were appointed, Nehemiah 6:7

Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling? Job 7:1

He appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: Psalm 78:5|
He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going downPsalm 104:19
He appointed the foundations of the earth Proverbs 8:29
He appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Jeremiah 33:25
at the time appointed the end shall be Daniel 8:19
Habakkuk speaks of an appointed time for the vision,Habakkuk 2:3

New Testament G4929
Strong’s Concordance defines APPOINT, syntassōsün-tä’s-sō
To put in order with or together; arrange b. to constitute, I,e, to prescribe

In the New Testament, we see the authority of Jesus given by God, the Father.

Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Hebrews 1:2

Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. Hebrews 3:2

Jesus’ appointments for His disciples

He appointed seventy and sent them two and two to every city ahead of Him. Luke 10:1

And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; Luke 22:29

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. Matthew 28:16

He appointed all things for Paul; his ministry; Acts 22:10; his afflictions;
1 Thessalonians 3:3; appointed
 a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 2 Timothy 1:11

Jesus’ appointments for men

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointedand the bounds of their habitation; Acts 17:26

for the revelation of faith appointed of the father Galatians 4:2

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thessalonians 5:9

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Hebrews 9:27

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. Acts 17:31

There are those who are appointed to stumble at the word; being disobedient. 1 Peter 2:8

Dear Father in heaven, what a blessing to know that all things are under your authority by which you have appointed all according to your will. We praise you for revealing your grace to us through Jesus and His authority as heir of all things through whom all things were made. Make us know the assurance of all you have planned for your people. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Words of Life ~ ANSWER

“Call to Me, and I will answer you,
and show you great and mighty things,
which you do not know.”
Jeremiah 33:3

This verse from Jeremiah was brought to my attention over fifteen years ago and became a part of my prayers every day. The Lord has not failed to answer me; to continually show me new things from His Word, new revelations of His grace and glory, wisdom for living in obedience to Him and the working of His Holy Spirit in my own life and in the lives of others.

In this study of the word ANSWERwe find the focus upon how God will ANSWER, and how we are to ANSWER.

The difference in the two is quite remarkable. We tend to react in the same spirit of a question or comment. God does not react from our level, but He responds from a higher level of understanding. When He answers, it is with wisdom and knowledge of our real needs. As we look at the Biblical use of this word, we will gain knowledge of how we should answer as His children.

Old Testament H6030
Strong’s Concordance defines ANSWER:`anah ä·nä’; respond to, testify
The word is used for speak, cry, witness; sing, utter tunefully.

Jacob made a reference to a time when God answered him.

“And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.” Genesis 35:3

The Way God Answers

And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
Exodus 19:19

Twice the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind; Job 38:1; Job 40:6
 the God that answers by fire; 1 Kings 18:24; 1 Chronicles 21:26
by terrible things in righteousness; Psalm 65:5
in the secret place of thunder; Psalm 81:7
in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness; Psalm 143:1

For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answers him in the joy of his heart. Ecclesiastes 5:20

In the day when I cried you answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul. Psalm 138:3

His Promise to Answer

 “He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.” Psalm 91:15

very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry Isaiah 30:19
while they are yet speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

How We are to Answer

That the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. 1 Samuel 3:5

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1 

A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! Proverbs 15:23

The heart of the righteous studieth to answer. Proverbs 15:28

The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. Proverbs 16:1

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Proverbs 26:4

So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word. Psalm 119:41

That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? Proverbs 22:21

Then Job answered the Lord, and said, I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:1-6

New Testament G611
Strong’s Concordance defines ANSWER: apokrinomai ä-po-krē’-no-mī; to give an answer to a question proposed; to begin to speak, but always where something has preceded (either said or done) to which the remarks refer.

Jesus’ responses to Satan were from the Old Testament Scriptures.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

When Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:16

There were times Jesus did not react or respond, but answered nothing:

when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, Matthew 27:12
when questioned by Pilate Mark 15:5

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:
and be ready always to give an answer
to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope
that is in you with meekness and fear:”
1 Peter 3:15

Dear Father in heaven, thank you that you answer us in grace and mercy. We pray for your Holy Spirit to teach us through your Word how we are to respond to others in the same grace that you have shown to us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Image: Google

Words of Life ~ ANOINT

The first mention of anointing is found in Genesis 31:13 in reference to the promise of the Lord to give Jacob the land He had promised to Abraham and his descendants. With the stone on which he had slept, Jacob had set up a pillar and poured oil on it (Genesis 28:18-22).

The term anoint relates to the action of consecration, setting something apart for God for His use and His worship.

Old Testament H4886
Strong’s Concordance defines ANOINT mashach mä·shakh’  by implication, to consecrate; also to paint:

The Old Testament records the anointings of the Lord’s priests and the kings of Israel.

Everything that had to do with the worship of the Lord was anointed – the priests, the tabernacle, the table, the altar, etc. were all anointed to symbolize the sacredness and holiness of worship.

Anointings were not special only to the Israelites but to any the Lord chose to anoint.

He anointed (H4899) King Cyrus to deliver His people from their captivity (Isaiah 45:1).

Psalm 2:2 speaks of the kings and rulers of the earth who set themselves against the Lord, his anointed; his Son.

Guests were anointed at feasts.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Psalm 23:5

The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving strength of his anointed. Psalm 28:8

I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: Psalm 89:20

Anointings and worship in the Old Covenant were expressed through the physical elements, things that were seen and handled. Priests and kings were chosen from the one nation of Israel and anointed for service of the Lord.

New Covenant anointings and worship were spiritual under the power of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, we see anointing based on God’s choosing His people from all nations to serve Him through salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ. The anointing is of God by His Holy Spirit, with or without oil.

New Testament G218
Strong’s Concordance defines ANOINT  aleiphō ä-lā’-fō and refers to the use of oil in anointing during Jesus’ ministry. The first of two references; the common word used for a hands-on anointing with oil or ointment.

And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. Mark 6:13

She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Mark 14:8

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, John 9:6

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: James 5:14

G5548  chriō khrē’-ō is the sacred and religious word for anoint used in the N. T. only tropically, of God
A. consecrating Jesus to the Messianic office, and furnishing him with powers necessary for its administration
B. enduing Christians with the gifts of the Holy Spirit

Luke 4:18 is the fulfillment of the prophecy from Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. Acts 1:38

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 2 Corinthians 1:21

 Psalm 45:7 is the prophecy spoken of in Hebrews 1:9
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 1 John 2:27

Revelation 3:18 speaks of the Lord’s invitation for the blind to come to Him for salve to anoint their eyes that they may see.

As believers and disciples of Jesus Christ, we are anointed to be priests and kings in His kingdom (1 Peter 2:5,9;). We are set apart, consecrated for His will and service in all things pertaining to His holiness.

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:6

Dear Father in heaven, eternal God who has chosen a people for yourself from every tongue and nation, we praise you for the anointing that we have in Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, and Savior. Fill us and anoint us fresh each day by your Holy Spirit to know and to do your holy will ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Words of Life ~ ANGELS

We add the word angels to our list of Words of Life, not because it is a word used often in the Christian vocabulary but to know how to answer someone who may ask us about angels. We found enough to start another book but would rather you, the reader, find these gems for yourself and rejoice that although we cannot see them, angels are real to us as God’s children. I can relate times in my life when I knew the outcome of a situation had to be by the Almighty power of our Lord who uses His angels to minister to us. Faith believes and rejoices in the truth we find in His Word.

Old Testament H4397
Strong’s Concordance defines mal’ak mal·äk’, messenger, representative

When the same word is used for messenger, it refers to a human messenger sent by another person. When the word is used for ANGEL, it speaks of the angel of the Lord, or of God. A messenger was a representative of man; an angel was a representative of the Lord God.

The word angel or angels is used 108 times in the Old Testament. The first is found in Genesis 16:7 when the angel of the Lord found Hagar in the wilderness when she fled from Sarah. From the angel, she receives instructions to return in obedience to Sarah. The second time the angel appears to Hagar is when she and Ishmael are sent away; the angel assures her that the Lord is with her and Ishmael (Genesis 21:20).

Angels appear in Sodom to bring out Lot and his family (Genesis 19:15).

An angel appears to Abraham to instruct him not to harm Isaac after proving his fear and obedience to God (Genesis 22:11-12).

Many references in Exodus speak of the Lord sending His angel before the Israelites
“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” Exodus 23;20

 “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” Psalm 8:4-5

 “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7

“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Psalm 91:11

“Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Psalm 104:4
This is quoted in Hebrews 2.

 Isaiah 63:9 speaks of the affliction of God’s people. The angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them.

King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges God who sent his angel and delivered his three servants that trusted in him (Daniel 3:28).

Daniel’s praise is to God who sent his angel and hath shut the lions’ mouths, (Daniel 6:22).

There are many references to Zechariah’s conversations with the angel of the Lord.

It is amazing to find so many references. Instead of listing all these, the link is here for the whole list.

New Testament G32
Strong’s Concordance aggelos ä’n-ge-los, messenger from God.
“In the Scriptures, both of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, one of that host of heavenly spirits that, according alike to Jewish and Christian opinion, wait upon the monarch of the universe, and are sent by him to earth,”

The first reference in the New Testament is Matthew 1:20 where the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream instructing him “fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Two other times the angel instructed him: first, to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod; afterward, to bring them back to Israel.

Before Jesus’ birth, we have the reference to the appearance of Gabriel to Zacharias.

“And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. Luke 1:11

“And in the sixth month (of Elizabeth’s pregnancy) the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,” Luke 1:26

From one angel to a multitude of the heavenly hosts came the announcement of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:13).

Fast-forward to Jesus’ ministry and the promise of His second coming.

After Jesus’ temptation of the devil in the wilderness, angels came and ministered unto him (Matthew 4:11).

“Two angels in white were sitting where the body of Jesus had lain (John 20:12).

He shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).

Where do angels fit in relation to believers?

Luke 15:10 speaks of the joy of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Luke 20:36 gives the promise that believers are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

The writer of Hebrews speaks of the angels’ ministry to us as believers.

“And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? Hebrews 1:7,14

 “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;” Luke 16:22

1 Peter 1:12 speaks of the gospel being preached here on earth by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Hebrews 12:22 speaks of mount Sion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

“Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” 1 Corinthians 6:3

 The Book of Acts has many references to angels ministering to the apostles.

The angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors for the apostles (Acts 5:19).

 The Lord sent his angel and delivered Peter out of the hand of Herod (Acts 12:11).

Paul speaks of the angel of God that stood by him on the ship that was about to be capsized (Acts 27:23).

How do angels relate to unbelievers?

 The angel of the Lord smote Herod in his royal apparel, because he gave not God the glory (Acts 12:23).

 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6 speak of the angels that sinned, were cast down to hell; reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment.

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” Matthew 25:41

 Of the 175 references of the New Testament, 72 are found in the Book of Revelation.

 The first is relative to the angel sent to John by Jesus Christ to testify to the churches.

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:” Revelation 1:1

In Daniel 10:13, Michael is spoken of by Daniel as one of the chief princes who came to help him.

 Jude 1:9 identifies Michael as the archangel who contended with the devil.
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,” Revelation 12:7

Have you experienced an incident where you knew God had physically intervened?

Gracious Father, thank you for all the times we can look back and know that your mighty hand was upon us. We praise you for the promises of your presence always with us, even as in times past, we cannot miss the reality of your angels ministering to us. In Jesus’ name, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran
(This word comes right after a sermon I heard yesterday including  Zacharias’ encounter with Gabriel. Here is the link.)
 

 

Words of Life ~ ANCHOR

We ended 2018 with AMEN. How gracious our Lord is to give us ANCHOR as our first of Words of Life for 2019.

Although ships are mentioned in the Old Testament, the word anchor is only used in the New Testament. The first three references are found in Acts and as an anchor used in the ship in which Paul was a passenger.

“Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.” Acts 27:29

ANCHOR G45
Strong’s Concordance defines agkyra ä’n-kü-rä, A metaphor. Any stay or safeguard

The fourth reference is used figuratively. Because of Paul’s own shipwrecks, he could very well be the author who used the metaphor in the book of Hebrews.

 “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:

 His covenant blessings with Abraham were confirmed by the oath given through Christ for eternal salvation. The promise and oath are the two prongs of the anchor.

“That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:”

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;” Hebrews 6:17-19

An anchor cast into the bottom of the sea cannot be seen. Neither can Christ be seen, but our faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

The soul in this life is either anchored to the world, its promises, and pleasures, or to Christ who is God’s fulfilled promise and our hope to the end. He has entered heaven as our high priest and holds us to Himself. God has made us sit in heavenly places in Christ. And Christ in us is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). This is why we set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:1-3).

Dear heavenly Father, you promised eternal life and fulfilled that promise in Christ, your Son, who is our hope of eternal life. Your sure and steadfast anchor keeps us through even the violent storms of this life. No one can move this anchor; no one can snatch us out of your hand ~ this to your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran

Related Articles: Staying in the Ship         Laying Hold of Eternal Life

Words of Life ~ AMEN

AMEN  may well be the most used word in the Christian vocabulary; one of simple exclamation for what we believe is true; in answer to, or addition to, things with which we agree.

It seems fitting to end the year in our series Words of Life with the word AMEN.

It is also interesting that I did not plan it. We began in July sharing this list once a week, from word to word, without knowing where each one would fit. So, in His providence, let us look at what the Lord has for us in this word now and in the coming year.

Old Testament H543
Strong’s Concordance defines AMEN ‘amen ä·mān’ verily, truly, so be it.
It is the same word used for truth.

The word AMEN is found in 24 verses of the Old Testament, 12 of these are found in Deuteronomy after each of the curses.
We want to concentrate on the following verses which use the word AMEN twice. These verses begin with the word “Blessed” referring to the Lord God and His name, ending with a double AMEN.

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.” Psalm 41:13

“And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.” Psalm 72:19

New Testament G281
“The word “amen” is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best known word in human speech. The word is directly related — in fact, almost identical — to the Hebrew word for “believe” (amam), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean “sure” or “truly”, an expression of absolute trust and confidence. — HMM”

It came to be used as an adverb by which something is asserted or confirmed: at the beginning of a discourse, surely, of a truth, truly; so frequent in the discourses of Christ in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.” Blueletter Bible

The Greek word is the same for verily. Until this research, I did not realize that Jesus prefaced all His teachings with the word, verily, verily. Verily is used at the beginning of a sentence; Amen at the end to verify the truth of a statement.

The first use of AMEN is quoted by Jesus after His prayer given to His disciples; appropriate, as His prayer was to our Father in heaven.

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen (Matthew 6:13).

The second time is “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. AmenMatthew 28:20  

The last of the gospels to record the word AMEN is John’s statement summing up Jesus’ ministry.

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” John 21:22

In the remainder of the New Testament, more AMENs (29) are attributed to the apostle Paul than to any other author, most of these in his letter to the Romans (not surprising, since more of the New Testament is attributed to him than any other author.) Below are a few of these.

 “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

 “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

 “To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Galatians 1:5

 “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:21

 “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Philippians 4:20

 “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17

 “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 Timothy 6:16

Peter uses the word 4 times.

“That God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11

 “To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:11

 “Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:14

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

John ends his first two letters with AMEN (1 John 5:21;  2 John 13).

The writer of Hebrews ends the letter with a prayer and an AMEN.

“Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”Hebrews 13:21

It is fitting that the last book of God’s Word would use the word 9 times. The last two verses of the Bible end with AMEN.

“Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 7:12

“And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.” Revelation 19:4

“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:21

As we end another year of our Lord, 2018, let us sound a strong “AMEN” to His sovereign grace and rule over all things. Let us be grateful for His presence and His blessings this year. Let us echo the AMENs of the writers of His precious Word.

As we enter a new year, let us be in anticipation, with a verily, verily to what He has planned. Let us practice our AMENs, begin praising Him for whatever may be ahead and focus on Him and His Word; not ourselves and our circumstances.

Gracious Father, thank you for giving us what seems to be a simple word, yet packed with power. Fill us with your Spirit to know, accept, and submit to your Word. Enable us to not only say “Amen” to all that you speak to us but to live in agreement with all that we read in your Word. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran
Jude 24-25 Music

Words of Life ~ Ambassador

We are blessed to have Jim, a brother-in-Christ and a fellow-blogger, offer this guest post in our series Words of Life. He writes from the knowledge and experience of being a servant of our King; a pastor and an ambassador to other countries. You can find his blog here. Thank you, Jim ~ the Lord bless you and your ministry for Him.

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Did you realize that if you are a Christian you are called by God to be an ambassador of Christ? What does that mean and what does God require of you if you are called to be His ambassador?

First, we must ask this question: What do we think about when we hear the word “Ambassador?” For many of us, we picture a man or a woman dressed in a dignified manner in a prestigious overseas assignment as a representative of one’s own country. We picture him/her being welcomed and even honored by those to whom they are sent. But is that what the Scripture and God have in mind when we are to be ambassadors of Christ? Ultimately we want to know what the word “ambassador” means as it appears in the Scriptures?

The best-known passage that talks about being an ambassador for Christ is 2 Corinthians 5:20-21. This is what it says in the New American Standard Bible:

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

The Greek word for ambassador is a first-person plural form of πρεσβεύω. The verb πρεσβεύω appears only in one other place in the Bible: Ephesians 6:20:

for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

We will focus on 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 to see four characteristics of an ambassador of Christ so that we will faithfully represent Christ to others. However, when we look at the fourth characteristic, Ephesians 6:20 will come into play.

Characteristic #1: An ambassador is one who knows God well.
The point here is that if we are going to be ambassadors, we need to know God and know Him well. Recall 2 Corinthians 5:20: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ.” It is important to know what the leaders really want, otherwise, an ambassador might make a decision that is unfaithful and unwise for the country/state/leaders. Who do we represent as ambassadors? The passage says, “Christ.”

We must know Christ in various ways. Paul says that Christians are to know what the will of God is: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2).  Specifically knowing God’s will involves knowing that “which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Notice here that knowing God will transform us. Where do we turn to know God’s will and also for that knowledge to transform us? The Bible!

We are not just to be familiar with rules of God but also to know Christ and what He has done: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10). Did we catch that?  We are to know three things: “the power of His resurrection,” “the fellowship of His sufferings,” and “His death.” We also must get a taste of suffering if we are to have “the fellowship of His sufferings”

As an application: do we know God’s laws and rules? If not, how can we represent Him?

Ambassadors would read letters from the leader that sent him or her. Do we read regularly the Bible and vow to learn it more deeply so we know who we represent and what His will is for all circumstances?

A good ambassador who knows the will of the one who sent Him will also act with integrity so as not to undermine the character of the one who sent Him. How much more then, does our knowledge of God lead us to act in such a way that presents a good testimony to people around us?

Characteristic #2: An ambassador is someone who is sent for a purpose.
As an ambassador, we need to know our purpose.  Recall 2 Corinthians 5:20: “as though God were making an appeal through us…” There’s a challenge here: An ambassador is not just living for himself; he lives for his king. As Christians, our purpose is to live for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!! 2 Corinthians 5:20 goes on to say “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Yet with the challenge, there is also encouragement:  After identifying us as “ambassadors of Christ,” Paul speaks as if God is working through us when we make our appeal.  God is working through us as His ambassadors!  Let us be encouraged. He will help us if we rely on Him!

An ambassador might sometimes be in a country with which his own country does not get along. Dignity and honor might be shown to him from the other country. There may be temptations in that country to cause him to forget why he is there.

To drive the point home, we must ask ourselves these questions: Do we know our purpose in life? It is not enough just to know; are we living as representatives of God towards others? Do we desire a different purpose than what God has given us?  If this is the case, we are in sin. We must realize every other purpose in life would disappoint if it is not centered on God. Is God working through us? When we are making an appeal to others to come to know God, do we realize it is God working in us? This should encourage us?

Characteristic #3: An ambassador is one who is faithful.
Let us look at this portion of 2 Corinthians 5:20-21: “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” An ambassador’s message is not one that he creates.  A good ambassador is measured by how faithful He is to the one who sent Him.  What is our message? The passage states the purpose of our message: “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20b).  How we are reconciled with God is the Gospel!  “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This message tells us that we are sinners. This message tells us about Christ; that Christ is our substitute.

An ambassador is to please the one who sent Him and not those to whom he is sent; can you imagine if the country is an enemy of His country and the ambassador decides to change his message to make the enemy like it? This ambassador is not faithful; in fact, he has betrayed his country.  He is now an enemy by becoming friends of the enemies of his country.

Now, what about us? Are we faithful to the Bible’s message? Or do we try to remove the parts of the Bible we don’t like? Are we trying to be faithful or are we trying to be liked by others?

Characteristic #4: An ambassador is one who is willing to suffer.
As ambassadors, we must be willing to suffer. Remember Ephesians 6:20 states: “for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” There is the real possibility of suffering as indicated by the mention of chains in the example of Paul’s life.

Some background information might be in order. There are two kinds of ambassadors. Here’s a summary:There are ambassadors (another Greek word is used here: Legati) sent from Rome to foreign nations and into the provinces.”[1]There are also ambassadors (Legati) “who accompanied the Roman generals into the field or the proconsuls and praetors into the provinces.”[2]

Here’s a description of the first kind of ambassador:

“Legati to foreign nations in the name of the Roman republic were always sent by the senate (Cic. c. Vatin. 15); and to be appointed to such a mission was considered a great honour which was conferred only on men of high rank or eminence; for a Roman ambassador, according to Dionysius, had the powers (ἐξουσία καὶ δύναμις) of a magistrate and the venerable character of a priest. If a Roman during the performance of his mission as ambassador died or was killed, his memory was honoured by the republic with a public sepulchre and a statue in the Rostra (Liv. IV.17; Cic. Philip. IX.2). The expenses during the journey of an ambassador were, of course, paid by the republic; and when he travelled through a province, the provincials had to supply him with

Here’s a description of the second type of ambassador:

“The persons appointed to this office were usually men of great military talents, and it was their duty to advise and assist their superior in all his undertakings, and to act in his stead both in civil and military affairs (Varro, de Ling. Lat. V.87, Müller). The legati were thus always men in whom the consul placed great confidence, and were frequently his friends or relations; but they had no power independent of the command of their general (Caes. de Bell. Civ. II.17, III.51; Appian, B. C. I.38). Their number varied according to the greatness or importance of the war,”

What kind of ambassador did Paul have in mind? ~ the second kind; those who are sent to dangerous places.

Paul said “we are ambassadors for Christ,” based on his life filled with hardship, danger, and suffering.  In 2 Corinthians 4:8-11 and 2 Corinthians 11, we see his suffering and trials. When Paul said “we are ambassadors for Christ” he included all who would bear the same sufferings.

I think the closest analogy today to the kind of ambassadors  Paul had in mind are military service members. I remember in Iraq working with a Marine officer who was in Civil Affairs. He’s a Marine still ~ and still armed. But he’s working with the people and the local leaders. He’s there in a spot too dangerous for civilians. We are that Marine, not the ambassador and staff in the luxury hotel of a safe capital socializing all night.

This changes the way we view our mission as ambassadors. Do we understand that we will suffer as a Christian, especially to the degree we represent him and share the Gospel? Are we presently suffering for the Lord in representing Him? We must search our hearts to see if we are compromising, fearing man, etc, and confess our sins to God. He will forgive us; and not only that, He will cleanse us in light of 1 John 1:9!

For any who may be suffering right now for the sake of our Lord, we pray that you find your comfort in Christ. Turn to Him and rest in Him! Abide in Him, commune with Him! Let Him comfort you!

(Gracious Father in heaven, we thank you for Jim, who serves you well as one of your ambassadors. We ask that you send your Holy Spirit to search our hearts. Convict, through the power of your Word, how and where we may be misrepresenting you. Show us your purpose for us as your children and your ambassadors. Open our eyes to see Christ and His sufferings on our behalf and move us to offer all that we are to know Him and to be where you want us to be. Thank you for sending your Son as your ambassador to a people held in bondage to sin to save us and bring us to yourself. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran)

[1]http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Legatus.html

[2]Ibid.